|Performance Date||Director's Notes|
|11/5/2016|| Director's Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, November 5, 2016
It was a small and unresponsive house somewhat but our tried and true laughs at the hands of our veteran actors, came through. We send out a special thanks to sheri Webster who stepped in and played Mehitabel at the last minute after scheduling conflicts. Sheri also did an exceptional job in her characterization tonight, quite nice, not rushed and funny squeaks came from her in the form of exclamation points. The sing-along-was a flop, nobody singing with enthusiasm, and this event died but that being said it did not take away from the show being good.
MATT SPRUILL was our host and as always, his humor kept things moving but the lack of audience participation was making his efforts harder to do, compared to an audience that is pumped for a good show.
JAY EXON, was the magician and was the only Olio act. He was new and slow with jokes but he entertains well enough-if he comes back. Jay ran overtime with his 20 minute act and caused the show to start late by 8 minutes. I told Rachel to tell him we start the show on time at 8pm and if he goes over again we'll not invite him back until he can stay within his allotted time frame.
JOHN HANSEN as Sample was good and kept the show moving nicely getting the laughs when needed.
WESLEY GROVE as Frank was loose and comfortable making the Frank Slade character likeable and fun and sad at the end. Wesley is looking at tackling the Willie Hammon part this winter.
STEPHEN BERG delivered a fine performance tonight. He is a meanie! BOOOO!
LARRY STOCKARD was back with his Romaine role and he's a fine gentleman.
He and John are master together on stage together.
BRYAN WALKER played Simon Slade and had lots of energy with this role tonight. He is a great addition to the cast and family of actors.
JACOB MCDANIEL debuted as Willie Hammond tonight not missing a lick and getting all his laughs. His opening monologue was smooth and comfortable too. This young actor is going to be an even greater asset to the cast if he continues to stay with the play and move around the roles as he gets older. His transformation from Frank to Willie was splendid.
ANN KNIGHT is without a doubt one of our more outstanding character actresses and sets a good example at rehearsals for the younger crowd. She is fun to waatch on stage as Ann Slade.
RICHARD ROBERTSON has done it again and turned in a splendid performance as Joe Morgan.
SUMMER PEARCE as Mary was great. She forgot a line at one point and was saved by another actor picking up her line and that is what great ensemble acting is all about.
SHARI WEBSTER as Mehitabel gave a delightful performance, one of the best I have seen her delivery. She is one of our finest cast members.
MONICA SALLAWAY is a hoot as Fanny Morgan. I hope all cast members get a chance to see her grab comedy out of the lines the way she does.
|7/9/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, July 9, 2016
MARK ROBERTS steps up after the curtain call and delivers an eloquent thank you to the audience for being an especially good one, and they were, in fact they were exemplary. The Drunkard cast and the piano music was very good and so it was a most splendid night out for the full house crowd.
The show itself was wonderful and the cast felt it. As they exited the stage door the actors all remarked how good of a show it was. They knew they had had a perfect show with a perfect audience.
The Olio acts were previously reviewed acts with the GYPSY FIRE BELLY DANCERS group showing up with only two dancers when they usually cling cling cling around 4 or 5 dancers. The two belly dancers held their own as audiences continue to enjoy this Olio act.
SAM ADKINS was in the Olio acts tonight as the Singing Sheriff of Cedarville. He always wins over the crowd and this festive crowd liked his songs.
The sterling cast was: JOHN HANSEN, JASON HYMAN, STEPHEN BERG, ERNIE RAYNOR, SAM ADKINS, TIM PARKER, NANCY CHAMBERS, MARK ROBERTS, ABIGAIL JOHNSON, JILL SNEED and BRE BATSON.
Too much loud talking in the lobby is noted here during this play, tonight. It comes from the serving area and had to send MC twice to quiet them. It is the responsibility of the House Manager to help keep the loud talking down during the play whether it comes from a disturbing audience member or the servers forgetting to keep it down.
|6/25/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, June 25, 2016
A rousing and energetic show Saturday night and it went so quickly the play ended around 9:30. Now that is pace! The audience was especially entertained by Judy Parks who carried the sing-a-long with the upmost enthusiasm and with Priscilla as MC the evening couldnt lose!
SAM ADKINS was especially good this evening, winning over the audience and getting their tickle bone going.
CLINT PARSONS was funny right off and made us laugh, but the act ended on a flat note. Just needs a better tag to his ending. This performer can come back anytime; we had fun.
TIM PARKER was back as Sample and doing a splendid job, but this actor tends to do much too much film acting and not project enough for the stage!
JACOB MCDANIEL had a girlfriend in the audience and did he take off like a 4th of July rocket! His performing is always good for our show and has a great character going already or I would say invite your girlfriend every time you perform.
STEPHEN BERG is a mean and nasty villain and enjoys the spotlight too much as he eats up the nuisance of the tomatoes and boos!
SEBASTIAN PADEN was back and in great form as Willie. This actor brings back the best of his acting talents from the experience he gains by doing other roles outside of the Spotlight and starting to get more offers as Tulsa theatre scene begins to discover one of our favorites. I notice his better acting job on our stage. His performance this night was the best I have seen from him.
SAM ADKINS played Simon Slade with lots of energy tonight adding to energy pace of the show.
DONALD GILMORE as Romaine is ever so distinguished. "And fly from it!"
JILL MORRIS is looking good as Ann Slade with her flowing long hair.
STEPHEN RYAN is back as Joe Morgan, always a special night with him and having his good spirit around in rehearsals as well.
GABRIELLE ANNE MCATEE as Little Mary is one of our best, she sings, shes funny, she can articulate.
JILL SNEED as Mehitabel is always wonderful with her over winning smile. Audiences adore her, and she remembers all the direction given to her.
EILEEN HARDY was on as Fanny and gave a solid performance coming from one of our best new recruits.
|4/30/2016|| Director's Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, April 30, 2016
The show was good and did a fantastic job of keeping the audience laughing all around- despite a lacking enthusiastic sing-along.
PIANO PLAYER: The piano player needs to select an appropriate time to get up from the piano and leave, not do so during the scene on stage since we end up watching the exit of the piano player over the show. Distractions are always going to be a part of a live show at our stage but when it comes from our company members such as a piano player, it just needs to be done with as little distractions as possible and this happened too often at this particular show. The music was slow for the sing-along and seconds ticked by before the next song started. The music should flow from one song to the next and enough time is there to find the next song for the intro to be ready to be played when the song leader speaks the name of the song.
SONG LEADER: Tonights sing-along lacked enthusiasm. The audience barely sang it seems but there was little prodding and conducting from the song leader to stimulate this. Anyone can begin to have a down night but in our business here at the Spotlight, we have to be our best for the public who is seeing the play for the first time. Our lack of enthusiasm conveys to the audience.
OKLAHOMA PERFORMING ARTS was a hit with the ballet and dance routines. Audiences love these glimpses of talented kids and this group scored big. Here are the names of the talented kids. SARINA SMITH-KALLISTA WONG-LILLY CLARK-MACIE DRUE DURHAM-PEYTON DOLAN-PARKER HAYES.
RICHARD ROBERTSON did his poetry rendering with the classics of “Remembering Robert W. Service”. Richard too, brings before the Spotlight audience something most of them are not used to experiencing, thereby keeping our Olio presentations fun and unpredictable.
JASON HYMAN returned to our stage again as Frank Slade. Jason was the main actor playing Frank Slade when I first came to the Spotlight Theatre as the new director and remains to be a favorite in this role. I talked with Jason and told him he is playing one of the more versatile roles in the play and now that he has returned, we would work on how he can achieve even more diversified transitions for this character. Jason needs to wear a hat for the first few scenes and for the last scene let his long hair down as part of the 10 years has passed. Having the long hair in all his scenes diminishes the passage of time.
RANDY BELFORD played Harvey Green and has been consistently coming in just a little too early on Samples street scene. Sample is blocked to turn and catch the arm of the villain just as he gets past his back. Randy enters a little too early, causing the villain to wait for the grab instead of the timing to catchim just as he turns. We can fix this. Randys looks are so Lucifer-looking, making him an appealing melodrama character for a villain role.
TIM PARKER played Willie with passion tonight. He has reached a spot where hes as comfortable in the role as veteran Dan Eberly.
LINDA WALKER played Mehitabel after a long absence. She has kept her charming demeanor about herself and fell right in line as the cute country girl.
|4/23/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, April 23, 2016
It was a great show last night with the debut of a new sing-along leader. BILL JENSEN is an old-timer from many Olio appearances and, like the actors who changes roles, Bill has chosen to step out from the Olio lights in a new presence. Bill is a welcome asset to the front of house entertainment.
HOUSE MANAGER tonight was G. WAYNE HALL. The evening began proper and effortlessly because everyone was on their toes and taking care of business as usual.
SERVICE MANAGER for the show, BOBBI GANNAWAY, was not re-introduced again by the MC when she came up to do the drawing. Its always nice to make a big deal of the new lady we havent met and it makes the drawing have a “Wheel of Fortune” excitement.
THE PIANO player was the lovely Judy Parks who has fun all through the show with her expert feel for the keys sounding old-timey.
MATTHEW SPRUILL served as MC last night and performed in the Olio with his comic stand-up routine that did get the laugh out louds for this comic, MC.
The very popular Belly Dancers group, “GYPSY FIRE DANCERS”, came back and brought down the house with their colorful twirls and swirls and that quick-quivering, knock-back-and-forth, lower torso movements! Our Olio does not get better than this for presenting new things our audiences are not likely to see every day.
JOHN HANSEN as Sample is always fun to watch and last night was no exception, especially with old acting partner and veteran cast member, LARRY STOCKARD, appearing as Romaine. Such distinguished men on stage look good together. John Hansens comedy monologue with the cleverly told comedy jokes made the audience roar with laughter and left them wanting more!
MITAYA MORDECAI, as Frank Slade made a milestone leap to new mature heights tonight as a gender-switcher role-playing actor. She has been working on getting her more manly less feminine mannerisms all lined-up and never stopped working on this challenge. Her Little Mary role was flawless and like many of the actors at the Spotlight, they want to challenge themselves to play another role. This process has become so popular Im considering putting together a show of all gender switched roles and sell the evening out as a comedy benefit for the building fund. Mitaya also brings her brother and sister to the theatre as servers and greeters. Audiences see this younger crowd and help spread the news for worthy activity for the young ones who are bored with nothing creative or self-disciplined to do.
STEPHEN BERG was appearing with his second show as a new villain with fright might.
SAM ADKINS as Simon Slade cuts an awesome figure with his lush red beard.
STEPHEN RYAN as Willie Hammond was excellent with his heroic gestures and comical realizations.
ANN KNIGHT always shines as Ann Slade, this actress makes melodrama acting appealing and is probably historically correct with her actions and emotions associated with this role.
RICHARD ROBERTSON was exceptional good last night, the audience hung on his every sympathetic word and he too gets the laughs.
