Who doesn't love a good, old-fashioned melodrama, especially one that parodies one of the great films of all time? That's what audiences will get this weekend when Brazos Valley TROUPE presents the hysterical Dirty Dealings in Dixie.

This is the third time TROUPE has presented the show by Craig Sodaro, who writes under the pen name of Sam Craig. There's a good reason for that, as the script is funny and smart and spot-on.

Dirty Dealings in Dixie will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, as well as at 3 p.m. on Jan. 26 and Feb. 1.

M.A. Sterling, TROUPE's managing/artistic director, said, "The 'fourth wall' of theatre is completely broken down with this hilarious spoof of the classic Gone With The Wind. It is parodied to perfection.

"The audience interaction in a classic melodrama is not only key to it's success, but it is absolutely paramount," Sterling said, adding, "There is special music that introduces certain characters when they enter. That music lets audience members know that they have a job to do. They are to feel for our heroine, cheer for our hero, whistle and catcall our vamp and boo and hiss our villain.

"It is way too much fun! There is a short 'training session' right before the show that teaches our audiences what to do," Sterling said.

As always at TROUPE, Dirty Dealings is family friendly for all ages. "It will be the most fun our audiences can have with this year's season," he said.

The talented cast includes Jamie Adams as Ashley Bilkes, Tyler Brinkman as Bret Butler, Sara Brittain as Lotta DePassion, Priscilla Villarreal as Charlotte O'Mara and Mary Kate Walker as Melody Bilkes.

Others in the cast include Larry Adams, Evan Bendiksen, Eileen Bradway, Annette Brittain, Rebecca Chase, Layla Cooper, Mariah Cooper, Grant Edens, Nick Heil, Tessa Jae, Trevor Jae, Becky Lane, Sandra Lys, Nita Marshall, Ray Marshall, Ray Paul Marshall, Stephen Marshall, Jensen McMurray, Michelle Moats, Mikayla Moats, Dallas Osburn, Nicolas Roman, Tony Teodoro and Isabella Virgl.

Executive Producer is Becky Lane, while Sterling serves as associate producer and Nicolas Roman is apprentice producer.

Set and scenic design is by Jason Moats, Leah Rush and Sterling. Costume design is by Jamie Adams and Mikalya Moats. Lighting design is by Lane and sound design is by Sterling. Molly Rush is handling hair and makeup design, while Nicolas Roman is properties master.

Dirty Dealings in Dixie is underwritten by Smith Dairy Queens, with special sponsorship by Dana Zachary Garcia.

Sodaro taught public school for 33 years and now writes full time. He has more than 60 plays in print.

Dirty Dealings has special meaning for Sterling, who said, "It brings back memories of my first production in community theatre with StageCenter. In fact, at the time, the StageCenter was only three doors down from where TROUPE is today.

"Morgen Rose was my director and Wanda Daisa, of course, my mentor. This show is dedicated to Wanda, a TROUPE founder and stage legend who always will be a treasure to us. We miss her still, tremendously."

Premium tables will be available for $25 per person or $80 for four. Special perks for premium seating include front row-seating, free popcorn (to eat or to throw), a special show souvenir and table snacks and drinks.

Other tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for TROUPE members and $6 for youth 2 through 12. Reserved seating is available to all TROUPE members who call 979-846-4903 or email bvttix@yahoo.com up to three hours prior to curtain time. TROUPE's box office opens 30 minutes prior to curtain time; special presale hours for tickets will be from 6-7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays this week and next.

Dirty Dealings in Dixie will be performed at TROUPE's 29th Street Studio at 3705 E. 29th St. in Bryan's Town & Country Center.

A bit of Argentina

Te Amo, Argentina, a multi-media performance inspired by the life of cellist Antonio Lysy comes to Texas A&M University Tuesday, presented by the Academy for the Visual & Performing Arts.

This special program will be presented at 8 p.m. in Rudder Theatre. Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for general admission; they are available from the MSC Box Office at 979-845-1234 or online at boxoffice.tamu.edu.

