El Paseo Arts Opens 15th Season with a Clever Comedy: Absence of a Cello
On October 8 and 9, 2019, at the South Padre Island Convention Center, El Paseo Arts Foundation performs Ira Wallach’s Tony nominated comedy Absence of a Cello. Don’t expect a highbrow string quartet from Absence of a Cello. Expect instead a stimulating evening of witty one liners and hilarious situations; the combination of which results in some very thought provoking humor. The brilliant out of work physics professor Andrew Pilgrim must decide to what lengths he will go in order to land a big corporate job. He and his wife Celia, a scholar of medieval literature, rearrange their reality to satisfy the structures of the 1960’s corporate American image. Andre trades in his rolled-up trousers for a neat suit. He hides the cello he plays in pick-up quartets with his friends. He hides the medieval history books written by his scholar-wife. He hides everything that he and his wife are and hauls out the television set. On advice from Perry Littlewood, an MBA student, the Pilgrim family hurriedly attempts to adjust everything that might reveal who they really are in preparation for the arrival of Otis Clifton, the personnel director who will conduct the interview. Andrew’s witty and attractive sister Marian and Perry’s grandma Emma, assist Andrew and Celia in the deception. The multi-day interview process becomes “…a cheerfully venomous comedy about the mysterious monster called the Corporate Image.” (NY Daily News.)
Director Carol Kent has assembled a remarkable cast for the production. Dave Boughter returns to the El Paseo Arts stage in the starring role of Andrew Pilgrim, a scientist and author of Pilgrim’s Law has suffered an attack of bankruptcy due to the failure of his research lab. He needs a job, but despite his undoubted talent, he is no sure thing for the big corporate job he wants to get. His equally brilliant and independent wife Celia is played by Jennie Remington, a newcomer to the El Paseo Arts stage but a veteran performer with the Harlingen Players. Andrew’s daughter Joanna, a Radcliffe student, is played by Erika Hughston, also a first-time performer for El Paseo Arts. Andrea Wright plays Marion, Andrew’s witty and sometimes impertinent sister. She is a widow and a research chemist, and she soon enchants Otis Clifton, the pompous, platitudinous personnel director sent to interview Andrew and evaluate whether the Pilgrims are suitable candidates for the Baldwin-Nelson corporate family. Danny Dollar tackles the role of Otis. Mark Shellard plays Perry Littlewood, a Wharton MBA student and friend of Joanna’s who coaches Andrew on the qualities that major corporations are looking for in their employees. And Lee Carlson rounds out the cast as Emma Littlewood, Perry’s grandmother and the Pilgrim’s neighbor who will become your favorite kleptomaniac.
The technical crew includes Francisco Partida and Catherine Donnelly as assistant directors and, Barbara Teater managing costumes and props. Elaine English and Gene Brewer will assist with sound. Mark Haggenmiller runs the stage lights and Judy Brewer is the house manager for the show. Chris Herman is the technical director, overseeing set construction.
The evening begins with complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar at 6:30 P.M. Theatre doors open for sponsor seating at 6:55 P.M. General seating opens at 7:05 P.M. and the curtain goes up on the three act comedy at 7:30 P.M. Tickets for Absence of a Cello are $30 per person, $25 for El Paseo Arts members. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Bookstore, S.O.S., the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at www.elpaseoarts.org.
Absence of a Cello is a literate comedy that is funny, smart, clever and moving. For sheer humor, it is wonderfully adult, intelligent and spirited. It will provide you with an evening of thought provoking and memorable comedy that you will be talking about and laughing about long after the final bows.
EPAF Holds Auditions for 2 Fall Productions
El Paseo Arts Foundation will hold auditions for its two fall play productions, the comedy, Absence of a Cello, and the musical, They’re Playing Our Song on Friday, August 23 at 6:30 P.M. and Saturday, August 24, at 10 A.M. at the SPI Community Center.
Absence of a Cello has seven cast members: three men and four women, ages 20ish to 60ish. This comedy is scheduled for performance on October 8 and 9, 2019, at the SPI Convention Center.
