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'I had to be armed for awhile;' Musicians from Angola prison reminisce for music symposium 'Angola Bound Revisited'

Advocate file photo -- Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in the early 1960s.

I got lucky last summer when I got my time … The words come naturally to Charles Neville, the memory as strong as when he was an inmate at the Louisiana State Penitentiary here. … my partner got a hundred, I got 99.… Continue reading →

Family at heart of ‘The Diva Sisters’ tells ‘story that will hit home with everyone’

Photos provided by Maddgame Entertainment -- Crystal Jefferson as Lois, Antoine Pierce as Curtis and Kellie Gordon as Halie, from left, star in UpStage Theatre's summer comedy, 'The Diva Sisters,' opening June 24.

Even though it’s not yet July 4th, fireworks will be exploding at UpStage Theatre because the Pritchett sisters are coming home. And they’re staying this time. The action will unfold Friday through Sunday in UpStage Theatre’s summer comedy, “The Diva Sisters,” when the three Pritchett sisters gather to commemorate their mom’s… Continue reading →

Inspiring Cangelosi dance group sets summer tour of local libraries around Louisiana

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS -- Cangelosi Dance Project dancers Leslie Stevens, front, and Chelby Gremillion practice routines for their upcoming week-long tour of East Baton Rouge Parish libraries.

Kris Cangelosi keeps a close eye on the kid-filled audiences when the Cangelosi Dance Project’s Elite Select youth company makes its annual summer tour of local libraries. The kids are so mesmerized by the dancers they start emulating the dance moves during the performance. And Cangelosi makes mental notes of their movements so she… Continue reading →

Former White House photojournalist’s exhibit looks past presidency, into the man

Photo by DIANA WALKER, Diana Walker Photographic Archive, Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at AustinDiana Walker captures President Ronald Reagan hearty laugh at Queen Elizabeth's toast at a state dinner given in her honor by the president and Mrs. Reagan in San Francisco, March 1983.

Lauren Davis likes best the emotional photos, images filled with laughter, sorrow and quiet reflection. Those are the Diana Walker photographs that look past the presidency and into the man. Some 50 of Walker’s photos of American presidents, beginning with Jimmy Carter, fill Louisiana’s Old State Capitol’s main galleries through Aug. 27… Continue reading →

Christian Youth Theatre BR’s ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ a story of a dreamer

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK -- Members of the Christian Youth Theatre Baton Rouge's production of 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,' from left, Alyssa Rainey, Jacob Johnson, Caleb Flores and Rachel Punkay rehearse for the show, which runs through Saturday.

Jacob Johnson sums up his character in one sentence: “Jacob was a dreamer.” But God can work through dreamers, who have a way of seeing possibilities in everything. And that’s what he does in Christian Youth Theatre Baton Rouge’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” Johnson plays the… Continue reading →

Historical figures come to life at Capitol Park Museum’s annual ‘Night at the Museum’ fundraiser

Advocate photo by Robin Miller -- The Advocate's Smiley Anders will again man the Lucky Dog cart at the Night at the Capitol Park Museum on Saturday.

The old joke is that Louisiana has a festival for everything. But it’s no joke to Friends of the Capitol Park Museum, which is staging its “Celebration of Festivals” at this year’s Night at the Capitol Park Museum. The museum support group’s annual fundraiser Saturday will include festival dignitaries to enhance… Continue reading →

Review: ‘Little Mermaid’ not just for little ones

Photo by SEAN RICHARDSON -- Ariel and Prince Eric, played by Emily Heck and Brandon Guillory, share a tender moment inTheatre Baton Rouge's 'The Little Mermaid.'

Settling into my seat on opening night of “The Little Mermaid” at Theatre Baton Rouge, I noticed a friend’s absence a row back. His wife explained he didn’t want to see a show aimed at children. Big mistake. Sometimes, the performance and production of a play are so good that it almost doesn’t matter if there’s… Continue reading →

FW Gallery in Baton Rouge hosts works of Poe, LeMieux

Photo provided by FW Gallery -- FW Gallery is featuring work by Jennifer Poe through July 23.

FW Gallery, 8501 Highland Road, pairs abstract painter Jennifer Poe and ceramic artist Tracy LeMieux in its next exhibit, opening with a reception from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 10. Cheerful plots of color dominate Poe’s paintings like a vibrant coral reef while elegant transitions in hue act as the tide to carry the eye between canvases.… Continue reading →

‘Angola Bound Revisited’: Experiences of ‘Leadbelly’ to be discussed at ‘Prison Music of Louisiana’ symposium

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Charles Neville

Musician Charles Neville and several inmate bands are scheduled to perform at Friday’s symposium, “Angola Bound Revisited: Prison Music of Louisiana,” at the Louisiana State Penitentiary Receiving Center in West Feliciana Parish. The symposium, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., is an overview of the historical development of music by inmates. Panel discussions will… Continue reading →

Artful Earth: Exhibit gives new planetary perspective

Advocate staff photo by ROBIN MILLER -- This satellite image shows the Terkezi Oasis in the Sahara Desert. The image is part of the 'Earth as Art,'  exhibit by the Louisiana Remote Sensing and Geographic Information System Institute, running through July 31 at the Gallery at the Manship Theatre.

