They may not have planned it, but with 5 different productions by local theatres, Columbia, Missouri is hosting a de facto theatre festival this weekend.
“All the schedules just lined up,” stated no one but I figured putting a made-up quote would make it look personal.
Leading the group is one of COMO’s well known community theatres, Columbia Entertainment Company’s production of “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s“. This screwball comedy promises to be hilarious as well as well directed and acted. Director Judy Olson, well known in the local theatre scene, has a passion for farces and comedies. She’s worked extensively with her small cast since early February to perfect their timing. “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s” focuses on the ditzy Arlene Miller and her buffon lover Mitchell Lovell as they plot to murder Arlene’s husband, Paul in a Howard Johnson Motel. But the thing is, each is too stupid to actually pull off the murder. The show runs Thursday through Sunday, April 19 to May 6th. Opening night tickets at CEC are only $8, other nights vary from $8-$10.
Over at the MU Theatre Department in Rhysberger Theatre, Kevin Brown is directing Shakespeare’s famous play about the brooding Danish prince “Hamlet“. It looks like this one is a bit of an update as it has been adapted for a contemporary audience, emphasizing Hamlet’s descent into madness and his romantic entanglements with Ophelia. The show runs thursday through Sunday, April 19-26. Tickets are between $8-$10.
The Moberly Area Community College Theatre Department is putting on “The Laramie Project.” Sure, that’s not technically in COMO but with so many MACC students (who get in free) it may be of interest. “The Laramie Project” is a pretty tough show to watch as its subject matter is very serious. It focuses on the tragic story of Matthew Shepard who in 1998 was tied, beaten and left to die on a bitter cold night in Wyoming, all because of his sexual orientation. That said, it’s well written and has been well received by critics across the country. The show runs this weekend only April 19-21st. Ticket prices range from free for MACC students and between $3 – $5 for the general public.
There are two musicals raising the curtain this weekend as well. The first, Talking Horse Production‘s presentation of [title of show] at the Berlin Theatre, adjacent to the restaurant formerly known as Cafe Berlin, now known as Toast. Yes, the brackets are correct. This 2009 musical centers around the creative process of self-expression. It’s a love letter to the unique American art form of musical theatre. I caught a few of the songs back in 2009 and have been itching to see this show. I’m excited to see what this production does. The show runs April 19-29. Tickets are between $10-$12. It’s a very small theatre so get there early enough to secure a spot, or pay the additional handling fee and order online, or take advantage of their discount.
Finally, Performing Arts in Children’s Education (PACE) is presenting the musical adaptation of Dickens’ 1838 novel “Oliver!” at the Missouri Theater (I guess it’s no longer the Missouri Theater Center for the Arts?). The cast is composed of non-adults ages 8-18, with one role, that of the antagonist Fagin, being performed by an “adult”, Trent Rash. The show runs April 19-22nd with two performances on the 21st. Ticket prices are between $5 to $12 with their Thursday opening performance also serving as a fundraiser for the Buddy Pack Program for the food bank and being at a discounted rate of $10
CECTheatre (Murder at the Howard Johnson): 1800 Nelwood
Rhysburger Theatre (Hamlet): University and Hitt Street, 129 Fine Arts Building
MACC Auditorium (The Laramie Project): 101 College Avenue, Moberly, MO
Berlin Theatre ([title of show]): 220 N. 9th Street
Missouri Theater (Oliver): 203 S. 9th Street
A chance to dance to the music that I listened to as a teen? Now that I’m old and I don’t care who sees me dancing? At my favorite venue in town? You bet I’ll be there.
What: The Eighties New Wave Dance Party featuring the dynamic duo of DJs Julie Swanson and Brent Gardner, who were Blue Note Dance Party DJs in the 1980s.
Where: The Blue Note, 17 N. 9th St.
When: April 21st, with doors opening at 8:30 pm.
How: Admission is $5.
Why: The Eighties New Wave Dance Party is a great opportunity for people of the 80s generation to relive the fun times of their youth and a wonderful way for people of all ages to come together to celebrate some of the best dance music ever made. It’s going to be a blast!
