Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Article by Vanzetta McPherson

If you haven't already, please check out
this phenomenal article written by retired U.S. Magistrate and current ASF Board of Directors Member Vanzetta McPherson featured in the Montgomery Advertiser. This article poignantly explains what a gem the Alabama Shakespeare Festival is and how peculiar it is that the theatre has not received state funding since 2003.


ASF's New YP Group to Bring Sheer Delight

People say that there are a lot of things to do in Montgomery—you just have to go looking for them. As a young transplant from Auburn, however, I haven’t had much luck in making friends outside of ASF and Starbucks. So when Alicia Johnson-Reed (the Director of Marketing and Communications at ASF) told us about her brainchild, I was ecstatic.

Alicia’s idea was to form a Young Professionals Group that would connect people within our community through live theatre. Audience Development Coordinator Sara Beth Frye and I quickly went to work at planning attractive events, seeing it as wonderful opportunity to meet other young professionals like ourselves. So get out your Day-Timer or your blackberry and write these dates down, because you don’t want to miss these events! I guess we'll see you there?

April 2nd- Over the Tavern.
For this event we would like to partner with a local brewery (ahem... bet you can’t guess which one!) Of course we haven’t talked to them yet, but if we have to beg and plead, we will!

May 7th- Romeo and Juliet.
Tiki croquet on the front lawn! My kind of fun. :)

June 4th- Cymbeline.
Wine tasting event.
Mmm… “Cymbelicious”. Lol.

August 6th- West Side Story-
The Big Lebowski
Bowling Night.
Good beer, ridiculous behavior. Ahh, good times.

More details will follow, and this is subject to change of course. For more information about YP events, please contact Sara Beth Frye at We're also on myspace and facebook.


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Winnie the Pooh, and I Enjoyed It, Too!

The Winnie the Pooh Cast
Story By Kevin Garner
English Major

So I recently got the chance to check out ASF’s spin on “Winnie the Pooh.” From the get-go, you’ll notice that Tigger is not present in this production—and there’s a fairly good reason, since this is not the Disney version of Pooh—but after seeing it all the way through, I’ve come to the conclusion that not only does it work rather well, but it is also fresh: a new look at a classic story. The actors were so much in character that at times I forgot they were actors, and for a children’s book, the plot throws curve balls that provoke hilarious situations. The set, like a pop-up book, works. Director Nancy Rominger has really outdone herself, considering a twenty-one year old like myself can enjoy it. Oddly enough, the set and the costumes gelled so well that I often forgot that rather than Pooh and the gang, those were actors doing all those shenanigans! Look at it this way, you won’t have some guy in the Octagon sweating like a bear in layer after layer of cotton and felt, and frankly, I think that’s a good thing. Refreshing is the word. In sum, “Winnie the Pooh” was a lot of fun, and the musical numbers are ASF exclusives! (That means you won’t hear ‘em anywhere else). If you miss out on this rare occasion, you may regret it, like letting good Cottleston Pie go to waste, which is never a good thing.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Thanks everyone!!!

The cast of ASF’s Peter Pan raised $20,500 for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS! Each night in the show’s curtain call Rodney Clark (Captain Hook) made an appeal to the audience to give charitably to this worthy cause. As the audience exited the theatre they were met in the lobby by cast members eager to collect donations. By the fruits of their labor and your generosity we were able to send a nice big check to Broadway Cares at the end of the year.

Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is a charitable organization that raises millions of dollars each year in support of AIDS victims and their families as well as community organizations such as MAO, Montgomery AIDS Outreach.

Michael Aaron Jones
MFA Stage Manager


Monday, January 14, 2008

Thoughts from Helen

Hey everybody! Thought I'd drop in and point you to a few places online I'm fond of that are theatre related. is one. This is some of the absolute latest info on Broadway shows and actors, as well as theatre job listings. I'll probably highlight some stuff from here at times.

The Internet Broadway Database is another. This is a pretty comprehensive listing by actor and by show... very cross referenced. This is a great reference source sometimes!

In May, I'll be checking out info here on the Tony awards. This is the official website that lists current and past winners and nominees. There's even video clips from past telecasts!

There are a lot of specific theatre websites as well. Usually they list company members, current shows, past shows, audition notices, sometimes even staff or board members. In the next few weeks, I want to fill you in on some local stuff coming up... Stay tuned!!


