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Theater previews and reviews, spoken word events and more

Fight for the throne: ‘Macbeth’ opens at The Rep

John David Pittman

Photo by John David Pittman

Something’s stirring inside The Rep.

And though it’s certainly due to the swelling excitement surrounding the company’s 40th season, right now, it’s probably the greed and paranoia of one 11th century Scot.

Centuries-old Shakespearean play Macbeth, directed by The Rep Producing Artistic Director Robert Hupp, opened Sept. 11, confidently mixing bloody revenge with a bit of spook.

From the first scene, Marianne Custer’s costume design and Robert Pickens’ wig design talents, complemented strategically by the stage’s stone-based set up, transport audience members back in time.

But the audience is also taken to a place more supernatural, more enchanted, more … ghouly. The three witches — played by Courtney Bennett, Heather Dupree and Joseph J. Menino — are androgynous in appearance, mystifying in voice. Their predictions kick-start Macbeth’s deadly quest to the throne, starting with the murder of King Duncan (Mitch Tebo) and eventually leading to the death of Banquo (Damian Thompson).

Macbeth (Michael Stewart Allen), drowning in guilt, begins to see things, ramble things and become increasingly removed from real-life situations. While his mind is plagued, he still has the throne to protect. Luckily, he’s got Lady Macbeth, one hell of an enabler, … Read more >

Quick Picks: ‘Puss in Boots,’ Dining in the Dark, more

Submitted Photo

Puss in Boots rehearsal | Submitted Photo

09/16-17

The Arkansas Hospitality Vendor Showcase & Convention takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Statehouse Convention Center. A joint effort from the Arkansas Restaurant Association, the Arkansas Travel Council and the Arkansas Lodging Association, the showcase features seminars and training to help attendees improve running a business in the restaurant or tourism industry. A bartending competition and gala will take place. Entry is $5.

09/17

The Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind marks 75 years with Dining in the Dark, a dinner experience that teaches how darkness enhances one’s senses, at Noah’s Event Venue from 6:30-9 p.m. The fundraiser supports the Arkansas Lighthouse for the Blind’s mission of employing individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The event also includes a lighted reception and auction. Tickets are $150.

09/17

The Arkansas Arts Center Children’s Theatre kicks off its season with Puss in Boots, which runs Friday through Oct. 4 but holds a special Pay-What-You-Can preview night Thursday at 7 p.m. The family-friendly musical follows Puss the Cat as he uses his feline smarts to conquer obstacles and help lift his owner’s spirits. A $1 minimum is required … Read more >

Quick Picks: An Evening With Dianne Reeves, Thea Paves the Way, more

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

9/10

Rock the Runway takes place from 7:30-11 p.m. at Twin City Limousines and Event Center in downtown Little Rock. The third annual fashion show raises support for Fighting Fancy, a nonprofit that provides beauty products to women in chemotherapy. The event will feature designs and trends from local boutiques and designers. The dress code is black-and-white cocktail attire. Tickets are $100, $150 for VIP, and doors open at 6:30 p.m.

09/10

The Albert Pike Masonic Center holds the seventh annual Shine A Light on Literacy fundraiser from 6-9 p.m. The event will educate guests on Literacy Action of Central Arkansas’ efforts to promote literacy in the metro area. Its programs promote job literacy, family literacy and health literacy. Drinks, a wine pull and an auction will be featured. Tickets are $50.

09/11

An Evening With Dianne Reeves fills the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center from 7:30-10 p.m. Five-time Grammy-winning jazz singer Dianne Reeves will perform at this fundraiser, which will benefit outreach and educational programs through Mosaic Templars. The opening act will be Rodney Block and The Real Music Lovers. Tickets are $100 for general admission, $75 for premium balcony seating and $50 for regular balcony … Read more >

Quick Picks: Meet the Ballet Arkansas artists, more

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

8/20

North Little Rock’s Good Food by Ferneau hosts a Meet the Artists Party in honor of Ballet Arkansas at 6:30-8:30 p.m. The $40 event allows visitors to kick off Ballet Arkansas’ new season by meeting the company’s new ballet mistress, Laura Hood Babcock, along with five choreographers. Menu items include fresh jalapeno, hummus-stuffed mushrooms with almonds, deviled eggs, smoked chicken salad sliders and more.

