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Showing posts from 2009

RANDY ROBERTS ARRIVES LARGER THAN LIFE

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RANDY ROBERTS ARRIVES LARGER THAN LIFE by Chuck Graham tucsonstage.com The always cheerful Winter Wonderland Holiday Cabaret at the Invisible Theatre kicks it up a notch this weekend, Dec. 11-13, with the return of Randy Roberts from his home base in Key West after a five-year absence from IT's own cabaret scene. Roberts was here in 2004 with his trunks of elaborate costumes and a wig collection that would make Marie Antoinette envious. 'You don't have to go to Caesar's Palace to see Cher,' says Roberts with so much enthusiasm you have to believe him. When he dips backstage after rehearsal at IT's cozy's mid-town theater and brings out a shimmery, silvery, slinky and fringe-y gown that catches every spark of light in the theater, that word 'glamor' also leaps in. When he adds the black stiletto platform shoes with seven-inch heels, all bets are off. Your opinion of the real Cher won't matter. Roberts will be lighting up the stage with his

"“RUNT OF THE LITTER” IS A HAUNTING (AND RIVETING) TALE OF TRIUMPH

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"“RUNT OF THE LITTER” IS A HAUNTING (AND RIVETING) TALE OF TRIUMPH by Chuck Graham tucsonstage.com If Invisible Theatre never does anything else, the idealistic company will be forever treasured for bringing us Bo Eason in his one-man show, “Runt of the Litter.” Everyone who saw Eason’s performance in a pair of shows last weekend can consider themselves blessed in Tucson theater circles. This was one of the most powerful, intense, touching and compelling experiences seen on a local stage in decades. It is impossible to overstate the emotional power Eason created all by himself working in the spotlight of the Berger Performing Arts Center. Using just a few props and some sound effects, the former professional football player took us from his memories of being an awe-struck 9-year-old determined to get his working class father’s attention, to the following years of discipline that turned him into the terrifyingly driven safety on defense for the Houston Oilers. Determined to ma

"“RUNT OF THE LITTER” IS A HAUNTING (AND RIVETING) TALE OF TRIUMPH

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"“RUNT OF THE LITTER” IS A HAUNTING (AND RIVETING) TALE OF TRIUMPH If Invisible Theatre never does anything else, the idealistic company will be forever treasured for bringing us Bo Eason in his one-man show, “Runt of the Litter.” Everyone who saw Eason’s performance in a pair of shows last weekend can consider themselves blessed in Tucson theater circles. This was one of the most powerful, intense, touching and compelling experiences seen on a local stage in decades. It is impossible to overstate the emotional power Eason created all by himself working in the spotlight of the Berger Performing Arts Center. Using just a few props and some sound effects, the former professional football player took us from his memories of being an awe-struck 9-year-old determined to get his working class father’s attention, to the following years of discipline that turned him into the terrifyingly driven safety on defense for the Houston Oilers. Determined to make up in psychological force wha

BO EASON PUTS PRO FOOTBALL ONSTAGE

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BO EASON PUTS PRO FOOTBALL ONSTAGE by Chuck Graham Tucsonstage.com We love stories of triumph, and former professional football player Bo Eason has a good one. The younger, smaller brother of New England Patriots quarterback Tony Eson, Bo is the personification of sibling rivalry carried to the max. Invisible Theatre brings us the whole story, told by Bo himself in a semi-autobiographical tale he calls "Runt of the Litter." As the title implies, Bo was the one who always had to try harder. Man, did he ever One reviewer of this off-Broadway stage hit compared Bo and Tony to Cain and Able. Developed as a one-man show, Eason recounts his life as a continuous challenge to win his father's affection by being as good as his larger and more talented brother. For dramatic purposes, Bo sets the story on a character named Jack Henry who plays safety for the Houston Oilers. Jack is preparing for the defining game of his life, the conference championship that will decide wh

Eason's 'Runt' tackles football as metaphor | www.azstarnet.com ®

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Eason's 'Runt' tackles football as metaphor | www.azstarnet.com ® Published: 12.04.2009 Eason's 'Runt' tackles football as metaphor One-man show dramatizes ex-pro player's plan for life By Alexa Miller FOR THE ARIZONA DAILY STAR Bo Eason anxiously waits in the dark before he whips into action. A familiar rush of adrenalin pumps through his veins. He feels the crowd's anticipation. "I can hear the crowd, I can feel their vibrations," said Eason, a former Houston Oiler safety. "I feel like I'm in the Astrodome again, waiting to be introduced to 65,000 fans." Bo Eason brings his one-man show, Runt of the Litter, to the Old Pueblo. Photo courtesy of Invisible Theatre. But this is theater, not football. The scene is backstage, waiting to make his entrance for his one-man show, "Runt of the Litter." Invisible Theatre brings the production to Tucson this weekend. The cue music starts, the lights go on

