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Theatre Baton Rouge finds its voice under new direction with ‘Mary Poppins’

Photo provided by Theatre Baton Rouge -- Melanie Couvillon has the starring role and Zachary Denham plays her friend, Bert, in 'Mary Poppins' at Theatre Baton Rouge.

When the cast list came out for “Mary Poppins,” Theatre Baton Rouge seemed to send a not-very-subtle message: Management may have changed, but the standards haven’t. Despite some significant opening-night technical glitches, the message was affirmed. Vocally, this may be as strong a group as TBR has assembled in recent memory, including last year’s summer… Continue reading →

Photographers let La. shine in exhibit at Old State Capitol

Photo provided by the Old State Capitol -- Beverly Coates' photo,

It’s all about perspective in Louisiana’s Old State Capitol’s second-floor galleries. That’s where 25 members of the Louisiana Photographic Society are showing their work in the exhibit, “Light Up Louisiana.” It’s also where the old statehouse itself is the dominant subject. The show runs through Saturday, Sept. 20. “It’s an exhibit celebrating Louisiana,”… Continue reading →

K-5 students sought for Kids’ Choir program

The Kids’ Orchestra announces its new program, Kids’ Choir, for the 2014-15 school year. The choir is open to all kindergarten through fifth-grade students in the Baton Rouge area and is under the direction of Sarah Bartolome, an assistant professor of music education at LSU. The Kids’ Choir will meet from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Sept. 14, 2014

Here’s what’s happening in the area arts and cultural scene: Ascension Community Theatre will conduct auditions for its upcoming production of “Arsenic and Old Lace” from 3-6 p.m. today, Sept. 14, and 7-10 p.m. Monday, Sept. 15, at the theater, 823 N. Felicity Ave., Gonzales. Callbacks will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16. The… Continue reading →

Center celebrates Ernest J. Gaines, 50th anniversary of first novel

Ernest J. Gaines

Literature survives because it teaches us universal lessons. The Ernest J. Gaines Center at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is planning to commemorate exactly that Sept. 17 through Nov. 21. In events planned with public libraries, the center will mark the 50th anniversary of Gaines’ first novel “Catherine Carmier” as well as… Continue reading →

Straightening up and flying right

Advocate staff photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND --  Melanie Couvillon and  Zachary Denham will bring Mary Poppins and Bert to life in in Theatre Baton Rouge's production of the Broadway musical 'Mary Poppins.'

Yes, Mary Poppins is definitely going to fly in Theatre Baton Rouge’s production of the Disney-based musical, which opens Friday. That’s the question director Lyn Holderidge has gotten the most in the past few months. But, if you ask Melanie Couvillon, who is taking on the role of the nanny, this is a story… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre schedules Ensemble auditions

The Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre, under the direction of Molly Buchmann and Sharon Mathews, announces auditions for its new contemporary group, The Ensemble, at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 13, at the Dancers’ Workshop, 10745 Linkwood Court. The Ensemble will provide performing opportunities for professional dancers age 18 and older, focusing on modern and contemporary works. The… Continue reading →

LSU Student Union Theater sets six shows

The LSU Student Union Theater, Raphael Semmes Drive on campus, is celebrating its 50th season with its 2014-15 “Union Theater Presents” series. The series consists of six shows, including a swashbuckling off-Broadway prequel to an iconic story; a nun; a musical exploration of the soul genre; and a performance of beauty and ballet. “I can’t… Continue reading →

Drama ‘Fat Pig’ hits stage in Lafayette

The Riveters Theatre Company will open Neil Lebute’s drama, “Fat Pig,” at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 11, at Cite des Arts, 109 Vine St., Lafayette. Other performances are set for 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. 12-13; 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14; 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Sept. 18-20; and 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21.… Continue reading →

BR playwright brings ‘Freedom’ in N.O.

“Freedom Summer” by Baton Rouge educator, author and playwright Spencer Howard will be presented when the American Theatre Project of New Orleans returns to Dillard University and Samuel Dubois Cook Fine Arts Center for its seventh season Sept. 11-21. “Freedom Summer” tells the story of two young people who join the civil rights movement and advocate… Continue reading →

Accalia and the Swamp Monster: ‘Dysfunctional’ family provides artist inspiration for work

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Artist Kelli Scott Kelley's new exhibit at the LSU Museum of Art is based on her autobiographical book, 'Accalia and the Swamp Monster.' That's the 'monster' she's holding.

