From Script to Stage: The Little Mermaid Choreography

Arkansas Repertory Theatre's production of The Little Mermaid. photos by STEPHEN B. THORNTON

Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s production of The Little Mermaid.
photos by STEPHEN B. THORNTON

In our production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, many design elements come together to create the lively world that takes audiences on a magical voyage. From the breathtaking costumes and set to the props and classic score, our production of The Little Mermaid is fit for an underwater paradise.

Something else that adds a lot of pizzazz and gusto to our production of this Disney classic is the choreography, masterminded by Choreographer Adam Cates.

See what he had to say about the dance styles you’ll see onstage and how the incredible aerial stunts – created by 2 Ring Circus – will be incorporated into this underwater adventure!

From Script to Stage: Macbeth Costume Design

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The cast of Macbeth. Photo by Stephen B. Thornton.

From the leather armor and tunics to the moccasins, helmets and other pieces, there is no doubt much time went into planning and crafting these incredible pieces. And the woman behind these extensive costumes is returning costume designer Marianne Custer, the resident costume designer for the Clarence Brown Theatre in Knoxville, Tenn. and head of the MFA design program at The University of Tennessee.

We have launched a brand-new video series From Script to Stage and for the second in the series, we had a chance to sit down with Custer on the inspiration behind the incredible costumes, the patterns and fabrics used, as well as a look at the badges on the armor, the moccasins and more. Check it out below!

The Shakespeare drama takes The Rep stage Sept. 11-27! Book your tickets to Macbeth by calling (501) 378-0405 or visiting TheRep.org.

From Script to Stage: Fight Choreography

20848584996_4378699ee9_zA lot goes into the intense fighting in our production of Macbeth and it couldn’t be done without the expertise of Fight Director Geoffrey Kent, resident fight director for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.

We are launching a brand-new video series From Script to Stage and to kick things off, we had a chance to sit down with Kent on what goes into creating fight choreography, the kind of swords that the actors use onstage, what patrons can expect to see and more. Check it out below!

The Shakespeare drama takes The Rep stage Sept. 11-27! Book your tickets to Macbeth by calling (501) 378-0405 or visiting TheRep.org.

August Tuesday: Interview with Director Bob Hupp

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LeeAnne Hutchison (Top Left), Richard Waddingham (Top Center), Susanne Marley (Top Right), Cliff Baker (Bottom Left), Kathy McCafferty (Bottom Center), Michael McKenzie (Bottom Right). Photos by John David Pittman.

With a little over three weeks to rehearse for shows here at the theatre, it’s a fast and intense process to put together a professional production.

For August: Osage County, Director Bob Hupp said it’s been an enjoyable rehearsal process with the top-notch crew and cast who are in place. For our third installment of August Tuesday, we had a chance to talk to him about how he approaches this production, what happens in rehearsal, what role the designers play in this production and more.

Here is what he had to say:

Purchase your ticket to the show online or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405. We hope to see you here!

Project Élan: Dance Choreography with Stephen K. Stone

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Photo by John David Pittman

The world premiere of young artist production Project Elan is taking center stage and to share the excitement of this brand-new show, we would like to showcase an integral part of the show: the fabulous choreography!

We recently had the chance to talk with one of the choreographers– Stephen K. Stone,  faculty member of UALR Theatre Arts & Dance — and we were enthralled by how moving the dancing was. Watch a sample of some of the choreography and learn more about this original production conceived and directed by The Rep Resident Director and Education Director, Nicole Capri!

Seats are $30 and $25 for season subscribers. Get your tickets by clicking here or calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405! Get more information on the blog here.

Project Elan: Behind the Music with Mark Binns and Conly Basham

The world premiere of young artist production Project Elan is getting ready to take center stage and to get ready, we would like to showcase an integral part of the show: the fabulous music!

We recently had the chance to talk with the musical director/writer Mark Binns and writer Conly Basham and we were amazed by the heartfelt opening song of the show. Watch a sample of the song and learn more about this original production conceived and directed by The Rep Resident Director and Education Director, Nicole Capri!

The show will run May 5-16 and tickets can be purchased at TheRep.org or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405!

