Friday, March 20, 2015

Video: Who's in Line at the Morrison Center for Tickets to 'The Book of Mormon'

Posted By on Fri, Mar 20, 2015 at 4:03 PM

UPDATE: The allotted tickets for the Boise run of The Book of Mormon sold out March 20 in less than two hours. Officials at The Morrison Center more tickets may go on sale closer to the July performances. Additionally, theater officials said they may hold a ticket lottery two hours before each show.

The Book of Mormon is one of the hottest and most controversial Broadway musicals in years. Written by South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Book of Mormon has won nine Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. The original Broadway cast recording reached No. 3 on the Billboard charts, making it the highest-charting album of its kind in more than 40 years.

There have been two national productions of The Book of Mormon, one of which rolls through Boise for six performances Tuesday, July 21-Sunday, July 26. Tickets for the show went on sale the morning of March 20, and Boise Weekly took to the streets—or, rather, the ticket line in the Morrison Center—to see who was in line and why. 

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Opera Idaho Swings for the Fences with 'Rigoletto'

Posted By on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 4:00 PM

On a frigid Sunday afternoon, elderly women in fur coats, young men in cardigans, old men in bow ties and young women in dresses took their seats at the Morrison Center for the Nov. 16 performance of Opera Idaho’s Rigoletto. A visual survey of people in attendance would suggest that at least in Boise, classic opera is for everyone.

It was fitting: Rigoletto is a topical, everyman sort of opera about privilege, group-think and double standards—themes that Opera Idaho found plenty of ways to explore in its proficient if not fully satisfying production. In this 1851 Giuseppi Verdi opera, Rigoletto (baritone Mark Rucker) is a court jester who serves the Duke of Mantua (tenor Won Whi Choi), an inveterate womanizer whose shenanigans precipitate a curse upon Rigoletto’s head. When the Duke takes a shining to Rigoletto’s daughter, Gilda (soprano Cecilia Violetta Lopez), the jester takes drastic (and ultimately tragic) steps for revenge upon the sociopathic Duke.

This was a large-scale production. The voluminous and elaborately dressed cast filled the Morrison Center stage, and the multiple original sets added to the drama of the opera's proceedings. Music billowed out of the orchestra pit. The trappings were just right for a lavish production but despite the whirlwind of color, sound and design, Rigoletto was plagued by flat performances by Rucker and Choi. 

Rucker hit the stage in an overstuffed costume and wielding a bulky club. In his elaborate getup, he could barely move. As one audience member noted after the performance, “You could push him down a flight of stairs and he’d come out just fine at the bottom.” It was the only thing jesterish about him: His performance didn't establish the character’s mirth before the story pivoted him into tragedy. By contrast, the cynical Duke was portrayed by Choi with radiant light-heartedness. Lopez’s Gilda, however, added dimension to the cloistered daughter trope and though her character isn’t as loud or flamboyant as others in the opera, seeing her develop Gilda is one of the subtler pleasures of this production.

When the curtains rose and the cast took its bows, the ovation felt half-hearted: With its lavish sets and costumes, Rigoletto came across as solid but uninspired.
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Friday, October 3, 2014

Mr. Cope’s Cave: If Your Joke Doesn’t Have a Punchline, Nobody Will Know When To Laugh

Posted By on Fri, Oct 3, 2014 at 12:43 PM

I don’t suppose you feel like working on our play today, do you?

Our play?

You know. The two-man play we talked about? Remember? Where you make stuff up and tell me about it and we turn it into a Broadway play?

Oh! Yeah. That. I almost forgot. You realize, don’t you, that even if we get a play written, the chances of it making it to Broadway are pretty slim?

Well, Mr. Cope, the way I figure it is, if you don’t have a target to aim for, you’re going to miss every shot.

That’s not a bad way of figuring it, Scooter. Did you think of that yourself? We could put that in the play.

I was hoping you’d say that. And yes, I thought of it myself… sorta. This guy said something like it on a television show I was watching. It was, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re going to miss every turn.” I liked it, but I hate to say things I heard somewhere else, so I changed some words and made it into something I’d never heard before… sorta. 

Good for you. Writers shouldn’t always be using stuff they hear from other writers. It’s like I told Stephen King back when he was getting started on Salem’s Lot

You know Stephen King!?

