Press/Reviews

Orlando Sentinel Season Announcement

Check out the Orlando Sentinel’s announcement of our 2014-15 BMP season!

Read the article here!

Orlando Sentinel Review of 33 Variations

“…this play is for everybody. And if I had my way, everybody would see it.”

“It’s beautifully theatrical, as are the striking video projections, married perfectly with Amy Hadley’s lighting and John Valines’ sound.”

“By any means possible, see 33 Variations. And when you have, don’t thank me. Thank the folks at the Garden Theatre and Beth Marshall Presents, the cast and crew, for this utterly entrancing, pitch-perfect production.”

-Matt Palm, Orlando Sentinel

Read the whole review here!

Orlando Weekly Review of 33 Variations

“In lesser hands, Kaufman’s blend of musically inspired medical melodrama and magical realism could easily crash and burn, but director Aradhana Tiwari strikes a sensitive balance between the parallel storylines, finding deeply human truths in the somewhat underwritten characters with the aid of some exceptional performances.”

“Musical director Julian Bond plays the titular pieces live on stage with virtuosity worthy of a stand-alone concert.”

“The plot and characters of 33 Variations are compelling, but I was even more intrigued by the larger implication of its theme.”

“Producer Beth Marshall has brought a new, edgier energy to the [Garden] theater with envelope-pushing productions like this and Alice Lost in Wonderland.

-Seth Kubersky, Orlando Weekly

Read the whole review here!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

33 Variations

On February 25th I went to the Winter Garden Theatre ballroom ( 160 West Plant Street, Winter Garden, Florida) for a Designer Run of the show, 33 Variations, a play written by Moises Kaufman. Stage Manager Jay Ferrence was the first person I met when I entered the ballroom. He informed me that the purple tape marked the front of the stage. Actress Becky Eck entered soon afterwards and introduced herself. She had played Jane in “Alice Lost in Wonderland” and she did an amazing job grounding that production. A designer run is a full run through of the show that gives the set designer an idea of where characters will be blocked during the production. Producer Beth Marshall and director Aradhana Tiwari sat behind a folding table to watch the show. Pianist Julian Bond will be performing Beethoven‘s 33 Variations live on stage in the final production, but for now a recording was used and Julian watched to see how the performers would be moving on the set.

This was a dress rehearsal so some actors were in period outfits from Beethoven’s era and the rest of the cast was wearing modern clothing. Photographer Kristen Wheeler was shooting the show this night and she set up two lights to illuminate the actors. Beth warned her not to shoot the feet of some of the period costumed actors since they didn’t have the right shoes yet.  During the show, Kristen had total access to the stage and she moved around the actors catching every emotional moment while also switching on and off lights to get the shots. It was an impressive ballet that didn’t once phase the actors.

The plot examines the creative process of Beethoven’s obsessive variations build from a rather plane and uninspired composition by Diabelli (Brett P. Carson). At the same time, the play follows musicologist Katherine Brandt (played by Peg O’Keef) who yearns to understand Beethoven’s obsession. Brandt’s relationship with her daughter (Becky Eck) is strained as she succumbs to a disabling Sclerosis and at the same time Beethoven (Chris Gibson) goes deaf. I had watched a number of performers audition for the part of Beethoven and I must say Chris is compelling as the anger driven compulsive composer.

The musicologist traveled to Vienna to inspect Beethoven’s original sketchbooks. By flipping through the pages she could see his every thought as he composed. She wondered if he might be mocking Diabelli’s composition with his variations or perhaps he just wanted to one-up Bach who had 32 variations. Beethoven’s loss of hearing may have actually helped him break new ground as he reinvented the very process of creation. Though cloaked in anger and bitterness, he found an amazing joy in the process even as the world grew silent. Minor composers like Diabelli could be satisfied and complacent with their insignificant contributions.

One moment in the rehearsal was absolute magic. I stopped sketching and was drawn in to the moment. Katherine Brandt disrobed as if in a doctors office. I imagined she was preparing for an MRI full body scan. She stood in a spotlight facing the audience with her arms out in a Christ like gesture. Beethoven stood behind her and they leaned back to back. His head leaned back on her shoulder and her head leaned back on his shoulder. She closed her eyes and shuddered with quick breaths of ecstasy. I noticed Becky Eck off stage began to cry, and my eyes welled up as well. There is a certain magic that happens when actors are no longer reciting lines, but they are emotionally invested in every moment.

Mark Your Calendars! The show runs from March 14-30, 2014
Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, Sundays at 2pm,
PLUS Monday, March 24 at 8pm- INDUSTRY NITE
Tickets: $25 ($21 students/seniors) BethMarshallPresents.com or GardenTheatre.org

Posted by Thomas Thorspecken at 12:00 AM

Reviews for Alice Lost in Wonderland

“This Show is a Perfect Addition to the Halloween season”- Thomas Thorspecken, Analog Artist Digital World

“A disquieting set, brilliant costumes and a surprise trick or two create a fantastical world on stage. Actress Becky Eck grounds that world in an emotional reality with a canny performance as Jane.”- Matt Palm, Orlando Sentinel

“Writers love the weird characters and surreal scenes, but there’s not much drama in the original (Alice in Wonderland). Alice takes direction and reacts to the weirdness, but mostly she is simply along for the ride. Here writer / director Anderson has largely dodged those issues, he re-imagines the story not as a children’s fantasy but as a psychotic hallucination experienced in a 1950′s hospital that prides itself on its lobotomies and electroshock.”- Carl F. Gauze, Archikulture Digest

