Today, we consider two rather different theatrical productions as we’re joined in the Performance Studio by castmembers of the Masquerade Theatre production of You’re a Goodman Charlie Brown and we chat with Mike Switzer and Mark Carrier of Houston’s Kid Ornery Productions about the 1923 expressionist play The Adding Machine. . .
For its summer 2006 offering, Masquerade Theatre, Houston’s OTHER professional producer of musicals (besides TUTS) is presenting two different shows in repertory. Last week, the cast of the company’s staging of the science-fiction spoof, Little Shop of Horrors, performed some of the songs from the score, which so authentically reproduces the sound of turn-of-the-Sixties rock-and-roll. Much more traditional in terms of musical style — and very different in subject matter is Masquerade Theatre’s other 2006 summer production, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, based on the late Charles Schulz’s long-running comic strip, Peanuts. Several of that show’s principal players also joined Bob Stevenson in the KUHF Performance Studio. Audio here.
Kid Ornery Productions is a new independent theatrical company in Houston whose debut offering is a bleakly humorous, eerily prophetic piece, generally regarded to be the first American drama written in the Expressionist style. The Adding Machine was penned in 1923 by New-York-born playwright Elmer Rice, who six years later would win the Pulitzer Prize for another play, Street Scene, the basis for the opera of the same name by Kurt Weill. In The Adding Machine, Mister Zero, a non-entity who has faithfully labored for twenty-five years in the financial offices of a monstrous department store, is unceremoniously replaced by a new piece of high-tech equipment. Actor Mark Carrier plays Mister Zero; Mike Switzer is the man who discovered this little-known play, and who produced and directed it. They spoke with KUHF’s Meaghan Hendley. Audio here.
Auditions were held in sixteen cities coast-to-coast for entry into Houston Ballet’s Ben Stevenson Academy, and two-hundred-and-and-fifty advanced-level dancers, aged twelve-to-eighteen, were selected to come to Houston to participate in the Academy’s 2006 Summer Intensive Program, which consists of six weeks of six-day-a-week, day-long classes and rehearsals in the techniques of ballet, character, modern and jazz dance and mime. The faculty is made up of instructors from the staff of the Ben Stevenson Academy, members of the Houston Ballet artistic staff, and former and current principal dancers from the company. The students will show what they’ve learned in this year’s Summer Intensive Showcase, which will be presented tonight and again tomorrow evening on the South campus of San Jacinto Community College on Beamer Road. Shelly Power is the Associate Director of the Ben Stevenson Academy. Houston native and one-time dancer Christie Taylor is the former dance critic of the Boston Herald and has written pieces on dance for the New York Times. She currently lives in Dublin, Ireland and taught a course on Dance Criticism at this year’s Ballet Academy Summer Intensive Program. Ms. Power and Ms. Taylor spoke with KUHF’s Alison Young. Audio here.