LOVE COMES TO ALL AGES IN "SOUTHERN COMFORTS"

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LOVE COMES TO ALL AGES IN "SOUTHERN COMFORTS" At Invisible Theatre LOVE COMES TO ALL AGES IN "SOUTHERN COMFORTS" by Chuck Graham TucsonStage.com If you think the dating game is complicated for young people, consider the dimensions of effort required to maneuver around decades of past experience -- plus respecting the feelings of grandchildren as well as children, maybe stepchildren, and all the other baggage of life while falling in love at age 72 or older. Even if both members of this new coupling have only had one husband or wife before, expectations can get pretty tangled. That's the premise of "Southern Comforts" by Kathleen Clark, just opened at Invisible Theatre. This gentle romantic comedy tweaks the emotions in unexpected directions as two strangers deep into their senior years meet sweetly over a televised baseball game. She stops by his northern New Jersey home to ask for a contribution to charity. He's watching baseball. She lov

'Southern Comforts' seductively charming | www.azstarnet.com ®

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'Southern Comforts' seductively charming | www.azstarnet.com ® Published: 11.06.2009 'Southern Comforts' seductively charming By Kathleen Allen ARIZONA DAILY STAR The North and South are at it again. It's not quite a civil war in Kathleen Clark's "Southern Comforts," which Invisible Theatre opens next week. But it is a bit of a war between two septuagenarians, she from the South — Tennessee — he from the North — New Jersey. They fall in love, but it ain't easy. Amanda (Maedell Dixon) and Gus (Douglas Mitchell) star in the Invisible Theatre's production of "Southern Comforts," a romantic comedy. Tim Fuller / Courtesy of Invisible Theatre "Southerners are a little bit more spirited," Clark explained in a phone interview from her New Jersey home. "Northerners are a bit more staid." Clark knows what she's talking about — her family is a big mixture of people from both parts of the count

www.azstarnet.com ® | Straight from the Art

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www.azstarnet.com ® | Straight from the Art : " Tim Clue popped into town ... 09/21/2009 10:18 AM Kathleen Allen Sunday to catch a performance of the play he and his partner Spike Manton penned, “Leaving Iowa.” The comedy is currently at Invisible Theatre in a production starring Roberto Guajardo (full disclosure here: he’s my husband and I think he’s brilliant), Terry Erbe, David Johnston, Lori Hunt, Victoria McGee and Susan Kovitz. In this picture, Clue’s the one seated second from left. [Tim Clue (second from left, seated), with cast crew, etc, of Leaving Iowa.] Clue and the cast and crew popped into Pastiche after the show, and he gushed about the Susan Claassen-directed production, insisting it was one of the better ones he had seen of it. It is quite funny. And not just because my husband’s in it. Claassen used a restrained hand in directing a play that could have been over-the-top sentimental. Instead, it hits much harder because it is so much more subtle and heart-fel

IT's 'Leaving Iowa' is a poignant and hilarious take on family trips | www.azstarnet.com ®

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IT's 'Leaving Iowa' is a poignant and hilarious take on family trips | www.azstarnet.com ® : Accent IT's 'Leaving Iowa' is a poignant and hilarious take on family trips By Cathalena E. Burch Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.18.2009 Don Browning is on a mission. He needs to spread his father's ashes at his grandparents' Iowa home. Problem is, the home is gone, replaced by a grocery store. It just doesn't seem right to leave Dad in aisle 7, next to the kitty litter. From left, Mom (Victoria McGee), Dad (David Johnston), Don (Roberto Guajardo) and Sis (Susan Kovitz) study the Iowa map to plan their next "exotic" trip in Invisible Theatre's "Leaving Iowa." Tim Fuller / Courtesy of Invisible Theatre So Don's predictable mission becomes a major adventure along the endlessly bucolic landscape of Iowa, where adventures are as hard to come by as steep hills. Along the way, he recounts boyhood road

