Cultural Art Happenings
 March 2014  
Our office has seen a whirlwind of activity these last few weeks!
We shipped a 6-foot-tall sculpture of Nicholas St. North (AKA Santa Claus) to a New Mexico foundry to be bronzed. Bob Phillips and the "Texas Country Reporter" crew filmed a story on the sculpture's creator, Steve Neves, and the other Guardians of Childhood he has created in honor of the William Joyce characters. These will be unveiled during the Children's Art & Literacy Festival in June!

We've had two great Broadway shows so far this new year - Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" was sold out! "Hair" brought out the love, peace and rock 'n' roll. Our final show for the season is "Hello, Dolly!" starring Sally Struthers on April 3.

I hope you will tune into the Academy Awards pre-show March 2. Abilene's very own Jess Cagle will be working the red carpet. He was recently named editorial director of both PEOPLE and Entertainment Weekly - the two most popular celebrity magazines in the world! He'll be in Abilene on Oct. 18 to receive a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award from us during a special event that will also benefit our HeARTS for the ARTS program. You won't want to miss this unforgettable night!  
 

Artfully Yours,

Lynn Barnett

Executive Director

Abilene Cultural Affairs Council 

325.677.1161 

Q&A with Dean Nolen: From Broadway to teaching, directing

A man of many talents, Dean Nolen not only directs, acts and teaches theater, he's a writer and documentary producer. He has a Master of Fine Arts in acting from Yale University. He's traveled to Russia to perform with the St. Petersburg State Theatre Arts Academy. And the Hardin-Simmons University theater professor (who's also an HSU alum) has originated roles on and off Broadway. Nolen is directing HSU's newest production, the Sondheim musical "Sweeney Todd" about a murderous barber and his sinister partnership with a fellow tenant, Mrs. Lovett. The musical is 7:30 p.m. March 27-29 and April 3-5 and 2 p.m. March 30  and April 6 at Van Ellis Theatre. Tickets are $10 general admission; $7 military/seniors/students and $5 HSU employees and students.

Q. Why did you choose Sweeney Todd?
A. Sondheim is my favorite composer/lyricist by far, and "Sweeney," an epic, old-fashioned love story disguised as a big melodrama with a little "Grand-Guignol" thrown in for good measure, is Sondheim at his very best. I've been waiting to do a piece as sophisticated as "Sweeney" until our program had grown to a place to meet the challenge ... and that time has come.
Q. What can people expect from this show?
A. Clear, honest storytelling through brilliant music performed by the HSU Orchestra (conducted by Dr. Peter Isaacson) and absolutely beautiful voices from students in our Musical Theatre program. Ours is a more intimate approach than most ... not quite as spare as the more recent John Doyle version, but very accessible and personal.
Q. What is your favorite show?
A. My favorite play is Chekhov's The Seagull because as a young artist, I certainly related to Konstantin's youthful insecurities and his need to be relevant and to fight for change ... and, no matter how old I get, on many levels, I always will. Art is created out of our need to relate to others, often through exploring our worst fears or our greatest triumphs, and The Seagull does just that, confirming the fragile yet intrepid nature of simply being human.
Q. How do you motivate your students?
A. It's important that they know the demands of a career in the entertainment industry, so I'm very clear on the level of professional competition they will face; the adversity and the triumphs. I'm insistent that they cultivate a strong work ethic; and they can't be afraid to break a sweat and commit fully to their craft. I believe reality is the greatest motivator...and that's how I keep it...real.
Q. When did you know you loved theater?
A. In third grade, we took a field trip (remember those?) to see a production of "Johnny Appleseed" at Casa Manana in Fort Worth ... and I don't think I blinked for an hour. Actors came running down the aisle in the dark and suddenly appeared on stage ... and I was hooked!
Q. What is your dream role or project?
A. That's a tough question to answer as the list is long and continues to grow. I'd love to play Vanya in Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya," or Amos Hart in "Chicago," or tackle Salieri in "Amadeus" again. Also wish I were young enough to play Konstantin or Tom Wingfield in Williams' "The Glass Menagerie." But I have to stop there...
Chorus Abilene hosts Abilene Idol 2014 singing contest 20134
Come dazzle the judges with your singing ability for Abilene Idol 2014! Auditions are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 1 or until the first 100 contestants have sung. Each contestant has two minutes to impress a panel of three judges. The judges will select the Final Fifteen, who will compete at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 22 at the Historic Paramount Theatre. First place is $500; second place is $300 and third place is $100. Auditioners can sing any style of music. The pre-paid audition fee is $20 or register on site for $25.
Abilene Idol is a singing competition that raises money to benefit young singers of Chorus Abilene. With three choirs for singers in grades first through 12th, Chorus Abilene educates voices, hearts, and minds through music.
Nothing is sacrosanct when Anthony Huff's creative juices flow
Anthony Huff was the son of a professional horse trainer. But his mother was determined he would have a different life.
Now Huff is a working artist talented in several areas, including painting, collage and mixed media. His work will be on display in the Jane Breed Gallery of The Center for Contemporary Arts from March 4 to April 26 in an exhibit titled "A Leo H: The Art of Anthony Huff." Huff's work has evolved through the years to include painting, collage, and mixed media works. Nothing is sacrosanct when his creative juices start to flow. Huff develops the surface of his pieces through the use of magazines, books, text, joss paper, oil bars and found objects. The exhibit reception is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday, March 7. It will also be the reception for "The Face of India" by Ellie Hamby (Photo Gallery), and "Fractured Figurations" by Kimberly Schaefer (Gallery 4).
Abilene Cultural Affairs Council to honor PEOPLE's top editor
Jess Cagle, a 1983 Cooper High School graduate, will co-host his fifth Academy Awards pre-show, which will air at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 2 on ABC (KTXS TV). On Oct. 18, Cagle will be honored by the Abilene Cultural Affairs Council with a Lifetime Achievement in the Arts Award. He was named editorial director of PEOPLE magazine and Entertainment Weekly earlier this year and frequently appears on television.
"An Evening on the Red Carpet with Hollywood's Jess Cagle" will benefit the council's HeARTS for the ARTS grants program. The evening includes an elegant dinner and drinks, awards presentation and Jess sharing celebrity stories and how he climbed the industry's ranks to become one of the most recognized entertainment journalists in the country. The evening concludes with bubbly and dessert. Tickets for the event are $125 or $1,000 for a table of eight. Tickets for Jess' speech at Paramount and the dessert reception only are $20. To buy tickets, email kimmy@abilenecac.org
Philharmonic concert at Paramount stars Broadway singer

