Blog Archives

Tent Theatre - July 1, 2014

 

Tent Theatre

I have always enjoyed settling into a long run of a show, with new audiences every night, swings and understudies going in and out creating a new dynamic onstage, and always something to improve in my own performance. But those itty-bitty runs-they are just as exciting and fulfilling!

 

There is a little theatre deep in the midwest, in Springfield, Missouri, the Tent Theatre. When I was hired to work there, as  a “guest artist”, to play Violet in 9 to 5, (the “Lily Tomlin role”), many people I told, scrunched their noses, cocked their heads and queried, “What theatre? What town?” Well, in this theatre, that is truly in a tent, you will find the most splendidly talented, enthusiastic fellow thespians, mostly students of Missouri State University. Midwestern friendliness-oh, they have that too. I wouldn’t have exchanged playing “The Tent” for two weeks for any length of any long run. Did I mention the band of 14, made up of mostly professors of music? The band rivaled anything you hear in a Broadway pit.

 

In case you are wondering how many years this theatre has been around…about 50!  I was so very honored to be asked back to perform One of the Boys for the finale of the 50th Anniversary Gala attended by the state’s Governor and alumnus John Goodman. So as the temperatures begin to heat up this summer, I know the energy is heating up as well on the stage of this historic tent. I am so lucky to have been a part of that history.

 

Tent Gala

Performing One of the Boys with Evan Robison (left) and Colin Denniston (right)

at the 50th Anniversary Gala of the Tent Theatre.

Tagged with:
Posted in Journal

Dames at Sea - June 26, 2013

 

Dames at Sea

One of my own favorite thrills is opening the show. Since I am playing “Mona Kent”, the tap dancing, movie star diva in Dames at Sea, at the Totem Pole Playhouse, I get to do just that!  I adore the opening song and dance number, Wall Street! I learned from the lovely Stefanie Powers, who I stood by for in the national tour of King and I, to be early if you are commencing the show, solo. No one should have to wait on you. Not one day, not one minute. Not every star/non-star I have worked with feels that way, believe me! Stefanie was always dressed, and ready and waiting on the stage, when 15 minutes was called.  So, at 15 minutes, here at the Totem Pole, I am already dressed and I grab my top hat and cane, buckle up my well broken in silver tap shoes and make my way to the wings. I actually revere those few minutes of calm solitude, listening to the audience chatter, musing with the stage managers and hearing the orchestra take their places. Thank you, Stefanie! Cherished moments I don’t intend to miss, thanks to you! 

 

IMG_0261

“Every show has a star, and the show Dames at Sea, the show-within-the-show of Dames at Sea, stars Mona Kent, played hysterically by Broadway veteran  Jane Labanz.”  (BroadwayWorld.com)

Photo by Chris Shatzer

 

 

Posted in Journal

Brooke in Noises Off - May 25, 2013

 

Brooke in Noises Off

I am playing the role of Brooke in Noises Off at the Totem Pole Theatre, from May 26th thru June 9th.  (Photo above in the banner.) Couldn’t be more excited about finally doing this play! What a lovely historic theatre, too. Runs on Broadway are certainly a spectacular thing, but playing in landmark theatres…I feel like an actress living in another era.  You just breath in the history when you walk thru the Stage Door (two words I never get tired of seeing or hearing.) The theatre has come to national recognition under the direction of Bill Putch, the husband of actress Jean Stapleton. She also acted in many of the playhouse’s productions. John Ritter, Sandy Dennis and Curtis Armstrong were all resident company members at this theatre.

 

Brooke

 …especially [self-absorbed, neurotic] Brooke Ashton (Broadway veteran Jane Labanz, who makes spending most of the time on stage in lingerie look easy)…(BroadwayWorld.com)

Jane Labanz (as Brooke) and Tim Falter (as Garry) in Noises Off

Posted in Journal

Solo Concert News - April 1, 2013

 

Solo Concert News

I performed my solo concert, with my petite orchestra I affectionately call the Lovebirds, at the Terrace Park Country Club, in Cincinnati, Ohio on March 15th.  The concert was a benefit for Hospice of Cincinnati and was chaired by Jane Lach, with Honorary Chairs by Dr. Jack Gluckman and Victoria Buyniski.  Life doesn’t get any better than when I am singing with these great musicians, especially when it is for a great cause. Bruce Barnes (piano), Chris Tedesco (violin), Matthew Kirkendall (viola), Randall Klitz (bass), and Michael Ambroszewski (percussion) are just the berries. If we didn’t laugh so much, rehearsals would be much shorter.

Labanz and the Lovebirds

Randall, Bruce, (Jane), Chris and Michael. Labanz and the Lovebirds! This after concert photo says it all!

Posted in Journal

Barnes and Noble - February 1, 2013

 

Barnes and Noble

I still get tickled pink when I see my album, Moon Garden, in the bins at Barnes and Noble – ever thankful to the 13 talented musicians who brought these 12 tracks to life with their creative playing. What a delight to record with them all.

BN-bin

Posted in Journal

Love Story - September 15, 2012

 

Love Story

Once again I am blessed to be playing a historical theatre, the Walnut Street Theatre, in Philadelphia. America’s oldest theatre. Talk about history! 200 years of it! Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda, Sidney Portier…..just a few names that played here. Under the direction of the stellar, Anabelle Bolton, we are bringing the iconic Love Story, to life eight times a week in the American Premiere. I play Alison Barrett, the perfectly polite mother of Oliver.  (I guess I have officially transitioned into mother roles.) 

 

Love-Story

“Oliver’s mother, Alison, is quietly and elegantly played by Jane Labanz.” (Delco News)

The dinner scene.  Will Reynolds, (me), Alexandra Silber and Paul Nolan.

Photo by Mark Garvin

 

Posted in Journal, Performances

Photo at top of page by Chris Shatzer. Jane as Brooke in Noises Off.