WaterTower Theatre has announced the lineup for its 2012 edition of the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival, and on paper, it looks like one of the strongest rosters for this event in years.
The headliner for this 11th annual event is Charlie Ross' One Man Lord of the Rings. Ross, a Canadian and self-described "professional geek," did his One Man Star Wars at Loop in 2009, and it was a massive hit—and notable in that it was the rare ocassion when there were more fathers and sons in the theater than you typically see.
Another headliner is Colleen Ballinger, whose act is called Miranda Sings, an internet meme character who puts awful singing videos out on YouTube. Another import is the return of mime Bill Bowers, who performed at the 2009 festival as well, and will do a new show an offer a mime workshop.
As usual, the event offers a healthy mix of dance (Ellendanceworks, Muscle Memory Dance Theatre), comedy (Purple Crayon of Yale and local improv troupe FTP Comedy), music and cabaret (Plus One Jazz Group, and local musical theater actresses Diana Sheehan and Amy Stevenson) and one-man shows (Kevin J. Thornton's Strange Dreamz and W.B. Spotlight Productions' Fronteras Americanas). And of course, there are plenty of offerings from local theater companies, including Audacity Theatre Lab, Dead White Zombies, Greyman Theatre Company, Haven Productions, Heavenly Muse Players, Outcry Theatre, QLive!, SceneShop, Screw You Entertainment and Stellar Productions.
"One of the driving forces behind WTT's Out of the Loop Fringe Festival has always been to provide performance opportunities for existing and emerging theatre, dance and music companies as well as artists in our region," says WTT Artistic Director in the news release. "The Festival offers them the opportunity to present works that often vary in form and presentation from their typical content. Most importantly, the Festival is a valuable way to develop new audiences who may not be aware of the participating companies and artists and their work."
"This season, I wanted to acknowledge the hard work of the Loop Festival participants by providing them with more performances, which would hopefully reach more patrons," said Martin. "More performances of each show would allow for a bit more word-of-mouth audience building than we have been able to have in the past. This would, of course, benefit WaterTower Theatre as well as the individual companies."
The shows happen in Addison Theatre Centre's three spaces (Main Stage, Studio Theatre and Stone Cottage, as well as in common areas). Single tickets to all events go on sale Feb. 14. Festival Passes, now on sale, include one admission to each festival event and are $65. WaterTower Theatre subscribers receive $10 off each festival pass. Individual ticket prices vary for each event and range in price from $10 to $15.
TheaterJones.com is proud to, for the fourth year, be a media sponser of Out of the Loop. Here's the scoop on the performances, listed alphabetically. At the bottom there are two videos we made in 2009, of interviews with Charlie Ross and Bill Bowers.
You can see a complete festival schedule, with times, venues and ticket prices, here.
Dallas entertainer Amy Stevenson, one of the country's leading cabaret artists, will perform selections from her cabaret act in the lobby. Stevenson places her indelible stamp on every song she sings from "Glory of Love" to "I Dreamed a Dream."
Audacity Theatre Lab
Ellson has been at the stair stoop for five days straight. He has a very important question for Samantha. The anticipation has culminated to this very day. Who is the strange man with the strange carnival bally on the street corner? Brad McEntire's play Raspberry Fizz is a heart-warming exploration of expectations and the potentialities of the unmapped future tied up in a slice-of-life, coming-of-age encounter between two young adolescents in 1949 small town America.
Bill Bowers will perform his new solo show Beyond Words, which had a critically acclaimed Off- Broadway run in NYC last fall. Set against a backdrop of small-town America, Bowers (one of the most acclaimed mimes of our time) takes the audience on a funny and poignant journey of sound and silence. Combining mime, music and monologues, Beyond Words investigates what it means to be a boy, and the messages we receive on our way to becoming men.
Mime and Creative Movement Workshop with Bill Bowers
Bill Bowers will conduct a theatre workshop on Saturday, March 10, at 11 a.m. in the Stone Cottage. "Mime and Creative Movement" offers an introduction to the silent, and not-so-silent, art form. This workshop will include a brief history of Mime, physical warm-up, and movement improvisation. Participants will learn illusory skills and work together in small group improvisations. Ideally, students will begin to gain an awareness of how pantomimic skill and corporeal style enhance and impact actor training. This workshop is $10 and open to all, movers and non-movers. Participants should dress comfortably and be prepared to move.
