Dec 062007

Live Arts proudly presents Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s A Little Night Music, directed by John Owen, musical direction by Greg Harris. A Little Night Music will run in our DownStage Theater December 07, 2007 through December 22, 2007.

Set in Sweden at the turn-of-the century, A Little Night Music tells the story of Frederik Egerman, Desiree Armfeldt and Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, and their revolving love interests. They attempt to sort and resort their relationships in order to fill the voids in their lives. When the characters retreat to Desiree Armfeldt’s chateau in the country, they find themselves in the depths of emotions with everything (and everyone) they were trying to escape.

A Little Night Music is a musical whirlwind about what happens when couples explore their relationships, sexuality and each other. Frederick Egerman takes his young, virgin wife Anne to the theatre, forcing her naivety to take a reality check with her husband’s infidelity. Anne confides in her friend Charlotte, only to discover that Charlotte’s husband, Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm is involved in his own illicit romance. Desiree Armfeldt, an actress, finds herself in the limelight of it all. The musical waltzes through the lives of two couples and their affairs, as they exchange partners and sentiments to explore their frenzied relationships. There is no shortage of laughter, confrontation and lusty temptation.

A Little Night Music features a book by Hugh Wheeler with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Wheeler is a multiple Tony Award winner, including his win for A Little Night Music in 1973, a musical inspired by Ingmar Bergman’s motion picture, Smiles of a Summer Night. A Little Night Music was adapted to the screen in a film version starring Elizabeth Taylor in 1978. Sondheim is an Academy Award winner, and an unprecedented seven-time Tony Award winner. His 1973 Tony Award win was for Best Score of A Little Night Music. He has also received several Grammy Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and has written renowned music compositions, including the score for West Side Story.

Cast, alphabetically: Taylor Baltimore, Ruth Anne Bishop, Rosa Brown, Maya Cichon, Jeff Dreyfus, Dan Finn, Stephanie Finn, Sonya Hayden, Nick Heiderstadt, Luke Hudnall, Marthe Rowen, Dan Stern, Linda Waller, Heather Waters, and Gary White.

Free tickets to the Thursday, December 06, 2007 Preview are available in person at
C-VILLE Weekly. This ticket giveaway will be available on a first come, first served basis, and will continue until gone. Limit is 2 tickets per person, and FREE admission is only via these tickets.

Reserved Seating $19.50/ $22.50 (Fri & Sat) • Members $17.50 / $20.50 (Fri & Sat) • General Seating (Balcony) $10.00 • Tickets on-sale November 20, 2007

LIVE ARTS PRESENTS American Buffalo, by David Mamet

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Sep 262007

Philip Green, Steve Tharp and Michael Volpendesta hunt the American BuffaloSet in a junkshop and occurring over the course of one very bad day, American Buffalo tells the story of three blue-collar men — Don Dubrow, Walter “Teach” Cole, and Bob — as they scheme and dream of better lives. After realizing he’s sold a rare Buffalo nickel for a fraction of its value, Don comes up with a harebrained plan to steal it back with the help of Teach and Bob.

American Buffalo is about much more than a simple heist. Don and Teach’s scheme is merely the latest offensive in their ever losing battle to make something of their lives. Don resolves to right the wrong done to him. Teach seeks to lie and cheat his way to the top and thus forces himself into Don’s plan. All the while, young Bob reverently, and mistakenly, seeks the respect of the two older but not necessarily wiser men. Through the interactions of the three men, the play provides an intimate, candid, and comedic look at the men’s attempts to improve their lot.

Director Mark Valahovic has a long history at Live Arts. If you dropped in on our Streetcar Named Desire this Summer, you’re probably still haunted by his Stanley Kowalski.

Valahovic says that, “Since David Mamet is an advocate of an acting technique to which I subscribe, this production gives me the opportunity to train actors to tell a story in a way that would make the playwright very proud if he were to see it. You’re invited, David.

“My goal is to tell a story that is so compelling and so funny that a Charlottesville audience member would pay to see it again.”

American Buffalo was written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet, famous for his innovative and unrestrained dialogue. In addition to American Buffalo, Mamet also penned many other works such as Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow, both of which earned Mamet Tony Award nominations (and both of which have been produced at Live Arts). A writer for the screen as well as stage, Mamet also wrote the screenplay when American Buffalo was made into a feature film in 1996, with Dustin Hoffman and Dennis Franz starring in the roles of Teach and Don respectively. His other screenwriting credits include the Oscar-nominated films The Verdict and Wag the Dog.

