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Lizzie Rocked TUTS Underground, Now the World


Editors Note: Lizzie was written by Steven Cheslik-deMayer, Tim Maner and Alan Stevens Hewitt. Here’s an interview between them and our Bill O’Rourke.

Bill: Steven, you recently received a MacDowell fellowship to begin work on a new solo music theater piece. Will this interfere with your continuing work on Lizzie?

Steven: Not at all. The writing on LIZZIE is really done, so now we're working with other artists to bring our vision to the stage, which is demanding but it's not the same as writing. It takes FOREVER to write and develop a show, so to keep momentum going, you need a good start on the next thing as your current project comes to fruition.

Bill: Tim, which roles did you originate in Robert Wilson shows?

Tim: I originated roles in Robert Wilson’s production of Heiner Müller’s Hamletmachine, which won an Obie-award in NYC and then toured Europe (Man Leaning Forward) and his production of Richard Strauss’ Salome at Teatro alla Scala, Milan , Italy (Herod).

Bill: And your own theater. I love it’s name “tiny mythic theater.” How did you come up with that?

Tim: My co-founders and I came up with the name “tiny mythic” drunk in bar in Cambridge , MA , during a summer teaching fellow residency at Harvard.  The name definitely reflected the kind of productions we wanted to do: big ideas and high-end production quality on shoestring budgets that still allowed us to focus on the details.

Alan Stevens Hewitt – You played bass on Broadway for Lysistrata Jones. That was by Douglas Carter Beane, who is better known for Xanadu. Do you have any stories about DCB that you would like to share? Did you learn anything from doing LJ that you feel helped you in making Lizzie?

Alan: DCB was always quick with a quip and impeccably dressed--with a little bit of "zhuzh" (as he would call it) of a pocket square in his jacket.  Lyssie J was a fun show and a great group of folks to work with--the rhythm section were and are dear friends (we met playing the 1st Natl. Tour of Spring Awakening) and we still play and hang together.  I try to learn as much as possible from all of my experiences, and I think everything I do in the theatre informs everything else.  Perhaps not specific to Lyssie J, but in general I do feel that as a performing musician (coming up I will be the bass chair for ROCKY on Broadway), I have a perspective that is very useful when writing and orchestrating, and helpful in communicating with the musicians who are playing my work. 

Bill: The audience for Lizzie should be HUGE! But I know you’ve played some very small audiences.

Alan: I know both Steven and I have experience touring in bands, he in a duo (sometimes trio?) called Y'all, myself in a group called The Low Road.  I recall a couple times on the road when we played to fewer people than were on stage (TLR was a five-piece), but you play your show for the folks who are there, and you play as well and with the same commitment you would were you playing to 1500.  I think what you learn from that is to make sure the work is self-justifying.  

Bill: There have been TV shows and movies about Lizzie, but the only show on Broadway that I know of was quite a while ago. (Note: I’m not sure who answered these next questions. The interview was done by email.)

Alan: Our take on this story is so different from anything that's been done before. If anything, we feel like the fact that there have been lots of other adaptations of the story works in our favor because people are familiar with the story. One of the main reasons we chose this story to make into a musical is because it's sort of an American myth, it's a story people have a connection to even if it's only the jump-rope rhyme.

The show may seem intimate on paper because it's only four characters, but it's actually big. The music is big, the emotions are big. We'd love to see it on Broadway.

Bill: From here to Philadelphia , to Denmark , to Portland . How did you wind up going to Denmark ?

Alan: The folks at Fredericia Theatre in Denmark saw a presentation of LIZZIE at NAMT. (National Alliance for Musical Theater is an organization based in New York that puts on a big festival of new musicals every year and theater producers and presenters from all over the world come to see what's new.) We were really lucky to be included in that festival in 2010.

Bill: Who came up with the excellent idea to tell the whole story through only four on-stage performers?

Alan: Tim and Steven had the idea from the beginning that the conceit of the show would be 4 women singers in front of a rock band. We saw the Lizzie Borden story as essentially about 4 women in a house. There are men in the story, historically speaking, but they're not essential from our point of view.

Bill: Have you played Houston before? Do you have any other links to our area? How do you like it? If you’ve had time to look around, what’s your favorite thing about our city?

Steven: Years ago when we toured with a musical act, I spent time in Houston and all over Texas .

Alan: For me, traveling is always about the people you meet.  And the people of Houston have been absolutely lovely.  I am so grateful for the warm embrace and hope to be back before too long.

Tim: This was my first time in Houston , and it was a wonderful experience. The people have definitely been the standout (both the incredible staff at TUTS Underground and the audiences we got to meet).