THEATRE

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THEATRE : "LOTS OF LAUGHS AND SOME BITTERSWEET MOMENTS AT INVISIBLE THEATRE By Chuck Graham Leaving Iowa” is one of those plays that means so much more than its plot. To simply outline the action would be a disservice to the playwrights Tim Clue and Spike Manton. Invisible Theatre opens its 39th season with a touching production of “Leaving Iowa” directed by IT’s artistic director Susan Claassen. The central figure is Don, given a rangy performance by Roberto Guajardo. He is the person to whom everything happens, and also the person who must provide a bit of narration from time to time. Thanks to a supporting cast of five who pile on layers of family-type comedy, the whole thing moves along quite nicely. It is sort of a road play, in that most of the action takes place in a car. But it is more significantly a memory play, as Don spends most of his stage time trying to resolve a difficult relationship with his father (played with insight by David Alexander Johnston). Don’s dad

'Leaving Home' takes you back | www.azstarnet.com ®

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'Leaving Home' takes you back | www.azstarnet.com ® : "Quantcast Accent 'Leaving Home' takes you back By Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona | Published: 09.11.2009 Frustration can be a powerful motivator. It's what got Tim Clue and his writing partner, Spike Manton, to put fingers to keyboard and come up with 'Leaving Iowa,' which Invisible Theatre opens next week. 'We were tired of not getting our calls picked up by our literary agent,' said Clue, speaking by phone from his Chicago home. The cast of 'Leaving Iowa' includes, front row, Victoria McGee and David Johnston and, back row, Roberto Guajardo and Susan Kovitz. Tim Fuller / Courtesy of Invisible Theatre The two had written screenplays together, were comedians and had tackled other writing projects. Still, that agent was elusive. Maybe a play would do the trick. Theater was a new venture for them when they sat down to brainstorm a play about family vac

Invisible Theatre Auditions - An Empty Plate in the Cafe du Grand Boeuf.

THE INVISIBLE THEATRE ANNOUNCES AUDITIONS FOR MEN AND WOMEN for AN EMPTY PLATE IN THE CAFÉ DU GRAND BOEUF The Invisible Theatre will hold auditions for AN EMPTY PLATE IN THE CAFÉ DU GRAND BOEUF on Sunday, August 23, 2009 at 1:00 pm . Auditions will be held at the Invisible Theatre - 1400 N. First Ave (at Drachman). Actors must bring a recent headshot and resume and will be asked to read from the script. Familiarity with the play is recommended. Please call the Invisible Theatre (520) 882-9721 with your name and phone contact. You will then be given information on when sides will be available for pick-up. AN EMPTY PLATE IN THE CAFÉ DU GRAND BOEUF Directed by Samantha Wyer April 28 – May 16, 2010 Rehearsals begin in March Victor is a man of immense appetites. He is a wealthy and eccentric American expatriate living in 1961 Paris and owns the fabulous Café du Grand Boeuf, the world's finest restaurant, which he reserves solely for his pri

Outfront Laughs and Backstage Truths at IT

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Outfront Laughs and Backstage Truths at IT by Chuck Graham Let The Show Begin "Don't Talk To The Actors" has become a huge hit for Invisible Theater, 1400 N. First Ave. Now the company has added another week of performances, extending the run until June 7. This energetic comedy by Tom Dudzick, directed by Susan Claassen, takes us deep into the creative process percolating backstage as a young, new playwright gets his first crack at having on a show on Broadway. A long time ago I had a tee-shirt that read (in French) "Art is a dirty business, but somebody's got to do it." Dudzick is committed to that idea, and has a great deal of fun showing us why. Jerry Przpezniak (Eric Schumacher) is the young writer, just arrived in New York's theater district from the untrammeled upstate hinterland of Buffalo. In tow is his girlfriend Arlene (Dallas Thomas), heart all aflutter because one of her favorite actors from girlhood has been cast in a leading role.

On stage | www.azstarnet.com ®

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On stage www.azstarnet.com ® Don't Talk' extended with 3 more shows Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 05.29.2009 Invisible Theatre's very silly, very fun 'Don't Talk to the Actors' has been extended — shows have been added for 8 p.m. June 5-6 and 3 p.m. June 7. So there are no excuses not to go — and if you like to laugh, you want to go. Tickets are $22-$25. Invisible Theatre is at 1400 N. First Ave., 882-9721. Kathleen Allen"

