‘Writer’s Weekend’ staged reading puts local talent front and center 11/4
“Buy Local” isn’t just for produce. It turns out Richmond, VA, is where it’s happening for more than just tattoos and Southern cuisine.
We’ve got some damn fine local theater, too.
And as part of that fine local theater, this week is your chance to catch a staged-reading of the 5th Wall Theatre’s Writer’s Weekend – A new musical. The performance is a collaboration by a group of award-winning actors, and musicians, with locals V. Mark Covington, Rebecca Elizabeth Jones, Paul Robert Bartsch, and Jeanie Rule under the direction of Billy Christopher Maupin.
In Writer’s Weekend, Rule plays Desiree Lamoure, a failed romance novelist who has gone dry (both creatively and spirit-tually) and and is looking for inspiration. She attends a writers workshop weekend where a diverse cast of other struggling writers come together and create a dynamic narrative all their own. Will the weekend be a font for creative talent or will it add another stone to the writers’ collective block? Hook-ups and throw-downs ensue, and a number of musical performances help break up the tension.
Maupin is a two-time Richmond Theatre Critic’s Award (RTCC) nominee, and a 2010 Class of Style Weekly Top 40 Under 40. Recently, he was named “one of the forefront artists in the region” by Richmond Magazine.
Though Maupin isn’t originally local, home is where the heart is, and after 11 years, that heart has a new home here in RVA.
Maupin, who guided the cast in Writer’s Weekend in a rural Virginia bed and breakfast, said he “choose[s] to make art HERE for the richness of the community, the people, and maybe most of all because I feel that my ‘voice’ is heard and respected here.”
And praises have been just as strong for Rule.
Back in October, she won the RTCC’s Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for her performance in Cabaret’s Fraulein Schneider at RTP.
Rule said working with Maupin, who gave “gentle guidance” and “great suggestions for exploration,” has been a unique experience. For Rule, Working on Writer’s Weekend has been a “great treat because of the chance to create a fabulous, over-the-top character from an original script under development.”
Covington’s script started as a play, but then became a musical in collaboration with Bartsch, who has been involved in musical theater since 1964.
“[Covington] has created a hilarious script and Rebecca has created character specific lyrics that allowed me to set the humor to music, using melody, rhythm, and harmony to strengthen . . . each punch line,” said Bartsch.
“No composer could ask for better performers.”
Lyricist Rebecca Elizabeth Jones said she was excited to hear the words and music as interpreted by this unique roster of actors.
Tuesday’s performance will be the second time her words for Writer’s Weekend will be interpreted. She called the first reading held at RTP back in May “a breakthrough moment, and the talent on the stage was the reason why.”
She’s excited to watch the magic of the new roster of “new-to-our show” actors.
The Writer’s Weekend read through happens Tuesday 11/4 at 8PM at the Speakeasy (connected to the Hippodrome)
Julie Harthill Clayton is an out and proud bisexual with a passion for reading, writing . . . and NOT arithmetic. Her work has appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, the Internet Review of Books, Curve Magazine, Lambda Literary and more. She is working on her first novel - Two Tickets to Freedom - a semi-autobiographical queer coming-of-age tale. A paralegal by day, Julie spends her free time knitting, writing, and reading anything she can get her hands on. She lives in Richmond with her partner, local artist David Turner, and their mischievous and loving hunting dog, Max.
Every time Julia Messer opened her mouth to sing, angels took flight.November 6, 2014
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