Audio Previews

Evil Dead: The Musical

Who: CNY Playhouse

Where: 3649 Erie Blvd E, Syracuse

When: Oct. 17 – Nov. 1

Tickets: $20 – $35

Audio Preview by: Patrick Hosken

Here’s a popular and easy Halloween costume: Rip up a dark blue shirt, rig a chainsaw to your hand and strap a shotgun on your back. Instantly, you become Ash, the square-jawed hero of the Evil Dead film franchise (and horror-pop culture icon at large).

Though Ash gets all the glory — and most of that is directed at the actor who portrayed him, Bruce Campbell — Evil Dead wouldn’t work without a supporting cast. That’s why CNY Playhouse’s production of Evil Dead: The Musical ends up being so fun. It’s a group effort.

It’s also an extraordinarily bloody affair. There’s a “splatter zone” next to the stage where, for $10 more, you can get covered in fake blood every time there’s a decapitation or a chainsaw rampage. Director Dan Rowlands is a die-hard fan of the films, so he’s taken every step to recreate on stage the madness found on screen. That includes ensuring the stage production is as bloody as it needs to be.

For more information on ticketing, visit http://www.cnyplayhouse.com/evildead.html or call the CNY Playhouse box office at 315-885-8960.

 

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Bang Bang You’re Dead
Who Rarely Done Productions
Where 441 E. Washington St., Syracuse
When May 10 – 11
Tickets Free; Donations encouraged
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein  

Bang Bang You’re Dead is full of smart Central New York teens, dealing with social issues as well as acting challenges. Ryan Coots, a junior at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, plays the drums for the show and thought of himself as the physical embodiment of death. David Kempf, a sophomore at Cazenovia High School, talked about shaking his own nice guy personality to play a bully jock. And Dana Katz, a senior at Liverpool High School, enjoyed the pre-rehearsal discussions that helped her undertake the role of a shooting victim.

In Bang Bang, Josh, a bullied young guy, turns a rifle on his classmates. “It’s simple math,” he says in the first scene when the kids he’s killed ask him why, “five bullets, five bodies.”

This is the third time Rarely Done has produced Bang Bang You’re Dead as their student production, but with this past year’s rash of mass shootings it felt especially timely. This year’s production is also unique because of its presentation through The Academy, a student outreach theater program coordinated by Rarely Done Productions in cooperation with Appleseed Productions. Rarely Done’s Ty Marshal championed the idea of performing a show with a message.

Before rehearsals began, the student actors participated in round table discussions with each other about the issues of school and gun violence. The actors also received theater workshops from area professionals, a model Appleseed had used in its individual youth outreach program. Maura Felter, a West Hill High School sophomore, said she further researched her role as the most popular girl in school by watching Mean Girls a ton of times.

Bang Bang You’re Dead opens this Friday, May 10 at the Jazz Central Theatre at 441 E Washington St. Dan Tursi directs the show with Ty Marshal and CJ Young serving as program coordinators for The Academy. Tickets are free, but donations are always welcome. Proceeds benefit The Q Center, Boys & Girls Club of Syracuse and Contact Community Services. Call the box office at 315-546-3224 to reserve your seats. For a complete list of show times, visit Rarely Done’s websiteBang Bang You’re Dead runs through May 18.

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Violet

Who Syracuse University

Where Storch Theatre, 820 E. Genesee St, Syracuse
When Through April 28
Tickets $18 for adults; $16 for students and seniors
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein  

For a musical, Violet features more than its fair share of sitting down. The leading threesome – Violet, Flick and Monty – spend most of their time on a Greyhound bus traveling from North Carolina to Oklahoma. The year is 1964. But don’t let that stagnant staging fool you into thinking there’s not a lot going on.

“The words are that much more important,” said Danny Harris Kornfeld, a junior musical theater major who plays Monty.

A road trip story needs people on a journey in more ways than one. Monty talks about crossing things off his bucket list before he ships off to Vietnam. Flick, played by senior acting major Malcolm Yancey, is an African American soldier who wants to move up in the military. And of course, Violet is desperate to get to Oklahoma where her faith lies in a televangelist to work a miracle on her face, which an errant axe blade scarred.

The drama comes from “us constantly having to listen to each other,” Carly Blane, a junior musical theater major, said. Blane plays Violet in the show.

Violet is now open in Storch Theater at Syracuse Stage. Rodney Hudson directs the show. For a complete list of show times or to purchase tickets, visit vpa.syr.edu/drama. You can also purchase tickets at the box office at 820 E Genesee St. The box office phone number is 315-443-3275. Violet runs at the Syracuse Stage’s Storch Theatre through April 28.


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Spooky Dog and the Teen-Age Gang Mysteries  
Who Rarely Done Productions
Where 441 E. Washington St., Syracuse
When Through Feb. 23
Tickets $20
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein 

When Rarely Done Productions started promoting its production of “Spooky Dog,” a raunchy parody of Scooby-Doo, they had to redesign their poster. As cast member Theresa Constantine explained, the poster was drawing kids and, “It is not a kids’ show,” Constantine said.

