Dec 30, 2009

Cast Announced for Sweeney Todd

Casting has been announced for Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award winning musical comedy thriller which opens at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Theatre Company on January 22, 2010.

Starring in the role of Sweeney Todd will be Alan Osburn (seen as Inspector Javert on Broadway and the National Touring Companies of Les Miserables) and performing the role of Mrs. Lovett is Eryn Carmen (Mrs. Potts in the recording breaking FACTC production of Beauty and the Beast).

Rounding out the cast will be Sammy Gleason (Beauty and the Beast, A Christmas Survival Guide) as Tobias, Marco Robinson (Eugene Morris Jerome in Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues, and Broadway Bound) as Anthony, Ericka Gasper (Laurey in Oklahoma and the flying Ghost of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol) as Johanna, Thaddeus Valdez (last seen as Tito Morelli in Lend Me A Tenor) as Judge Turpin, the Beggar Woman is played by Sally Lewis Hybl (Marion Paroo/Music Man, Cinderella/Into the Woods), Skip Cockran (Mendel, Falsettos) as Beadle and Ken Robinson (Malcolm, Full Monty) as Pirelli.

The talented twelve member ensemble includes Aimee Carlisle, Natalie Jensen, Jen Lennon, Kathleen Malloy, Armour Ratcliffe, Carmen Vreeman, Brantley Scott Haines, Jonathan Herrara, Jesse Iacovetto, Joe Kinnett, Cory Moosman and Patrick Yuckman.

Composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and book writer Hugh Wheeler, brilliantly adapted Christopher Bond’s play Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Reinventing the tragic tale of Benjamin Barker, barber turned butcher. Winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book of a Musical, Best Director of a Musical, Best Actor in a Musical, and Best Actress (Angela Lansbury) in a Musical.

The production will be directed by Alan Osburn. Musical Director Roberta Jacyshyn will also serve as conductor. Set design by Christopher L. Sheley, costume design by Nicole Harrison, lighting design Holly Anne Rawls, props design by Jessica Rose, sound design by Bret Christopherson, and wigs by Diana Ben Kiki. The production stage manager is Dorothy Heedt.

NOICE: This production of Sweeney Todd, playing from January 22 through February 14, contains graphic violence, adult situations, profanity, and is not suitable for those under the age of 17 or for anyone who is easily offended.

Tickets and Performance Schedule
Thursdays at 7:30 pm and Sunday at 2:00 pm
FAC Members: 26.00
Non Members: 31.00
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm
FAC Members: 30.00
Non Members: 35.00

Tickets for this production are going fast - Call the FAC Box Office at 719-634-5583 to reserve your seats.

Dec 21, 2009

Fred Martinez: Musician, Teacher, Conductor, Artists - We Thank You

The holidays are a time of celebration and this blog entrée is to celebrate Mr. Fred Martinez. In addition to being a pit musician at the Pikes Peak Center, he has been a principal reed player in the orchestra pit at the Fine Arts Center for the past 20 years; yes 20 years. He was a music educator for over 30 years, teaching music to middle school kids. He was a member of the Norad Band, stationed at Peterson Field. He has performed with both the Colorado Springs Symphony and Denver Symphony. He has performed in Las Vegas with Bob Hope, Nancy Wilson, Mel Torme, and The Temptations. He was honored as being the Colorado Jazz Educator of the Year, and in addition to his talents as a musician he has served at the orchestra contractor for the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company for the past ten years.

Fred called me the other day and informed me that he would like to step down as being our contractor, primarily for health reasons. For those of you who don’t know what a contractor does, they are sort of a mixture of being the casting director and stage manager for the orchestra players. The contractor works with the Musical Director/Conductor of each musical to find out what players are needed and then he starts making phone calls, calling the very best musicians in Colorado Springs (which, thankfully a lot a great musicians in this town) to find out there schedules, conflicts, etc. The contractor then works with the producer to solidify contractual arrangements for each player, and works with the Musical Director in arranging rehearsal and performances schedules, making sure the orchestra is in the building when they are needed and informs the producer when breaks required and when the players fee changes for the standard rate into overtime. Once the show opens the contractor also coordinates any substitute players and makes sure that the orchestra gets paid on time. It’s a big job, and Fred has been great to work with. I will not go so far as to say we will never again see him in our pit, because I am still holding out that might still happen. But in the meantime we will miss you Fred.

In addition to his musical talents Fred is a very accomplished artist. His original jewelry designs can be found at many local art galleries. So, the next time you see a Fred Martinez piece of jewelry remember that’s that reed player who used to be the contractor for the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company Orchestra.

Thanks for everything Fred.

Dec 18, 2009

'Looking Up' installation by FAC Board member Mike Esch

An installation video of the site-specific piece, "Looking Up," starring FAC Board Member Mike Esch, who built, hoisted and installed these rather large video screens all by himself.

Dec 17, 2009

Get $10 off final two performances of 'A Christmas Survival Guide' with donation

The final two performances of the Fine Arts Center Theatre Company’s production of A Christmas Survival Guide will benefit two outstanding organizations: the Southern Colorado Aids Project (S-CAP) and Care and Share.

