Behind the Curtain Q&A: Memphis Production Stage Manager Katie M. Dayley

backstage 2With the start of a new MainStage season, we want to showcase the people behind the Rep stage in a series called “Behind the Curtain.” This weekly Q&A series highlights staff members who keep the Arkansas Repertory Theatre running on a daily basis.

Someone who helps keep productions running smoothly– including Memphis, running through Sept. 28– is Production Stage Manager Katie M. Dayley.

Here is what she has to say about her theatre experience here at The Rep:

How long have you worked at The Rep? Off and on from November 2012

Education/training: Bachelor of Fine Arts in Stage Management from the University of Utah

How’d you get into the theatre biz: I fell in love with stage management in college.  My senior year, I did a one-show internship at the Pioneer Theatre Company that turned into a two-year job.  When that was over, I had earned my equity card and have been working as a professional stage manager ever since.

Why your job rocks: I get to be with each production from before the first rehearsal until the end of the last show. Throughout the process, each show grows and comes together like a living creature that then emerges on opening night.  I love being a part of that, knowing the show so well that I see the little adjustments and discoveries that happen after we open and knowing that I am able to help present these amazing pieces of collaborative art to the public.

Best work day ever: My favorite day of the process is the first dress rehearsal.  At that point, we’ve been working for three weeks putting together the acting, choreography and music and then adding the lights, music, set and props. But for me, the show finally looks complete when the actors are dressed in costume.  It is a truly magical feeling see all of the hard work and long hours come together in the instant the show starts.

Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why: This one!  My current show is always my favorite.

One thing people would be surprised about your job: How physical it is.  Most people hear ‘manager’ and assume I sit behind a desk directing others what to do, but a lot of my job involves running around moving furniture and set pieces, which is very demanding work.

Favorite seat in the house: Slightly house right of center in the front row of the 1st mezzanine.

Best job perk: Meeting new people.  Every show is an instant family and you learn so much about each other by spending time together in rehearsals and hanging out at the company apartments.

Be sure to check back every week to get a glimpse at a different member of The Rep staff. Buy your tickets to Memphis here!

Memphis Monday: More About the Cast

With Memphis on The Rep’s MainStage right now, we thought it would be fun to showcase more of the cool backgrounds of some of the actors and where you might have seen them before they made it to our stage!

See last week’s post here.

JasminRichardsonHeadshotMemphisWebsite1We will start off with one of the stars of the show, Jasmin Richardson (Felicia). Before joining the Arkansas Repertory Theatre for our regional premiere of Memphis, she was Felicia on the national tour of the show, in addition to being Deena in Dreamgirls. She played the leading role in Aida and joined several cruise lines in her career.

Brent Michael DiRoma (Huey)BrentDiRomaHeadshotMemphis was a part of the popular Jersey Boys and Avenue Q national tours and was in West Side Story at the Gateway Playhouse in Long Island, N.Y. Off the stage, you’ll probably find him playing his guitar.

Tony Perry (Delray) has had a long career in theatre, appearing in numerous New York City productions, including Allegro (Astoria Performing Arts Center), 74 Georgia Avenue (The National Yiddish Theatre), Shelter In Our Car (Symphony Space), Martin: Before The Dream (Negro Ensemble Company), Repo: The Genetic Opera (Wings Theatre), The Groove Factory (New York Musical Theatre Festival) and The Bonus Army (Gym at Judson). Regional credits include Ain’t Misbehavin (Mason Street Warehouse), Five Guys Named Moe (Pioneer Theater), TonyPerryHeadshotMemphisDreamgirls (ReVision Theatre), Big River (Theatre Harrisburg), Me and My Girl (Capitol Theatre), Smokey Joes Café (Irving Street Rep), The Rocky Horror Show (Capitol Theatre) and A Grand Night For Singing (Ramada Express Casino). You also may have seen him in films like Mickey and Finding Oz: A Journey Home. Here is something else that is very cool that you didn’t know: He has traveled North America in a concert of Yiddish and African-American music and has three albums available on iTunes.

