Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Auditions for BFT’s production of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever

Noel Coward's Hay Fever directed by Ellise Mayor runs April 19 - May 5, 2012, at Birmingham Festival Theatre.

Auditions will be held on Saturday December 3, 2011, from 10 am until noon at the theatre.

Auditions will consist of cold readings from the script. This production is a stylized piece and calls for British dialects. No preparation is required.

We are looking for male and female actors with a strong British dialect.

Actors of both sexes, ages 20-65 are needed.

Rehearsals will begin in March 2012.

If you would like to audition but cannot attend the December 3 session, please contact the director at LCprivitt@gmail.com.

Holiday shopping made easy

Need a gift that really does keep on giving? Give the Gift of Live Theatre! BFT offers four tickets for the price of three—that's an $80 value for $60. The tickets are good in any combination for the remaining shows in the 2011-2012 season:

  • Becky Shaw (January 12–28, 2012)
  • Holy Ghosts (March 1-17)
  • Hay Fever (April 19–May 5)
  • The Last Hotel for Women (June 14–30)

Visit www.bftonline.org to buy online or download an order form!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our 40th Anniversary Season is Packed with Entertainment!

Five favorites from seasons past, and one show that's new to BFT.

SEASON TICKETS are still a great bargain at $99, and now you can buy online!
SEASON AUDITIONS are the way to go if you want to be on stage!

September 15-October 1, 2011
Written by Jason Miller
Directed by Jonathan Goldstein

Five men who won the Pennsylvania state high school basketball championship 20 years ago get together for a reunion at the coach's house. It begins as a happy occasion, but the tensions among them have grown over time. What's happened to the "dream team" after all these years? Who's to blame for the way their lives have turned out? Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play in 1973, this play was originally brought to the BFT stage in 1979 to great acclaim.

November 3–19, 2011
Written by Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek,
lyrics and music by Barbara Damashek
Directed by Sandra Taylor

A series of short tales matched with musical numbers, the stories in Quilters present aspects of womanhood in frontier life—girlhood, marriage, childbirth, spinsterhood, twisters, fire, illness, and death. Each woman’s story unfolds, literally, from a piece of quilting work whose design reflects her experiences. By the play’s end, these story panels combine to make one huge quilt that the characters raise high as the flag of pioneer womanhood. Nominated for six Tony Awards in 1984, this production was first performed at BFT in 1987, directed by Sandra Taylor.

January 12–28, 2012
Written by Gina Gionfriddo
Directed by Mel Christian

In Becky Shaw, a newlywed couple fixes up two romantically challenged people: wife's best friend, meet husband's sexy and strange new co-worker. When an evening calculated to bring happiness takes a dark turn, crisis and comedy ensue. Gina Gionfriddo’s comedy of bad manners, a tangled tale of love, sex and ethics among a quartet of men and women in their 30s, is as engrossing as it is ferociously funny, like a big box of fireworks fizzing and crackling across the stage from its first moments to its last. Penned by one of the writers for TV’s Law and Order, Becky Shaw is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated new play, in keeping with our continuing effort to bring new theatre to Birmingham!

March 1-17, 2012
Written by Romulus Linney
Directed by Bethe Ensey

Romulus Linney writes a moving and funny account of unsophisticated people in moral and emotional crisis in the Deep South. Nancy Shedman, in an effort to escape the drunken attentions of her husband Coleman, has moved in with a band of Pentecostal snake handlers and fallen in love with their leader, Rev. Obediah Buckhorn. The play blends humor and poignancy as it probes into the circumstances and stories of the various cult members. What happens when Coleman comes to claim his wife? In 1976, BFT was one of the first theatres in the country to stage the play. The Birmingham press hailed Linney as an author to be reckoned with "by every imaginable measuring stick” and the play as "an American gem cut out of the spirit of the mountain people—funny and deeply moving."

April 19–May 5, 2012
Written by Noel Coward
Directed by Ellise Mayor

No Anniversary Season would be complete without a good old-fashioned comedy! And Hay Fever fits the bill. Set in an English country house in the 1920s, the play features the four eccentric members of the Bliss family. Real Housewives of New Jersey has nothing on the over the top antics of the Bliss family and their weekend guests. This early Coward comedy is nothing to sneeze at! "It does not date… it is in the highest mood of fantastic comedy, it is deliciously heartless and therefore deliciously alive and fresh" -The Times. This play was first performed at BFT in 1980.