Formerly known as Music from Argentina, Te Amo Argentina is an homage to Argentina and its many art forms. Projected artwork, custom animations, and tango dancers accompany the music, celebrating the diverse influences on the composers. Through recordings of Antonio Lysy' voice, the performance also tells the story of his musical and cultural identity.

The influences on Lysy's life include his father, violinist and director Alberto Lysy, who returned frequently to his native Argentina. It was through his travels with his father that Lysy was exposed to the music of that country, including the tango.

Miriam Larici and Leonardo Barrionuevo, stars of Broadway's Forever Tango, will blend traditional tango with ballet and modern dance during Tuesday's performance.

Te Amo Argentina premiered to sold-out audiences in April of 2012 at Santa Monica's Broad Stage, and dazzled concert goers at the Sunset Center as part of Chamber Music Monterey Bay.

According to its website (academyarts.tamu.edu), the Academy for the Visual and Performing Arts provides arts opportunities to students, faculty and staff of Texas A&M University as well as the larger Bryan-College Station community. The academy primarily produces guest artists residencies and public performances and offers grants to support faculty research and curriculum development relating to its mission.

Beautiful music

Pair a charismatic young violinist with a major work by a brilliant American composer, add in our own magnificent Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra and you have a recipe for what is sure to be another great musical experience.

Brian Lewis will join with the Brazos Valley Symphony to perform Leonard Bernstein's Serenade at 5 p.m. Jan. 26 in Rudder Theatre on the campus of Texas A&M University. Lewis last performed with the Symphony on Ludwig van Beethoven's Triple Concerto in 2009.

Marcelo Bussiki, Brazos Valley Symphony music director and conductor, said of the upcoming concert, "I think that we couldn't have had a better soloist to interpret this work. Brian Lewis' acute sensibility to the music's many shades of emotion and the technique required to master the piece are a must for any violinist attempting to perform this work.

"Additionally, Brian has a profound knowledge of the work, as evidenced in his 2006 recording of it with the London Symphony."

Indeed, the reviews for Lewis have been almost as thrilling as his talent. The Topeka (Kansas) Capital-Journal raved. "There are a lot of fine violinists on the concert stage today, but few can match Lewis for an honest virtuosity that supremely serves the music,"

"Lewis' playing was exquisite and his cadenza glowed gorgeously as he articulated every note. ... His efforts were received with a lasting standing ovation," declared the Press and Sun-Bulletin in Binghamton, N.Y.

Charles Ward of the Houston Chronicle said, "[Lewis'] performance was vigorous and exciting, and Luke Quinton of austin360.com said, "With a large vibrato, Lewis' tone sang beautifully through the work, projecting nicely above the orchestra."

Titled Serendipitous Serenades, the concert will include Romanza, Op. 56a by Walligford Riegger, Serenade, Op. 25 by Arthur Foote and Adagio for Strings, Op. 11 by Samuel Barber.

Bussiki said, "Although this entire program is based on adagios and serenades, what is really behind the surface is a program with highly varied emotionality. The first part is mostly intimate, contemplative and meditative while the second part departs into a profoundly intense mood carried by Bernstein's Serenade."

Lewis began his violin studies at age 4, participating in the Ottawa Suzuki Strings program led by his mother, Alice Joy Lewis. He holds a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from The Julliard School and currently holds the David and Mary Winton Green Chair in String Performance and Pedagogy at The University of Texas at Austn, where he is a professor of violin.

For the past two years, Lewis has been the Class of '57 Visiting Professor of Music at the Yale School of Music.

Lewis performs on a Grand Frères violin made in Paris in 1863.

At 4 p.m. on Jan. 26, Ann Thompson, a lecturer for Houston Grand Opera, will conducting a free talk in the Rudder Forum, next to the Theatre.

Tickets are $34 for adults and $12 for students and are available at the MSC Box Office in the lobby of Rudder Tower, by calling 979-845-1234 or going online to boxoffice.tamu.edu. They will be available the night of the concert at a higher price.

Great Gatsby

The carefree days of the 1920s will roar again Saturday night when Gatsby, the 2014 OPAS Gala takes over the Brazos County Expo from 6:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. All proceeds benefit MSC OPAS.

