Monday, January 26, 2015

Auditions: 'Miss Nelson is Missing'

Cast of grownups to bring Miss Nelson’s classroom to life

Performances March 20, 21, 22, 28, 29
Miss Nelson’s class is the worst behaved in the whole school. Spitballs flying across the room, paper airplanes sailing every which way and uncontrollable children send the gentle, long-suffering teacher, Miss Nelson, over the edge. But the students of Room 207 are in for a surprise when Miss Nelson turns up missing and is replaced by Viola Swamp, a scary substitute teacher who assigns homework from hell and wields her ruler like a sword! In desperation, the students set out to find their beloved Miss Nelson ... but will they ever get her back?

Director Mikey Willman is looking for animated adult actors not afraid to sing and play like they were back in elementary school.  “Miss Nelson is Missing” features a cast of six character actors to perform fun and energetic roles, including four students played by "grownups."

Female #1 — Double role: Miss Nelson & Viola Swamp
Male #1 — Triple role: Principal Blandsworth, Detective McSmogg, Pop Hanson (janitor)
Two females and two males are needed to play the roles of classroom students.

Those auditioning should prepare 16 measures of a fun and lively musical number.  An accompanist will be provided.

Auditions are open to the public.

A rehearsal schedule will be provided at auditions. There is one week day performance on the morning on Friday, March 20, 2015. Weekend performances are Saturdays March 21 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays March 22 and 29 at 2 p.m.

“Miss Nelson is Missing” was adapted for the stage by Joan Cushing from the book by Harry Allard and James Marshall.

The Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) is under the auspices of Slidell Little Theatre and was created to introduce and engage young audiences in live theatre. TYA productions are kid-oriented shows featuring adult actors starring in classic productions of the children’s favorites like: “Pinkalicious,” “How I Became A Pirate,” “A Year with Frog and Toad,” “Stellaluna,” and “Good Night Moon.”

The Northshore’s premier community theatre since 1963, Slidell Little Theatre is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to engaging, educating, and involving members of the community in high quality theatrical productions. SLT is supported by a grant from the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Office of Cultural Development, Department of Culture, Recreation and Tourism in cooperation with the Louisiana State Arts Council as administered by the St. Tammany Commission on Cultural Affairs.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Julie Generes Finds Magic in the Theatre

Julie Generes
(Paul Wood Photography)
by Don Redman

Julie Generes has directed many shows at Slidell Little Theatre, her favorites include Evita, The Producers, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged). She also recently directed The Beauty Queen of Leenane at COPA in Covington.

Other past work includes directing and producing Beautiful Bastards in New Orleans and elsewhere, co-producing the first season of The Red Light District Variety Show at Le Chat Noir, managing La Nuit Theater, being Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, producing the southern premier of Pterodactyls, and goofing off with actor friends as Mrs. Markham in Move Over Mrs. Markham, and then more goofing off with friends in Rocky Horror as Dr. Frank. 

Q: What was your earliest involvement in theatre?

 GENERES: I was in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe in grammar school. I played a tree and stood still for a long time.

Q: What attracted you to theatre to begin with?
GENERES: The really great pay. Actually, I always loved to write, and theatre is just another way to tell stories.

Q: What is it about theatre that holds your interest today?

GENERES: While I love to be on the stage telling a story, I love directing even more. There is nothing like watching something unfold from a read through at the beginning (which is always awful) to its becoming a real play as actors delve into their characters, the set goes up, the magic of the lights and sound enter in- it is truly magical.

Q: What are five plays that you’ll never forget and why?

1. The Lieutenant of Inishmore- exploding cats. What more could you want? 
2.  A Streetcar Named Desire- My sister and I both played Blanche. She was amazing.
3. Much Ado About Nothing- I met my fabulous husband.
4. Baal-It was positively awful.
5. Pterodactyls- In addition to it being a southern premiere, I built a giant T-Rex in my kitchen. Great conversation piece that made dinnertime super special for a while.
Q: What play do you think people should see, but probably haven’t?

