Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Bloginator has left the building

It's been grand.

After 12 amazing years as Theatre VCU's Creative Director (a very grand title we made up) Glynn Brannan is sailing dramatically and stoically into retirement via Disability. A little Macular Degeneration, and just the tiniest smattering of Freakin' Heart Failure (insert tubercular cough & dramatic languishing photo here) and it was time to go.

I have had the most marvelous time at Theatre VCU.

I've worked with people who I adore
(and a few who absolutely came inches from death by exacto filleting.)

I love my kids, and am heartbroken not to be teaching this year.
I will miss this

Teaching you was the best.

and this.

I will miss the work.

But I'm going to spend all my time doing this:

Thank you to my wonderful friends - too many to name.

Please stay in touch with me
There's Facebook... or email me at

It's been a helluva ride kids. I will miss you more than you know.

And remember: 
Grow things,
Try not to be a Dick.

(I now release the blog to the capable folks at Theatre VCU)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

By the Bi embraced by the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival

By the Bi was nominated for two awards for the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival (Caroline Downs and Morgan Barbour for Best New Writing, Jake Ehrlich for Best Male Performance) and WON the Doric Wilson Award for Inter-Cultural Dialogue

Considering how difficult it is to even get accepted by the festival, getting two nominations and one win was a huge honor.

By the Bi is also currently on the cover of Bi Community News, a magazine covering bisexual topics over in the UK! 

Things are looking positive for the future!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Theatre VCU plays Richmond! Last weekend for one, first for the other!

Theatre VCU students, alumni and former faculty are all over Richmond!

Some examples:
 This will be the last weekend to see Annie Baker's
The Aliens at the Firehouse Theatre

Directed by retired Theatre VCU professor Gary Hopper and featuring two current Theatre VCU students - Maxwell Moore and Denver Crawford and one Theatre VCU alumni Ben Hill.

Other Theatre VCU folks involved in the production:
Phil Hayes – Scenic Design (alumnus)
Liz Hopper – Costume Design (Head of Costume Design, retired)
Erica Hughes – Vocal Coach (MFA student, May 2015 graduate)

Here's a description of the plot:

A pair of thirty-something dropouts hang out by the dumpster behind a coffee shop and meditate on music, philosophy, ‘shrooms, and Charles Bukowski. When a teenage employee tells them to relocate, they decide to teach him everything they know. Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Annie Baker creates a  humorous and theatrically poetic story of friendship and rituals.

“…director Gary Hopper – realizing how carefully Baker builds a schematic of trust and familiarity among her characters through banal, tentative wordplay – leaves the pacing and rhythm of The Aliens loose, jangly and full of open space.”
Ben Hill brings jarring intensity to the role of Jasper…As KJ, Maxwell Moore carefully distracts us from his character’s lurking genius…And Denver Crawford, as the repressed, rule-bound Evan, needs only to flick his eyes to communicate how those who unexpectedly come into our lives might have the power to transform us.”
—Richmond Times-Dispatch

GO HERE for more info About The Aliens

Opening this weekend at Richmond Triangle Players
YANK! The WWII Musical
Book and Lyrics by David Zellnick; Music by Joseph Zellnick
May 13 – June 13, 2015
YANK! is a love song to Hollywood’s “it takes one of every kind” platoon flicks and to 1940s Broadway.   Suffused with songs reminiscent of the era – from swing to big band to boogie-woogie – YANK! concerns what stories get told in wartime, and how WWII became the great catalyst in bringing gay men and women together.  “… a bright and enjoyable score that pays homage to the Rodgers & Hammerstein sound …  YANK! is a bright, original and moving winner of a musical that earns its exclamation point!” – Variety.

These are the Theatre VCU students & alumni involved:
Directed by James Stover (MFA student, graduated May 2015)

Choreographed by Rebecca Frost Mayer (current MFA student)

Stage Managed by Brennan Jones (current undergrad) - He is also Assistant Director and playing the part of "Speedy" (which is just fun to say)

Set Designer - Grenville Burgess (current MFA student)

Alex Burkart - Artie Goldberg (current MFA student)
Drew Colleti - Stu (current BFA student)
Patrick Bello - the Professor (current BFA student)
Matt Riley - Cohen (current BFA student)

Keith Fitzgerald - the Sargent (MFA alumni)
Joe Winters - ensemble (BFA alumnus)

And of course our very own Noreen Barnes (Director, Graduate Studies) is the RTP Artistic Director

Looks like the perfect weekend to go out and support some great Theatre VCU talent!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Things you should know about our Theatre VCU graduating undergrads

• 26 theatre undergrads graduating with Latin Honors -
1 Summa cum laude
 6 Magna cum laude 
8 Cum Laude 
• 4 theatre undergrads graduating in 3.5 years 

Janelle Cottman
(graduated May 2015)
Kate Celeste
(graduated Dec. 2014)

• 1 theatre undergrad graduating with a dual degree (Kate Celeste)

 • 1 theatre undergrad graduating with a dual concentration (Janelle Cottman)

Congratulations to our seniors!

