WNRN Culture Connection for Feb 2 – 8

Punksatawney Phil master groundhog prognosticator has deemed we are in for six more weeks of winter which means it is a good time to explore some history.  This week’s WNRN Culture Connection features three events that offer you that chance:  Henley Street Theatre Company’s production of The Lion in Winter,  music from the swinging ‘60’s at Four County Players’ Songs in the Cellar: Broadway by the Decade, and a chance to view the VMI Cadets parade on post is full dress.

To learn more about these featured events click on the links below. To hear a podcast of this week’s Culture Connection go to wnrn.org and click on the “features” tab to find Culture Connections.

The Lion in Winter:


Songs in the Cellars:


VMI Dress Parade:


Stay warm and have a great week!




From wnrn Culture Connection Sept 16 – 22

It is important to take time to fill your spirit during the busy fall season and this week I have found some cool ways to do just that with some yoga, a lecture and a trip to a forbidden planet.

Get your OM on during a 36 hour Yogathon at nonprofit Project Yoga in Richmond starting at 6 am Wednesday through 6 pm on Thursday. This consciousness raiser features 24 class segments, 2 DJ’s and a class or two taught by local yoga rock star J. Miles. (I took a class with J. Miles at Floyd Yoga Jam a few weeks ago and let me tell you, it was totally fun.  He really knows how to combine his love for music and yoga into a true mind/body experience.)

Then dash to the Tandem Friends School in Charlottesville on Thursday night for    From Burundi with Love    a talk on forgiveness and reconciliation, by Burundi native and author, David Niyonzima. Sponsored by nonprofit African Peace Partners this event is free.

Now that your are full of peace love and understanding head to Staunton on SATURDAY  AFTERNOON (This is a correction from the actual spot broadcast on the radio. Check the ASC schedule to see what is actually playing Friday night. Apologies for any inconvenience.) to enjoy an evening of truly entertaining theatre at nonprofit American Shakespeare Center’s production of Return To the Forbidden Planet, a B-movie style Sci-fi musical loosely based on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest featuring rock-and-roll hits from the 50’s and 60’s.

If you have a cool event coming up shoot me an email at mary@rnwn.org .

See you out and about!


The Culture Maven

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Dark of the Moon Opens Tonight at Devil’s Backbone

I opened my wnrn email this morning to find this news from Wolfbane Productions, a five year old  nonprofit theatre company based in the Valley. They open their season tonight with DARK OF THE MOON, a play in which yours truly was in at the Dogwood Dell in Richmond back in the summer of 1981 (I played the baby of Barbara Allen….NOT! I was actually in the chorus of witches and wore my hair in corn rows!). It was a good production which included some McGranahan’s if I correctly recall but what stands out in my memory was the witch chorus’ opening entrance.  We entered via stage right from the roof and cascaded en masse down a series of stacked 4x4x4 blocks down to the stage.  This was the old roof that arched over the stage and was covered smooth gravel.  The director, former VCU Drama head, Dr. Parker (oops. forgot his first name and too lazy to look it up… but I think I always referred to him as Dr. Parker anyway) asked one of the Production Assistants to figure out a way to make the roof a less dangerous passage.  The solution:  Pour Coca-Cola on the part of the roof we crawled over to make it sticky and keep the rocks from sliding.  The problem: Bees.  Honey bees thought the dried coke a fantastic treat and were all over it until dusk when they went back to their hives to hobnob with their other bee tribe members.  Right up until about five minutes before our entrance the bees threatened to sting anyone who invaded their dried syrup feeding ground.  It was a challenge to remain un-stung during “places” when the show started.

Below is the information about Wolfbane’s production.  I checked out the trailer this morning and it looks REALLY GOOD. Click here for more information.


Dark of the Moon

Our season will open on August 15th with a magical production ofDark of The Moon, staged outside at the beautiful Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company, located in the heart of the Blueridge Mountains. This haunting story follows John the Witchboy, an Appalachian mountain spirit, who sacrifices his immortality to be with the human girl he loves, Barbara Allen.

Based on the Ballad of Barbara Allen, Dark of the Moon features a live folk/bluegrass band, singing, dancing and a team of the some of the most talented performers we have ever worked with. Our two leads, John and Barbara will be played by Amanda Smith and Aaron Alan, both of whom have professional performance credits nationally and internationally. Returning from last season, leading our band will be Spencer Meeks from Chicago. They will be joining a stellar group of local favorites to create one of the most magical productions Wolfbane has ever produced.