KAYCE MCWORTHER as Little Mary is part of a pack, a gaggle of teen Little Marys, were fortunate to have and theyre already stretching themselves to play older flirting roles and because Im an acting teacher and believe in letting girls her age be stretched in dramatic roles, she gets to do more than most. Kayce shows the talent and discipline it takes to learn how to play an older young woman as a teen and what could be better than learning how to do that early on?
SAMANTHA ESTES returned as Mehitabel this weekend and continues to be the best smiling gal we could ask for. This actress is at ease with an audience yet shell swear she is nervous and she excels with young and older Samples! Im convinced shes ready to be an MC.
SUE WIEDEMANN as Fanny Morgan always makes the transformation from regular Fanny at the home to the rich Fanny at the end, so charmingly. She was getting the laughs last night and displays a melodramatic style of acting all her own making it fit the lines and action.
|4/9/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, April 9, 2016
The show tonight was high energy, and a rowdy audience was wanting to have fun. The show kept moving at a proper pace. The audience bought lots of tomatoes!
Our new mean and nasty creepy villain, STEPHEN BERG, is going to make a fine addition to our roster of diverse villains.
Cutting the last SING-ALONG does not shorten the play. It does shorten the feeling of "Im going to be here all night." Audiences near the end are not where they are with their enthusiasm as they were at the beginning. Asking an audience to continue putting out excitement for the play is tiresome. Letting the piano player cover the 3rd intermission to collect table tabs works nicely for me.
Host for tonights show was PRISCILLA MAYFIELD and as always she was an audience-pleaser.
PIANO man BILL ROWLAND led the music tonight with his Ragtime piano playing which is always a great addition to our show. His abilities and sound make our show complete for a melodrama theatre evening.
SAM ADKINS ended his set of songs with a proper tribute to country legend MERLE HAGGARD by singing "Okie From Muskogee." He had the crowd singing right along with the chorus, making the audience participation spontaneous and fun.
DAVE SHORT provided stand-up comedy for the evenings Olio but was a hit and miss performance with getting the laughs he hoped for. I liked his 10 minutes on our stage but satirical comedy of fat jokes is limited and he had some zingers he could have ended with and moved on. This comic also became serious about the issue of once being fat and that is not what he or the audience came here for.
TIM PARKER played Sample and does it well. He is a great addition to our lead actors and keeps the play moving. I especially like his edited-down joke monologue.
WESLEY GROVE played Frank tonight and for the first time, I saw distractions in his performance. The dedication to each role, when it is played, has an obligation to be as fresh and energetic as we possibly can be. I mention this only because Wesley is the main teen actor we have, playing the most diverse role, (he gets to age with his role) and needs to continue to set good examples of coming to work with enthusiasm and energy to perform the role the way it was directed. Being consistent is the hardest thing about live theatre, yet being consistent is an intricate part of the craft of acting.
STEPHEN BERG played the villain role Harvey Green, tonight and was a nasty villain, indeed. His stature and facial expressions follow the acting on stage, always staying in character. And when we do look his way he is listening and reacting. He brings a sinister quality to the role but is never without fun camp evilness to get the right boos! He is a nice addition to our roster of villains.
NANCY CHAMBERS delivers good performances. I love watching her little reactions to things. Her exit at the first Joe Morgan home scene is wonderful and always gets the laughs.
GABRIELLE ANNE MCATEE played Little Mary and is proving to be one of our best actresses. She has gone from being the most shy to most consistent and continues to improve her role with characterization. She takes direction well and remembers all the points of her blocking and how to best play Mary. She is entertaining and can be heard. She did break character slightly when she managed to crack-up the audience with her characterization of Mary.
KAYCE MCWHORTER played Mehitabel and is a fun country bumpkin performance that is cute and crowd-pleasing. She will need a darker hat to help accent her light hair. Her dress needs to be a darker color skirt. I liked her second act scene on the street but again is wearing colors that do not make her stand-out. Talk with director this Wednesday.
|4/2/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, April 2, 2016
The April 2 performance was a good show despite an audience with not as much enthusiasm as previous weekends. However, I have learned over my career that such an audience is enjoying the play; they just happen to be an audience not as boisterous. The audience did enjoy the play, I could tell. But their lack of energy could have come from several performers, first. The ensemble was slow with a cue pick-up and delivery, yet each one of them delivered a good performance.
RACHEL HORSELY served this position tonight and took pictures down front of the audience of a scene. I asked her why she did this after we announced no photos. She was doing press promotional photos for FB and that is to be encouraged but no photos are allowed from anyone, parents, staff or cast. I know performers have thought this was ok but its not. We cant ask the audience to one thing and we do another despite our good intentions or our association with our show family. Parents and staff can ask Ken Steward to take photos for them from his position in the lighting booth.
MC: Tonights MC was SAM ADKINS dressed out in his western costume of Sheriff and this is so colorful and antique and enjoy watching him move about the room.
OLIO: It was a singers night at The Spotlight.
JIM CAMPBELL was featured singing with his guitar and banjo. Audiences always enjoy a banjo man. His fun being there is catching to the audience.
JESAMINE KATZMAN was there singing her show stopping song from “Wicked”, The Wizard and I, which brings down the house from hearing a child her age belt out a show tune like that. TULSAS GOT TALENT! Im afraid Jesamine may get tired of singing her “Wicked” song but each audience at The Spotlight is a new audience who hasnt heard her sing before and they love hearing this child prodigy do her signature song. Well have her and the other kids back singing from time to time because the audiences LOVE them!
THE DRUNKARD: No debuts.
|3/19/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, March 19, 2016
The show was tremendous! A sell-out crowd wanting to be entertained and they were, starting with our rousing sing-a-long! I love to watch people sing the old songs and smile at one another at doing something they may never have done before. Larry Mitchell and Stephen Berg as the piano player and song leader, respectively, were especially good.
Sam Adkins was great.
Mark Roberts did his Old Man and His Flag for the appreciative crowd who loved this.
Regina Scott played her fiddle to the max with the audience loving every string of it. The young lady ended the rousing appearance with a Tulsa favorite, Take Me Back to Tulsa. What a great evening out for this lucky audience getting to experience talent such as the Scott girl.
TIM PARKER was back to get more laughs as Sample. He is such a fine addition to our family of new talent.
WESLEY GROVE as Frank Slade is getting very good at holding for the laughs. This boy continues to shine.
BRITT WADE and DAN EBERLY as the villain and hero were especially fun to watch tonight. Dan was having fun being back in an old role with an old villain to play against.
MARK ROBERTS was all over the stage getting laughs and doing all kinds of stuff never before seen but it was focused and funny and not at the expense of others on stage. What a funny actor.
MONICA SALLAWAY is new and a funny Fannie Morgan. Im hoping we can interest this actress into tying out for Mehitabel.
TOM ALLEN as Romaine is becoming very comfortable in the role and getting laughs for being charming.
|3/12/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, March 12, 2016
The show clicked right along but the audience was a slower-paced audience. So the show remains good but not as lively had we had a full house. Last nights audience was about 48 and the show has recently been selling out for several weeks and established a pace to our play. The show was made even better with the talents of BILL ROWLAND on the piano. Bills playing skills at the piano ads much to our ambience with the 1890 settings. He also dresses in a Ragtime style and that too only adds to the impressions he leaves us with.
HOST: Priscilla Mayfield is a Host with Pizazz! Her sparkly outfit makes her “show biz” and that will do until her 1890s Lillian Russell dress is finished. And then with that red hair- shell explode on stage with splendor! I like the discipline Priscilla insists upon when it comes to following policy and protocol set down by the Spotlighters and their Board of Directors. She adheres to the directors wishes and is a g- between for all areas as a board member. Her and Leslie Sheltons (House Manager) faces are seen often enough at shows that we have come to feel our Board will never miss anything they need to know about.
HOUSE MANAGER: Leslie Shelton is getting great reviews for being a gracious House Manager, not say our other House Managers lack anything. Leslie brings a friendly and charming approach to each customer and works well among the servers.
THE OLIO: The Tulsa Youth Ballet was featured in three separate selections, seamlessly put together nicely and showing prowess as young dancers looking serious about their efforts. This group of ballet dancers featured advanced students amazingly too talented for their age leaving us to think they will go far in this art form. The selections were entertaining and wisely presented by starting with “Cinderella”, a standard classic most of the audience could identify with, a story they know! The young Cinderella danced with a flowing haired broom made into a groom if only for a dream dance for a young woman. The broom became a dancer, a prince perhaps and when this nimble dancer twirled the broom it became a blurred reminder this broom was almost real. The two mean stepsisters were not mean but snobby and lofty giving them their own charm. The prince in this segment danced high and light and landed with the grace and ease of a royal prince. The second segment of the Youth Ballet charmed the audience with pure enthusiastic song and dance and the singing was great! By the time we got through their third piece, “Were In the Money” from the 1933 Gold Diggers film complete with coin props they actually dropped on the floor and danced on we were well won. The audience loved this event at our Olio tonight and applauded with pride at Tulsas talent, such a presentation of that talent and their blessings in getting to reward that talent with cheers! The young dancers on tonights stage were 10 members of the Tulsa Youth Ballet, they were; ANNAROSE ATAMIAN, VANESSA BARNETT, PEYTON DOLAN, MACIE DRUE DUNHAM, ARIANNA FRANCE, CHARLEIGH HAYES, PARKER HAYES, KIMBERLY KARJADI, ASPEN SWAIM, KAEDEN SWAIM.
TIM PARKER as Sample got the laughs from this audience. He played a splendid scene with a step-in to fill the role of Mehitabel, KAYCE MCWORTHER. Tim is a solid participant in our show including his wife who does box office volunteering. With Tim, we are securing younger actors in lead roles, a target goal for The Spotlight Theatres future.
MITAYA MORDECAI as Frank Slade is fun to watch as she masters the art of playing another gender. Keep up the good work, dont stop perfecting enounces. Base for make-up was too light for the character it came off as ghostly. Use a darker base.
RANDY BELFORD as the villain Harvey Green is funny, mean and snide with a seriously defensive personality for a coward. I going to ask him to darken his hair around the side of his ears to set him apart from the saloon set, with his white hair. His villain has taken on a devil looking face that makes it fantastic to watch move.
ERNIE RAYNOR is so much fun as Romaine. His self-righteous stances are fun.
SAM ADKINS as Simon Slade, continues to improve his acting skills. His great red beard makes a striking character to watch.
STEPHEN RYAN as Willie Hammond is always fun with his extended gestures and unexpected moves.
NANCY CHAMBERS was performing her Ann Slade role last night. One of my favorite bits of hers is when she stomps her foot in defiance to her husband when she exits. I have started incorporating it into all the Ann Slades blocking.
RICHARD ROBERTSON is one of our master actors over the years and he too has to be reminded to pick-up the pace in his scenes at home with Mary. I hate to give notes to Shakespeare actors, theyre having so much fun doing it with passion.
