11/10/13: During the past 25 years, Leesa Guay-Timpson has directed over 100 Burlington High School Drama Club shows. Known to most as "Frau," she has taught German for 30 years at BHS and has helped share her love for theatre, language and the arts with her students.
Alongside Frau, Doris O'Brien has been choreographing the musicals at BHS since 1989. Thanks to their dedication year after year, the BHS Drama Club has introduced hundreds of students to the magical world of the arts.
Eva catches Frau and Doris in action at a rehearsal for their 25th musical, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which plays November 21-23 at Burlington High School.
9/27/13: "The Family of Ewe" premieres at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center in Burlington on October 3 and plays through October 13th. It is an original play written and directed by Vermonter Carole Vasta Folley and presented by Girls' Nite Out Productions whose goal is to bring more female-centered shows to the stage. Eva visited a rehearsal to meet the almost all-female cast and got a sneak peek.
8/18/13: Bread & Puppet Theater celebrates their 50 year anniversary this summer in Glover. Eva attended the Total This and That Circus in Two Parts on Sunday to meet some of the artists and activists.
11/25/12: The Saints & Poets Production Company presents their most ambitious show to date, The Moreau Horrors. Adapted from H.G. Wells' 1896 novel The Island of Doctor Moreau by local playwright Seth Jarvis, with original music by Adam Cooper Wood and Nathan Jarvis.
The original musical comedy is a who's who of Burlington artists, combining musical numbers, dance, video, theatre, and puppets with a love of B-horror movies. Eva gets a sneak peek of this one of a kind Burlington show, running for the next two weekends at the Main Street Landing Performing Arts Center.
4/19/08: So you think Shakespeare is boring, eh? Vermont Stage Company's new production of King Lear will quickly dispel that notion as it explodes onto the FlynnSpace stage.
Fights, betrayal, backstabbing, bloodshed, love, sex, madness - King Lear is a complex family drama set in an nondescript time period.
Vermont composer and percussionist, Brian Johnson provides powerful original music which adds to the dark mood of the show. A one-man band, Johnson masterfully manipulates a combination of odd instruments from behind the stage, including his own voice with a healthy dose of reverb.
As always, Shakespeare adeptly displays the most human side of us all, even when showing us at our worst. King Lear plays at the FlynnSpace April 23 - May 4th.
On Saturday Vermont Ballet Theater began their tour of the annual holiday favorite The Nutcracker at Johnson State College's Dibden Center for the Arts. A snowstorm did not deter sold out crowds of young and old.
As breathtaking as the Kingdom of Sweets can be, it is behind the scenes where things get really colorful. Backstage mice, flowers, soldiers, elves, clowns, and snowflakes roamed the corridors in search of snacks and distraction before their big moment on stage.
The Nutcracker roles are carefully regimented and each year dancers move one step up, from soldiers to mice to party girls to multiple lead roles. The members of the company know all the dance routines in the second act and are able to fill in if someone gets hurt.
The roles switch for every performance so the girl playing Clara at 1pm is a snowflake in the next show. How they manage to keep track of these changes is mind boggling.
The dancers maintain good grades, suffer through blisters and practice 18 hrs/week. Why do they do it? For the tiaras, the tutus, the spotlight or the applause? Watch and see.
Their next stop is the Flynn Center Dec 22-23 and October 1st.
Viva La Voce Puppet Opera performed Die Fledermaus (The Bat) at the Flynn Space this weekend.
Thirsty puppets, jolly opera singers, vengeful bats, and graceful waltzers converge in 19th century Vienna to bring this Strauss opera to life.
Randy puppets run rampant in this high octane production and opera has never seemed less stuffy.
Die Fledermaus was Viva La Voce Puppet Opera's 3rd production in the past three years. Their founder, director and singing starlet, Roxanne Vought has plans to bring more puppet operas to life in the future.
Take a walk back in time to the seedy clubs of Berlin in
the 1930s where women wore revealing lingerie and sang for their
suppers and the entertainment was always sassy.
Cabaret has been performing around Vermont for 6 years and is a fluxuating
family of dancers, actors, mimes, musicians, jugglers and performers.
This year they alight at City Hall for two weekends of shows.
Which character are they playing tonight? A peek behind the scenes of the secretive and sultry SpielPalast.
PS 5/21/07 I replaced the older version of this vlog with a higher resolution version. Can you tell the difference? Fewer crunchies!
Says Sarah, "I ... am trying to create a Vermont that I wish I had lived in when I was 13."
