Meet Mariah Reilly - who, fortunately, does not hate our director Sarah Adkins.
1. My first play ever was the very artsy / modern-take-on-Greek tragedy called Brides. That was probably in 1997 (my freshman year) in the Huntington Dungeon and it was directed by the inimitable Georgia Hallman, one of the most talented actresses to ever come from Montgomery. My whole body felt like ice for the very first 5 minutes and I guess the stage lights melted it away and I realized I fe lt more at home on that stage than I'd ever felt in any other circumstance.
I was very fortunate to experience several wonderful plays and characters under Fiona McLeod's tutelage over the next few years; like Dancing at Lughnasa and Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Probably my very favorite was playing Elvira in Blithe Spirit, directed by Michael Howley.
2. I took about a decade off after college, but I've enjoyed doing a few productions at the Cloverdale Playhouse. I was in Season's Greetings, during the very first season of the Playhouse, My Three Angels during last season, Greg Thornton's Pastime, and The Weir.
3. In this production, I am playing Elizabeth Proctor and I would like her very much in real life. She has a hard go-of-it but she's very true to herself and her principles. I would see her as a feminist who wields a lot of her own power in this patriarchal society - both in her marriage to a domineering, flawed man and in her own convictions.
4. I work in a Montessori pre-primary class, so mostly with two to three year olds. It's equal parts humbling and noble, I can tell you!
5. Favorite color is probably robin's egg blue... or wyeth blue.
6. Who would I like to dedicate this work to? I should say to my dearest family, since they enable my endless shenanigans. But for this particular production I think I'll dedicate it to our fearless director Sarah Adkins. Since the very moment I met her, we were perfectly positioned to become rivals, but instead she became a trusted friend and champion. I hope I can do justice to her huge faith in me and to this important, timely story.
Here's our Q & A with George Jacobsen, who you'll recognize from many shows at the Playhouse both onstage and as a volunteer.
First Play? No. Other plays: The Winter's Tale, Hamlet, King Lear, As You Like it, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, The Weir, Inherit the Wind, The Laramie Project, among others.
First play at the Playhouse?
No. The Boys Next Door, Cabaret, Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike, Irish Voices.
3) Which character are you playing in The Crucible, and would you like your character in real life?
Thomas Putnam. I don't think we would have hit it off.
4) What's your day gig?
Docent/puppeteer at the MMFA
5) What's your favorite color?
6. I would like to dedicate this show to Bridget Bishop, the first resident of Salem to be executed for witchcraft and the subject of my first college paper.
“Creativity is always a leap of faith. You’re faced with a blank page, blank easel, or an empty stage.” – Julia Cameron
With the approaching Fall season, much is changing. Kids are returning to school, the temperature is (hopefully) cooling down, and I get to start wearing scarves again! There is a natural shift in the energies in the world with each passing month, and a new season represents growth and beginnings.
This Fall at the Cloverdale Playhouse is a time for new beginnings as well. After finishing a sold-out run of “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” the contagious energy of our young acting company has been redirected to schoolwork. The “Missouri clay” on the stage floor has been repainted to black, and all at once, the theater is a blank stage again. Vacancy is one of the more exciting, and oftentimes slightly scary, states of being for artists. It is eerily silent, and simultaneously bellowing with possibility, risk, fear, and hope. You begin with a blank page, an empty space, and you must fill it with something new. We wait for inspiration, and then for the courage to leap, willing that net to appear.
Our first step into our Fall season is the staged reading of a new play, “The Lemonade Stand,” which was the winner of our annual Page to Stage playwriting contest. What began with a handful of entries a few years ago has grown to almost 200 entries this year from all over the world. We spent weeks reading piles of plays by writers who created new, untold stories out of thin air and sheer imagination. Now, it is our job to bring one of those stories to life, to fill our empty stage and audience with people to share this story for the first time.