“Much darker than anything you would expect from a play based off a classic children’s tale, ALICE LOST IN WONDERLAND is a psychological thriller written to bring the audience to the edge of sanity. It is haunting, curious, and in a strange way moving.” -Kimberly Moy, Broadway World

“It kept my interest the whole production and had me guessing as well to where they were going to take it. I have seen plenty of shows where I lose interest, but not here. Highly recommended to catch this play during its world premiere at the Garden Theatre.”-Mike Gencarelli, Media Mikes

“The quality cast is supported by striking technical elements… This dark, disturbing vision has handed a “Drink Me” bottle to Winter Garden’s gorgeous Garden Theatre (normally home to handsome but unchallenging family-friendly fare like The Wizard of Oz) and helped it grow up a bit.”-Seth Kubersky, Orlando Weekly

Searching for Beethoven

On July 29th, Beth Marshall and Aradhana Tiwari held an audition in their ongoing quest to find the perfect actor to play Beethoven at The Venue (511 Virgina Street Orlando FL). The role is for 33 Variations written by Moises Kaufman. This play, directed by Aradahna will run March 13th through March 30th at the Garden Theater. About five actors came out for this audition. Actor Eric Pinder was stuck in traffic. The producer and director waited patiently while periodically getting text updates on Eric’s progress on the road. The conversation took a surprising turn to a cult of Satanists living in Central Florida whose bark was louder then their bite.

The roll of Ludwig van Beethoven requires an actor with a strong domineering presence. Beethoven was quite honestly a bit of an asshole, treating people around him with disdain. Which reminds me, I recently was mentioned in a venomous, anonymous letter, as someone who is an asshole, financially unsuccessful, a wimp, and not much fun. An asshole and a wimp are bipolar opposites so I can’t be both. Perhaps my opinions rub some the wrong way. My single minded drive and ambition could be perceived as not much fun. When lost in the creative process, I am occasionally interrupted by people who are curious about what I do. I’ll offer a quick joke, so they realize I am human, and then I get right back to work. If the conversation continues, I’ll keep working regardless. I suppose that can be considered rude. The narrow window I have to capture a moment requires constant observation. There is an agonizing panic in the need to finish a sketch before the moment is lost. I can identify with Beethoven’s annoyance at the shallow niceties of the Vienna social scene, the chattering crowd. Now, every time I meet someone, I wonder if they are the coward whose life is so empty that they need to write hateful letters to someone they don’t truly know.  Perhaps this is the danger of social media in that some people feel they have the right to meddle in other peoples lives. Perhaps that has always been the case. Part of me thinks I might have over stayed my welcome in Orlando. San Diego is being considered as a new city where Terry and I can set down new roots.

Eric arrived, dusted off the annoyance of unexpected traffic and quickly focused on his craft, reading his lines with a thick Bavarian accent. You have to look past the distractions and stay true to yourself in any creative endeavor. Seize the moment. Ignore and distance yourself from anyone who feels the need to bring you down. Regardless I will be around Orlando jackin’ out sketches every day.

The 2013 edition of Play-in-a-Day was the most epic ever

Live Active Cultures

Photo: , License: N/A

By Seth Kubersky

Published: September 11, 2013

Legendary composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein once opined that “to achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” Though artists pine for unlimited resources, the most enduring work is usually crafted under seemingly impossible constraints, while unfettered creativity usually results in crap. Nothing sharpens the mind (or pencil) better than a looming deadline. If you wanted to see the salutary effects of stunted artistic incubation, you should have been at Lake Howell High School on Saturday for the latest – and, in my opinion, strongest ever – Play-in-a-Day event.

Orlando has hosted several short-term creative competitions, including the recent 48 Hour Film Festival (see Orlando Weekly’s Sept. 4 cover story), but Play-in-a-Day is the largest and longest-lived such local event. That’s not to say it hasn’t gone through many changes in the last 15 years, starting with its sponsors: Once a SAK Comedy Lab activity, it has been recast as a fundraiser for the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, the Central Florida Theatre Alliance and Playfest, the Harriett Lake Festival of New Plays. The one constant has been Beth Marshall, who has now produced the project for 10 consecutive years. Since 2012, Marshall has partnered with Lake Howell High School and James Brendlinger’s Penguin Point Productions, funneling the evening’s $3,000 proceeds to fund both a scholarship for District 3 high school thespians, as well as Beth Marshall Presents’ 2013-14 season, which continues with next month’s world premiere of Alice Lost in Wonderland in Winter Garden.

Though I’m too faint-hearted and fond of sleep to directly participate in PIAD, I’ve been attending it more or less faithfully for most of a decade, and can confidently claim that 2013’s edition was the most epic ever. For starters, a record-setting 100-plus artists participated in the project, producing nine unique playlets that required an astounding three and a half hours to perform (counting introductions, intermissions and auctions). Emcees Dennis Giacino and Fiely Matias (of the much-missed “Oops Guys”) warmed up the crowd with a musical selection from their classic coolie cabaret Asian Sings the Blues (aka Lounge-zilla!) and later brought out Lulu Picard to belt Mulan’s lesbian anthem from their Off-Broadway-bound musical Disenchanted!, which returns to Orlando next week. Between plays, while the backstage crew of Lake Howell students (tech directed by Darth Knapik) shifted the swiftly assembled scenery, Giacino and Matias interviewed the author and director of the just-completed piece, eliciting comments on their elation and exhaustion after writing all night and rehearsing nonstop since 7:30 a.m.