The Gallery at the Manship Theatre is showing “Earth as Art” through July 31. The show features a series of satellite photographs from the Landsat Project. The images show a view of the Earth that the naked eye cannot see represented in colors that the Landsat and Aqua satellites can, according to information from the… Continue reading →

‘Angola Bound Revisited’: Experiences of ‘Leadbelly’ to be discussed at ‘Prison Music of Louisiana’ symposium

Advocate staff photo by ELIOT KAMENITZ-- Charles Neville

Musician Charles Neville and several inmate bands are scheduled to perform at Friday’s symposium, “Angola Bound Revisited: Prison Music of Louisiana,” at the Louisiana State Penitentiary Receiving Center in West Feliciana Parish. The symposium, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., is an overview of the historical development of music by inmates. Panel discussions will… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge Ballet brings its summer show ‘Graduation Ball’ to area libraries

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Dancers ages 10 to 15  years old will bring 'Graduation Ball' to area libraries this summer.

Almost 50 youngsters are heading to the library this summer for something other than reading. They’re part of Baton Rouge Ballet Theatre’s Youth Ballet Company, and they’re touring area libraries to give free performances of “Graduation Ball.” The tour runs through Thursday, June 9, with 47 dancers between the ages of 10 and 15… Continue reading →

MPAC set June 2 at Shaw Center

Photo provided by the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge -- The Michael Foster Project

Tickets are still available for the Music, People, Art and Community, or MPAC, event on Thursday, June 2, at the Shaw Center for the Arts. Each floor of the center will offer different entertainment and cuisine during the downtown party. All proceeds benefit the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge and its year-round arts… Continue reading →

Cangelosi Dance Project’s latest is a program of celebratory dance

Advocate staff photo by ROBIN MILLER -- The Cangelosi Project's Company Show will close out the season on Friday, May 27, in the Manship Theatre with a program of celebratory dances.

There will be jazz and tap and ballet and contemporary dance when the Cangelosi Dance Project stages its company show Friday. “It’s a variety program, and though we don’t have an official title for it, it’s a program of celebratory dance,” says artistic director Kris Cangelosi of the show at the Manship Theatre. Dancers from… Continue reading →

No wrong notes: ‘The Piano Lesson’ teaches black history and the strength to move forward

Photo provided by New Venture Theatre -- Brandon Lewis plays Boy Willie  in New Venture Theatre's production of August Wilson's 'The Piano Lesson.' The play is set in Pittsburgh during the Great Depression and explores the troubled relationship of siblings. The show is rated PG-13 and will be performed Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 3 p.m. in the LSU Shaver Theatre in Baton Rouge. Tickets are $27. For information, visit

August Wilson’s “The Piano Lesson” is concentrated in one family, yet it encompasses the black experience in the United States. “To me, this is one of his most brilliant works,” says Greg Williams, artistic director of New Venture Theatre, which opens the play on Friday. “I look at August Wilson as sort of a prophet with his… Continue reading →

Nuns 'who look like little angels' with 'faces of mercy' key part of new Baton Rouge-area home for victims of human trafficking

Advocate staff photo by TRAVIS SPRADLING --Sabrina Whitaker, left, executive assistant to State Sen. Ronnie Johns, R-Lake Charles, greets Sisters Anna Maria Mathew, Alexandrine Rasoanirina and Norma Nunez, three of the Hospitaler Sisters of Mercy nuns who will live on-site at Metanoia Manor, to teach and minister to the residents. Sen. Johns was a primary carrier of the legislation that made the project possible.

When the Rev. Jeff Bayhi’s vision of a home for underage victims of human trafficking turned toward reality, he spoke with Sister Eugenia Bonetti, who oversees several such facilities in Italy. One part of his plan was non-negotiable. “I told her, ‘I’ve got the money, but I’m not doing it without nuns,’” Bayhi said. Now,… Continue reading →

The World Goes ’Round: Manship Theatre production mines Kander and Ebb songbook

Photo by JORDAN HEFLER -- Ashley Fabre is part of the enemble cast in the Manship Theatre's production of 'The World Goes 'Round.'

You know their music, but you probably don’t know their names. John Kander and the late Fred Ebb were the songwriting team that fueled the music behind such hit Broadway musicals as “Chicago,” “Cabaret” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman.” “They also wrote music for movie soundtracks like ‘Funny Lady’ and ‘New York, New York,’” says… Continue reading →

Gilbert and Sullivan play ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ fun for the whole family

Photo by DENNIS DEMCHECK -- Brad Baron, Savannah Scott and Alexander Henderson, from left, bring Opéra Louisiane's 'The Pirates of Penzance' to the Manship Theatre stage May 14-15.

Gilbert and Sullivan’s most popular operetta, “The Pirates of Penzance,” comes to the Manship Theatre this weekend, a show sure to make Baton Rouge music lovers happy. It makes Opéra Louisiane’s music director happy, too. “I’m a huge Gilbert and Sullivan fan,” says Michael Borowitz. “They didn’t consider their work to be operettas but operas.… Continue reading →

Want to see Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny and other favorite Warner Bros characters in Baton Rouge? Here's your chance...