Cast for the Live Arts production of American Buffalo features Steve Tharp as Don, Michael Volpendesta as Teach and Philip Green as Bob.

For tickets or schedule information, visit or ring 434-977-41777 ext. 108.

What -is- Ix?

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Jul 292007

This week on the Sunday Morning Wake-Up Call with Rick Moore, local artists discuss the Frank Ix Project off the Downtown Mall. The Project will include seventeen acres of residential, business, and retail space, and calls into question the age-old debate about expansion and development. What can we expect from the complex?

John Owen of Live Arts, John St. Ous of Piraeus Pictures, and Leah Stoddard of the Second Street Gallery also respond to the question of how much “art” (films, plays, writers) Charlottesville can actually handle. Will more theatre productions distract the public from the theatres already in place, or can Charlottesville absorb any artistic venture that’s thrown at it?

Find out here, only on WNRN’s Sunday Morning Wake-Up Call.

Live Arts Presents: Old Times – An evening of Classic Pinter

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Jun 052007

How does one describe a play in which more goes unsaid than said? Is there such a thing as a triple entendre? Decide for yourself after seeing Harold Pinter’s Old Times at Live Arts.

When Anna goes to visit her old friend Kate and husband Deeley in the English countryside, each of the characters seems to relive and revise their pasts while reminiscing. The pastoral setting becomes quickly tainted, however, as Anna and Deeley politely spar for control of Kate. Under the direction of Francine Smith, this play explores the power of memory and the dangers inherent in trying to manipulate your own … or others’.

Francine Smith, Live Arts Director in Residence, is director of this production. When asked about Old Times, Smith said, “The essence of the play can be summed up in one of Anna’s lines: ‘There are some things one remembers even though they may never have happened, but as I recall them so they take place.’ Pinter’s work is distinctive and provocative in that what is not said (in the pauses) speaks more than the words themselves and the questions or recollections found in the play are ever answered or validated. Lots of bits and pieces leave the viewer free to conclude what really went on twenty years ago between Anna (played by Boomie Pedersen), Kate (played by Daria Okugawa), and Deeley (played by Chris Baumer).”

First performed on June 1, 1971 by the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych Theater in London, Old Times has continued to gain audiences across the globe through its universal examination of shifting time and definitions of truth. Written by Harold Pinter, renowned British playwright, actor, director and political activist, Old Times is one among a long line of his plays that have won him critical acclaim. It is with great excitement that Live Arts brings the work of this theatrical pioneer to our UpStage theater.

Tickets for Old Times go on sale to the public Monday May 28 and may be purchased in one of three ways. Tickets are sold via phone at the Live Arts Box Office, in person Monday through Friday 10 am. – 6 pm., or 1 hour before the performance. The preview performance of Old Times is June 7 at 8 pm. Free tickets to this continue

Season media sponsor is C-Ville Weekly. Photos in this entry are by Jack Looney of C-Ville weekly.

A Streetcar Named Desire rolls into Live Arts – May 11 through June 10

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May 102007

Live Arts proudly presents Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire. Directed by John Gibson, A Streetcar Named Desire runs in the DownStage theater May 11 – June 10, 2007. Show sponsors are Allison Partners, Garris and Company, and Elizabeth and Joe LeVaca. Media sponsor is WHTJ. Season media sponsor is C-VILLE weekly.

Apr 202007

Above, from left to right: Jeremy Weiss, Kate Hancock, Maggie Brown, Rhiannon O’Coin, Gigi Gay, Richard Drake (Photo: Jack Looney/C-VILLE Weekly)
The results of a Live Arts program to train teenagers in the various aspects of theater is culminating this month with presentation of The Servant of Two Masters. The Teen Theater Team is Live Arts most intensive and focused training program for young people between the ages of 14 and 19.

The Servant of Two Masters is an 18th century comedy by Carlo Goldoni and for almost 300 years audiences have recognized themselves in its timeless characters and situations. Clever servants, grasping masters, lovelorn youth, buckled swashes, drawn swords, interrupted weddings, slapsticks, and chases are all in day’s work for Truffaldino, the titular servant. With rich language and physical hijinks, our teens will draw on their clown training to make a show that leaps from silly to sublime. The play runs on Live Arts Upstage Theater from April 20 to May 5, 2007.

I stopped by Live Arts to talk about the play with director Daria Okugawa and produced this five minute feature.