Don’t expect a highbrow string quartet from Absence of a Cello by Ira Wallach. Expect instead a stimulating evening of witty one liners and hilarious situations resulting in some very thought provoking humor. Forty something, out of work physics professor Andrew Pilgrim must decide what lengths he will go to in order to land a big corporate job. He and his wife Celia, a scholar of medieval literature, rearrange their reality to satisfy the strictures of the 1960s corporate American image. On advice from Perry Littlewood, the boyfriend of their daughter Joanna, the Pilgrim family hurriedly attempts to adjust everything that might reveal who they really are in preparation for the arrival of Otis Clifton, the interviewer. Andrew’s witty and attractive sister Marian and Perry’s grandma Emma, a successful kleptomaniac, assist Andrew and Celia in the deception and the multi-day interview process becomes “…a cheerfully venomous comedy about the mysterious monster called the Corporate Image.” (NY Daily News.)
They’re Playing Our Song has eight cast members: four men and four women, ages 20+. The musical is scheduled for performance on November 5 and 6, 2019, at the SPI Convention Center.
The plot of They’re Playing Our Song centers on a wisecracking, but successful composer finds a new, slightly disorganized, very off-beat, but accomplished lyricist. Initially, the match is not one made in heaven. Vernon and Sonia couldn’t be more different, but opposites seem to attract, and soon professional collaboration turns to romantic relationship. Of course, that’s when their serious trouble begins. As they navigate the ups and downs of new romance, you’ll find yourself desperately rooting for the couple to find their happy ever after. This is a musical comedy about the joy of falling in love and the joy of making art. This Tony nominated musical makes for a splendid evening of entertainment. With a book written by Neill Simon, you can expect this to be a very funny. There are lots of laughs; and catchy tunes that are likely to get stuck in your head. They’re Playing Our Song is melodic romance that hits all the right notes. (Note if you plan to audition for the musical, please prepare a song that you can sing at the audition.)
Anyone who wants to audition but who can’t make the scheduled audition times should contact one of the directors to arrange a different time. Carol Kent for Absence of a Cello: 847-387-9914. Rick Alf for They’re Playing Our Song: 956-832-3756. These auditions will be fun so whoever would like to find out more about our local community theatre are welcome to just come and watch. Of course, the directors will also be looking for volunteers who are interested in working back stage or in helping to paint and build the set.
El Paseo Arts’ Fifteenth Season Kicks Off with a Very Special Event :Midsummer Music Encore: A World of Music
On Tuesday, July 16, 2019, at 7:30 p.m., El Paseo Arts Foundation will host an encore performance of Midsummer Music Encore – A World of Music, at The South Padre Island Convention Center. The concert is featuring internationally renowned guitarists Bert Lams, born and raised in Belgium, and Italian born Fabio Mittino. Again this season, local favorite, the amazingly talented Jenuine Cello will perform the opening set.
The resumes for the two guitarist are impressive. Bert Lams has over twenty years of experience in performing and teaching classical guitar and guitar technique. He studied classical guitar at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Brussels, Belgium where he graduated with Honors. He studied under Monique Vigneron and Albert Sundermann (a student of Andres Segovia.) He has subsequently conducted workshops for guitar students around the world, including master classes in Berlin, Paris, Buenos Aires, Santiago de Chile, Los Angeles, Tokyo and Mexico City. In 1991, Mr. Lams founded the famous California Guitar Trio in Los Angeles and he is a member of the internationally renowned King Crimson guitar group.. His solo acoustic album, “Nascent,” includes some of the first-ever transcriptions of music by J.S. Bach for flat-pick guitar.
Fabio Mittino began studying classical guitar when he was thirteen. In 1998, he was introduced to Robert Fripp’s Guitar Craft in Salisbury, London. Fripp suggested that Mittino study with Lams and that relationship led to their collaboration on the transcriptions and arrangements of Gurdjieff and de Hartmann’s music for their album “Long Ago”. Mittino plays original music on electric guitar with his own solo project CD, “Simple Music for Difficult People.”
Lams and Mittino have collaborated on a second, recently released album, “Movimenti” (Italian for Movements). “Movimenti” features music for dances from all over the world. The July 16th concert program will feature fine pieces from the new album along with a varied program of romantic popular and baroque. Lams and Mittino create an immediate rapport with their audience and throughout the concert they tell the audience about the music, the composers and about themselves as musicians. The two artists have a natural give and take and bring their talents together to create a wonderful blend of music.
As an added treat for this special evening of music, local favorite, Jenuine Cello will open the concert with a performance of complementary classical cello pieces. Jenuine Cello, aka Jen Mulhern, is a captivating model of a modern one-woman band. Her live compositions take listeners on a road trip free from genre, saturated with an array of influences. With undercurrents of Bach, Bjork and everything in between, her music combines classically-infused inspiration with raw textures to create a unique sound of layered soulful puzzle pieces
Doors of the SPI Convention Center open at 6:30 p.m., and a cash bar will be available. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for this Special Kick-Off Event are priced at just $20 per person. Tickets will be available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., the Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square and online at www.elpaseoarts.org
Midsummer Music Encore – A World of Music promises to be an evening of dazzling musicianship and virtuosity. If you were lucky enough to attend the first Midsummer Music concert last July, you will remember that the performances of all three musicians were breathtaking. Live music performance by musicians who are the caliber of these three cannot be rivaled in terms of enjoyment.
