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Showing posts from 2008

Moody noir musical 'Gunmetal Blues' depicts misfortune in surreal world

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Moody noir musical 'Gunmetal Blues' depicts misfortune in surreal world December 09, 2008, 9:49 a.m. CHUCK GRAHAM Tucson Citizen "Gunmetal Blues" rises out of the darkened Invisible Theatre stage as a 1930s nightclub gangster caper that's four parts atmosphere and one part action, with a twist. Armen Dirtadian looks terrific as Sam Galahad, the well-dressed loser who's old enough to know better but has never learned to resist. Dirtadian is well-known around Tucson for his dashing roles as the broad-shouldered leading man at Gaslight Theatre, but is keeping his personality in the shadows here. He plays a private eye so down on his luck, no client is ever turned away from his tattered office. Betsy Kruse Craig (another Gaslight star) steps into the IT spotlight as that tall blonde who doesn't care how much trouble Sam gets sucked into. She also plays three other blondes with their own suspicious motives. Taking on several additional roles is Mike Padi

Tucson Weekly : Arts : Live From the Red Eye

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Tucson Weekly : Arts : Live From the Red Eye PUBLISHED ON DECEMBER 11, 2008: Live From the Red Eye Blending both humor and sincerity, Invisible Theatre's 'Gunmetal Blues' offers a pleasant surprise By JAMES REEL I know what you're thinking, because I thought the same thing--and we're both wrong. Invisible Theatre is putting on Gunmetal Blues, a musical inspired by the gritty 1930s-'40s private-detective stories of writers like Dashiell Hammet and Raymond Chandler. It rattles off lines like, "The rain on my face was a washrag full of straight pins." You can't really take that seriously unless it's coming straight from Hammet or Chandler. And this is a musical, remember, in which two of the stars are longtime regulars at Gaslight Theatre. You're thinking: This is just another silly, fluffy spoof. But you're as wrong as stilettos on a choirboy. Sure, Gunmetal Blues starts off as a send-up of more noir clichés than you can list on

'Gunmetal Blues' is fun noir schtick, with tunes | www.azstarnet.com ®

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'Gunmetal Blues' is fun noir schtick, with tunes www.azstarnet.com ® 'Gunmetal Blues' is fun noir schtick, with tunes By Kathleen Allen Arizona daily star Tucson, Arizona Published: 12.05.2008 The piano player tickled the ivories while the detective, dressed in a fedora and a shiny gray suit, downed five, no six, fingers of whiskey in one gulp. The blonde crooned a tune while she made herself at home stretched across the piano. The player looked like he might tickle her. And so it goes in Invisible Theatre's perfectly played "Gunmetal Blues," a sendup of 1940s detective flicks. Only with music. Director Gail Fitzhugh struck just the right note with the play — it would be easy to overplay this one and not trust the audience to get the jokes or the references. She trusted them, as did her cast, Mike Padilla as the piano player Buddy Toupee, Betsy Kruse Craig as the Blonde, and Armen Dirtadian as Sam, the private eye. Craig and Dirtadian are veterans o

Noir-ish spoof next for Invisible Theatre | www.azstarnet.com ®

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Noir-ish spoof next for Invisible Theatre www.azstarnet.com ® By Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 11.28.2008 A boozy blonde, a lounge lizard named Buddy Toupee, and a private detective who drops lines like "And then she was gone. Trailing perfume like a whispered prayer." Now that would be enough to sign us up for a look-see. Add music and we're there. That's what you'll get with Invisible Theatre's "Gunmetal Blues," a musical detective spoof with Sam Spade-ish lines, a Lauren Bacall-esque seductress, and a host of minor characters familiar and funny. The show, directed by Gail Fitzhugh, opens in previews on Wednesday. "Gunmetal" is the brainchild of Scott Wentworth, with music by Craig Bohmler and Wentworth's wife, Marion Adler. Wentworth's first career is as an actor (he was nominated for a Tony in 1989), his wife's as a singer/actress. At first Wentworth, who penned the book for the musica

