Director’s Update – Brenda Rowan

When I read The Cover of Life, I couldn’t put it down.  I love this story set in the South.  Sterlington LA no less!  And I wanted so badly to direct it. The powers that be said “Ok.” And away I went!  Auditions, it turned out, was filled with wonderful talent, and though it was hard to choose, I believe I picked a stellar cast.  They all work hard and are as determined as I am to get the story told in such a way that audiences love it as much as we do.  Come see if we get that accomplished.

Playwright’s Mother’s Past Inspired “Life”

Playwright’s Mother’s Past Inspired “Life”
Article Excerpt from The Hartford Courant, April 09, 1993|By FRANK RIZZO; Courant Staff Writer


Sometimes the best stories in life are found in your own living room.That’s what R.T. Robinson discovered when he decided to write the play that eventually became “The Cover of Life.”

After years of struggling as an actor and musical writer, Robinson decided in the late ’80s to write a play “about what I knew about and about what mattered.”  So he looked at his own family and focused on his mother’s life in 1943, when she and two other sisters-in-law all lived with their mother-in-law in Louisiana while their three husbands were in the service. In the play, a reporter for Life magazine visits to write a cover story on the women.

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The Cover of Life’s Mitzi Quinn

Ronn Robinson was a very talented writer who knew and wrote about Southern women so they are easily recognizable in any small southern town. I feel his message of strength and courage are very applicable in today’s society.
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Local Author’s Work at Strauss

Strauss is especially pleased to be able to present a show with a very special connection to the area: The Cover of Life story is set in Sterlington, though everyone knows it is Bastrop; its author is Ronn Robinson, graduate of Bastrop High School and Northeast Louisiana University.  Ronn was “bitten by the theatre bug” early in his life, and appeared in plays in high school, then at Northeast, and on the Strauss Theatre stage.  It is interesting that Ronn’s play will be presented on a stage on which he appeared several times.

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Cover of Life’s Shelley Barnes

I’m lucky to the playing the role of Addie Mae McGough Blackard in “The Cover of Life” at Strauss Theatre.Center.  Addie Mae is a small town reporter in Sterlington, Louisiana in 1943.  She wants so badly to be famous and when her local article gets picked up by The Times-Picayune she is thrilled.  When LIFE Magazine comes calling she couldn’t be more ecstatic!Read More

“Hearing the Laughter” – Glenn Williams

Young Frankenstein is such an iconic movie, and I’ve always been a big Mel Brooks fan, so trying out for this show was a no-brainer for me! My favorite part of doing this show is hearing the laughter from the audience. You can always tell who the fans of the movie are because they get all the jokes and references from the movie. And when the audience is having a good time, we’re able to feed off that energy and it makes our performance ten times better.

Benjamin Gross in Young Frankenstein at Strauss

Interview with Benjamin Gross
Where did you grow up?
Born in Monroe and grew up in Calhoun, where a lot of my family still is. I once I landed a job that allowed me to work from home, I decided to come back to my momma’s cooking for a while after having moved all over the country in the past 12 years building my IT career.