June 14–30, 2012
Written by Randy Marsh
Directed by Edward C. Miller

The novel by Vicki Covington was adapted for the stage by her brother Randy Marsh, a playwright and founding member of BFT. Set in Birmingham in 1961, when Freedom Riders were passing through the Deep South, the production centers around a hotel run by Dinah Fraley and her husband. They are visited frequently by the Birmingham Commissioner of Public Safety, Sheriff Bull Connor, a known racist and bigot. Racial tensions run high in this powerful drama that was originally staged in 1996, and closes out our 40th Anniversary Season.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2011-2012 Season Auditions

Birmingham Festival Theatre (BFT) announces its combined audition for the 2011-2012 season. Adult and teen-aged actors of all ages and ethnicities are encouraged to attend.

Actors will have up to 3 minutes to offer a single or 2 contrasting monologues. An additional few minutes will be available for directors' questions. Please bring 6 copies of your resume and a head shot (if available).

This is a great opportunity to be seen by 6 different directors and audition for 6 shows at the same time. You may be called back at another time to read again for one or more specific shows. BFT´s intention for these auditions is to reach further into our community to find the talent we need for our exciting new 40th Anniversary season. You will have an opportunity to let us know which shows you are interested in specifically, but you will be considered for everything that is appropriate for you. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to come – even if we´ve seen you before!

When: Saturday and Sunday, June 25 and 26, 2011
Saturday: Sign in from 9:00 AM until 11:00 AM
Sunday: Sign in from 2:00 PM until 4:00 PM
Actors will audition in the order in which they sign in. Everyone signed in by the end of the sign-in period will have the opportunity to audition.

Place: Birmingham Festival Theatre, 1901½ 11th Avenue South (above the Golden Temple in 5 Points South)

Questions: edward[at]bftonline.org

BFT 2011-2012 Season

That Championship Season
Cast: 5 men
Production Dates: Sept 15 – Oct 1, 2011
The role of the coach is cast; remaining 4 men should be in their 30s or 40s

7 women
Nov 3 – 19, 2011
*For those auditioning for our musical, Quilters, please be prepared to sing a cappella a minimum of 16 bars of a song that is more of a folk song than a Broadway-style show tune.

Becky Shaw
2 men, 3 women
Jan 12 – 28, 2012
The roles of Becky, Suzanne, and Max are cast; remaining roles are one man 20s–30s, one woman 50s–60s.

Holy Ghosts
10 men, 5 women
Mar 1 – 17, 2012

Hay Fever
4 men, 5 women
Apr 19 – May 5, 2012

The Last Hotel for Women
4 men, 3 women, 1 male teenager, 1 female teenager
June 14 – 30 , 2012

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Batter Up! Baseball Great Ty Cobb Comes to the Stage in Cobb

Birmingham Festival Theatre Will Host the Good and the Bad of Ty Cobb

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – June 2, 2011 – In order to grasp the full picture of a man, you should experience him at different stages of his life. That´s what Lee Blessing has done in Cobb, beginning June 9, 2011 at Birmingham Festival Theatre. Three actors will help bring the one persona of Ty Cobb to the stage, in one uninterrupted 90-minute stage production.

Don Sandley is directing Cobb, and brings his love of the game to the BFT stage. “Ty Cobb played the game like it was a barroom brawl. It could be argued that Cobb played with such ferocity that he took all the leisure out of the game. What cannot be argued is that he changed the game forever. He made it a truly professional sport. I hope you enjoy getting to know one of the most iconic sports figures our country has ever produced. I suspect you will agree, that not so much has changed after all. Heroes have always been flawed.’

Actors bringing Cobb to life are: James Kitchens (young Ty Cobb “The Peach’), James Ward (mid-life Ty Cobb “Ty’), and John Falkenberry (elder Ty Cobb “Mr. Cobb’). Brandon McCray will play the role of Oscar Charleston, a fellow ballplayer.

Cobb runs each Thursday, Friday and Saturday for three weeks at 8:00 p.m. beginning on June 9, 2011 with a matinee on Sunday, June 19, at 2:30 p.m. The show closes on June 25, 2011. Tickets are $20, $15 for students. For reservations, call the theatre at (205) 933-2383.