GENERES: The Lieutenant of Inishmore- six gallons of blood, body parts being sawed off, exploding cats, torture, Irish accents, murder- and yet it is a comedy. I never laughed so hard in my life, and have loved Martin McDonagh ever since. I even got to direct his show "The Beauty Queen of Leenane" and enjoyed it thoroughly as well.

Q: What was the oddest play you ever saw, directed or starred in?
 GENERES: I cannot believe I am going to reveal this- but I did Deathtrap at Playmakers and played the psychic. The director cast two people to play one of the male roles (for reasons only known to him) and the first actor did Act 1 and the second actor played the part in Act 2. He made sure the audience knew they were the same character by pinning a big rubber pumpkin to each actor's belt, which had nothing to do with the play. I am not making this up. It was insane.

Q: What was the best advice you ever received about acting?

GENERES: "Act better."

Q: When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?

GENERES: I'm not sure if I've decided I want to be one yet.

Q: What was the first show you ever directed?

 GENERES: I honestly don't remember the name. It was something about Sherlock Holmes. 

Q: Name your top three roles as an actor and tell us why.

1. Maggie the Cat- I love her, and I love Tennessee Williams. He wrote some wonderful roles for women and to get to speak what amounts to poetry is lovely.
2.  Dr Frankenfurter- I loved Tim Curry in the movie and have so much fun doing that show.
3.  Mrs Markham- I like British accents. And I got to have fun with some awesome actors.

Q: What role would you love to play that you haven't yet?

GENERES: Eleanor of Aquitane. Really the answer is Hamlet, but I am not a big fan of the girls-playing-guy-roles thing as a choice. But he's awesome and has a sword.

Q: What is the scariest part of an audition?

GENERES: All of it. It makes me nicer to actors when I am in the director's chair though. I know how they feel.

Q: What is the strangest thing a role required you to do?

GENERES: I had to be a half man/half woman in a play written by Gary Mendoza. I actually had a great time with that, but I'd say it was strange. Only for you, Gary. Only for you.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Artists Explains How He Dreamed Up 'Midsummer' Poster Design

A resident of Slidell for the past 34 years, Glenn Dieterich is a self-trained artist. A graduate of Loyola University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, his career began in the art department of WWL-TV eventually leading to the position of television director for 22 years.

Currently a graphic designer for Sign Light, Inc., Glenn is the poster artist for A Midsummer Night's Dream and was the poster artist for Slidell Little Theatre’s Duck Hunter Shoots Angel and The B.F.G. (Big Friendly Giant).

Here, Glenn describes the process that went into creating the poster for "Midsummer," beginning with the conceptual sketch.

#1 The poster concept (above) begins with the thumbnail sketch. This one was going to be difficult because if I included all of the characters in the play, the poster would probably be about four feet long. I decided to narrow it down to Bottom and Titania because they are probably the most recognizable. In one of the early thumbnails, I thought about including Oberon and Puck, but there was just too much clutter.

Final pencil drawing of Titania 

Final pencil drawing of Bottom

Original sketches went surprisingly fast. They were based on the work of Joseph Noel Paton. I particularly like his approach to color, light and form. At this point I'm certain that Bottom and Titania will occupy the poster. In one of the early compositions I added some flying fairies, but scaled that down to three illuminated globes over Titania's head.

The six stages of Titania.

A cutout of Bottom and Titania extracted from the
final poster design for illustrative

Final poster design.

Previous poster designs by Glenn for SLT

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Director Promises A Fun Shakespearean Production

Julie Generes has directed many shows at Slidell Little Theatre, her favorites include Evita, The Producers, and The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged).

She returns this season to direct William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, opening January 16, 2015. Ahead of the opening, she took time to tell us a little about her vision for the production.