Hosted by OPAS Encore, the black-tie event will include entertainment by the Emerald City, which burst on the Dallas music scene more than 30 years ago. The band plays everything from pop classics to the new music of today, along with a mix of original tunes. Emerald City has been named as Dallas' Best Band by the Dallas Morning News. Band members have performed at the Bush White House and the high-profile weddings of Emmitt Smith, Mark Cuban and Angie Harmon.

Catering will be by Christopher's World Grille. Complimentary valet parking will be provided by the dedicated folks with Texas A&M CARPOOL,

Tickets are $150 each and seating is limited. For more information, email opasencore@gmail.com or go to OPASgala.com.

Cochairs of the gala are Kara and Mike Holmgreen and Karen and Andy Winn. To see if any seats remain, call Kara Holmgreen at 979-218-7801 or Karen Winn at 979-255-6836.

Top prize

Victoria Castillo of College Station has captured first prize in the 44th Annual River Road Show at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge. She won for her painting Against the Light.

The national juried exhibit was on display from Nov. 13 to Dec. 19 and international artist, author and teacher Judi Betts served as judge. Miguel Malagon won second place and Suzanne Wolf, third.

This is the second time Castillo has won the top prize, previously winning in 2011.

Castillo is a fulltime professional artist who works mostly in oils. She moved to Texas in 2007 with her husband, Jasen Castillo, who teaches at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. She is represented by the Kyle House Gallery in Bryan and the Abend Gallery in Denver.

Against the Light shows the profile of a woman bathed in cool light from a window. She said when completing the painting, she kept in mind the words of Emile Carlsen: "In good work the contours are never sharp and hard, light and color play over them, and still, by their light relations to the surrounding objects, they hold firmly their place."

Castillo comes by her love of art naturally. Her mother is an interior designer and her father built wood items in his workshop. Her relatives include an architect, a concert violinist and a glass artisan. She studied art at Washington & Lee University and the University of Maryland. She has lived and worked in the United States and in Europe.


• Today -- Last performance of Jesus Christ Superstar, 2 p.m., The Theatre Company behind JoAnn Fabrics in Bryan's Tejas Center, tickets $25 at the theater box office, which opens at 1 p.m.

• Thursday -- Opening reception for The Floating World, 5:30-7:30 p.m., refreshments and a Japanese flute performance by Martin P. Regan, assistant professor of music at Texas A&M, the Stark Galleries in the Memorial Student Center. (979-845-6081)

• Saturday -- Japanese Storytelling Workshop, 2 p.m., Stark Galleries in the Memorial Student Center at Texas A&M, original Japanese stories will be told to children of all ages, followed by a Manga Form Drawing workshop. (979-845-6081)

• Through March 15 -- Fear & Folly: The Visionary Works of Francisco Goya and Federico Castellon, presented by the MSC Visual Arts Committee, The Reynolds Gallery in the Memorial Student Center, Tuesdays through Fridays 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.


1. Dirty Dealings

Photo courtesy of Brazos Valley TROUPE

The cast of Dirty Dealings in Dixie are preparing for the melodrama, a parody of Gone With the Wind that will be presented for the next two weekends at Brazos Valley TROUPE.

2. Two photos for Victoria Castillo


Photo by Pedro Arrechea

College Station artist Victoria Castillo, left, visits with international artist Judi Betts, who awarded Castillo first place in the 44th Annual River Road Show at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge.


Against the Light, an oil painting by College Station artist Victoria Castillo took first place at the 44th Annual River Road Show at the Louisiana State Archives in Baton Rouge last month.

3. One photo of Te Amo, Argentina

Photo courtesy of the Academy of the Visual & Performing Arts

The Academy for the Visual & Performing Arts at Texas A&M University will present Te Amo, Argentina, a multimedia experience based on the experiences of cellist Antonio Lysy, at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Rudder Theatre. Tickets, available from the MSC Box Office, are $5 for students and $10 for general admission.

4. Symphony

Your choice of three mugs of Brian Lewis.


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