Mar 212007

Left to right, Ayana Croff as Bonna, Arrietta Van der Voort as Edna, and Madeline Hermsmeier as Lucy, in The Good Times Are Killing Me, by Lynda Barry.
Photo credit: Jack Looney/C-Ville Weekly
The 1960’s are known as a time of great change. Live Arts’ latest production captures what it was like to grow up during that tumultuous period. The Good Times Are Killing Me runs March 23 to April 14 in the Downstage Theater. I spoke with director Larry Goldstein this week to find out more.

Feb 202007

(left to right) Richelle Claiborne, Matt Fletcher, Scott Keith, Brandy Maloney and Jude Silveira star in The Violet Hour Photo credit: Jack Looney, C-Ville Weekly
If your life was a novel, would you read the last page first? That’s one of the questions explored in Richard Greenberg’s The Violet Hour, presented by Live Arts in the Upstage Theater February 23 through March 17.The play takes place in 1919 and tells the story of John Pace Seavering, a young publisher who only has enough money to pay for one book. Both his best friend and his lover are courting him to publish their manuscript, until one day a mysterious machine appears which begins spewing out pages of novels from the end of the 20th Century.

I stopped by before a recent rehearsal to find out more about the play, and spoke with director Kay Leigh Ferguson and actor Matt Fletcher.

Live Arts Preview: The Pillowman takes the stage February 2 through 17

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Jan 292007

Mark Washington, Satch Huizenga and Michael Horan star in The Pillowman at Live Arts Feb 2 through Feb 17. Photo: Jack Looney/C-VILLE Weekly

What happens in the real world when you tell a story? That’s one of the questions explored in The Pillowman, a two-act play that makes its debut at Live Arts this Friday. Lydia Horan directs a cast of eight through this piece by Martin McDonough. Live Arts website describes the Pillowman this way:

A seriously disturbing play about the role of the artist in society, The Pillowman was a critical and audience favorite in New York and London. Kafka, Grimms, and Tarentino intersect in an interrogation room in an unnamed police state, where an unpublished author meets a good cop and a bad cop who probe the connection between his stories and a gruesome series of murders. The Pillowman is for mature audiences. Under 17 may only attend if accompanied by parent or guardian, or their written permission.

I stopped by during rehearsals to find out more about the play, and spoke with Lydia Horan and Satch Huizenga. Take a listen by clicking the arrow below, or downloading the mp3 here.

Live Arts Preview: Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) from January 12 to January 27

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Jan 102007

Bill LeSueur in the title role of Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) by Will Eno. At Live Arts Jan 12 – 27. Photo credit: Jack Looney/C-VILLE Weekly.

Are you in the mood for a bit of “existential stand-up?” We’re not sure if that genre really exists, but the idea applies to Thom Pain (Based on Nothing). The monologue runs from January 12th to the 27th in the UpStage Theater at Live Arts. The play is by Will Eno, and made its international debut at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004. It was even a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama the following year.

Thom Pain takes place inside of a theater, as a man in his thirties attempts to tell stories about his childhood. I spoke with director Cristan Keighley during rehearsals.

If you’re reading this post on or another RSS reader, you can download the mp3 of this podcast here.

You can still win tickets to Ain’t Misbehavin’ at Live Arts

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Dec 112006

Cast of Ain’t Misbehavin, Dec 1 – 23 at Live Arts (Photo: Jack Looney/CVILLE Weekly)

Ain’t Misbehavin’ is still jumping and jiving at Live Arts through December 23rd. The revue presents the music of Fats Waller on the Downstage Theater. And, CPN is giving away a pair of tickets. All you have to do is e-mail us at with your contact info. We’ll hold a drawing this Thursday.

To whet your appetite, take a listen to this preview of the show, featuring comments director John Owen and cast members Lily Bryant and Ricardo Coleman. There’s even a song!

Ain’t Misbehavin’ has Live Arts jumpin’ in December

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Nov 302006

Cast of Ain’t Misbehavin, Dec 1 – 23 at Live Arts (Photo: Jack Looney/CVILLE Weekly)

If you walk past the City Center for Contemporary Arts building this weekend, you may not be able to resist the urge to dance. That’s because the music of Fats Waller will be shaking through the walls, as Live Arts begins its run of Ain’t Misbehavin’ on the Downstage Theater. I stopped by during rehearsals to find out more about the play, and spoke with director John Owen and cast members Lily Bryant and Ricardo Coleman.

Find out how you can win a free pair of tickets to the show by listening in to the podcast.