Terri Cunningham

Meet the Director: Terri Cunningham of ‘Belles’

Back in the Chris Ringham days, I was given a stack of scripts and asked my opinion of them. One that stood out was BELLES, by Mark Dunn. Six strong female characters. Six different sets. Sprinkles of humor amid a very serious subject: abuse. What a challenge it would be to stage such a show.  For whatever reasons, BELLES didn’t happen then. Fast forward to 2020 and the forced shutdown of Strauss Theatre. Several of us, led by board president Bob Chambless, were brainstorming ways we could continue presenting dramatic arts to the community, when I suddenly remembered BELLES. Why couldn’t we present it on ZOOM and record it for the membership? Six strong female characters. Six different sets. It just might work!

Due to the talent of many technically minded individuals, it shifted from a ZOOM venue to recording each character via cell phones. Individually. And then edit it all together. Well, things are never as easy as they seem. The project went through many transformations, but after three long days of filming followed by two long weeks of editing, we present to you the final product. A first ever for Strauss Theatre. And hopefully, many more will follow until we are again restored to a new sense of normal.

We ask you to go to our website: http://www.strausstc.com and click on Belles for information as to how to purchase a ticket, renew your membership or initiate your new membership. Or, call our box office at 318-323-6681 and Donna will gladly accommodate you. Non-membership tickets are just $15! Not a big price to pay for quality local entertainment!

A big thanks to board president Bob Chambless for his support and assistance. We couldn’t have gotten this far without him!

Meet the Cast: Wendy Wilson & Moira O’Connor of ‘Belles’

Wendy Wilson and Moira O’Connor have shared the stage for two decades.  You last saw them together in the hit show “Mamma Mia”. 

Wendy Wilson
Wendy Wilson

Wendy recently directed “Little Women” and has done several dinner theatres over the past year.  She is a mom of three beautiful daughters and works for cardiologist Dr. Greg Sampanaro.  Wendy’s performance is a departure for her usual musical/comical roles.  She wanted to stretch herself, and was very successful in doing so in Belles. 

Moira O'Connor
Moira O’Connor

Moira has been performing at Strauss since childhood.  She is a perennial favorite.  She was great as Marmee in Little Women this past season and was a hit in last year’s Who’s in Bed With the Butler.  She is a dental assistant at Southern Roots Dental in Monroe where she has been known to entertain patients with show tunes.  At least that’s what we hear….

Belles will be streaming online on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 pm! For tickets and more information, please call Donna at the box office at 318-323-6681!

Meet the Cast: Jean Hartzog of ‘Belles’

Jean Hartzog is the Tobacco Treatment Coordinator for NE Delta Human Service Authority but her sport is theatre. When COVID happened she worried that her sport was in trouble so when Belles was suggested and virtual practices began she felt revitalized. Having an eldest sister that is a responsible worry wart made her characterization of Peggy pretty easy. She is going to buy a ticket for her sister and after she watches ask if she recognizes herself.

Belles will be streaming online on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 pm! For tickets and more information, please call Donna at the box office at 318-323-6681!

Belles

STREAMING this Saturday, September 19th at 7pm for Strauss MEMBERS and Ticket Holders. Join today and receive ONLINE STREAMING Instructions for Saturday’s performance.

Meet the Cast: Cassey Bernstein of ‘Belles’

Cassey is a Health, Safety and Environmental Manager for Norsk Hydro in Delhi.  Well, at least that’s what pays the bills.  It’s hard to define what makes Cassey, the person.  She is made of all kinds of bits:  actor; baker; Best Auntie Ever; quilter; competition shooter; fly fisher, race car driver; magical wife and toxicologist.  She has performed at ULM, Murder is Served and Strauss where she played over 15 parts in last season’s Baskerville.  

Thoughts on our foray into online theatre:  “Though I walk through the Valley of the Dolls, i will fear no script nor camera.  Bring it ON!”

Belles will be streaming online on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 pm! For tickets and more information, please call Donna at the box office at 318-323-6681!

Taylor Michiels

Meet the Crew: ‘Belles’ Stage Manager Taylor Michiels

Taylor Michiels is an analyst at Lumen where he provides executive reporting to the mass markets organization.  This is his second time behind the scenes as stage manager.  In addition,  he served as assistant director and was a valuable asset to the entire team.

