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Charlotte take notice that Saturday, June 11th, Charlotte is going to be treated to an amazing show at The Stage Door Theater here in Charlotte, North Carolina. It's called The Recital of the Lotus and is presented by THE SECRET POETS SOCIETY. It's the only show this weekend where you get belly dancers, acoustic and folk singers, and poets all in the same show. It is a multi-cultural bonanza that celebrates the beautiful diversity of our humble Queen City.

You will see the region's best and brightest emerging artists display their incredible talent. Whether it is the acoustic band The Pedantics, drummer RICH BOI, and much more there will be without doubt something for everyone. Who knows you might see the rise of the next Maya Angelou or Robert Frost.

"A 1962 play by Edward Albee. It examines the breakdown of the marriage of a middle-aged couple, Martha and George. Late one evening, after a university faculty party, they receive an unwitting younger couple, Nick and Honey, as guests, and draw them into their bitter and frustrated relationship. "

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
April 13th thru May 1st 
Wednesday thru Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 2:00 pm
North Carolina Stage Company
15 Stage Lane
Asheville, North Carolina

Arsenic and Old Lace.jpg

Tonight, and continuing through April 24th, Cape Fear Regional Theatre presents Arsenic and Old Lace.  

"Mortimer Brewster, is a drama critic who must deal with his crazy, homicidal family and local police in Brooklyn, NY, as he debates whether to go through with his recent promise to marry the woman he loves."

Arsenic and Old Lace
April 7th - April 24th
Cape Fear Regional Theatre
1209 Hay Street
Fayetteville, North Carolina


Poe Anonymous: AKA LaShawn Woolridge

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LaShawn Woolridge 2.jpg
LaShawn Woolridge, who performs under the name "Poe Anonymous", is a writer, actor, songstress, and poet who has just graduated from Winthrop University. While there, in addition to her work in theatre, she founded the organization Winthrop Def Poets Society.

Def Poets Society, a community for students that are passionate about the spoken word, held a college tour this year called Souls n Substance with events at the University of South Carolina and Clemson University, as well as Winthrop University.

Poe Anonymous will be performing as the featured artist in the Charlotte, North Carolina area over the next few weeks at these locations:

Voice classification in non-classical music

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cocktails and music to celebrate the upcoming 2015-2016 Opera Season. 

Opera Carolina - Prelude to the Season Party
October 15th, 9:00 pm
900 NC Music Factory Boulevard
Charlotte, North Carolina

More information about this and other Winthrop University theatre events here:

Jane Eyere is an adaption by Polly Teale from the novel by Charlotte Bronte. Directed by David Wohl.

Darren Conrad 1.jpg
North Lees Hall. and out buildings. Otherwise known as Thornfield Hall from the novel `Jane Eyre` by Charlotte Bronte (Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Jane Eyere
Winthrop University
October 7th thru 10th, 8:00 pm
October 11tth 2:00 pm
Johnson Theatre
115 Johnson Hall
Rock Hill, South Carolina

More information about this and other Winthrop University theatre events here:
Winthrop College of Visual and Performing Arts


English: Example of a piano staff. Español: Ej...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you ever wanted to record or use a song but didn't know who to contact for the rights to distribute your copy on CD, stream it, or use it in a film? Not an easy  thing to do.

The first step it to check with a mechanical licensing agency such as the Harry Fox Agency. A mechanical license is what you will need to distribute a copy of your song on a CD or stream.  A syncronization license will be needed for TV or film.  You may also need additional rights from the publisher.

English: Fats Waller, three-quarter length por...

Fats Waller (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I've seen a couple of Broadway musicals in my time and more than a few musicals  and plays on stages large and small here in the south.  There's nothing I enjoy more than a small intimate theatre with a local production.  Why?  I guess it's recognizing the talent we have in our own midst. Another reason is I sometimes know the performers and am blown away by seeing them transform themselves into someone so different from their normal selves that I start to forget what they're like in real life.  That takes a lot of work I'm sure, and when it happens it's both beautiful and inspiring.