Kelli Scott Kelley’s “Accalia and the Swamp Monster” isn’t a once-upon-a-time kind of fairy tale. The lioness mother tears off the distant father’s arms, then feeds them to the Swamp Monster in Kelley’s story. Gruesome? Yes, but not without reason. Without that act, Accalia, the girl with two wolf-like dog faces, would never have embarked… Continue reading →

LSU’s band taking drones to the skies for guidance

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- A hexacopter hovers above the practice field behind Tiger Band Hall on Aug. 23. The LSU Tiger Band has gone high tech in its rehearsals. This year, each section leader will hold an iPad while a drone records the practice, then sends a live video feed to the iPads showing the formations, who's in line and who isn't.

LSU Tiger Marching Band, be aware: someone is watching you. And it’s not Big Brother. It’s band Director Roy King, who can see everything happening on the field, even the most miniscule discrepancies in your pregame lineup. “Fly it a little closer, Moe,” King says to the band’s volunteer videographer, Moe… Continue reading →

‘Touching story’ tells of grandparents raising grandkids

Photo provided by Maddgame Entertainment -- From left, Naomi Trahan, Ashley Millender, Shana Renee' Burris andTelisha Diaz go over a scene from 'Sunday Morning Kind of Gal.'

The specter of abandonment haunts all the characters in Christina Cottles’ new play “A Sunday Morning Kind of Gal.” Delores Bellard, a hardworking mother and grandmother who takes care of everyone in her family, is even visited by a real ghost, the mother who left her to chase a man and later died young. The play won this year’s… Continue reading →

Ballet for Children accepting reservations for ‘Journey’ fall tour

Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s Ballet for Children is taking reservations for the fall tour of “Journey to the Emerald City: Healthy Stops and Healthy Swaps.” Directed by Michele Ball, a registered dietitian and professional dancer, Ballet for Children’s in-school performance introduces students to dance and nutrition through dialogue and original choreography. “Journey to… Continue reading →

Southern University exhibit coincides with national arts alliance’s annual conference

Advocate staff photo by  April Buffington --

There’s nothing like Christmas morning on an August afternoon in Southern University’s Visual Arts Gallery. Randell Henry and Addie Dawson-Euba are opening packages. They’ve seen the pieces in photos, but there’s nothing like seeing them in person, especially for the first time when composition and color overwhelm the senses. “Beautfiul,” Dawson-Euba says as Henry unpacks Ricky… Continue reading →

Kids Orchestra program playing in five more schools

The Kids Orchestra after-school music program is now available at five additional schools in the fall of 2014: Dalton Elementary, Winbourne Elementary, Magnolia Woods Elementary, Ryan Elementary and the Gardere Community Christian School. The program is designed for students in kindergarten through the fifth grade and offers music instruction twice a week. The Kids Orchestra also… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Aug. 24, 2014

Here’s what’s going on this week in the local arts and cultural scene: ■ River Community Church, 36367 Old Perkins Road, Prairieville, opens its third annual Children’s Community Art and Photography Show today, Aug. 24. The show runs through Sunday, Sept. 28. Hours are 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Sundays and by appointment. Admission… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Aug. 17, 2014

Here’s what’s happening in the local arts and cultural scene: ■ Auditions for new male and female company member of the Cangelosi Dance Project will be noon Sunday, Aug. 24, at the Cangelosi Dance Project space, 3749 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge. Dancers should be age 18 and older for the five-month rehearsal and performance schedule. Professional… Continue reading →

‘Nutcracker,’ ‘Beyond Ballet’ to highlight BR Ballet season

The Dance Theatre of Harlem, Baton Rouge holiday favorite, “The Nutcracker — A Tale from the Bayou,” and a mixed bill spring concert, “Beyond Ballet,” featuring ballet, contemporary ballet and modern dance, fills the Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s bill for the 2014-15 main stage season. The company begins its season by hosting Dance Theatre of Harlem at… Continue reading →

La. Sinfonietta’s set for 32nd season

Season tickets are on sale for the Louisiana Sinfonietta’s 2014-15 season. This year marks the ensemble’s 32nd season. All performances will begin at 2 p.m. in the LSU School of Music Recital Hall on Dalrymple Drive. Dinos Constantinides is the conductor and music director. The first performance is Sunday, Oct. 12, and will… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar for Aug. 10, 2014

Here’s what’s going on in the local arts and cultural scene: ■ River Community Church, 36367 Old Perkins Road, Prairieville, is inviting artists ages 5-13 to submit their original artworks and photographs for its third annual children’s community art and photography show. One entry may be submitted in art and photography to this free show… Continue reading →

Black cast stars in play about old lady’s desire for trip back to simpler time

Advocate staff photo by ANGELA MAJOR -- Hope Landor plays the part of Jessie Mae Watts in New Venture Theatre's upcoming 'The Trip to Bountiful.'

