See ‘Em On Stage, the nearly three-year-old New Orleans theatrical company known for its passion for offbeat musical satire, announced a 2016-17 season fueled by a management restructuring and other changes during its “Rebel Rebel” premiere party Tuesday (May 31) at the Ugly Dog Saloon.
“This new model will allow us to offer opportunities to a wider variety of artists including local writers, directors, actors, designers, dancers, musicians, and theater educators; along with visual artists (for special projects),” Artistic Director Christopher Bentivegna said in a press release. “Our team now includes 16 diverse theater professionals working together in order to provide a multitude of projects within seven different divisions.”
That team will feature Bentivegna along with Kali Russell (associate artistic director), Bob Murrell (managing director), Breanna Beitz (managing director), Jake Wynne-Wilson (community outreach coordinator), Ashton Akridge (burlesque division coordinator), Kayln Hepting (staged readings division coordinator) and Abbey P. Murrell, Caroline St. Amant, Eli Timm, Clayton Shelvin, Anna Toujas, Robert Young, Logan Faust, Rebecca Lindell, Ariel Schwab, and Sam Cespedes.
(Read more: Christopher Bentivegna’s Top 5 favorite See ’Em On Stage productions)
New divisions to accompany the company’s main-stage productions include original works, burlesque, comedy, staged readings, community outreach and youth education. The new season also will bring on new venues such as the New Orleans Art Center, The Avant-Garden District, and The Valiant, a new theater opened by Richard Mayer — formerly of the Old Marquer Theatre. (This new theater is scheduled to open in July, the release said.”
See ‘Em On Stage already has presented work that reflects this new approach, the release said, noting the production of original short plays as part of its community-outreach program for patients and clients at both Children’s Hospital of New Orleans and Crossroads Louisiana (which services adults with disabilities). The company plans to partner with The New Movement for a program for teens to perform in a full one-act production at program’s end.
The company also has brought in Four Sweater Vests, the local staged-readings company, as one of its official divisions “with a mission to provide opportunities to both experienced and novice performers and directors through participation in staged readings of popular works.”
“This new model of different divisions will allow us to not only offer more opportunities to established as well as fledgling artists, but will provide us and the theater community in general with a more diverse and wide-reaching audience base,” the release said.
The 2016-17 main stage season will offer a schedule that speaks to the “Rebel Rebel” theme that explores the notions of heroes and anti-heroes, and will include three regional premieres and one New Orleans premiere. (Synopsies provided by the company.)
“Lizzie the Musical”
Written by Steven Cheslik-deMeyer, Tim Maner and Alan Stevens Hewitt
Aug. 11-28, 2016 (Thursdays through Sundays, 8 p.m.) except Aug. 13 (9:30 p.m.)
New Orleans Arts Club
Synopsis: “Four women front a rock band and tell the scandalous story of Lizzie Borden, America’s favorite double-axe murderess and Victorian hometown girl. In 1892, on a sweltering August day in a small New England town, a well-to-do elderly man and his second wife were brutally murdered with an axe in broad daylight. Lizzie Borden, their youngest daughter, was the primary suspect. She was arrested and tried, but, with no witnesses to the hideous crime, she was acquitted. The murders remain unsolved to this day and have become not only one of America’s most notorious legends but also the inspiration for this critically acclaimed new musical. This nearly sung-through rock opera’s score owes less in inspiration to Andrew Lloyd Weber or Stephen Sondheim than it does to Heart, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, and Grace Slick. Starring Abbey P. Murrell, Idella Johnson, Kali Russell, and Leslie L. Claverie as Lizzie Borden. This production will be a regional premiere.” Continue reading