Best bets

Posted: Friday, March 03, 2000

There's more art and entertainment in Juneau this weekend than any one person could possibly see.

There are four plays, three new art exhibits, three dances, one dance performance and 14 chances to hear live music. Here's a look at a few of the events.

If your idea of an opening reception at an art gallery is people standing around in stuffy clothes eating little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, think again. Sometimes that's the case, and sometimes the artists feel a little awkward being on display along with their art. But really, it's like an art party. You're surrounded by art, you can learn about art, and you can talk to artists about their art.

There are two openings tonight, three blocks apart, both from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Artists Ken and Dan DeRoux are featured in a joint show at the Juneau Douglas City Museum. The brothers have long and illustrious careers as painters, but this is the first time they've ever shown together. Their work is not stuffy and neither are they.

I would also recommend the DeRouxs' slide show and presentation on painting from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, also at the city museum.

Paula Gregovich, Mary Stroeing and Terri Gallant are opening their show at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery tonight as well. It will be completely different from the show up the street, and you can make a little gallery walk of it.

Both shows will be up all month long. The arts council is open during the afternoons Monday through Friday. The city museum is free tonight and tomorrow, otherwise it's open just noon to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday during the winter. Admission is $2. The first Saturday of the month is always free.

``42nd Street'' opens tonight at Juneau-Douglas High School. I spent a few hours at rehearsal this week, and I can recommend the show. It's a huge production, well over two hours, with a big cast, and there are some real gems in there. I look forward to seeing the fully realized show. It will run five times total, twice this weekend and three times next weekend.

It's an interesting contrast to ``archy and mehitabel,'' which is into its third week at the Palace Theatre. This is a good weekend to go - the band and cast have hit their stride. It's a quirky musical, a love story, a cartoon strip, an allegory and a comedy all rolled together. It moves well and it's entertaining.

Keith Axt has nailed his part as archy. He's a good comic actor. He's playing a cockroach who writes poetry by jumping on typewriter keys. A lessor actor could slip into cartoon roachiness, or drop the roach and just play the sensitive poet, but Axt strikes just the right balance. It keeps it funny, and it's a lot more interesting.

We hear so many songs that are just vehicles for nice voices that it's easy to forget there's more to singing than just having a pretty voice. Good actors often make the most engaging singers because they tell the story in the song, and they deliver it in character.

The singers are backed up by ``The little band that could,'' as they've dubbed the three-piece ensemble. They do an excellent job, and musical director Bill Hurr ties them right to the action on stage.

Like the band, Julie Rehfeld, who plays mehitabel the alley cat, brings out the best in the other singers. Her voice is a strong compliment for the tomcats Big Bill (Guy Warren) and Tyrone T. Tattersall (Rick Bundy).

The chorus of alley cats and ``ladybugs of the evening'' shows up for a few scenes, adding color and a little fanfare that nicely enhances the dynamic of the show.

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