LakeCities Ballet in Lewisville to stage ‘Dracula’ for 10th year

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By ADAM SCHRADER
Published in The Dallas Morning News on Sept. 28, 2015

LakeCities Ballet Theatre will present its 10th fall performance of Le Ballet de Dracula at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 16 and at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater, 100 N. Charles St.

Children can come dressed in Halloween costumes and wear stage makeup to dance with Dracula’s brides during a pre-performance junior bride workshop at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 11. The workshop, for children ages 8 and older, is free with the purchase of a performance ticket and an RSVP to guild@lakecitiesballet.org.

A haunted house will provide spooky entertainment before each performance and during intermissions. Admission is $3; however, bride workshop participants can enter free with a performance ticket.

Tickets are $17 for general admission and can be purchased at the door, by calling 972-317-7987 or by visiting lakecitiesballet.org.

Review: Musical Theater of Denton’s ‘The Addams Family’ — a show to die for

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By ADAM SCHRADER
Published in The Dallas Morning News on Oct. 30, 2015

It was a dark and stormy night – the perfect setting for the Musical Theater of Denton’s performance of The Addams Family.

(Ironically, I almost died twice in the torrential monsoon on the way up from Dallas to see the show.)

I walked in to the Campus Theater off the square through a side door to witness the lobby, decorated spooktacularly as the inside of the Addams home.

But it wasn’t a somber event. The laughs of the lively audience started before the show even began.

“Remember: if you have small children with you, make sure to eat them,” the announcer said as the houselights dimmed.

The Addams Family musical seems to pick up years after the movies left off — filling the void we’ve all craved since the unfortunate Addams Family Reunion.

Morticia and Gomez want to continue living the way they always have. But Wednesday has fallen in love with a “normal” boy from Ohio, Lucas Beineke.  The Addams invite the Beinekes to their home for dinner. Secrets are kept and strain is put onto the family that relishes in pain and suffering.

It’s said the musical follows the characterizations of the animated TV show. But, the makeup, costumes and set design were stylized perfectly after the 1991 movie. In fact, the entire production mirrored the early ’90s films.

Alexis Romero, who portrayed Gomez, delivered each punch line of his dad-like one-liners and each song of his devotion to his wife Morticia, played by Anjelica Houston’s younger doppelganger Liz J Millea, in the style of Raul Julia down to the accent. Millea also gesturized like her predecessor in the role.

Paul Iwanicki played Uncle Fester with the mischievousness of Christopher Loyd, and taught us to love how only Fester can. Kristen Brasher played Grandma Addams, “who may or may not be in the family”. Her hilarious portrayal left me crying from laughter by intermission.

Jason Joos, who played Mal Beineke, made for a potent antagonist — but could have annunciated more as he was often unintelligible. Kristi Smith Johnson, who played Alice Beineke, Lucas’ mother, was surprisingly funny and showed some of the greatest character depth onstage.

The dynamic between Cameron Dinger (Pugsley) and Meagan Black (Wednesday) was perfect and I wish there were more scenes with just the two of them; but the chemistry between Black and Jacob Lewis, who played her love interest Lucas, was lacking.

Lewis had a brilliant improvised line that received thunderous laughter when Black accidentally calls him by his real name, yelling “It’s Lucas!”

However, most of the time Lewis was difficult to hear as his microphone seemed to be turned down.

Overall, it was a true ensemble cast — no actor outshining another. Though at times, even Lurch stole the show without saying a word.

Directors Bill Kirkley and Choreographer Rebecca McDonald made sure the entire stage was used effectively. Some of my favorite scenes, like Wednesday’s loving torture of Pugsley, were conducted on the sides of the stage.

There was not an opportunity missed, except maybe long drop for a mischievous boy from the second story of Addams mansion. The writers even made pointed social commentary in the liberal persuasion.

Of course, no Addams Family production is complete without a killer Dancing with the Stars-esque tango between a loving husband and wife.

Standing ovation after a killer dance and intoxicating musical numbers in second act left everyone snapping and humming out of theater.

The show has some language and sexual references and is inappropriate for children; but, it teaches the values of family and love. Cherish your families, folks.