In addition to hip hop steps, students learn what it means to be a dedicated and successful dancer. Some move on to NYC and LA and others remain in VT keeping the dream alive.
Sarah Cover is a high-energy dancer and choreographer who moved back to VT after 8 years in NYC to share her love of hip hop with others. She travels regularly, keeping her style fresh and exposing the girls to well-known performers and cutting edge moves.
"Hard Knock Life" is a Broadway story told through hip hop dance, created and directed by Sarah and performed by VT Elements, a cast of 16 of her best dancers.
"Annie" is played by naturally red-headed Mary Jo ("MJ") Cahilly-Bretzin, a 14 year old dancer who was recently signed with an agent after impressing Justin Timberlake's choreographers.
"Sandy" is her "dawg" (friend) played by Lindsay ("Lu") Richardson. Lu is graduating high school and plans to move to LA in July. She began dancing with Sarah when she was 12 years old and hopes to have a career as a dancer touring with musicians like Janet Jackson.
"Ms.Hannigan" is played by the expressive Ali Zura, a dancer who also teaches at UDC. After a brief stint in Canada, Ali is glad to be back in Vermont sharing hip hop with the masses and watching her friends mature and hone their skills.
Talking to these girls about their craft is inspiring. They are young, talented, hard-working and they give Sarah props for pointing them in the right direction. She is a teacher, taskmaster, friend and mentor to them.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for these dancers as they embark into the world with the skills they learned here.
Meanwhile, the Urban Dance Complex continues to bring hip hop to the Vermont masses, exposing a new batch of new students to an urban culture which is becoming more common in VT.
"Hard Knock Life" was shot at Higher Ground in South Burlington.
Lyric Theatre Company, one of New England's largest volunteer community theatre groups, presents "Guys and Dolls" April 12-15th at the Flynn Center. This is the third time Lyric has put on this sassy show and their 36 member-cast of veterans and newcomers range in age from 17 to 75 and hail from 14 Vermont communities.
I talked to the colorful cast and crew about the show, their love of performing, how they got started, how many shows they have been in, and what Lyric means to them. When I first moved to Vermont, I played Cha Cha in Lyric's "Grease" which featured many of the Guys and Dolls that I interviewed. Rob was "my Eugene," Serena and Don (now married) were Rizzo and Kenickie, Syndi was the director and Kate and Jenn were my 50s homegirls. Memories...
You have to hand it to theatre folk, they do what they do out of love. It isn't easy working full-time and spending your evenings singing and dancing for free but something inexplicable drives them and like 5 time Lyric show cast member Rob says, "I don't know, it's magic to me, just magic."
The vlog takes place at the Eagles Club in Burlington Vermont where Lyric spent the past couple of months rehearsing in their banquet hall (pay no attention to me when I call it the Elk's Club in the intro, typical doll behavior).
The classic songs (good luck getting them out of your head) are from "Guys and Dolls" and were composed by Frank Loesser. The book was adapted by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows from The Idyll Of Miss Sarah Brown, a short story by Damon Runyon. It also borrows characters and plot elements from other Runyon stories, most notably "Pick the Winner."
Keely and Du is a Pulitzer-nominated play which puts a human face on both sides of the fierce, ongoing pro-choice/pro-life debate. The play focuses on the unlikely relationship that develops between Keely, a young woman who is seeking to end her pregnancy who is kidnapped by a militant anti-abortion group and Du, her caretaker and captor.
I found out about Keely and Du in a round about way. I ran into Jessie, the costume designer at Uncommon Grounds and she mentioned the play she was working on. After a brief internet search, I learned a little more about the plot (can you believe there is no Wikipedia entry?) and was struck by the subject matter.
I talked to producer, Tracey Girdich and actors, Geri Amori (Du), Bridget Butler (Keely) and Walt Levering (Walter) about their characters and what the play meant to them. It was their first day in FlynnSpace after many rehearsals in a condo basement. Luckily, the play takes place in a basement and FlynnSpace is ALSO a basement so the transition went smoothly.
This play deals with controversial topics such as rape and abortion, but it does not take sides. It shines light into dark, murky places and focuses on the connection between two extraordinary women named Keely and Du.
Big thanks to Carrigan for their haunting song, "hear ye...hear ye..."
Keely and Du is directed by Seth Jarvis and produced by Green Candle Theatre Company. All proceeds benefit the Women's Rape Crisis Center.
Performances are for one week only at FlynnSpace in Burlington from 2/28/07 - 3/4/07.