08/21

Youth Home’s annual Steak and Eggs Benefit Breakfast takes place at The Butcher Shop from 6-10 a.m. The menu features steak, biscuits, eggs and more. Hosts from KABZ-FM, 103.7 The Buzz will be present. Tickets are $10 and go toward purchasing school supplies for students in need.

08/22

Easter Seals holds its Rollin’ on the River event at 7 a.m. at the Clinton Presidential Center. The event features a 5K and 2K family fun walk to raise money for the organization, which aids individuals who have disabilities. There will also be games and activities for children. Registration is $10 for ages 2-10 and $25 for ages 13 and older.

08/22

Ron Robinson Theater will show two films, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory and Roar. The 1971 Willy Read more >

The Rep, Stone’s Throw to launch beer-naming contest

 

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In honor of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre’s opening production for its 40th season, the theater company is partnering with Stone’s Throw Brewery to launch a Macbeth-inspired beer, the theater announced Aug. 12.

There’s just one little thing missing: a name.

Beginning Aug. 17, The Rep and Stone’s Throw will open the Macbeth Beer-Naming Contest, and they’re asking for your help. Need some inspiration? The beer will be a Scottish red ale, with the red paying tribute to the battles of Macbeth, and there will be a hint of rye for spice. “It’s a malty, full-bodied beer that is easy to drink,” the theater says in a news release.

Entries will be allowed until Aug. 21, and the top five names will be announced Aug. 24. From Aug. 24-26, voting will be open, with the winner being announced Aug. 27 at the brewery’s 402 E. Ninth St. location in Little Rock at 6:30 p.m.

A free growler and pair of tickets to Macbeth will be awarded to the person who submits the name that receives the most Facebook likes by the end of the voting period.

Submit entries here.

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth shows at The Rep from … Read more >

Quick Picks: Breakfast With the Elephants, Color Vibe 5K, more

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

08/12

White Water Tavern holds its first Storytellers Club — a set time for those to tell, or listen to, true personal stories about adventures, happiness, anger and more — from 8-11 p.m. Storytellers must register and be 13 or older. The Storytellers Club views storytelling as an art form and a way to teach and entertain.

08/15

Breakfast With the Elephants at the Little Rock Zoo is an all-ages activity to encourage enrichment activities for animals while enjoying a light breakfast. Enrichment helps animals exercise their bodies and stimulate their minds, the zoo says. The activity is from 8-9 a.m. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers, and tickets include admission to the zoo.

08/15

The Color Vibe 5K brings color zones and a dance party to the Barton Coliseum at 9 a.m. A custom color powder is thrown on runners during different stations of the race. Online registration is $55 for a team runner, $65 for individuals and free for children 12 and under. In-person registration is $70 for a team runner, $75 for individuals and $10 for children.

08/15

Pinnacle Mountain State Park presents the Summer Star Party from 9-11 p.m. Park … Read more >

Quick Picks: Drum Corps International, Harry Potter marathon, more

AP file photo

AP file photo

07/22

The annual Drum Corps International tour stops for a Little Rock performance at 7 p.m. at War Memorial Stadium. The organization is a nonprofit for junior drum and bugle corps. DCI Arkansas includes competing teams from California, Colorado, New Jersey, Wisconsin and more. Tickets are $27. For ticket information, click here.

07/23

Wildwood Park for the Arts hosts its last Guest Artist Recital with a performance by soprano Maria Natale at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. For more information, visit Wildwood’s site.

07/25

The Butler Center for Arkansas Studies presents the 2015 Genealogy Conference at the Ron Robinson Theater from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Genealogy Gems owner Louise Cooke will be the speaker for this day-long workshop that explores using newspapers, Google and more to find information on ancestors. A meet and greet will be held Friday from 4-6 p.m. in the Butler Center’s Room 124. All events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Click here to register.

07/25

MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History hosts its third annual Vintage Military Vehicle Show from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Vehicles from the Arkansas Military Vehicle Preservation Association … Read more >

Quick Picks: American Taekwondo Association World Expo, Arkansas Legends ProCamp, more

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

07/08-12

The American Taekwondo Association World Expo 2015 begins Friday at the Statehouse Convention Center in downtown Little Rock. The five-day conference is filled with activities, training, tournaments and special events. Friday’s Masters’ Ceremony, held from 8-10 p.m. at the H.U. Lee International Gate and Garden, can be viewed via live telecast at the convention center’s Governor’s Hall. Click here for more information.