JULIE COOPER Very good singer as Little Mary and funny and can be heard. She is looking at doing Mehitabel in the future and will be fun in the role but training the teens to play the roles too older for them has paid off when it comes to finding replacements at the last moment.
KAYCE MCWHORTER stepped-in at the last moment and like Mitaya, served us well as a teen that has learned her part well. Kayce, by her nature, is a character actress with her tall Charlotte Greenwood stature and comic timing. She has been working on playing Mehitabel with more maturity and got her chance to prove it early by stepping in to fill a role at the last minute. We have a troupe of young people willing to go the extra mile and its a good thing.
SUE SINOR is our small Fanny and watching her bounce around the stage is always fun for me. I miss not seeing Fannys red hair under the cap, or perhaps wear the hair in a pulled-back bun without a hat. The hat is good with the costume but Sue was shading her face too much. Perhaps the hat sitting on the hair more so we see more red hair.
|2/20/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, Feb. 20, 2016
What a tremendous show! The Drunkard and Olio was tonight, making it a 3-week straight especially with full-houses and exceptionally great performance ensemble casts. After tonights show veteran cast member, Tulsa actress, Nancy Chambers, said ” tonights show was the best cast she had ever seen perform the show”. Wow! Heres the good report on this splendid evening at The Spotlight.
THE SING ALONG was loud and wonderful and the full house had fun being led down memory lane as Stephen Berg yelled out another song to sing. Our piano player LARRY MITCHELL never missed a beat and both had the crowd singing “Oklahoma” as if the Sooner football were there. This rousing songfest set the stage for a spectacular Olio and by the time the Drunkard started we could do no wrong!
THE SERVERS/DOWN FRONT did an exceptional job last night serving this 87 plus house. I watched all the customers being dealt with efficiently and with a smile. I see a lot from the back and the servers this night were really sharp. Thanks to DENNIS, JULIE, AMANDA BRE and Bres daughter.
MC-HOST was Matthew Spruill, who has become one of our best Hosts in such a short time. (MC's take time like wine and get smooth and look like they belong there all the time.) This smoothness comes from practice and not being afraid to take chances and experiment. He is the only comic we have as an MC and is allowed to dress as he pleases since that is the way stand-ups work as comics. Other MCs are looking at costumes and glamour to enhance their stage appearance with the 1890 Drunkard show. Matt also does not spend too much time finding the servers to point out in their introduction at the top of his announcements; he reads their names plainly and as a group, which I like. Matthew follows the guidelines of the Host and is refreshing as he does this-using his stand-up timing to keep our attention. Not all MCs can do what Matt does but his finesse at providing us a great service is catching on nicely.
PIANO PLAYER this performance was Larry Mitchell, our newest and proving to be just what the doctor ordered for his wonderful friend Julie Skye who serves and volunteers and never stops smiling. She is a candidate for House Manager. Larry played the piano for the smaller kids in tonights Olio and came early to give the girls a warm-up session before the big show. Larry went over the songs and coached the children so tenderly and professionally on catching up and being together for the live performance and they rose to the occasion. Larry is a trooper and he helped make us very professional looking with our warm-up rehearsal and dont think the parents wont talk about how their kids were treated. (Except for the food we did not provide any food for an early call for these kids, we do this so rarely we didnt think about it.)
THE OLIO was a huge success. MS. DOROTHY MCFADDEN was our guest pianist who had performed at the first Tulsa Spotlight Club event in 1952. She was 101 years old and came back again this year to play the Olio. Her one selection, Stardust, was wonderful and the appreciating sold-out Tulsa audience stood and cheered.
OLIOVATIONS KIDS conquered the theatre. After the fourth girl performed her piece we were flabbergasted at the talent and skills of our own Tulsa kids. For many of our audiences seeing an Olio like this with very talented kids up close and entertaining you is a lifetime experience. We loved every performance of these 4 girls last night and will not soon forget it. ABIGAIL MARTIN opening the string of Broadway show tunes with the opening number from the musical Hairspray, “Good Morning Baltimore”. JASAMINE KATZMAN, followed her with a dramatic singing of “The Wizard and I” and she was followed by GRACE RAINES with the comedic song from “Bye Bye Birdie”-Kids. The fourth girl PERCY EASTER, did not sing a show tune but instead chose an uplifting and catchy lyric song that became the cherry on top to this delightful crowd pleasing Olio.
JOHN HANSEN and DIANA EASTER are hell on wheels with a good audience. These two get more laughs together and they having fun together. I think John Hansen just gives-up with Diana Easter and allows her to steer the lifeboat for a short distance. The crowd adored them last night.
JACOB MCDANIEL as Frank Slade gave a great performance last night and wore a wig to his final scene where he kills his father. The wig aged the boy 10 years and was a perfect choice. Congratulations as an actor taking your role to a new height.
SEBASTIAN PADEN as Willie had a funny moment when an old ad lib “you can go home with me” came from the audience. The audience loved it and laughed hard at Sebastians recovery from the “wisecrack”.
MONICA SALLAWAY as Fanny Morgan is funny. She is getting good reviews from the audience with her choices as a comedic actress in a role not so funny. Have fun.
ERNIE RAYNOR as Romaine is costumed so nicely, as is DR. TOM, when he appears as Romaine. Costumes are part of the ambiance of The Spotlight and there is more to come as MCs will all eventually be costumed nicely. Looking dapper in a role that calls it has always been a fun costume but these newcomers like Ernie are displaying their pride as actors wearing just the right thing for them to shine in the part.
|2/6/2016|| Directors Notes for The Drunkard and Olio, Feb. 6, 2016
Got a call from Christina Bonds that we didnt have a Frank for tonights show, nobody, absolutely nobody on the roster of Franks were available?! Jere ultimately came through with a solid plan and thanks to the skills of veteran Spotlight actors Tom Rowe, Richard Robertson and others on stage with strong theatrical backgrounds came through as if they were at the Old Globe. The missing Frank was not missed thanks to skills, planning and thinking on the feet including our new star Tim Parker, who never missed-a-beat and still got all the laughs he wanted and turned-in a performance that brought down the house with his debut Sample! Since Tim has proven he can do our biggest challenge in a role, I hope he will begin to study the role of Frank, since that role has the turning points an actor can get their teeth into. Last weeks cast was the best show I had seen at Spotlight but last nights performances under duress of missing an actor ”I stand amazed and no not what to say”?! Shakespeare
OLIO was very good and ended before 8 pm and we started on time.
SCOTT RADFORD: This talented young man will be welcome back anytime. Our audience liked him a lot and loved discovering hes been playing and singing in our Olio at Spotlight since he was a boy. Scott has a clear voice and pleasant stage presence that elevates our first impressions for the evening. Rousing applause.
SAM ADKINS: Sams two songs were crowd pleasers. Im enjoying watching Sam sing and play especially now since he has relaxed into some smooth moves with his singing sheriff character, in the Olio.
SING ALONG LEADER: Rachel Horsely stepped up to bat for Stephen Berg, who normally conducts the sing along and hit a home run for me. She had volunteered last night to be House Manager and I asked her to lead the singing. She and Judy our flawless piano player worked very nicely together. Rachel had conducted the sing along before.
PIANO: We are so fortunate have 4 great piano players available to us and Judy Parks, shines as one of them. Her energy is always were it needs to be and smiles for everyone. I like the way she adds nice extra touches to her music without taking a long time to do it.
MC: Sam Adkins as Sheriff of Cedarville is always a pleasure to watch in his costume. I want to see him get through the intros of the servers more quickly. Each server does not have to be present the announcement is enough and if the MC sees them point them out otherwise keep moving. I want to see the ladies in their costumes as MC but somewhere along the line there was a derailment on those plans, seems there were heat issues but I see them as an excuse. The costumes present an ambience from the minute you walk in the door.
TIM PARKER gave one the best debuts yet. I kept seeing all the work we did in rehearsals popping up and being executed with such planned skill for a young man without a lot of experience. Hats off to one of our new stars of the show, Tim Parker!
RANDY BELFORD continues to build his villain the way I like them, funny and mean. New make-up changes have helped define his meaner looking face. His black and red cape has been mastered and love to watch him working the cape instead of it working him. Its good to have Tulsa actors interested enough to come perform with us and share what they have and learn new things from us!
ROMAINE is played by new comer Dr. Tom Allen and a fine job he does as the dapper Romaine who now helps others refrain from alcohol. He is delightful in the role.
SIMON SLADE played with such finesse by Tom Rowe is always fun to watch. I sat with a friend of Toms for part of the show and we marveled at the gestures and motions he uses.
WILLIE HAMMOND played by the very popular Sebastian Paden helped save the day for doing some quick thinking on his feet with a character missing from the script.
ANN SLADE played so brilliantly by Ann Knight was quick on her abilities to work around an issue on stage as she moaned and groaned to her unappreciative husband.
JOE MORGAN played by Richard Robertson is on a winning streak for audience approval these days. His drunken Joe Morgan is sympathetic and funny.
MARY MORGAN performed so beautifully by Mary Rose Rich, is remaining a favorite of mine for all the right moves and speaking qualities and singing abilities associated with this role.
MEHITABEL CARTWRIGHT was played tonight by Linda Walker whose parents are also Spotlight performers. Linda makes a cute and charming country girl.
FANNY MORGAN played by Eileen Hardy is a pleasure to direct and watch perform.
|11/21/2015|| Directors notes for The Drunkard show on Sat. November 21
What a great show this was, even when things went wrong nobody noticed and I could go away happy with the energy the cast put out.
MATTHEW SPRUILL has become quite the smooth guy as an MC for the show. Hes relaxed and confident and entertains with sharp timing, has manners and a smile that is forgivable even on his Kansas / Oklahoma slams. The audience likes him and looks forward to his return to the stage.
PIANO PLAYER and SONG MAESTRO
JUDY PARKS is a wonder for me as a director who wants to have a participatory sing-a-along that rocks with enthusiasm and she delivers along with STEPHEN BERG as the Song Maestro. They work well as a team and the audience loved them.
MUSIC NOTATION TO JERE:
I have a book of Christmas Caroling lyrics and music for the piano that can be copied and used during the holidays for the piano players to use should they want to do it. Last year the audience sang without printed words and loved it anyway but wanted to get an insert of Christmas songs made for our holiday shows. This will be a job Ill want Bill Rowland and Sue to help select songs for us or pass the responsibility to another but this is begging to be done each year.
MATTHEW SPRUILL did his stand-up comedy and did well and came away pleased with his act and he did the right amount of time for the comedy jokes.
ANNA MASSEY was a singing act and sang well but she needs an outfit to wear that matches her talents and that will take her over the top with audiences.
MATT STEIERT as Sample was great. This actor has relaxed into his own pace and quality of heading up a leading character and keeping our interest in the play. Matt has slowed his performance delivery down and does not rush and the difference is hearing all he has to say and gives his acting antics a chance to land with a proper laugh or appreciation.
TOM ROWE as Simon Slade is a master team player and never missed a beat with his debuting ERNIE RAYNOR as Romaine.
