BY LARRY BLOCK –
After the close of a very good 2013, The Ouachita Little Theatre (OLT) is gearing up for an even better 2014. In addition to the three traditional plays and four Saturday Nights at the Lyric (SNL), there are a number of exciting new forms of entertainment and activities planned for the community, but to begin the new year, on January 11, the first of the SNL’s, The OLT Goes Dancing 2014 will showcase local dancing talent, followed by a Dance Workshop on January 12 at Vivian Bartow’s Next Generation Dance Studio at 305 Dallas Avenue.
The recently formed Old Lyric Players, the OLT’s unit which enables seniors to perform plays without memorizing lines, will be one of three new elements added to what the OLT provides, this year. For the first time, this year, each of the plays that will be performed will also have a workshop component, which will help to train actors, and give more people a chance to participate in the plays. For example, the first play in 2014 is Murder in the Magnolias. There are three nights of rehearsal each week, Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Mondays are devoted to an expanded cast, which will participate in a workshop that may result in some of them actually performing onstage, in the play, in February.
The OLT is putting together a free entertainment activity for the community, which will be called Movie Night at the OLT. Classic movies, like A Streetcar Named Desire, and Sunset Boulevard, will be shown at the theater, at no charge to attendees. Another new series, featuring local and regional musicians, called Live at the OLT, will give the community the opportunity to see the best of local music, while the theater generates the technical recordings which will enable the musicians to produce their own “live” CD albums, for sale at events wherever they perform.
In addition to The OLT Goes Dancing 2014, the schedule for 2014 is already beginning to fill out. On January 18, An Evening With Brant will expose the community to the incredible piano playing and singing of recent arrival in Mena, Brant Fricker. On February 8, award-winning Elvis Presley tribute artist, Michael Culipher will return to the OLT with a live Elvis and Johnny Cash show called Cash and the King.
On February 14, Valentine’s Day, the first play of the year, Murder in the Magnolias, will be performed at Mena Mountain Resort, followed by three weekends of performances at the OLT. On April 25 – 27 and May 2-4, the annual OLT musical, this year, Annie, will be performed. Over the rest of the year there will be quarterly SNL’s, Lum and Abner radio shows, performed, this time, in Janssen Park, a Junior OLT summer play, the fall play, Bell, Book, & Candle, plus a Christmas holiday play performed in early December. In addition, there will be the performances by the Old Lyric Players, Live at the OLT, and musical theater rental shows, so it looks like it’s going to be another great, exciting year for the community at the OLT. For more information call the OLT Info Line at (479) 243-0186, or visit the OLT website, www.oltmena.com.