Oh sure. Steve and I go way back. In fact, I helped him flesh out Carrie. No kidding, he was telling me this story he’d thought up about a mousy high-school girl who gets picked on by the popular kids. But then she goes to Harvard and gets an MBA, eventually becomes the first female CEO of a major Wall Street banking concern, and when she’s as rich as sin, she returns to her home town and buys the beauty salon her old tormentors work at, and fires them all. Then she falls in love with this guy she used to have a teenage crush on who was the old star quarterback in high school but is selling used cars now, and…

This was his original idea for Carrie?

Oh yeah. Can you believe it? He wanted to call it Valley of the Dolts. But I said, “Stevie, that is so boring!” So he asked me how I would change it and I said, “Pal, have you ever heard of ‘telekinesis’?” And the rest, of course, is history.

Wow. I had no idea you knew Stephen King. That’s… that’s really something. But tell me, if you had that idea how to make Carrie such a huge hit book before he did, why didn’t you write it?

Well, see, at that time, I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer. I thought I wanted to be an astronaut. Ol’ Jim Lovell talked me into it, see, and I was…

You knew James Lovell!?

Oh sure. Jimmy and I go way back. See, he talked me into it, like I said, and I was scheduled to go on the Apollo 18 mission when…

I didn’t know there was an Apollo 18 mission. I thought that program ended after Apollo 17.

Well… yeah-uh. That’s why I didn’t go. Too bad, too. I would have been the first Nobel Prize winner on the moon.

The first Nobel Pr… hey, wait a minute here! Are you making this stuff up?

Uh, isn’t that what we were doing here? Working on the play?

But you never answered me when…

And say. I just thought of a line we need to get into this play somewhere.

Just a second. Let me get my pad and write it down. I should have been writing all of this down, but you never answered me when…  

Ready? Here goes. “If you don’t have a point to make, everything you say is going to sound pointless.” Pretty good, huh?

Yeah, that’s pretty g… hey, wait a minute here!

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Monday, September 29, 2014

Green Zoo's Next Play: Couples Therapy With a Sentient Toaster

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 10:20 AM

Green Zoo Theatre has shown it isn't afraid to get a little freaky. Last year, at the Water Cooler, it debuted a couplet of one-act plays; one of them was a Godot-esque skit about two people stuck in a room full of broken objects trying to piece together their senses of self. Before that, it was Signal-to-Noise, a play about a dysfunctional (and unnamed) couple living their lives online and in a state of constant paranoia.

Now, Green Zoo is at it again with something no less esoteric, but certainly with more comedic implications. Enter Toast, written by Thomas Newby and Jeff Young. Here's a plot synopsis provided by the Green Zoo team:

"To fix his crumbling marriage, Larry brings home Mr. Toast: a sentient toaster on the cutting edge of food preparation technology, complete with all the bells and whistles, including existential angst, homicidal jealousy and plenty of gangster rap."

Performances take place Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 2-4, at The Muse Building (1317 W. Jefferson St.), and Sunday and Thursday, Oct. 5 and Oct. 9, at The Crux (1022 W. Main St.). Shows start at 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $7 at the door. 
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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Red Light Variety Show Enters 'Uncharted' Territory at Familiar Venue

Posted By on Tue, Aug 12, 2014 at 11:15 AM

RLVS presents "Uncharted Odyssey." - RED LIGHT VARIETY SHOW
  • Red Light Variety Show
  • RLVS presents "Uncharted Odyssey."

Red Light Variety Show has covered a lot of thematic ground during its time in Boise, chewing through most major holidays, noir cinema, nostalgia and video games. Now that it's getting around to travel, it seems almost like an omission: After all, isn't travel one of life's great eye openers? Is not variety the spice of life? 

It's better to be late to the party than to not make it at all, but Boiseans have plenty of time to gear up for the latest RLVS adventure, "Uncharted Odyssey," which kicks off with a pay-what-you-want preview Sept. 11 and runs through Sept. 27. And though the burlesque/comedy/modern dance/acrobatics troupe is packing its bags to take fans on Amazonian treks, global circumnavigations and the seven seas, we—the viewing public—can catch all the action at RLVS' usual venue: the Visual Arts Collective.

