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