The other thing I like about small theatres is that I can see, hear, smell, and  sometimes even taste (smoke bombs for instance) what is happening on the stage.  All the while with my attention focused on that actor or interaction I'm most  interested in.  No camera leading me back and forth.  I'm in control of the viewpoint.

One such musical that I saw locally which really impressed me is Ain't Misbehavin'.  It's a story, almost 99% musical, about Fats Waller, a Tin Pan Alley songwriter and piano player that was popular in the 20's and 30's.
Aislin answers my questions as we talk about her acting and performing career both deliberately and thoughtfully. Better than you might expect from someone who is barely a teenager. You can tell she wants to get it right. Her poise is no surprise though as she has been active as a performer since she was 3 years old. That builds character.

The daughter of nature loving and artistic parents, her mother worked at a performing arts school for a time and her father is an art gallery owner in Asheville, North Carolina.  She grew up surrounded by talent and enlightened minds. Not to mention the support she has received from her parents and mentors along the way.  That can make a big difference in the formative years.

 You can tell a lot about a person by the people they regard as role models. For Aislin it is Emma Watson for being a down to earth actor that uses her celebrity to bring attention to the causes she favors and Malala Yousafzai for her bravery in standing up for the right to go to school and get an education in a country where young girls are discouraged from doing so. A refreshing outlook for someone to aspire to.

Photo Credit: Amanda Guy Studio
With the ability to sing, dance, and act Aislin's talents transfer easily to the movie screen where the key to a believable performance is to act but not overact. Here is what her director on several films, Kira Bursky of All Around Artsy, had to say about her.

Wait Until Dark Opens Tonight - Cary Players

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Wait Until Dark

Wait Until Dark (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cary Players Presents the Suspense-thriller Wait Until Dark
September 26-28 & October 3-5 at the Cary Arts Center 101 Dry Avenue in Downtown Cary
Audiences will be on the edge of their seats as Cary Players Community Theatre opens its 13th season with Frederick Knott's spine-tingling drama, Wait Until Dark. Mr. Knott's, whose works include the classic, Dial M for Murder, has crafted a terrifying tale of cat and mouse that builds to a chilling conclusion.
Wait Until Dark first appeared on Broadway in 1966 starring Lee Remick in the leading role of Susy Hendrix, a blind New York City housewife who is threatened by three evil con-men in search of drugs they believe were inadvertently hidden in her apartment. Movie audiences may recall Audrey Hepburn in the film version of the story.  Cary Players is delighted to have Kirsten Ehlert, an award-winning triangle actress, in the role the vulnerable, yet resourceful Susy. Veteran performer Larry Evans takes on the role of Roat, a relentless villain and leader of the gang who meet their match with the quick-thinking Susy.


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English: A Magnolia tree blossom. Français : F...

(Photo credit: James F. via Wikipedia)

The ladies of a southern town argue about a magnolia tree in the beginning of the play. Are they themselves as soft as a magnolia bloom or hard as steel?  

I think  it's a little of both and that's what the cast and director of Steel Magnolias hope you see too.

Directed by Timothy Locklear for the North Raleigh Arts & Creative Theatre it is a story of six very different women who often gather at the beauty shop and discuss the ups and downs they encounter in their daily lives.

Featuring Lori Ingle Taylor, Dee Penven-Crew, Robin Vaught Parrish, Mary Beth Hollman, Christine Rogers, and Lauren Knott in an ensemble cast.

Don't miss the chance to see this play if your haven't already and enjoy our conversation below with the director and cast where we learn more about the play and their roles.

English: Image:Villianc.svg (Vector version of...

Image credit: Wikipedia)

Villians have always played an important part in our stories as they are often intriguing, have great development, and create tension in the narrative.  Where would we be without someone to root against?  

Sometimes though, they have just enough redeeming qualities that we might like them, or even be rooting for them.  Even those we know of in real life.  Why is that?

Watch their conversation below.

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Michel de Montaigne wrote of his condition tha...

Michel de Montaigne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What inspired Shakespeare? Did he have a muse in the form of the writings of Montaigne?  Stephen Greenblatt thinks so and that is the subject of his interview with Charlie Rose where they discuss his book Shakespeare's Montaigne. A book about William Shakespeare and his reading of Montaigne.