DARK OF THE MOON will be running at the Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company
Performance dates: August 15th 16th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd, 25th, 29th, 30th and 31st
All performances are at 8pm.

As You Like It with Wine

I adore outdoor summer theatre.  But even better is outdoor summer theatre in a gorgeous setting and good wine to sip while enjoying the performance. Once again those of you who feel the same will have the chance to do just that.  This just in from Boomie Pedersen and the Hamner Theatre:

Summer Greetings from the Hamner Theater!

It’s been a while since we had anything exciting to announce, but now we do:

Following the success of last year’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the Hamner Theater is proud to announce the Shakespeare Winery Tour 2013 production of As You Like It, a comedy of love and identity, family and friendship, honor and character.  This year’s tour travels to 7 venues, including *opening weekend at Del Fosse (Fri., Aug. 16 and Sun., Aug. 18); *Cardinal Point (Fri.,Aug. 24 and Sat., Aug. 25); *Labor Day (TBD); *Pollak (Fri., Sept. 6 and Sat., Sept. 7); *Mountain Cove (Sat., Sept. 14 and Sun., Sept. 15); on the levee at *Scottsville with James River Brewing Co. and Thistle Gate Winery (Fri., Sept. 20 and Sat., Sept. 21); and finally at *Albemarle Ciderworks (Fri. Sept. 28 and Sat., Sept 29).  Friday and Sat. shows are at 7pm; Sundays are at 5pm.  Tickets are $12 (children under 10 are $5 and under 5 are free) and are available at the gate.  Most venues will have some seating available but patrons are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, picnics and bug spray.  No outside alcohol allowed at wineries. There is a built in raindate this year for each winery, generally the Sun. after a Fri./Sat. or the Weds. after a Sat./Sun. – details may be found on the Hamner Theater website which is updated regularly –www.thehamnertheater.com.There will be two free preview shows in Crozet, Weds., Aug. 14 and Thurs., Aug. 15 at 7pm…1118 Crozet Avenue, across the street from Tabor Church, second house down from the Community Garage.  Bring chairs, a blanket, the children…

This year’s production features returning company members Jon Cobb, Alex Davis, Emma Givens, John Holdren, Jim Horstkotte, Kerry Moran, Rick Steeves and Alexey Zielinski and new company members Christian Anderson, Allison Bowers, Rose Harper, Bit Pressley and Kurt Vogelsgang.  Carol Pedersen and Boomie Pedersen share the director’s chair once again. Set design is by J. Taylor; costume design by Amy Goffman and original music composed by Emma Givens.

Local wine, local theater, local beauty…a perfect way to spend a summer evening.  I hope you’ll join us!


Boomie Pedersen
Artistic and Managing Director
The Hamner Theater
PO Box 754
Crozet, VA 22932



Trouble in River City- The Music Man coming to Va Rep

I have said it before – musical theatre is far from my favorite genre and The Music Man is definitely on the short list of my least liked musicals. But other people LOVE it.  So if you are in the LOVE it camp this is good news…

Virginia Repertory Theatre announces the opening of The Music Man at the Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre on Friday, June 28 with a Preview on June 27.  The show runs through August 4, 2013.  Part of the “Broadway at the November” Series, The Music Man is the all-American quintessential summer musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Wilson.  The score features favorite tunes such as “Seventy-Six Trombones”, “Ya Got Trouble”, and “Goodnight My Someone”. The story of Harold Hill, who attempts to con the naive townsfolk of River City, Iowa, and the unlikely courtship with librarian, Marian Paroo, is a sentimental classic.  The original Broadway hit in 1957 won five Tony Awards including “Best Musical”.

“Celebrity Saturdays” will feature walk-on cameo appearances by some of Richmond’s favorite celebrities during the Saturday evening performances, and   patrons can enjoy specially made local Dixie Donuts during most performances and ice cream during our “Sundae Matinees”.

Ticket Information

Box Office 804-282-2620


 Tickets:  $30 – $60 with group and student discounts available.

Roots, Knots and Drags- your wnrn culturenuts for June 3 – 9


Things are not always what they seem – that is the theme for my culturenuts for this week.  I’ve selected a series of conundrums to entertain while stretching your brain to accept the paradoxes of ’80’s pop tunes played by a Roots music band, a play with a puzzling moral issue and an old fashioned carnival with some odd events.  So here is this weekend’s Roots, Knots and Drags picks…

Eighties pop turns  contemporary roots music at Fridays After 5 in Charlottesville as Love Cannon takes the stage promising foot stompin’ fun.  Fans of music ranging from Madonna to Mumford and Sons will adore the smart song stylings of one of Charlottesville’s own.

