LES MIS Closes, TARZAN and LITTLE SHOP Wait in the Wings

by RoxyRegionalTheatre on May 9, 2014

Tarzan is in rehearsal — Little Shop, too. A Woman Called Truth plays daytimes for school field trips, and Les Miserables has its final weekend of evening performances to go. It’s a circus, and it takes a bit of juggling, with no wing space and less than a little backstage in the Roxy to contain it. I can well imagine what this all would be like in our new center for arts and education.

Tarzan has been in rehearsal since January, when the Saturday School of the Arts’ winter/spring session began.

Our designer for Little Shop of Horrors, Kyra Bishop, has just graduated from Webster University in St. Louis. She found “Audrey II” in storage and is bringing the monster of a plant back in a U-Haul with all the various things she has collected during her tenure as a student.

Kyra designed so many productions at school, and from her book — or rather her portfolio, which is filled with drawings, renderings, photos and models — she has acquired a body of superior work which will eventually lead to her designing more and more prestigious productions. I’ve enjoyed her work for the operas at APSU, which her mother, Lisa, has directed for the past several years.

I’ve often referred to Kyra as my knucklehead genius, lovingly calling her that since the time she came in to add her expertise by putting the finishing touches on our set for Into the Woods. I asked that she paint the ground row green and perhaps use a bit of yellow. She did so but added bright red and blue as well. I felt an “oh, no” moment; yet it was so beautiful, and those small touches really made the set pop.

I felt that feeling once before, when Jim McDonald painted orange over the white staircase for Amadeus. I said, “Oh, no!” at that point, too — until I saw it lit. When he was finished, the wooden staircase and pasteboard rails appeared to be marble worthy of Versailles.

Last summer we acquired two small palm trees by way of Darren V. Michael from his production of Twelfth Night. Kyra copied them three times larger and painted them for South Pacific. This season they will come back out of storage for Tarzan, and no one will be the wiser.

One of my greatest failings is trying to micromanage the genius of others. Perhaps, by way of yoga, I’m beginning to let that go, ever so slowly.

My favorite set of Kyra’s, to date, were the recycled panels from 9 to 5, which she turned into a glorious set for a production I will forever be most proud — The Great Gatsby. She is a genius like a Seraphim, a genius of the highest order.

So many opportunities to enjoy live theatre — pick one and come: Les Miserables plays its final performances tonight and Saturday at 8pm. Tarzan opens next Friday, May 16, at 6pm. Little Shop of Horrors opens Friday, May 30.

See you at the theatre!

[John McDonald]

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