Wait Until Dark Wednesday: Behind the Music

Wait Until Dark is in full force and to highlight some of the cool pieces of the show, we are doing a short series called “Wait Until Dark” every Wednesday through Nov. 5.

While the various technical aspects of the production play a critical role in moving the thrilling plot along (set design, lighting, etc.), one piece of the suspenseful puzzle lies with the sound– from the ’60s-era songs that transition the scenes throughout the performance to the spot-on sound effects and ominous music box, sound helps keeps audience members on the edge of their seat.

The man behind the sound is Arkansas Repertory Theatre Resident Sound Engineer Allan Branson, who is in his third season here at the theatre.

For plays like Wait Until Dark, our music professionals and creative team approach the music slightly different than musicals like Memphis and Les Miserables.

Wait Until Dark Photo by Tyler Rosenthal

Wait Until Dark
Photo by Tyler Rosenthal

While musicals are led by musical director Mark Binns on our second stage and mixed in to our auditorium by Branson, plays are done a little differently.

“For straight plays (like Wait Until Dark), all of the music and sounds are prerecorded and pre-programmed into a computer, so that a board op can easily play back the exact same show every night,” Branson said.

From the beginning, Branson works with the director of the play on what they want to accomplish with the music and for the most part, lyrical content is generally not the way he chooses music.

“Most of the time, I look particularly for music with no lyrics at all, if possible,” he said.

Sometimes specific songs or recordings of music are desired, though, like with this production, where Director and Producing Artistic Director Bob Hupp requested popular songs of the era to transition the scenes along.

“[But] for the most part, I don’t want lyrics or the music, itself,  to get in the way of the story being told,” Branson continued. “After all, that is our main mission in theatre– to share a story with an audience.”

In addition to the prerecorded soundtrack that Branson has created for Wait Until Dark, Binns worked with Hupp on putting together a special tune for the music box onstage. Watch the video below on Binns’ process of creating this piece for the show!

Great seats are available for Wait Until Dark. Purchase yours online or by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405.

Memphis Monday: A Look at the Man Behind the Musical, Dewey Phillips

 

Wildman DJ Dewey Phillips introduced white kids to "race" music.

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.

Before fans feast their eyes on the high-energy regional premiere of the show, it’s important to showcase the man behind the musical, real-life disc jockey, Dewey Phillips.

We recently had the chance to catch up with Tom Bonner, a retired broadcaster who worked with the legendary disc jockey on WHBQ for a short time in the 1950s. Read more about how Phillips took the music scene in Memphis and across the country by storm and watch our special interview with Bonner below!

Early Start

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Dewey Phillips was credited with introducing Elvis Presley to the world on Memphis’ WHBQ radio station.

Phillips got his first 15-minute radio slot in 1949, jumping into it from his job managing the record department at the W.T. Grant 5 and 10, where he spun a mix of the latest records – hillbilly and “race” music, sacred and profane, Frank Sinatra and Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris – over the store’s PA.

From the start, he drew an equally mixed, equally eclectic in-house audience – as many young as old, as many black as white – in a

segregated store, in segregated Memphis, located in the heart of the Deep South. His radio show, which aired on WHBQ, was titled “Red, Hot and Blue.” Within a year, he was on the air six nights a week, two hours a night.

Top Record Survey from July 18, 1958 provided by Tom Bonner

Top Record Survey from July 18, 1958 provided by Tom Bonner

 TV Time

His television show, Pop Shop, went on the air in 1957. A version of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, the show was, for a period, the biggest thing going in Memphis.

Don’t miss your chance to see this award-winning musical Sept. 5-28! Get your tickets to show- single tickets are available now! Purchase online here and get more information about the show–including special events– here.

Video: What is Hockadoo?

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Do you know what Hockadoo means?

This week, we asked locals in downtown Little Rock what they think Hockadoo means and the answers are hilarious! Watch all of the answers in a special video below:

Find out what Hockadoo means when Memphis The Musical starts on The Rep stage Wednesday, Sept. 3 for Pay What You Can Night and officially opens on Friday, Sept. 5.

Get your tickets now by calling the Box Office at (501) 378-0405 or heading over to TheRep.org.