Outfront Laughs and Backstage Truths at IT

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Outfront Laughs and Backstage Truths at IT by Chuck Graham Tucsonstage.com May 28, 2009 There is still time to catch 'Don't Talk To The Actors,' getting big laughs for one more weekend at Invisible Theatre, 1400 N. First Ave. This energetic comedy by Tom Dudzick, directed by Susan Claassen, takes us deep into the creative process percolating backstage as a young, new playwright gets his first crack at having on a show on Broadway. Arlene (Dallas Thomas) and Jerry (Eric Schumacher) enjoy a happy moment in 'Don't Talk To The Actors.' A long time ago I had a tee-shirt that read (in French) "Art is a dirty business, but somebody's got to do it." Dudzick is committed to that idea, and has a great deal of fun showing us why. Jerry Przpezniak (Eric Schumacher) is the young writer, just arrived in New York's theater district from the untrammeled upstate hinterland of Buffalo. In tow is his girlfriend Arlene (Dallas Thomas), heart all aflutter

Hilarious Catastrophe | Review | Tucson Weekly

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Hilarious Catastrophe Review Tucson Weekly Hilarious Catastrophe Invisible Theatre nails this playabout an onstage production run amok by James Reel Backstage comedies—the epitome of the genre being Michael Frayn's Noises Off—usually document the self-destruction of a show during a performance. Tom Dudzick's Don't Talk to the Actors hilariously chronicles a collapse way before the curtain rises. The show in question is so doomed that it begins to fall apart the minute the actors show up for their first table read. Dudzick's play itself, in contrast, is tightly constructed, fitting six well-developed characters together so precisely that it's hard to imagine this show falling apart, especially in the confident, buoyant production it's enjoying at Invisible Theatre. Dallas Thomas and Eric Schumacher in Don't Talk to the Actors. Jerry, a budding playwright, has brought his girlfriend, Arlene, to New York as he's about to get his first big Broadwa

We have to say IT's 'Don't Talk' is funny theater | www.azstarnet.com ®

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We have to say IT's 'Don't Talk' is funny theater www.azstarnet.com ® Accent We have to say IT's 'Don't Talk' is funny theater By Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 05.15.2009 Theater ain't always pretty. It can be full of playwrights who think every word is golden, directors who are little Hitlers and actors with egos so large and judgment so off that they are walking disasters. Oh, my, do we love it. Especially as laid out in Tom Dudzick's backstage comedy "Don't Talk to the Actors," which Invisible Theatre opened on Wednesday. Dudzick has crafted delicious, over-the-top characters, director Susan Claassen has boosted the hilarity with her attention to detail and fine-honed sense of over-the-topness, and the cast has delivered an evening full of ridiculous, and quite funny, theater. It's a fine way to end a season. Jerry (Eric Schumacher) is a green-behind-the-ears playwright whose first Bro

2009-2010 Season Auditions at Invisible Theatre

Invisible Theatre www.invisibletheatre.com THE INVISIBLE THEATRE ANNOUNCES COMPANY AUDITIONS FOR MEN AND WOMEN IN PRODUCTIONS FOR ITS 2009-2010 SEASON The Invisible Theatre will hold auditions for their 2009-2010 Season on Tuesday, May 19, 2009 beginning at 5:00 pm. Auditions will be held at the Invisible Theatre - 1400 N. First Ave (at Drachman). Please call the Invisible Theatre (520) 882-9721 with your name and phone contact. You will then be assigned an audition time. All actors are paid. Actors must bring a recent headshot and resume and will be asked to perform a 3 minute contemporary monologue.

'Don't Talk' is loud fun | www.azstarnet.com ®

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'Don't Talk' is loud fun www.azstarnet.com ® Accent "Don't Talk" is loud fun By Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 05.08.2009 Tom Dudzick knows what's funny: his life. • It's where he draws most of his inspiration for his comedies, including the 2007 play "Don't Talk to the Actors," which Invisible Theatre opens next week. • When he sits down to write a new play, said Dudzick in a phone interview from New York City, he has to get personal. • "I sit and think what is meaningful to me, what's happened to me, what am I involved in and feel strongly enough to write about," he said. Curt (Douglas Mitchell) and Bea (Liz McMahon) try to persuade fledgling playwright Jerry (Eric Schumacher, center) that he needs to make changes to his script. So when he sat down to write "Don't Talk," he remembered going to New York with his first play to make it to the Big Apple, "Greetings.&q

