Little Mermaid Monday: Q&A with Aerial Director Joshua Dean

Flying 1We are in the second week of our blog series Little Mermaid Monday highlighting all-things The Little Mermaid. One thing is for sure: this is going to be a musical that you’ve never seen before.

To create the movement you’ll see in this underwater adventure, Choreographer Adam Cates enlisted the help of 2 Ring Circus, a theatrical circus group out of New York City, to add aerial and groundwork circus acts. Our Dramaturg Robert Neblett interviewed aerial director Joshua Dean, who, alongside Ben Franklin and Lani Corson, will be a part of the ensemble in the show.

Find out what he had to say about how they got involved in the show, what magical elements you’ll see and more:

Q: Tell us a little about 2 Ring Circus.

A: 2 Ring Circus is a company of four friends who came together to create their own brand of circus. We all came from musical theater or dance backgrounds before becoming circus artists. Now, we try to combine the theatricality of those genres with the excitement of the circus to create a one-of-a-kind experience.

Q: How did you first become involved with this type of movement/aerial work?

A: I was asked by director Donna Drake to choreograph and perform aerial fabric in a show that she was directing. I began taking classes at once and it all grew from there. I spent several years working to become a professional aerialist and then began to teach. As a teacher, I began to train my friends and future company members.

Q: If a student were interested in “learning to fly,” what would you suggest they need to do to prepare and train for a career in this unique field?

A: Train, train, train. This is field that takes a lot of discipline. It is very dangerous and without Flying 2that discipline, you could get injured by an accident or fall. I do believe that anyone can do this. It just takes the drive and patience. It will take a while to build the strength and any type of conditioning can help.

Q: Is this the first time you have ever worked with the Arkansas Rep? Have you worked with any of the other members of The Little Mermaid’s artistic team?

A: This is my first time working at The Rep. Ben, Lani and I are all very excited to create the circus elements for the show. Ben has worked with our amazing director, Melissa, before. Ben and myself have done several shows with Adam, our choreographer.

Q: What attracts you to a project like The Little Mermaid?

A: As a company, we love to combine theatre with circus. Two of our original production show creations have a very theatrical feel. We like the challenge of making circus elements integral to the plot and finding apparatus and movement that can help forward the story without distracting unnecessarily.

Q: How is this kind of specific movement/aerial work integral to a musical like The Little Mermaid?

A: This show has the potential for lots of magic and spectacle. We are using circus elements to make the life under the sea even more exciting. This includes the various sea creatures floating around under the ocean and the drowning prince being rescued to a mermaid floating on an anchor. These are just a few examples of how you will see circus integrated in the show.

Q: The Little Mermaid is not technically a Christmas story. How do you think this piece, with its memorable music and the special performance aspects you will be contributing, will contribute to the holiday spirit in Little Rock this year?

A: The holiday season is about the joy and wonder of it all and I believe The Little Mermaid checks those boxes perfectly.

Q: What is your favorite moment in the show a) from a choreographic standpoint and b) from an emotional perspective?

A: My favorite moment to create in the show will be the transformation. It is the moment when Ariel first gets her legs. It is going to be quite tricky to get it all right, but that is what will make it worth it. In that instance, it will take every department: costumes, direction, choreography, lights, tech crew pulling lines, etc. Trying to make everything work as we have conceived it is the fun moment for me. It will take a lot of tries, but I am certain it will be worth it.

Q: What do you hope audiences will take with them from this production?

A: The joy of theatre. It is my passion and I am so blessed to be part of it. I hope we can inspire people not only to want to do this, but to want to come back and see another show. Without an audience, we do not have an art.

Q: What is the first instance of theatrical magic you remember? How has that moment shaped you as an artist?

A: The first time I saw a scrim, my mind was blown. I remember seeing a tour of Edgar Allan Poe’s stories brought to the stage on a school trip. When I was looking at a painted drop of a house and then saw an actor appear through it clear as day, I could not believe my eyes. I did not understand it, but I wanted to know more.

For more information about 2 Ring Circus, visit their official website here.

Hurry! Get your tickets to The Little Mermaid online or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Little Mermaid Monday: An Introduction

LittleMermaidToday is a big day: We are kicking off our blog series Little Mermaid Monday highlighting all-things The Little Mermaid.

To get you in the mermaid spirit and as a refresher, we are taking look at the story and characters with a little help from our Dramaturg Robert Neblett.

Plot

Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. With music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater, and a compelling book by Doug Wright, this fishy fable will capture your heart with its irresistible songs: “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl,” and “Part of Your World.”

Ariel, King Triton’s youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above and bargains with the evil sea witch, Ursula, to trade her tail for legs. But the bargain is not what it seems and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea.

From MTIshows.com

Characters

(In Order of Appearance)

  •  ARIEL, a mermaid, King Triton’s youngest daughter
  • PILOT, helmsman of Prince Eric’s ship
  • SAILORS
  • PRINCE ERIC, a human monarch
  • GRIMSBY, guardian of Prince Eric
  • FLOUNDER, a fish, Ariel’s best friend
  • SCUTTLE, a seagull, expert in human artifacts
  • SEA CREATURES of various shapes, sizes and species
  • WINDWARD & LEEWARD, trumpet fish, heralds in King Triton’s court
  • KING TRITON, King of the Sea
  • SEBASTIAN, a crab, advisor to King Triton
  • MERSISTERS (Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Atina, AdelIa, Allana), daughters of King Triton
  • FLOTSAM, an eel, lackey to Ursula
  • JETSAM, an eel, the other lackey to Ursula
  • URSULA, the Sea Witch, sister of King Triton
  • GULLS
  • MAIDS
  • CHEF LOUIS, the Palace chef, a culinary perfectionist
  • CHEFS, sous staff of Chef Louis
  • PRINCESSES, potential mates for Prince Eric

The magical musical will run for five weeks with performances from Dec. 2-Jan. 3, Wednesday through Sunday, with special Saturday matinees on Dec. 5 and 26 and Jan. 2. Check out all of the fun surround events here.