Each annual PIAD features a different theme, presented to participating playwrights at 6 p.m. on the night prior to the premiere. In 2011, the last time I wrote about the event, the theme was the relatively straightforward “theater history,” but this year’s phrase, “I never thought I would be in a situation like this,” inspired some wildly diverse interpretations. Further, there is always a “twist,” which this year was a surprise even to the audience: We gradually realized that actor John Edward Palmer appeared in every piece, mute except for the thematic quote. Andy Hayes, winner of last year’s PIAD audience choice award, executed this element most inventively, breaking Palmer’s single line into bite-sized bits (“I never!”/“Thought I would.”/“Bea …”) throughout the scene.

Finally, in an additional innovation, each author was assigned a different running time, ranging from 12 minutes to 60 seconds. Viet-Dung Nguyen (with director Jeremy Seghers) turned the longest slot into an emotionally draining drama about a dying bigot whose five children turned out Eighty Percent gay. At the other end of the time slot spectrum, John DiDonna’s Sixty or Die (directed by Gabriella Juliet Beals) somehow squeezed four miniature acts into a single minute of breathless mathematical gibberish.

The evening’s big winner was Janine Klein’s siCHoo aSHen, a heartbreaking yet empowering semi-autobiographical memory play about absent parents and abusive neighbors. Sensitively directed by John Valines, with a talented trio of actresses (Cara Fullam, Melina Countryman, Jamie Middleton) simultaneously embodying the same woman at different ages, this 10-minute gem won 2013’s audience award by a one-vote margin; I claim full credit for casting the decisive ballot. This was the first public performance of a drama penned by Klein, who is better known for performing broad, boozy comedies like Gay Bar Star.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, but PIAD proves that you can become a playwright in a night.

Garden Theatre Proudly Announces Children of a Lesser God


Actors Learn American Sign Language for Dramatic Play
WINTER GARDEN, FL (March 6, 2013) – The Garden Theatre proudly announces Beth Marshall Presents’ production of the powerful drama, Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff sponsored by Progress Energy, March 15-30, 2013, at the Garden Theatre (160 West Plant Street, Winter Garden). On Friday, March 22nd at 8pm, there will be a fully interpreted American Sign Language performance in partnership with the Center for Independent Living.Winner of the Tony Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award,Children of  a Lesser God is the powerful drama by Mark Medoff. After three years in the Peace Corps, James, a young speech therapist, joins the faculty of a school for the deaf, where he is to teach lip-reading. He meets Sarah, a school dropout, totally deaf from birth. Fluent in sign language, James tries, with little success, to help Sarah, but gradually the two fall in love. At first their relationship is a happy and glowing one, but discord soon develops as Sarah becomes militant for the rights of the deaf and rejects any hint that she is being patronized and pitied. In the end the chasm between the worlds of sound and silence seems almost too great to cross, but love and compassion hold the hope of reconciliation, and a deeper, fuller understanding of differences that, in the final essence, can unite as well as divide.The role of James Leeds is performed by Will Hagaman. Children of a Lesser God is Hagaman’s fourth production at the Garden Theatre, having previously performed in The ForeignerThe Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged, and the Beth Marshall Presents production of Crimes of the Heart.The role of Sarah Norman is performed by Eliza Stevens. A graduate of the Professional Acting Training Program at the University of Central Florida, Stevens received an A.S. degree in Interpreter Training for the Deaf. This is Stevens’ first time on the Garden Theatre stage.Other roles include Mike Deaven as Orin Dennis, Adrian LePeltier as Mr. Franklin, Ava Tunstall as Mrs. Norman, Madison Graham as Lydia, and Jamie Middleton as Edna Klein.Four of the actors have spent the past year learning American Sign Language. “These actors have had to work harder on these roles than on every other one of my shows combined as they are learning a whole new language” said director/producer Beth Marshall.Children of a Lesser God is directed by Brenna Nicely and Beth Marshall. American Sign Language (ASL) direction by Joe Kramlinger. This is Beth Marshall’s directorial debut with the Garden Theatre, though this marks the eighth show produced by Beth Marshall Presents at the Garden Theatre, including previous shows L’Ange Avec Les FleursOur TownCrimes of the HeartDriving Miss DaisyA Christmas CarolThe Diviners, and Biloxi Blues.This show contains strong language.Show times are Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm, plus Thursday, March 28 at 8pm. Tickets are $25 for adults, $21 for seniors/students. For tickets, visit gardentheatre.org or call the Garden Theatre Box Office at 407-877-GRDN (4736).View press photos here: http://on.fb.me/Y9iXfoABOUT BETH MARSHALL PRESENTS
Beth Marshall Presents is an independent production company based out of Orlando, Florida, producing theatrical, dance, music, multi-media performance art and all things creative in arts & entertainment with a special focus on original works and touring festival circuits. Visitwww.bethmarshallpresents.com for more information.ABOUT PROGRESS ENERGY
Progress Energy provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information, go to www.progress-energy.com.ABOUT THE CENTER FOR INDEPENDENT LIVING
Serving Central Florida since 1976, the Center for Independent Living (CIL) is the only local nonprofit dedicated solely to helping individuals with disabilities achieve independence. We believe everyone has a right to dignity and respect. Our work is based on the philosophy of people with disabilities empowering one another in an environment of support and acceptance.ABOUT THE GARDEN THEATRE
Located in the heart of historic downtown Winter Garden on Plant Street, the Garden Theatre is a not-for-profit community organization committed to enriching, engaging, and entertaining through creative experiences. The theatre, which reopened 2008, showcases an atmospheric theatre in a Mediterranean Revival style venue. The Garden Theatre hosts live plays, concerts, movies, and more to the residents of and visitors to the city of Winter Garden. For tickets or additional information, contact the Garden Theatre Box Office at 407-877-GRDN (4736) or visit the new Garden Theatre website at gardentheatre.org.