Michel de Montaigne was a French nobleman that Shakespeare never met, although they lived during the same times. There is some evidence that he read Montaigne's essays and drew  influence for some of the characters in his plays after what he read.  

Born in France at Château de Montaigne in the year 1533 Montaigne was sent to live with a peasant family until he was three years old in order for him to understand what that life is like.  After returning to his parents his tutor, servants, and anyone else that talked to him were instructed to only speak with him in Latin. In this way Latin became his first language

Château de Montaigne, Montaigne's family home

Château de Montaigne, Montaigne's family home (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By thirteen years of age he had graduated from Collège de Guyenne and began to study law. Nearing his forties, with a career in law and as a statesman behind him, he retired. That's when he began to write his essays. Setting himself up in a room of a tower in the family's chateau (which is reminiscent of the Biltmore Estate here in the Carolinas) he began to write. He wrote deeply personal and transparent accounts of himself, the people he knew, and the human condition.

Is this what inspired Shakespeare?  Listen to the conversation below and see what you think.
Samantha Mills by Erik Danielson
Samantha Mills  Photo Credit: Erik Danielson

Samantha Mills recently moved from North Carolina to Los Angeles.  In North Carolina she had built up a reputation as a model and actor working mostly in the southeast.  The move to L.A. was a career move but not for the reason you might think.  It was a better opportunity for her day job.  She explained that she would kind of be starting over in Los Angeles with her acting and modeling.  I'm sure she will find lot's of opportunity there.

As a model, Samantha's good looks and svelte frame have helped her get jobs such as photo layouts in magazines, advertisements for companies such as Belk and Pepsi, and placements to sell everything from jewelry and shoes to cars and insurance.  In modeling, and to some extent in acting, she considers herself a salesperson.  Whether it is selling the product, the concept, or the character she says that's what she's there to do.  After thinking about it for a while I understood what she meant.  She sold me.

Coming up Samantha will be starring in a film called Honeyspider written by Kenny Caperton and directed by Josh Hasty.  It is a cool thriller movie that is currently in post-production and is due for release later this year.
Samantha Mills - Cover Fort Mill Magazine
Samantha Mills Cover
Image Courtesy: Fort Mill Magazine

Samantha Mills in Honeyspider
Samantha Mills in Honeyspider  Photo Courtesy:

John Cullum & William Sadler.jpgWriters are often told to write what you know.  Miles Doleac takes it a couple of steps further.  He writes, directs, and acts what he knows in The Historian.

Miles is an assistant professor at the University of Southern Mississippi. His specialty is in the Classics Department. I recently had a conversation with Miles and Tamarah Murley about the movie and here is what I found.  The story was influenced by his witnessing of the dumbing down of education because of administrative constraints and the Common Core Standards Initiative  that has been in the news so much lately.

This is his directorial debut but being an accomplished theatre and film actor he knew what he was getting into.  He had help with his long time friend and theatre director Mackenzie Westmoreland who helped him produce the movie but also had never worked in film before.  

"This script is a gift to actors."- Glynnis O'Connor, on The Historian

To make the movie the best it could be he brought on board some of the finest actors he could get. 
Casting William Sadler as the university history department head Valerian Hadley,  along with Tamarah Murley as his secretary Jill who wants to keep the office running smoothly and without turmoil.  John Cullum plays Valerian's aging father in the movie.  You may remember John from the TV series Northern Exposure.  A theatre veteran as well as film, he has won 2 Tony Awards for his acting performances.

In this movie Miles plays history professor Ben Rhodes, who has just moved to a  university where he doesn't exactly get along with his boss, Valerian Hadley, the head of the department.  Valerian does not make it easy for Ben, though I think he see's something of himself in the young professor.  They are also at odds over Anna (Jillian Taylor), who is one of Valerian's favorite grad students and a love interest of Ben.

