Posted by Bruce Miller
The strike in NYC may be continuing to cripple Broadway, but here in River City, there are plenty of shows to enjoy. Swingtime Canteen (Barksdale’s recreation of a 1944 USO show) opened last night at Hanover Tavern, Moonlight and Magnolias (Barksdale’s behind-the-scenes comedy about the creation of the screenplay for Gone with the Wind) will open next Friday at our Willow Lawn home, and A Christmas Story (Theatre IV’s stage adaptation of the movie that taught us about the perils of bb guns and leg lamps) will open at the historic Empire on November 30.
Plaid Tidings (the Mill’s holiday visit with their favorite harmonizing guys) opened this past Thursday, A Christmas Carol for Two Actors (Richmond Shakespeare’s holiday perennial) opens Nov 29 at Second Presbyterian, and Twas the Night Before Christmas (the Carpenter Science Theatre’s holiday celebration) will open in the Eureka Theatre at the Science Museum of Virginia on Dec 1.
And you still have tonight to catch Spinning into Butter at the Firehouse, and tonight and tomorrow to see A Lesson before Dying, produced by the African American Repertory Theatre at Pine Camp.
Last night’s opening of Swingtime was great fun. Vilma Gil, Jan Guarino, Audra Honaker, Katrinah Lewis (pictured below and to the left) and Debra Wagoner lent their exceptional vocal talents to thirty-four 1940s standards. Ryan Corbitt (piano), Brian Sulser (bass) and Doug Draucker (drums) added the swing as our on-stage band. And Terrie Powers (set design), Heather Hogg (costume design), Joseph Papa (stage manager) and Alex Whiteway (assistant stage manager) were on hand to receive kudos once again for their terrific work.
Barksdale Trustees Rick Arenstein and Jack Ward were there with their wives Rhona and Beverly. Longtime Barksdale supporters Scott and Nancy Belleman, Roy Burgess, Ed Ramsey and his wife, and Essie Simms added their goodwill to the audience, along with Barksdale artistic alum Glenn and Sybel Crone, Ales Rowe and Bo Wilson. Staff members Jackie Gann, Billy Christopher Maupin, Brad Tuggle and Jennings Whiteway turned out to support the troops, and house/box office staff Jeannie Kilgore, Beverly and Danny Hobson (our ushers extraordinaire), and Brenda and Walt Meier did their usual best to keep all trains running on time.
Many thanks to one and all for a terrific opening, and best wishes to all of Richmond’s theatre community for a successful holiday season.