Photo courtesy of Christine Markiewicz
Linda Benson and Jaron Carlson rehearse for a production of the play 4000 Miles showing at Cyrano’s Playhouse on Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m.
By Ron Holmstrom
Turnagain Times Correspondent
It is that time of year to admit to ourselves that our long warm days are coming to an end, but there is a lot to look forward to this season as local performing companies are gearing up for their fall and winter presentations.
The hilarious I Hate Hamlet (featured here last edition), continues at Anchorage Community Theatre through Sept. 21. Performances at their South Anchorage playhouse are Thursdays through Sundays. You may get more information and tickets at their website http://www.actalaska.org or by calling 868-4913. We recommend making reservations as this play has been selling out.
Cyrano’s Playhouse at 4th and D Street will be opening its new show, 4000 Miles, on Friday, Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. There will also be a Pay-What-You-Can Preview on Thursday, Sept. 4 at 7 p.m.
Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, winner for the “Best Play of the Year” Obie (Off-Broadway Awards) and Time Magazine’s “Best Play of the Year,” Cyrano’s Artistic Director Sandy Harper had this to tell me about the show: “4000 Miles is a funny, moving, altogether wonderful play about two unlikely roommates, twenty-one year old Leo, who has just biked across the country and his feisty colorful grandmother. They infuriate, bewilder and ultimately reach each other. It is also about the acceptance of life, where it is, what it is at any given moment and continuing to live the best way you can.”
As always, there will be an opening night after-party for play attendees and this one will coincide with a big First Friday Block Party on D Street being put on by International Gallery of Art, also on D Street. The party will begin Friday afternoon and one would imagine that Cyrano’s reception would spill out onto the street. For opening night, artist Barbara Lavalee will be attending to present the original poster-art she designed for 4000 Miles.
From director Krista Schwarting’s notes in the program, “I first proposed 4000 Miles to Sandy Harper in January 2013, at which time she agreed to produce it if we could find the right actress to play Vera. We immediately thought of Linda Benson, who has the right combination of warmth and bracing acidity necessary to keep Vera from playing as a stereotypical sitcom grandmother. Fortunately Linda said yes, and after we both saw Jaron’s stellar performance in Red he was our first choice for Leo. Linda and Jaron are joined by Taylor Campbell and Lisa-Marie Castro, both of whom are making their Cyrano’s debut and demonstrating what a terrific talent pool UAA has these days.”
Some mention should be made of the quality of young theatre artists being turned out by Tom Skore and his Theatre & Dance Department at UAA. These new faces to Alaska stage and film work are a welcome addition to the already great bunch of cast and crew people we have here.
“I recognized that Anchorage has a huge biking community,” Harper said, “and also that many seniors enjoy going to the theater and would especially enjoy this play. It’s based on the playwright Amy Herzog’s real grandmother, who at 95 attended the opening in NYC and had a ball at the opening night party.” For information about Cyrano’s or tickets to the shows, go to www.cyranos.org or call 263-ARTS (2787).
A few streets away at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts, Anchorage will be holding its 47th Annual Champagne Pops event on Saturday, Sept. 6 beginning at 6:30 p.m. This year the symphony takes us down a country road with Country Legends, paying tribute to the greatest names in country, featuring the music of Johnny Cash, Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Faith Hill and many more. Sharing the stage this year with Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer and the talented ASO musicians are two powerhouse Nashville vocalists Rachel Potter and Patrick Thomas, who charmed America with their appearances on The X Factor and The Voice.
This elegant black tie event may be a bit spendy, but it includes champagne and plated hors d’oeuvres, intimate onstage cabaret style seating, a live auction and a Baton Drawing to choose one lucky guest to conduct the ASO in a future performance of The Stars and Stripes Forever. So, for all of you closet conductors, this event may be just the thing for you. For more information about this event, go to their website www.anchoragesymphony.org or call 274-8668.
We will be reporting more about the symphony and the Anchorage Opera here in upcoming editions, so keep checking Lively Arts for all the fun events happening around town.