Taylor said: “This show was an incredibly unique opportunity to work with six talented actors and an intuitive director.  Adapting to the constantly evolving way we were going to present the show, stepping in to help envision and create the socially distanced set, and learning a spectrum  of new skills on top of normal duties was a challenge I enjoyed tackling.  I’m proud of the hard work from everyone involved, and I’m ecstatic that we’re able to infuse some theatre back into our community.”

Belles will be streaming online on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 pm! For tickets and more information, please call Donna at the box office at 318-323-6681!

Meet the Cast: Nicole Goode of ‘Belles’

Nicole Goode is a Monroe native.  She is employed by Kohl’s and the Ouachita Parish Public Library where she works in the Special Collections/Genealogy department. 

Belles has been an interesting experience for her.  Previously, she had played mostly comedic characters, so bringing Roseanne to life was a good way to stretch her acting muscles.  

Nicole said “The filming process was definitely a learning curve which had its pros and cons.  It was great to be able to re-record a scene if something went wrong.  On the flip side, sometimes it took a long time to get the scenes right.”

Nicole enjoyed the privilege of working with this amazing cast and crew.

Belles will be streaming online on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 pm! For tickets and more information, please call Donna at the box office at 318-323-6681!

Meet the Cast: Megan Wilkins of ‘Belles’

Actor and choreographer Megan Wilkins is Paige in Strauss Theatre’s virtual production of BELLES. Paige is the youngest Walker sister, currently a college student sewing her wild oats.

Megan is excited to be returning to the stage, having spent the past several years choreographing, working sound, and assistant directing.  

Megan is married to Matt and is the proud mother of 1 year old twins.  She also works as a clinical accreditation specialist.

“My experience with Belles was very challenging but so exciting! Creating and filming a show for virtual viewing is a first for the Strauss and I am honored to have been a part of it. I had so much fun working with this cast and crew and I hope someday we can bring it back to the main stage for an in-house audience.”

Belles will be streaming online on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 pm! For tickets and more information, please call Donna at the box office at 318-323-6681!

Cast and Crew of "Belles"

Strauss Theatre Center is Making History with ‘Belles’, Streaming Sept. 19!

For the first time in its 88-year history, Strauss Theatre Center is presenting a show entirely online.

Belles, a play in 2 acts and 39 phone calls written by Mark Dunn, will be available for online streaming on Saturday, September 19 at 7:00 pm. This online format is in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which forced theaters worldwide to shut their doors.

Director Terri Larson Cunningham says Belles is the first of its kind for Strauss.  “Most of our rehearsals were via Zoom and Facebook.  When we have met in person, each cast member is socially distanced. We are breaking new ground and happy to do so to keep our beloved theatre going.”

Belles takes place in the 1980s and centers around the six “very Southern” Walker sisters dealing with unhappy childhood memories and an aging mother. Only the eldest sister still lives in Memphis; the others have “escaped” to other parts of the country. More than physical distance, the sisters find themselves emotionally distanced as well.

“We have 6 of the area’s most talented actors breathing life into the characters. Each has her own strengths and weaknesses and varying memories of a difficult childhood” Cunningham said. “You’ll laugh; you’ll cry. But most of all, you will witness first rate performances.”

The cast consists of: Jean Hartzog, Wendy Wilson, Moira O’Connor, Cassey Bernstein,  Nicole Goode and Megan Wilkins. Stage Manager/Assistant is Taylor Micheils and Scot Baronet is technical and set designer.

Season members can join online streaming using a BELLES password which will be made available 1 week prior to streaming performance. For more information, call the theatre box-office at 318-323-6681.

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: Most Embarrassing Moment/Favorite Set

In our final installment of TBT, our actors share their memories of their most embarrassing moment during a show, as well as their favorite set from a show they’ve been in. We hope you’ve enjoyed this series of videos as much as we’ve enjoyed making it!

Strauss Theatre Center Needs Your Help! Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, STC has missed out on considerable revenue that is needed to keep our theatre running. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our Raise the Curtain Again Campaign. Your donation will help to ensure that we can keep alive the tradition of bringing live local theatre to Northeast Louisiana. Click here to donate today!