Peter Jackson may have had slightly more financial support and the use of CGI effects for his legendary film version of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in comparison to Charles Ross' one-man show. However, it is more impressive and entertaining to see Charles' solo act shoehorn 11 hours and 23 minutes of film into a 65-minute performance. Those minutes are packed with his mind-blowing amalgamation of 42 characters, familiar theme music, and sound effects. Most people would scoff at the idea of watching this trilogy of films a couple thousand times. Fortunately for us, Charles certainly doesn't hold that same belief. Whether a fan of the books, films, or both, you will genuinely appreciate the attention to detail he has paid to his comedic send-up of this iconic, classic tale! He returns to the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival following his hit appearance here two years ago in One Man Star Wars Trilogy.
Dead White Zombies
Dead White Zombies is a cohort of performance, visual, sound, and installation artists. Thomas Riccio is the Poo Pah Doo. We simply do things the way we want to do it, where, and how, because we don't know what else to do. The emphasis is on new, experimental, and collectively created work that provokes and defies categories and conventions. Tricks, directed by Lori McCarty and featuring Brad Hennigan, is a comedy about a man who creates and then has a difficult time with objects of desire.
Midway is a cabaret in two acts. Written and performed by Diana Sheehan, Midway asks the critical mid-life question: crisis or carnival? The show explores mid-life themes of re-awakening and longing through the American songbook. Midway was first performed in New York City at the Triad. The show's musical direction is by James McQuillen.
Elledanceworks presses the boundaries of the usual dance concert presentation to present Elledanceworks Looped: A View to the Soul as part of the Out of the Loop Fringe Festival. In addition to the physical, gritty and dynamic modern dance works typically presented by Elledanceworks Theatre Company, Elledanceworks Looped: A View to the Soul takes the audience on a journey delving more deeply into dance as theatre through the use of text, setting and dancer/audience interaction.
With Occupy Loop: Making 1% of our audience laugh 99% of the time, FTP Comedy is encamping at this year's Loop Festival and, much like your mother-in-law, plans to well overstay their welcome. This blend of sketch and improv is pepper spray in the face of traditional "elitist" comedy as it aggressively takes aim at the social/economic/political theatrics of recent months. Their material is fresher than the Arab Spring and bottled at the source of your outrage. Come scream out some suggestions and unleash that proletariat anger. Come be part of the 1 percent. This material is not suitable for young audiences, or the bourgeois.
Greyman Theatre Company
Waking Up, a new play by local playwright Kelsey Ervi, is a humorous and heartfelt look at what happens before and after we sleep. Giving the audience glimpses into the lives of 11 people, the short play captures trust, doubt, fear, and love, and shows the characters at their most comfortable and their most vulnerable. Waking Up touches on the emotions beneath the things we wake up for or go to bed with and the reasons we don't wake up at all.
International Falls, by Thomas Ward, is the story of a burned out standup comedian and a hotel desk clerk trying to enjoy a one-night stand after a comedy show. What begins as an innocuous frolic turns into a philosophical discussion of comic theory, marriage, parenthood, religion, and fart jokes? The line between comedy and tragedy is blurred as both characters are forced to ask the inevitable post-coital question, "Now what?"
Heavenly Muse Players
Autobahn, by Neil LaBute, is a cycle of short plays, each of which takes place in the front seat of a car. LaBute states: "Cars, like most everything else, have been used as covert love nests, battlegrounds, or places of refuge in the past." Autobahn is a compelling exploration of five relationships that are dramatically exposed and altered by the intimacy and enclosure of the iconic vehicle we call "the car."
Kevin J. Thornton
Strange Dreamz, by Kevin J. Thornton, is a wild fusion of standup comedy, storytelling and music about a gay man searching for love, sex and the meaning of life. "…kept the audience in the palm of his hand. He's a fast talking, high energy powerhouse of performer. Hilarious," writes the Cincinnati CityBeat. Strange Dreamz is also Thornton's weekly podcast where he documents his traveling adventures and is the incubator for his live show.
