News

The Seafarer – Final Weekend! and Birmingham’s Best 2013 balloting

Don’t forget to visit al.com to cast your ballot for Birmingham’s Best 2013—there are dozens of categories, including Best Local Actor, Best Local Actress, and Best Live Theatre Troupe! We’ve had a great 2013 at CET, including:

  • Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer-winning drama Ruined, featuring a rich ensemble cast led by Cecil Washington, Jr., and Chalethia Williams, which marked our first collaboration with Aldridge Repertory Theatre,  and which also helped provide funds to The Footprints Foundation for reconstructive surgeries for victims of sexual violence in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer-winning August: Osage County, our first 5-star-reviewed production and our first show on the mainstage at the Virginia Samford Theatre, featuring a spectacular ensemble and standout performances by Carolyn Messina and Sandra Taylor;
  • Bill W. and Dr. Bob by Samuel Shem & Janet Surrey, which told the important story of the co-founders of Alcoholic Anonymous (portrayed by our co-founders/co-artistic directors Alan Gardner and Jonathan Fuller, with additional fine performances turned in by Jan Hunter, Melissa Cox, and the rest of the company), and which was a major initiative in bringing a non-traditional audience segment into local theatre;
  • Conor McPherson’s The Seafarer, our second 5-star production and our first collaboration with Birmingham Festival Theatre, featuring another terrific ensemble led by Drew Tombrello and Patrick Ian McCall.

Thank you for your consideration and your support this year!

Tonight begins our final weekend of The Seafarer at Birmingham Festival Theatre: only four performances remain! Check out our website & social media tomorrow, when we’ll be announcing the secret password for half-price walk-up admission for the Friday, December 20th performance only.

News

Bill W. and Dr. Bob, September 27-October 6

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City Equity Theatre, Birmingham’s longest-running professional Equity theatre company, will bring Samuel Shem’s and Janet Surrey’s critically-acclaimed Bill W. and Dr. Bob  to the Virginia Samford Theatre for a limited two-week run opening on September 27, 2013. Heralded by critics and theatre-goers alike for its humor, humanity, and grace, this story about the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) stands as a testimonial to the healing power of community and the resilience of the human spirit. Described by actor Martin Sheen as “the miraculous story, beautifully told, of the men who named the disease and created the cure,” Bill W. and Dr. Bob has been seen in 35 states and in Canada, England, and Australia; CET’s upcoming production, an Alabama premiere, will be presented as part of National Recovery Month.

New York stockbroker Bill Wilson becomes a miserable drunk following the market crash of 1929. Dr. Bob Smith, an Ohio surgeon, has been a closet drunk for 30 years, often performing surgery while hungover and high on sedatives. Through a seemingly-fated series of events, the two men meet on Mother’s Day, 1935, and establish a bond that makes sobriety possible for them both. Based on the conviction that “the only thing that can keep a drunk sober is telling his story to another drunk,” and with the invaluable support of their wives, Lois Wilson and Anne Smith (eventual co-founders of Al-Anon, the internationally-known support group for friends and families of problem drinkers), Bill and Bob labor to prove that their approach can work for other alcoholics. Illuminating the struggles and setbacks in developing their 12-step program for recovery, the play concludes on the brink of their success—a success that led Aldous Huxley to praise Bill Wilson as “the greatest social architect of our century,” and earned Wilson a place on Time magazine’s list, “Time 100: The Most Important People of the 20th Century.”

Bill W. and Dr. Bob  will mark City Equity’s 17th production since its inception in 2006, furthering the company’s mission to bring exciting, new, socially resonant work to Birmingham audiences with a professional commitment to quality in interpretation and execution. This production will be directed by Sandra Taylor, most recently seen onstage in the role of Violet Weston in City Equity’s August: Osage County.

Bill W. and Dr. Bob  will run September 27-28 and October 2-6 at 7:30 pm, with matinee performances on September 29 and October 6 at 2:30 pm. All performances will play on the main stage at the Virginia Samford Theatre at Caldwell Park, 116 26th Street South. Tickets are $30 for center section seating, $25 for side section seating, with student ticket discounts TBD; tickets may be purchased online through virginiasamfordtheatre.org, or by phone at 205-251-1206. Student tickets are $10, available with a valid student ID on a walk-up basis exclusively (no reservations, please). For more information on City Equity Theatre, visit cityequitytheatre.org.

(With respect to the Traditions of AA, performance of this work does not imply affiliation with nor approval or endorsement from Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.)

Presented by special arrangement with Samuel French.

News, Photos

Meet the Cast & Creatives of August: Osage County – Ivy Weston – Leah Luker

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Leah is thrilled to be a part of her fifth City Equity Theatre production. If CET patrons wonder why they may have never seen her before, it’s because this is her first role ON stage! Past work with the company includes stage management for The Sea Horse, Stage Door (in partnership with the Alabama School of Fine Arts), Spring Awakening (in partnership with ASFA), and Confessions of a Soccer Mom. Other credits include Grey Gardens (Little Edie) with Dane Peterson’s Theatre Series, as well as The King and I (Anna Leonowens), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Miss Dorothy Brown), Into the Woods (The Witch), and The Last 5 Years (Catherine Hyatt) with Centerstage Productions. Leah is the production manager at Birmingham Children’s Theatre and a graduate of the University of Montevallo.

(From the wings: I’ve had the pleasure, as both actor and director, to have worked with Leah as my stage manager at BCT and CET, and I feel confident in saying there is no more perfect combination of cheerleader and drill sergeant to be found. Her talent and commitment are unquestionable, and it’s a pleasure to share the stage with her. –PJ)

News, Photos

Meet the Cast and Creatives of August: Osage County – Johnna Monevata – Jessica Clark

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Jessica Clark is a native of Birmingham who moved back home in 2009 and began working with Birmingham Children’s Theatre after several years of working in Milwaukee and Chicago. That year she was the regional winner of NSAL’s drama competition and was one of 19 actors in the country chosen to compete in the national competition in Washington DC, where she was fortunate to work with John Lithgow and Mark Medoff. She is a full time actor, drama coach, voice over artist, and cat fanatic. Some favorite local productions include: everything at BCT, Singin’ In The Rain at Red Mountain Theatre Company (Lina LaMont), Dead Man’s Cell Phone at Birmingham Festival Theatre (Jean), Secrets of a Soccer Mom at City Equity Theatre (Allison), The Wild Party with Dane Peterson’s Theatre Series, and Proof at the Virginia Samford Theatre (Catherine).  Jessica currently lives downtown with her patient and supportive beau, Mike, and Dobby the cat.

(From the wings: Jessica is a real talent and a pleasure to work with, making the most of the least histrionic role in this show. In addition, I can think of no one I’d rather have attacking me with a frying pan. –PJ)