BWW Reviews: Theatre Goers Enter Basic Training at Garden Theatre’s BILOXI BLUES

by Kimberly Moy

BWW-Reviews-Theatre-goers-enter-basic-training-at-Garden-Theatres-BILOXI-BLUES-2813-8PM-20010101Learning about life, love, and dealing with people from various backgrounds is difficult for anyone, but experiencing all these things while in basic training for World War II makes for drama and several comedic moments. Neil Simon‘s BILOXI BLUES is a coming of age story told through the perspective of Eugene Jerome and his interactions with his fellow army recruits. Eugene, of course, is a writer who keeps a memoir of his Biloxi, Mississippi boot camp experience.

To set the stage, wartime propaganda and American classic war songs like “Over There,” played before curtain up. The production drew an older crowd, some of whom probably lived through similar events. Still, most audience members can connect to Eugene’s first-time experiences, like leaving home for the first time or losing virginity in the least romantic way possible. Several issues addressed in BILOXI BLUES are relevant to today like gays in the military and the use of Draconian methods to instill discipline.

Carl Krickmire’s interpretation of Eugene, as both an observer and participant, matched well with each situation. Krickmire was able to balance Eugene’s naivety, with natural emotional strength. While the New Jersey accent has something to be desired, Krickmire’s made his character instantly likeable.

Another one of Neil Simon‘s compelling characters is Epstein, a self-righteous intellectual, perfectly portrayed by C.K. Anderson. In one scene, Epstein is bullied in the latrines to the point where he considers deserting the army. Anderson completely committed to the role and performed the scene much emotional intensity in nothing more than his boxers. In fact, many of the men performed, at some point, in nothing more than their underwear.

No army story would be complete without a crazy drill sergeant. Stg. Toomey can only be described as intense, funny by fault, and psychotic. In a role that requires succinct and loud delivery of almost every line, Tyler Cravens was able to carry Stg. Toomey’s intensity and energy to the very end. Despite his army hardened exterior, Cravens gave hints of Stg. Toomey’s humanity in moments like the outing of the homosexual, and his eventual drunken breakdown.

The rest of the cast adds richness to Simon’s variety of personalities used to tell Eugene’s story. In the end, viewers connect with each character hoping for the best, but always feel the looming shadow of war and how that will affect the future. The bonds the men created in the Army barracks ultimately make up the type of soldier each become.

Set design by Tom Mangieri used brilliantly engineered set pieces that were so versatile, that turning them and shifting various stage elements changed the scene from a train car, to inside the army barracks, to a whore house in downtown Biloxi. This was complemented by the simple color-lit backdrop. A unique feature to this theatre is the auditorium ceiling, which became fully star lit during the romantic outdoor scene.

At times the show felt long almost spending too much time on the tense moments and drawing out the comedic spots for a few extra laughs. The show run-time was about three hours, which may be difficult to sit through, especially for the older crowd.

BILOXI BLUES stars C.K. Anderson as Epstein, Jennifer Bonner as Rowena, Tyler Cravens as Stg. Toomey, Andy Haynes as Carney, Carl Krickmire as Eugene, Michael Osowski as Wykowski, Steven Pugh as Selridge, Cody Senger as Hennessy, and Julie Snyder as Daisy.

Produced by Beth Marshall Productions and directed by Rob Winn Anderson, BILOXI BLUES runs through February 24th at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden. For showtimes and tickets call (407) 877-4736, or visit www.gardentheatre.org.

Photo Credit: Kristen Wheeler (www.khphotographics.com)

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Theater review: ‘Biloxi Blues’ from Beth Marshall Presents 

Picture: 'Biloxi Blues'C.K. Anderson (left) and Tyler Cravens star in “Biloxi Blues” at the Garden Theatre. (Kristen Wheeler /khphotographics.com / February 10, 2013)
By Matthew J. Palm, Orlando Sentinel Theater Critic1:21 a.m. EST, February 10, 2013

The emotional impact of Neil Simon’s “Biloxi Blues” is like a sneak attack.

Onstage at Winter Garden‘s Garden Theatre, Simon’s semi-autobiographical comedy about a young recruit’s pre-World War II boot camp experiences opens with a lighthearted manner.

Rob Winn Anderson, directing the slow-building but ultimately satisfying production from Beth Marshall Presents, lets his cast of young soldiers bathe in the glow of good old days that really weren’t as good as we’d like to think.

So we in the audience chuckle as young Eugene (Carl Krickmire) sums up his introduction to Army life by breezily declaring “I hated everyone” or tries to weasel out of an impossible situation at boot camp with a plaintive “It’s only my first day.”

It all feels divorced from reality, thanks in no small part to Simon’s bare-bones characterizations of the recruits. Carney likes to sing, Selridge is a lunkhead, Wykowski is a bigot.

But it is funny in Simon’s good-natured jokey way. And Krickmire pitches his performance perfectly between naivete and determination. When his Eugene addresses the audience directly, as is Simon’s narrative conceit, you can’t help but be buoyed by his optimism and charm.

The two more complicated characters are the raging sergeant (Tyler Cravens) and Private Epstein (C.K. Anderson), a young recruit who refuses to fall in line. The more Cravens bellows, the more calm Anderson becomes. With quiet, deliberate speech and a strong, placid gaze he faces down Cravens, red-faced and fists clenched. It creates a fascinating dichotomy.