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Writer's Bio: Helen Wishum

Hi everybody! My name is Helen and I am very excited to be writing articles for the new Shake it Up Times blog. I am a Montgomery native and a graduate from Faulkner University. I have eleven years of theatrical experience with the Faulkner University Dinner Theatre and have starred in productions such as The Odd Couple, A Wonderful Life, The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of A Christmas Carol, Our Town, Narnia, and The Secret Garden. I’ve also worked backstage as director, assistant director, stage manager, board ops, and as part of the running crew. I have a little bit of a background in musical theatre as well.
I look forward to keeping you updated with the latest local productions as well as what's on Broadway. I hope you'll continue to join me in exploring something I absolutely love... theatre!! Look me up on facebook and myspace... I love new friends!


Thursday, January 3, 2008

at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.

The Alabama Shakespeare Festival is looking for college students and young professionals who like meeting people, enjoy theatre, and want to gain marketable experience in their field. Bloggers, bilinguals, writers, techies, theatre-goers, and ushers, etc. are needed.

For more info, please contact


Department Drinks!

Okay, so we know you are just dying to know some semi-factual information about your favorite ASF employees. Here's a little drink list that we have compiled.

Department Drinks!

Administration: Scotch

Box Office: Martinis

Costume Shop: PiƱa Colada

Development: Champagne

Electrics: Smirnoff Ice

Marketing: Wine/ grande frappuccino

MFA Professors: Coffee

MFA Students: Water

Paints: Margaritas

Production Management: Pepto-Bismol

Scene Shop: Vodka

Sound: Hard Lemonade

Stage Managers: Double Espresso

Stage Op.: Beer


Wednesday, January 2, 2008

MFA Actor Bio: A Typical Day in the Life of Graham Allen

By Graham himself

7:30 AM: The typical day begins. I roll out of bed (a surprisingly comfortable inflatable Aero bed mattress) and down two pints of water, which is the best way to start the day, I’ve been told. I follow this up with the more important cup of tea. No, I’m not a caffeine junkie, and yes, I know it’s a contradiction of hydration because of the caffeine, but I like it- so there. I’m not a theatre monk or some simple puritan- I’m a first year MFA/PAT (Master of Fine Arts/ Professional Actor Training) student at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival who needs his caffeine. Today is another typical 12+ hour day where I will peck away at class work or the homework for my theatre history class on Saturday morning, all while sitting in my faded lime green thrift store rocking chair from the 70s. For theatre history class I have to read about three plays a week as well as other supplemental materials.

10 to 12 and 1-5: My first class is from ten a.m. to noon with one of the main faculty members. When I worked on my ASFD (American Society of Fight Directors) combat certification along with the other students, we spent over 115 hours swinging broadswords, parrying rapiers with daggers, punching each other, and learning how to fall in a way that looked painful, but really wasn’t. My class is now working on Winnie the Pooh in the smaller thrust stage of the Octagon Theatre in the evening, while still meeting with acting, movement, and voice faculty in the morning.

My class schedule changes every week, which keeps things fresh from one week to the next. One of our faculty members worked at another theatre for a few weeks, so during that time we spent more time with the other faculty members. I remember having over eleven hours of Voice in one week (and that’s not a judgment on my voice- it’s just the facts!) We call this front-loading, and it’s very typical here at the Festival.

5-7 p.m. We get two hours for dinner break (from five to seven), but it generally becomes gym and workout time for me so that I can relax and stay sane. Sometimes I have to sacrifice this time for the sake of studying when papers are due. Oh yes, there are research papers and projects due in nearly all of our classes, so after my long day, I trek to the AUM library to dig through the stacks of books. It is said that MFA program graduates have found the “real world” to be much easier than life here up to their eyes in studies. And there is plenty more to do after you’ve written your papers. The faculty is willing to meet with you if you want a tutorial. Don’t forget singing lessons with Randy and the costume fittings!

The Lure Come to think of it, you never know what might lure you in at the Festival. During my first week here I was roped into being part of CultureFest and ended up “working it” onstage as part of Pangaea: the International Fashion Show. If you saw the show, I was the ruddy looking guy with freckles dressed in traditional Pakistani attire. There’s never a dull moment at ASF, and it can be hard to prioritize at times. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable with having deadlines loom over my head instead of finishing everything at once before doing things that are not work-related. Seem frantic? It’s really not. There’s a wonderful mix of hubbub, reveling, and order at the sixth largest Shakespeare Festival in the world.