'Gunmetal Blues' film noir on stage

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'Gunmetal Blues' film noir on stage November 26, 2008, 11:16 a.m. CHUCK GRAHAM Tucson Citizen Film noir isn't just on film anymore. Invisible Theatre has mounted a rainy night black-and-white production of "Gunmetal Blues" perfectly cast with Tucson's matinee idol Armen Dirtadian as the troubled private eye and Betsy Kruse-Craig as the doll. Private eye Sam Galahad (Armen Dirtadian), is a sucker for a mysterious blonde (Betsy Kruse Craig) in "Gunmeal Blues." Although both singing actors are best known for their heroic performances at The Gaslight Theatre over the years, don't mention the G-word to either one. They start shaking their heads and waving their arms. "This is nothing at all like Gaslight," says Kruse-Craig, looking alarmed that anyone would even ask. "There's a lot more to the story, and this is a much more intimate stage." For the torch songs in "Gunmetal Blues" the cozier stage means a more

Happy Thanksgiving from IT!

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Happy Thanksgiving from In the spirit of the holiday season, why not join us for a "delicious" mystery! Millionaire Adrian Wasp is found dead. A mysterious blonde is seen leaving his penthouse. Can detective Sam Galahad find Wasp's missing daughter and only heir? Or is she better off lost? The answers await you at ... GUNMETAL BLUES December 1 - December 21, 2008 The Invisible Theatre continues it's 38th Anniversary season with GUNMETAL BLUES by Scott Wentworth with Music and Lyrics by Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler. This is a stylish musical murder mystery directed by Gail Fitzhugh with its own witty and jazzy spin on the Hollywood film-noir genre. Not only is it in the tradition of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler but is also an homage to the art of theatrical storytelling. All of the characters are played by three actors! IT's cast features Tucson favorite's Armen Dirtadian as the handsome gumshoe looking for a lost heiress, Betsy Kruse Cra

This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way | www.azstarnet.com ®

This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way www.azstarnet.com ® Accent This ain't your mama's Tupperware party, honey; it's Dixie's all the way By Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 09.19.2008 The world has gone all topsy-turvy. Once upon a time, a play was a play, and a Tupperware party was a Tupperware party. Not so at Invisible Theatre, which opened its season Wednesday with "Dixie's Tupperware Party." At least there's truth in advertising there — you may be expecting a play, but this is most definitely a Tupperware party. Only you pay to get in. No food is served. No alcohol, either. And you are sitting in a dry-cleaning shop turned theater, not a friend's living room. OK, there are a few other differences. Not many Tupperware salespeople refer to the product as "crap." Or have an X-rated sense of humor. And most parties aren't hosted by someone as entertai

'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage

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'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage 'Tupperware Party' resealable fun on stage CHUCK GRAHAM Tucson Citizen Sometimes a girl has to do what a girl has to do. Like sell Tupperware, which is Dixie Longate's main passion even when she is onstage presenting "Dixie's Tupperware Party," a satirical comedy written by Kris Andersson. This talented lady can't decide if she is a performer who sells a little Tupperware on the side, or if she is a star Tupperware sales rep who does a little performing on the side. Not that it matters. Invisible Theatre has booked three weeks of Longate's entertaining sales pitches on stage and seductive Tupperware displays in the theater lobby. There is simply no doubt Dixie and Tupperware go together like ham and eggs, steak and potatoes, tofu and veggies. You know. . . "When I started out, I didn't know anything about Tupperware. But I always loved parties. I know how to bring the fun," Longate ent