New Venture Theatre artistic director Greg Williams can’t help laughing as he watches rehearsals of “The Trip to Bountiful.” “It’s hilarious,” he says. “The daughter-in-law is so selfish. She has no idea what’s coming out of her mouth half the time.” The play centers around Carrie Watts, known as Mother Watts, an 85-year-old woman living with… Continue reading →

Enchanted Mansion exhibit shows Barbie’s fashions since ’59

Advocate photo by ROBIN MILLER -- With more than 150 careers, Barbie has done it all.

You’ve come a long way, Barbie. And the world’s most famous doll’s evolution in appearance and fashion is the focus of the “Barbies” exhibit at The Enchanted Mansion, A Doll Museum, through Saturday, Aug. 30. The show features more than 300 dolls on loan by the Adult Fashion Doll Collectors in Baton Rouge.… Continue reading →

R-rated Theatre BR production helps bridge generational gap

Photo by Davis Hotard -- Stephen Horne, left, and Stephanie Toups play Adam ad Evelyn in Theatre Baton Rouge's production of Neal LaBute's  'The Shape of Things,’ which opens Thursday, July 31.

Theatre Baton Rouge’s Turner-Fischer City Series, formerly known as the Second Stage series, is popular with younger audiences, maybe because the productions deal with some angsty topics that college-age audiences might recognize. But “The Shape of Things” director Neal Hebert thinks this play, which opens Thursday, July 31, could bridge a theatrical generation gap.… Continue reading →

Beaux Ball honors, volunteers, actors, actresses, tech support

Travis H. Williams

Theatre Baton Rouge honored volunteers from its 68th season at its annual Beaux Arts Ball, “The Sky’s the Limit,” on July 26. “This evening gives us the chance to celebrate and honor all of our volunteers, who give countless hours of their time to make this the wonderful theatre we’ve come to know and love,” said Lance Parker,… Continue reading →

WBR museum hosts exhibit ‘100 Years after the War’ 1

The West Baton Rouge Museum, 845 N. Jefferson Ave., Port Allen, will open the exhibit, “100 Years after the War to End All Wars,” on Saturday, Aug. 2. The show, which marks the centennial anniversary of the start of World War I, runs through Oct. 26. It features an international collection of nearly 100 original World… Continue reading →

BR concert celebrates Ella Fitzgerald

BREC’s Independence Park Theatre, 7800 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge, will present “A Night of Ella” with Quiana Lynell at 7 p.m. Friday, July 25. This concert celebrates “The First Lady of Song,” Ella Fitzgerald, weaving myth, memory and music as it tells the story of one of the greatest jazz/pop vocalists of the 20th century.… Continue reading →

Arts Calendar, July 20, 2014

Here’s what’s happening in the area arts and cultural scene: ■ Tickets are on sale for the Acting Up (In Acadiana) Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble’s production of William Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew,” which continues at 2 p.m. today, July 20, and Friday and Saturday, July 25-26, at the Acadiana Center for the Arts, 101… Continue reading →

TBR to celebrate ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ for Beaux Arts Ball

Theatre Baton Rouge’s Board of Governors’ annual Beaux Arts Ball is Saturday, July 26, at the theater, 7155 Florida Blvd. The ball celebrates the best of the theater’s 68th season and honors its volunteers. This year’s theme is “The Sky’s the Limit,” and begins with “Cloud Nine” cocktails at 7 p.m. The awards and entertainment portion of… Continue reading →

LSU to host ClarinetFest

The LSU School of Music will host ClarinetFest 2014, the largest gathering of clarinetists in the world, including professional performers, educators and composers, July 30-Aug. 3. More than 900 musicians are expected in Baton Rouge for the convention, filling hotel rooms from campus to downtown. The event is organized by co-chair Robert DiLutis and the… Continue reading →

10-year-old member helps chorus with moves for ‘’

Advocate photo by Robi nMille r-- Jada Gardner, center, rehearses a routine with the Baton Rouge Chorus of Sweet Adelines. At age 10, she is the youngest member ever to join the group.

Anna Kendrick wowed audiences with the “cup song” in the 2012 film, “Pitch Perfect.” Now, the Baton Rouge Chorus of Sweet Adelines is getting into the act. The chorus will be performing “When I’m Gone,” the official name of the “cup song,” along with others in two performances of its new concert, “,” on Saturday,… Continue reading →