OPAS presenting 'A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder' on Tuesday and Wednesday

The cast of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder react to the antics onstage. Presented at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday by MSC OPAS in Rudder Auditorium, the hit musical features James Taylor Odom as Lord Adalbert D’Ysquith, in red, and Blake Price, far right, as Monty Navarro. Tickets range from $25 to $85 and are available at the MSC Box Office, by calling 979-845-1234 or online at www.MSCOPAS.org.

Who hasn't dreamed of inheriting a fortune when a relative dies? Monty Navarro has such a dream, but he is several people removed from being heir to the family fortune. To increase his chances, Navarro decides to eliminate the eight relatives who stand between him and his money. He also has to juggle his relationships with his fiancée and his mistress.

That's the basic plot of A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder, the Tony Award winning musical MSC OPAS will bring to the Rudder Auditorium stage at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. This will be a must-see event!

A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder was nominated for 10 Tony Awards in 2014, winning for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical, Best Direction of a Musical and Best Costume Design. It also was named Best Musical from the Drama League, Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle. Now, the Second National Tour comes to the Brazos Valley.

Based on a 1907 novel, Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal by Roy Horniman, Gentleman's Guide is full of manic action, great music and lots and lots of fun.

Blake Price will star as Monty Navarro. In a special twist, James Taylor Odom will portray all eight of the D'Ysquith heirs that must be done in order for Navarro to receive his fortune.

Christopher Isherwood of The New York Times called Gentleman's Guide "among the most inspired and entertaining new musicals."

The Hollywood Reporter said Gentleman's Guide "restores our faith in musical comedy!"

Tickets range from $25 to $85 and are available at the MSC Box Office on the first floor of Rudder Tower, by calling 979-845-1234 or online at www.MSCOPAS.org.

Classic Cat

Whenever we list the greatest American dramas, surely Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof ranks near the very top.

Williams, who also wrote The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire and Sweet Bird of Youth, among others, always thought of Cat as his favorite. It won the 1955 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and was named Best American Play by the New York Drama Critics' Circle that same year. It was nominated for Best Play, Best Director and two other Tony Awards in 1956. On Thursday, StageCenter, the area's oldest community theater, will open its version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and it should be an amazing experience. StageCenter has shown a knack for top-notch productions of some of the world's greatest dramas, in addition to its lighter works and melodramas.

Cat will run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. for three weeks through Feb. 24. Tickets range from $12 to $14. All seats for Thursday performances are $10. They are available online at www.stagecenter.net or at the door if any remain.

The cast includes Lucas Ybarra as Lacey, Chandler Cartwright as Sookey, Armineh Davis as Margaret, Cody R. Arn as Brick, Kelsie Kullman as Mae, Max Lampo as Gooper, Cindy Roberts as Big Mama, Hanna Prince as Dixie, Logan Joiner as Buster, Eleanor Garrison-Tate as Sunnie, Madison Marley as Trixie, Jeff Garrison-Tate as Big Daddy, John L. "Jay" Thompson as Rev. Tooker and Bill Murray as Dr. Baugh.

Director Leah Fletcher said, "The first show I was involved with at StageCenter in the early 1990s was a Rick Landmann-directed play: Tennessee William's Orpheous Descending.

"I got to do tech and was fascinated watching the drama unfold every night. Thus started my love of this writer's stories. I went on to assistant direct and act in various productions written by Williams and was fortunate enough to be able to direct A Streetcar Named Desire for StageCenter around 10 years ago.

"In Cat of a Hot Tin Roof, this southern family that Tennessee created is at a crucial moment. It all takes place during one evening where the family has gathered to celebrate Big Daddy Pollit's 65th birthday and his clean bill of health that he has received from the cancer clinic.

"But the family is dealing with the destructive, fatal power of lies which has been percolating through this family for decades up to this very night. They have difficulty being honest with each other about love, painful truths and mortality. Is it from a fear of being hurt or from not wanting to hurt others?

"Brick is torn by his disgust but is he being honest with himself about why he is upset? Maggie the Cat loves her husband but is struggling with how he is dealing with his pain. We have powerful women who are trying to protect their families in a mid-1950's world where they feel like they have few options."

Co-directors are Wanda Mason and Stacey Maines.

David Scott is script supervisor; Maines handles tech; Maines and Fletcher are in charge of sound; Ginny Garrison-Tate and the cast and crew handle costumes, with help from The Theatre Company; Cris Labyer, Francisco "Javi" Cardenas, Sabine R. Fletcher, Charles S. Fletcher Jr., Eleanor Segur and the cast and crew are taking care of props; And Rhoda Segur is in charge of craft services. Larry Ezell and Fletcher are in charge of lighting design; and Maggie McGraw, Wanda Mason and Fletcher handled set design.