Pictured in attached photo are (from L to R): James Kitchens, John Falkenberry and Brandon McCray.

About Birmingham Festival Theatre
BFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For almost 40 years, BFT has been bringing local audiences theatrical experiences that touch the heart and stir the mind. Our all-volunteer Board of Directors works to involve the community´s many talented directors, actors, designers and techies to produce the best in contemporary and classic theatre. For more information, go to www.bftonline.org.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"Cobb" cast announced

The Peach - James Kitchens
Ty - James Ward
Mr. Cobb - John Falkenberry
Oscar - Branden McCray

COBB, by Lee Blessing
BFT production directed by Don Sandley
June 9-25, 2011 — Thursday-Saturday @8PM and Sunday, June 19 @2:30PM

Blessing brings the legendary Ty Cobb to life as record-breaking statistics, infamous temper, fierce competitiveness, and personal triumphs are portrayed in flashback memories of the aging and (to hear him tell it) unappreciated superstar. "They" say we need heroes, and likely we do. But come see what one of those heroes has to say about "them."

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Anna in the Tropics Brings Cuban Heat to the Stage


Contact: Edward Miller, (205) 933-2383

Sultry, Seductive Production Comes to Birmingham Festival Theatre

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – April 4, 2011 – You might want to brush up on your Spanish before coming to see Anna in the Tropics at Birmingham Festival Theatre beginning April 21, 2011. The opening of the Pulitzer Prize winning play, by Nilo Cruz, will be entirely in Spanish. ¿Entiendes?

Set in Tampa, Fla. in the 1920’s, the play depicts how life changes for a family of Cuban immigrants working in a cigar factory, when a stranger arrives on the scene. The owner’s wife has hired a Lector, a well-spoken, well-dressed man to read classic novels to the workers as they roll cigars. The novel chosen is Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, a story of love, lust and betrayal. The characters and situations in the novel come to life for the family as the story unfolds.

“The play is about love: lost love, forgotten love, forbidden love. The strength of the piece is the poetic beauty of the language layered with the power of the sensuality contained in the work,” says Edward Miller, who is directing the play at BFT. “The climax provides a gripping and shocking finality to Cruz’s vision.”

Actors Don Cano (Lobby Hero), Chalo Gurmendi, Michelle Griffo, Beth Kitchin (Season’s Greetings), Jessica Knight, Sigfredo Rubio (Spinning into Butter) and David Seale make up the cast.

Anna in the Tropics runs each Thursday, Friday and Saturday for three weeks at 8:00 p.m. beginning on April 21, with a matinee on Sunday, May 1, at 2:30 p.m. The show closes on May 7, 2011. Tickets are $20, $15 for students. For reservations, call the theatre at (205) 933-2383.

About Birmingham Festival Theatre
BFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For almost 40 years, BFT has been bringing local audiences theatrical experiences that touch the heart and stir the mind. Our all-volunteer Board of Directors works to involve the community’s many talented directors, actors, designers and techies to produce the best in contemporary and classic theatre. For more information, go to www.bftonline.org.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shawn Reese (Actor 5) - Around the World in 80 Days

Shawn Reese (Actor 5) is a stage veteran of both Birmingham and New York, having appeared in numerous plays and musicals in almost two decades of performing. He was most recently seen this past December as Bob Cratchit in the Alys Stephens Center's production of A Vest Pocket Christmas Carol, and before that as the Sherriff in Red Mountain Theatre Company's 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey . While in New York, he was on the board of Break-A-Leg Productions and The Gallery Players, one of the city’s premier Off-Off Broadway production companies, where he produced Cloud Nine and The School for Scandal. He also appeared in numerous NYC productions including Holiday, Life on Death Row, and The Mousetrap, and directed several shows for the East Side Theatre Group. Notable roles include Tony (West Side Story), Joseph (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Hines (The Pajama Game), Benjy (My Favorite Year), William Roper (A Man for All Seasons), Pablo Picasso (Picasso at the Lapine Agile), Will Parker (Oklahoma), and James Wilson (1776). Awards include the 2006 Irving Stern Award for Performer of the Year (Levite Jewish Community Center).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Holly Croney Dikeman (Actor 4) - Around the World in 80 Days