Texas-born Broadway star Christine Hudman will sing with Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra's Maestro David Itkin at the piano during a special benefit concert this month. The concert is at 8 p.m. Friday, March 7 at the Historic Paramount Theatre, 352 Cypress St. Tickets start at $25.  

Christine grew up in the Abilene area and graduated with a degree in theater and music from McMurry University, where she performed in several productions. She also performed at the Paramount Theatre. She went on to study in New York and has appeared in several Broadway productions. Hudman appeared in more than 1,000 performances of the national tour of "Grease" as Rizzo. She has performed all over the world, from Japan to Alaska and has done numerous voice-overs. She was most recently seen on the Fox channel singing backup to Kristin Chenoweth on the American Country Music Awards. 

ArtWalk's "Young at Art" will juggle bubbles and fire
Spring represents youth ... and those who have a youthful spirit will be performing in Cypress Street (in Minter Park and in front of The Center for Contemporary Arts) to celebrate during this month's ArtWalk starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 13. The event will feature Baby Ballerinas from Dance Ltd., SkyWatch, Abilene's own LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) organization, a performance by Chorus Abilene Youth, Giant Bubbles by the Abilene Christian University Department of Engineering and Physics, and a book signing of the "hot off the press" "MerBabies" by Abilene's Debra O'Neal. When darkness falls, you can see Michael Clyde juggle fire.
There will be a Make 'N Take Art Activity at The Grace Museum, the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature and the Abilene Public Library. Come see the new Center and Grace exhibits. Also opening is the Allen Say exhibit at the NCCIL. ArtWalk is a monthly program of the Center.
Allen Say shares artistic journey in new NCCIL exhibit
Allen Say grew up in Japan during World War II. His family moved often, and the constant change of homes and schools made him uncomfortable. His escape was drawing and reading. Today, Say, 76, is a prolific children's book author and illustrator whose awards include the prestigious Caldecott Medal. His work will be on display at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature in downtown Abilene through May 30. "A Sense of Place: The Art of Allen Say" contains original artwork from Say's many books and 28 pieces of art on loan from the artist never before exhibited. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art organized the core of the exhibit.
Say, who rarely makes public appearances, will be in Abilene at the NCCIL at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 10 to talk about his art and life and to sign books. 
Catch McMurry's rib-tickling farce "See How They Run"  

So swift is the action, so involved the situations, so rib-tickling the plot in McMurry University's "See How They Run" that when it's over, the audience is left exhausted from laughter. Galloping in and out of the four doors of an English vicarage are an American actor and actress, a cockney maid who has seen too many American movies, an old maid who "touches alcohol for the first time in her life," four men in clergyman suits presenting the problem of which is which, for disguised as one is an escaped prisoner, and a sedate Bishop aghast at all these goings on and the trumped up stories they tell him. "See How They Run" is written by Philip King and directed by McMurry student Derek Salazar. It starts at 7:30 p.m. March 20-22 at Ryan Little Theatre. Admission is $5 for the general public and $2.50 for McMurry students, faculty and staff.

