Hot, hot Norwegian repression

A freewheeling discussion between star Brooke Aiello and director Heather Parish of “Hedda Gabler”? We’ll drink to that

THEATER PREVIEW

It’s Hedda Gabler’s birthday morning, and she’s kicking off the celebration with a mimosa. The thing is, I’m so clueless about alcohol in the a.m. that I get to the end of a 90-minute breakfast interview at Irene’s Cafe before I realize that the grand dame of 19th century theatrical realism sitting across from me isn’t drinking straight orange juice. Champagne before 9 a.m.? I’m shocked. Aghast. This is no mere woman … this is a monster!

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Past fling: Ted Nunes is Eilert and Brooke Aiello is Hedda in “Hedda Gabler.” Photo / The New Ensemble

Actually, Brooke Aiello — one of Fresno’s most passionate acting talents — is nursing not one but four beverages as we talk about The New Ensemble’s new production of “Hedda Gabler.” There’s coffee from Irene’s, black tea from Starbucks, a glass of ice water and her tall, frothy birthday drink. There’s a method to all this, even though I don’t quite understand it: something about sweet followed by sweeter. Or is it sweet followed by bitter? It doesn’t matter; she has a process in mind. This is someone who has definite views on many things, including the liquids in her life.

“I’m going to be very well hydrated today,” she happily tells me.

Continue reading “Hot, hot Norwegian repression”

(Updated) Instagram photo contest: Win tickets to ‘Lion King’

Enter by posting an animal from your own “savannah” on Instagram

UPDATE: Congratulations to randomly selected winner Dorina Lazo Gilmore-Young! She receives a four-pack of tickets to the closing weekend of Children’s Musical Theaterworks production of “Disney’s Lion King, Jr.”

As promised, here’s a menagerie of contest entries, starting with Dorina’s. (They are all so sweet. I wish I could have given tickets to each and every entrant.)

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Win tickets to Selma Arts Center’s ‘Carrie’

To get in the mood, readers submitted their own high-school prom photos.

UPDATE: Congratulations to our winners: Silvia Fisher and Michelle Olson. Plus, at the end of this post, check out the photo gallery of vintage prom pics submitted by readers.

ORIGINAL POST: Hopefully your high school prom went better than Carrie’s. Then again, the musical “Carrie” — based on the classic Stephen King novel about a girl with telekinetic powers who is picked on by her classmates — is pretty much the baseline for a prom from hell, so that isn’t saying much.

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Outsider: Abigail Halpern plays the title role in the Selma Arts Center production of “Carrie.”

Still, to get you in the high school mood, and to mark the new production of “Carrie” at the Selma Arts Center, the Munro Review is giving away two pairs of tickets for any opening weekend performance. Plus, as a winner, you’ll get two extra special perks: a backstage tour after the show AND a photo onstage with the cast.

Continue reading “Win tickets to Selma Arts Center’s ‘Carrie’”

Win tickets to ‘Full Monty’ at StageWorks

UPDATE: Congrats to our randomly selected winners: Karen Hau (whose stripper name is “Trixie Georgetown”) and Adan Alvarez (“Tammy Jansen”).

My top three favorite names from among all 70 entrants, by the way, are “Nipper Newlon” (Lisa Marie Boyles), “Lady DeWitt” (Dorian Follansbee; say that one out loud for the full effect) and the legendary “Pusskit Acacia” (Bradley Money). The all-time worst stripper name: ” Lumpy Vartikian” (thanks to Chloe Quesada). Don’t quit your day job, Chloe. To all: Thanks for playing!

ORIGINAL POST: Leave it to StageWorks Fresno to get a little steamy in July. “The Full Monty” opens Friday, kicking off a three-weekend run. This Broadway musical adaptation of the beloved 1997 movie follows a group of laid-off male factory workers who decide to put on a strip show to raise money. (And they aren’t exactly the Chippendales.)

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Here’s your chance to score some of the theater season’s hottest tickets — for free. The Munro Review is giving away two pairs of seats for any opening weekend performance. You can choose from 7:30 p.m. Friday (opening night) or Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday, all at the Dan Pessano Theatre.