(Photo submitted by Mike Foster)

‘Calendar Girls’ cast strips for cause

News Stories Archive

By ADAM SCHRADER
Published in the Dallas Morning News and the Denton Record-Chronicle on Dec. 5, 2014

The Greater Lewisville Community Theater will host the region premiere of the comedy Calendar Girls by Tim Firth. Landing the licensing rights to produce the play has become a big deal for southern Denton County’s arts community.

The play is based on a group of women in Yorkshire, England. In 1998, when one of their husbands died from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the group decided to raise money to purchase a hospital waiting-room sofa. Despite their advanced ages, the women decided to pose naked for photos and then sell the resulting pinup calendar.

Their fundraiser went better than expected and they soon had donated hundreds of thousands of pounds for leukemia research. Because of its success, the women decided to make followup calendars each year. Now, they have raised millions of pounds for leukemia and lymphoma research.

Touchstone Pictures released an award-winning film starring Helen Mirren in 2003. Tim Firth released his stage adaptation in 2008. The play was a huge success in the United Kingdom. Every theater that performed the play would make a pinup calendar to further the women’s cause.

Theaters in the United States recently acquired the rights to perform the play, and the Lewisville theater company has one of six production licenses in the country. It will be the second U.S. theater to stage the play.

Nancy Thorne, a theater board member, said she is happy to have a small role in Calendar Girls.

“We’re just a small community theater,” she said. “So we’re really excited about being able to produce it.”

Delynda Moravec is one of the six principal actors in Calendar Girls. She was particularly attracted to this project because her husband, Kip, is a 40-year survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“The thought of him dealing with cancer as a teenager is heartbreaking to me,” she said. “I want to be able to help raise awareness and support research for these diseases, and this story is a poignant reminder of what we can accomplish when we come together for a cause.”

In keeping with tradition, the women of the GLCT cast and crew have produced a 2015 pinup calendar. It will be on sale for $15 each during the run of the show. Net proceeds will benefit the North Texas Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

“It just seemed natural to do exactly what these ladies did and give to the cause they donated to,” Thorne said.

Mike Foster, a Highland Village photographer, has shot GLCT’s production photos for many years. He said he was caught off guard when he was asked to take pictures for the calendar.

“I was excited, thrilled and terrified at the thought. Before the shoot, nerves were relaxed at Tierney’s Cafe and we were ready to go,” he said. “I knew the ladies were going to be nervous, as was I, but once the shoot started, we all had a blast.”

Thorne said the group joked a lot before the photo shoot to calm their nerves.

“Mike was so professional and an easy guy to work with,” she said.

Calendar Girls runs through Dec. 21, with performances at 8 p.m on Fridays and Saturdays, and 3 p.m. on Sundays. Tickets cost $17 for adults and $15 for 65 and older or 18 and younger. It is rated PG-13 for adult content.

Crumpet comes to town

The Greater Lewisville Community Theater will perform the Joe Mantello adaptation of David Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries simultaneously.

The play is based on Sedaris’ personal essay about his time as an elf in Macy’s.

Chris Robinson plays Crumpet in this one-man, one-act play. Out of work and desperate, this irreverent little man takes a job at Macy’s ushering children and their parents through the Santaland maze to meet an everchanging array of Santas.

Robinson has directed numerous productions in area theaters, including the last two musicals for GLCT. He said he first became aware of The Santaland Diaries during a road trip to Houston, when he heard Sedaris read the essay on NPR.

“My travel companion and I laughed for days over the antics of Crumpet the Elf,” he said. “I thought at the time I could portray him brilliantly if I ever had the chance.”

This is Robinson’s first solo performance.

“I have performed in many productions of the two-actor Tuna plays with my good friend, the late Ryan Roach, and it was always comforting to be able to rely on his support as a fellow actor,” he said. “It’s a bit scary now to have only myself to rely on onstage.”

The Santaland Diaries will run at 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Dec. 20. Tickets cost $12. It is rated R for adult content and language.

GLCT is at 160 W. Main St. in Old Town Lewisville. Call 972-221-7469 to make reservations. More information is available at glct.org.

Lewisville/Flower Mound editor Adam Schrader can be reached at 214-773-8188 and on Twitter at @schrader_adam.