The plot doesn’t really pick up until the second act. Eugene’s bunkmates read his journal and learn what he really thinks about them, a gay scandal engulfs the platoon, and lo and behold, Eugene meets a gal at the USO dance.

Simon slips in thoughtful moments among the comedy — Eugene’s guilt at not defending Epstein, a fellow Jew, and Eugene’s realization of the power of what he writes.

Director Anderson keeps a light touch through such moments but their effect is cumulative, and suddenly you realize you care about this band of misfits. True, there is always going to be poignancy in sending young men off to war, but “Biloxi Blues” wraps up with more emotional resonance than you might expect .

That would be Simon’s, and this production’s, sneak attack.

‘Biloxi Blues’

• What: A Beth Marshall Presents production of the Neil Simon comedy

• Length: 2:50, including intermission

• Where: Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden

• When: 8 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 2 p.m. Sundays and two Saturdays, Feb. 16 and 23; through Feb. 24

• Tickets: $25; $21 seniors and students

• Call: 407-877-4736

• Online: GardenTheatre.org

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GARDEN THEATRE PROUDLY ANNOUNCES BILOXI BLUES

Neil Simon Classic Honors Local Military Heroes

WINTER GARDEN, FL (January 24, 2013) – The Garden Theatre proudly announces Beth Marshall Presents’ production of the Neil Simon classic, Biloxi Blues sponsored by Harmony Tech, LLC. and Progress Energy, February 8-24, 2013 at the Garden Theatre (160 West Plant Street, Winter Garden).

On opening night, Friday, February 8, the Garden Theatre has partnered with Camaradie Foundation to host a special pre-show reception for local active-duty and retired military heroes. In attendance will be recently retired Col. David Smith. Upon retirement, Col. Smith was the highest ranking U.S. Marine in Central Florida as he oversaw the development of training simulations in Central Florida. Also in attendance will be Col. Patrick Connors II with over 23 years of active duty service in the U.S. Army, and retired LTC Earle Denton with 25 years of service in the U.S. Air Force and the U.S Army.

Winner of the Tony Award for Best Play, Biloxi Blues is the semi-autobiographical comedy-drama by Neil Simon and the second in the trilogy which includes Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound. Biloxi Blues follows the story of Eugene Jerome as a young army recruit going through basic training during World War II and the harsh lessons he must face while stationed at a boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi.

Biloxi Blues is directed by award winning-playwright and acclaimed director Rob Anderson. This is Anderson’s directorial debut with both the Garden Theatre and Beth Marshall Presents. The role of Epstein will be played by C.K. Anderson, the son of Rob Anderson. C.K. starred in the lead role of the Beth Marshall Presents production of The Diviners last season at just 14 years of age.

The lead role of Eugene is performed by Carl Krickmire. Krickmire has performed across the east coast of the U.S., including off-Broadway in the original comedy Last Laugh. This will be Krickmire’s first time performing on the Garden Theatre stage.

Tyler Cravens plays the role of Sgt. Toomey. Cravens is making his Beth Marshall Presents debut, but has been found on the Garden stage starring in Noises Off and Greater Tuna. Cravens is the owner of Thai Blossom and Jojo Smoothies & Frozen Yogurt in historic downtown Winter Garden.

Other roles include Jennifer Bonner as Rowena, Andy Haynes as Carney, Michael Osowski as Wykowski, Steve Pugh as Selridge, Cody Senger as Hennessy, and Julie Snyder as Daisy.

This marks the seventh show produced by Beth Marshall Presents at the Garden Theatre, including previous shows L’Ange Avec Les Fleurs, Our Town, Crimes of the Heart, Driving Miss Daisy, A Christmas Carol and The Diviners.

This show is recommended for ages 12 and older due to language and suggestive themes.

Show times are Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $25 for adults, $21 for seniors/students. For tickets, visit gardentheatre.org or call the Garden Theatre Box Office at 407-877-GRDN (4736).

View press photos here: http://on.fb.me/TmxKb2

ABOUT BETH MARSHALL PRESENTS

Beth Marshall Presents is an independent production company based out of Orlando, Florida, producing theatrical, dance, music, multi-media performance art and all things creative in arts & entertainment with a special focus on original works and touring festival circuits. Visit http://www.bethmarshallpresents.com for more information.

ABOUT THE CAMARADERIE FOUNDATION

Camaraderie Foundation’s mission is to provide healing for invisible wounds of war through counseling, emotional, and spiritual support for all branches of military service members, veterans and their families. Visit http://www.camaraderiefoundation.com for more information.

ABOUT HARMONY TECH

Harmony Tech, LLC is a Veteran-owned technology solutions provider and research & development firm located near Orlando, Florida. Harmony Tech is headquartered in the historic Bond Building, located in downtown Winter Garden, Florida (just west of Orlando). For more information, go to http://www.harmony-tech.com.

ABOUT PROGRESS ENERGY

Progress Energy provides electricity and related services to more than 1.6 million customers in Florida. Progress Energy Florida is pursuing a balanced approach to meeting the future energy needs of the region. That balance includes increased energy-efficiency programs, investments in renewable energy technologies and a state-of-the-art electricity system. For more information, go to http://www.progress-energy.com.