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Bugs Bunny in in the spotlight in this cel from 'Slick Hare,' 1947.

What’s up, Doc? Why not ask the Louisiana Art & Science Museum, where Elmer Fudd will ask you to be vewy, vewy quiet, because he’s hunting wabbits. The 1940 cartoon, “A Wild Hare,” greets visitors to the Louisiana Art & Science Museum’s summer exhibit, “The Art of Warner Bros. Cartoons,” which runs through… Continue reading →

Channeling Chekhov: Theatre Baton Rouge to present Christopher Durang’s Tony winner on sibling rivalry

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Kathy Sevin, Mike Katchmer and Blanche Bienvenu, from left, play siblings Sonia, Vanya and Masha in Theatre Baton Rouge's production of 'Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike.' The Tony-winner starts Friday at 7:30 p.m. Additional performances start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday and Thursday, May 12, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25. Student tickets are $20. The play is rated R. For information, visit

. Sonia believes life has passed her by and resents it. Vanya has chosen not to think about it. But the middle-aged sister and brother join forces when their little sister, Masha, announces she’s going to sell their house and its nine cherry trees. After all, she’s the one who made a name for herself by making the “Sexy Killer”… Continue reading →

Southeastern dance company plans auditions

Southeastern Louisiana University’s resident student dance company, Dance Performance Project, will hold auditions for Southeastern students and community dancers on May 6-7 for an upcoming dance concert. Auditions for high school juniors and seniors are scheduled 10-11 a.m. Saturday, May 7, in the dance studio in the Kinesiology and Health Studies Building. The fall event… Continue reading →

Spring Open Exhibition planned in Hammond

Photo provided by the Hammond Regional Arts Center -- Nancy Lowentritt's "White Fleet at Sunset" will be featured in the exhibit at the Hammond Regional Arts Center.

The Hammond Art Guild is celebrating its 54th annual Spring Open Exhibition beginning with a public reception at 5 p.m. May 6. This show will feature work chosen as part of a judged exhibition with several different mediums. Selected entries will be on display through May 27 in the Hammond Regional Arts Center, 217 E. Thomas St.,… Continue reading →

Young actors sink their teeth into Shakespeare's 'Twelfth Night'

Photos provided by Playmakers of Baton Rouge -- Jarrett Labonne,left, and Sierra Moran will be among the young actors staging 'Twelfth Night' at the industrial space at 19th Street Studios.

As some Playmakers actors grow into their teens, they want to sink their theatrical teeth into something more serious, classical — something Shakespearian. “So, we’ve added ‘Twelfth Night’ to our season,” says Colt Neidhardt, artistic director of the young acting troupe. “This wasn’t something that was planned, and we’re not just giving the kids… Continue reading →

LSU to hold ‘Robert Grayson Tribute Gala’

Advocate file photo -- Robert Grayson

The LSU College of Music and Dramatic Arts will commemorate Robert Grayson’s longtime voice career with the “Robert Grayson Tribute Gala” at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, in the LSU Union Theatre, Raphael Semmes Drive. The event recognizes Grayson’s 45-year career as a professional opera tenor, 40-year teaching career and 30 years teaching voice, directing… Continue reading →

World-renowned violinist Ilya kaler to perform at SLU

CUTLINE slu_kaler.jpg RENOWNED VIOLINIST TO PERFORM  Performances by internationally-recognized violinist Ilya Kaler will highlight the Southeastern Louisiana Universitys Chamber Orchestra spring concert scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 25. The concert will be held at the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts.

The Southeastern Louisiana University Chamber Orchestra’s Spring Concert on Monday, April 25, will feature world-renowned violinist Ilya Kaler, a three-time gold medal winner at international competitions. The concert will start at 7:30 p.m. in the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts, 220 E. Thomas St., Hammond. General admission tickets are $12; $8 for faculty, staff and seniors;… Continue reading →

“Harlequin in the Ghetto.”: LSU brings history to the stage

Advocate staff photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Erin Sheets and Scott Anthony Don Bosco Mitchel, right, rehearse for 'Harlequin in the Ghetto,' coming to LSU's Studio Theatre April 26-27.

They were Jews who had been forced into an overcrowded ghetto that would become more crowded as time passed. Some would be forced on a train, maybe even the day after a harrowing performance of “Harlequin in the Ghetto.” And they never knew where that train was going. So, they chose rehearsals and performances over worrying,… Continue reading →

‘Le Papillon’ celebrates Cajun life

Photo provided by CARROL SPELL -- Dancer Emily Faciane rehearses for 'Le Papillon: Celebrating Floyd Sonnier's Acadiana,' which Ballet Acadiana will perform May 13-15 in Crowley's Grand Opera House of the South.

Floyd Sonnier’s book, “From Small Bits of Charcoal,” was written by the artist three weeks before his death and published posthumously by his widow. Autobiographical in nature, its 24 short stories — in both English and French — comprise a genuine narrative of growing up Cajun. It’s about to become a genuine ballet, courtesy of Ballet… Continue reading →