07/09

Loblolly Creamery and Rock Town Distillery partner to raise money for the Thea Foundation through a Loblolly Ice Cream Happy Hour from 5-7 p.m. Loblolly Creamery, housed in The Green Corner Store & Soda Fountain, will serve sodas, ice cream and floats made with Rock Town Distillery spirits. Ten percent of sales at the happy hour benefits the foundation, and throughout July, ten percent of Loblolly’s Thea Foundation-inspired blueberry pie ice cream will support the foundation, as well.

07/10

Children ages 7-14 will learn football techniques and receive mentoring from athletes Darren McFadden, D.J. Williams, Martrell Spaight and Peyton Hillis at the second annual Arkansas Legends ProCamp from 9 a.m. to noon at Verizon Arena. All four athletes are former University of Arkansas players and are playing or have … Read more >

Quick Picks: New Play Fest readings, Monty Python screening, more

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

Update: Reading times for the Arkansas New Play Fest at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre have changed. 

06/25-27

What Will It Take? A Dance Narrative will show Thursday through Saturday at The Studio Theatre at 7:30 p.m., with an additional performance Saturday at 2 p.m. The narrative — written, choreographed and directed by Michael Goodbar and Allyson Bode — is a story of loss, love, connection and more. Tickets are $10. For more information, click here.

06/26

The Ron Robinson Theater begins its summer movie lineup by showing Monty Python and the Holy Grail at 10 p.m. The film marked its 40th anniversary this year. Tickets for the screening are $5. Beer and wine will be available at the screening and all Ron Robinson screenings after 5 p.m.

06/27

As a part of TheatreSquared’s 2015 Arkansas New Play Fest, the Arkansas Repertory Theatre will hold two play readings in the theater’s lobby. At 2 p.m., Uncle by Lee Blessing will be read, and Dust by Qui Nguyen will be read at 7 p.m. Dust is a coming-of-age story about an Asian-American teenager who plans to find her father. Uncle is a comedy following a writer who … Read more >

Quick Picks: All-Arkansas Preps, Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom, more

Dick Vitale

Dick Vitale

06/18

Pulaski Tech Craft Corner Workshop will cater to those interested in exploring the world of Pinterest at the Pulaski Technical College’s Tom Steves room in its Business Technology Center from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The workshop focuses on the basics such as creating an account, following other users, and learning more on pins and boards. Attendees are encouraged to bring a laptop, smartphone or tablet, and the event is $10.

06/18

Violinist Tarn Travers, who has traveled across the country, Japan and Europe, to perform is stopping at Wildwood Park for the Arts for a 7:30 p.m. show. Travers has experience as both an orchestral and chamber musician, including time as a violinist with the New World Symphony. Tickets are $15.

06/18-20

The 46th annual NQA Quilt Show sets up at the Statehouse Convention Center from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day of the event. Presented by the National Quilting Association Inc., the event contains workshops, vendors, quilting exhibits and more. Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door.

06/20

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette presents its annual All-Arkansas Preps banquet, which honors the top high school athletes in the state who play in nine different sports, … Read more >

August: Osage County brings the heat

 

Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

Nothing says downright dysfunctional like a Weston family reunion in the Oklahoma heat. Dark comedy and Tony Award-winning August: Osage County — written by Tracy Letts, who received a Pulitzer Prize for the play — premiered at the Arkansas Repertory Theatre on June 5, a hot day perfect for reminding audience members of the flaws that might afflict their own families and providing an opportunity to laugh out loud at them.

In a home near Pawhuska, Oklahoma, the county seat of Osage County, an emergency brings the Weston daughters together once again. Patriarch Beverly (Cliff Baker, The Rep’s founding director) has run off one August day, leaving cancer patient and seemingly proud pill-popper matriarch Violet (Susanne Marley) to call on her three daughters, Barbara Fordham (LeeAnne Hutchison), Ivy (Brenny Rabine) and Karen (Kathy McCafferty) for comfort — and also because misery loves company, right?

As the wait for Beverly’s return drags on, family secrets unfold and things gets heated (think: slaps, whacks and the occasional dragged-by-the-hair scenario).