Miranda Sings is an internet meme character created in 2008 by American comedian, actress and singer Colleen Ballinger. Ballinger displays videos of the comically talentless, egotistical and quirky character on her YouTube channel under the username mirandasings08. Ballinger created the character as a satire of the many videos posted on YouTube by bad singers, who nevertheless believe that this will lead to them breaking into show business. Beginning in 2009, in addition to her internet videos, which have received more than 20 million total views, Ballinger has performed cabaret acts, in character as Miranda Sings, at cabaret spaces and theatres in New York, London, and other cities in the U.S., Australia, Canada and elsewhere. Her acts often incorporate giving a "voice lesson" to a Broadway celebrity, reading hate mail directed to the character and singing while being stabbed through the neck.
Muscle Memory Dance Theatre
An art and dance collaboration between the Ghost Town Arts Collective and Muscle Memory Dance Theatre, You Will Know When You Are There: a Journey in Art and Modern Dance is an event about transformation and myth: processes that twist and turn, taking us somewhere...a place that is unknown until arrival. You will know when you are there. Three dance works weave together on a 120 foot colorful fabric pathway. This work has dancers moving over layered landscapes, swinging from imaginary branches, and lighting a journey with glass lanterns. A 45-minute art and dance experience that will take the audience to a sensorial destination. "A performance from Muscle Memory Dance Theatre is never cut-and-dry, nor is the experience one size fits all. This is especially evident in You Will Know When You Are There: a Journey in Art and Modern Dance, presented in collaboration with Ghost Town Arts Collective," wrote Cheryl Callon in a review on TheaterJones.com.
In Carlos Murillo's dark play or stories for boys, Nick, a brilliant but desperately lonely teen, discovers the intoxicating pleasures of creating fake online personas, toying with faceless strangers. Nick stumbles across the words, "I want to fall in love," on 16-year-old Adam's profile. Intrigued, Nick creates the girl of Adam's dreams. But when Adam insists on meeting her, Nick loses control of his game, with catastrophic and thrilling consequences. Contains adult language and intense sexuality.
Plus One Jazz Group
Plus One Jazz Group is an eclectic mix of jazz that paints a broad stroke from straight ahead to jazz interpretations of classical, pop, rock, Broadway, and R&B.
Purple Crayon of Yale
12-Scene Madness! , by Purple Crayon of Yale, will take 12 suggestions from our audience, and then, on the spot, we will improvise 12 scenes that have never been seen before and will never be seen again. Stay on your toes and be ready for anything to happen in this hour-long, fast-paced 12-Scene Madness!
Sweet Eros, by Terrence McNally, is sensitive yet boldly frank. Produced by QLive!, Sweet Eros intimately explores the dark recesses of an unsettled young man who kidnaps and enslaves an unsuspecting girl. Back on a DFW stage for the first time in more than 12 years, the provocative original Off-Broadway presentation was hailed as a milestone of "new" theatre. A compelling and disquieting view of the human condition, this calculated assault on the senses provokes a simple question: do people really want to be loved?
In TRIO, SceneShop offers three very different tales of intent, result and the gulf between. "lived in…" chronicles a young husband's efforts to provide his wife a home; a home which may well be haunted. In "FREAK," a Texas convict examines personal mistakes and institutional injustice. An ill-advised road trip escalates into comic Hell in "Trafficking With the Devil, OR She Drove Me to It." For mature audiences only. Contains adult language and scenes.
Screw You Entertainment
Texas may have Rick Perry, but Wayburn Sassy is the most homophobic bigot the Lone Star State has ever seen. Accompanied by his favorite songbird, the "Amorous Amazon" Miss Didi Panache, The Screw You Revue will transport the audience to a place where no subject is taboo, and everyone takes part in the joke. Check your conservative values at the door because this show isn't for the faint-of-heart, or those easily offended. Recommended for mature audiences only.
A Most Happy Stella by Stellar Productions is a celebratory series of original short plays inspired by popular works of theatre, featuring live music by Plus One Jazz Group, and culminating in the titular mini-musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire told from Stella's triumphant point-of-view.
W.B. Spotlight Productions
Fronteras Americanas (American Borders) is playwright Guillermo Verdecchia's one-person show in which he re-creates his journey and struggle to build a home between two cultures, while exploring the images and conventions of Latinos and Latin America. Through multimedia and intimate theatre you are escorted to the border and immersed in Latin America, all while following one man's journey in search of his identity and home. Where does your Border lie? (Recommended for mature audiences only, some violence, semi-loud shots fired.)
Charlie Ross in 2009 on his One Man Star Wars Trilogy:
Mime Bill Bowers in a 2009 TheaterJones interview: