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Summer dinner theatre opens June 17

Released: 05/31/2005

LSU Alexandria’s Empty Space Players will present the musical revue “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris” for its summer dinner theatre offering June 17-19 and 24-26.

Six singers/actors have been cast for the show: Veronica Chevalier of Bunkie, Kayce King of Dallas, Erin Plauche of Phoenix, Ariz., Micah Vittetoe of Leesville, Christopher Ware of Baton Rouge and Richard Gwartney of Alexandria, who also is directing the performance. Former director of theatre at LSU Alexandria, Gwartney is chair of the university’s Department of Arts, English & Humanities and a well-known Central Louisiana theatre director and performer.

Michael Rorex of Natchitoches will serve as musical director and accompanist. Yolande Thornhill of Franklin, Penn., is stage manager, Belle Rollins of Pineville is costume coordinator, Ann McDowell of Alexandria is technical crew chief, Karen Slatten of Alexandria is house manager and Jim Stacy of Alexandria is the producer.

Jacques Brel is a Belgian composer/lyricist whose songs are a mixture of Broadway, cabaret, folk music, jazz, light rock and art song. His lyrics are about bulls, a carousel, sailors, old age, youth, loneliness, a statue, death, marathons, a funeral and love. Each song is a character piece, calling on both singing and acting abilities, Gwartney said.

The revue ran for nearly 2,000 performances off-Broadway in the late 1960s and is still popular at theatres around the country.

Critic Clive Barnes wrote of the tunes: “Jacques Brel’s songs are impassionate and powerful, capable of stirring an audience almost to a frenzy, but they are also unusually poetic and beautiful, suggesting not only Kurt Weill but Lennon and McCartney in their more lyrical vein.”

Dinner service will begin at 7 p.m. and the show will perform at 8 p.m on the Hearn Stage of the Kress Theatre in the Rapides Foundation Building in downtown Alexandria. Copeland’s will be catering the meal.

For information on tickets, please call 473-6467 or 473-6581.