Five Questions with Glenn Williams

On today’s 5 questions, we interviewed Strauss actor and volunteer Glenn Williams, who will be playing Bert Bratt in our upcoming production of How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying.

1.  What first drew you to live theatre?

I remember going to see plays when I was a college student at Nicholls State and at ULM and thinking how much fun it would be to be up on that stage, but I never had the time or the confidence to try out for anything back then. Fast forward a few years, my wife Courtney started performing in ensembles for different shows at ULM, and in 2014 she was in her first Strauss show, Music Man. I enjoyed that show so much that I decided to audition for the very next play, which was a comedy called Southern Hospitality. Courtney and I both tried out and we both got parts. That ended up being a really fun, life-changing experience. From that point on, I was hooked.

2.  What type of theatre are you drawn to?

I love comedies. It doesn’t matter if it’s a musical or a straight play; if it’s done well and gives me a good laugh, I’ll enjoy it.

3.  What is your all-time favorite show?

That’s a tough one. I’ve seen so many great shows and it’s hard for me to pick a favorite. So I’m just gonna go with the one that we’ve been working hard on for the last several months before the coronavirus came and messed everything up: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying. Seriously folks, this is a fantastic show. We can’t wait to bring it to you once we are able to. Come see it; it’ll be worth the wait!

4.  Why Strauss Theatre?

Strauss has some of the most talented folks in the Twin Cities all in one place. It never ceases to amaze me how much talent we have right here in Monroe. Over the last few years I’ve had an opportunity to work with so many great people from all walks of life who share a passion for theatre. We are truly blessed to have such a thriving arts community here.

5.  What is the most absurd thing you’ve seen on stage?

It’s not uncommon to see people play pranks during performances, especially during the last performance of each show. But when I was in The Producers a few years ago, we had several pranksters in our cast during that last show; it almost seemed like everyone was trying to one-up each other! That was a really fun cast.

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday: “What was the first live theatre performance that you saw?”

“What was the first live theatre performance that you saw?” Several Strauss veterans share their memories. What about yours? Share in the comments below!

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!

The Rest of the Broadway Story: Episode 2

Elijah and Clark return for the second installment of STC’s “The Rest of the Broadway Story.” See if you can guess what musical they are talking about this week.

https://youtu.be/AnGr-cI4Fxk

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!

The Rest of the Broadway Story: Episode 1

Introducing “The Rest of the Broadway Story”! In this fun new video series, Elijah and Clark talk about a famous Broadway musical, but it’s up to you to guess which musical they are talking about. Every week we’ll bring you a new episode. Here’s the first one… Can you guess the show?

Strauss Spring Deep Clean

Strauss Theatre Center is preparing for its re-opening with a deep clean of the theatre. A dedicated team of volunteers gathered at Strauss this past weekend to deep clean the theatre, lobby, green room and other areas. We also installed six new hand sanitization stations for our patrons.

We want to thank Ben McQuillin, Scott Stone, Moira O’Connor, Wendy Wilson, Mickey Cannon, Patrick Allen, and Elijah Chambless for all of their hard work in helping to get our theatre ready! However, our work is not done. We are having another deep cleaning session this Saturday, June 6th. We hope YOU can join us this Saturday! Call Donna at 318-323-6681 to volunteer!

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!

Five Questions with Jean Hartzog

In this week’s Five Questions, we sat down with Strauss veteran actress, Jean Hartzog.

1. What first drew you to live theatre?

My sister and I used to do elaborate productions in our big barn. Complete with scenery and costumes. Theatre became my major in college. It gives me such a complete feeling of accomplishment, despite the fact that it scares me a little, even now.

2.  What type of theatre are you drawn to?

While I’m a fan of musicals and comedies, I am drawn to theatre that is not frequently done. The old standards that have just been set aside. I enjoy seeing a new spin on an old show.  

3.  Why Strauss Theatre?

I feel a connection with Strauss — like an old friend.

4.  What is your all-time favorite show?

The Wizard of Oz. It’s everything that’s good with theatre. It has all the elements:  humor, sadness, good vs evil, hope, redemption. I love that show very much.

5.  What is the most absurd thing you’ve seen on stage?

During the production of Murder at the Howard Johnsons, all three of us forgot our lines at the very same time. We were panicked. None of us knew what to do. We just stood there, horrified, looking at each other helpless.  Finally, one of us screamed to the stage manager: LINE! He got his line and we all continued. I still have horrible dreams about being on stage and forgetting my lines!

Mousetrap cast

Throwback Thursday: The Mousetrap (2017)

In this Throwback Thursday feature, we’ll revisit a past show we performed on Strauss Theatre Center’s Main Stage.