Here’s how you enter: Leave a comment on this post telling us your “stripper name” using the following formula: Your first name is your first pet’s name, and your last name is the name of the street you grew up on. (Which makes my stripper name “Lightning Morningside”. Va-va-voom!) Or if you have Victorian sensibilities and would rather remain demure, tell us why you’d like to see “The Full Monty.” (Then again, if you have Victorian sensibilities, maybe you shouldn’t be seeing it anyway.) You’ll be able to pick up your tickets at Will Call. Deadline to enter is 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 19. I’ll get back to the winners that evening.


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Win tickets to Selma’s ’35MM’

UPDATE: Our winners are John Beynon and Kimberly Hauxhurst. Congrats!

ORIGINAL POST: By now you’ve probably heard about the wonderful “35MM: A Musical Exhibition,” the cutting-edge piece of theater being brought to you by the Selma Arts Center. Now’s your chance to win a pair of tickets to the Friday evening show. This is the final weekend for “35MM,” so there isn’t much time left. (Just four performances remain: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, plus a 2:30 p.m. Saturday matinee.)

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Opening number: Shawn Williams in ‘Crazy Town.’ Photo / Kyle Lowe

But wait … there’s more. Not only can you win the tickets, but the producers are throwing in some other goodies as well: a signed poster, backstage tour, a meet-and-greet with the cast, a photo on-set with everyone, AND signed 35mm prints from ace company photographer Kyle Lowe.

You also want a set of steak knives? Sorry. We’re stopping at theater memorabilia.

Here’s how you enter: Leave a comment on this post telling us what your favorite Selma Arts Center production has been so far. (If you’ve never been, tell us why you’d like to go for your first time.) I’ll pick a winner at random and notify via email. You’ll be able to pick up your tickets at Will Call. Deadline to enter is 7 p.m. Wednesday. I’ll get back to the winners that evening.


Related story: Fueling Selma’s creative fire: “35MM: A Musical Exhibition opens at the Selma Arts Center


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Blues period

I’m giving away a pair of tickets to the Fresno Philharmonic’s jazz season finale at the Saroyan Theatre

The Fresno Philharmonic has finished up its search for a new music director, and all that’s left is an official announcement. After six memorable concerts featuring some of the greatest works of classical music, the orchestra is ending on a slightly different note:

Jazz.

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Byron Stripling performs Saturday in ‘What a Wonderful World.’ Photo / Fresno Philharmonic

Saturday’s finale pops concert is titled “What A Wonderful World: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong” and features renowned trumpeter and singer Byron Stripling, a soloist for the Boston Pops and a PBS star. You’ll be able to catch such favorite tunes as “Hello Dolly,” “St. Louis Blues,” “Ain’t Misbehavin” and “When the Saints Go Marching In.”

‘What a Wonderful World: A Tribute to Louis Armstrong,’ 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 13, Saroyan Theatre. $25-$79

The orchestra will be conducted by Chelsea Tipton, II, music director of the Symphony of Southeast Texas and principal pops conductor of the New Haven Symphony.

Two important things to mention:

• I’m giving away a pair of tickets (orchestra Row H) to the concert. To enter, leave a comment on this Munro Review post telling us your favorite Louis Armstrong song. (Or, if you’d prefer, just tell us why you want to go to the concert.) I’ll pick a winner at random and notify via email. You’ll be able to pick up your tickets at Will Call. Deadline to enter is 3 p.m. Friday.

• In a fortuitous twist, several great jazz events in Fresno all came together on the same weekend. Along with the Fresno Philharmonic concert, there’s a Fresno Filmworks screening of the movie “Chasing Trane” (5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Friday, Tower Theatre); and “Milestones on Fulton,” the concluding concert of the Milestones Youth Jazz Workshop (2 p.m. Saturday, Frank’s Place). Musicians from the workshop will perform in the lower lobby of Saroyan Theatre following the Fresno Philharmonic concert.


To subscribe to the email newsletter for The Munro Review, go to this link:

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