There is nothing more swoon worthy than four handsome guys with beautiful four-part harmony serenading only to you. Ok, maybe they weren’t singing solely to me, but they all have a way of connecting to their audience that makes you feel like you are the only person in the room. This is the experience you will get, especially if you are in the VIP section, at The Pocket Community Theatre, 170 Ravine St, in Hot Springs, where their crooning angels will entertain you in their musical jukebox comedy FOREVER PLAID, now through Sunday, August 13. Get your tickets at pockettheatre.com before they sell out!
Based in the 1930s, THE GLASS MENAGERIE premiered in 1944 and turned Williams into a famous playwright. The story, taken from the memory of the Narrator (Kevin Day), is set in an apartment in St. Louis where The Wingfields – Amanda (Stacy Breshears), Tom (Levi Wilson) and Laura (Alitza Cabibi-Wilkin) – play out their melancholy lives. The mother Amanda had been abandoned by her children’s father and pines for the days when she was young and had plenty of gentlemen callers. Tom works at a shoe factory but wishes to be a writer. Laura has a limp from having pleurosis and has let that socially handicap her to where she likes to retreat to her glass collection that her mom calls THE GLASS MENAGERIE.
The performers at The Pocket Community Theatre, 170 Ravine St, in Hot Springs, kept the laughs coming all night long Saturday, April 15, with THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG. This play within a play began as you entered the theatre and didn’t end until the last piece of the set fell down. We laughed so hard we had tears. Trust me-you don’t want to miss this show! They have one more weekend for this performance, Friday the 21st, through Sunday the 23rd, and I advise you to get your tickets online before they sell out.
Review: TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE at The Pocket Community Theatre I really tried to prepare myself before I went to see TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE at the Pocket Community Theatre, 170 Ravine St, in Hot Springs Friday, Feb. 10. I said ‘I’m not going to cry….I’m not going to cry,’ and dang it! They got me! This touching two-person play was something special. It pulls at your heartstrings, and we left a better person because of it.
Tucked away on a hill in the fabulous town of Hot Springs, sits this charming, active theatre that has the best collective, comedic timing that I have ever seen. Currently, the Pocket Community Theatre, 170 Ravine Street, in Hot Springs, has a fantastic group of six women performing STEEL MAGNOLIAS through April 10. Tickets can be purchased at www.pockettheatre.com or at the door, but I encourage you to get them soon, because when word of mouth gets around about how funny and touching this production is, I don’t want you to be turned away.
STEEL MAGNOLIAS, written by Robert Harling and directed by Ann Wilson, is based on six women and how they deal with tragedy through humor and friendship, and set in a hair salon in Northwest Louisiana. Shelby (Lilie Lim) has type 1 diabetes and has complications after having a baby; M’Lynn (Christi Goode Day) is her mother that wants what is best for her daughter; Truvy (Melony Martinez) is the hair salon owner; Annelle (Brittany Cranton) is the new-in-town beautician; Clairee (Barbara Morgan) is the wife of the deceased mayor; and Ouiser (Linda Rickel) is the town grump. On Saturdays they get together at the salon to get their hair fixed and talk about their lives.Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS at The Pocket Community Theatre
These women have great chemistry, and the audience on Friday night felt it. Lim was actually glowing as if she were a new bride and then a new mother. Her fragility was emitted as she had the diabetic seizures, so much so that it was almost too much to watch without tearing up and look around for an actual doctor. Day was “strong as steel” as she helped and had concerns for her daughter throughout the play up until the end, when she had her breakdown for her loss. Martinez was charming as the one who gave the girls a place to gather. She played well off of Cranton, who had the most transformation to do in the play. Cranton was convincing as the painfully shy new girl who had a lot of mysterious history. Morgan was statuesque as Clairee and brought the laughs when it was her turn. And of course, everyone thought Rickel was a hoot as Ouiser.Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS at The Pocket Community Theatre
You have one more weekend to catch this play-April 8 and 9 at 7pm and April 10 at 2pm. I love visiting this theater and can’t wait for my next visit.
All photos are by Steven Campbell.
After a successful opening weekend of “Little Women” at the Pocket Theatre, the cast prepares for the three final showings starting Friday.
“Audiences have really responded to the characters — Jo as Hugo in her play in the beginning has garnered laughs and Aunt March earns appreciation as well,” director Jodi Tooke said. “I also heard some sniffles as Jo tended to ailing Beth. I am so pleased with how (cast) and crew have gelled to tell this amazing story of four young women.”
The final showings will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets can be purchased here.
In a first for the Pocket, this play is based on Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel “Little Women.”
“Marissa Chamberlin is the playwright and she has done just a fantastic job of condensing the story, and kind of hitting some of the highlights,” Tooke said. “She’s changed the order a little bit, for people familiar with the book, of some of the events, but it really works … to show the growth of each of the four young women, and how you can kind of see in the play where they kind of turn that corner and start becoming a young adult.”
Tooke said audiences can expect a “magical” story about four girls turning into women, and how they have experienced the world through the trials and tribulations of growing up and facing sisterly rivalry.