In Richmond, Carol Piersol presents, Gideon’s Knot, at HATT Theatre.This heart-wrenching play starring award winning actresses, Katrinah Carol Lewis and Laine Satterfield, explores the dangerous, emotional, and often painful world of elementary school as witnessed through the conversation between 5th grader, Gideon’s mother and his teacher.

For family fun head down to the Glasgow Carnival Grounds for the Glasgow River Festival for the first taste of summer goofiness. In addition to the usual carnival games and rides there will be a parade, a Womanless Beauty Pageant and live music.

Listen for more interesting things to do on wnrn.

And …

If you have a cool event coming up let me know about it at mary@wnrn.org.

Now get out there and get cultured!


The Culture Maven

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Live Arts 2013 – 2014 Season Announced

Last night Live Arts in Charlottesville unveiled its 2013 – 2014.  I am especially excited about this because Live Arts has become my favorite venue for live theatre in Charlottesville, astonishing me with every show this last season with its high level of production. AND there will be more good stuff to come starting in the fall.

Here is the press release distributed (lovingly no doubt) by Jigsaw Jones:


Live Arts, Charlottesville’s largest volunteer theater company, is proud to announce its 2013-2014 season. At a free Season Announcement event at Live Arts on June 2nd, Artistic Director Julie Hamberg unveiled the new season with staged excerpts from each of the six plays performed by members of Charlottesville’s thriving theatrical community.

2013-2014 will mark Live Arts’ 23rd season. In the past year, Live Arts saw a 30% growth in season subscribers, bucking all national trends. In examining this success, Executive Director Matt Joslyn points to not just the quality of work Live Arts produces but also the deep connection Live Arts continues to build with its increasingly devoted community. “Julie has done an amazing job championing classic and challenging plays that are incredibly relevant to the people who call Charlottesville home. By selecting plays that offer unique opportunities for all of our volunteer artists, she’s absolutely driving Live Arts forward in our mission of forging theater and community.”

Subscriptions are now on sale starting as low as $60, and season brochures are finding their way into the homes of all those on the Live Arts mailing list. To request a brochure, call 434-977-4177 or stop by the theater at 123 East Water Street in Downtown Charlottesville.

The theater’s subscription season represents only half of the total work the theater will produce during the 2013-2014 season, which will also include new play development, volunteer workshops, Live Arts’ robust and ever-growing education programs for all ages, the annual Gala fundraiser, the increasingly popular Late Night cabarets, and much, much more. To learn more, log on to http://www.livearts.org or call the office at 434-977-4177.


Live Arts is located in the heart of Downtown Charlottesville at 123 East Water Street, just off the Downtown Mall. For more information about the new season, feel free to contact Artistic Director Julie Hamberg at 434-977-4177 or email julie@livearts.org.

Live Arts is sponsored in part by a grant from the Virginia Commission for the Arts & the National Endowment for the Arts.

The 2013–2014 Live Arts Season
The Motherf**ker with the Hat / the Founders Theater / October 11–November 9
The Philadelphia Story / the Gibson Theater / December 13–January 18
Getting Near to Baby / the Founders Theater / February 7–22
Grey Gardens / the Gibson Theater / March 7–29
The Language Archive / the Founders Theater / April 11–May 3
The Master and Margarita / the Gibson Theater / May 16–June 7
The Motherf**ker with the Hat
by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Author of Jesus Hopped the A Train (Live Arts 2003–2004 Season)
& Our Lady of 121st Street (Live Arts 2005–2006 Season)
directed by Natalie Dieter
October 11–November 9
in the Founders Theater
no shows October 21–27
A high-octane verbal cage match about love, fidelity, and misplaced haberdashery. A story of attempted redemption and the way old relationships can sometimes be savaged by the passage of time. Addiction, recovery, class disparity, truth, trust, and terrifying honesty punctuate this dark, crisp comedy from one of our favorite contemporary playwrights.

