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seasoned performances

World-class performances on local stages no longer take New Orleans audiences by surprise. That’s because we have come to expect the best from our theater and performing arts organizations. They have demonstrated over and over their commitment to excellence, and with every season they raise the bar. A season full of stunning works has just kicked off. In these pages, we offer snippets of what you can expect to see and hear. Get your tickets now, and be there when the curtain rises!

Kathy Finn, editor

wild, weird, fresh

Three years and counting – that’s the history of the New Orleans Fringe Festival, an incubator event for original dramatic works. Some 40 theater groups from New Orleans and around the country will present 100 or so shows at various local venues during the festival, Nov. 17-21. Works will range from drama, comedy, dance and improvisation to multimedia, musical theater, performance art and other creative projects. Festival organizers promise several days of “innovative, wild, weird and original theater.” See  www.nofringe.org for more details.

no small feat for le petit
Eighteen months after a do-or-die reorganization, Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carré is operating  in the black – if just barely. Managing Director Gary Solomon Jr. is pleased not only about the improving financial picture, but about the theater’s artistic direction. “It’s a big season – there are no small shows –  and we’re filling the seats,” he says.

Le Petit’s season kicked off with the hit musical “Hairspray” (through Oct. 10). Directed by Ricky Graham, the production features a cast of local stars more than capable of delivering on the Tony Award-winning show’s promise. Other highlights of the season include: “Soul Doctor,” “White Christmas,” “Frost Nixon” and “The Drowsy Chaperone.”

Along with a diverse main stage line-up, Le Petit is offering a season of Muriel’s Cabaret Stage selections and Children’s Corner works. “We didn’t have the freedom to do all these things last year and now we do,” Solomon says. “At the end of the latest fiscal year, we were just on the right side of breaking even.” Whew.

something for everyone at JPAS
How much fun can you expect from Jefferson Performing Arts Society this month? Two words: scream queens!

Get tickets now for “Scream Queens! The Musical,” playing at Teatro Wego! Theatre through Oct. 17. The theater’s promos say this regional premiere features six of the sexiest actresses in the horror movie biz. ‘Nuf said!

On a more serious note, JPAS artistic director Dennis Assaf conducts Puccini’s “La Bohème” Oct. 27 at Tulane’s Dixon Hall. And in the society’s third venue – Westwego Performing Arts Theatre – “Two X Two,” a new play by Samuel Warren Joseph, runs Nov. 5-21.

keep the creek flowing
If theater was born of the need for effective political expression, kudos to one local theater troupe for keeping the mission alive. Cripple Creek Theatre Company has stuck to its guns through its several-year lifetime, remaining dedicated to producing “dramatic works of cultural, historical and political relevance in order to provoke the general public into social action.” The company, headed by Andrew Vaught with a handful of like-minded rabble rousers, recently presented Jean Giraudoux’s “The Madwoman of Chaillot,” a drama in which the future of Paris is imperiled by the discovery of oil beneath its surface. “Who will prevail,” Cripple Creek asks, “the citizen or the almighty dollar?” Keep it coming, Cripple!

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