Violet is crude, foul-mouthed but insanely funny, which translates to Barbara, essentially a younger version of her mother, though she’d never admit it. Barbara travels to the … Read more >

Quick Picks: Legends of Rhythm, Zoo Snooze, more

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

06/11

South on Main hosts a Celebration of Graham Gordy from 5-7 p.m. Local screenwriter Gordy — known for The Love Guru, War Eagle, Arkansas and Rectify — will be honored for his creation of the coming Cinemax drama Quarry. Quarry follows a marine who returns from Vietnam to his Memphis home in 1972 and becomes shunned and involved in a web of corruption. Tickets for the event are $50.

06/12

Untapped Presents: Legends of Rhythm will take audience members back in time by showcasing various points in tap dance history through tributes at the Ron Robinson Theater at 7:15 p.m. Styles made famous by Shirley Temple, Fred Astaire, Vera Ellen and more will be highlighted live by members of Untapped, a professional tap dancing company. Tickets are $20. For more information, click here.

06/12-13

Children ages 6-12 and their families are welcome to meet nocturnal animals and then get some shut eye at Zoo Snooze at the Little Rock Zoo’s Zooventure Education Center from 6 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m. Saturday. Tents and sleeping bags are welcome for snoozing under the stars, and optional sleeping areas are available inside. Entry is $30 … Read more >

Quick Picks: Greek Food Festival, Jazzlights in the Park, more

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

Jonathan Butler | Arkansas Democrat-Gazette file photo

05/13

The Thea Foundation hosts its inaugural Into the Blue: An Evening with President Bill Clinton at 6:30 p.m. at the Clinton presidential library. The fundraising event — typically held in Washington, D.C. — will highlight the foundation’s 13 years of supporting Arkansas’ arts communities and will feature performances by past scholarship winners. Dinner will include an address from former President Clinton. Tickets start at $1,000. For more information, click here.

05/14

Central Arkansas Rescue Effort for Animals will show how dogs can also be divas at its annual Paws on the Runway at 6 p.m. at the Clear Channel Metroplex Event Center. Local celebrities will help pets down the runway as KTHV-TV, Channel 11’s Craig O’Neill emcees the event. Drinks, hors d’oeuvres and auctions will also be featured. Tickets are $50 for general admission and $100 for runway seating. Buy tickets here.

05/15-17

The 31st annual International Greek Food Festival kicks off Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church. The free festival celebrates culinary traditions of the church’s members and their forefathers. Dishes such as falafel, pastitsio and more will be … Read more >

Review: Project Elan unplugs, then plugs you in

Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

Photo by Stephen B. Thornton

“Please, don’t let me block you,” threatens guitar-toting Maddie, the high-school-age girl who just doesn’t understand why her boyfriend, Nathan, can’t accept that checking into her favorite Starbucks location on Facebook is becoming way more important than actual human interaction with him.

After all, there’s a whole world out there to connect to through Instagram, Twitter and other forms of social media. But that’s exactly what the Arkansas Repertory Theatre doesn’t want you to do. At least for a couple of hours every night until May 16.

Project Elan, The Rep’s first original musical in its 40-year history, premiered May 5. Written by several of the company’s Summer Musical Theater Intensive (SMTI) program alumni and SMTI founder Nicole Capri, Project Elan is a culture-relevant musical that chronicles various struggles and characteristics of the millennial generation’s relationship with technology and signals the program’s 10th year.

Full of a cast of current and former SMTI participants, the musical follows six main story lines, a style inspired by the film Love Actually, Capri says, and represents various ages within the millennial generation from elementary school to 30s.

“I’ve been working with young people for over 25 … Read more >

#90DayProbation team plans 10-city tour

#90DayProbation, a locally produced play written by local Fredrick Buffington, shows how a young man balances personal relationships, volunteering and business endeavors while managing his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The production, based on Buffington’s life, made its debut at Philander Smith College in Little Rock on April 2.

The play is planned to embark on a 10-city tour in a month, with its first showings June 5-6 at 7 p.m. at Philander Smith, the team announced via news release.

Other tentative dates are planned as far as October, but no solid dates are available, Buffington says in an email.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, but its Eventbrite page lists a $15 early-bird special that ends May 15.

Read Sync‘s preview of #90DayProbation here, and keep up with the play by visiting its website.… Read more >

Syd Hayman is a beauty, entertainment and pop culture fanatic who enjoys trying different metro restaurants that satisfy picky eaters. Tweet her at @TheSydRichi.