MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS

by Athol Fugard

Master Harold and the Boys jpgJune 9-25

Set in 1950 on a rainy day in a run-down South African tearoom, apartheid is the law of the land. Two black men, Willie and Sam, dance as they clean the floor, practicing for an upcoming ballroom dance competition. In walks Hally, a 17-year-old white boy, who Sam has helped with his homework since Hally was little. They get into a deep discussion about who is the most important social reformer in history. "Fugard creates a blistering fusion of the personal and the political." - The New York Times

BOATWRIGHT

 

by Patrick Tovatt

Boatwright 909kbApril 13-29

A Bunbury World Premiere, the romantic comedy in two acts is in the old style --where the guy gets the girl or the girl gets the guy -- depending on your point of view. But, in this buoyant romp, the guy is a bit long in the tooth, and the girl is no spring chicken either. Recently retired to a ramshackle, out-of-the-way corner of waterfront, Ned is content to quietly pursue his three passions: building boats, writing songs and designing his own demise. A mysterious young customer in his boat shop abruptly catapults him into an entirely new life, full of music, love and responsibilities.

St. Nickaklaus and the Hanukkah Christmas

by Juergen K. Tossmann

St. Nickaklaus and the Hanukkah ChristmaDec 1-17

Klaus Klurman, aging actor and Jewish Holocaust survivor tries to come to terms with his failing memory and his relationship with his adopted African-American son, estranged daughter, and smoked-up-son-in-law. While the family struggles with Klaus's beginning stages of dementia, the action takes a hilarious and bizarre twist as the power of the spirit touches this unusual holiday celebration.

 

 

 

 

December

1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 - 7:30pm

3, 10, 17 - 2:00pm

"Tossmann’s script is a poignant, insightful comedy that revels in theater riffs and wordplay, but never hides its eyes from the reality of the situation.......The production gets fine performances from Tyler Madden as Klaus’ gay, African-American adopted son, Rebecca Henderson as Klaus’ married daughter and Tossmann as Rebecca’s loony pot-smoking husband.......Klaus is a powerful, egotistical man battling his emerging age, his physical vulnerability and the looming dementia that coexists with his still formidable intellect. Orme brings him to life in a mercurial performance constructed of meticulously crafted physical and vocal detail — a palsied hand, a mental short circuit that carries him abruptly to a long-ago rehearsal for Othello. It’s a delightful piece of acting — all the more because it doesn’t feel much like acting at all....Marty Rosen/ Leo Weekly

 

Tyler Madden’s Fritz was a great balance of loyal son and brother but also a frazzled caregiver. He treated all of the scenes as if he had been part of similar real-life scenarios. Juergen Tossmann’s Frank was a hoot. While donning a Santa hat that had a marijuana leaf on it, he brought whimsy into a serious family situation. While the character of Frank seemed to be over the top at times, it fit more than hindered the flow of the show......Louisville has been very fortunate to have Matt Orme display his craft for decades now, and he seems quite at home on the Bunbury Theatre stage. His depiction of Klaus was both heartbreaking and revelatory, making no apologies for what he was and what he is becoming. When he shouts, “An actor has to have passion”, his booming voice hovers over the audience like a whispering wind.

Bob Bush is one of the best scenic designers in Louisville theater, and he and his props person, Hannah Greene, knocked it out of the park with this modern living room design. With a lighted Christmas tree featuring a Star of David as a topper and a menorah on the mantelpiece, one had a feeling you could be in a swanky downtown apartment celebrating the occasion.

Annette Skaggs/ Arts-Louisville

RED

by John Logan

WINNER OF THE TONY AWARD

Red Poster jpgFebruary 16- March 4

Raw and provocative, RED is a searing portrait of an artist's ambition (Mark Rothko) and vulnerability, as he tries to create a definitive work for an extraordinary setting. A 2010 Tony Award winner, the play is "intense and exciting...a portrait of an angry and brilliant mind that asks you to feel the shape and texture of thoughts....'Red' captures the dynamic relationship between an artist and his creations." - New York Times

TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE

by Jeffrey Hatcher & Mitch Albom

Based on the book by Mitch Albom

Tuesdays with Morrie Resized imageOctober 6-22

Mitch is reunited with his professor, Morrie, and what starts as a simple visit, turns into a weekly pilgrimage and a last class in the meaning of life. "Unforgettable! No matter how well you tell the story, the play makes it more vivid, more shattering, more humorous." - New York Magazine

"Making the language of the boo crisper, cleverer and more palatable....aphoristic wisdom, expressed with gallows wit." - The New York Times

"A touching life-affirming, deeply emotional drama with a generous dose of humor."

Starring: J.R.Stuart & Zac Taylor

DATES AND TIMES:

October 

6, 7, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21 - 7:30pm

8, 22 - 2:00pm

 

Reviewed by Keith Waits for ArtsLouisville

 

Entire contents copyright © 2017 by Keith Waits. All rights reserved.

 

Mitch Albom’s book Tuesday’s With Morrie told of the renewal of a friendship with one of his college professors in the months before the old man dies from ALS. It was a bestseller and popular television movie, and it remains an appealing inspirational story. The stage adaptation, by Albom and Jeffrey Hatcher, keeps the schmaltz at bay for most of its length with humor grounded by J.R. Stuart’s performance in the title role.

 

Reunited sixteen years after graduation, Mitch (Zac Taylor) is a busy sportswriter whose competitiveness has led to success but not happiness. He was close to Professor Morrie Schwartz (Stuart), whose mentorship is characterized by compassion and a New Age humanism. Morrie has gained a degree of fame after being profiled by Ted Koppel on Nightline, and Mitch works to overcome his guilt at neglecting the friendship through visits every Tuesday.

 

It is a simple, tw0-character interaction, staged with attention to detail in the design work, particularly in the subtle lighting design by Gerald Kean.

 

Morrie’s “lessons for one” is chock-full of homilies dropped like one-liners, and Stuart’s instincts as an actor are so sure and true that he maintains his expert comic timing even amidst the sentimentality. Zac Taylor is sincere and heartfelt as Mitch, but Morrie is what matters. As a director, Stuart makes certain the audience connects with Morrie as just as Albom did, which means he allows his own performance to dominate appropriately. As Morrie deteriorates, Stuart never overplays the exigencies of the disease but delivers enough realism to register recognition in the audience.

 

For me, as drama, Tuesdays With Morrie goes a step too far in milking the sentimentality, but if, as a memoir, we accept Albom’s account as honest and heartfelt, then this is nothing less than a love story, so perhaps the emotional intimacy is exactly right.

 

And there is a solid foundation in Morrie’s lessons. In the face of his imminent demise, the two men discuss mortality, with Mitch ill at ease but Morrie almost welcoming it with no regrets: “Taking makes me feel like I’m dying, giving makes me feel like I’m living.” Morrie never stops giving, and who can argue with that?