The Philadelphia Story
by Philip Barry
directed by Betsy Rudelich Tucker
December 13–January 18
in the Gibson Theater
no shows December 23–30
Tracy Lord is about to get married, a happy event made increasingly difficult by a snarky ex-husband and an attractive young newspaper reporter. More than just an old chestnut, THE PHILADELPHIA STORY is sharp, acerbic, brutal, transgressive, and simply gut-wrenchingly funny. Join us as we celebrate the 75th anniversary of this Broadway smash hit of rumors, love, and midnight swims.

Getting Near to Baby
by Y York
directed by William Howard Rough
based on the Newbery Honor-winning novel by Audrey Couloumbis
February 7–22
in the Founders Theater
When you’re young, the smallest changes can be epic adventures. For Willa Jo and Little Sister, moving in with their Aunt & Uncle is enough to make their entire world strange and frightening. But with careful thought and steadfast love (not to mention the friendship of some unlikely neighbors), there’s nothing these brave girls can’t face in this intimate story of family, forgiveness, and lawn gnomes.

Grey Gardens
book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel, lyrics by Michael Korie
based on the 1975 documentary
directed by Bree Luck
music direction by Kristen Baltes
March 7–29
in the Gibson Theater
Nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2007,
including Best Musical, Best Book for a Musical, and Best Original Score
Grey Gardens. 1973. A house that once hosted Howard Hughes and the Rockefellers is now a refuge for fifty-two stray cats, a few rabid raccoons, and two reclusive women—mother and daughter, East Hampton royalty, Big Edie & Little Edie Bouvier Beale. GREY GARDENS follows the weird, eccentric path of these two women from Little Edie’s fairy-tale engagement to Joe Kennedy to their tenuous codependence in the filthy halls of the ramshackle mansion. It’s GYPSY meets HOARDERS in this sensational musical based on the true story of two women who were, at once, each other’s worst enemies and their one true love.

The Language Archive
by Julie Cho
directed by Fran Smith
April 11–May 3
in the Founders Theater
Winner of the 2009 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize
Words versus worlds, sadness versus hope. Little ideas with big ambitions make for the most surprising plays. From the train station to the bakery, from the lab to the empty living room, no matter how many languages you learn, it doesn’t mean you know how to speak to the people you love the most. A magical, bittersweet fable about the ultimate quest to say the right thing.

The Master and Margarita
based on the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov
directed by Julie Hamberg
May 16–June 7
in the Gibson Theater
The Devil has come to Moscow with a hitman and a talking cat, and will stop at nothing to ensure the perfection of his annual Ball. Mischief, magic, beheadings, and the surprisingly touching biography of Pontius Pilate permeate this unlikely love story that proves that stars can sometimes be un-crossed with enough determination.

Shakespeare Outdoors

There is something magical about seeing plays in the great outdoors in the summer time.  The charm of crickets chirping, the pungent odor of bug spray wafting through the air and the cooling of a hot sticky day into a slightly chilly night whilst actors, challenged by these and other elements both natural and otherwise, bravely press on with lines and blocking.  I adore it!

That is why it is with great enthusiasm that I share the Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall shows for this summer.  Agecroft is a gorgeous Tudor Mansion shipped from England as a pile of bricks and rebuilt on a stunning plot of land that slopes down to the muddy James River. Plays are performed in the courtyard just as they might have been during Shakespeare’s time.  One can picnic on the lawn before the show.  It is quite fun.

I am especially excited about the selection of The Comedy of Errors as I played one of the main characters in high school.

 The Richmond Shakespeare Festival at Agecroft Hall

The Comedy of Errors

Directed by Steve Perigard

June 13 – July 7, 2013

Opening Night – Saturday, June 15 at 8pm


Directed by Jan Powell

July 11 – August 4, 2013

Opening Night – Saturday, July 13 at 8pm

Performances for both shows – Thursday through Sundays at 8pm

The Comedy of Errors

“I to the world am like a drop of water

That in the ocean seeks another drop.”

Antipholus of Syracuse

In this hysterical tale of unwitting identity theft, two sets of identical twins separated in infancy suddenly find themselves in the same town. Residents and visitors alike are plunged into confusion, and a nutty pandemonium ensues. Shakespeare’s shortest and silliest comedy, A Comedy of Errors is a delightfully goofy mash up of close calls, blunders, bafflement and discombobulation—with absolutely hilarious results!


“The show is wall-to-wall joy!” The Daily Mail

“There’s magic in the web of it.”