ERNIE RAYNOR did very well for his debut as Romaine and even brought his very own fan club that cheered on his every entrance and exits and not once acknowledged their favoritism of him. He deserves the cheers for remembering everything his director taught him. The first time I heard Ernie in auditions I knew he would be a good Romaine.
EILEEN HARDY as Fanny was exceptionally centered as Joe Morgans wife. Eileen has taken pride in her advancement in acting. She continually listens and wants to be a better performer at The Spotlight and beyond where she wears her embracement of all of us as family.
JILL SNEED is a funny Mehitabel and makes a comedy picnic out of her antics with Matt as Sample.
NANCY CHAMBERS is a solid good actress and true blue Spotlighter and always gives her surroundings an air of professionalism.
RANDY BELFORD as the villain Harvey Green had a glitch in the killing of Willie and jumped some lines and action. Randy is a new actor to our stage and proven performer and serves to remind even the most experienced actors that concentration and focus in our small little show is essential for changing week to week cast members to be consistant in their lines and blocking. Randy still works the large cape as a pro and the audience enjoys it. Randy works at making the cape a part of the character much like Ray Bolger does in his performance in “Babes in Toyland”.
WESLEY GROVE as Frank Slade still is a favorite and were grateful he and JACOB remain loyal to staying with their roles. These young people are learning great values by doing these roles and remaining steadfastly clean with their performances always looking fresh.
DAN EBERLY is so good in all his roles. His Willie Hammond was slick and polished as if he did it every week. He is a good team player and is well respected by the casts as an ensemble player and assistant director.
KAYCE MCWHORTER as little Mary is wonderful to watch in her death bed. This actress takes direction well and remembers it. She has the best sadness about her death, I love it.
RICHARD ROBERTSON is a solid Joe Morgan. His scenes with Mary are too real and father-like. It has to be a trip to perform Little Mary with him.
|11/7/2015|| Directors notes for The Drunkard Nov. 7th
The evening went well despite two cancelations including an MC. It took THE RULE OF BEING FAMILIAR WITH THE ROLES that got MONICA SALLAWAY and Joe Sears through the nights routine. Monica stepped in a few weeks early for a debut but as soon as I got the call that there were no Fannies available, I knew this actress could rise to the occasion. And she did. And she didnt miss a beat. (Costume for Fanny needs improvement but shell take that up later with me.)
As for my debut as MC replacement, well, the audience spread of approval went from deer in the headlights to actual approval of my keeping things moving. My high-pitched voice with such a large man is like stumbling to most but my funny manner wins them over. Yet none of them will want to say anything to me should we be in the same laundromat.
BILL JENSEN was wonderful and charming as always and comes and goes with a smile. Audiences are mesmerized by him almost reverently perhaps, like his tiny soft singing were something coming to life from a video game. Bill delivers the live entertainment card very nicely.
TINA MICHAEL brings down the house with Red Hot Mama character. She sings Peggy Lee, show tunes, Cab Calloway and we love it. Im going to ask for some Dina Washington.
MITAYA MORDECAI debuted as Frank, our most recent gender switcher-roo of sorts. I like the enthusiasm of this young and capable actor. She had been working to reduce her feminine qualities on stage to help make the Frank transformation complete. She conquered all the familiar obstacles to make this happen but in the end her winning over the idea of her playing Frank stemmed from being able to create a boy to maturity aged young man drunk and mad by alcohol. Congratulations on a well-done last scene of being drunk and disorderly.
MONICA SALLAWAY was fantastic with her big comedy expressions and serious opposites to get the best results from an audience wanting to be entertained. Monica has the gamut of facial expressions to go through and such serious antics give way to funny comedy skills in characterization. This actress will be a great asset to our company.
|10/24/2015|| Directors notes for The Drunkard and Olio Sat. October 24
Pride in the show is what I experienced in watching our fun cast be a really good ensemble for a smaller house. We had a debut for a new villain, Randy Belford who did quite well except for letting a costume upstage him. We had fun watching Samantha and Tom work together flawlessly in their scenes making my job look really well done.
SAM ADKINS is a great sheriff MC once he gets going but this week I want to work with him on first appearance attention getters for his introduction “greet”. I like his playful manner with the audience but dont be hesitant, they love you being overly gregarious and friendly and info should come out easier.
SINGALONG: The crowd was not singing as much since many were lost in the “when to come in singing” cue from a lengthy intro of the song given by the piano player. The new pianist LARRY MITCHELL had the singalong leader lost at times as to when to come in. Larry did find a pattern to begin songs with STEPHEN BERG to make the songs work better. The new pianist will be great after he finds the rhythm of the show.
THE GYPSY FIRE BELLY DANCERS: These ladies were hot and colorful and mesmerizing to watch in their synchronous movement of bells, chingles and belly buttons. The audience loved them and we want them back.
TINA MICHAEL, the RED HOT MAMA: This lady rocked the Olio segment making it the best set of Olio acts I have seen together. We want to ask this singer back sooner than later.
JOHN HANSEN: His delivery and execution of his large monologue of jokes was so well done I didnt mind hearing the “Cough Syrup” joke. Sometimes this veteran of the Spotlight stage is just so good as Sample he steals the show with his characterization.
WESLEY GROVE: This young actor still amuses me with his characterization but he has forgotten how to pour the drinks more quickly with the tempo. Well fix this at his next rehearsal.
RANDY BELFORD: As mentioned before he is a really good and funny villain and didnt miss a lick. However, he needs more ominous make-up perhaps more dark eye shadow to give him a more ominous look maybe accent an eyebrow. His cape came off in the woodland scene and upstaged him throughout the scene as he dealt with it. Actors often get this from a malfunction but the rule of thumb is lay the prop aside rather than fight it.
DON GILMORE: Tonights show was his best that Ive seen from him. Don was relaxed and confident and all his words could be heard and set a good tempo for his character.
TOM ROWE: This was a good night for Tom with his good ensemble work always making a new debut player feel comfortable on stage with him.
SEBASTIAN PADEN: He is just a solid good and dashing hero.
JILL MORRIS: I like the way her character pouts.
GREG A. BONDS: Greg makes a caring father and brings more sympathy to the scene for Mary with his performance but watch letting the pace die with your acting passions for the character.
KAYCE MCWHORTER: She has debuted earlier but seeing her again is fresh and wonderful. She is a fine Little Mary along with her pack of Little Marys making us now have 8 wonderful Little Marys to choose from. Mary Rose was a server in the down front last night and told me she missed not being scheduled more often and told her to make it happen and tell Christina she wants put on the schedule again. Our Little Marys are being so good and numerous they are like savings bonds ready to cash in when needed. Kayce is a great little actress and has aspirations of playing Mehitabel but being so young is hard- nonetheless Im considering it for her only to see if it works with a younger Sample.
SAMANTHA ESTES: The role of Mehitabel is a sweetheart in her hands.
JAN KENDALL: Just when you think you have gotten use to Jans “noooooooo” she comes along and makes us laugh again with this very broad and melodramatic move around a table.
|9/19/2015|| Directors notes on Drunkard Saturday September 19
The audience was with this show all night long and never missed a beat. JOHN HANSEN was at the helm and DIANA EASTER at his side for a night of laughter with two well-suited performers getting good laughs. EASTER was especially funny with her choreographed antics to make her Mehitabel a memorable part of the evening. Watching her and HANSEN together is a lesson in comic timing. Tom Rowe saved the day a couple of times with actors' being late and missing entrances. Only because we are an amateur-based theatre do we even tolerate actors' missing an entrance, but dont count on that to protect any cast member who makes a habit of such non-focusing events.
MATTHEW SPRUILL serves the evening well with his laid-back comic timing. I marvel at this mans fortitude to take command of an audience that does not want to calm down right away and listen. He just plows right through their discussions until he gets their attention and sometimes that comes with the expense of a well-planned joke. I hope this MC continues to be one of our hosts as his personal career continues to grow as a Tulsa comic.
MILLIE AND MAUDE comedy duet is slipping and could use another rehearsal with me to get the timing back where it needs to be. This comedy skit, funny as it is, starts to drag in pace and the jokes are less funny as a result. Rehearsal needs to be scheduled before this act is booked again.
STEFAN AND DIANA EASTER are flawless with their comedy dance routine. I am trying to get this creative dance duo to do their “Light on Their Feet” dance OLIO act more often since this is a great audience-pleaser.
KAYCE MCWHORTER as new debuting Little Mary was spectacular. Kayce is one of several actors as a new Little Mary making their first appearances. These are worthy actresses for teens and hold their own among the veterans on stage. Kayce is funny and sad and pathetic in her acting of Mary making the character, funny and appealing to the heart as she dies, bringing out the sighs from the audience. Im very pleased with this young lady.
JACOB MCDANIEL as young Frank Slade is such a fun kid to watch. The audience enjoys watching this young actor have fun on stage.
SUE SINOR as Fanny Morgan has a breathy quality in her voice that makes this character appealing and sympathetic. Her tiny frame as an actress aids her movement into and out of melodramatic gestures keeping her performance captivating.
TIM PARKER as Willie Hammond is a pride for The Spotlight performer who takes a melodramatic style and runs with it all the way to the touchdown.
LARRY STOCKARD was on stage tonight and had fans in the audience. One of the new Romaine actors in rehearsals was there tonight to watch Larry Stockard in action. “I was told Larry was the Romaine to watch work on stage and learn from,” he said. I quickly agreed.
BOB ROBERTS as our tall and grumpy villain is a striking figure when he is up and moving. Bobs height makes him a grand figure also making his cowardly notions all the more disdainful. He gets a note to speak up in the dialogue leading up to the killing of Willie Hammond.
JILL MORRIS as Ann Slade gets good laughs on her facial reactions on her husbands lack of sensitivity.
GREG A. BONDS as Joe Morgan has mastered the Jackie Gleason “school of bits” of taking a drink on stage.
|9/5/2015|| Directors report on the Drunkard Sat. September 5
The show was good and kept moving with a great audience. The sing-a-long was a train wreck with the pianist playing too fast to sing with but we got to hear his ragtime!
ROGER CORNELISON is a comedy Magician and he was engaging from the start and made us giggle a lot. The audiences liked his “sleight of hand”.
The M.C. could have given the introduction of this act a little more pizazz. I think all Olio acts need that showmanship intro that leads the applause into the person coming out to more enthusiasm.
M.C. /SAM ADKINS does well as one of our hosts dressed as the sheriff. He did get the announcements in with a booming voice that can be heard. I also noticed the MC got up quietly and respectfully during the show to quiet the lobby down since we could hear them in the house. This is the House Manager's job to keep noise down by chatty servers but an MC can certainly do so if the house manager isnt around. A Bartender can also display authority in keeping voices down.
THE DRUNKARD CAST
DAN EBERLY: It was great to see Dan again on stage after several weeks of seeing Matt and John do the role. Dan was slowing his tempo down to a relaxed beat that rode perfectly with our crowd and all his rushed bits had more time to land and be heard and more funny. The lead players have to set the pace sometimes when an audience needs it. Dan had a nice evening to relax and sail his ship evenly like a true captain.