“Spooky Dog” features a butch Velma-type character, called Thelma, played in drag by Gennaro Parlato. A sexed-up “Daphne,” called Tiffany, played by Rita Worlock in “a hot red wig from China.” And the dynamic duo of Scraggly and Spooky Dog (Josh Taylor and Billy Sweeney) don’t shy away from the high they really get from “Scooby Snacks.”

Rarely Done Productions opened “Spooky Dog” last weekend with two performances that sold out before opening night. The next chance to see “Spooky Dog” is this Friday, February 22 at 8 p.m. Dan Tursi directs the show. For a complete list of show times or to purchase tickets, visit www.rarelydone.org. You can also purchase tickets at the box office at 441 E. Washington St. The box office phone number is 315-546-3224. “Spooky Dog” plays at the CNY Jazz Arts Foundation through February 23.
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Two Trains Running
Who Syracuse Stage
Where 820 E. Genesee St, Syracuse
When Jan. 30 – Feb. 17
Tickets $30-54; 18 and under, $20
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein 

August Wilson’s play Two Trains Running takes place at a diner in the largely African American Hill District of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. LeLand Gantt, a Pittsburgh native, plays the neighborhood numbers runner, Wolf. He operates out of his friend Memphis’ diner, which the city is trying to demolish. Although Two Trains Running is set in 1969, Gantt says the show brings up a lot of social issues in the current consciousness.

Like the characters in the play, Gantt said, “Some people don’t have a place to live, a place to make a living, and that’s happening right now.”

Gantt also noticed a thematic connection to the current gun debate (Memphis, an inner city property owner, says, “You can’t do nothing without a gun.”) and he pointed to Obama’s reelection as a catalyst for continued civil rights discussions.

Two Trains Running opens at Syracuse Stage this Friday, Feb. 1 at 8 p.m. Timothy Bond directs the show. For a complete list of show times or to purchase tickets, visit www.syracusestage.org. You can also purchase tickets at the box office at 820 E Genesee St. The box office phone number is 315-443-3275. Two Trains Running plays at the Syracuse Stage through Feb. 17.

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Hairspray
Who Redhouse Arts Center
Where 201 S. West St. Syracuse
When Nov. 30- Dec. 15
Tickets $15-25; $10 for students
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein  

The Redhouse’s production of “Hairspray” is full of engaged community members, according to actor Andrew Mauney, who plays the teen heartthrob Link Larkin in the show. In addition to the professional actors, The Redhouse has paired with Hillside Family of Agencies for a second time to get Syracuse city students into the ensemble.

“The best part about being a member of The Redhouse team is being able to share your knowledge,” said Krystal Scott, who plays the leading lady Tracy Turnblad. “Hairspray” is the ninth show Scott has done with The Redhouse, which puts an emphasis on arts education, and she said she enjoys acting alongside the next generation of theater performers.

Scott’s love of getting everyone in on the act jibes well with her character Tracy, who ends up making it her mission to desegregate the dancers on the ‘Corny Collins Show.’ In Baltimore in the 1960s, desegregation proves no small feat.

“Hairspray” opens at The Redhouse this Friday, November 30 at 8 p.m. Opening night is already sold out, but tickets are still available for Saturday, December 1 at 8 p.m. For a complete list of show times or to purchase tickets, visit www.theredhouse.org. You can also purchase tickets at the box office at 201 S. West St. “Hairspray” runs at The Redhouse through December 15.

White Christmas 
Who Syracuse Stage
Where 820 E. Genesee St, Syracuse
When Nov. 30-Dec. 30
Tickets $30-54; 18 and under, $20
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein 

Syracuse Stage rings in the holiday season with a production of Irving Berlin’s musical “White Christmas.” Following two old army buddies who become Broadway producers, this Christmas classic unites showbiz hijinks with romance. Bob Wallace and Phil Davis both meet their matches in the form of a sister act.

Zakiya Young plays the leading lady Betty Haynes. She thinks the Stage’s presentation of “White Christmas” turns the show “on its head,” with its color-blind casting. “We’re not the movie or any other presentation of this show,” she said.

Denis Lambert, playing leading man Bob Wallace, also felt proud of the Stage’s presentation of “White Christmas.” Lambert played the role of Bob’s best friend Phil in a 2010 production of the show. This year, Lambert said, “I think the text has really been investigated, and I can tell you that the foursome, playing the two couples, gets along wonderfully onstage and off.”

White Christmas opens at the Syracuse Stage this Friday, November 30 at 8 p.m. Paul Barnes directs the show with musical direction by Christopher Drobny and choreography by David Wanstreet. “White Christmas” runs at Syracuse Stage through December 30. For tickets, visit the Box Office at 820 E. Genesee St. You can also purchase tickets online at www.syracusestage.org.


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‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore
Who Syracuse University
Where Storch Theatre, 820 E. Genesee St, Syracuse
When Nov. 2-11
Tickets $18 for adults; $16 for students and seniors
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein  

When Syracuse University Drama puts on ‘‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore,’ it’s like a Quentin Tarantino movie and a Lady Gaga concert, according to director Celia Madeoy. Cast member Andy Striph says the show reminds him of a Martin Scorsese film.