Colin Cunningham & Glynnis O'Connor.jpg
Also appearing is an actor I've admired for many years ever since I saw her in a TV production of the play Our Town is Glynnis O'Connor.  I'm glad to find her in this movie.   As Dean Jan Messer she must weigh the arguments of all involved. To do what's best for the school in spite of Ben's conflict with Valerian, and his ideas about teaching and how the school should be run.

As I mentioned earlier Miles is an actor in the theatre.  He just finished a very successful run of Les Misérables at the Saenger Theatre in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  The musical got held over an extra day for an encore performance.  That's what you like to hear.

This movie has everything you might expect to encounter in a college setting: drama, relationships, happy, sad, and funny.  Sure to be a hit you'll not want to miss.

Miles Doleac as Ben Rhodes .JPG
Check out the trailer below and read the conversation with Miles and Tamarah.

Sometimes a person is compelled to do what is instinctive to them.  That is the case with Lilly Nelson.  She has been acting as far back as she can remember as a little girl, kindergarten or even before.  Even as a kid she was making up plays and doing little films with her friends and family.  Apparently her father, who is an art director, helped influence her  creativity.

At home on both stage and screen, it doesn't matter as long as she's acting.  No prima donna she likes to be involved whether it's in front of the camera or behind the scenes.  She will help with a production any way she can.  One specialty she has is helping actors with different dialects as well as teaching acting.

Lilly Nelson - Tracy Page/Babycakes Studios
Lillly Nelson  Photo credit: Tracy Page/Babycakes Studios

"Lilly has breathed life into Betty and given her more depth than we even imagined. She is a true artist."  - Christine Parker Director of Fix It In Post

Currently she is starring in Closer Patrick Marber that she has been wanting to do for many years.   Lilly is producing the play along with the Burning Coal Theatre Company.  Directed by Paul Sapp it stars Lilly along with  Miles Dwight Snow, Laurel Ullman, and Brian Fisher  It will be playing through this weekend in Raleigh, North Carolina.  

Lilly recently finished a part in the film Fix It In Post which is a campy, over the top story about what a film crew does to survive after an electromagnetic pulse knocks out the power around the world.  She plays Betty the slate girl who has eyes for the director.  A movie about people making a movie, trying to use their filmmaking skills to survive a disaster.

Not afraid to get her hands dirty she relishes playing the villain and taking parts that others might not want to consider such as the lonely woman in Kami that has lost her lover.

Lilly has several other things coming up including a part as Lieutenant Victoria Xen in  Sciencstars, a TV series for kids about science.  In Deadroom she is a German mercenary/assassin named Helga, adding to her list of villainous and antagonistic roles.  She plays a drugged out mother  In 12 Dog Days of Christmas that is about a troubled teen boy that learns a lesson about the spirit of Christmas.

A Carolina girl, she works most frequently in area between Charlotte and Raleigh, and prefers to live in North Carolina  because it is home, but is ready to go anywhere she is called to for a new production.

See Lilly in the short film Kami below by William K. Gerard and read the conversation we had about her acting career.

English: Claudia McNeil in A Raisin in the Sun...

Claudia McNeil in A Raisin in the Sun - trailer (cropped screenshot) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A Raisin in the Sun is one of the great American plays and was written by Lorraine Hansberry  when she was in her late 20s. 

Comprised of an ensemble cast where every actor contributes significantly to outcome of the performance. All of the main characters are well developed and each has a story to tell from their own perspective. It is amazing how Lorraine had the experience, much less the wisdom, to craft such an inspiring story of the human condition at such a young age.  Sadly she died in 1965 at the age of 34.

If you've never seen this play I urge you to try to whether it be at a community theatre, college, or even on film.  There are frequent productions of it running in every part of the  country.  It is currently playing on Broadway in a new revival at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre where it was first performed in 1959.  

This  production stars Denzel Washington, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Anika Noni Rose, and Sophie Okenedo.  In their conversation with Charlie Rose below they discuss what it's like to perform the play and what each character means to them.

English: Kevin Spacey at the San Diego Comic-C...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NOW is a documentary that gives a behind the scenes of a touring theatrical play.  From putting the play together to the performance it shows what is going on behind the curtain.

Below is an interesting coversation that Charlie Rose had with Kevin about the documentary.