==Info provided by Craig Dalrymple, chief instigator of the event and member of the Crusty Old Columbia Punks Facebook group, which is composed of surviving members of the local indie rock music scene of the 1980s.
This is T/F photo essay number three for those following my behind-the-scenes coverage of preparations going on at the Box Office and the Lab. If you missed the first two essays you may find them here and here. This post also includes a few images of an art installation that’s starting to take shape in front of Ragtag. I plan on documenting more of that this morning.
In case you’re curious, I’m purposely leaving out photo captions since my behind-the-scenes imagery is intended to pique your curiosity, not give away all of the details. If you’re attending the festival, I encourage to be on the lookout for some of the items you see below, especially the creations coming out of the lab. Also, if you’re interested in learning more about the ticket printing process, check out this video by Glenn Rice documenting the process from his basement.
This is the second installment in a series of photo essays documenting the prep work leading up to the True False Film Festival. If you missed my first behind-the-scenes post, you can check it out here. The following images were taken over a period of three days this past week. It’s pretty amazing what creative people can do on a small budget. There’s no doubt this festival wouldn’t be what it is without all the volunteers and man-hours that that they put in before, during and after the fest. Thank you, volunteers!
I spent a couple of hours photographing the crews at the T/F Lab (workshop) and Box Office locations on Sunday as they worked on production and design aspects of this year’s festival theme, Influencing Machines. Everything pictured is a work-in-progress and more will be revealed over the next couple of weeks leading up to the event.
I grew up watching Elvis impersonators croon and swagger, so when I headed to the Blue Note to see One More Round, a Johnny Cash tribute band, I had low expectations. I thought that I might see an amusing show and hear my favorite Cash tunes. One More Round had something else to offer though: Four extremely talented musicians who put on a great show from start to finish. They are returning to the Blue Note on February 11th to do it again.
One More Round consists of Bill Forness as Johnny Cash, Tara Schmittgens as June Carter, Brandon Jacoby as Luther Perkins (guitar), Matt Davis as Marshall Grant (bass), and Benet Schaeffer as W.S. Holland (drums). At their show on December 9th, they played thirty songs, a full two hours. Forness, who has a mother named June, talked with me after the show.
Did your mother like June Carter and follow her music?
She did not. But my grandmother and grandfather did. My mother did like old country, and I grew up around it. My step-grandfather was a picker, and my uncle actually lives in Nashville and was a singer/songwriter for Tree Publishing House for many, many years. He wrote songs for Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and different people. I’ve been a singer/songwriter for 25 years and have been playing and writing songs. I started doing cover songs, doing it as a living.
At first it was an array, like four hour cover shows, just me and the guitar. But the more that I’d do Johnny Cash, the more people would come up and say, “Would you please do this one or that one?” So I started to learn more, and it was being received very, very well. Then there was a breaking point in a restaurant when a guy came up and said, “I’ve been coming to see you play for a while, but I’ve brought my girlfriend. Will you play Ring of Fire tonight?” When I started to play it, he sat her down in front of me and proposed. He said that it was the closest thing to Johnny Cash that he could get. That’s when I said, “I’m going to do this and see if I can make people happy.”
The crowd at the Blue Note was happy the night of the show. Two hard-core Cash fans, one with a large Johnny Cash tattoo on his arm, stood front and center enjoying the show and waiting for their favorite songs: Ring of Fire and Folsom Prison Blues. Seven-year-old Danny O’Toole attended the show with his father Tom, who saw Cash perform years ago in St Louis. Danny’s favorite song is Jackson, a duet that Cash did with his wife June. The band’s June was not able to make it that night. Not only did they manage without her, it turned out to be the song that brought the house down.
You pulled up an audience member to sing that song with you. Do you often do that?
That was the first time. The first time anyone has ever said “I’ll get up there and do it!” It was a blast. It was complete spontaneity.
The band plays well together, and Forness has a great stage presence. They covered all of Johnny Cash’s best known songs and threw in some trivia here and there. I learned that Cash did covers also, and One More Round played some of those: Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt, Depeche Mode’s Personal Jesus, and Soundgarden’s Rusty Cage. They nailed them all, but Rusty Cage, the final song of the night, was one of the best songs that I have experienced live.