KRIS OSBORN: Mehitabel tonight was just charming and Kris came into the show as comfortable as a wedding blanket on a honeymoon. Her coyness and demeanor was the best I have seen from her. I loved her choice of costumes as well. I loved her hat but because it was so big she didnt have enough room to turn and lay her head in Sample's lap on her line ”and Im yours forever”! If she is to wear the big hat just lean into Sample's shoulder.
NANCY CHAMBERS: This is such a fine actress always focused and doing what she is supposed to do. She knows how to be moving effectively in her lines with Slade after returning from the Morgans house. This actress looks good in costume and has luscious facial expressions. We are pleased to have her talents as Ann Slade. I live for the way she stomps her foot at her insensitive husband on her exit ”Oh husband” She is so good at it Im going to give the bit to all the Anns that follow her.
GREG A. BONDS: He is still one of my favorite Joe Morgans but dont I say that about all our Joe Morgans? Perhaps I like all our Joe Morgans a whole lot but nobody visually creates the dancing demons before him quite like Greg.
EILEEN HARDY: Im very partial to our Fannys, and Eileen has embraced her character so lovingly and draws great sympathy from the audience. I want her to wear a more floor-length dress from the period. Her dress is ok and works. I just like the flow of a full-to-the-floor dress with Fanny. A shorter dress is more working class from this era even if Fanny has been reduced to that but she would cling to her look as a merchant /millers wife, as a woman will cling sometimes to a hairstyle that always flattered her.
TOM ROWE: As Slade the landlord he amazes me with his consistent gestures and movements to the melodramatic style as he exits and enters and how he footnotes surprise. Were he a professional actor his eyebrows would have a union card.
TIM PARKER: His Willie has balls on his overcoat with his total dejection of destitution and desperation. Willie needs to move a little quicker to Samples handshake after laying down the knife. Crossing to Sample too slowly even in character gives more time for the villain to be discovered in his attempt to kill Willie. The villains outburst of treachery is still a surprise to the audience as he grabs the knife after being shown mercy.
RICHARD ROBERTSON: It was good to see Richard in tails again, as Romaine. He sure does know how to wear them well. (Markings of a most splendid actor).
JEREMY CARROLL: This villain cant help but break character in the tomato throwing scene. As soon as the red projectiles begin he begins to grin and duck and grin and lean back and smiles, and dodge down and back again still smiling and looking at the person who threw a good one, so close. He is more like a big kid at a water balloon fight than a tomato fight. IT WORKS for him and others do not have permission to break character!
JACOB MCDANIEL: His Frank has settled in nicely as a great addition to our cast. He will be an inspiration to our new Franks, both his age and older who come after him.
ABIGAIL JOHNSON: Splendid debut and made us laugh at the death scenes which is so ok. She takes some of her bits to the brink and chooses to stop at the right time to avoid too much melodrama and avoid a note from her director. Making good choices is the markings of a good actor and Abigail has earned her debut with a bravo performance. I would remind her to select one man on the front row to sing her ”come home, come home, come home ” to and this gets a better and bigger laugh then singing to a general area or direction. Welcome aboard Abigail and please consider going forth into the realm of Mehitabel someday when you are older or home from college.
|8/22/2015|| Director Notes for the Drunkard Sat. August 22
It was a tough show with an audience that hung in there. Elements added together in the right combinations can cause a slowdown in energy and keeping attention ability. (In the theater we call this focus.) Some actors were very late, and so late the other characters were beginning the adlibs when the actor finally came out of the dressing room and entered. Jere, our great stage manager, accepted the excuse and as always showed a kinder side to an age-old theatre mistake of missing an entrance and living with having egg on your face. Some actors went blank more than once, causing a noticeable glitch and a reminder for me to remind everyone on Wednesday to go over their lines before Saturday shows. Its a responsibility to the cast members as an ensemble to know your movement and lines.
Board member SCOTT PENDLETON showed for an unexpected viewing and was quickly recruited to be a server since one did not show-up as expected. Scott remained busy and watched the show from the back and appeared to enjoy himself.
Sing-a-long went well. After a two-week absence of STEPHEN BERG, we were ready to see him return and give our preshow some fine singing and get-up and go! He was sporting a new vest made especially for his role at The Drunkard and added to the ambience of the 1890s themed songs he leads.
MICHAELA BROWN our House Manager was as always very efficient and dresses nicely and presents her role with pride for greeting the public. She is flawless and never misses the curtains to be opened as the lights come up for intermission.
JERE UNCAPHER our great stage manager dimmed the lights too low on the first Joe Morgan home scene lighting cue. He had brought up and left on the wrong cue until discovered and we finally had light. He made some smart moves to get out of it without shutting down the scene and that is finesse and proper thinking.
|8/15/2015|| Directors Report for the Drunkard Sat. August 15
What a tremendous show this was and a great debut for our new Sample, MATT STEIERT as he sailed through the play tonight without a glitch anywhere we could see. DAN EBERLY one of the stars of the show (Sample) and assistant director for the show, sat with me in the audience to see his well trained and coached Sample come to life in Matts performance. Matt is a clown actor with comedy obviously as a value in this actors training and he is a team player, an ensemble actor, a blending with the cast that is the markings of a most excellent standout without being a standout. Im proud to present Matt as one our new Samples and his roots for this role will always speak for the fun team that helped get him there.
HOUSE MANAGER AND BARTENDER did a good job of keeping the chatter down in the lobby and never let it get too loud.
The Olio was excellent and started the evening off properly for a full house ready to be entertained.
SAM ADKINS (the singing sheriff of Cedarville) was really good tonight with his two songs showing tremendous signs of confidence and poise with his singing and playing and all of this looking dapper in his red cowboy outfit. The more he gets up before the audiences the better his performance gets.
THEATER TULSA READING CLUB
What a treat this group is and we like their Carol Burnett skit “High School Classmates” and we love this skit to come back often. The Olio is an important showcase before our play begins and with skits its very important they be good as they serve as a “things to come” in the play. We want good actors to perform before our play begins so audiences will be thinking this is what is coming. Audiences love this skit because Theater Tulsa Readers Club sends us quality people rehearsed to perform very well.
EMCEE was Sue Wiedemann and again she was lovely in her blue dress and popped in front of the gold curtains. Sue was really on top of things tonight and kept the evening going nicely.
PIANIST was Judy Parks on her own without a singalong leader! Judy ruled!
MATT STEIERT as Sample is mentioned above.
CURT ROSE chose to begin his new character expansion of Romaine with a French accent that worked out well for him and hope he continues to do it. The accent was performed well and consistently displaying some good acting techniques to the audience. The accent makes the character even more interesting.
JACOB MCDANIEL as Frank is stealing the show the proper way by characterization and loves to take stage direction. Hell make a funny drama student one day in college or a great motivator for others. I cant say enough about a young persons desire to be the best they can be and for actors we are always seeking our best.
SEBASTIAN PADEN is still the master of the opening greeting monologue. He gets through this routine and makes it fresh for each audience. I think he has been getting better and better in Willies death scene over the last year choosing some nice acting moments that work for the audience.
JEREMY CARROLL as one of our trusted villains is the slick one for bad guys. His tomatoes scene getting pelted is personal to him and stands there as if daring them to throw more. I saw people get up and walk down front to hit him and each tomato gets a look of “thank you” -disdain, I love that!
RICHARD ROBERTSON had a great night with an audience that seemed to hang on his every word as Joe Morgan. They really sympathized with him and wanted to hear what Joe had to say. Richard found some new acting prowess in the home scene and they are working as audience pleasers.
SAM ADKINS as Simon Slade in the end scene before he is killed has finally made the cross over to a sad drunken man and he gathers sympathy now when he enters and is a lost man. Sams drunken slip of the tongue with hickle and shief. I mean sickle and ” is going to be classic Simon Slade
MELISSA HARRIS is funny especially with exits. Nobody does “oold Milll” quite as fast and furious as her and gets the laugh every time. The fun part is the audience trying to keep up with her “old Mill” delivery. I will caution actors to know when to stop trying to improve a bit once it works.
MARY ROSE RICH makes such a lovely Mary and this actress puts out the energy for Mary and gets the laughs and the drama.
JAN KENDALL is a good Fanny and does the Melodrama well. I had a guest from Vermont this night and has been in Melodramas himself. After watching Jans first scene he leaned over to me and said “she is really good” It pays to do the Melodrama broadness when the actors know how to do it well.
|7/25/2015|| Directors notes for THE DRUNKARD Saturday July 25th
The show tonight was excellent and featured two debuts and a returning Joe Morgan we have missed. The Sing-a-long was exceptionally good. Large house was very entertained by Olio and play tonight.
MILLIE AND MAUDE skit is better since a pace was put into it that works for the laughs this duo of comics produce. Jill has a great ending with her skit, “ he thought he was God, and I didnt”!
STEFAN AND DIANA EASTER were tremendous and had the audience thrilled to be watching dancing again. Its rare to see audiences enjoy modern dance and this skit was great! “Papa loves mambo”, number was a hit and want to book that one again.
MC was Priscilla Mayfield who did a great job of making the evening move. I like her coverage of the small details MC need to do she makes it seem interesting since she enjoys telling it.
SING A LONG leader sang out well tonight and got others to do it as well. Stephen Berg had the theatre with loud and enthusiastic singing tonight.
PIANO PLAYER Ruth Hunt was very expressive with her cues, I like that.
FOLLOW SPOT Ken Steward has been asked to design along with Jeres consent a demon special effect from gobos on the followspot that can make the back wall dance and move with shadows to heighten the drama of Joe Morgan and his speech to the liquor demons and create something audiences love,- visual special effects.
DAN EBERLY is always good but tonight he helps steer the play solidly for all the newcomers and returning cast members. He is a secure force in the newbies backstage as well. Working with one of our stars each week gets the newbies not only ready but allows them to fit like a glove come their debut. John Hansen is also good at helping when he does come but Eberly is always there as assistant director and acting coach.
JACOB MCDANIEL debut was tonight and he could have been at Carnegie Hall he beamed so. The audience verbally responded to his escalation as a young drunk and again 10 years later. Our young men in the play continue to shine as actors and this training will suit them forever in so many ways including completion of a team effort, the discipline of learning a mutual task to bring about a common good. These are valuable things to retain forever and you thought theater was just playacting.
BRITT WADE was especially mean and funny with his indignant glances to anyone who would dare boo him. He was hit by a single slow tomato to the head and went down as if it had knocked him out and we all laughed at loud with joy at this mans antics.
JILL MORRIS as Ann Slade is possibly the best at doing the “Ooold Miilll” gesture. It does not take long for audiences to catch on with her. Several members of the audience actually gestured along with her on “old mill” line, they enjoyed it so much.
