Posts Tagged studio roanoke

Backstage graffiti from my show at Studio Roanoke

A close-up of the graffiti in the dressing room at Studio Roanoke.

At Studio Roanoke, the black box theatre in Roanoke, Va. which recently closed, the tradition was for actors and actresses to sign the wall in the dressing room — along with a key quote from the show.

Here’s the part of the wall dedicated to my show  “57 Hours in the House of Culture,”  which turned out to be the next-to-play show there. (The show was about the Moscow theatre siege of 2002.)

Kind of reminds me of the cover for The Rolling Stones’ originally wanted for their album  “Beggars Banquet.”

MORE ON “57 HOURS IN THE HOUSE OF CULTURE”:
* Photos from the show
* Audience reaction to the show
* Review: “It ain’t ‘Oklahoma!'”
* Congressman Goodlatte attends the show
* Review: “Most interactive show I’ve seen”
* Media interviews about the show
* The set takes shape
* Rehearsal photos
* Rehearsal begins
* The poster for the show

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Thoughts on the closing of Studio Roanoke

Studio Roanoke, a black-box theatre in downtown Roanoke, Va.

Studio Roanoke, a black-box theatre in downtown Roanoke, Va. The theatre, which specialized in new works, is closing.

Studio Roanoke, which for three years has put Roanoke on the map as a venue for new plays, is closing. The Roanoke Times has the sad news here.

The theatre’s founder and chief patron, Kenley Smith, is moving to Nashville and plans to sell the building that housed the non-profit community theatre.

Faced with trying to mount a new season with no home and without what is surely its main donor, the board has voted to close.

Sadly, most theatre goers in the Roanoke Valley won’t miss Studio Roanoke, because most of them likely never attended a show there. Roanoke Valley theatre companies such as Showtimers and Attic Productions play to strong houses, but they perform the standards. (Full disclosure: My wife, Trina, is directing one of those standards, “The Sound of Music,” at Attic, opening July 26.) The market for new plays is quite small. Some shows at Studio Roanoke drew well, others did not, but even drawing well meant 30 to 60 people (which was a full house for most stage configurations.) On the other hand, if you look at the 990 tax forms for Studio Roanoke, you’ll see that ticket sales generated nearly $32,000 in 2009 and $28,500 in 2010 (figures for 2011 not posted yet.). With a different business model, you ought to be able to run a non-profit theatre on that kind of revenue. You just can’t do it on ticket revenue alone, though. Read the rest of this entry »

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Photos from “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

From left: Dmitri the musician, Olga the cosmetic clerk who entered the theatre (whose legs are visible),  Ivan the usher, Irina an audience member, Barayev the terrorist and Fatima the Black Widow. Not visible are audience members Andrei and Svetlana).

Here are the official production photos (courtesy of David Gross) from my show about the Moscow theatre siege, “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” that was produced at Studio Roanoke in May 2012.

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Scripts accepted for productions in New York and Roanoke

My show on the Moscow theatre siege  — “57 Hours in the House of Culture” — is off to a fantastic start at Studio Roanoke. And now I have other production news to report:

* Studio Roanoke has announced its new season, and my Christmas show about the origin of Santa Claus, is among of the offerings. “Klaus” isn’t something for the children. It attempts to explain where Santa Claus came from. Here’s the description I wrote for Studio Roanoke’s calendar:

A holiday play for a mature audience, it is a dark and humorous tale of the origin of Santa Claus. Where did he come from? Set in the early 1700s when the Jacobite movement to overthrow the German-born Hanoverian kings of England and restore the ousted Stuart family to the throne was still very much alive, and involves physics, philosophy, treason against the king, a love story, and some cooking.

Studio Roanoke is also extending the shows in its next season from two weeks to three, reflecting a popular demand for more weekend shows (and fewer weekday ones.)

You can find the entire season on the Studio Roanoke website.

* Meanwhile, I’ve also had two pieces accepted into the annual “Gone in 60 Seconds” festival in New York City. This is a festival dedicated to one-minute plays. This year it runs June 8-9 at Brooklyn College. Both of my scripts accepted this year deal with baseball: “The Uniform” and “Sunset in North Dakota.” The latter is a one-minute version of a five-minute piece that I had done at No Shame Theatre in Roanoke, Va. last summer.

These upcoming productions join ones previously announced for other scripts in Maryland and Oregon.

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Congressman attends “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Dwayne Yancey, Maryellen Goodlatte outside Studio Roanoke. (That’s director Brian O’Sullivan in the background.)

We had nearly a full house for the first Friday night of “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my show about the Moscow theatre siege now playing at Studio Roanoke.

Among those attending was Roanoke’s congressman — Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Roanoke County — and his wife, Maryellen.

The Goodlattes are noted theatre-goers. About a year ago, they attended the Attic Productions youth show to see my one-act, “Curiosity Killed the Cat.”

The congressman said he took notes so he could do more research on the Moscow theatre siege.

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Review for “57 Hours in the House of Culture”: “Most interactive show I’ve seen”

Director Brian O’Sullivan (in red, sitting in second row at left) delivers notes to the cast and crew after the final preview night. Notice the man with the AK-47 in the right hand corner; that’s James Honaker, who plays the terrorist.

We have our first review of “57 Hours in the House of Culture,” my show about the Moscow theatre siege, which opened May 16 at Studio Roanoke.

Heather Brush of the Cave Spring Connection says, in part:

“This surround sound and action atmosphere draws the non-acting audience in to an intimate experience and most interactive show I’ve seen. There were shocking moments and sad ones, with bits of humor, and all were experienced rather than simply witnessed. Panic at their moments of death is palpable in the darkness and smoky air, and then the ease of acceptance of what has come to pass as the violin plays a lullaby. It was a truly memorable experience as reality was suspended.”

You can read her full review here.

And here are some more photos of the cast and crew, shot on May 15 after the final preview night: Read the rest of this entry »

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Media interviews for “57 Hours in the House of Culture”

This photo by Sam Dean was on the front page of The Roanoke Times’ entertainment section on May 12.

I am in the midst of a mini-media tour to promote “57 Hours at the House of Culture,” my upcoming show about the Moscow theatre siege at Studio Roanoke.

* I did an on-air interview on May 11 with 101.5 The Musicplace — and also worked in a plug for Roanoke as “Virginia’s Theatre City.” You can find a replay of the interview here.

* The Roanoke Times did a feature story on me on May 12. You can read Mike Allen’s story here — or comment on it on his Arts & Extras blog.

* On May 15, actor Gary Reid and I appeared on “Daytime Blue Ridge,” the noontime program on WSLS-TV (Channel 10), the NBC affiliate in Roanoke. Gary, who plays the audience member Andrei, peformed one of his monologues, while I talked about the show. You can see it here. We shared the bill with legendary Roanoke singer Jane Powell, who even had the weather guy rocking out as she sang her rendition of “Ain’t No Sunshine.” You’ll notice I wore my Lady Gaga tie for the occasion.

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