Theater / performance art / opera / storytelling

“They Call Me Q”

Venues & Businesses
SIU Student Center


Who: Qurrat Ann Kadwani
What: "They Call Me Q"
Where:
When: 2017-10-30
“They Call Me Q”
Tara Janowick
Video Comentary

The SIUC University Honors Program, in conjunction with the LGBTQ Resource Center, is hosting Qurrat Ann Kadwani and her solo play, ”They Call Me Q”, on Monday, Oct. 30 from 6 until 7:30 p.m. at the Student Center Auditorium. Admission is free.

Kadwani is an actress, producer, MC, television host and philanthropist. Born in India, Kadwani grew up in the Bronx. She is the founding Artistic Director of eyeBLINK (www.eyeblink.org) and heads its theater program. Independently performing her solo play more than 100 times in various venues, Kadwani received the Best Actress Award at the Variations Theatre Group: Harvest Festival 2012 in NYC and Best Play Award at the Maui Fringe Festival 2013. The play has now been performed by a multitude of nonprofit charity organizations as fundraisers, earning high critical acclaim.

Nightlife recently had the opportunity to interview Ms. Kadwani about this performance.

Nightlife: What was the seed of “They Call Me Q”? What inspired the creation of this performance?

Kadwani: I have a degree in theater and I saw a solo play when I was in college. I was so mesmerized by one actress playing a variety of characters, in an effort to help audiences think deeper about diversity issues. I thought, I wish I could do this. Five years ago, I set out to write my own solo play. I wanted to explore my own identity in a society that is constantly evolving to become more inclusive.

Nightlife: Can you share a little about the show? What is this about? How would you define your genre?

Kadwani: I decided to write about being born in India and growing up in the Bronx. I have lots of memories about being an immigrant, getting teased about my culture and my name, and the challenges I faced trying to be American. I play 13 diverse characters of all ages and ethnicities who helped shape my life and help me to accept myself.

A solo play is theater and we call it an emotionally charged comedy because there are very funny moments as well as gut-wrenching experiences.

Nightlife: Who / what has influenced you throughout your lifetime?

Kadwani: I’m influenced by strong, independent women who are principled with amazing work ethics. I look at Shonda Rhimes who has so many successful shows on air and who pushes diversity in casting. I look at Yazmina Reza whose plays have received worldwide adoration and are thought -provoking. I look at Anna Deveare Smith whose solo plays are masterful and create social change.

Nightlife: Ultimately, what do you hope the audience will take away from “They Call Me Q”?

Kadwani: One of my characters says, “You will get exactly from this crazy world, exactly what you choose to receive.” I believe that and it applies to so many things. When we think about diversity, we must first learn to accept ourselves in order to truly accept others. When we put out positivity, that’s what we will get back. So much of the problems and issues in our society today is because people don’t know about other cultures. I hope that audiences will gain a better understanding of themselves through my characters and be able to be more open-minded when thinking about where they stand on important issues of the day.

Theatre can be inspiring. Theatre can promote social change.

Nightlife: What do you want me and the readers to know about this production?

Kadwani: We might not look the same or grow up in the same way, but my mother will remind you of yours, my friends will remind you of yours, my experiences will remind you of yours. At the end of the day, we all are more similar than different. Hope to see you at the show on Oct 30!

 

Curtain Call: Skyline Creek Productions’ Cats

Venues & Businesses
Marion Cultural and Civic Center

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Who: Skyline Creek Productions
What: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats (live musical theater)
Where:
When: 2017-08-11 - 2017-08-13
The long-running Broadway musical Cats will come to our area Friday through Sunday, August 11 throug
Brian Wilson
Video Comentary

The long-running Broadway musical Cats will come to our area Friday through Sunday, August 11 through August 13, when it hits the stage of the Marion Cultural and Civic Center.

The group responsible for this production, Skyline Creek Productions, has put on several major musicals during the past several years, including American Idiot, Sweeney Todd, The Addams Family, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Producer Barb Segretario says this one, in particular, has presented a major challenge, “Because it is so well known,” she said. “Everybody knows Andrew Lloyd Webber and Cats. You’re going to come to that show expecting it. That’s one of the shows, you can’t misstep on that one. I’ve done a lot of other shows and you can switch it around a little bit. This is not that kind of show. Anybody who has seen the show knows the characters and they know those dances.”

But Segretario says the cast and crew of this production has risen to the challenge.

“Casting was very difficult,” she said. “Normally, when we’re going into a show, I tell them, ‘That’s great, you can dance, but can you sing?’ This was the total opposite. Not only, ‘Can you sing, but can you dance?’ Because the majority of the show is all dancing, and it’s heavy dancing, nothing easy. They’re not getting away with anything easy this time and they know it, but they love it.”