ABOUT THE GARDEN THEATRE

Located in the heart of historic downtown Winter Garden on Plant Street, the Garden Theatre is a not-for-profit community organization committed to enriching, engaging, and entertaining through creative experiences. The theatre, which reopened 2008, showcases an atmospheric theatre in a Mediterranean Revival style venue. The Garden Theatre hosts live plays, concerts, movies, and more to the residents of and visitors to the city of Winter Garden. For tickets or additional information, contact the Garden Theatre Box Office at 407-877-GRDN (4736) or visit the new Garden Theatre website at gardentheatre.org.

 

AT A GLANCE

 

Biloxi Blues

Produced by Beth Marshall Presents

February 8-24, 2013

Fridays at 8pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, Sundays at 2pm

Tickets: $25 ($21 seniors/students)

 

In this comedy-drama by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Neil Simon, a young army recruit in basic training learns some lessons about Life and Love with a capital ‘L’ along with some harsher lessons, while stationed at boot camp in Biloxi, Mississippi.

* * * * * * *

Garden Theatre Box Office

160 West Plant Street, Winter Garden

407-877-GRDN (4736)

gardentheatre.org

Media Inquiries / Further Information:

Matt Heim, Marketing Coordinator

407-877-4736 x203

matt@gardentheatre.org

___________________________________

Season Preview: Beth Marshall Presents
posted on August 2, 2012

By Matthew J. Palm

Orlando Sentinel Arts Writer

Beth Marshall Presents’ 2012-13 season runs the gamut from an Orlando premiere to a Neil Simon classic, and the company takes over production of “Play-in-a-Day” as well.

The Orlando premiere is “American Alphabet,” written and performed by Lisa Cordes. Beginning with the Civil War and her slave-owning great-great-grandfather through the election of President Barack Obama, Cordes weaves personal narrative with the larger history of race and sex in America.Cordes is a freelance theater artist and writer. Her play “Prop 8 on Trial” was produced by Beth Marshall Presents this year. She has served on panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Missouri Arts Council and consulted and written for the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

The Neil Simon classic in question is “Biloxi Blues,” which will be the first of two Beth Marshall Presents productions to be staged at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden.

Rob Anderson will direct Simon’s show about a young Army recruit who learns about life and love in the shadow of World War II. The comedy won the 1985 Tony Award for best play.

Carl Krickmire stars in a cast that also includes Tyler Cravens, CK Anderson, Michael Osowski and Stephen Pugh.

The second production hosted by Garden Theatre will be “Children of a Lesser God” by Mark Medoff.

The play is the recipient of the Tony Award, the Outer Critics Circle Award and the Drama Desk Award. Many are familiar with the movie version, which led to an Oscar for star Marlee Matlin.

A speech therapist falls in love with a deaf woman in the drama, which Marshall will direct.

Finally, the Play-in-a-Day will move to a new location, at Lake Howell High School in Winter Park. More than 50 veteran theater professionals, working with high-school students, will write, rehearse and stage 15 short plays within a 24-hour time span.

Penguin Point Productions will lend a hand, with that group’s James Brendlinger serving as associate producer of the event.

Proceeds will support the 2012-13 Beth Marshall Presents season as well as District 3 Thespians by creating a new theater scholarship for a graduating high-school student.

Another change: A dance component will be added to proceedings, through the creation of a dance work in 24 hours. The VarieTease troupe, led by dancer/choreographer Blue, will be part of that effort.

Here’s a chronological listing of the Beth Marshall Presents 2012-13 season (Note that tickets may not be on sale yet):

  • Play-in-a-Day: 7 p.m. Nov. 10. Lake Howell High School Theater, 4200 Dike Road, Winter Park. $12; $10 (with 2012 Orlando Fringe Festival button), $8 students. BethMarshallPresents.com
  • American Alphabet: Jan. 18-20. Lowndes Shakespeare Center, 812 E. Rollins St., Orlando. $20. BethMarshallPresents.com
  • Biloxi Blues: Feb. 8-24. Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden. $25; $21 students and seniors. GardenTheatre.org
  • Children of a Lesser God: March 15-31. Garden Theatre, 160 W. Plant St., Winter Garden. $25; $21 students and seniors. GardenTheatre.org

                                                                                                                              

Theater review: ‘Our Town’ at the Garden Theatre
posted on March, 16 2009

By Elizabeth Maupin

Sentinel Theater Critic

When Our Town meets Winter Garden, it may be hard to tell what’s real and what’s theater.

Playwright Thornton Wilder’s description of Grover’s Corners, N.H., sounds an awful lot like Winter Garden, Fla., from the railroad station to the churches to the post office and the row of stores. When somebody speaks of looking up at the stars, you can look up and see the little lights twinkling in the Garden Theatre’s ceiling. And when you hear the sound of the rain on the theater roof, you find yourself wondering: Is it really raining? Or is that just another lifelike theatrical touch?
All of which adds to the feeling of well-being you get from this staging of Our Town, produced by Beth Marshall and directed by David Lee. Performed on the Garden’s high stage, this version is less intimate than others I’ve seen, and every once in a while the acting leans toward the histrionic. Yet the relaxed, genial presence of Christopher Lee Gibson as the Stage Manager sets the tone for an Our Town that reaches out and draws you in.

Nearly everybody of a certain age has seen Our Town, or had to read it in school, and thinks of it as a stale relic of niceness from another time. That’s far from fair to Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, which broke the theater’s metaphorical fourth wall in startling ways and still has more serious things on its mind than sand-lot baseball and strawberry sodas. Despite the color-blind casting, which works perfectly well, Lee’s production doesn’t try to force you to look at Our Town anew. It’s just Our Town, in all its lovely simplicity.