In the fall of 2017, Strauss Theatre Center presented the classic Agatha Christie mystery play, The Mousetrap. The show was directed by Brandi Albritton Gilmore, and the cast featured (pictured left to right) Natalie Weaver, Kathy Broadnax, Michael Scott Banks, Michael Tran, Jacob Branson, Taylor Nelson, Colin Galloway, and Kevin Branson. Four of the cast members — Broadnax, Nelson, and the father-and-son Branson duo, won Christopher Awards for their performances in this play. The gorgeous set, designed by Joel Willer, also won a Christopher for best set design.

Fun fact: Did you know The Mousetrap is the longest running play in London’s West End history? It first opened in 1952 and has been running continuously until COVID-19 forced it to close down for the first time in March 2020. Not a bad run!

Did you see Strauss’s performance of The Mousetrap? Have you seen any other performances of this play? What was your favorite part of the play? Sound off in the comments below! (And please, don’t give away the ending!)

Strauss Spring Clean

Calling all Volunteers! Strauss Theatre Center is proactive as we prepare for state guidelines on re-opening our theatre. We need you! This Saturday we are Deep Cleaning our theatre. Shifts of no more than six at a time are being organized to begin our Deep Cleaning of the theatre.

Volunteers can call the theatre at 318-323-6681 or email Donna at bom@strausstheatre.com to volunteer. We will reach out to you on schedules and how you can help.

Five Questions with Anita Breen

Today we asked 5 questions of Anita Breen, Strauss Theatre Center’s General Manager, Patron Member, and former performer.

1.  What first drew you to live theatre?

When I was a senior in High School, my class traveled to New York City and saw two Broadway Shows: My Fair Lady and Carnival (the original cast!). I was mesmerized. Ever since, I have been totally consumed by theatre.

2.  What type of theatre are you drawn to?

A very well-done drama.  

3.  What is your all-time favorite show?

Carnival. Partly because if was my first. Also because it is a great show.

4.  Why Strauss Theatre?

The first show I ever saw at Strauss was Bye Bye Birdie (not long after my NYC trip) and couldn’t believe how well it was done! My first production to be in was My Fair Lady. Such a thrill! The Strauss family has done so much for the community and for the local theatre scene. The Monroe area is very fortunate to have benefited from their vision and their support. 

5.  What is the most absurd thing you’ve seen on stage?

I have two. The first one was a nude version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.  I’ve wondered what Tennessee Williams would have thought of such a production. And the second one involves the late George Brian, long time professor and Strauss theatre director/actor, who became aware of an actress trying desperately to upstage him during a show. He took matters into his own hands and taught her a drama trick or two by standing upstage of her and continually zipping and unzipping his pants. No one upstages George Brian!

Matt Wilkins

How To Wait 13 Years For a Show Without Really Trying

by Matt Wilkins

It’s been over a decade now since my friend invited me over to his home to watch the movie How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying and instantly I fell in love. The characters, music and story arc were wonderful. Thus began my crusade to get the show performed on stage at the Strauss Theater. 

Year after year I approached Directors, General Managers, Board Members and even Presidents with the request for How to Succeed and each time I got nowhere.  

2 years ago I joined the Board and had the honor of serving on the Production committee, the first show I recommended? You guessed it. How to Succeed. You know how this story ended and the show was scheduled for our 2019-2020 season. 

When auditions came up, I was content to get any role. The show has such a strong set of characters and I would’ve been happy to be cast as anyone. I was blessed to receive my first starring role ever in a show playing Pierpont Finch. A young man looking to climb his way up the corporate ladder!

Practices started in early January and as each week passed my anticipation grew. My co-stars, supporting cast and ensemble are some of the best people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Through the last few months they worked tirelessly to put on the greatest show of the season….then along came COVID-19. 

The State shut down and we’ve been on stand-by ever since. A few days shy of our premiere. Truth be told, if the show had started a week early there’s a good chance we would’ve been able to complete our run the weekend before the virus was in full effect. 

But now we wait. 

Wait for the State to give us the greenlight so we can pick up where we left off and continue working on this great show. When will that be? No one knows. But as we slowly move forward with re-opening the State that time is coming closer each day. 

What have I been up to in the meantime? I practice. 

3 times out of the week I rehearse my lines and songs from the play. I do it so much now that my wife is  tired of her husband’s one man performance, yet my 12 month old twin girls clap for their poor insane Daddy, so at least I have their support. 

I love this show and I know you will too. It’s been 13 long years in making to get this far…and with a show this good, I can wait few more weeks. I hope you can too. 

See you soon!