'Dixie' promises to flip your lid | www.azstarnet.com ®

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'Dixie' promises to flip your lid www.azstarnet.com ® Accent 'Dixie' promises to flip your lid Stories by Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 09.12.2008 "Hello?" I recognize the airy voice with the Southern accent right away. It's Dixie. I had spoken to her not an hour before about "Dixie's Tupperware Party," which she stars in and is bringing to the Invisible Theatre. The production here launches the show's national tour. "May I speak to Kris Andersson?" I ask. Andersson is the creator of the show. He's also Dixie, a Tupperware salesperson disguised as a sassy, irreverent, ribald broad in a gingham dress, red wig, garish lipstick, and a deliciously over-the-top personality. "Oh, this must be Kathy," Dixie says in her sweet-yet-kinda-deep voice. "Kris is helping me pack for the tour. I'll get him." She steps away from the phone and sings out, "Kris, it's for you.

Tupperware for your pleasure - WildLife

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Arts Preview - WildLife Tupperware for your pleasure By: Theresa Keeney Issue date: 9/10/08 Section: WildLife Dixie Longate isn't your average Tupperware lady. From the bedroom to the kitchen, she'll teach you how to use Tupperware in ways you've never dreamed of. Dixie is the Tupperware lady from Mobile, Ala., who needed a job after getting out of prison in order to regain custody of her three children. Her parole officer suggested she start selling Tupperware. At "Dixie's Tupperware Party," audience members can actually purchase the Tupperware Dixie sells. And she sells a lot. She was recently named the No. 1 Tupperware seller in this country. "It is an enhanced Tupperware party, filled with heart, and lots of products and lots of hairspray," said Susan Claassen, managing artistic director of Invisible Theatre. Oh, and if you think that you need to be able to bake something to use her products, you might be in for a little surprise. Dixie

A Conversation with Edith Head

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Published Friday 1 August 2008 at 16:55 by Emma Barnett In one sense she is the "master of self promotion" and in another, she's "the woman who isn't there". It's this diversity of character aptly portrayed by Susan Claassen, that makes A Conversation with Edith Head such lovely watching. Head, arguably the greatest ever costume designer to the stars, has come to London in the shape of Claassen. In her time, this small, determined power-force, won eight Oscars, had a career spanning 58 years first at Paramount and then Universal, and dressed all the greats, from Mae West to Grace Kelly. She died at the age of 83 in 1981. It was supposedly after watching a TV biography of Head, Claassen knew she could play her and promptly with Paddy Calistro, co-author of Head's posthumous autobiography, joined forces to write this script And she was right. Set in 1981 while working on Steve Martin's Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, you are welcomed as an au

GAYDARNATION -Conversation With Edith Head: Susan Claassen 28 Jul 2008

A Conversation With Edith Head is a glorious behind the scenes feast of great movie legends and delicious stories that provide an insight into Hollywood’s legendary costume designer. In her six decades of costume design, she worked on 1,131 motion pictures, dressed the greatest stars of Hollywood, received 35 Academy Award nominations and won an unprecedented eight Oscars - a record that will never be broken. Edith Head’s story is as fascinating as the history of the film industry itself. It’s a story filled with humour, frustration and above all glamour - this diva of design helped to define glamour in the most glamorous place in the world - Hollywood! We caught up with the writer and star of A Conversation With Edith Head to find out more. Tell us a little bit about A Conversation with Edith Head. What can we expect? The minute you approach the brand new Leicester Square Studio Theatre with its very own red carpet, you will be swept away into the golden age of Hollywood. The Stud

Playbill News: Dixie's Tupperware Party Will Burp Its Way Across America; Tour Launches in AZ

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Playbill News: Dixie's Tupperware Party Will Burp Its Way Across America; Tour Launches in AZ By Kenneth Jones 24 Jul 2008 Dixie's Tupperware Party, the Off-Broadway comedy that is part interactive play and part Tupperware party, starring 2008 Drama Desk nominee Dixie Longate, will be seen on a 20-city national tour starting Sept. 16 at Tucson's Invisible Theatre. Produced by Down South LLC and written by Kris Andersson, the show "brought Tupperware-mania to Off-Broadway." Directed by Patrick Richwood, Dixie's Tupperware Party stars Longate "as the fast-talking Tupperware Lady, who has packed up her catalogues, and left her children in an Alabama trailer park to journey across America." The "good ol' fashioned Tupperware Party" is filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, free giveaways, audience participation and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on a theatre stage." The show is "l