Ken Page tells the Ken Page story onstage | www.azstarnet.com ®

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Ken Page tells the Ken Page story onstage www.azstarnet.com ® : Accent Ken Page tells the Ken Page story onstage By Kathleen Allen Arizona Daily Star Tucson, Arizona Published: 04.17.2009 Ken Page's life could be a book. And it may, someday. But right now he's wrapping up his life in "Page by Page," which Invisible Theatre brings to Tucson this weekend. Page, an actor and singer, is just 55, but he's done a whole lotta living in those years. "It basically traces my life from St. Louis and moving to New York and on to the years in Paris," said Page, talking on phone from New York, where he had just opened in "Happiness" at the Lincoln Center. Ken Page originated the Broadway role of Old Deuteronomy in "Cats." Courtesy of Invisible Theatre Page was at the beginnings of some pretty amazing theatrical events: He made his Broadway debut in "The Wiz," an all-black version of "The Wizard of Oz"; he was in the o

Actor re-creates roles he's had, including as white characters

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Actor re-creates roles he's had, including as white characters Actor re-creates roles he's had, including as white characters April 15, 2009 CHUCK GRAHAM Tucson Citizen The Chinese like to say it is bad luck to be born in interesting times. But even though St. Louis native Ken Page, born in 1954, spent his life and his show business career surviving turbulent racial change, the assassination of several American leaders and the AIDS crisis, he turned the experience into a one-man performance of Broadway hits that has been called "lusty, life-affirming, yet also haunting." In "Page by Page," actor Ken Page will reflect on his past performances, from high school theater to the role of Old Deuteronomy in "Cats." The Broadway star has titled his singing autobiography "Page By Page," which he brings to the Berger Performing Arts Center for two performances this weekend, presented by Invisible Theatre. "Page By Page"celeb

Art program focuses on abilities, not disabilities | www.azstarnet.com ®

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Art program focuses on abilities, not disabilities www.azstarnet.com ® Tucson Region Art program focuses on abilities, not disabilities By Rhonda Bodfield arizona daily star Tucson, Arizona Published: 04.05.2009 Parents of special-education students rarely get to have those precious, scholastic coming-of-age moments, such as watching their children star in school recitals or pitch shutouts for their baseball teams. If there's a meeting at school, it's often to focus on what their children can't do and how to make the best accommodations. Susan Claassen works with members of Pastime Players, an art program that provides training in music, drama and dance to special-education students at Catalina Magnet High School. The program got its start in 1984. KELLY PRESNELL / Arizona Daily Star So there's something powerful about the annual Pastime Players performance, when parents get to see their children take the stage, regardless of mental or physical challenges, and s

SUCH GOOD FRIENDS, A Documentary Chronicling The Invisible Theatre Of Tucson's Pastime Players To Be Shown 4/26

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SUCH GOOD FRIENDS, A Documentary Chronicling The Invisible Theatre Of Tucson's Pastime Players To Be Shown 4/26 Thursday, April 2, 2009; Posted: 09:04 PM - by BWW News Desk Such Good Friends is a documentary chronicling the Invisible Theatre of Tucson’s Pastime Players. For over 25 years, Susan Claassen, artistic director of the Invisible Theatre, has spearheaded this arts project. She, Gail Fitzhugh and a dedicated group of artists teach theatre, music and dance twice a week to exceptional education students. Verl, Danny, Beth, Janna, Meg and Jennifer have been members of this performance troupe. Their connections and ultimate friendship tells the story of two very different worlds coming together through the power of the arts. Such Good Friends will be playing at the Loft Cinema (3233 E. Speedway Blvd. Tucson, AZ) on April 26, 2009 at 1:00pm (doors open at 12:30pm). Watch the Pastime Players walk down the red carpet at 12:45pm. Tickets cost $20.00 ($10.00 for students and gr

One-man show explores how Nijinsky elevated ballet, then crashed

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One-man show explores how Nijinsky elevated ballet, then crashed One-man show explores how Nijinsky elevated ballet, then crashed CHUCK GRAHAM Published: 03.05.2009 Before Michael Jordan there was Vaslav Nijinsky. Ballet history is full of stories about how Nijinsky could hang in the air for what seemed like forever. He leaped . . . he stayed up there . . . end of story. But the story does have another side. In Russia at the beginning of the 1900s, the main role of male ballet dancers was to lift the female dancers, to hold these petite tutu princesses high enough for the most dramatic display of the female form. The flamboyant Nijinsky, with all that leaping ability, wasn't content to be just another lifter. He wanted to upstage the ladies, get some spotlight time of his own. In 1910, he shocked European audiences with his performance as the Wind King Vayou. He was 20. Just nine years later, he would become a patient at a mental asylum in Switzerland. "Nijinsky was