Holly Croney Dikeman (Actor 4) was last seen on the BFT stage as the Snake Handler in Talking With... and as Cherie in Bus Stop prior to that. Previous BFT credits also include The Great Wrong Way and Miss Witherspoon. She was most recently in A Vest Pocket Christmas Carol at Alys Stephens Center (ASC) and in Red Mountain Theatre Company's 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey . Favorite roles include Betty in The Will Rogers Follies; Effie in The Spitfire Grill; Alice in Alice’s Even Bigger Tea Party at ASC; Missy in Winter Wonderettes and Maria in El Grande de Coca Cola, both at the Terrific New Theatre; and Cinderella’s stepsister, which she played once in Cinderella, and once in Into the Woods, both at Virginia Samford Theatre.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Chuck Evans (Actor 3) - Around the World in 80 Days

Chuck Evans (Actor 3) is delighted to appear in his third production with Birmingham Festival Theatre. He previously performed in The Great Wrong Way and Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens. Chuck has worked with many other theater companies in the Birmingham area, including Terrific New Theatre, Theatre Downtown, Theatre LJCC, Park Players, Leeds Arts Council, South City Theatre and CenterStage Productions. He also has been a member of the Opera Birmingham Chorus for the past five seasons.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Kevin Van Hyning (Actor 2) - Around the World in 80 Days

Kevin Van Hyning (Actor 2) is returning to the Birmingham Festival Theatre stage after making his debut as Dwight, in last year's Dead Man's Cell Phone. Luckily, as a member of the regional comedy team, BrainFreeze, Kevin is well versed in the world of improv and sketch comedy, so juggling nine different characters in one show (not to mention a potpourri of bad wigs) isn't too great of a stretch, albeit it's still rather challenging. Kevin has performed around town in a variety of plays, including Theatre Downtown's After School Special and ACTA's The Foreigner.

Friday, March 4, 2011

M. Bates Redwine (Actor 1) - Around the World in 80 Days

M. Bates Redwine (Actor 1) has been on stage previously at BFT in The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 and Tobacco Road. You may have also seen him as Captain Beatty in Fahrenheit 451 and as Dr. Grimes in Night of the Living Dead at Theatre Downtown, as Balthasar in Much Ado About Nothing with Park Players, and in The Who’s Tommy and Broken Glass at Theatre LJCC. Other favorite past roles include Baylor in A Lie of the Mind, Touchstone in As You Like It, Moon in The Real Inspector Hound, and Rev. Parris in The Crucible. He is also a member and former officer of Alpha Psi Omega, the national theatrical honor society.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A World of Roles for 5 Actors in "Around the World in 80 Days"

How will they do it?!
Call 933-2383 for reservations to see!

M. Bates Redwine - Gauthier Ralph, British Consul, Director of Police, priest, Sir Francis, Judge Obadiah, Chinese broker, ship clerk, Bunsby, Proctor, engineer, Mudge, clerk, Speedy, ship engineer, train clerk

Kevin Van Hyning - Andrew Stuart, Detective Fix, priest, Indian conductor, elephant owner, young Parsi, Oysterpuff, U.S. conductor, Reverend Wilson’s servant

Chuck Evans - Passepartout, John Sullivan

Holly Croney Dikeman - James Forster, newspaperman, priest, Aouda

Shawn Reese
- Phileas Fogg

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

ALL ABOARD! Around the World in 80 Days Makes at Stop at BFT

Birmingham Festival Theatre Brings Adaptation of Jules Verne Classic Tale

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – February 22, 2011 – Known for his many exciting adventure tales including 20 Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and A Journey to the Interior of the Earth, Jules Verne is regarded by many as the father of science fiction. His tales of fantasy entertain audiences both young and old. That’s why Mark Brown’s adaptation of the classic Around the World in 80 Days is sure to delight Birmingham audiences of all ages. The show begins Thursday March 3, 2011.

Everyone is familiar with this timeless classic story. Phileas Fogg (played by Shawn Reese) enters into a wager with his colleagues in London that he cannot travel around the world, by boat, train, or any means necessary, in a timeframe of 80 days. He is joined by his loyal servant Passepartout (played by Chuck Evans) and a cast of characters they meet along the way.

“This is a tongue-in-cheek adaptation of the Jules Verne classic that captures the flavor of Fogg’s madcap dash around the globe,” says Janelle Cochrane, who is directing the play at BFT. “With five actors playing 39 characters, it’s a bit of Monty Python and The 39 Steps, as we follow Fogg and Passepartout on their adventures by rail, steamer, elephant and shoe leather across India, Asia and America.”