Show dates are Sept. 12,13, 19, 20, 26 and 27. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the shows start at 9 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
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Saturday, July 5, 2014

Need Something To Do Sunday?

Posted By on Sat, Jul 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM

Have you ever wondered what life in the fast lane is like? Do you have dreams of conquering the world, your likeness plastered on billboards as regular folk drive by and sigh when they realize how mundane their life is?

Fame and fortune may await you, but first you must earn your breakthrough role. Stage Coach Theatre is holding auditions for The Nerd, described as a "zany comedy." Finally, your MS-DOS skills are useful again. 

2 p.m. FREE. Stage Coach Theatre, 4802 W. Emerald Ave., Boise, 208-342-2000, 
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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Need Something To Do Tuesday?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 1, 2014 at 10:34 AM

When the kids are out of school, your mental stability falters. It's hard to stay sane when you balance the regular aspects of life with kids running around all day breaking things and testing the limits of parental tolerance. Lucky for you, there are fun, free programs in the area that will help you take a load off. 

The Treasure Valley Children's Theater will both entertain and educate in a performance titled It's Electrifying at the Garden City Library this afternoon. It's something the kids will enjoy, and perhaps future thespians will spring up from the inspiration provided. Also, keep your car keys away from those outlets. 

2 p.m. FREE. Garden City Library, 6015 Glenwood St., Garden City, 208-472-2941,
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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Need Something To Do Thursday?

Posted By on Thu, May 29, 2014 at 12:46 PM

If you can get through the rest of work, one day stands between you and the weekend. But you don't have to wait until then to enjoy yourself. 

Homegrown Theatre is proud to present Dirt, a new play by Heidi Kraay. Dirt tells the story of a mother seeking to uncover the secrets behind a corporation that has developed a long life serum. The play is made possible in part by a Boise Weekly Cover Art Auction grant. This is a fictional work, so long life serum will not be available at the concession booth. 

8 p.m. $5. The WaterCooler, 1401 Idaho St., Boise, 208-908-0624,
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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Need Something To Do Thursday?

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2014 at 11:07 AM

  • Boise Contemporary Theater

BCT Theater Lab, the educational branch of the Boise Contemporary Theater, is a program for youth in the Treasure Valley that equips students with the skills needed to write and perform original plays. 

The lab will perform two new works with Us and Has Anyone Seen Craig? This is your chance to see budding theatrical talent in your own figurative backyard, a welcome change from the rebel teen thespian troupe who broke your fence and lawn ornaments en route to literally staging an impromptu performance in your backyard. 

7 p.m. $5-$10. Boise Contemporary Theater, 854 Fulton St., Boise, 208-331-9224, 
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Friday, April 18, 2014

Wicked Soars at Morrison Center

Posted By on Fri, Apr 18, 2014 at 12:47 PM

Wicked, the traveling Broadway musical that unpacks the backstory behind The Wizard of Oz now playing at the Morrison Center, is loud, nearly blindingly bright and visually elaborate. It's also ambitious, elating and seemingly effortlessly executed: a must-see for kids—and adults in touch with their inner kids. 

The green-skinned Elphaba (Laurel Harris)—future Wicked Witch of the West—is the neglected daughter of a provincial Oz governor caring for her wheelchair-bound sister Nessarose (Emily Benhy) and the college roommate of ditzy drama queen Glinda (Kara Lindsay). When she's tapped to become the magical apprentice of The Wizard (Gene Weygandt), she learns how he consolidated political power by scapegoating (sometimes literally) the nonhuman denizens of Oz.

At the center of the story is the relationship between Elphaba and Glinda. Harris and Lindsay's on-stage chemistry is incredibly compelling, and their friendship grows despite their characters' personal differences and the challenges the Land of Oz throws at them.

Their backdrop is a set that seems to barely fit within the confines of the Morrison Center stage, its vast architecture squeezed into one of Boise's largest performance spaces. Dazzling lights, steampunk superstructures and Glinda's magic bubble are all part of a complex (but never confusing) marvel of set design.

The pacing of the performance was aided by a hair-raising score. Catchy tunes sung in perfect pitch moved the story forward and set emotional scenes. Wicked is the whole package that brings the performance and stagecraft of Broadway theater.
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