By bringing in assorted hygiene products (to benefit S-CAP) or canned food (to benefit Care & Share) audience members will receive $10.00 off the ticket price to the 7:30 p.m. performances on Tuesday, Dec. 22, and Wednesday, Dec. 23 at the Fine Arts Center, located at 30 W. Dale Street in Colorado Springs.

S-CAP: Bar soap, shampoo, conditioner, shaving cream, razors, deodorant, foot powder, tooth brushes, tooth paste, dental floss, mouth wash and other personal hygiene products.

Care and Share: Canned meat and tuna, canned tomato products, boxed pasta, canned meals (chili, etc.) canned fruits and vegetables, canned and bagged beans, canned soup, peanut butter and canned milk.

Patron’s who cannot attend A Christmas Survival Guide, but would still like to give to these exceptional organizations can bring hygiene products and/or canned goods to the Fine Arts Center and receive a $10.00 off coupon to any of the remaining shows in the 2009-2010 season. Please note that only one coupon per family is permitted.

For more then 20 years, the Southern Colorado AIDS Project has provided comprehensive and individualized care to men, women and children in southern Colorado who are living with HIV/AIDS. S-CAP provides specific programs and services to over 1,200 people residing in a 25-county area of southern Colorado. S-CAP is a member of the Pikes Peak United Way.

Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado is the region’s largest hunger-relief organization. As southern Colorado's regional distribution hub for locally and nationally donated and purchased food, Care and Share provides food to more than 400 member agencies (soup kitchens, food pantries, community centers and more), who serve hundreds of thousands of people in need.

For more information, please contact the FAC Box Office at 719.634.5583.

The Independent previews NASA | ART

Art of the cosmos lands at the FAC and unveils a creative look at exploration ... the Colorado Springs Independent previews NASA ART by Edie Adelstein. Here's an excerpt from the preview related to Monica Petty Aiello's contribution to the theme.

Monica Petty Aiello: Frozen Inferno is a series of 25 works — all but two of which were created just for NASA Art — studying the surfaces of the extreme moons. Petty Aiello, a Denver artist, works with paint, yarn, resin, water and ink to build layers of landscape.

From a distance, her works look like flat abstracts; they may suggest a sunlit, lily-pad-topped pond (Io), or life forms under a microscope (Europa). But upon closer inspection, the depth in each work reveals itself as an impossibly detailed artistic rendering of an alien expanse.

"Images from NASA's Galileo and Voyager missions — still striking years later — provide Petty Aiello's starting point ...

"The actual geology of the place inspires the development of new painting techniques to emulate it," she says, adding, "I actually get all these spacecraft images and sit down with scientific specialists and deconstruct the geology, and then I try and come up with painting techniques to interpret that."

"Petty Aiello's experimental working method illustrates the way creativity and curiosity fuel both the sciences and art."

Read the whole preview here.

T.D. Mobley-Martinez reviews NASA | ART

“NASA” show is astronauts and rockets and so much more ... a review of NASA ART by T.D. Mobley-Martinez of the Gazette. An excerpt:

“(T)here are plenty of great moments. Rockwell’s meticulous painting of astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young. William Wegman’s charming obsession of inserting his Weimeraners into every place, even the final frontier. Mitchell Jamieson’’s fractured, shimmering paintings of emblematic NASA images. The seemingly banal realism of Martin Hoffman’s “Sunrise Suit-up.”

And in a stroke of brilliance, museum director Blake Milteer has also mounted four special exhibitions with “NASA.” Each is standalone fascinating. Each investigates the work of four well-respect local artists: Springs painter Eric Bransby, Denver painters Vance Kirkland and Monica Petty Aiello and video artists Mike Laur and Rick Mazzola.

Add to that a line up of events and family programming — from Bemis classes to a sci-fi film series to a road trip to Denver to see an original play about space — and you have a show that is about art, sure, but also about culture, about American dreaming, about local talent and about community.

"That’s the kind of thinking that saves museums, that saves the arts and consequently, saves the world.”

Read the complete review here.

The Gazette previews 'NASA | ART'

The Gazette's T.D. Mobley-Martinez's preview of NASA ART appears online today, prior to tomorrow's GO! section:

In addition to the NASA ART and the four complementary exhibitions, "The museum will also offer an impressive lineup of other programming, including a lecture by shuttle pilot Richard Truly, a film series, family activities, classes and a trip to Denver with performing arts director Alan Osburn to see the world premiere of the play “When Tang Met Laika.”"

Read the complete review here.

Gazette: A musical tribute for Tony Babin

The Gazette's T.D. Mobley-Martinez, wrote a story about Wednesday's Celebration of Life for actor/activist Tony Babin:

"At the end of the memorial Wednesday, nearly 400 people came to their feet — clapping, hooting, laughing and some, even crying.

It was Tony Babin’s last standing ovation.