DONALD GILMORE as Romaine had a very good (returning after 4 years) debut as Romaine. This actor is a team player all the way after doing what is asked of you. Don brings a dignity to Romaine that suits the role and theater nicely.
GREG A. BONDS returned to play Joe Morgan again after several months absence from the roster of actors. He picked up the changes for his scenes nicely enough and caught him doing lines backstage with Little Mary just before the play started. This is always a good sign to me that our actors are taking their commitment seriously in a 63-year history of caring to get it right. Have I said what a great Joe Morgan he is and has inspired the special effects addition to his scene where he faces the demons.
MARY YADON as Little Mary cracks me up with her skipping and gliding across the floor. She has become a solid fixture of dependable quality in her performance.
DIANE EASTER has an ability to act, move, draw attention and be focused on stage where she should be, all at the same time. Being a flawless dancer she has mastered movement but antics along with her country bumpkin Mehitabel is a stich. I have only to remind her to keep her focus on the star of the show (Sample) to share the comedy and she does this. It can be hard keeping up with her energy but this breath of fresh air for two scenes is welcome. Samples hang in there! LOL
SUE WIEDEMANN as Fanny is still true to the Melodrama style as several actors are including the new Tim Parkers Willie and Stephen Ryan as Joe Morgan and Tom Rowe as Simon Slade.
TOM ROWE as Simon Slade brought gasps on his last scene with make-up on, he looked so sad and nasty and nothing like the happy saloon keeper we meet at the top of the play. We are so fortunate to have his talents and energy among us.
|7/18/2015|| Director notes on The Drunkard for July 18, 2015
The Drunkard audience last night really enjoyed the play despite some glitches that should have been avoided but Dan Eberly saved the day a couple of times and thats why we respect him so and how stars are supposed to act, an ensemble player.
MC: Sue was too warm in her Victorian dress and the stage manager told her to dress down for the near 100 degree heat and Sue chose a great sky blue dress with antique necklace to shine as our evening hostess. Sue was concerned the first intermission was rushed and servers were not getting the orders out or in. I have no idea why this intermission is rushed or if its a mistake but keeping the front of house happy is very important and we need to make money. However I caution the stage manager not to let any intermission interfere with the plays success by letting an intermission go on too long and people sit and wait for the curtain to go up. It has been a long time since we have had that happen. Sue may need to use a mic to quiet down an audience that talks over her and we miss info such as the tomatoes.
HOUSE MANAGER: I noticed last night the curtain in the back of the house was not drawn back for audiences to exit at intermissions. I did this duty twice which is no big deal but that is on somebody elses list of duties and they need to be carried out. My suggestion is the House Manager assigns those duties to a server if the HM cant do it. It is also the duty of the HM to secure silence from the lobby during a show. Talking and chat is always permissible during the show at a level the audience cant hear. This PROBLEM has been getting better and better but has not completely been subdued. Nothing demeans our efforts more than to have our audiences hear our own people talking loud enough to be a distraction from the actors.
SING ALONG LEADER: Stephen Berg was especially good starting off the sing-a-long on stage without a script in his hand. His confidence and voice was wonderful prompting on audience member to turn to another and say “he sings really well”! Stephen did have to return to the songbook but he had shown how utterly professional it looks and feels to have the songs memorized and hands free to conduct and be properly animated. He had the songs rolling along sounding very good and folks loving the singing. Stephen needs to stand in the light of the spotlight or the spotlight operator must pick him up better.
PIANO PLAYER: Debra Pope is a fun piano player but noticed she needs to get to her seat at the proper time without causing distractions as the scene is going on. If there is a cue coming up she should be there at the piano seat without having to get up and move to the piano. This does not mean our piano players cant take a break but they need to do that and return at a time they are least noticed.
OLIO ACTS: We had two acts and both were excellent. The Tulsa Readers Club is one of my favorites and this “reunion” skit is too funny but in the back of the house I heard two people say “I cant hear her”. I dont know how to give notes to another organizations offerings so a note to this group is our stage is small but voices have to project more, to bounce over 80 people to be heard in the back.
Abigail Whitson Clopp did really well and took the audience by storm with her magnificent singing. Her improvement from the first time I saw her perform was 100%. She was centered and looked like she belonged there and she hit all the notes of difficult songs. She is being asked back sooner and told her to request more Saturdays.
DAN EBERLY Monologue was especially smooth and funny. Dan takes his time to get every laugh. He saved a scene a major wreck here and there. He is a solid foundation for the actors to rely on and keeps the pace properly flowing.
WESLEY GROVE as Frank still cracks me up with his drunk scene. Did he forget his newspaper prop?
TIM PARKER as Willie had a much better monologue to open the show. It moved evenly and didnt seem to long. This actor gets better with the more confidence he gathers.
LINDA WALKER as Mahitabel was charmingly wonderful and gave her best performance so far. She continues to improve her performance and make the role more fun for her and the audience.
CARLA WALKER as Fanny Morgan can be heard in the back of the theatre and every consonant. She is a keeper.
|6/27/2015|| Directors Notes Saturday June 27
It was a good show with a small audience and with a sing-a-long leader the energy stayed level and kept an air of enthusiasm.
OLIO: There was only one act, a juggler needing practice.
We have secured another sing-a-long leader to share the load with Stephen Berg. Racheal Horsely, of Ramona, OK will be starting her debut as leader sometime this month or next. I have noticed our sing-a-long leader can run out of gas by the third intermission, the singing can get tiresome by this point and wonder about this.
MC: Priscilla Mayfield did a good job as usual; her speech about volunteers is always encouraging and makes it seem like old family traditions to join us. She makes the idea of volunteering something to think about and consider as a fun thing to join. She forgot to mention to say “drop dead” to the villain but Ill allow this dedicated volunteer a mistake or two.
RICHARD ROBERTSON, is a great Joe Morgan. His speech to the audience on how he lost the Mill is wonderful and his ending description of the demise of Slade and Judge Hammond is Shakespearean acting and yet makes it a hoot to boot.
MATT STEIERT, has finally come back to us! His Frank is so much fun to see performed and this actor is a great study in stage antics. He can perform bits and never steal focus away from the proper focal point and does this with ensemble knowledge of working together on stage with others. He begins again with rehearsals for a new Sample, to debut this summer.
JOHN HANSEN, is a leader on stage with comedy and pace, thats why he gets the big bucks.
BRITT WADEs villain role just cracks me up with his belligerent attitude toward the audience. Im hopeful Britt will resume his pursuit of learning the Sample role, a role he will excel in.
LARRY STOCKARD, is a favorite actor of mine, his demeanor as Romaine is always so laid back and wise and makes a great contrast to Samples antics. Larry is clever with the nuance of Melodrama styles.
SAM ADKINS as Simon Slade continues to get better each performance. Sam continues to add fun things to his role. This night I noticed his facial expressions to the action around him and its fun stuff and always appropriate never standing out.
KAY NELDON is a hoot to watch. Kay has great movement and takes the berating from her husband with hurtful expressions and I like her “Old Mill” bits the best. Im going to ask Christina to schedule Kay more often- if she can.
RACHEAL YADON is a great Little Mary but her costume needs Mary Jane shoes. What she had on is too modern.
SAMANTHA ESTES is a fabulous actress as Mahitabel but she was not allowed her rehearsal warm-up on Wednesday night. (I asked her to skip it to allow more time for newbies to get on stage, and as a result she had a couple of glitches in her dialogue she might not have had had she been allowed her rehearsal time.) I will work harder at getting our principal players for the weekend their chance to warm-up on Wednesday but we have so many newbies wanting to work and not enough time to do it. This is not a problem but a process to be worked out. We need the new flow of actors coming to us but cant let our disciplines slip in letting our cast have their warm-up. Ill do better on this.
SUE WIEDERMANN can always be heard in the back.
|6/20/2015|| Director notes from Saturday June 20
The show came down at 9:45 and was exceptionally good for a small audience. I love the tempo of this play as it keeps moving and misses no laughs. Some actors continue to be slow on cue pick-up slowing down their appeal to the audience.
The Olio acts were good and came off on time and ended before 8:00 pm
MATT SPRUILL continues to grow into one of our best MCs. His funny demeanor wins over the audience and he makes the most of slip-ups and unexpected glitches. His comment after Mary died was so perfect for a lead-in to talking about volunteers needed at The Spotlight, “we need volunteers here at The Spotlight, they keep dying”. Matt just got back from doing his comedy in Chicago, where he fared well and hope that as his career grows and he becomes more popular that he continues to come and be our MC from time to time.
Treston Lamb stepped-in and replaced Jason who had to cancel. Treston is a fun Frank but has a tendency to laugh at his own antics. He cracks me up when he does this but audiences dont find it amusing at all. He is young and continues to grow nicely into the role of Frank Slade but he needs to attend rehearsals to brush-up those funny antics.
JEREMY CARROLL is a regular villain who has the laid back meanness about him and I like and look forward to his brush-off of the audience when they boo him. He has a glint in his eye when he does something snide that keeps him appealing to our list of versatile villains.
SEBASTIAN PADEN gave a tremendous opening welcome monologue, the best paced ever and it was relaxed and just what we want all our Willies to copy, especially new Willies.
STEPHEN RYAN becomes a delight to watch act Joe Morgans role. He has a flair for sharing with an audience, which is what Joe Morgans are famous for and why his character is loved so.
RACHEAL YADON is a very good Mary, her solid performance has been a steadfast work in progress and now her acting is at ease and confident. She is a hoot to watch skip about and be ho hum.
CHELSEA FISKE is another solid Spotlight actor that is new and shines in her role as Mehitabel. She is also a strong volunteer at the cash register down front. As an actress we have her to set examples for other Mehitabels to follow her way and then make their choices as actors but this actress has all the right moves- taught to her, of course by her lovely director!
|6/13/2015|| The show was good despite a smaller house that made up for a large house with their enthusiasm thanks to a rousing song leader and a relaxed and spiffy looking MC who kept it all moving along nicely.
The survey drawing was better and quicker this week.
The magician went past eight oclock. Jere should remind the OLIO performers the Director has put a time limit on acts to be finished by 8:00 pm.
STEPHEN RYAN : This debut of Joe Morgans role is a long time coming as Stephen has been patiently attending rehearsals and awaiting the opportunity to be freed up from his regular role of Willie the hero. Stephen is a favorite already. Stephens Joe Morgan character is expressive and has energy.
MARY ROSE: Her Mary is becoming a favorite.
TIM PARKER: His Willie character is solid however his opening audience monologue is too long with the additions he has added about the villain kicking dogs etc. Pick the best ones and drop the others. This actor is wonderful to watch and his enthusiasm moved his progress along nicely.
HOUSE MANAGER: Wendy served as House Manager and noticed she got and reminded the lobby area servers and staff to be softer in speaking they could be heard. I have noticed the debris of white noise and chatter has diminished over the last few weeks and this is good. Lobby chat is always ok as long as its quiet. Our new recommendation for the lobby is, if you can be heard in the house you should not be talking at all.