Local actors Holly Croney Dikeman, Chuck Evans, M. Bates Redwine, Shawn Reese and Kevin Van Hyning provide the audience with a passport to a world gone by, with the possibility of adventure or romance around every corner.

Around the World in 80 Days runs each Thursday, Friday and Saturday for three weeks at 8:00 p.m. beginning on March 3, with a matinee on Sunday, March 13, at 2:30 p.m. The show closes on March 19, 2011. Tickets are $20, $15 for students. For reservations, call the theatre at (205) 933-2383.

About Birmingham Festival Theatre
BFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For almost 40 years, BFT has been bringing local audiences theatrical experiences that touch the heart and stir the mind. Our all-volunteer Board of Directors works to involve the community’s many talented directors, actors, designers and techies to produce the best in contemporary and classic theatre. For more information, go to www.bftonline.org.

Pictured in photo: (Left to right) Shawn Reese, Holly Croney Dikeman, Chuck Evans, M. Bates Redwine, Kevin Van Hyning. More photos available at www.flickr.com/bftonline.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Around the World in 80 Days, by Mark Brown

Birmingham Festival Theatre's production of this classic Jules Verne adventure tale runs March 3-19, 2011. Call (205) 933-2383for reservations.

Mark Brown is an award-winning writer and actor. His plays include Around the World in 80 Days; The Trial of Ebenezer Scrooge (produced at BFT in 2005); China, The Whole Enchilada; Poe: Deep Into That Darkness Peering (co-written with Mark Rector); and The Little Prince (co-written with Paul Kiernen). As an actor, he has appeared on stage, screen and TV and worked with such people as Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Dick Van Dyke, Jeff Goldblum and the Rally Monkey. Brown lives in New York City with his wife, daughter, and dog and dreams of living in a chateau in France.

Dramatic Publishing describes Around the World in 80 Days: Stampeding elephants! Raging typhoons! Runaway trains! Unabashedly slapstick! Hold onto your seats for the original amazing race! Join fearless adventurer Phileas Fogg and his faithful manservant as they race to beat the clock! Phileas Fogg has agreed to an outrageous wager that puts his fortune and his life at risk. With his resourceful servant Passepartout, Fogg sets out to circle the globe in an unheard-of 80 days. But his every step is dogged by a detective who thinks he's a robber on the run. Danger, romance, and comic surprises abound in this whirlwind of a show as five actors portraying 39 characters traverse seven continents in Mark Brown's new [2007] adaptation of one of the great adventures of all time.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Loot: Mel Christian (Director)

Mel (Melissa) Christian (Director) is Program Manager for Theatre UAB, where she is in charge of grants, special events and their statewide touring program. She is a native of Northport, AL and holds an MFA in Drama and Communications from the University of New Orleans. Past directing projects include Twelve Angry Men, The Shawl, A Little Princess, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, On Golden Pond, Little Women, Marvin’s Room, Burn This and her own adaptations of The Three Musketeers and Alice In Wonderland. Joe Orton’s Loot has been on her directing “Bucket List” for almost 20 years. Mel also acts a little, and for BFT was last seen as Sister Bessie in Tobacco Road, Grace in Bus Stop and Evelyn in Kindertransport. She recently received Theatre Downtown’s Audience Choice Award as Best Lead Actress for Dora Strang in Equus.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Loot: William Brisky (Meadows/Stage Manager)

William Brisky (Meadows/Stage Manager) enjoys both acting and working behind the scenes. With over 10 years experience in the theatre, he is happy to tell everyone that theatre keeps him sane. He was last seen on stage in Tobacco Road as Henry Peabody and last seen back stage as stage manager of Lobby Hero. William also stage managed Dead Man's Cell Phone, Talking With..., and Almost, Maine, all at BFT.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Loot: Edwin Booth (Truscott)

