Here's What's new at Stages

What the heck is a Panto, anyway?

by Stages Repertory Theatre on November 12, 2013

Dwight Clark, Carolyn Johnson and Rutherford Cravens in 'Panto Cinderella' at Stages (2008)We're glad you asked! Traditionally performed at the holidays for family audiences, British pantomime is now a popular form of theatre, incorporating song, dance, buffoonery, slapstick, in-jokes, topical references, and audience participation. Panto humor typically works on two levels (we like to compare it to movies like Shrek) making it tons of fun for kids AND adults. Learn more about in this great Wikipedia article!

You’re Invited: Let’s talk about ‘Road Show’

by Stages Repertory Theatre on June 07, 2013

One thing's certain when you tackle a piece like Road Show - people are going to have a lot to say about it. Audiences are loving this show and have been asking us great questions about its history, the production process, the Mizner brothers, and a whole lot more. As for us, we're eager to hear YOUR take on Road Show. So we've added a whole series of free, public discussion events, and you're invited!

Come see the show, then stick around to chat (and have a beer) with the cast, staff and creative team!

Friday, June 9
Director Kenn McLaughlin + Cast
What's it like to be a young actor making your professional debut in a new Sondheim musical alongside seasoned veterans? In honor of graduation season we'll ask some of the incredibly talented students and recent grads about their Road Show experiences, plus chat about YOUR questions and comments!
Get tickets for this performance

Saturday, June 15
Bill Rudman of On the Aisle, Footlight Parade and The Musical Theatre Project + Director Kenn McLaughlin + Cast
Musical theatre lovers rejoice! Come meet with Bill Rudman in person as he chats with Kenn and the cast about this momentous musical.
Get tickets for this performance

Additional discussion events are planned for June 20, 23 and 28. Stay tuned for details!

Director Kenn McLaughlin on why ‘Road Show’ resonates

by Stages Repertory Theatre on May 30, 2013

This post is taken from Road Show director Kenn McLaughlin's program note for the show.

The earliest memory I have is the day my brother Brian was brought home from the hospital. He was two days old, and I had just turned three years old. My aunt sat me on the sofa and my mom gently gave me the baby, and I remember feeling happy, remarkably so. I also recall, very clearly, being left alone on the sofa as everyone else got to hold him. And I remember being damn mad about that.

Brian is the youngest of my brothers. I grew up with four others – Terry, Harry, Tommy and John. I can’t tell you that growing up as one of six boys in a small house is necessarily a pleasant experience, especially if you are the artistically inclined one among a brood of sportsmen. But we did all share one quality - a fierce competitive spirit. By the time I was 11, we were forbidden to play any games in the house at all (Monopoly was banned altogether because bloodletting was inevitable – and that is not read on...

Surround 2013: The truth behind the story

by Stages Repertory Theatre on May 17, 2013

James Cichocki is the dramaturg for Stages' production of Road Show (meaning he’s a smarty-pants who helps support the creative process with research and background information). Here, as part of our 2013 Surround, James shares what he learned about the real-life Mizner brothers, who inspired Sondheim's & Weidman’s most recent collaboration. Road Show runs May 22 - June 30 and is the first regional theatre production of Sondheim's latest work.

Addison (top) and Wilson (bottom) - the Mizner brothers“Be nice to people on your way up because you'll meet them on your way down.”

- Wilson Mizner

The notorious Mizner brothers, the central characters of Stephen Sondheim's and John Weidman’s musical Road Show, were real-life, flesh-and-blood men who lived during the turn of the twentieth century. Addison and Wilson Mizner were two of eight children born in the 1870s to a well-connected, upper-middle class family in the northern California town of Benicia. Their father, Lansing Bond Mizner, was an attorney and the former American ambassador read on...

Surround 2013: moving from ‘Dollhouse’ to ‘Road Show’

by Stages Repertory Theatre on May 14, 2013

As part of our annual Surround, an education program structures a context for dialogue about a play (or plays) in our season, Stages’ artists and guest bloggers have been writing about The Economy of the American Dream. Martine Kei Green-Rogers, a dramaturg and all-around smarty-pants, strikes up this conversation about the “American Dream.” Read more in our blog series here.

Road Show and Dollhouse share a common theme – the pursuit of the “American Dream.” These plays provide a very different understanding of obtaining this dream, but they do share one aspect in pursuit of the dream – the importance of freedom.  Addison Mizner, from Road Show, desires to honor the memory of his father and rebuild the family’s fortunes and Nora, from Dollhouse, feels as though —financially and emotionally— she has placed herself between a rock and a hard place and needs to obtain a bit of power and freedom to make herself feel valuable and viable again.

Reflecting on this made me realize how read on...

Free Shakespeare tour draws to a close

by Stages Repertory Theatre on May 14, 2013

“It’s almost summer!” say all the students in all the places (“It’s almost summer…” say all the parents). The spring semester is winding down and with it our free Shakespeare outreach tour of Romeo & Juliet is coming to an end for this school year.

“No gimmicks just straight up good acting. I really appreciated the attention to the words themselves and the speed of the performance. The actors spoke the words trippingly off their tongues!” - Teacher

This year, Stages partnered once again with the Shakespeare Globe Centre of the Southwest to present free performances of an hour-long Romeo & Juliet to area schools for 8th – 12th grade students. The tour provides students the opportunity to hear Shakespeare’s words and see the action live – it’s different than reading it in class or watching a movie (does anyone else remember watching the 1968 Zeffirell film in class? Did your teacher stand up with a sheet of paper to cover Juliet’s … “exposure” ?

“Thank you so much for performing read on...

Surround 2013 guest post: Alexandra Szeto-Joe

by Stages Repertory Theatre on May 12, 2013

Alexandra Szeto-Joe is a sophomore at Kinkaid School, and a YAC-tor – that means she is one of a select ensemble of young actors that train at the Young Actors Conservatory during the summer. She wrote a review for her acting class at school, and shared it with us too! Her responses join the blog series in this year’s Surround

Dollhouse Review – Date attended April 13, 2013

New actors of Stages Repertory Theatre made their debut in Rebecca Gilman’s Dollhouse, an updated adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, which is a classic tale of feigning ignorance to escape the harsh truth of reality. I had the privilege of attending this play last Saturday, April 13. The play ran from April 3 through April 28. While it contains rather adult themes and expressive language, it really shows that for every decision, there is a consequence that follows.

This version is set in 2004 Chicago, right after the scandal of Enron and in the middle of the economic downturn. Nora Helmer, a read on...

Surround 2013: Playing Nora

by Stages Repertory Theatre on April 27, 2013

Rachael Logue and David Matranga in 'Dollhouse' (photo by Bruce Bennett)Rachael Logue plays Nora in Dollhouse, Rebecca Gilman’s modern adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. As part of our annual Surround, we asked Rachael about preparing for this role and about her version of living the American Dream. 

Rachael, what research prepared you to play Nora in this adaptation of the play?

No one can read this and not be struck at the way both of Nora’s parents are mentioned, especially her father. So I started there - I wanted to know what it would have been like to be raised by a single, alcoholic father. I came across a website called It’s an organization, much like Alcoholics Anonymous, which provides support and solutions for grown adults whose childhoods were marked by one or more alcoholic parents. On the website they have a “Laundry List” - 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic. Most of them can be found in Nora. Intense fear of abandonment, denial, a heightened sense of responsibility and an addiction to excitement read on...