Actors Theatre of Louisville
Audience Interview: Robert Barry Fleming: Actors Theatre of Louisville – Executive Artistic Director
Now in its 57th season, Actors Theatre of Louisville is the state theater of Kentucky, with a mission that serves to unlock human potential, build community, and enrich quality of life by engaging people in theater that reflects the wonder and complexity of our time. Over the last nine months, we’ve all certainly been tested on many fronts.
The company moved to a digital stage for several seasonal favorites that received great reviews. They are now launching Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End that will stream until January 28 and is a ‘pay what you can’ set-up.
Audience publisher, G. Douglas Dreisbach, caught up with Executive Artistic Director, Robert Barry Fleming, to hear more about how the company has navigated through the pandemic so far, and what might lie ahead.
Listen to the full interview for free below.
In collaboration with the performing arts groups of Louisville, we are excited to bring you Audience Magazine, an all-digital publication that delivers a behind-the-scenes look into the performing arts and entertainment during this unprecedented time of reflection and artistic creation.
Audience Magazine highlights enlightening articles and information about the arts groups as well as spotlights on Louisville Landmarks and interviews with inspirational representatives from the arts community. And the best part about it all is …. it’s FREE!
LOUISVILLE, KY — Actors Theatre of Louisville and Executive Artistic Director Robert Barry Fleming proudly announce the lineup of 2020–2021 virtual programming, presented through Actors Theatre Direct, the company’s multi-channel, transmedia approach to storytelling. Fleming shares,
“In envisioning a new season of work at this time in our community, we seek to rigorously reimagine how a 21st century theatre can be shared and of service to our Louisville and Kentuckiana family who are continuing to process the tragic murder of Breonna Taylor and a weekend of protests and violence, during the ongoing disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When it comes to creativity, Louisville certainly is at the top of its game. Once again, the creative minds of musicians around the city have collaborated to create an uplifting video that features lyrics and landmarks from around Louisville.
The song and musicians were organized by Louisville Orchestra Music Director Teddy Abrams. It features two dozen artists from different backgrounds from bluegrass to rock. Included in the long list of contributors are Jim James and Patrick Hallahan of My Morning Jacket, singer/songwriter Will Oldham, cellist/composer Ben Sollee, Scott Carney of Wax Fang, percussionist Dani Markham, hip hop star Jecorey Arthur, gospel singer Jason Clayborn, singer Carly Johnson and others from Louisville’s music scene.
Actors Theatre of Louisville has been a staple in the Louisville community since 1964, when Actors, Inc. and Theatre Louisville merged. The combined organization was designated the “State Theater of Kentucky” in 1974. Known as one of the America’s most innovative theatre companies, Actors Theatre hosts almost 400 performances annually and welcomes an annual attendance of approximately 150,000 guests.
Audience Publisher, Douglas Dreisbach, caught up with Actors Theatre Chief External Relations Officer, Patrick Owen, to talk about how the team at Actors is working through the current crisis and what we can look forward to in the 2020-21 season. This interview was also featured in the April edition of Audience Magazine.
We are all saddened about the need to cancel so many events due to situation with COVID-19. However, we also understand that we need to follow the proper protocol of government official to do whatever we can to reduce the further spread of the virus.
Each performance requires so much hard work and dedication from performers, directors, stage crew, volunteers, patrons and more to perform at the highest level. We are don’t like to be the bearer of bad news, but we do want to keep you informed on the status of the upcoming shows and performances around Louisville. Below is a list of news and information about closures and cancellations for upcoming Louisville events, shows and performances.
**This page will be updated regularly.
Waiting a little longer is what’s killing us.
The exchange of dialogue between two of the three characters of Hype Man: a break beat play hits like a gut-punch when its deployed by Idris Goodwin’s script to set up the second act of his microcosm of racial tensions in the era of Black Lives Matter.
The trio represent a Goldilocks-esque set of perspectives on excessive police force against African-Americans and what to do it about it. Too cold? Too hot? Is “just right” even possible in the era of double-down politics?
One of the great treasures for the thinking community in Louisville is the 138-seat Cinema that opened as part of the Speed Art Museum’s expansion. Equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including 16mm, 35mm and DCI-compliant 4K digital projection systems, the venue screens films that otherwise would never be shown locally. Look for features that offer the Cinema+ experience, where after-screening talks and conversations feature artists and filmmakers tied to the projects. Here are shows scheduled for August and September 2019.
Hype Man is one of Actors Theatre of Louisville’s production for the 2019-2020 season. The hip-hop centric drama touches on issues of race, class and music. Here’s what playwright Idris Goodwin had to say Actors’ resident dramaturg, Hannah Rae Montgomery.
Hannah Rae Montgomery: What inspired you to write Hype Man?
Idris Goodwin: On a basic level, Hype Man is about a band. It’s a workplace drama, the business just happens to be rap music.
