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Little Theatre all about community


The Las Vegas Little Theatre, 3920 Schiff Drive, is scheduled to premier its 2013-2014 season Sept. 13.

Founded in 1978 by Jack Bell and Jack Nickolson, the theater hosted its first productions in a converted storefront. Nearly 36 years later, the theater continues the founders’ mission to increase the awareness of theater arts in Southern Nevada, provide quality productions and offer educational opportunities in all aspects of theater.

“We want to reach as many people as we possibly can,” said Walter Niejadlik, theater president. “We offer really high-quality productions for a really reasonable price.”

The organization has three performance spaces — the Main Stage, Fischer Black Box and Studio Theatre.

The Main Stage, which seats 154 people, is set to feature six larger productions this season, including “And Then There Were None” and “Barefoot in the Park.”

Each production is scheduled to run for three weeks with performances at 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. every Sunday. A performance is also planned for 2 p.m. the second Saturday of each production.

Single tickets for the Main Stage productions are $24 for adults and $21 for seniors and students. Seasonal packages, which offer one ticket per show, are $114 for adults and $102 for seniors and students.

“We tend to show a little more traditional pieces on the Main Stage,” Niejadlik said . “The shows are a bit bigger because the stage is bigger.”

The Fischer Black Box allows actors to connect more intimately with the audience as it seats only 45 people, according to Niejadlik. Five productions are scheduled this season, including “God of Carnage” and “Hunter Gatherers.”

Each production in the Fischer Black Box is scheduled for three weeks with performances at 8 p.m. every Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. every Sunday.

Single tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students and $13 for Las Vegas Little Theatre subscribers. Seasonal tickets are $50 for subscribers or $65 for nonsubscribers.

“The cast can reach out and touch the audience during performances in the Black Box stage,” Niejadlik said. “The works are a bit edgier and are more geared toward younger audiences.”

The Studio Theatre is a smaller space located a few doors from the main location.

Performances in the Studio Theatre are scheduled to run for three weeks at 8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. every Sunday. Tickets are $12 for adults and $11 for seniors and students.

“The space is used for very modest productions because it only seats about 30 to 35 people,” Niejadlik said. “We also hold classes and rehearsals there.”

Niejadlik said guests should reserve tickets ahead of time because certain productions and times may sell out more quickly than others.

“Generally, our busiest days are Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons,” he said. “We just don’t want anyone to show up and be disappointed that we don’t have a seat for them.”

Auditions for stage crew and actors are typically six to eight weeks before the performances and are posted online. Anyone interested in auditioning for a production also can sign up for email announcements.

According to Niejadlik, individuals auditioning do not need prior experience. He said most of the auditions just require people to show up and give it their best shot.

“Anything we do, we try to make it as accessible as possible to anyone who wants to be part of it,” Niejadlik said. “We have people who have experience and have been in productions, and then we have people who have never even been on a stage before.”

While age requirements depend on the role of the character, Niejadlik said the organization usually looks for people who are at least 18. However, it has cast children as young as 14 with parental consent.

“We have a children’s company that caters more toward children 15 or younger,” Niejadlik said, “but we do make exceptions if the roles fit.”

The theater’s sister company, Star Arts Productions, offers classes, workshops and productions for children throughout the year. The Las Vegas Little Theatre also hosts classes for adults and children.

“If you’re interested but have no experience, you should come down anyway and we’ll help you get the experience,” Niejadlik said. “We have lots of great folks with lots of professional backgrounds that are always willing to teach.”

The organization is also looking for volunteers to usher, run concession stands and help backstage.

Ami Meyers, 22, started volunteering as an usher and concession-stand worker in 2009.

“A friend of mine was in one of the shows, and I asked the staff if there was a way I could help out,” Meyers said. “Volunteering has given me exposure to so many different productions and talented people. It’s been really exciting.”

Meyers, who also works in the box office, said she has met some of her best friends while at the theater.

“It’s a great way to meet folks and get involved if you’re new in town or looking for new friends,” Niejadlik said. “We also get visits from some notable people that you may also meet.”

Niejadlik said Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, supports the organization financially and visits often.

“He’s been a huge supporter of our theater and not just by writing checks. He actually shows up and sees the productions and brings his friends,” Niejadlik said. “We’ve been fortunate to have his support over the past couple years.”

Comedian and writer Rita Rudner and comedy illusionists Penn Jillette and Teller have also been spotted at the theater.

“Everyone you see at the theater are folks from the community that are volunteering their time and talents,” Niejadlik said. “I think people will be pleasantly surprised once they come down.”

Contact Southwest/Spring Valley View reporter Caitlyn Belcher at cbelcher@viewnews.com or 702-383-0403.

 

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