Two BLOGS in ONE DAY?! Yes - because you shouldn't have to wait to hear about By the Bi taking Dublin!!

Shaun McCracken just forwarded the email below from Caroline Downs 
(just recently returned from a triumphant presentation of the original theatre piece By the Bi).

By the Bi - ROCKED Dublin!!

“Hello Shaun!

Our week of showing in Dublin was a huge success! It was known to us before arriving at the festival that we would be somewhat the underdogs of the week, as we not only had the youngest cast, but were the youngest company, the only all female run company, and the only show about bisexuality to be shown at the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival EVER in the history of it’s 12 year run. However, this began to work to our advantage. As people were very curious, some even viewing us as a “novelty”, we stirred up a lot of talk surrounding the show, and our reputation began to precede us at the nightly festival gatherings. We opened to wonderful reviews, some of which I have attached. To quote the end of our first review by a festival critic, “There is an integrity in this pleasing production that deserves audiences of all ages and persuasions. Is the B silent in LGBT? It no longer is in “By the Bi”. Worth seeing.” 

All of the very best,
Caroline Downs
Blazing Change Players

First festival review! 

FESTIVAL REVIEW: “By The Bi” Teachers Club Main Hall until Saturday May 9th. Just as lesbian, gay and Trans people are on the cusp of getting equal rights, the Bisexuals roar onto the stage in “By the Bi” from USA’s “Blazing Change Players”. In a strong performance piece combining storytelling, dance, monologue and live music with a great soundtrack, this talented young ensemble bring a voice to the often confused and cast aside bisexual community. There are many finely narrated scenarios about the girl who loves a girl and a boy, and the boy who loves a boy and a girl, religious views well articulated and the confusion caused by lack of recognition and rejection of the binary system of human attraction and love. The ensemble of seven, four girls and three boys are multi-talented. They perform with passion and conviction in an imaginative piece created by Caroline Downs and Morgan Barbour. There are no individual cast credits or programme but suffice to say this is a well balanced team, with fine performance skills that connect and impress throughout. Homophobia, rape, suicide, first love, school and church stereotypes are all present in a spirited definition of the duality of sexuality. Bisexuals live as a ghost in the LGBT community. In this they have a clear voice that resonates and entertains. Diction was clear and the energetic physical movement ranged from graceful to acrobatic. The dancers centre of gravity will grow with performance experience and the abrupt endings of some scenarios will also smooth over. The unpacking of biblical condemnation should be heard by all on the NO side of current debate. There is an integrity in this pleasing production that deserves audiences of all ages and persuasions. Is the B silent in LGBT? It no longer is in “By the Bi”. Worth seeing. AO’B

Go HERE for another wonderful review found in the Unforgettable Lines blog.

With Katie Marlene Crescenzo, Dante Piro, Jake Ehrlich, Gabby Rojtman, Caroline Downs, 
Ann O Donnell, Natalie Morales and Dion Torres in Dublin, Ireland. 

Congratulations to everyone involved in the production of 
By the Bi!

Please go HERE if you are interested in auditioning for the European tour of By the Bi

A graduation snapshot

Alexiandria Gogolin
Don't they look GREAT!

The Costume Design/Tech Mafia : Anastazia Whittle, Emily Atkins,
Cierra Coan, Giselle Carillo, Sophia Shaw

Becky Granger & Dixon Cashwell
Raven Wilkes & her gorgeous family

Jorge Bermudez & Aaron Mauck
Julia Tibor
Mahlon Raoufi

Emily Atkins & Heather Falks

The MFA gang: James Stover, Heather Falks, Drew Richardson, Jorge Bermudez, Tara Weintraub,
Brad Wilcuts, Erica Hughes, Hannah Hammond, Emily Atkins, Jessica Dotson

Drew and his clowns: Max Ehrlich, Elliot Duffy, Daniel Braunstein, Raven Wilkes, Drew Richardson,
Elizabeth Kovacich, Madeline Lovegrove, Dixon Cashwell, Becky Granger

The adorable and fabulous Jorge

Madeline & grandfather

Erica & the ghost light
Caroline Downs, Jess Rawls & Becky again

Same great group (see above)

Chris Foote looking dubious
Kat Lea
Dr. T & Heather Falks