SU Drama set the Jacobean ‘‘Tis Pity’ in a glamorous Godfather-esque Italy circa 1959. Britney Spears and Adele, among other current pop icons, are featured in the soundtrack.

“We made it a show for right here, right now,” Madeoy says.

‘Tis Pity’ centers on Giovanni and Annabella, a brother and sister in an incestuous love affair. In Shakespearean fashion, several subplots of near-equal deviousness rotate around Giovanni and Annabella. ‘‘Tis Pity’ also features a lusty widow, two scheming husbands and an accidental murder.

“It’s a bloody, sexy piece of theatre,” says Striph, who plays Annabella’s husband.

Syracuse University Drama performs ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore in the Regent Theatre Complex at Syracuse Stage. The show opens this Friday, November 2 at 8 p.m. Celia Madeoy directs the show. For tickets, visit vpa.syr.edu/drama. You can also purchase tickets at the Syracuse Stage box office at 820 E. Genesee St. The box office phone number is 315-443-3275. ‘‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore’ runs through November 11.

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The Musical of Musicals: The Musical 
Who Rarely Done Productions
Where 441 E. Washington St., Syracuse
When Oct. 19 – Nov. 3
Tickets $20
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein 

Rarely Done Productions celebrates its fifth anniversary this year with a reproduction of “The Musical of Musicals: The Musical.” The company first performed “Musicals” during their debut season in 2007. Most of the original four-person cast reprises their roles. Michael Copps returns as musical director.

One new addition to the show is Jimmy Curtin, who joined the production this year to play the hero character. In a five-act parody, audiences follow a villain, a leading-lady, a leading-man and a matron archetype.

“The Musical of Musicals” pays homage to the work of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Andrew Lloyd Weber, John Kander and Fred Ebb. Jodie Baum, who plays the matron character Abby, says doing your musical theatre homework before coming to the show will make the jokes richer. But she also thinks anyone can enjoy the trumped up comedy of the show.

“The Musical of Musicals” opens this Friday, October 19 at 8 p.m. Dan Tursi directs the show. Opening night is already sold-out, but tickets are still available for October 20th at 8 p.m. For a complete list of show times, or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.rarelydone.org/. You can also purchase tickets at CNY Jazz Arts Foundation at 441 E. Washington St. The box office phone number is 315-546-3224. “The Musical of Musicals” runs at CNY Jazz Arts Foundation through November 3.

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Moby Dick
Who Syracuse Stage 
Where 820 E. Genesee St. Syracuse
When Oct. 10 – Nov. 4
Tickets $30-49
Audio Preview by Christina Riley 

Julian Rad’s adaptation of “Moby Dick” comes to Syracuse Stage Friday. The “whale of a tale” opened off-off Broadway in 2003, and was nominated for three Drama Desk awards. This play with music offers a chance for Syracuse audiences to get up close and personal with Captain Ahab and his stirring quest for vengeance against the great white whale.

This show is the opener of the 40th season at Syracuse Stage. Bringing classics to the stage, “Moby Dick” is a part of a season that is also offering “White Christmas,” “Two Trains Running,” “A Midsummer’s Night Dream,” and more.

“Moby Dick” opens this Friday, Oct. 10 at 8 p.m. Peter Amster directs the show. For tickets, visit the Syracuse Stage box office at 820 E. Genesee St. You can also purchase tickets online at www.syracusestage.org or by calling 315-443-3275. “Moby Dick” runs at Syracuse Stage through Nov. 4.

 


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Assassins
Who Redhouse Arts Center
Where 201 S. West St. Syracuse
When Oct. 4-13
Tickets $15-25; $10 for students
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein 

Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Assassins” comes to the Redhouse Friday. With 96 seats, the Redhouse theatre has a smaller space than most off-Broadway productions of the famed musical. Syracuse audiences can get up-close and personal with the infamous assassins and attempted murderers throughout American history.

Musical Director Zachary Orts says “Assassins” helps us understand and work through national tragedy. Premiering the same week as the 2012 presidential debates, the musical boasts a tragic relationship to the American Dream that resonates today.

“Assassins” opens this Friday, October 5th at 8 p.m. Stephen Svoboda directs the show. For tickets, visit the Redhouse box office at 201 S. West St. You can also purchase tickets online at www.theredhouse.org or by calling 315-425-0405. “Assassins” runs at the Redhouse through October 13.

 


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Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo
Who Syracuse Stage
Where 820 E. Genesee St. Syracuse
When – Sept. 14-23 
Audio Preview by Paige Cooperstein 

The Syracuse Stage opens its 40th season on September 14 with a production of “Cry for Peace: Voices from the Congo.” Directed by Ping Chong, “Cry for Peace” features five Congolese refugees sharing their real life stories. Chong interviewed dozens of people from Syracuse’s Congolese community before selecting the five who would share their stories on stage. Kyle Bass, the Stage’s dramaturge, helped Chong weave the life stories of the Congolese performers into a gripping production.

“Cry for Peace” runs September 14 – 23 at the Syracuse Stage. For tickets, contact the box office at 820 E Genesee St. or 315-443-3275. You can also purchase tickets from http://www.syracusestage.org.

 

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