Set construction is by Maggie McGraw, Sabine Ruth Fletcher, David Lander, Mason, Kendall Mason, Leesa Mason, Stacey Maines, Andrew Silanskas, Ezzell, John "Buck" Stephens, Lucas Ybarra, Cartwright, Lampo, Prince, Fletcher, Arn and Davis. McGraw serves as theater manager, and Vickie Carter is stage manager.

Fletcher said, "This drama, just as in life, also has laughter. The no-neck monsters, the children of Gooper and Mae, provide a backdrop of endless energy behind the emotional struggles happening between the various family members. Will they be able to break through and honestly communicate with each other after years of 'mendacity'?"

National debut

Navasota Theatre Alliance is known for producing delightful, interesting and power productions. Now, it will be able to had national debut to its list of accomplishments when it premiers Too Soon for Daisies by William Dinner and William Morum Friday night.

Described as a comedy thriller, Daisies revolves around three elderly English ladies who take a rowboat to escape from their retirement home. They manage to lose their oars and float down to an abandoned cottage in Trotley, a picture-perfect seaside town in Suffolk. The women dream of a life of freedom in the cottage when a man who claims to be the owner arrives and much confusion and hilarity issues.

The cast includes Janice Cross Kerlee as Freda Grey, Debbie Ferguson as Joy Philpotts, Elizabeth Huber as Edie Boggs, Worth Ferguson as Paul Vanderbloom, Myron Gross as Dr. John Hunter, Becky Jones Patek as Jackie Jackson, Silas Moores as Joe Pollop and Debbie Norris as The Policewoman.

Director Chaz Pitman said, "I love directing comedies. The timing has to be just right, the technical aspects have to be tighter and there are always opportunities for more creativity. Besides, I just love to laugh. I think that that love is reflected in the shows I've done."

Too Soon for Daisies will be presented at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through Feb. 24, as well as on Feb. 22. Matinees at 2 p.m. Sundays will run through Feb. 25, with an additional matinee on Feb. 24.

Tickets $14 for adults, $12 for seniors 65 and older and students, and $7 for children. They are available online at www.navasotatheatre.org or at the door if any remain.

StageCenter is located at 201-B W. 26th St. in Downtown Bryan, above Mr. G's Pizza.

Overtures

Today -- The Jungle Book, Brazos Valley TROUPE, 29th Street Studio, 3702 E. 29th St. in Bryan's Town & Country Center, 3 p.m. $7 to $20, available at www.eventbrite.com or at the door if any remain. (bvtroupe.com)

Today through Feb. 18 -- Arthur Miller's All My Sons, Unity Theatre, 300 Church St. in Brenham, 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays, $27, $15 for students. (unitybrenham.org)

Saturday-- KEOS Mardi Gras party fundraiser, 6-9 p.m., $25 suggested donation at the door, email bod@keos.org by Thursday for location and to RSVP.

Feb. 18 -- Bach, Buxtehude, and the Reformation concert sponsored by St. Thomas Episcopal Church and the Brazos Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 906 George Bush Drive in College Station, 5 p.m. free.

Feb. 23 through March 4 -- Camelot, The Theatre Company, behind JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts in Bryan's Tejas Center, $7 to $20. (www.theatrecompany.com)

Feb. 25 -- Russians and Ravel, Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra with special guests the Brazos Valley Chorale, 5 p.m., Rudder Auditorium, $13 to $39 in advance, MSC Box Office. (979-845-1234, www.bvso.org)

March 3 -- 15th Annual Art of Helping Children Gala sponsored by Voices for Children, 6 p.m., Brazos County Expo, $100. (vfcbrazos.org)

April 21 -- Annual Sundown Social sponsored by the Washington on the Brazos State Park Association at Rockin' Star Ranch in Brenham, featuring a steak dinner, cocktails and a performance by singer Dale Watson, 6 p.m. (979-830-1824 or office@wheretexasbecametexas.org)

Every Sunday -- Open mics and poetry slams sponsored by Mic Check Poetry, 8:30 p.m. Revolution Café in Downtown Bryan, (miccheckpoetry.com)

Items for Arts Watch should be emailed to robert.borden@theeagle.com. Deadline is noon Tuesday before the weekend you want it to run.

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