“I didn’t realize how much I missed theater. To be honest, I was getting a bit blasé about it,” said David Edwards, one of the most respected film and stage actors in the Las Cruces area, who also is a director, writer, and teacher. “But I decided to be in Harvey at Las Cruces Community Theatre (LCCT) and I was surprised how much it energized and lifted me. The process of rehearsing was such fun creatively and personally and feeling that appreciation from the audiences was such a powerful reminder of what the arts can do for us.”
Dave was in the original cast of Mark Medoff’s Tony-winning play Children of a Lesser God during its first production at New Mexico State University in 1979. He has acted on virtually every stage in Las Cruces in the past 50 years, appeared in a wide range of roles, and spent more than a year in Los Angeles pursuing a career as a professional actor.
Las Cruces Community Theatre
Last fall’s production of Harvey marked LCCT’s return to live theater after an 18-month hiatus because of the pandemic. It went off without a hitch, said LCCT Board President Janet Beatty-Payne, another popular actor, singer, and director.
As LCCT moves forward, its 2022 productions will continue to require that all cast, crew, and volunteers be fully vaccinated and masked in the theatre.
“We are also requesting that only fully vaccinated patrons attend the performances, and masks are required at all times by patrons,” Janet said. “Taking every precaution possible is certainly the smartest way for LCCT to proceed during these scary times.”
LCCT’s upcoming shows include Little Miss Sunshine the Musical, which Janet is directing, opening January 28. The Little Dog Laughed, directed by Broadway-trained actor Norman Lewis, opens March 17; An LCCT Musical Review opens April 22, and Three Tall Women opens June 3. All shows have three-week runs.
LCCT tickets are $14 – $17 for adults, $10 for children, and $5 for student rush tickets. Visit lcctnm.org for tickets or more information.
Black Box Theatre
“Our protocols depend on how long the mask mandate is extended,” said Ceil Herman, who opened Black Box Theatre (BBT) with her husband, Peter, more than 20 years ago. BBT is located a couple blocks south of LCCT on Main Street in downtown Las Cruces. “Currently, we are requiring a fully vaccinated and masked audience as well as actors,” Ceil said. BBT has also reduced the number of open seats in the theatre to allow for social distancing, and the stage is at least 10 feet from patrons.
“We feel our protocols keep our audience safe,” she said.
BBT returned to live theater with an outdoor production of Animal Tales in April. During the play, each actor displayed a piece of art created by a local artist that connected to their character in some way.
BBT’s upcoming productions include Radium Girls, opening January 28; Mother Courage, opening March 18; and The Standby Lear, opening May 6.
BBT tickets are $10 – $15. Each production runs three weekends. Visit no-strings.org.
Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre
Across town at the Mark and Stephanie Medoff Theatre, New Mexico State University’s return to live theatre continues with Mojada: A Medea in Los Angeles, which will run February 17 – 27, with tickets priced at $8 – $20; two staged play readings that will be part of NMSU’s March 4 – 5 High Desert Play Development series, with all tickets $5; and two performances, April 29 and 30, of Broadway Onstage!, the annual fundraising gala to benefit theatre students. Tickets are $25. Visit theatre.nmsu.edu.
The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) – El Paso Dinner Theatre
Just down the road in El Paso, UTEP Dinner Theatre is following Texas COVID rules, which do not require that audience members wear masks, said Associate Professor and Dinner Theatre Director Gregory L. Taylor. Taking a COVID test or having the vaccine is a requirement to see shows there, he said, and many audience members do wear masks. The UTEP Dinner Theatre returned to live performances with Broadway in Concert at 50 percent capacity last April and sold out its production of Titanic, The Musical in October, Greg said, adding that live theater is also back at the UTEP Department of Theatre and Dance.
El Paso Dinner Theatre performances in the first half of 2022 will include The Wedding Singer, January 28 – February 13; Something Rotten, April 22 – May 8; and Head Over Heels, July 8 – 24. Tickets are $22.50 – $53.50. Visit utep.edu/liberalarts/udt.
The UTEP Theatre and Dance Department’s season includes Motion Bound: Faculty Dance Concert 2022, February 9 – 13; Clue, March 24 – April 6; Dance Nation, April 21 – 29; and Then Came Tango in May. Tickets are $12 – $18. Visit utep.edu/liberalarts/theatre-dance/index.html.
El Paso Live
And don’t forget El Paso Live, which “features an incredible variety of shows and events,” said Destination Experience Manager Nora Ochoa. Its 2022 season includes Fiddler on the Roof, February 1 – 2; Anastasia, the New Broadway Musical, March 1 – 2; El Paso Opera Presents Freda, March 19; Russian Ballet Theatre Presents Swan Lake, March 27; and the Broadway musical Waitress, May 24 – 25. The first half of 2022 also includes the comedy of David Sedaris, Glen Miller’s greatest hits, and a tribute to the Beatles. Ticket prices vary depending on the show and where you sit in the Plaza Theatre Performing Arts Center. Visit elpasolive.com.
Back in New Mexico, the Flickinger Center for the Performing Arts in Alamogordo has a full slate of live performances in 2022, including State Street Ballet’s original production of The Jungle Book. Tickets are $10 – $45 for the April 12 performance. Visit flickingercenter.com for complete information, including details about Flickinger Center’s Children’s Musical Theatre and other performances and exhibitions.
Fewer than 60 miles northeast of Alamogordo is the Spencer Theatre in Alto. Its upcoming shows include live performances by New Mexico’s own country music star Bri Bagwell and others. The Spencer will offer The Jungle Book, Sunday, March 27, at 2 p.m. Tickets are $39 – $69. Visit spencertheater.com.
If you miss The Jungle Book in Alamogordo or Alto, catch it April 14 at the Fine Arts Center at Western New Mexico University (WNMU) in Silver City. The WNMU President’s Chamber Music Series features the Rahim AlHaj Trio January 18 and Quarteto Nuevo on March 8. Celtic fiddler Eileen Ivers will perform with her band February 24.
Tickets for most WNMU Cultural Affairs events are $15 for adults and those 17 and younger are admitted free with a ticketed adult. A President’s Chamber Music Series pass is $45. The season will also include a two-night event in April to coincide with the university’s Great Race weekend, including evening concerts April 22 – 23.
“Performers are exceptionally eager and excited to return to the stage, and they have been full of energy, putting on terrific shows at Western New Mexico University,” said WNMU Cultural Affairs Program Coordinator Alexandra Tager. “We have noticed lower audience turnouts for indoor events, so we are working to host the community in the university’s outdoor spaces when possible.”
“We are seeing a return, but it is slow and cautious,” Alexandra said. “Live performance brings joy to people’s lives and reminds humans of the richness of our varied society. Even though returning audiences are relatively small, those who do feel comfortable coming back are ecstatic. WNMU Cultural Affairs understands the uncertainty of our times and is committed to supporting the arts and presenting world-class cultural fare while maintaining the health and safety of our community members.”
Written by Mike Cook
Originally published in Neighbors magazine.
Posted by LasCruces.com