Segretario adds that the one of the reasons for the decision to do Cats had to do with her director, Derek Hamblin.

“It’s one of his bucket-list dreams,” said Segretario. “I never said anything to him. I love the show myself. I absolutely love Cats. But he was talking about it, that one of the things he really wanted to do was direct that show, that was the determining factor of how I came up with Cats for the summer show this year. I never shared that with him, but that was it.”

Tickets are $15. For tickets, call (618) 997-4030 or visit <http://MarionCCC.com>.

Find out more at <http://SkylineCreekProductions.weebly.com>.

 

who Skyline Creek Productions

what Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats (live musical theater)

where Marion Cultural and Civic Center

when Friday through Sunday, August 11 through August 13

Curtain Call: McLeod Summer Playhouse’s Singin’ in the Rain

Venues & Businesses
Carbondale Community Arts
SIU Department of Theater

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Who: McLeod Summer Playhouse and Carbondale Community Arts
What: All Southern High School Theater Project presents Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Arthur Freed, and Nacio Herb Brown’s Singin’ in the Rain (live musical theater)
Where:
When: 2017-07-27 - 2017-07-30
Every year, McLeod Summer Playhouse and Carbondale Community Arts join forces to produce the All Sou
Jennifer “Jay” Bull
Video Comentary

Every year, McLeod Summer Playhouse and Carbondale Community Arts join forces to produce the All Southern High School Theater Project. This year’s production is Singin’ in the Rain, based on the classic 1952 movie musical of the same name. It will combine twenty-six local high-school students with a professional staff, who will perform Thursday through Monday, July 27 through July 30 in McLeod Theater.

“It’s extremely fun and it’s my first lead role,” Keagan Schlosser, who portrays aspiring actress Kathy Selden, told Nightlife, “so I’m kind of nervous about it, but my cast has been really supportive of me.”

The play’s plot involves the film industry’s transition from silent movies to talkies. Unfortunately, one of the studio’s most famous actresses, Lina Lamont (played in the McLeod Summer Playhouse production by Anna Madura), has a horrible voice. The studio hires Kathy Selden to dub over Lina’s voice. As Kathy and star actor Don Lockwood (Brax Melvin) spend more time together, they fall in love. Hijinks ensue.

“There is a lot of madcap numbers that are really exciting, a lot of comedy, and some fabulous costumes,” Schlosser said.

In addition to memorable songs “Good Morning” and “Singin’ in the Rain,” the production also features dancing, something Schlosser has really enjoyed.

“I have to say, I’ve worked with the two boys who are the other leads before, and I’ve worked with the director before, so it’s just fun being with them for another show and taking a new take on everything we always do,” Schlosser said. “And tapping. I love to tap— ‘Good Morning,’ the musical number, has probably been my favorite thing that we’ve done so far.”

Garrett James portrays Cosmo Brown, best friend of Don Lockwood, and provides the play’s comic relief.

“He’s absolutely hilarious— a very comical role,” James told Nightlife about his character. “I’m kind of silly a lot. I like to goof around and have a good time, so it suits me well in that aspect. His humor is a little different from mine, because it’s an older-style show, so I’m learning how to adapt and how it would be delivered and how people would react to it in that time period.”

Garrett has nothing but positive things to say about his four years of experience with McLeod Summer Playhouse.

“The cast is always incredible,” James said. “We spend a lot time together, and when it gets closer to the show, pretty much seven days a week together. If you don’t know someone in the beginning, you’ll know them by the end— it’s a great way to make new friends.”

The musical is something everyone can enjoy, James said.

“It’s going to be an incredible show,” James said. “The cast is working hard, and I think it will turn out really good. The show is absolutely hilarious. The lead characters are your average romantic relationship you’d see in an older movie, and of course there’s the classic antagonist with a little bit of a twist, which is Lena. It’s a really enjoyable show that is for everyone, the whole family.”

Singin’ in the Rain takes place at 7:30 p.m., except for the matinee Sunday, July 30 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students, and $8 for children. For tickets, call (618) 453-6000 or visit ticket outlets at McLeod or the SIU Arena. To buy online, visit <http://playhouse.siu.edu>. There are no service charges for in-person purchases, though phone and online purchases will carry charges in the $2 range.

The theater box office will also open one hour before each performance, but audiences are encouraged to get their tickets early, because All Southern High School Theater Project performances often sell out.

who: McLeod Summer Playhouse and Carbondale Community Arts

what: All Southern High School Theater Project presents Betty Comden, Adolph Green, Arthur Freed, and Nacio Herb Brown’s Singin’ in the Rain (live musical theater)

where: Communications Building McLeod Theater

 

when: Thursday through Monday, July 27 through July 30

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