Edwin Booth (Truscott) is pleased to be in his third show at BFT, having appeared previously in Moonlight and Magnolias and The Sunset Limited. Professionally, he has played Scrooge for Birmingham Children’s Theatre and also played roles in City Equity’s True West, God of Hell, and will appear for them in February 2011 in Spring Awakening. Other local credits include Gaston in Picasso at the Lapin Agile, and Common Man in A Man for All Seasons. Other roles include Oberon, Vershinin, Sir Anthony Absolute, Torvald, Malvolio, Johnnypateenmike, Bill Sykes, Jean Paul Marat, Elwood P. Dowd, Kreon, Gaev, Baptista, Krapp, Otto Frank, and the Duke of Venice. (Name the plays for extra credit!) One of his favorite roles was the Professor in The Lesson. Edwin enjoys sailing and reading about adventures on the sea.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Loot: Christoph Hooks (Dennis)

Christoph Hooks (Dennis) has previously been in Night of the Living Dead, After School Special, Equus, Ordinary People, and 13th Friday with Theatre Downtown. He assistant-directed 12 Angry Men and Shakespeare's R&J, and co-wrote the music to We Three Queens, also at Theatre Downtown. He was also in Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens at BFT.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Loot: Victoria Ward (Fay)

Victoria Ward (Fay) is currently a senior at UAB studying Broadcasting Communications and Theatre. She aspires to enter the radio media field upon graduation and someday set her mark as "The Voice" of some major city. Though this is her first BFT performance, she has played 'La Merluche' in Moliere's The Miser as well as other minor roles in UAB Theatre's 10 Minute Festival of Plays and church productions. Victoria also works at Publix and lives in Calera with her boyfriend and two dogs.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Loot: Ward Haarbauer (McLeavy)

Ward Haarbauer (McLeavy) founded the Department of Theatre at UAB and spent 40 years there, directing over 70 productions in the Birmingham area. In his retirement year, he played Prospero in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Since retiring in 2007, he has twice played Don Juan in Shaw’s Don Juan in Hell for The Seasoned Performers Salon Readers and last year directed Bus Stop for BFT.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Loot: Richard Taylor Campbell (Hal)

Richard Taylor Campbell (Hal), of Hoover, is originally from Arab, Alabama. He is a recent graduate of The University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre. He is also a graduate of Northeast Alabama Community College with an Associate in Arts degree in Theatre. His theatre credits include working as cast, crew, scene design assistant, and assistant director in various productions such as Little Women, West Side Story, Oliver!, Venus, Mud, and The Rivals, to name a few. Loot director Mel Christian also directed a play he wrote, Darcie, for UAB’s Festival of Ten Minute Plays. This is his first production at Birmingham Festival Theatre.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

British Comedy Comes to Birmingham Festival Theatre with LOOT

English Playwright Joe Orton's Comedy Opens January 13, 2011

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - January 6, 2011 - Joe Orton was an English playwright whose farcical comedies are noted for their cynical dark humor. By the late 1960s, works displaying the humor characteristic of Orton began to be described as "Ortonesque.". Birmingham audiences are in for a special treat when LOOT opens next week.

The plot is a set-up for visual amusement as well. As a completely unethical detective closes in on a crime, charming young reprobates Hal and Dennis frantically attempt to hide the money they have stolen from a local bank. Meanwhile, Hal's deceased mother lies in state. The solution? Move the corpse and stash the ill-gotten loot in the coffin. What could possibly go wrong?

"LOOT was Orton's first farce, a theatrical device that suited him like a supple pair of leather pants," says Mel Christian, who is directing the play at BFT. "Farce operates under Murphy's Law where if things can go wrong, they will again and again! LOOT is a raucous, brilliantly contrived comedy, witty and incisive, subversive yet deliciously palatable. There's a reason Orton was heralded as the Oscar Wilde of his age."

Local actors Ward Haarbauer, Victoria Ward, Richard Taylor Campbell, Christoph Hooks, Edwin Booth and William Brisky make up the ensemble cast.

LOOT runs each Thursday, Friday and Saturday for three weeks at 8:00 p.m. beginning on January 13, with a matinee on Sunday, January 23, at 2:30 p.m. The show closes on January 29, 2011. Tickets are $20, $15 for students. For reservations, call the theatre at (205) 933-2383.

About Birmingham Festival Theatre
BFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For almost 40 years, BFT has been bringing local audiences theatrical experiences that touch the heart and stir the mind. Our all-volunteer Board of Directors works to involve the community's many talented directors, actors, designers and techies to produce the best in contemporary and classic theatre. For more information, go to http://www.bftonline.org.