Posted by Bruce Miller
Fall is really here. The calendar says we have to wait till Sept 23, but I'm not buyin'. The 2011-12 theatre season is well underway, marked by the openings of Central VA's first comedy of the year (Lend Me a Tenor), drama (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), and musical (Keep on the Sunny Side).
As Lucian Restivo from Stage B posted Friday on Facebook, "it's cardigan and scarf weather," and he couldn't be happier. After the dog days of summer, I'm right there with him.
I made my reservations for Hot Tin and I'm really looking forward to it. It's definitely one of the new season's highlights for me. I loved Who's Afraid last season from the same Rusty Wilson / Firehouse directing / producing team. Hot Tin is a great play--a masterwork--and Rusty's assembled an unbeatable cast: Alan Sader, Laine Satterfield, Adrian Rieder, Jackie Jones, Larry Cook, Dean Knight, Andy Boothby, Laura Rikard, Stephanie M. Hill, and three talented no-neck-monsters.
Susie Haubenstock wrote a great review, and I've heard nothing but glowing word-of-mouth. If you don't have your tickets yet, I encourage you to get them. I suspect they'll start selling out most performances pretty soon.
I'm excited that Rusty will be directing In the Next Room or the vibrator play with Cadence in Barksdale's Theatre Gym next summer.
This coming Friday, we'll open Becky's New Car, a very clever and contemporary new comedy from Steven Dietz, at Hanover Tavern. We're trying something new, and if you have a reaction, I'd love to hear it.
Bouncing off my desire to celebrate and promote Richmond's "stars" with a little more fanfare, Billy Christopher Maupin, who is not only directing Becky's but marketing it as well, decided to place Melissa Johnston Price's name above the title in our promotional materials--not our standard practice.
At first, I buzzed B C and asked him not to do that again without checking with me first. I was worried about setting precedents and all that. But then I decided that this will be a good experiment.
Melissa Johnston Price is certainly a local star, holding a prominent place in the pantheon of Virginia's most revered actors. And the character of "Becky" certainly is the leading role in the play. Why the heck not let the ticket-buying public know that this is a special opportunity to see an exceptional artist in a terrific part?
Sometimes I think we Richmond producers need to set aside all timidity and begin to blow the horn a little louder about Central Virginia's brightest and best. If we don't, aren't we failing to create the public excitement we need to create in order to grow the overall Richmond audience?
What do you think? When we're lucky enough to have a star in a major role, should we put his or her name above the title? You can communicate with me publicly as a comment to this post, or privately as an email.
I can't type my email directly cause little robots that do nothing but surf blog posts 24/7 pick it up and start sending me even more spam. Or so I'm told by our IT gurus. So here's today's puzzler. My address is: b.miller@ the name of either of our theatres followed by the word Richmond.org.