We also begin our next production this month! We’ve held auditions for Dead Man’s Cell Phone , Sarah Ruhl’s award-winning play about a woman who answers a deceased stranger’s ringing cell phone and begins a journey to uncover the mysteries of his life and her own. Starting rehearsals for a new play creates great excitement and anticipation! The costume racks rotate from one world’s look to the next. The stage transforms to an entirely different location from the one we walked into the month before. We invite new faces into our hallways, we make new discoveries, and we work together to create a new experience for our audiences and ourselves.
We also form new connections, meet new people, and collaborate in new ways. This September, the Playhouse is teaming up for the first time with members of the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra to create a new event for our space: “An Evening of Words and Music”. We will share beautiful compositions of music and writings, bringing members of our two artistic communities together under one roof for the first time, showcasing how much talent there is in our area, and rejoicing in how exciting it is that we can work together to make something new.
Our blank stage is ready and waiting, there are songs to be played and stories to be told. Come join us! It’s a new season filled with new adventures. Our pews are eager to be filled. We will save you a seat!
Sarah Walker Thornton is the Artistic Director of the Cloverdale Playhouse, who walks like a New Yorker and waves like an Alabama girl. She is a product of a Montgomery arts education, with several years of life in NYC thrown in for extra flavor.
The halls of the Cloverdale Playhouse have come alive this week with music, laughter, and vibrant energy during rehearsals for Life is a Cabaret- a Kander and Ebb Revue ! Tickets are going fast for this two-night only benefit performance this weekend on April 3 and 4, and you don’t want to miss out on an evening of musical theatre at its finest.
Last year we presented a special musical event called Hey, Old Friend: Sondheim at 85 in this same format, bringing together singers and dancers from all over the River Region, and it was a sold-out hit. The celebrated, talented director Randy Foster has once again gathered an ensemble of some of Montgomery’s finest talent to bring Kander and Ebb’s music and spirit to life, and the ever-innovative Alex Katz brings us choreography. It’s hard not to dance to the music of this brilliant musical duo!
The Cloverdale Playhouse’s acclaimed production of Cabaret in our 2012 Season was an audience favorite, and you’ll see and hear some familiar performances from that show (which was also directed by Randy Foster and choreographed by Alex Katz) along with many other gems as we celebrate the music of John Kander and Fred Ebb, the legendary Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy Award-winning songwriting team. Their Broadway shows include Cabaret, Chicago, Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Act, Curtains, and The Scottsboro Boys and timeless songs including “New York, New York,” “All That Jazz,” “Money Makes the World Go Around,” “Say Yes,” and “Maybe This Time.”
Doug’s 2 Salon - Spa is graciously sponsoring this special event. The proceeds from Life is a Cabaret: a Kander and Ebb Revue will be used to provide scholarships for children to participate in classes at the Cloverdale Playhouse school and for public school teachers to participate in professional development training in the arts at Summer Institute 2016 presented by the Alabama Institute for Education in the Arts. This is the second year of this collaboration between the Playhouse and AIEA.
So come to the Cloverdale Playhouse April 3 and 4 at 7:30pm , tap your toes, have a ball, and support the arts in education in our community! Tickets are available online here or by calling the Box Office at (334) 262-1530. Tickets are $15/ general admission.
We're breaking ground and growing!
Please join us! On Wednesday, March 23 at 2pm, we are getting out the shovels and celebrating our expansion: the Courtyard Stage! The new outdoor stage will host Playhouse School Classes, rehearsals, special events, and live music.
Goodwyn Mills and Cawood designed the new use of the space, and Foshee Design and Construction are making it a reality.
The Courtyard Stage has been given a generous start by the J.K. Lowder Family Foundation and the Alabama State Council on the Arts, but we need community support like yours to make this a 100% successful project that will allow us to expand our Playhouse School Classes, our community theater productions, and our special events.
Please join us at the Groundbreaking and/ or become a Courtyard Stage Sponsor online.
To give by check, please mail to Cloverdale Playhouse at 960 Cloverdale Road, Montgomery, AL 36106. (334) 262-1530
Gifts of any amount will help us reach our goal! Thank you!