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Thursday, Feb. 3, 2005 05:41 am

backstage pass 2-3-05


Many area theaters take the opportunity to present new and innovative works during the winter months, something I noted in my last column. The latest example of this trend is Born with a Veil, a work by local playwright Kari Catton Anderson that is being given a workshop production in the third-floor Club Room of the Hoogland Center for the Arts at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4, 5, and 11-13.

Anderson, who is also directing the play, had the opportunity to develop the script at the Iowa Writers’ Festival playwrights’ workshop last year, and a part of the play was performed at last year’s Kentuck Festival of the Arts in Northport, Ala., near Tuscaloosa.

Set in the South Carolina mountain country during the 1930s, the play centers on a mother’s coming to grips with the fact that her 13-year-old daughter may be psychic.

The current production features Mary Young, Darin Harms, Jason Goodreau, Deb King, Talor Lutz, Sam Germann, Molly Mathewson, and Joe Hawkes-Cates. Original music has been written by Maggie Morgan.

“This is a work in progress, meaning we will give the audience a chance to stay afterward and give their feedback or write it down on cards,” Anderson says. “I need the feedback. The actors have been so tremendous in giving me tidbits on what works and what doesn’t.”

To see another phase in the development of a new play, call 217-523-2787 for tickets.

Other shows worth seeing:
• Springfield Theatre Centre next week stages You Can’t Take It with You at the Center for the Arts. The American classic runs Feb. 11-13 and 8-20. The Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman comedy about an eccentric family living in Manhattan during the Depression won a Pulitzer Prize when it opened on Broadway in 1938. The film version, directed by Frank Capra, also won an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Local actor John Sivak helms the current production and has assembled an ensemble of strong area performers — including Felicia Coulter, Michael Coulter, Erica Smith, Georgia Dirksen, Dale Mason, Gil Opferman, Kate Rossi, Beverly Ryan, Ron Seney, and Grace Smith — to bring the zany and affectionate Sycamore family to life.

• Gordon Productions is reprising last fall’s hit show An Evening of Jazz and Standards at 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 12, and 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 13. The first half of the show features the Jane Hartman Trio, and the second half features Mary Jo Curry and Gus Gordon, singing great standards. This is another chance to see some amazing performances. For tickets, call 217-523-2787.

Auditions are coming up for several shows:
• The Little Theatre on the Square holds adult auditions (17 and older) 1-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9, in Sullivan. This professional, Equity theater’s summer lineup includes 42nd Street, Fiddler on the Roof, Beauty and the Beast, Swing, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. For information, call 217-728-2065.

• Eric Thibodeaux-Thompson is holding auditions for the April production of Lanford Wilson’s Fifth of July starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, Feb. 13 and 14, in the Studio Theatre, which is located downstairs at the Public Affairs Center on the University of Illinois at Springfield campus. This great American play was written in the late 1970s by the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Talley’s Folly). The production will feature an ensemble cast of adult actors, and there is a role for one teenage girl. For information, call 217-206-6613.

A final note: Forty-six actors auditioned for the recent casting call for the Ghosts of the Library show at the new Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. Seven actors were cast to begin this first phase of rehearsals for the show. The actors chosen are Rick Dunham, Randy Erwin, Jason Goodreau, Troy Kemp, Ted Keylon, Dennis Rendleman, and Patrick Russell.

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