Robert Earl Keen headlines Outlaws and Legends festival
The fourth annual Outlaws and Legends Music Festival benefiting the Ben Richey Boys Ranch returns March 28-30 to the new Back Porch of Texas located just north of Interstate 20. This year will be bigger and better than the last three years, which has averaged 6,000 plus Texas music fans, more than 200 sold out RVs, 40 Tailgates, and 300 VIP patrons from all over the U.S. The artist lineup this year includes headline Robert Earl Keen, Leon Russell, Abilene's own Mark Powell & Lariat, Cooder Graw, Jason Boland, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Gary P. Nunn, Billy Joe Shaver and more. For ticket information and event details, go to http://outlawsandlegends.com.
2014 C.A.L.F. festival website, registration now live
Tickets are on sale for the 2014 Children's Art & Literacy Festival! The website is live and the registration page is open at www.abilenecalf.com. The festival is June 12-14 in downtown Abilene and celebrates the art of William Joyce, whose original work will be on display at the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature and The Center for Contemporary Arts. Two recent movies based on his books: "Rise of the Guardians" and "Epic."

New this year is an optional concert at the Paramount Theatre featuring Grammy nominated Trout Fishing in America. Festival registration is $7 for kids and $10 for adults through May 1 and includes dramatic readings, costume contest, movie festival, live animals, Easter egg hunts, sculpture unveilings, art exhibits, crafts, train rides and more! Festival passes after May 1 are $10 for kids and $15 for adults.  

BOOK BUZZ: Texas Author Series features six writers
The 2014 Texas Author Series sponsored by Friends of the Library will feature six authors speaking at the downtown Abilene Public Library this spring. The free programs start at noon. Lunch is available for $5 or you may bring your own.
March 3 - Dan Utley, co-author of "History Along the Way" and "History Ahead."
March 10 - Leila Meacham, author of "Somerset" and the hit prequel "Roses."
March 24 - Margaret Hoogstra on the new "Texas Forts Trail" coffee-table book.
March 31Laurence Parent on his pictures from "Texas: Portrait of a State."

April 7 - Professor and poet Bob Fink on his new collection, "Strange You Never Knew."


 

March 1 -  Survival Class 

9-11 a.m.

Survival Class #3: Foraging and Orienteering. $10 per person.

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ www.tfhcc.com 

 

March 1, Abilene Idol 2014 

10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Compete in "Abilene Idol 2014" at the Dillard's Courtyard in the Mall of Abilene. They will allow 100 contestants to sing for two minutes to wow the three judges, which includes last year's winner Monique Rosario Goff. At the end of the day, the final 15 will be announced. They will compete March 22 for top three places and cash prizes. Pre-register for $20; on-site registration $25.

Chorus Abilene

1174 North 1st St. │ 325.673.SING │ www.chorusabilene.net 

 

March 1 - "100 Saints You Should Know"
The studio premier of the student-directed show "100 Saints You Should Know." Three characters struggle with identity and spiritual issues.

ACU Theatre Box Office

EN 10th St. & Judge Ely │ 325.674.ARTS │ www.acu.edu 

 

March 1 - Fusion Showcase

Fusion students in high school perform at Hardin-Simmons University.

Abilene Performing Arts Company, Inc.

1049 Industrial Blvd, Suite 200 │ 325.437.2486 │www.apacstars.com

 

March 3 - Texas Author Series

12 p.m. 

Historian Dan Utley, co-author of History Along the Way and History Ahead, two books of stories behind some of the state's historical markers, will kick off the series. Free program. Light lunches available for $5 or bring your own. Books by the featured authors will be available for purchase and signing. The 2014 Texas Author Series sponsored by Friends of the Library features six authors speaking at the downtown Abilene Public Library this spring.

 

March 4 - Los Aficionados meeting 

11:30 a.m.

Volunteer support group for The Grace Museum.
(Reservation required; Lunch is $12)

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │ www.thegracemuseum.org

 

March 4 - Spring Orchestra Concert

7:30 p.m. at Cullen Auditorium

Abilene Christian University's Music Department   

ACU Drive │ 674.2199 │ www.acu.edu/academics/cas/music/ 

 

March 6 - Tot Spot 

9:30 and 11 a.m.

