There are two plays opening tonight, and a slew of Halloween-related activities between now and Tuesday.
Theatre in the Rough opens Shakespeare's "Much Ado About Nothing" tonight at McPhetres Hall. I saw the dress rehearsal Thursday and heartily recommend the show.
Aaron Elmore and Katie Jensen opened their first play as Theatre in the Rough in McPhetres Hall 10 years ago this month almost 10 years ago to the day. We're lucky to have them in Juneau, and "Much Ado" is a testament to that. As a creative team they have the vision and drive to make a show like this happen, and the experience to really bring it to life. The arsenal of medieval weaponry and the outstanding costumes in their collection is incredible, and they showcase them in "Much Ado." Their connections and reputation in the theater community are also impressive, and they've assembled a talented cast.
"Much Ado" is a show with great characters, and this cast has them nailed. The balance of larger-than-life stage presence and downtoEarth humanity makes them all highly watchable. It's impressive that we have this collection of talent in Juneau. Ultimately, for a comedy and romance as well-written as this one, it comes down to the acting, and they deliver.
McPhetres Hall was used more frequently in past years for dances, concerts and plays than it has been lately, and it's good to groups taking advantage of it. The Theatre in the Rough crew has transformed the space with fabric and simple staging, and they use it well.
"Much Ado" runs at 8 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays until Nov. 11 - the last show is a Saturday. Don't miss it.
It seems that most folks are celebrating Halloween this weekend, as well as Tuesday, Oct. 31. There are close to a dozen special events for Halloween this year. Most are for kids. There are no real standout parties for grownups, but there are a few live bands playing in the bars.
Mike's Place in Douglas is hosting a Spooktacular Halloween Bash, beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday. Four bands will each play a set, and there's no cover charge. Rik Romerin and John Lager have each put together rock bands that will perform - Children of the Night and the Hounds of Second Street. Keyboardist and singer Vincent Lew has a five-piece group called Caribe that will do a set of Latin music and some classic rock tunes. The fourth band is Out of the Woods, also formed especially for the occasion.
The house band at Marlintini's Lounge, G Force, will play Saturday night for a costume party there. $500 in prizes go to the best costumes. Peabody's Monster plays for a Halloween Party at the Alaskan Bar, and plans to have a special light show. There's no cover for either party.
There are costume parties with DJ music this weekend at the Hangar Ballroom and out in Auke Bay at Squire's Rest. After multiple incarnations, the bar and restaurant has assumed its former name and is open again. The Squire's Rest party tonight is a benefit for Seth McBride, and there's a $5 cover. The Hangar Ballroom party Saturday is sponsored by the vendors of a couple energy drinks.
Finally, there's a costume contra dance Saturday night at the Scottish Rite Temple. It kicks of at 7:30, and it's $7. Fiddler Rex Blazer and pianist Sheri Hazeltine will provide the tunes, and Odette Foster is calling the dances.
The second play opening this weekend is "Dracula," and it may be just the thing to bring on the Halloween spirit. The play opens tonight at 7 at Juneau-Douglas High School and shows again Saturday, Tuesday (Halloween) and next weekend. The show is a JDHS production based on the original Bram Stoker novel.
"October Decomposure," Jacob Higgins' Halloween-themed art show at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery, is well worth a look. Halloween is the final night of the show, and Higgins will have a closing reception from 4:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Downtown trick or treaters can include it on their rounds, or "Dracula"-goers can stop in on their way to the high school. He has a variety of ghoulish paintings, masks and sculptures on display.
For non-Halloween art, two local artists are having a studio art show this weekend. The show features Lisa Blacher's pottery and Nell McConahey's glass art. The work will be for sale from 9 a.m. 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday at Spiral Studio, in the Articorp building at 418 Harris.