GMG - Las Vegas Weekly

September 12, 2013

Las Vegas Weekly

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A&E | STAGE WHIRLWIND FOR A LOCAL WIZ > SCRIPTED ISSUES Actors T.J. Larsen and Daci Averby can't quite make up for missed opportunities in God of Carnage. It wasn't a tornado that whisked local keyboardist Angela Chan off to the North American premiere tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's production of The Wizard of Oz, but it certainly felt like it. "They sent us the music a little over two weeks before we started rehearsals, but when we got there they had changed some of the music, so we had some new stuff to learn," says Chan, recounting her 15-hour days of marathon rehearsals with a laugh. ¶ Luckily for her, that whirlwind hasn't stripped away any of her excitement for the show. "The twister is pretty amazing," TOO STRIPPED DOWN Chan says. The effects make it look like LVLT's God of Carnage could use a bit more convention BY JACOB COAKLEY the audience is "in the cyclone with undercut when it's hidden from sight. Understanding The simple setup behind God of Carnage—two couthe elements of a script, recognizing the demands of ples meet to discuss what action should be taken after performing in the representational style and finding one of their sons hits the other with a branch, knocking solutions are all a director's responsibilities, so I have no out a couple of teeth—belies the complicated minefield choice but to lay blame at the feet of Ela Rose. of manners and marriage that underpins this As Veronica and Michael Novak, the couple comedy. Subtext carries the show, but there whose child was injured, Daci Overby and T.J. are moments of epic physical comedy, too. It aaacc Larsen have an easy grace and familiarity, but should have everything, but Las Vegas Little GOD OF Overby needs to dial down her exaggerated Theatre's production actually doesn't have CARNAGE expressions in spots, while Larsen could be a enough. Through little sharper in his reactions. Mark Brunton It asks the audience to ignore basic repreSeptember and Stacia Zinkevich, as their high-flying antagsentational convention too often. I can usually 22; Thursdayonists, start out extremely reserved, and never shrug it off when a phone doesn't actually ring Saturday, 8 completely break out of that mold. Brunton's onstage—but when an interrupting cell phone p.m.; Sunday, 2 phone calls are funny, but lack a specificity that is as integral to characterization as it is in this p.m.; $10-$15. could take them over the top. Zinkevich sells play, it's important to engage with that, and Las Vegas Little the show's most outrageous bit well and seems see what emotional drama erupts from the Theatre, genuinely heartbroken by the end, but I wanted physical requirement of a script. At another 362-7996. a deeper change in her physical comportment moment, an actor waves a hair dryer around to match her character's emotional journey. as if it's working without even pretending to There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, but plug it in, its black plug limply hanging from its handle; that laughter never completely masks the disappointanother "sprays" perfume without actually pumping ment of lost opportunities. the bottle; and the play's biggest comedic moment gets falling down into Oz right with her." ¶ Poor Richard's Players raise money and AIDS awareness The Wizard of Oz plays the Smith Center through September 15, and then Dorothy, the Wicked Witch and Angela hit the road until next July. –Jacob Coakley THE WIZARD OF OZ Through September 15, times vary, $26-$129. Smith Center's Reynolds Hall, 749-2000. Poor Richard's Players' production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, which documents the rise of the AIDS crisis in New York City, was already donating $5 from every ticket sold to the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada, but cast member Greg Baine wanted to do more. ¶ "Because [the gay community has] been focused on civil rights, on equality and marriage and the advancements in medicine—which are all important things—what's gotten put at the end of the list is [AIDS] prevention," Baine says. "The people who are most affected by it now are 14-24 years old, and because they were born at the time of the crisis, they don't know the story." ¶ So Baine set out to reach them where they live: Facebook. He developed the "Get Your Heart On" campaign, approached artists and local merchants and quickly had a plan—and $5,000. Every time someone posts a picture of Claire Jane Vranian's green heart to The Normal Heart's Facebook page, or just "likes" the page, participating businesses donate $1 to the Center, up to $5,000. That got Baine hitting the pavement at the last First Friday event, spreading the word about prevention. ¶ Baine and The Normal Heart cast raised awareness, cash for the Center and a lot of goodwill among the community. "We had a couple of people who are HIV-positive tourists at the booth saying, 'This is awesome,'" Baine says. "And everyone's reaction has been really inspiring." –Jacob Coakley THE NORMAL HEART September 13-22; Thursday-Saturday, 8 p.m.; Sunday, 2 p.m.; $25. Art Square Theatre, poorrichardsplayers.com. GOD OF CARNAGE BY SUSANNAH SMITHERMAN; ANGELA CHAN BY ROBERT JOHN KLEY; THE WIZARD OF OZ BY CYLLA VON TIEDEMANN; THE NORMAL HEART BY MICHAEL MAKAJI HEART AND SOUL Dorothy, so when she lands it's like you're 48 LASVEGASWEEKLY.COM SEPTEMBER 12–18, 2013 48_Stage_20130912.indd 48 9/11/13 4:22 PM

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