Tot Spot for children and parents. Reservation required; $5 per participant; free to museum members.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │ www.thegracemuseum.org

 

March 6 - Adult Art Class 

7:30 p.m.

Reservations required.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │ www.thegracemuseum.org

 

March 6 - HSU Band Concert 

7:30 p.m. Behrens Auditorium. Free.

Hardin-Simmons University

2200 Hickory St. │ 325.670.1000 │ www.hsutx.edu 

 

March 7 - Tot Spot 

9:30 and 11 a.m.

Tot Spot for children and parents. Reservation required; $5 per participant; free to museum members.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │ www.thegracemuseum.org

 

March 7 - Art Adventure

10:30 a.m.

Monthly art and reading event for children ages 2-5. Reservations requested.

National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature
102 Cedar St. │ 325.673.4586 │ www.nccil.org  

 

March 7 - "The Face of India" exhibit reception
5:30-7:30 p.m.
Reception for Ellie Hamby's photography exhibit. Sponsored by David and Laura Copeland. Exhibit ends March 22.
The Center for Contemporary Arts
220 Cypress St. │ 325.677.8389 │ www.center-arts.com  


March 7 - Special concert with Christine Hudman

8 p.m. Paramount Theatre

Christine Hudman is a Broadway star who got her start in Abilene and graduated from McMurry University. She performs with the Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra's Maestro Itkin at the piano.

Abilene Philharmonic Orchestra 

401 Cypress #520 │ 677.6710 │www.abilenephilharmonic.org 

 

March 8 - Chautauqua Learning Series

11-12 p.m.

Presentation by Fort Griffin Fandangle crew.

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ www.tfhcc.com 

 

March 10 - Texas Author Series

12 p.m. 

San Antonio novelist Leila Meacham will visit Abilene as part of the book tour for her new novel Somerset, a prequel to her 2010 best-seller, Roses. Free program. Light lunches available for $5 or bring your own. Books by the featured authors will be available for purchase and signing. The 2014 Texas Author Series sponsored by Friends of the Library features six authors speaking at the downtown Abilene Public Library this spring.

 

March 13 - ArtWalk

5-8 p.m. Downtown Abilene

The Center for Contemporary Arts hosts this monthly arts celebration that involves the downtown community as restaurants, shops and galleries throw open their doors and stay late. Unique events planned each month.

 

March 13 - Free Make 'N Take Art Activity 

5-8 p.m. during ArtWalk

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │ www.thegracemuseum.org

 

March 14-15 - Paramount Film Series: "Adam's Rib"

7:30 p.m. Friday; 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday

6:30 p.m. Friday: Robert Holladay lecture

Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn ignite this sparkling comedy of the sexes about two attorneys on opposite sides of a high-profile murder case. Tickets are $6 for adults and $5 for students/seniors/military/children.

Historic Paramount Theatre

352 Cypress │ 325.676.9620 │ www.paramount-abilene.org 

 

March 15 - Survival Class  

9-11 a.m.

Survival Class #4: Self Defense and Wilderness First Aid. Instructors are Abilene Zombie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Bryan Mayer. $10 per person.

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ www.tfhcc.com 

 

March 16 - Military Appreciation Day 

Noon-5 p.m.

All military (active and retired) and their families receive free admission.

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ www.tfhcc.com 

 

March 16 - Craft Sunday  

2-4 p.m.

Craft Sunday for children under 12. They receive free admission and participate in a frontier craft. Today's is brown bag kites.

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ www.tfhcc.com 

 

March 16 - Leslie Spot piano concert

4 p.m.

2013-14 Concert Series at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest.

602 Meander │ 325.677.2091 │www.heavenlyrestabilene.org 

 

March 18 - HSU Music Recital 

7:30 p.m.

Vianey Gonzalez and David Spruiell, Euphonium/Trombone recital at the Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall. Free.

Hardin-Simmons University.

2200 Hickory St. │ 325.670.1000 │ www.hsutx.edu 

 

March 19 - Mid-Month Movie Matinee: "The Art of Tea" 

Noon to 1 p.m. Gallery 4

Enjoy a short film about the "Art of Tea," and then experience the Tea Ceremony as an art form performed by Cara Hines and Bird Thomas.

The Center for Contemporary Arts

220 Cypress St. │ 325.677.8389 │ www.center-arts.com 

 

March 20 - Museum Matters 

6 p.m.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │ www.thegracemuseum.org

 

March 20 - An Evening with Jane Jenkins Herlong 

7 p.m. Paramount Theatre

The Abilene Woman's Club annual spring benefits presents an evening of stories, songs and laughter from Jane's latest book, "Bury Me with My Pearls." Her presentation will inspire you to meet life's challenges with grace and humor. Tickets are $40. For information, contact the Abilene Woman's Club at 325-698-1768.