I am a strong supporter of the blurbs being mentioned on our history by the MC but that support is for the skill in getting it said quickly and articulate it in an interestingly informative manner. This articulation is done with showing pride in the work we do as a charity fundraiser. I like the way Priscilla quickly gives the history of how this all started and when its rehearsed the spiel comes out quick and interesting to listen to. Then we hear that the charities and scholarships we have helped give out is now time to help ourselves to continue to help others for another 63 years.
My advice, if you can't feel this pride and say it that way and make it special don't bother to try, you either have the feelings for it or you don't. The audience likes this informative bit of our history when its presented with pride.
|6/6/2015|| Director Notes for the Saturday June 6th.
The house was great with plenty of laughter and despite an absent Sing-Along leader the crowd did well with Judy Parks vibrantly leading them and getting results. It did remind me how much more singing is done when we have a Sing-along leader urging them on.
The show came down at 9:42 but our cuts did not account for that entirely. Sue (MC) and Bobbie reported that servers were rushed in the early intermissions and orders could not be taken etc. The director claims innocence with this since the intermissions were not messed with nor were any changes to the routine of these intermissions discussed so what ever happened occurred by freak accident. The actual changes in the show probably cut off 10 minutes max if at all but the changes in the script did work and seemed right and did make the final scenes move quicker. I suspect the plays running time will end at 9:45 to 9:50 allowing folks, who glance at their watch more time to consider getting a free drink at a club, getting home to baby sitters on time or most importantly, they had a great time and got out before 10:00 pm and therefore wont look upon the play as being too long like many of the audience feedbacks from in house surveys.
I missed the Olio since I had out of town guests to deal with and did not get sat down until the just before the play started.
SUE WIEDEMANN is a doll in her pretty dress and brings the 1890s to life from the very start of the audience experience of The Drunkard. Sue was road weary though from her recent trip on the road as she forgot to mention to the audience when to throw the tomatoes at the villain. I mention this only to remind MCs to glance at their cards and get all the info out since these bumps in an established MC routine like Sues is a reminder the glitch can happen anytime to any of the cast, even the veterans.
TIM PARKERS debut as Willie was a tremendous success! What an outstanding new member to our cast of talents and as Tom Rowe said after the play, “the new Willie Hammond blew me away with his energy and style”. We are looking forward to more such talents debuting since there is a whole new line of cast members awaiting their turn.
GAYLE CAMPBELL continues to grow into the role of Ann Slade most charmingly but had a stumble last night on her blocking and the line to go with it. Such small train wrecks are reminders that actors need to stay focused/concentrated at all times since hecklers from the audience were out in the house last night and though they didnt disturb the play they caused some of the actors to blink/pause/ stumble slightly but all recovered. We have to remain prepared.
RICHARD ROBERTSON had some fine moments last night with his sad story of how he lost the mill to Simon Slade. He continues to make the redeeming scene of Joe Morgan never drinking again to be a fun dramatic part of the show. Richard however is forgetting to point Marys limp arm at her killers on the line “you” instead on “murder”.
EMILY CROWLEY is a good Mary and had all her energy and charm rocking last night and kept little Mary somebody we cared about. She can be heard a lot better since she speaks up louder when shes in her bed.
SUE SINOR was just fine as Fanny Morgan but needs to weep as the lights fade on Marys death scene.
|5/30/2015|| Directors Notes on The Drunkard, Saturday May 30, 2015
The show tonight was exceptionally good except for the slow-to-pick-up cues, actors whom despite their slow cue pick-up gave good performances. The audience stayed with the show and didnt miss any laughs.
OLIO ACTS: The magician Roger Cornelison entertained the audience and kept our attention as something we dont get to see too often, making this Olio act special for us.
MC: Priscilla Mayfield had some distractions with rude, loud-talking, big tables during her speech at first. This rowdy-like big table came around and gave the MC better attention after she showed the manners of a good MC and stuck it out like a pro until they subsided and were shushed by their peer audience members. When the MC first steps-up on stage to begin, House Managers should stick close by to help quiet any rowdy groups until the room settles down to listen. The loud talking over her speech was annoying after a sufficient amount of time had been given to the table to settle down and be nice and attentive at the outset.
John Hansen as Sample cut a path through the characters and as always wins over the day as a favorite to watch.
Wesley Grove still makes me snicker. His performance is indication that he and other Franks are ready to go another level in their acting as we approach how these teens age 10 years at the end. This is a challenge and since we are using the Franks we train often it relaxes them into a mode of ready to learn more from their director. We will begin some detailed acting bits for these young Franks and help them shine for us playing roles that challenge their age abilities.
Britt Wade is so much fun to watch, he makes it worthwhile to boo and hiss with all his snide looks he returns for the audiences audacity to boo him. Hes a solid and consistent team player.
Royce Collins was looking good as always. Were missing a laugh opportunity with the “take flight” and “break a wing” line with Sample and Romaine. Im wanting to work on that bit.
Sam Adkins as Simon Slade has relaxed into a more relaxed Simon. New comedy things come out with Sam attending rehearsals each week taking advantage of working with a director he trusts. His confidence is showing in his performances.
Stephen Ryan as Willie is always a standout.
Gayle Campbell as Ann Slade is also attending rehearsals a lot and taking advantage of learning new things to improve her performance. She is consistent with getting better and better at fitting into the groove of the Melodrama style.
Matt Walker as Joe Morgan is always a favorite to watch with his antics on the suspenders but his final monologue was the best I have ever seen him do it. He was taking his time and projecting the enunciation of each line as it became important and made me listen even better to the info he reveals.
Carla Walker as Fanny had energy and emotion and kept the scene moving nicely.
Mary Rose Rich as Little Mary was wonderful. Her song was an improvement after getting some details cleaned-up during rehearsals. She is funny and can be heard in the back.
Linda Walker as Mehitabel gets cuter each show. Linda is learning how to use her lovely face as an acting tool and her shy demeanor wins over the audience.
|5/23/2015|| Directors Notes on Sat May 23 Show:
The half house was really expressive and responsive and laughed out loud many times over making the play move quickly and efficiently and the audience never tired. We had a cast that knows how to keep the pace especially with Britt and Dan at the helm. Our piano player was exceptionally good and got a laugh or too.
MC: Priscilla Mayfield did a splendid job as usually but had to return to the lobby 3 or 4 times to quiet the front of house chattering going on. The chattering in front of the lobby is a little too loud since it can be heard in the audience and patrons turn to look at the back of the room, this is a sign they are being distracted to say the least. I have been reluctant to say anything for personal reasons, were all volunteers and quieting somebody can miff them. Priscilla should not have to return to the lobby to quiet enthusiastic servers and staff who can forget they are overheard in the house. The House Managers job is specifically to do that and Bobbie is in charge up front somewhere too and she can quiet our volunteers down some. The last thing anyone wants is the director having to come downstairs and say something so embarrassingly rude about their loud talking half of them may not return. Its far better for people to do their jobs well and help govern innocent noise coming from our own ranks.
CHARITIES: Priscilla did mention the charities we have given to over the years and its impressive this is what this whole thing is about, having fun and donating the money to good causes. The audience did listen and want to hear the MC tell this since she moved along and didnt dilly-dally. It makes us audience members feel good to know they had part in a small way of doing something good for others which becomes the hardest thing for us to do individually but the easiest thing to do as group.
TOMATOES: As Director it is a shocking gouge to go from 1 dollar a tomato to 6 tomatoes for 5. It was fun and not greedy sounding when it was 3 for 2.00. There was a definite lack of excitement in buying the tomatoes as it usually was but ask the servers for a true assessment of that. I AM GLAD THE PIG IS GONE that MCs used to carry to the stage.
OLIO ACTS: They were good tonight. I was glad to see Theater Tulsa Readers Club back they are popular and got laughs and it were good skits to the crowd.
OLIO ACT: Mark as the old Vet and the flag was perfect for the Memorial Day crowd. I would like to see Mark perform that piece more often and hell get real good at the lines too. I liked this Olio act a lot just needs practice to get smooth again.
OLIO ACTS: I looked at the program tonight and saw my name on there as Olio Director and didnt mind it because of what was before us as Olio Acts. Our meeting with Christina is going to pay off as we go over the talent rosters for the Olio and focus on quality acts to schedule.
Dan Eberly was a driving lead and kept the play moving. His monologue went well and continues to please me in keeping the monologue as short as possible. Dan lost his hat tonight from a bit where Romaine backs him to a table, which we will fix. This was Dans 101st performance tonight and a cake from Merrits Bakery was in order from Priscilla.
Britt was very funny tonight and missed his jumping about dodging tomatoes and to return to his having fun the way he used to dodge tomatoes.
CURT: I like the makeup on the beard making you look older.
SAM: Gave his best and most relaxed show tonight. He needs to wear black shadow in his eye sockets to make him appear dirty and haggard. Simon needs Red blush on his nose in his last scene.
Mehitabel: Cute cute cute.
ANN: Tonights audience liked her crying and old mill. This actress makes Ann a very sympathetic case to pull for.
FRANK: Wesley makes me laugh every time. His cartoon run off after “oh dry-up” is lots of fun. I noticed his dad waiting on tables tonight. Its such a healthy thing for me to see healthy father and son doing something great for their personal mental health and doing it together.
WILLIE: Stephen Ryan was great and is best doing his gestures and being melodramatic. Im hoping hell come back and be a Willie for us from time to time but once he gets to appearing as Joe Morgan we can give Richard a rest from time to time.
FANNY MORGAN: Sue got the blocking changes for her scene in rehearsal the other night and put it smoothly into her performance.
STEPHEN BERG: Our song leader was especially good getting up on stage and singing. Loosening up to conduct soon Good job on stage.
RACHEL: Her Little Mary continues to get better and she was good from the start. I like to see our young actors do this.
|5/4/2015|| It was a show that left me feeling very embarrassed for two of my actors and me for not making sure they were prepared for the shows which they werent. I am going to make sure these two actors are not booked again until I have worked with them a lot more. I have had problems with these same two actors following my directions and now both of them have caused a serious train wreck for not being prepared, thinking lazily, not doing what they were told to do but indeed doing what they wanted to do. This attitude cost them.
The piano player (Ruth) is doing musical cues during Sample and Mahitabel and we have not put those changes into the play yet. These are musical bumps that have to be rehearsed with the actors before they are put in.
Mason as Frank forgot a lot of his blocking and became silly and just didnt fly right but remained cockeyed throughout. Mason will have to review his role and blocking before his next scheduled appearance. Make sure he knows hes expected at rehearsal before his next Saturday night.
Jans costume for Fanny Morgan was lacking lace around the collar something to make her face appear brighter and softer and to stand out. (Priscialla hopefully can get that note to Sheri Webster.)
Little Mary‘s new cue for the piano player to begin was very late, either Riuth has never learned it or she forgot it but well make sure that lull does not happen again.