The actor, director and founder of the Upstart Performing Ensemble died suddenly Dec. 10 at the age of 52. A giant in Colorado Springs’ tight-knit world of theater, his passing packed the house at the Fine Arts Center, where Babin had often performed. And like man, the nearly two-hour musical tribute was hardly ordinary.

Christopher Weed's giant "Red Paperclips"

Sculptor Christopher Weed will contribute his unique art to the Fine Arts Center's spring offering, Conflict Resolution.

Earlier this fall, Weed's giant "Red Paperclips" installed downtown in front of the COPPeR offices garnered an article from the Denver Post.

"(O)ne of the most successful public art projects to come to the Front Range this year. Perched in front of the Plaza of the Rockies office building in Colorado Springs, the piece consists of — as its no-nonsense title makes clear — two giant, 24-foot paper clips leaning against each other. It's an easy-to-like diversion for the downtown crowd, whimsical and deeply fascinating at the same time." Read the complete article and interview with Weed here.

FAC mentioned in Westword article about DAM's Lewis Sharp

In a nice article about the retiring Denver Art Museum Director, Lewis Sharp, Michael Paglia writes, "(H)e transformed the DAM from the rather modest place it was into a nationally renowned regional museum. In thinking about it, it's impossible to overstate the positive effect he's had on the DAM and, by extension, on the city itself. In fact, he's remade the museum in so many different ways that it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say he's had a greater effect on the institution than anyone else in its 100-year-plus history."

The FAC adds its congratulations to Lewis for all he has done for art in the state of Colorado. He is a true gentleman and friend.

Later in the article ... Paglia remarks on Sharp's effect on the DAM permanent collection:

"To give you an idea of how much the DAM's permanent collection has changed during Sharp's reign, consider that a generation ago, the collection at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center was generally regarded as being more important."

Read the complete story here. previews 'NASA | ART'

"Haven't made it to the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.? Good news--it's coming to you! Well, some of it, at least. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will present NASA ART: 50 Years of Exploration, organized by the Smithsonian and NASA. The exhibit opens Friday and runs through Mar. 7." Read the complete story here.

Westword previews 'NASA | ART'

"The mysteries of space have always held the power to inspire art. With that in mind, NASA created an art program in 1962, calling upon the talents of everyone from Norman Rockwell to Andy Warhol to explore and illustrate the beauty, majesty and wonder of exploring the last, greatest frontier." Read the complete article here.

Westword's Michael Paglia remembers two Colorado Springs artists

"Based on my experience — and my files — I figure there are 300 serious contemporary artists in Colorado. I make note of this because three of them died in November, which strikes me as a pretty high number. On November 8, Elaine Calzolari succumbed to cancer (Artbeat, November 19); on November 10, Jeremy Hillhouse died after a long struggle with spine damage; and on November 23, veteran abstractionist Al Wynne died, also of cancer."

Both Hillhouse and Wynne were born in Colorado Springs. Wynne's paintings (see picture) was recently featured at the FAC in the exhibition, "Colorado Springs Abstract." Read the complete story here.

Dec 16, 2009

Geoff Lasko: Teaching at Bemis ... one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had

Member registration is underway for Bemis School of Art's winter/spring session of classes, and non-members can start signing up on Jan. 4. Here's the first of a series of blog posts from Bemis instructors.

Teaching art at the Bemis School is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. There are few feelings that compare to seeing the light come on in someone's eyes or seeing someone make a breakthrough. There is a very special relationship of trust between the instructor and the student. I am so grateful to be given that trust and hopefully develop a friendship as well as a working relationship with my students. Art-making is a life long learning experience. We are all on the road to learning. Some are farther along than others, but there is no end to the road. I think that is the great joy of the art life.

— Geoff Lasko, Bemis Instructor

Dec 7, 2009

Building a Timeline of Space Exploration

The NASA Art program, opening on December 18, will include an interactive gallery that allows visitors to further explore space and art. Located just beyond the Vance Kirkland and Monica Aiello galleries, the Discovery Space will feature an illustrated timeline of the history of space exploration. The timeline tracks man’s advances toward space exploration, from the earliest examinations of the night sky and celestial phenomena, to the technological advances that allowed us to leave the bounds of Earth. The gallery will also contain monitors playing Powers of 10, a 1977 short documentary by Ray and Charles Eames, and Trip to the Moon, a 1902 French black and white film directed by Georges Méliès. An interactive station will provide visitors with access to activities and further resources on space. The Discovery Space will also showcase art by Bemis School of Art Students, including sculptures made out of a unique kind of precious metal clay developed by NASA.

Working as an intern at the Fine Arts Center, I have had the opportunity to work on the Discovery Space, my main task being to research and put together the timeline. Now, having finally arrived at the final stage, installation, I find myself looking at piles of events, images, and objects, and the difficult challenge of creating visual order and clarity with them. There is a lot to fit on this timeline, especially as you near the 21st century, when fast-paced developments in rocket science and astronomical knowledge occurred! I know, however, that the final result will be fun and interesting, and I am excited to see this project come to fruition.

— Leá Norcross, curatorial intern