Such simplicity extends to the play’s famous lack of a set, which reads here as a ghost light and a dozen or more mismatched wooden chairs on an empty stage. Recognizable sound effects (by John Valines) alert you to the presence of a horse or a ballgame, and only a malfunctioning center light at one performance last weekend kept you from seeing the play in its elegant plainness.

That’s too bad because the cast is replete with fine actors who couldn’t entirely be seen, and the best of them — Joe Swanberg as Dr. Gibbs, Jamie Middleton as Mrs. Gibbs, Jesse Lenoir as George and Trenell Mooring as Rebecca — find ways to make their characters seem authentic by paring them back. Jennifer Bonner comes across as a little over-dramatic as Emily (who is, granted, pretty over-dramatic), and Lee allows Lenoir a theatrical touch at play’s end that runs counter to the behavior of a stoic New Englander.

But it’s a pleasure to see George and Emily call to each other from the Garden’s Romeo-and-Juliet balconies, and it’s a pleasure to make this journey with the charismatic Gibson, who brings both authority and a kind of low-key wisdom to his role. There’s little New Hampshire shtick here, and no old-timey sweetness. With Our Town, it’s enough that it’s Our Town. Doing it in Winter Garden is just the cherry on the sundae.

                                                                                                                              

Theater review: ‘Crimes of the Heart’ in Winter Garden 
posted on November, 17 2009

 By Elizabeth MaupinSentinel Theater Critic

Here’s my review of Beth Marshall Presents’ Crimes of the Heart, at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden:

The temptation is to go all southern gothic with Crimes of the Heart, Beth Henley’s dark 1979 comedy about the three MaGrath sisters of Hazlehurst, Miss., whose mother hanged herself some years earlier because she was having “a real bad day.”

But director Aradhana Tiwari has resisted the urge to turn the MaGraths into caricatures, and her take on Crimes of the Heart is all the better for it.

Certainly Henley’s three sisters have their idiosyncrasies. Lenny has turned herself into an old maid because of what she calls a shrunken ovary. Meg has gone off seeking fame and fortune in  Hollywood and wound up clerking in a dog-food factory. Babe has just shot her fancy-lawyer husband in the stomach, and the only reason she’ll give is she “just didn’t like his looks.”

Still, Henley’s play is more than southern gothic because her MaGrath sisters are real people, with real foibles and real fears. And it’s when producer Beth Marshall’s revival gets to the heart of those characters that it comes off the best.

The play gets a handsome setting at the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, where Tom Mangieri’s kitchen set is just homely enough and John Valines’ country music has just the right touch of brass. That brass may have seeped into Marshall’s performance as the MaGraths’ shameless cousin Chick, a woman who talks about her high-toned upbringing while she’s adjusting her underwear.

But Chick is the only larger-than-life character in a household where sadness rules — in Jennifer Bonner’s frank, sexy, disappointed Meg; in Britni Leslie’s dim, pretty Babe, a woman who’s all at sea; and most of all in Meggin Weaver’s anxious, endearing Lenny, a tender woman whose every emotion flickers across her face.

Leslie can be shrill, and not as quirky or otherworldly as others who have played that part. But the sorrow that has shaped the MaGraths shows itself in the minor characters, too — in Jason Horne’s sweetly serious Barnette Lloyd, Babe’s adoring lawyer, and in William Hagaman’s down-home Doc Porter, a onetime suitor of Meg’s with quiet mischief in his eye.

The show’s accents are all over the place, and the two intermissions are one too many. But Tawari and her cast members show a lovely sensitivity to a story that would be heartbreaking if it weren’t very, very funny. You don’t have to be having a real bad day to see the MaGrath women as sisters under the skin.

                                                                                                                              

Theater review: ‘A Christmas Carol’ in Winter Garden

Posted on December 9, 2010 by Elizabeth Maupin

By Elizabeth Maupin

Ebenezer Scrooge’s housekeeper, the forbidding Mrs. Dilber, doesn’t often show up in the opening scene of Charles Dickens’ famous Christmas tale.

But in A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story of Christmas, Michael Wilson’s adaptation of the Dickens classic, Mrs. Dilber not only makes an appearance at the start of Christmas Eve, but she utters a pointed warning.

“Best take an umbrella,” she tells her employer darkly. “It’s going to be an uglyday.”

Movie-lovers in the audience will be forgiven if the image that springs to mind is Bette Davis and her warning of an oncoming bumpy night. It turns out that Davis isn’t much of a stretch for this Christmas Carol, which goes to great lengths to set itself apart from other tellings of the tale but also leaves a lot of Dickens on the cutting-room floor.

Producer Beth Marshall has said she chose Wilson’s adaptation for its emphasis on the four ghosts who keep Scrooge running throughout an action-packed night before Christmas. But even the ghosts get short shrift in director John DiDonna’s 100-minute production, which skims quickly over many of the story’s best-known sequences, dawdles over some others and paints almost all of it in tones so dark that it’s sometimes hard to know what’s going on.

The result is a show that, with its elaborate sound design (by John Valines) and its ensemble of cute but awkward children, teeters uncomfortably between professional and amateur. For many in the Winter Garden community, it’s probably a welcome glimpse of the season. But most of the theater people involved here have done far better work.

Begin with Wilson’s adaption, which he created in the 1990s as an associate director at Houston’s Alley Theatre. (Wilson went on to become artistic director at Hartford Stage, a job he’s leaving at the end of this season, and to stage Horton Foote’s critically acclaimedOrphans’ Home Cycle in New York.) HisChristmas Carol begins in an unorthodox manner – with Scrooge in bed on Christmas Eve morning – and carries on in the same way, skittering over Fan, Belle, the Fezziwigs and even the Cratchits but fixing on a trio of peddlers who add little to the story.