More of Bill O'Rourke's theatre reviews and stories can be found HERE.

Q [the salon] Takes Houston to Morocco

Almost 200 of Houston’s movers and shakers were transported to Morocco on Wednesday September 25, 2013 thanks to Joel Quinones and Brad Brandt of Q [the salon]. Beautiful, colorful silks and Moroccan lanterns were draped from the trees, Indian carpets were laid out, hookahs and incense were lit and bubbles were flowing when guests showed up as the sun was setting.

Guests were treated to celebratory champagne, brilliant Moroccan inspired food thanks to Melange Catering, gorgeous belly dancers and tours of the new salon. 

The light and airy new space on W. Alabama across from The Menil Collection is perched in the tree tops with huge windows letting in loads of natural light. Decorated by Mr. Quinones and Mr. Brandt you will see bright, happy orange and gold Jonathan Adler wallpaper and accessories, modern ceramics and inspirational and joyful paintings by local artist Ryan Geiger.

Being personally endorsed by Anna Wintour herself, Quinones and Brandt have proven they created Houston's dream beauty team bringing together Tony Sanchez, a cut educator at his former salon and James Phillips, also an educator at his former salon, this team can't miss. Make your appointment today, not only will you look better than you have in years but you just never know who you might run into!

Shadow Hawk Goes Pink...Rose Pink

The greens at the exclusive Shadow Hawk Golf Club in Richmond, Texas, will go pink on October 28th as one of Houston’s top ten private courses welcomes The Rose Golf Classic. Organizers hope the fundraiser – fueled by 20 teams of five – will help the nonprofit breast health organization secure the needed monies to add a fourth van to its growing fleet of mobile mammography vans.

“The Rose now covers 25 counties and last year provided mobile screenings for more than 7,300 women,” said Dorothy Gibbons, CEO and Co-Founder of The Rose. “The generosity of The Rose Golf Classic sponsors and underwriters as well as each individual team member is so appreciated by our board, staff, and most importantly, the women we serve. Access to care is critical and our mobile vans make that access possible.”

Among the highlights of the day are a mini clinic with Paul Marchand, the club’s General Manager and Head Golf Professional.  As one of the country's top professional golf coaches, Paul’s techniques are often found in golf books and magazines. Local celebrity athletes such as Doug Dawson, Roger Clemens, and Dan Pastorini will be playing with each team.

After lunch served on the driving range, a shotgun start will initiate Shamble format play on the Rees Jones designed course.  An awards dinner will conclude the day’s festivities.

Jeanne Gillen, a member of the board of The Rose and a club member at Shadow Hawk, serves as co-chair of the event along with friend and fellow Shadow Hawk club member Ysa McKinney. 

“The experience of playing on such a memorable course alongside golfers of equal passion is a not-to-be missed opportunity,” said Gillen. “And it’s a fitting location for raising funds for a premiere nonprofit breast health organization like The Rose.”

“We are particularly pleased to be focusing on the Mobile Mammography Program,” added McKinney. “When half of all our Texas counties do not have access to a mammogram facility, women often delay scheduling mammograms until they detect a problem. Often that’s too late. The Rose’s mobile presence can literally save lives due to early detection.”


Limited spots for teams remain for the tournament. Please email Andrea Ghotekar at aghotekar@the-rose.org for more information or to register.

The Rose is a nonprofit breast health care organization with two centers and a mobile fleet, serving nearly 35,000 women annually. The Rose Galleria is located at 5420 West Loop South, Suite 3300. The Rose Southeast is at 12700 N. Featherwood. For more information on the mobile program visit www.TheRose.org.


Houston's Dancing with the Stars!!

Some of the Houston area’s local celebrities will be out in full force dancing in competition to support Halo House. Janet Randolph, newly crowned Mrs. United States, will present the evening’s awards.

Halo House Foundation is hosting its third annual “Houston Stars: Dancing for a Cause” gala on Saturday, October 12, 2013 at 6:15 p.m. at Bayou City Event Center. This year’s gala will feature dance performances from CBS Channel 11’s Katherine Whaley; The Amazing Race season seven winner, Uchenna Agu; The Honorable Marty McVey of McVey & Associates; Galveston Chamber of Commerce President, Gina Spagnola; Restaurant Owner Ray Salti and entrepreneur Hossein Zolfaghari.

The gala will be hosted by ABC 13’s Sonia Azad and Don Nelson. Previous winner of the dance competition, CBS Channel 11’s Meteorologist Chita Johnson will attend the gala and serve as a judge for the dance competition, along with J.J. Smith, Olga Johnson, and Dale Tyzkowski.