Tell us about your vision and inspirations for “Midsummer.’
GENERES: Wow. Well, I wanted to make this show fun for an audience. It's already funny- Master Shakespeare took care of that, but he was writing at the time a parody of the political figures of his time. He even pokes fun at his queen, prompting Puck's apology at the end of the play which was designed for the bard to keep his head attached to his body and not have it taken off by an angry monarch. The stories of the people he parodies are long gone. It requires a history lesson and a lot of research to know all about it, and who has time for that before they watch a play? So I decided that I wanted it to be just simply fun. And I like it to be kept real. Shakespeare wrote some bawdy stuff. I don't think he would appreciate stuffiness. And I have seen some stuffy Shakespeare. 

What are the challenges to staging this production?
 GENERES: The amount of people to coordinate. Also difficult is making sure the actors understand everything they are saying. Every word. That is a lot to do in six weeks. Of course all my actors understand English, but some of the references are difficult or obscure. I researched the show for months.

What can the audience can expect to see?
 GENERES: A lot of crazy awesome fairies, lovely acting, a great set, and a lot of surprises I'm not revealing. Come see a fun show!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is onstage weekends January 16 – February 1, 2015. Curtain at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Place reservations online at, or by calling (985) 641-0324. Slidell Little Theatre is located at 2024 Nellie Drive in Slidell, next to the Fremaux Town Center.

Carlos Nine: Bringing the Stage to Light

By Tracy Gallinghouse
The stage lighting designer is traditionally responsible for the design and supervision of all aspects of lighting for a typical stage production and collaborates with the director to ensure that all aspects of the production are properly – and suitably – illuminated. As professional stage lighting designer Bill Williams says, everyone fully expects the lighting designer to “perform magic, miracles and to make the sets, costumes and actors...'look fabulous.’”
Carlos Nine
(Paul Wood Photography)
Ginny Award-winning Lighting Designer Carlos Nine recently returned to Slidell Little Theatre after a stint as lighting designer at King’s Dominion Amusement Park in VA and was recruited to design the lights for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. His first exposure to theatre was shortly after Hurricane Katrina with the 2005 production of The Gifts of the Magi. Eager to learn more, he was hooked when he worked backstage during the Young Actors Theatre of Slidell (YATS) production of Seussical.
Carlos has a B.A. in Theatre from the University of Southern Mississippi, with an emphasis in Lighting Design, and he plans to pursue a Masters in Lighting Design.
Carlos recently agreed to a Q & A session for insight into his work and the art of light design.

Q: How did you get involved with theatre, and what made you want to become a lighting designer?
NINE: I became involved in theatre in 2005 right after Katrina. The first show that I saw was The Gifts of the Magi. The show was so much fun to watch, and after that moment I knew that I wanted to be involved in theatre in some form. I was asked to do backstage for the YATS show Seussical. This was the first thing I ever did. After that I went from backstage to spotlight, to light board operator. Something about being on a light board was really fun to me, and I knew that I wanted to learn more about that aspect of theatre. In college, the Dean of the Theatre Department asked me what I wanted to do. At that moment I was still unsure of my decision, but I knew that I had to take a shot, and learn more about lighting. He directed me to the lighting and sound professor, and he put me in his intro to lights and sound class. I never looked back from that moment. Everything I learned about lighting was all due to a risk I took, and something I knew would be fun to try, now I am making a living out of it and still happy with it. 