In this production the stage seems crowded with all those characters (and with seven small children). Partly that’s because scenic designer Tom Mangieri’s set is dwarfed by a large raked platform that serves as Scrooge’s bed but goes unused most of the rest of the time. But it’s also because the show never lingers long enough with anyone to get much sense of who they are.

And the show’s lighting (Amy Hadley was the designer) is so deliberately murky that key elements are often in the shadows. Of course it’s nighttime and the effect is supposed to be ghostly. But it would help the audience mightily if it could see Scrooge’s name on his gravestone – and, even more so, see his face.

DiDonna has filled his cast with gifted actors, as he often does, and it’s a pleasure to see many of them turn up even in smallish roles. But most of them have all too little to do. Joe Swanberg makes a frightening apparition as Marley’s Ghost, but he’s not around for long; neither is Samantha O’Hare as a pre-Raphaelite-looking Ghost of Christmas Past.

David Almeida brings some needed warmth to the production as Scrooge’s nephew Fred; so does Mike Lane as a weary Bob Cratchit. Jamie Middleton is a forceful Mrs. Cratchit, and little Jason Zavitz does heighten the cuteness factor with the way he says “Mr. Scwooge.”

But the Cratchit family is simply not visible enough to provide the show with the heart it needs. And Dennis Neal, one of the finest actors around, makes a Scrooge who comes across as cowed and confused much of the time. There’s little sense of how the night’s events are affecting his character: The production doesn’t take the time to notice.

Only when morning comes and Scrooge has had his epiphany does Neal break loose, and, as he fills his character with a giddy glee, you see the benevolent man Scrooge has become. But the man he was is still way too much of a mystery – just as much of a mystery as those all-too-fleeting ghosts.

                                                                                                                              

Marshall wins John Goring award

Posted on November 9, 2010 by Elizabeth Maupin

Beth Marshall, producing artistic director of the Orlando Fringe, will receive the first John Goring Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award, to be given out in conjunction with Playwrights’ Round Table’s John Goring Memorial One-Act Festival.She’ll be given the award Sunday afternoon Nov. 14 at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center.

John Goring, of course, was a playwright and the tireless president of PRT. He died in 2009, at the age of 56, after suffering a stroke the year before.

Congratulations to Beth, who has been a major advocate for new plays in Orlando.

Here’s the full story from PRT’s Erik Morris:

Playwrights’ Round Table, Orlando’s year-round source for original theater since 1997, is proud to announce the winner of the first ever John Goring Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award: Beth Marshall.  Known to many throughout Orlando, Beth has been the driving force for the Orlando International Fringe Festival and her own production company Beth Marshall Presents.  As a writer, producer and director, Beth Marshall has been a key figure in the development of not just her own original productions but original productions from around the world, including a large number which have originated throughout Central Florida.

The John Goring Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented as part of Playwrights’ Round Table’s Goring Festival Awards show on Sunday, November 14 at 3pm at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center, at 812 E. Rollins Street. Tickets are $10 at the door; cash sales only please.

The Goring Festival continues Wednesday, November 10th with PRT’s $10 Industry Night.  For full festival schedule and show details, please visit playwrightsroundtable.org or visit Playwrights’ Round Table’s Facebook group page: PRT – Playwrights’ Round Table.

The Goring Festival honors John Goring, PRT’s former President. A prolific playwright and director, John passed away in 2009 due to complications from a stroke suffered soon after his last PRT production.  At the culmination of this festival on November 14, PRT will award its first ever John Goring Lifetime Achievement Award to Beth Marshall, who has shown a similar lifelong dedication to both the arts in Central Florida and to the development of new plays, playwrights and productions – both of which were important driving forces with John Goring’s involvement and leadership of Playwrights’ Round Table.

                                                                                                                              

Theater Mini-Review: Beth Marshall Presents Paul Strickland’s “Add Songs, Stir” at Shakes

JANUARY 20, 2012
BY SETH KUBERSKY

Paul Strickland appears in “Add Songs, Stir” this weekend at Orlando Shakes.
Last night, Beth Marshall Presents kicked off the 2012 leg of their company’s current season at Orlando Shakes with Paul Strickland’s new one-man show Add Songs, Stir. If you go expecting more of the clever observational stand-up comedy that made Paul’s Orlando Fringe shows A Brighter Shade of Blue and Any Title That Works big hits, you are in for a surprise. Strickland’s latest work has an eerie, ambiguous tone completely unlike his earlier shows, which left me admiring his talents but oddly unsettled.

A lakeless town builds a glass-bottom boat, then creates a flooded fake city filled with moving mannequins for tourists to float above. A man unintentionally commits suicide while trying to tear out his own beard. A woman falls desperately in love with her living room window. These, and a handful of equally unconventional anecdotes, swirl around together in a fragmentary stew of tangentially-related topics. Between monologues, Strickland is plagued by a ghostly recording of his own words, which he dispels by playing a half-dozen songs – 3 of which are witty originals – displaying dexterous fingering and an unexpectedly fine high tenor (though the falsetto sometimes starts to slip away from him).

At one point, Paul references “an evening of seemingly meaningful words,” and while the literal intent of this work can be difficult to tease out, the meaningfulness of his intensity is unmistakable. It’s clearly a work-in-progress that could stand some shaping (there needs to be a clearer climax to the emotional arc) but it’s exciting to see Strickland stretch beyond his comedy comfort zone into a more personal space.

 

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