Christina, there is no issue with the “audience plants” among our servers saying adlibs to the actors. ”You can come home with me”.) That policy of no more ad libs from plants in the audience was a board request at the time I came on as artistic director. If the board wishes to resend that order they can but the cleaning up of the show comes with sacrifices such as this. The policy will remain unless the board resends that policy. Those who would want to say we are taking out the fun of the show needs to remember the reason the show has lasted so long is because the casts at the beginning and even today want to preserve the melodrama style. Cute adlibs make us laugh but the mission of what we volunteer for remains steadfast and foremost before actors having fun.
|4/18/2015|| From a member of the audience: "Also, not by any fault of the villain but when we threw the tomatoes he playfully hit them out of the air back at the audience, but one of them hit my 84 year old grandmother directly in the left eye and hurt her eye ( we were in the second row so very close).She has had several eye surgeries so I am sure her eyes being slightly " vintage" and having cataract surgeries made her more sensitive then most would be. So please just a little more careful with that and maybe just don't bounce them back at audience."
From Joe Sears: Technically, since the patron has issued a word of caution and awareness we are liable now should anyone get hurt again.
I will instruct the villains to hiss and block with the cape and dodge but not hit them back or throw them back, only block.
I do not believe we have to consider dropping the tomatoes being thrown, it's too much fun, too much, participation, too innocent to consider dangerous. And always remember courts do consider accidents are unavoidable, so it's not a win or lose situation.
|3/28/2015|| The show came down on time, before 10:00.
Audience: Some of cast members thought the was hard to play for but they laughed at the right places which told me they were listening, they just didnt laugh as hard as other audiences. Lots of newcomers to the show and for a majority of that audience, new to live theatre of any kind, Ill bet. They are there because they have heard about it from neighbors and others who have told tales of fun. These audiences get tired of listening if actors drag their lines and cue pick-up and there was some of that and will deal with that in rehearsals.
MC Priscilla Mayfield is always a ball of fire when shes up there and somehow her detailed and slower delivery is never missed and her info is precise because she demands attention and any distractions incorporates it into her speel and moves on. Not all MCs will have her razzle dazzle with the audience but thats okay our MCs are all different and each has a quality I like for them. Sue dressing up in costume still takes the MC to new levels of inclusion in the atmosphere. Larry and Priscilla are waiting on their costumes. I like the Lounge Jacket stand-up comic look of Matt. I only hope the costumes dont become too hot for the MCs but they sure are going to have some showmanship with them.
The Olio: You never know what youre gonna get.
The Song Leader was singing out loud and had some great volume tonight but got too hot and had to go before he got ill. We may be looking at a cooler outfit for him, like just a fancy vest.
Dan Eberly kept the show moving even when having to deal with other actors wanting to slow down. Sample proves to be the driving tempo of the play and the strong charisma of Eberly carries through.
Britt was strutting about and giving snide looks to the audience as he does so well. One of the most humorous of the villains on our roster, Britt makes a dashing example of a proper dapper villain.
Tom: Can always be heard and annunciates his lines still. He is a good one to watch for Simon slade training.
Mason: He is good at remembering what he was told and adding his own twist to it.
Ann: Her expressions are so much fun to watc.
Emily: She was great and had taken all the notes from rehearsals and improved her performance. She was more expressive and sad and sympathetic. She was really good.
Sue Sinor and Richard are always good in their roles as the Morgans. I like Sues light glide when she walks and Richard seeing the demons is a favorite part.
Royce: A commanding Romaine.
Samantha: Delightful Mahitabel. She and Dan shine!
Spotlight Opeartor: I like the way Ken picks up Little Mary from her entrance.
|3/14/2015|| It was a splendid show and John Hansen led the way with laughs and pace and no complaints there.
Larry had asked me if there was a debut actor in the show and told him “no”. There was a debut actor and so dont be asking the director ask Jere.
Larry was quick with his appearance speeches and announcements. He wasnt quick on getting to the stage for the 3rd intermission as the audience sat there and waited and no music, then Larry comes to the stage and does his announcement which was quick enough but the lull before he arrived caused one man to lean over to me and ask if it was over. MC needs to be quick to get to the stage it keeps the audience knowing were moving forward.
Then after the announcements we had 3 songs with not much ordering going on and hardly any singing and again people are ready to go home at this point and looking at watches. Were facing an intermission issue, our modern audiences are not theatre patrons, our audiences come from working people who value their time off on weekends. When they come to see us they laugh, have a good time, they eat and drink and want to go home since they have been there from 7:00 -7:15. Audiences do not mind doing 3 hours of entertainment, what they dont like to do is be the brunt end of a too slow moving evening as it nears the end of the show.
The solution to this 3rd intermission is planning with Jere and we are not there yet. Cutting out an intermission needs to remain on the table for discussion.
If it were not for Bill being a master of what he do I would have to complain about him going so fast on certain songs that our song leader and singers stop trying. My suggestion will be the songs that show off Bills skills should remain since his playing can be a featured entertainment. Sing along leader can stand and admire the fancy quick playing of a “Beer Barrel Polka” and “Show Me the Way To Go Home”. If the audience sees the song leader not singing and enjoying the skill on the piano they will also. BUT after those songs the fast playing should be reserved for the end intermissions where singing is not happening as much and his talents can be appreciated and put to very good use.
Music for Rachel as Little Mary was a Titanic disaster and this little gal held it together and did not lose her character/composure. She started out on the wrong key and never found it and with no help from the piano player.
The last thing Im going to do is mess with our best piano player on change and considerations, for now.
I had never seen the Theatre Tulsa Readers Club before and they can stay, the audiences liked them!
FRONT OF THE HOUSE:
The waiting service and concessions area was much quieter tonight hardly any loud talking from the front. This could be because the house Manager was on top of it and kept it down or because we were sold out and I had to sit out front with the staff and watch from behind the curtain.
LINDA WALKER as Mehitabel was wonderful. (Production team will ask her to not wear a wig, her short hair is better and does not cover her face.)
MATT as Frank continues to amaze all of us at his fun with the role. I cant wait until he becomes a new Sample.
BRITT as the Villain is so much fun to watch work an audience, never too much always leaving them wanting more. His dodging tomatoes is a favorite of the show when he performs the part. His daughter in the server capacity down front is all smiles and that is great for a server.
SEBASTIAN greets the audience with great enthusiasm and gives us a good beginning.
MELISSA was very funny as Ann and is doing new things I like.
RACHEL as Mary was very good except her song and not quite sure what happened but she bucked -up and got through it. Rachael listens to her director and continues to make her Mary extremely good.
|3/7/2015|| The show kept the ¾ house laughing and listening and enjoying the play. Dan keeps a good pace when not over loaded on stage with too many slow acting actors whom despite my asking them not to do so, continue to fall into too slow-a-pace acting. Saturdays show for the most part had actors who have let me improve their pace during rehearsals and the show moved along.
MC: Matt is fun and I like him we just need to remind him to take tomatoes up on stage to sell, also souvenirs and accompany them with some new jokes about them.( Our merchandize can be mocked and made fun of but people know we want them to help ) Making jokes of the merchandize to help sell it is reserved for MC Matt only and not others. Matt is a comic and works with the things that happen around him and has the freedom to deviate.
Sing-a-long leader is doing great but has not broken out and gotten on stage yet to be more animated as a conductor but have the faith that is coming once he has all the songs memorized and knows their proper melodies. The main choral director of the Bartlesville Choral Society has personally agreed to help him sing the melodies of our songs properly.
Piano music is great and I like the feel Ruth has for the play and the sing-a-long.
The follow spot operator Ken, has managed to pick up Mahitabel almost at the back curtain and I really like that. Mahitabel brings us into the town of Cedarville, ever so nicely.
Dan has a modern characterization and appearance for Sample, making us comfortable watching an old play. We dont have to worry the play is going to be too stoic or stiff acting.
Chelsea as Mahitabel is a solid good actress and has taken all Ive given her and enhanced it on her own.
Wesley as Frank is great. He makes us laugh. His tweaking rehearsals are paying off as he gets better and better.
Mary as Mary can be heard and is trying to throw her own humor into the work she does on stage and is moving forward with her effort. Im going to let her experiment as long as it does not interfere with the other actors.
Sam was better at his pace and is relaxing into Simon nicely. He will be adding more animation to his character as we go along. Stage Mgr. should tell him to put more dark around his eyes, some rouge around the end of the nose to make him appear more desolate and washed-up.
|2/14/2015|| Dear Production Team
The Valentine show was great and even though we went 11 minutes past 10:00 pm the play moved right along and nobody was looking at their watches. The excitement was there from the beginning and Priscilla and I marveled at John Hanson's command of the stage and his character.
The Olio with the lady singer was especially good singing "My Valentine" and Larry's first love song was very good and appropriate.
Priscilla was a good MC and with the red rose in her hands just had the right flair for the night. Priscilla was enjoying the show along with the audience and sharing their enthusiasm was catching. Her drawing of the surveys went quickly and effortlessly and Bobbie was right on it when it came to draw the names.
The debut of Wesley Groves was a treat for me to see this young man work his way up to doing a great job on Frank. I want him booked once a month or more to allow him to build more confidence in his work and see what else he has to impress us with. He is a good Frank. He and Mason will serve us well and want to make them their best and hope they'll remain for several years.
Stephen as Will continues to prove one of our best new Wills and soon to be new Joe Morgan. This character actor is a great asset to our company and plan to move him into a villain role after he has mastered Joe Morgan.
E-mail after the show from Jere:
Only had 62 paid [all by credit card] with a couple by membership freebies, an entertainment coupon, and Joe and Lee Lowder as comped. But it was one whale of an audience. They almost sounded like 162 people, they were having so much fun. Made it very easy for the cast as well.
Already have 49 for next week.
|2/7/2015|| Dear Production Team
Last nights show was good even with a low keyed audience. I was worried the show was going to drag because of this but in fact it did not drag as much as I thought it would. The audience was attentive at least.
|1/31/2015|| The show was good. The two debuts were good and the cast helped Bob limp through some awkward moments of forgetting lines and blocking. I'm asking Christina to contact Bob and ask him to continue to attend rehearsals until we clean up some rough spots..
Gale as Ann Slade needs to return to the rehearsals.
Sheri as Mahitabel can't be heard and needs new blocking changes but cuteness is lost if she can't be heard.
Curt as Romaine was slow. He has a problem keeping up tempo but we can fix that he's a good actor and wants to be better.
The sing-along is doing great with Stephen he gets better and more confident each weekend.
And this NOTE on the MC
Priscilla as the MC tells the history of the place and keeps that info moving and interesting and also mentions the charities over the years that have been helped from our enjoyment but the time has come to focus on our famously designed theater space or there will be no spotlight theatre so all proceeds now go to refurnish and restore what has served us for 63 years. Her spill is on target and people spent more on tomatoes and donations happen.
The Olio act from Jim and his guitar was not good but he needs an opportunity to improve since he was so nervous on his debut.
The comic was funny enough he should come back and test his jokes on us. He does not seem to mind if a joke bombs the audience likes that.