Proceeds will be used to provide temporary housing for blood cancer patients and caregivers receiving treatment at the Texas Medical Center. Founded in 2009, Halo House Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) public charity.  Halo House has provided over 5,000 days of housing to patients from 18 states and 3 countries.

Tickets are going fast! To reserve your tickets today, vote for your favorite dancer, or for more information on Halo House Foundation visit www.HaloHouseFoundation.org or call 713-665-8852.

Metallica Dominates Houston

Picturehouse announced today that Metallica’s James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo will make in-theater appearances in celebration of the opening weekend of Metallica Through the Never at select IMAX® theatres around the country September 26th - 28th

Metallica Through the Never recently premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival and stars Metallica, one of the most popular, influential rock bands in history, and critically acclaimed actor, Dane DeHaan. Metallica Through the Never is a music-driven, 3D motion picture event directed by Nimród Antal and co-written by Antal with Metallica’s James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett, and Robert Trujillo.

Filmmaker Nimród Antal immerses audiences in a bracing, raw and visceral cinematic experience with spectacular live performance footage of Metallica’s most iconic songs -- created exclusively for the film -- combined with a bold, narrative story featuring imagery drawn from the band’s trailblazing iconography. Dane DeHaan (The Place Beyond the Pines) portrays Trip, a young roadie sent on an urgent mission, during Metallica’s roaring live set in front of a sold-out arena.  The film features dazzling pyrotechnics, the most elaborate live-performance stage ever built and state-of-the-art 3-D photography, captured using up to 24 cameras simultaneously.

Metallica Through the Never opens exclusively at select IMAX® theatres nationwide on September 27th and will expand into additional theatres and cities on Oct. 4th.

Thursday, September 26

James Hetfield: 

San Francisco, CA: Theater TBD, 10:00 p.m.

San Francisco, CA: AMC EMERYVILLE, 12:15 a.m. (9/27)


Lars Ulrich:

Los Angeles, CA: CHINESE, 10 p.m. screening

Los Angeles, CA: Theater TBD 12:01 a.m. (9/27)


Kirk Hammett:

Milwaukee, WI: AMC MAYFAIR (Wauwatosa), 10:00 p.m.

Chicago, IL: AMC WOODFIELD (Schaumburg), 12:15 a.m. (9/27)


Robert Trujillo:

New Brunswick: AMC NEW BRUNSWICK 18, 10:00 p.m.

Philadelphia: AMC FRANKLIN MILLS, 12:01 a.m. (9/27)

Friday, September 27

Kirk Hammett:

Houston, TX:  AMC GULF POINT, 4:40 p.m.

Dallas, TX:     AMC NORTHPARK, 10:00 p.m.


Lars Ulrich:

Riverside, CA: AMC TYLER GALLERIA, 4:30 p.m.

Norwalk, CA:  AMC NORWALK, 7:35 p.m.


Robert Trujillo:

Washington, DC: REGAL MAJESTIC 20 (Silver Springs), 7:30 p.m.

Boston, MA:  AMC BOSTON COMMONS 19, 12:10 a.m. (9/28)


About Metallica

Formed in 1981 by drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist and vocalist James Hetfield, Metallica have become one of the most influential and commercially successful rock bands in history, having sold 110 million albums worldwide and playing to millions of fans the world over. They have scored several multi-platinum albums, including 1991’s Metallica (commonly referred to as “The Black Album”), which is the best-selling album in history of Soundscan scanning 16 million albums in the United States alone.  Their latest album, Death Magnetic, was certified platinum just six weeks after it debuted atop the Billboard Top 200 Album chart in October 2008. Death Magnetic charted at #1 in 32 countries. Metallica have also garnered numerous awards and accolades, including nine Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, and multiple MTV Video Music Awards, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in 2009.  The band recently celebrated its 30th-Anniversary with a week’s worth of fan club concerts at the Fillmore Theater in San Francisco, CA.


About Picturehouse

Picturehouse, a New York-based independent film marketing and distribution company, re-opened its doors with founder Bob Berney at the helm in 2013. The company has an exclusive, multi-year output deal with Netflix and its first theatrical release will be Metallica Through the Never, which opens in the U.S. on September 27, 2013. Picturehouse has also acquired U.S. rights to release The Great Gilly Hopkins, currently in pre-production. An adaptation of Katherine Paterson's award-winning young-adult novel, The Great Gilly Hopkins, starring Academy Award ® winner Kathy Bates and Danny Glover, is to be directed by Stephen Herek (101 Dalmatians, Mr. Holland's Opus) from the script by David Paterson (Bridge to Terabithia), and is produced by William Teitler (The Polar Express, What Maisie Knew, Mr. Holland's Opus).