“I think in the first act audiences will just fall in love with these girls, and then through the second act you get a little bit of a drama, a little bit of a sadness,” she said. “And then joy when father comes home and the idea that the family is all together again, and the girls just stand again on the brink of young adulthood ready to kind of pursue their hopes and dreams for the future.”
The production’s cast features Kacie Koen as Jo, Autumn Slaght as Meg, Anna-Claire McCarter as Amy, Audrey Mitchell as Beth, Diane Martini as Hannah, Cori McCarter as Marmee, Jo Kinder as Aunt March, Eddie Rogers as Father, Kevin Day as Old Mr. Laurence, Hayden Wood as Laurie and Courtland Callis as Mr. Brooke.
The Pocket is a Hot Springs’s community theatre of 30 years. Its mission is to “stimulate, promote, educate and develop interest in the dramatic arts.” To volunteer or audition for a future production, click here.
James Kendall, former president of the board of the Hot Springs Pocket Community Theatre, has spent the past four years raising community awareness of the theater and its dedicated group of volunteers.
“Most of Hot Springs has never heard of us,” Kendall said in a recent interview.
“So that’s something that we’re really working on changing, whether it be through social media, whatever marketing platforms that we can find word-of-mouth … just trying to get our name out there because we have a reputation for doing stellar performances, our set, our quality of acting, the quality of shows, our reputation is that when you go see a show at the Pocket Theatre, you’re going to see a good show,” said Kendall, who does a speech before every show letting the audience know about the theater’s background.
Kendall and Tami Kendall, president of the Pocket Community Theatre board, noted they have no paid employees; all are volunteers.
“We have volunteers for each show. Each show is different. So, the year before, we plan and do like our directors, and they submit scripts, and then everybody kind of gets a certain excitement about the different shows. And so you just have different groups that show up for the different ones that they want to be involved in, and everybody shows up and volunteers,” Tami Kendall said.
ames Kendall said the theater, located at 170 Ravine St., has six main stage shows a year.
“And then we will have youth programs. We’ve developed a reader’s theater, which we’re starting to schedule more of those shows. So as far as the pocket theater being open, it really just depends on what we have going on, from a show perspective. We don’t really have regular business hours throughout the day,” he said.
In 2022, the theater will have a show every month, which incorporates the reader’s theater and the youth program, plus the six main stage shows.
The Pocket Theatre was created in 1991 and has been at its Ravine Street location for 16 years. Prior to that, it was located at the former skating rink on Higdon Ferry Road and under a tent outside of the former Hot Springs factory outlet mall.
James Kendall said it takes a strong group of dedicated volunteers who love theater to run a thriving theater.
“The board of directors are all volunteers — the directors, the actors. So in order to run this, it takes a strong community theater group — actors, directors, volunteers, and it takes really good name recognition,” James Kendall said.
“So when we look at our shows, we look at strong shows with name recognition because if we do a show nobody has heard of, nobody is going to come see it. So it’s very important for us when we’re looking at the schedule for next year that we look from a perspective of what do the people in Garland County want to see,” he said.
“It takes a lot of heart; you have to love this place. We have a lot of people that come into certain shows that they like, and they do great, and they want to be on stage, and then that show is over, and you never see him again. So there’s always those seasonal people that come and go with the show,” Tami Kendall said.
“But there’s always the ones that just have that spark and that heart for theater that they just come back again and again and help and do everything from take the garbage out to move the chairs. So it just takes people that love it, and we love this building, and we love the people that come here, and I can’t imagine my life without it,” she said.
James Kendall said the Pocket Theatre has a volunteer group of 125. Over the past five years, they have grown from probably 20 to 125, noting the theater is where he met Tami in a production of “Sweeney Todd.”
Tami Kendall said “Sweeney Todd” was the show that saved the theater. They were negative in the bank account, noting that people were about to volunteer to pay the light bill because they had no money.
“We had put it before the board. Some of the young people that were visiting the board meetings had put it up for grabs. And at that time, the board wasn’t fully on board. They were like, no, we don’t want to do shows like that, and we don’t think anybody will come. And so we kind of pulled their arm and talked them into it. And that first night of auditions for ‘Sweeney Todd’ was a full audience of people wanting to audition,” she said.
“We sold every night of ‘Sweeney Todd’ out, and so we were able to have a little in the bank and kind of get that together. And then we just went right into the next one and the next one. So we’ve had a really good run,” Tami Kendall said.
James Kendall said 2019 was the theater’s best year due to the production of “Chicago.”
“The feedback we got from the community was, ‘You guys were as good as any professional group than we have ever seen.’ And so we had the momentum from that show going into 2020. We had an amazing schedule in 2020. And then it got all shut down. But luckily, the success of ‘Chicago’ financially helped us survive 2020,” he said. “We lost about $50,000 in revenue in 2020, which for a nonprofit community theater is a tremendous amount of money.”
Tami Kendall said the theater has one of the bigger stages in Arkansas for community theater, noting most theaters in Arkansas have small venues.
In 2022, the Pocket Theatre will present “The Odd Couple,” “Little Women,” “Steel Magnolias,” “The Music Man,” “A Christmas Story” and “Death of a Salesman.”