Off-Bway Play 'Dixies Tupperware Party' Launches Tour (baltimore.broadwayworld.com)

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Off-Bway Play 'Dixies Tupperware Party' Launches Tour (baltimore.broadwayworld.com) Thursday, July 24, 2008; Posted: 12:39 PM - by BWW News Desk Dixie's Tupperware Party, the hilarious Off Broadway show starring Dixie Longate-- who recently garnered a 2008 Drama Desk Nomination, will launch a 20-city National Tour September 16th at Tucson’s Invisible Theatre. Produced by Down South LLC and written by Kris Andersson, the show brought Tupperware-mania to Off Broadway and prompted NBC’s Today Show to proclaim “Not Your Grandmother's Tupperware Party!” Directed by Patrick Richwood, Dixie's Tupperware Party stars Dixie Longate, as the fast-talking Tupperware Lady, who has packed up her catalogues, and left her children in an Alabama trailer park to journey across America. Critics and audiences have howled with laughter as Dixie throws a good ol' fashioned Tupperware Party filled with outrageously funny tales, heartfelt accounts, FREE giveaways, audience partic

Setting the stage | www.azstarnet.com ®

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Setting the stage www.azstarnet.com ® Accent Setting the stage A well-crafted set complements the acting By Doug Kreutz Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 07.11.2008 Editor's note: This summer, we are taking a look at the people who make the arts a reality, from the audience to the artists behind the scenes. This week: set designer James Blair. James Blair's work is behind the scenes. Literally. As the associate artistic director for the Invisible Theatre in Tucson, he designs sets for the theater's small stage — creating fanciful and realistic backdrops for the scenes that play out there "It's a great profession. It lets you draw on so many different experiences," says Blair, 56, whose extensive theater experience includes acting and directing as well as set design. "In my work, you're an interior designer, you're an artist, and if you can approach it from a directing or acting standpoint, that makes it even better." Workin

Broadwayworld

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008; Posted: 1:03 PM - by BWW News Desk Arizona-based actress SUSAN CLAASSEN stars on London’s West End as legendary Hollywood designer Edith Head in “A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD”. Anthony Field Associates presents this West End premiere at the Arts Club at the Arts Theatre from Tuesday, July 29 through Sunday, August 31, 2008. The intimate portrait was written by Paddy Calistro and Susan Claassen. The press opening will be on Thursday, July 31 at 8 PM. “A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD”, based on the book Edith Head’s Hollywood by Edith Head & Paddy Calistro, is a behind-the-scenes feast of great movie legends and delicious stories that provide an insight into Hollywood’s legendary costume designer. In her six decades of costume design, she worked on over eleven hundred films; dressed the greatest stars of Hollywood; received 35 Academy Award® nominations, and won an unprecedented eight Oscars®. Edith Head’s story is as fascinating as the his
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A Conversation with Edith Head - Arts Theatre Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle product SUSAN Claassen stars as the legendary Hollywood designer in A Conversation With Edith Head , which runs from Tuesday, July 29 to Saturday, August 30, 2008, at the Arts Club at the Arts Theatre. Based on Edith Head and Paddy Calistro’s book Edith Head’s Hollywood , A Conversation With Edith Head is described as a glorious behind-the-scenes feast of great movie legends and delicious stories – stories gleaned from Head’s six decades of costume design. During that time, she worked on 1,131 motion pictures, dressed the greatest stars of Hollywood, received 35 Academy Award nominations and won an unprecedented eight Oscars. Head was, in fact, a Hollywood costume designer for more than 60 years. Of those, 44 were spent at Paramount Studios, where she worked with the most famous actors of the time – from Mae West and Clara Bow to Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepb

IT's last show B-4 summer | www.azstarnet.com ®

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IT's last show B-4 summer www.azstarnet.com ® Accent IT's last show B-4 summer Musical offers chance to dance in your seat, win prizes By Fayana Richards arizona daily star Tucson, Arizona Published: 05.02.2008 Lucky charms, superstitions and rituals are all a part of the subculture tapped into in "Bingo, a Winning New Musical," which Invisible Theatre opens next week. In nearly every bingo hall, there's the player with several trolls on her table, the one who doesn't want any talking, or the woman who prays before she begins, said director Susan Claassen in a phone interview. A relatively new musical, "Bingo" is about a group of friends who establish their friendship around the game, Claassen said. Eventually, the friends have a falling-out. But 15 years later, they come back together again. Vern, Patsy and Honey are from different walks of life, but "it really is a celebration of friends," said Claassen. "Underneath it all, th

Dixie's Tupperware Party to Launch National Tour in Fall 2008: Theater News on TheaterMania.com

Dixie's Tupperware Party to Launch National Tour in Fall 2008: Theater News on TheaterMania.com Dixie's Tupperware Party to Launch National Tour in Fall 2008 By: Dan Bacalzo · Apr 30, 2008 · Touring Productions The Drama Desk nominated solo show Dixie's Tupperware Party, written and performed by Kris Andersson, will launch a 20-city national tour at the Invisible Theatre in Tucson, A Z in the fall of 2008. Dixie's Tupperware Party stars Dixie Longate, as the fast-talking Tupperware Lady, who has packed up her catalogues, and left her children in an Alabama trailer park to journey across America. The show includes outrageous tales, free giveaways, and the most fabulous assortment of Tupperware ever sold on any stage! The play, which garnered a 2007/08 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance, was originally produced at the 2005 New York International Fringe Festival, and played Off Broadway's Ars Nova last spring.

Susan Claassen in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD opens August 5, 2008 in London!

Susan Claassen in A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD opens August 5, 2008 in London! Anthony Field and John C. Causebrook present A CONVERSATION WITH EDITH HEAD at the Arts Theatre Club in London's West End! Tickets now on sale! For tickets and info Click Here: Check out "A Conversation With Edith Head tour dates for 2008/2009"

Aisle seats: Arts picks for the week | www.azstarnet.com ®

Aisle seats: Arts picks for the week www.azstarnet.com ® : Comedy Comedian Judy Gold brings her hilarious one-woman show, '25 Questions for a Jewish Mother,' to the Berger Center for the Performing Arts this weekend. The show is based on Gold's interviews with Jewish mothers around the country, including her own. She also tosses in her own observations as a Jewish mother of two. Performances are at 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday at the Berger, 1200 W. Speedway. Tickets are $42 through Invisible Theatre, 882-9721.

Jewish mom Gold chats about show, stereotypes | www.azstarnet.com ®

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Jewish mom Gold chats about show, stereotypes www.azstarnet.com ® : Accent Jewish mom Gold chats about show, stereotypes By Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 03.21.2008 Preview "25 Questions for a Jewish Mother" Presented by: Invisible Theatre. Starring: Judy Gold. Written by: Judy Gold and Kate Moria Ryan. When: 8 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday. Where: Berger Center for the Performing Arts, 1200 W. Speedway. Tickets: $42 through Invisible Theatre, 882-9721. Online: Hear snippets from the show at http://www.25-questions.com/ . Comedian Judy Gold walks down a busy street in San Francisco, ear glued to a cell phone, mind on lunch. "I just want to order some food," she said, ducking into a cafe. Through the muffled sounds of her hand over the phone you can make out her order: sandwich, hold the bacon, bag of chips. Lunch on the run in a brown bag — one of the disappointments of being on the road with her one-woman show, &quo