Johnny Cash himself once performed on the Blue Note stage. Owner Richard King said in an interview recently that it was his favorite show at the club.
How did it feel to play on the same stage as Johnny Cash?
I was very humbled to perform on the same stage as Johnny Cash and June Carter; that was the first stage I have performed on that they performed on. There was a moment on stage when I felt a calm wash over me, as if I was in the right place, doing the right songs, at the right time. It felt amazing!
I posed a tough question to each band member before we left: If you could only play three Johnny Cash songs for the rest of your life what would they be?
25 Minutes to Go…um…probably “Hurt”, which wasn’t his. Oh, man, there’s just so many that I really like! Probably Ring of Fire.—Bill Forness
I like to keep things peppy, so they’d probably be “Folsom Prison Blues”, “Ring of Fire”, and probably “Get Rhythm”.—Brandon Jacoby
That’s a hard question. One’s got to be “Ring of Fire”. One that we don’t do that I like: “The Ballad of Ira Hays”. My last one would be “Home of the Blues”.—Matt Davis
“Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down…Green”, “Green Grass of Home”. They’re all really heart-wrenchers. “Five Feet High and Rising”; I’ll tell you why: The thing about the chickens sleeping in the willow trees…it cracks me up every time.—Benet Schaeffer
One More Round: A Tribute to Johnny Cash. Saturday Feb. 11th, The Blue Note. Doors open at 8; Show starts at 9.
Columbia Access Television has a cool educational/arts event coming up this Saturday, Jan. 28, at the CAT Studios on Stephens College campus. The featured speaker is cinematographer and artist Andrew Droz Palermo, who plans to show a whole series of clips from his past and current projects, including music videos for the White Rabbits, True/False Film Fest bumpers, shorts and feature films. This is meant to be a relaxed, informal journey through Andrew’s career-to-date, moderated by local filmmaker/artist Polina Malikin. Refreshments will be served.
CAT Chats! with CINEMATOGRAPHER Andrew Droz Palermo
Saturday, Jan. 28
1 to 3 p.m.
Tickets are $5
CAT’s Studio A on Stephens College campus
1405 E. Broadway
Helis Communications Bldg.
(In the basement below Windsor Auditorium)
For location and parking information: http://columbiaaccess.tv/contact
For more information on CAT Chats: http://columbiaaccess.tv/cat-chats
Andrew Droz Palermo’s Web site: http://www.andrewdrozpalermo.com/
Call CAT: (573) 876-7137
Last fall, the Citizen Jane Film Festival held in Columbai, Missouri featured The Work of 1000, a film produced and directed by MU graduate Susan Edwards. If you missed that showing, on Tuesday, January 17, you will have another opportunity to watch this important film.
In the 1960’s, Marion Stoddart took on big and small businesses, a century of bad practices, and the government to clean up what was one of the most polluted rivers in America, the Nashua in New Hampshire. Her efforts ultimately changed local, state and national environmental policies. Her story is inspirational on many levels and the opportunity to talk to her directly should not be missed.
A group of eight local not-for-profit organizations worked together to coordinate this special screening which will include the film and an opportunity to talk to both Susan Edwards and Marion Stoddart. Additionally, representatives of the local organizations, mostly enviornmentally focused, will be on hand to answer questions about the parallels in our area and what we need to be doing today to protect our local waterways.
The movie airs at 7:00PM in the Wrench Auditorium of Memorial Union South. The showing is free with a suggested donation.
Tuesday, January 17
Wrench Auditorium of Memorial Union South, MU
This holiday season you can make a real difference in your fellow Comoains’ lives by helping to raise one million pounds of food. The One Holiday Food Drive is happening today Thursday, Dec. 15. You can make a difference for Columbia’s families in need.
Inside Columbia has partnered with the Columbia Professional Firefighters, Woodcrest Chapel, TBA Men of the Corps and Zimmer Radio Group to collect one million pounds of food for the Food Bank for Central Missouri and Northeast Missouri.
The food drive lasts from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15, at the northeast corner of Providence and Broadway. Plan to drop off nonperishable food items and cash donations so the food bank can stock up before Christmas. For questions, call Inside Columbia at 573-442-1430.