Wednesday, August 22, 2012

From beyond the grave...Charlotte Rep!

E-mails tell me two former managing directors of the defunct Charlotte Repertory Theatre both have big projects underway, one in Boone and one in New York City. Lovers of drama, take note.

Keith Martin, who helmed the Rep during the "Angels in America" fracas of the 1990s, now teaches theater at Appalachian State University and will oversee the larger and nearer of these endeavors: a tribute to semi-native son Romulus Linney, born in Philadelphia but raised in Boone and Tennessee. "Romulus Linney: From Page to Stage" celebrates the mountain region's cultural heritage through Linney's literature, poetry and plays.

It has already begun with the processing of Linney's papers, which have been turned over to the university, and it continues with community talks and an art exhibit. But the big public deal comes Sept. 20-21, with panels, readings, a tribute to Linney and theater master classes by Tony nominees Kathleen Chalfant ("Angels in America") and the playwright's daughter, Laura Linney ("Time Stands Still"). You'll learn more by searching for events at

Meanwhile, Martin's 2001 successor at the Rep has been busy. Matt Olin has been overseeing two newborns: daughter Mirabelle, born June 12, and "The Other Place," a play by Sharr White born last year at MCC Theatre in New York. It's an 80-minute psychological thriller in one act; Emmy-winner Laurie Metcalf earned terrific reviews as a drug-industry businesswoman who unravels emotionally.

Now Manhattan Theatre Club will bring the show, which Olin conceived and developed, to Broadway. Previews start in December, and the official opening is set for January 10, with Metcalf starring again and Tony-winner Joe Mantello ("Wicked") directing again. You'll find details at

Meanwhile, longtime Rep artistic director Steve Umberger continues to produce and direct plays at N.C. Shakespeare Festival in High Point (aka N.C. Shakes) and its offshoot, Festival Stage of Winston-Salem. Though there's no life left in the Rep, its component parts have flown out of town to do good work elsewhere