 

Before making his Rep debut, Gregory L. Williams (Gator) appeared in the first national GregoryWilliamsHeadshotMemphistour of Hair and Lincoln Center Production of South Pacific; Off-Broadway credits include Broadway’s Rising Stars III (The Town Hall) and The Wake (The York Theatre Company); Regional: South Pacific (Paper Mill Playhouse), RENT (Pioneer Theatre Company), A Funny Thing… (Triarts Sharon Playhouse).

Read more about these performers and the rest of the talented cast of Memphis here!

Memphis Monday: All About the Cast

With Memphis on The Rep’s MainStage right now, we thought it would be fun to showcase some of the cool backgrounds of some of the actors and where you might have seen them before they made it to our stage!

We will starDanielMcDonaldHeadshotMemphist off with Daniel McDonald (White DJ/Mr. Collins/White Father/Gordon Grant/US Mr. Simmons). While he has spent a lot of time in the theatre world, performing in national touring productions like Grease, Singin’ in the Rain and Chorus Line and a variety of regional plays, he also has a few TV credits to his name, including Sex and the City on HBO, along with The Carrie Diaries on the CW and The Affair.

BillNewhallHeadshotMemphisBill Newhall (Mr. Simmons) is another one who has played a few parts on TV. The longtime actor who has appeared on Broadway in Something Wonderful! and Off-Broadway in productions such as Wuthering Heights, Anna Karenina, Walk on the Wildwise, plus tons more, has rounded out several soap operas, including All My Children (ABC), One Life to Live (Online Network), Another World (NBC) and As the World Turns (CBS).

TatianaGreenHeadshotMemphis

Tatiana Green (Ensemble/”Someday” Backup Singer) has a long background in dance, training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet Hispanico. In addition to being a performer on Carnival Cruise Lines and dance instructor, she has worked with world-renowned dancer Aszure Barton on Dance Dance Revolution, named for the super-popular dance video game.

 

 

J Nycole Ralph (Ethel/”Someday” Backup Singer/Ensemble /US Felicia) has workedJNycoleRalphHeadshotMemphis on several productions, including the Broadway tour of West Side Story and the original production of Elements. Additionally, the actress has been involved in film, working alongside Chris Rock in Finally Famous and other projects with big stars such as Adam Sandler, Whoopi Goldberg, Jerry Seinfeld, Rosario Dawson, Ice-T, Deirdre Goodwin and many others.

 

JamesRobertsHeadshotMemphisJames Roberts (Ensemble/”Be Black Trio/US Gator) has crossed international lines for his theatrical performing,acting in the Diana Paulus-directed national revival of Hair in the United States, Canada and Japan. Aside from his theatre experience, he stepped out on his own when his solo cabaret show premiered in summer 2013 in New York City.

RyanFarnsworthHeadshotMemphis

 

Ryan Farnsworth (Ensemble/Perry Como/US Huey) has appeared in several Off-Broadway productions, including Candide, Never Let it Go and Zombie Strippers-The Musical. In addition to being a part of the national Jingle Bell Rock tour, Ryan has recorded several songs with Disney Records, Get Bizzy Records and Niagara Records, and has performed in several award-winning independent films.

Read more about these performers and the rest of the talented cast of Memphis here!

Behind the Curtain Q&A: Set Designer/Technical Director Mike Nichols

Mike Nichols is The Rep's resident set director, designing such sets as last season's Les Miserables.

Mike Nichols is The Rep’s resident set director, designing such sets as last season’s Les Miserables.

With the start of a new MainStage season, we want to showcase the people behind the Rep stage in a series called “Behind the Curtain.” This weekly Q&A series will highlight staff members who keep the Arkansas Repertory Theatre running on a daily basis.

Memphis is starting this week and someone behind the cool set is our Resident Set Designer/Technical Director Mike Nichols, who has been with the theatre for more than three decades.

