Prepare to Laugh

Have you ever laughed so much that you started to tear up a little bit?  The cast of The Man Who Came to Dinner experienced just that at rehearsal this week.  With cockroaches, penguins, convicts, and singing choir boys flooding the Stanley residence, it was only a matter of time before the chaos cracked our actors.  When three powerhouse comedic actors shared the stage on Monday, it was game over.

As seen pictured, Sherry (John Reynolds) and Maggie (Taylor Nelson) are delightfully reacting to Beverly’s (Troy Wold) spirited impersonation of Lord Bottomley.  Not seen pictured are the remaining cast and crew laughing from backstage and in the audience.  What’s so hysterical about this impression?  You’ll have to see the show to find out.

Tickets for The Man Who Came to Dinner are on sale now for patrons and members.  Tickets will open to the public soon.

Rehearsals Going Wheel

We are one week closer to the opening of our second production, The Man Who Came to Dinner.  Rehearsals continue on as our actors maneuver their ever-growing set.  In this sneak peek, Sherry (John Reynolds), in a rare showing of amiability, gives June (Darian Hodge) advice on her forbidden romance.  Will she obey her father or marry her unionizer beau?  You’ll have to see the show to find out.

Tickets for The Man Who Came to Dinner will be on sale soon!  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for updates!

The Man Who Came to Rehearsal

With our first show of the season out of the way, the cast of The Man Who Came to Dinner has already taken the stage to begin rehearsals.  Directors Cassey Bernstein & Moira O’Connor have assembled an eager cast (cast announcement coming soon!) of volunteers ready to bring this classic comedy to our community.

Fast-paced timing is the name of the game with this show, so blocking is this week’s major task.  Characters constantly enter and exit throughout the scripts first few pages.  As seen in the picture, everyone had a brief moment to collect themselves before Sherry begins firing off insults.

The Man Who Came to Dinner is our second production of our historic 90th season of continuous live theatre.  This show opens to our community in early November!

Meet Peyton Ballew of Disaster!

Peyton Ballew is 23 years old and currently living in West Monroe, Louisiana and may possibly be moving to Monroe soon.  His previous show experience at the Strauss consist of Mamma Mia! and A Christmas Carol in December 2020.  He is an active member of the community doing volunteer work and supporting his favorite organizations like the Biedenharn Museum and Gardens and the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo.  He is also a full-time local artist and currently a resident artist of the Sugar Gallery in Downtown Monroe. It has been a year since he has been on stage due to COVID 19 and he wanted to be back on stage. He started off
a bit rusty and thanks his fellow castmates and directors for guiding him once again, especially to Peyton Churchwell and Nathaniel Jeane for their help with choreography. This has been a
really fun show and he hopes you enjoy it.  Thanks for supporting the arts!

Come see Peyton in Disaster!.  Tickets for tonight’s final show are on sale now!

Meet Darian Hodge from Disaster!

Darian owns her own dog training business. When she’s not training dogs, she is at the dojo or theatre.  A few shows she’s been in are
Spamalot and Scrooge the Musical in Lake Charles, Louisiana. She also played Tumnus in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe in Austin, Texas. She hopes you enjoy the show!

Catch Darian’s Strauss debut in Disaster! for it’s final show tonight!  Get your tickets here.

Meet Lee Jones of Disaster!

Lee Jones of Winnsboro is excited to be on the Strauss stage again for the first time since his last performance in Mamma Mia!. He would like to thank his family and friends for being understanding and supportive during rehearsals, and looks forward to being on stage again in the future!

Come see Lee as the chef, taxi driver and many other passengers in tonight or tomorrow’s show.  Tickets are available!

Meet Peyton Churchwell of Disaster!

Peyton Churchwell is a University of Louisiana-Monroe alumni, and he graduated with a Bachelors in English Education. His ULM VAPA Performance credits include Ubaldo Piangi in Phantom of the Opera, Captain Venderdender in Candide, and Hugo Peabody in Bye Bye, Birdie. His Strauss Theatre credits include Ensemble/Chorus member in Mamma Mia! and Mr. Bumble in Oliver! The Musical. He has also performed at the Rose Theatre in many plays, including the role of Wilson in Whose Wives are They Anyway?, and he performed as Macduff in CA Studio’s Zoom production of Shakespeare’s MacbethPeyton studied with the Music in the Marche program in Mondavio, Italy, in the summer of 2018 where he sung the roles of Don Ottavio and Basilio in the opera scenes production. In 2019, Peyton directed the Neville Junior High Drama Club in their production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He recently traveled to Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas, to perform the role of Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosí Fan Tutte for the Matador Opera Workshop.

Catch Peyton as Jake the security guard in Disaster!Get your tickets today!

Meet Richard Graeber of Disaster!

Richard started his involvement with the Main Stage at Strauss Theater 10 years ago as The Wizard in The Wizard of OZ. This will be his 7th appearance on the Main Stage including roles including Rabbi in Fiddler on the Roof and Prof. Plum in Clue, The Musical. Being a born and bred NYer, he has enjoyed Broadway Musicals his whole life and enjoys the interaction and camaraderie of live theater performance. Enjoy the show and become a Patron!!

Catch Richard as Donald, the Wealthy Husband.  Tickets are on sale!

Meet Laura Smith of Disaster!

Laura graduated from Northeast Louisiana University (now ULM) with a BS in Medical Technology. She is currently employed as the Lab Coordinator for Affinity Health Group. She has appeared in several Strauss productions including The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, Les Miserables, My Fair Lady and Sister Act. Laura also sings with the Bayou Masterworks Chorale and traveled with them to perform concerts at Carnegie Hall and the Aegean Music Festival in Greece. She has been married to her husband, Mark, for 38 years and they enjoy being “Nana and Papaw” to their 4 grandchildren- Wesson, Archer, Guinevere and Dosson.

You won’t want to miss Laura’s portrayal of multiple passengers, including the Wealthy Wife (nicknamed Daisy by the cast).  Tickets are still available!

Meet Keith Beard of Disaster!

Keith has been involved in theatre since his high school days at Homer High, graduating in 1979 (which coincidentally happens to be the setting for Disaster!). He has acted in A Feudin’ Over Yonder in high school, and Guys and Dolls and The Children’s Hour at ULM. During his 34 years as a teacher, counselor, and administrator; he directed several high school plays. Keith also designs and builds sets, recently winning a Christopher Award for his design for this past spring’s Whose Wives Are They Anyway?. His dream to live in Monroe to be closer to his three grandchildren became reality last fall when he bought a really cool house in the Garden District. This is Keith’s debut on the Strauss stage.

Catch Keith as Murray Summers, Shirley’s devoted husband, in Disaster!Tickets are on sale for the final week!