 

March 20-22 - "See How They Run"

7:30 p.m. at Ryan Little Theatre

Play by Philip King. Directed by Derek Salazar. Admission is $5 for the general public and $2.50 for McMurry students, faculty and staff.

McMurry University Box Office

Sayles Blvd. & Hunt St. 325.793.3889 www.mcm.edu 

 

March 21 - HSU Music Recital 

7:30 p.m.

Senior Composers Recital at the Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall. Free.

Hardin-Simmons University.

2200 Hickory St. │ 325.670.1000 │ www.hsutx.edu 

 

March 22 - Project Mom

8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Abilene Civic Center

Women's expo and parenting seminar and shopping promenade. Tickets are $15 and include a swag bag of gifts.

Go to www.projectmom.com for more information.

 

March 22 - Last day for "The Face of India" exhibit
A photography exhibit by Ellie Hamby.
The Center for Contemporary Arts
220 Cypress St. │ 325.677.8389 │ www.center-arts.com  

 

March 22 - Abilene Idol finale

7 p.m. Paramount Theatre

The 15 finalists in the "Abilene Idol" contest will compete for the top three places and cash prizes. Tickets are $10. Abilene Idol 2013 Monique Rosario Goff will also perform. Proceeds benefit Chorus Abilene programming for young singers in grades first to 12th.

Chorus Abilene

1174 North 1st St. │ 325.673.SING │ www.chorusabilene.net 

 

March 24 - Texas Author Series

12 p.m.

Margaret Hoogstra, executive director of the Texas Forts Trail headquartered in Abilene, will speak about the new Texas Forts Trail coffee-table book featuring eight frontier forts and a Spanish presidio in West Texas. Free program. Light lunches available for $5 or bring your own. Books by the featured authors available for purchase and signing. The 2014 Texas Author Series sponsored by Friends of the Library features six authors speaking at the downtown Abilene Public Library this spring.

 

March 25 - blur: The Line Between Art and Craft 

9:30-11 a.m.

Reservation required.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │ www.thegracemuseum.org

 

March 25 - Slides of March concert 

7:30 p.m.

Free concert at the Woodward-Dellis Recital Hall.

Hardin-Simmons University.

2200 Hickory St. │ 325.670.1000 │ www.hsutx.edu 

 

March 27 - Book Reading in Children's Museum 

10 a.m.

Reservation required; no fee to attend, cost for book TBD.

The Grace Museum
102 Cypress St. │ 325.673.4587 │ www.thegracemuseum.org

 

March 27-29 and April 3-6 - "Sweeney Todd"

All shows at 7:30 p.m. except for April 6 at 2 p.m.

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Book by Hugh Wheeler. Directed by Ronald Dean Nolen. Musical Direction by Christopher Hollingsworth. Choreography by Teri Wilkerson. Tickets are $10 general admission; $7 military, seniors and students; and $5 for HSU staff, faculty and students.

Van Ellis Theatre at Hardin-Simmons University

2410 Cedar St. │ 325.670.1405 │ www.hsutx.edu/theatre

 

March 28-30 - 4th Annual Outlaws and Legends Music Fest

The music festival benefitting the Ben Richey Boys Ranch returns to the new Back Porch of Texas located just north of Interstate 20. This year will be bigger and better than the last three years, which has averaged 6,000 plus Texas music fans, more than 200 sold out RVs, 40 Tailgates, and 300 VIP patrons from all over the U.S. http://outlawsandlegends.com 

 

March 29 - Survival Class 

9-11 a.m.

Survival Class #5: Primitive Tools. Instructor is Ken Walker. $10 per person.

Buffalo Gap Historic Village

133 N. William St.│ 325.572.3365 │ www.tfhcc.com 

 

March 31 - Texas Author Series

12 p.m.

Noted photographer and author Laurence Parent of Wimberly will discuss and show pictures from his new book of photographs of Texas landscapes, Texas: Portrait of a State. Free program. Light lunches available for $5 or bring your own. Books by the featured authors available for purchase and signing. The 2014 Texas Author Series sponsored by Friends of the Library features six authors speaking at the downtown Abilene Public Library this spring.

 

 

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We want to hear from you! Please let us know what you would like to see included in this newsletter as well as any other ideas you have to strengthen Abilene's cultural arts community. Send your emails to Sidney Levesque at sidney@abilenecac.org 

or Executive Director Lynn Barnett 325.677.1161 / lynn@abilenecac.org