A stunningly beautiful, heartbreaking depiction of overpowering love and devastating jealousy, Othello pits a confident, natural-born leader of men against his friend—a stunningly sociopathic villain bent on his destruction. Esteemed general Othello has eloped in the middle of the night with his beloved Desdemona, the daughter of a powerful senator. His right hand man, Iago, envious over having been denied promotion, sees his

chance to bring down the great man, and will stop at nothing until he does.

“Some of the greatest poetry Shakespeare ever wrote.” The Telegraph

The Comedy of Errors

Cast (in alphabetic order)

Beau Bryan
Jonathan Conyers Thomas Cunningham Adrian Grantz
Molly Hood
David Janoski
Irene Kuykendall Matt Lipscomb
John Mincks
James Murphy
Katie Robey
Connor Scully
Jody Strickler
Alex Wiles


Cast (in alphabetical order)

Ryan Bechard
Matt Bloch
Adrian Grantz
Kevin Grantz
James Henry
Dean Knight
Rebecca Anne Muhleman Laura Maughan

Jailer/Balthazar/Ensemble Antipholus of Syracuse Duke/Luce

Angelo/Dr. Pinch Courtesan/Ensemble Antipholus of Ephesus Dromio of Ephesus Dromio of Syracuse Servant/Ensemble Officer/Ensemble Abbess/Ensemble Luciana

Duke Senator/Ensemble Roderigo

Emilia Desdemona Bianca Brabantio Othello Ensemble Ensemble

Production Team

Steve Perigard Melissa Rayford Cheryl Fare
Liz Hopper

BJ Wilkinson Michael Knowles Twyla Kitts
Jan Powell

James Murphy Paige Skidmore Kathryn Cohen

Production Team

Jan Powell Cheryl Fare Margarette Joyner BJ Wilkinson James Murphy Paige Skidmore Matt Treacy Alecia Schulz

Assistant Director Producer
Lighting Design Composer Dramaturg
Text Coach Properties Design Properties Manager Stage Manager

Costume Design Lighting Design Properties Design Properties Manager Composer

Stage Manager


Jess Rawls Stephen Ryan Stephen Seals James Tormey Xander Wong


ASC on TV tonight

Just got this notice from the PR office at the American Shakespeare Center.  I am very excited that they are getting some television coverage.

Dear Culture Maven,

Tune in to WVPT tonight at 8:00pm
when PBS brings your favorite theatre company into your living room.

Shakespeare’s American Home
a new half-hour documentary
about the American Shakespeare Center
premieres right here in the Shenandoah Valley.

Featuring interviews with ASC Co-Founders Dr. Ralph Alan Cohen and Jim Warren;
ASC Actors Benjamin Curns, Sarah Fallon, Allison Glenzer, John Harrell, and René Thornton, Jr.;
and footage from the 2013 Spring Season production of Love’s Labour’s Lost and rehearsals
for the 2013 Summer Season production of Romeo and Juliet.

Photo Credit: Patrick Midgley as Navarre in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Photo by Lauren D. Rogers. 

wnrn culture connection for May 24,25,26, 2013

Here are my  3 picks for where to go and what to do in the WNRN listening area for this week

It’s prom season in Richmond this weekend but not the way you think.  Gallery 5 and the Richmond Burlesque Revue invite you to spike your hair and don your combat boots for the Punk Rock Prom, a night of bands, burlesque and a lot of balloons. Hosted by Crumpy, three punk bands play for your mosh pit enjoyment between some hot performances by Deepa de Jour, Fannie Leibovitz, Scarlet Starlet and Puppy Buffe. Punk inspired formal wear is highly encouraged.

Craving a different way to experience dysfunction?  Make your way to the Weston family reunion as Live Arts, Charlottesville’s cutting edge nonprofit theatre, presents Amy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize winning play, August: Osage County.  This hard hitting play spiked with a shot of ironic humor, boasts most every type of issue a family could have allowing most of us to identify with at least one character and cringe  at the resulting mayhem from a poor life choice.


If you are taking your culture a tad lighter this weekend I suggest getting your Art On at Art in the Park at Gypsy Hill hosted by the Staunton Augusta Art Center, a nonprofit set up to generate diverse experiences in the creation and appreciation of the visual arts. In its forty-seventh year, this two day event features juried work form over 50 artists and craftsman and an eclectic array of music ranging from Gospel to Bagpipes to Brazilian Choro. Gourmet Food and a kids tent add to the fun.

This is Mary Burruss, urging you to make a culture connection at wnrn.org

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