Hurry! Get your tickets to The Little Mermaid online or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Help Name Special Beer for The Little Mermaid

LittleMermaid

With our production of The Little Mermaid taking The Rep MainStage in December, we have teamed up with Moody Brews to create a beer for the underwater wonderland production.

And guess what? We need your help naming it!

Here is the scoop on the beer contest:

Beer Naming Contest

Starting Monday, Nov. 23, The Rep is following up with a Little Mermaid Beer Naming Contest, where we will be accepting entries for the tropical brew– a tropical saison. 5% ce46c3e5297f7bd48b1b154bab2da76354942964_gold-recipeabv farmhouse/saison style ale fermented atop citrus fruits of lemon, tangerine, pineapple, and hibiscus and lightly dry hopped with amarillo (orangey, apricot aroma) hops.

Here is the rundown of the contest:

1. Submit your clever beer name from 9 a.m. Monday, Nov. 23 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 25.  Bonus points if you include “Rep” somewhere in the name! Enter HERE!

2. Our top five favorite names will be selected and fans will be allowed to vote for their favorite on our Facebook page from 9 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 29. The name with the most ‘Likes’ at the end of the voting period will be the winner!

3. The winner will receive a growler of the special flavor and a pair of tickets to see The Little Mermaid!

The special brew will be on tap at Vino’s Brew Pub, 923 W. 7th, Little Rock, and in Foster’s, located on the First Mezzanine at The Rep, during the run of the show, Dec. 2, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016.

Don’t miss your chance to try this one-of-a-kind sweet treat (and beer!) celebrating our holiday musical and get your tickets to The Little Mermaid online or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Vote for your favorite beer name HERE!

Win Cool Prizes in First-Ever Saints and Sinners Raffle

photoThink of what you could do with $5,000 or who could use 10 tickets to the hottest ticket in town this holiday season, The Little Mermaid, or who would like to hone their acting skills.

By buying a Saints and Sinners Raffle ticket, you would have a chance to win one of these cool prizes!

While the annual gala may be months away, the fun begins now with this special raffle, which includes three amazing prizes. The three raffle prizes include:

  • $5,000 Cash
  • 10 Tickets to The Rep’s Production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid Includes ice cream and drinks
  • Private Performing Arts Workshop for up to eight young artists (or adults). Minimum age 10.

Winners will be announced during a live online drawing at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 23. The public can follow along on Facebook and Instagram as the winners are announced.

Tickets cost $20 each and are $100 for six. They can be purchased online at www.TheRep.org/saintsraffle; by calling Ronda Lewis at (501) 378-0445, ext. 203; or at The Rep’s Box Office at 601 Main Street, between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday-Friday.

The Saints and Sinners Raffle benefits The Rep. For more information, visit www.TheRep.org or call Ronda at (501) 378-0445, ext. 203.

Spelling Bee Thursday: Famous Last Words

1401418262000-A01-v2-NL-SPELLING-BEE-30-sJust a few more rounds of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are left and for the final week, we are looking at some of the famous last words at the National Spelling Bee!

Would you be able to beat the national champion? Here is a list of the winning words from the final round, from the past 10 years:

  • appoggiatura (2005): an embellishing note or tone preceding an essential melodic note or tone and usually written as a note of smaller size.
  • Ursprache (2006) a parent language; especially one reconstructed from the evidence of later languages
  • serrefine (2007) a small forceps for clamping a blood vessel
  • guerdon (2008) reward
  • Laodicean (2009) lukewarm or indifferent in religion or politics
  • Stromuhr (2010) a rheometer designed to measure the amount and speed of blood flow through an artery
  • Cymotrichous (2011) having wavy hair
  • guetapens (2012) a trap
  • Knaidel (2013) matzo ball
  • Stichomythia (2014) dialogue in which two characters speak alternate lines of verse, used as a stylistic device in ancient Greek drama
  • feuilleton (2014) a part of a newspaper or magazine devoted to fiction, criticism, or light literature
  • Scherenschnitte (2015) meaning ‘scissor cuts’ in German, is the art of paper cutting design, often featuring elements of symmetry
  • nunatak (2015) an exposed, often rocky element of a ridge, mountain, or peak not covered with ice or snow within (or at the edge of) an ice field or glacier

(Source: International Business Times)

Don’t miss the highly acclaimed musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee before it ends this Sunday, Nov. 8– book your tickets by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405 or visit TheRep.org.

And don’t forget: we are offering $10 off all remaining tickets to the musical. Get yours now!

Closing Week of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: Engage with Us!

the-25th-annual-putnam-county-spelling-bee-at-the-rep

The cast of The Rep’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Photo by Stephen B. Thornton.

Just a few more rounds of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee are left and for the final week, there are a few things to look out for!

Here is this week’s lineup of fun happenings:

Tuesday, Nov. 3

Preshow pizza: Take a bite out of FREE Vino’s pizza before the 7 p.m. performance!

Thursday, Nov. 5

Beer Night with Arkansas Times and Lost 40: Get your evening started early with a preshow beer tasting. Sponsored by Arkansas Times and Golden Eagle.

Saturday, Nov. 7

The After-Party: Stick around after the performance of Spelling Bee for drinks and look for members of the cast to make an appearance in Foster’s.

Don’t miss the highly acclaimed musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee as it runs through Nov. 8– book your tickets by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405 or visit TheRep.org.

And don’t forget: we are offering $10 off all remaining tickets to the musical. Get yours now!