Here is what he has to say about his theatre experience here at The Rep:

How long you have worked at The Rep: 32 years

Education/training:  BSE in Speech/Theatre Arts at the University of Central Arkansas and a MA in Drama at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

How’d you get into the theatre biz:  I fell into it when the scene shop foreman job came open at UCA.

Favorite Rep show you’ve worked on and why:  West Side Story and Towns Facing Railroads because of the design process and result.

One thing people would be surprised about your job:  I design every aspect of each set and those pieces are built, painted and installed under my supervision in The Rep’s scene shop.

Favorite seat in the house:  BB17

Be sure to check back every week to get a glimpse at a different member of The Rep staff. Buy your tickets to Memphis here!

Memphis Monday: Bon Jovi’s David Bryan Brings High-Energy Music to Show

David Bryan

Bon Jovi keyboardist David Bryan co-wrote Memphis with Joe DiPietro.

The premiere of Memphis: The Musical is fast approaching and to highlight some of the cool aspects of the show, we’ll be doing a short series called “Memphis Monday” every Monday through Sept. 22.

To kick things off, one of things we are most excited about in the production is the energetic music that will be rocking the theatre.

One of the musicians behind the fabulous original rock ‘n’ roll score in Memphis: The Musical is Grammy Award-winning David Bryan, keyboardist and one of the founding members of classic rock band Bon Jovi, a band who has sold more than 130 million records over the last 26 years. You’ve probably heard of “Livin’ on a Prayer” and “You Give Love a Bad Name.”

Memphis: The Musical is Bryan’s first dip into musical theatre and what’s incredible is that his debut won a 2010 Tony Award for Best Composer, a 2010 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Score. In fact, taking the stage on Broadway from Oct. 19, 2009 to Aug. 5, 2012, Memphis has garnered eight Tony Award nominations total, winning four Tony Awards in 2010, including Best Musical.

The Memphis: The Musical story goes like this: In the underground nightclubs of 1950s Memphis lies a new era of music– rock ‘n’ roll, blues and gospel– that is emerging into the mainstream. Falling in love with a beautiful club singer, white DJ Dewey Phillips’ desire to bring her voice and music out of the clubs and onto the national landscape will go against cultural divides and ignite a music revolution.

From the first notes of its opening number “Underground” right up to a rousing finale called “Steal Your Rock ‘n’ Roll,” Memphis delivers one energetic song after the next.

Get your tickets to show- single tickets are available now! Get more information here.

Check out the Broadway.com video as Bryan and DiPietro highlight the score: http://bcove.me/do4fodl9

Take a Musical Journey with Velvet Kente Arkestra at The Rep

velvet

Local artist Velvet Kente Arkestra will rock the Arkansas Repertory Theatre stage Sept. 22 during the run of the theatre’s electrifying production of Memphis.

The Arkansas Repertory Theatre is kicking off its 2014-2015 Season with the exciting musical Memphis, a regional premiere that is loosely based on Memphis disc jockey Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s.

And to keep the Memphis musical energy alive, Little Rock artist Velvet Kente Arkestra will take over The Rep stage on Monday, Sept. 22.

Joshua Asante leads Velvet Kente, three-piece rock band that frequents hot Little Rock music joints like the White Water Tavern, the Rev Room, Stickyz and more. The extended version of the band, Velvet Kenta Arkestra, will feature 12-13 performers on stage. What the audience can expect is a unique blend of music– from horns, guitars, piano and percussion– to resonate through the theatre.

“We embrace different types of music,” Asante said.

Working in partnership with the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, Velvet Kente Arkestra will take fans on a musical journey from 1950s Memphis to today. If you’re looking for a lively night of music, this is it!

Starting at 6 p.m., there will be a VIP Members Lounge in Foster’s and a cash bar open in the theatre lobby. The show will rock the stage from 7-9 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for A seats, which includes the lower level and first mezzanine, and $10 for B Seats, which includes the second mezzanine. To purchase tickets, CLICK HERE or call the Box Office at (501) 378-0405. Get more information here.

Get a preview of this energetic group below!