Moon Over Buffalo
“Moon Over Buffalo is hilarious! Ludwig stuffs his play with comic invention, running gags and a neat sense of absurdity. An evening of farcical delight. Go and enjoy!” – New York Post (Clive Barnes)
“Moon Over Buffalo is what a staged comedy should be. It is a wild and wacky farce. It’s Waiting for Guffman meets Noises Off meets your favorite Shakespeare comedy as performed by the Marx Brothers. Be prepared to leave the theater exhausted from laughter.” – The News Tribune, WA
On June 4th, 5th and 6th, El Paseo Arts Foundation’s local players group will present Ken Ludwig’s madcap comedy, Moon Over Buffalo, at the South Padre Island Convention Center. The play, nominated for two Tony awards, centers on George and Charlotte Hay, fading stars of the 1950s. At the moment, they’re playing Private Lives and Cyrano De Bergerac in repertory in Buffalo, New York. The acting company is on the brink of bankruptcy and the stars are on the brink of a disastrous split-up caused by George’s dalliance with a young actress in the company, when they receive word that they might just have one last shot at stardom: Frank Capra is coming to town to see their matinee, and if he likes what he sees, he might cast them in his movie remake of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Unfortunately for George and Charlotte everything that could go wrong does go wrong and all of it is complicated by George’s confusion about which play they’re actually performing, as well as Charlotte’s deaf mother who hates every bone in George’s body, and a visit from their daughter who has ditched her romance with the company’s manager/lead actor for a “normal life with her clueless, TV weatherman fiancé.
The play has all the required elements of a high energy farce: over the top characters, improbable situations, mistaken identity, physical pratfalls, rapid entrances and exits, and the slamming of every single door.
Director JoAnn Evans has assembled an all-star cast of energetic actors with strong comedic skills. They will pull out all the stops to provide the non-stop zaniness essential for this hilarious farce. Brenda Bailey plays the delightful diva, Charlotte; and Danny Dollar is her perfect foil as her philandering, bombastic husband, George. These two experienced performers can capably handle the swordplay, verbal retorts, and physical comedy required by their roles, and they have the requisite chemistry to make their relationship believably romantic and volatile. Cianna Perez steps into the spotlight as Rosalind, George and Charlotte’s talented daughter, who is hoping to escape the theatre world for a “normal” life. Hayden Draker plays Paul the acting troupe’s company manager and Rosalind’s former boyfriend who is still trying to win her back. Mark Shellard is Rosalind’s nerdy fiancé, Howard, who provides the play with a visitor from the “normal” world outside the theatre and clearly demonstrates that not all the loonies are actors. Carol Kent is Ethel, George’s almost deaf, very critical mother-in-law who is also the company’s reluctant costume person and occasional bit player. Chuck Hofmeister III is Richard, Charlotte’s lawyer and would-be paramour who is still trying to woo her away from George. Finally, Andrea Wright rounds out the cast as Eileen, the beautiful, young actress with whom George had an affair.
Moon Over Buffalo demonstrates that a lot of comedy and drama goes on backstage in a theatre, and sharing the backstage experience with JoAnn on this show are Stephanie Wilson as assistant director and Barbara Teater as costumer. Mark Haggenmiller assumes his favorite role as lighting tech, and Gene Brewer will be heading up the sound work while his wife Judy takes on her regular assignment as house manager.
The evening of theatre begins at 6:30 P.M. with light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. The “curtain” goes up for the performance at 7:30 P.M. Tickets for Moon Over Buffalo are $30 per person or $25 per person for El Paseo Arts Foundation members. Tickets are available for purchase at Paragraphs Book Store, S.O.S., The Art Gallery in Lighthouse Square, and online at www.elpaseoarts.org.
This is the the final event of El Paseo Arts’ Fourteenth Season of performing arts. It’s been a fabulous season of music, dance and theatre, and Moon Over Buffalo provides a delicious and delightfully entertaining conclusion to the season with an evening of crazy farce. It’s laugh out loud comedy and a show that’s “not to be missed.”