Q: I love how the right lighting can make a set come to life.  My personal favorite examples of your lighting design were the primary colors for the TYA show, “Goodnight, Moon” and last year’s show, “Arsenic and Old Lace.” What is/are your personal favorites?
NINE: Wow, tough question, only because I love a lot of my shows. I know that a couple of my favorite moments were in three shows, and funny enough they were all showcase pieces. One director’s qualifying piece for the department was Eleemosynary. She had taped out three squares that were used as specific places, and each one of the ladies’ moments of the play. I ended up putting one light on each square, and making the light shine inside each square one at a time. Those created some nice moments in the show, and created some great moments between the actors. Another show is Exit the King, this show was another directing piece. At the end of the show, I had three lights on the king’s platform: one to hit his face, one straight above him to create the shadows of death on his face, and one under the platform to show his soul dying. Coming up with that was not something that I thought would work, but ended up making the death seem so much heartfelt than it actually would have been if I just took all lights down. The third and final show was The Last 5 Years, The Musical. The scene was with Cathy singing her audition song in front of the curtain, and as soon as the song was ending, Jamie was pounding on the door behind the curtain. The second the curtain opens, all you saw was a reddish-orange color spilling on the stage, and hitting Jamie in the back, and his shadow on the door. The moment of him slamming on the door, and that color hitting him was a powerful moment in the show, and I loved how I was able to make that moment become really powerful. 

Q: If you could design lights for any show, what would it be and why?
NINE: There are so many shows that I wish I could design. I think if I had to pick one show, for a musical, I would love to design You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. For a straight play, I would love to design Death of a Salesman.

Q: What are the challenges of designing light for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream?”
NINE: Designing Midsummer versus designing any other show is so hard to do. With Midsummer you have such a free range to design with. The description is not like "A suburban house with a bay window." It's a fantasy feel, and a free range with colors, and looks. It's not an easy piece to design sometimes. It all depends on what the director is looking for, and how they are planning to style the show. I like it, only because I love a good challenge. 

Q: I know you just finished working for King’s Dominion Amusement Park in Virginia.  How did that differ from designing lighting for a theatrical show?
NINE: Working at an amusement park versus a theatre are two complete different spectrum. At a theatre you have months to prepare for a show, at Kings Dominion, we don't have that much time. Also, the shows range from a BMX style stunt show, to an outdoor show, to a singing show. During Haunt in October, we got an acrobat show, and a show that is the same style as "Stomp." So dealing with all these shows can get pretty crazy when something goes wrong in each one, but it is a really fun challenge to have. The best part is all the people I have met through each show, and in the entertainment department alone. 

Q: Do you approach each job the same?
NINE: I do not approach each one the same way. Lighting an amusement park show is designing with music, not scenes in a script. You don't deal with settings or emotions, you deal with the beat of the music, and how crazy you can make it be. I like both aspects, because it's nice to be able to do both in lighting, but sometimes I do miss sitting down, and dissecting a script for looks, and cues.  

Q: Musicals or Plays?
NINE: I love to design musicals. You can do a lot more fun lighting with musicals. 

Q: What is next for Carlos Nine?
NINE: I will be going back to Kings Dominion for a second season. I love my work up there, and I feel like I still have so much more to learn, and a lot more growing to do as a designer. The park is really helping me with that. Keep posted on my Facebook page, "Carlos Nine Lighting and Sound Designer" Or my website

Examples of Carlos Nine's Lighting Design

1.) Above is from a production of Arsenic and Old Lace at Slidell Little Theatre. This is the pre-show look. 

2.) One of my favorite looks is from The Importance of Being Earnest. This was in the second act. I love the way the LED’s fell on the white cyclorama. I won a Ginny for Best Lighting for this production. 

3.) This is from a production of Exit the King at the University of Southern Mississippi. It was a special directing project by Kristopher Kuss. This look is so strong to the show, because it created an alley for the actor to follow. I called the look a “death stroll.” He was walking to his death, so it made sense to create an alley for him to walk through.

4.) The Last 5 Years is a show about beautiful moments, and lots of heartbreak. This is the moment when Jamie (Darren Hayes) is trying to get Cathy to listen to him. The curtain opened up to this look of one orange light coming from behind him. It made the scene and the feel of the moment so powerful. This was also a special Directing project at the University of Southern Mississippi.

5.) This is from a production of Legally Blonde the Musical with Theatre 13 at Rivertown. The Greek chorus is doing the Delta Nu pose while Emmit (Sam Dudley) sings his final note in the song. I love how the Greek chorus is the pop of purple, with the spotlight on Emmit only.