is the grass any bluer...

is the grass any bluer...
on the other side?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Summer Theatre Heats Up

The theatre community in Lexington is all abuzz with rehearsals for the many and varied offerings that the summer brings to the stage.
Eric Seale tells me that Actors Guild of Lexington's musical presentation of Tommy is coming along nicely, and I'll be keeping my eyes and ears pealed for updates on their progress.

There's oh, so much more, including A Few Good Men being directed by Tim X. at Bluegrass Community & Technical College, and an opportunity to see Allie Darden's work again in Studio Players' production of Run for Your Wife.

I promise much more information on all these events in the coming weeks but just want to give you a little taste of what's to come.   
Last but not least, of course, SummerFest is about to return to The Arboretum.  All three events are being directed by talented ladies and each show has its own character, as you will see.  So if you're wondering how to mark your July calendar, here's a little more information about SummerFest.

by William Shakespeare
Directed by Ave Lawyer

PRIDE & PREJUDICE (July 14-18)
adapted by Jon Jory
Directed by Sullivan Canaday White

RENT, THE MUSICAL (July 21-25)
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Directed & Choreographed by Tracey Bonner
Music Direction by Mark Calkins

I'm particularly intrigued to see Jon Jory's name affiliated with Pride & Prejudice. It's my understanding through my limited knowledge of all that is drama that he might possibly be the fabulously elusive Kentucky author, Jane Martin, whose Middle Aged White Guys was well received when BCTC's Tim X. Davis and his band of talented actors brought down the house with their performance last fall.  Some scoffers point out that Jory's work is quite dissimilar to Martin's writing, but there is still a close association between the two, and that's enough to pique my curiosity.  I'm also thrilled that my friend Tom Phillips will be returning to the Arboretum in the role of Mr. Darcy.  

My sister, Karen Thomas Snider, will be playing piano for Tracey Bonner and her cast of characters, singers and dancers in RENT - and my niece, Jessica French has been cast as the Seasons of Love soloist in that production as well. With those three combining their talents along with a whole slew of other gifted artists, there is sure to be musical magic in the making!

SummerFest is proud to announce that last year's dynamic duo, Adam Luckey and Bob Singleton will be working together again in The Merchant of Venice and are sure to be as compelling as ever in the Shakespeare opener.  Also, Kentucky Classical Theatre Conservatory Director of Education & Training, Trish Clark, takes the stage for the first time in almost a decade in Pride And Prejudice, and a mix of unkowns, along with a few familiar faces inhabit the bohemians of New York’s Lower East Side in RENT.

Building on three previous seasons of solid theatre and strong audience support, SummerFest will return to the Arboretum July 7-25, 2010. SummerFest Artistic Director Joe Ferrell has selected a blockbuster trio of plays helmed by a trio of dynamic female directors, bringing quality outdoor theatre to the heart of Lexington.

The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare will open 2010’s SummerFest on July 7 and play through July 11, 2010. Ave Lawyer (recently seen directing On The Verge’s productions of Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes and Another Part of the Forest) will make her SummerFest debut directing one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing tales of love, greed and revenge. Audiences can look forward to a unique and timeless interpretation of this classic that hasn’t been produced in Lexington for over 20 years.

The Merchant of Venice Cast Includes:

Shylock - Adam Luckey
Portia - Lisa Thomas
Antonio - Carmen Geraci
Bassanio - Bob Singleton
Gratiano - Evan Bergman
Salarino - Ryan Briggs
Lorenzo - Tanner Gray
Jessica - Joe Elswick
Nerissa - Rosanna Hurt
Launcelot - Patrick Davis
Duke - Jack McIntyre
Aragon - Jeff Sherr
Balthazar - Cameron Perry

The roles of Tubal, Morocco, and Salanio have yet to be cast.

Next, Sullivan Canaday White (2008’s The Lord of the Flies) returns to SummerFest to direct a critically praised adaptation of one of the most beloved novels of our time, Pride And Prejudice. The adaptation is written by Jon Jory, well known in Kentucky as the celebrated, former, longtime Artistic Director at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Pride And Prejudice will play July 14 through July 18, 2010.

Pride And Prejudice Cast Includes:

Mrs. Bennet - Trish Clark
Elizabeth Bennett - Ellie Clark
Jane Bennett - Holly Brady
Mary Bennett - Annie Barbera
Kitty Bennett - Erin Cutler
Lydia Barrett / Georgiana - Avery Wigglesworth
Mr. Darcy - Tom Phillips
Charlotte - Sarah Levy
William Lucas/Mr. Collins/Mr. Gardner -Tim Hull
Miss Bingley/Mrs. Gardiner - Vanessa Becker
Lady Catherine - Stephanie Peniston
George Wickham - Drew Davidson

The role of Mr. Bennet has yet to be cast.

SummerFest concludes with the show that transformed the definition of musical theatre, rocked a generation and changed Broadway forever, Jonathan Larson’s blockbuster musical, RENT, playing July 21 though July 25, 2010. Tracey Bonner, no stranger to the Lexington musical theatre scene, makes her SummerFest directing debut with this Pulitzer Prize and Tony-winning musical.

RENT Cast Includes:

Mimi Márquez -Jessica Lucas
Roger Davis - John Dawson
Mark Cohen - Chip Becker
Maureen Johnson - Caroline Griffeth
Angel Dumott Schunard - Emanuel Williams
Tom Collins - Nick Vannoy
Joanne Jefferson - Sheronda Piersall
Benjamin 'Benny' Coffin III - Thomas Gibbs
Seasons Of Love Soloist - Jessica French

The Ensemble Includes:
Casey Mather
Justin Norris
Sarah Matthews
Brandon Smith
Andrea Johnson
Beth Kovarik
Wood Van Meter
Katie Berger
Nick Covault

All SummerFest 2010 performances will begin nightly at 8:45 p.m., Wednesdays through Sundays, at the Arboretum: State Botanical Garden of Kentucky on Alumni Drive. SummerFest tickets will go on sale in June 2010 and will once again feature very affordable single ticket prices of $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under. Season Passes to see all three shows will also be available at $25 for adults and $12 for kids.

For more information on SummerFest, or the Conservatory programming, please visit us on the web at

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