Costume designer Susan Branch Towne delivered these costume renderings to ZACH for its upcoming production of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE. Inspired by “the shameless theatricality” of the show, Susan said she was led to create renderings based on Erté, a 20th Century Russian-born French artist and designer. “I wanted to idealize the time, so I looked more at drawings than at photographs,” she said. “The costumes carry the great responsibility of establishing the mood of the show, since all the action essentially happens in the Man in the Chair’s apartment. Even more than usual, the costumes have to supply the color, change of scene, and overall progression of the story and characters.” Here’s a sneak peek at the fabulosity that awaits THE DROWSY CHAPERONE audiences:
John Aielli passed along the following letter from a listener who caught his interview last Thursday with OUR TOWN star Jaston Williams:
How timely that you’d be talking about a production of “Our Town” this morning. Last weekend, my wife and I (who grew up in the same small town in Massachusetts) returned for our 40th high school class reunion. You can imagine the nostalgia and wonderful spirit of shared pasts and memories.
Over the weekend, we visited the 4-room school house, where my wife attended elementary school. We visited my ailing father and I wondered whether I’d ever see him again. We went be the town cemetery and visited the graves of our families, our friends and our neighbors. We watched a video memorial to our deceased classmates. And I saw friends, gone for 40 years in some cases, come back to life, aged to be sure, before my very eyes.
And then, we just decided to take a drive through New Hampshire. Without thinking about it or planning it, we found ourselves in Peterborough, NH for lunch. Only after we got there, did we realized that Peterborough was the inspiration for Grover’s Corners, the setting for “Our Town”. Ironic, or what?
And, then … when I returned home to Virginia on Tuesday morning, after my run, I went to yoga class, where the focus was concentrating on THIS moment, THIS breath. After the class, I could only think of how in the play, Emily is allowed to return to earth, to Our Town, to re-live just one day, and realizes just how much life should be valued, “every, every minute.” She asks the Stage Manager whether anyone realizes life while they live it, and is told, “No. Saints and poets, maybe. They do some.”
It’s all so moving, I just can’t stand it. I’ve probably seen that play 5 or 6 times, but, you’re right – age brings a new depth of understanding. I hope you enjoy the production that you’ll see this weekend.
The show’s in its final week, and most shows are close to sold out. Don’t miss this chance to see the show everyone in our town has been talking about.
ZACH Theatre is nominated for nine 2010 Austin Critics’ Table Awards, including 5 nods for Dave Steakley’s current production of OUR TOWN. The Austin Critics’ Table is an informal group of Austin arts community members composed of critics from The Austin American Statesman, The Austin Chronicle and might be good. This is the 18th year for these awards; ZACH nominations include:
- Musical: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
- Acting in a Supporting Role: Michael Amendola, Our Town
- Acting in a Supporting Role: Jordan McRae, Our Town
- Acting in a Supporting Role: Jose Villarreal, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
- Ensemble Performance: Our Town
- Ensemble Performance: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
- Scenic Design: Michael Raiford, Rockin’ Christmas Party
- Lighting Design: Jason Amato, Our Town
- Sound Design: Craig Brock, Our Town
ZACH stars Martin Burke from the upcoming production of The Drowsy Chaperone, Meredith McCall, and Lauren Lane from Becky’s New Car were also nominated in the “Acting in a Leading Role” category for the original play House of Several Stories – which was also nominated for “David Mark Cohen New Play Award” for playwright A. John Boulanger.
Austin Critics Table members include the Austin American-Statesman’s Michael Barnes (arts), Claire Canavan (theatre), Clare Croft (dance), and Jeanne Claire van Ryzin (arts); … might be good’s Claire Ruud (visual arts); and the Chronicle’s Elizabeth Cobbe (theatre), Michael Kellerman (music), Jonelle Seitz (dance), Avimaan Syam (theatre), and Robert Faires (arts).
Awards will be announced in a ceremony on Monday, June 7th, at 7 p.m., at Cap City Comedy Club, 8120 Research. The event is free and open to the public.
Producing Artistic Director Dave Steakley discusses the amazing Austin theatre experience and his cast of extraordinary actors making ZACH’s production of OUR TOWN the city’s must-see Spring theatre event.
Tickets are going quickly for this production, closing May 23. Reserve premium seats online or call ZACH’s box office at (512) 476-0541, ext. 1 from 12 noon – 7pm Monday through Saturday. More show info is posted on ZACH’s website.