Labor Day barbecue menus haven’t even been planned yet, but already we’re ramping up for Halloween. The U.S.’s second-favorite holiday (spending for it falls behind only our spree at Christmas) seems to get our attention earlier each year. And if you live in Louisville, the first whiffs of pumpkin spice means one thing: Fifth Third Bank’s “Dracula” is stirring, ready to storm from the cave for a flight and a bite at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
May I confess to you that my relationship to Johnny Cash has always been a bit on the cold side? I grew up in the ’60s in a home where Hee Haw was forced on my pre-teen self the way some kids were routinely dosed with cod liver oil. Neither leaves a pleasant taste when you’re 6 and would rather suck on Dum Dums and turn the dial to whatever was on Channel 41.
In fact, no one who might have appeared on either side of Grandpa Jones’ reciting the components of the night’s dinner menu, or who might sit in for a robust interlude of picking and grinning, stood much of a chance of being endeared to me.
“Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash” reminds me of how much I’ve missed over the years.
Are you ready for this summer to get hotter? Actors Theatre of Louisville has just the ticket—or two, so you can favorite theatergoer with you—with “Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash.” The musical review presents the best known and loved songs by the Man in Black.
Actors Theatre of Louisville presents the 14th annual New Voices Young Playwrights Festival April 23-25
Inspired by the New Voices Playwriting Residency, the New Voices Young Playwrights Festival is fully produced by Actors Education and the Professional Training Company. By harnessing the wildly creative resources under its roof, Actors Theatre Education provides an opportunity where young people of all backgrounds are invited to see plays and make plays.
Robert Barry Fleming will join Actors Theatre of Louisville as Artistic Director. The appointment was announced Monday by Mac Thompson, President of the Board of Directors, and Managing Director Kevin E. Moore. Fleming comes to Louisville by way of Cleveland where he serves as Associate Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House; previously, he was the Director of Artistic Programming at Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. His tenure at Actors Theatre begins June 1, 2019.
Fleming will be the theatre’s fifth Artistic Director, joining a lineage of distinguished leaders who have guided this nationally-recognized theatre. He comes to the appointment with a varied portfolio and substantial experience as an artistic leader, producer, director, choreographer, performer, teacher and coach. Fleming is also a native Kentuckian raised in the state capitol of Frankfort, about an hour from Actors Theatre in downtown Louisville.Fleming says, “To come home and lead this singular organization with its distinguished legacy of artistic excellence is humbling and simply mind-blowing. I look forward to being a part of the collaborative, radically humanizing and inclusive artistic work at Actors Theatre of Louisville.
Before rehearsals for Pipeline began, director Steve H. Broadnax III shared what he loves about Dominique Morisseau’s writing, and why he’s excited to return to Actors Theatre and bring this play to life for Louisville audiences.
“I am one of the primary directors of Dominique Morisseau’s work, and she’s also a friend of mine. I just love her voice. It ’s a voice of activism, one that gives a platform to communities who aren’t often heard—especially African-American communities and the working class. Every time I see or work on one of her plays, I’m very moved. She’s amazing!
Actors Theatre of Louisville Presents: Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin – January 29 – February 17, 2019 – Pamela Brown Auditorium
Overview: Join us on a music-filled journey through the legendary career of Irving Berlin, starring virtuosic performer Hershey Felder. From Berlin’s humble beginnings to hitting it big writing for Broadway and Hollywood, Felder offers a lively portrait of the composer as a Jewish immigrant, American patriot, and devoted husband. Featuring cherished standards such as “God Bless America” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin melds story and song in a love letter to a man whose work helped define our national songbook.
The Corpse Washer – March 1–April 7 – Actors Theatre’s 43rd Humana Festival of New American Plays – Bingham Theatre
In an Iraq beset by decades of war and occupation, Jawad faces a difficult choice. Must he follow in his father’s footsteps washing the bodies of the dead—an honored Muslim tradition—or can he pursue his dreams of being an artist? Adapted from Iraqi writer Sinan Antoon’s award-winning novel, The Corpse Washer is a haunting portrait of a young man coming of age and a society’s fight for survival, in a country where life and death are inextricably intertwined.
Audience advisory: Contains strong language and discussion of war violence.
Age recommendation: 16+
adapted for the stage by Ismail Khalidi and Naomi Wallace
from the novel of the same name by Sinan Antoon
directed by Mark Brokaw
commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville
“Everybody Black” – Actors Theatre’s 43rd Humana Festival of New American Plays – March 19 – April 7 at Pamela Brown Auditorium
When some wealthy white folks offer a big paycheck, a black historian agrees to write the definitive version of The Black Experience™. The problem is, the historian has never met another black person. What emerges is a blisteringly funny satire filled with unforgettable characters, including a brazen Barack Obama here to set the record straight, and a talk show about black people addicted to dating white people. With searing wit and bold candor, Everybody Black explores how we chronicle—and make sense of—Black History.
by Dave Harris
directed by Awoye Timpo
Highlights will include Top Shelf, a tasting event featuring Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon, Cocktail and Culinary Challenge, showcasing classic and contemporary Bourbon cocktails paired with a chef’s Bourbon-themed culinary complement, Bourbon University, breakout classes focused on a variety of bourbon-themed topics; and TASTE, which will provide ample opportunities for the public to sample top brands of Bourbon, food pairings from featured restaurants and Bourbon-inspired products.
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