TRIO OF PLAYS DEBUTS
AT LOCAL THEATERS
Three very different plays light up local stages this weekend, from downtown to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Based at UNLV, Nevada Conservatory Theatre continues its 10th-anniversary season with Albert Innaurato’s comedy "Gemini," which opens a seven-performance run tonight in UNLV’s Judy Bayley Theatre. The comedy focuses on an Italian family whose son (played by Christopher Rosado ) returns from Harvard with new views on life, heritage and sexuality. Michael Lugering directs.
At Las Vegas Little Theatre, "For the Joy of the Sting" brings together love, lust and lies, betrayal and jealousy, murder and madness in writer-director Mick Axelrod’s inspired-by-Shakespeare verse drama, set in an alternate contemporary Britain. The play "touches on all the major arcs and archetypes that make the works of Shakespeare so timeless," Axelrod notes, from psychological conflict to "swordfights, dance routines, and the devious machinations of an unhinged villain."
And downtown at the Art Square Theatre, Cockroach Theatre presents the Las Vegas premiere of "Gruesome Playground Injuries," by Rajiv Joseph (whose recent Broadway hit, "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," was a Pulitzer Prize finalist). In the play, two childhood friends (Shawn Hackler, Felicia Taylor) reunite over three decades, pondering the physical calamities that keep drawing them together. Cockroach’s managing director, Levi Fackrell , directs.
"Gemini" will be performed at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday in the Judy Bayley Theatre at UNLV, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway. Additional performances are 8 p.m. Feb. 7-9 and 2 p.m. Feb. 10. For tickets ($20-$30) and additional information, call 895-2787 or go online to pac.unlv.edu.
"For the Joy of the Sting" plays at the Las Vegas Little Theatre Studio, 3890 Schiff Drive, at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday; additional performances are 8 p.m. Feb. 8-9 and 15-16, with 2 p.m. matinees Feb. 10 and 17. Tickets ($12 general, $11 for students and seniors) are available by phone at 362-7996 or online at www.LVLT.org.
"Gruesome Playground Injuries" will be presented at 8 p.m. today and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the Art Square Theatre, 1025 S. First St. Additional performances are 8 p.m. Feb. 7-9 and 14-16 and 2 p.m. Feb. 10 and 17. Tickets ($18 general, $15 seniors and students) are available at the door or online at www.cockroachtheatre.com.
KODO’S JAPANESE DRUMS
STORM SMITH CENTER
In Japanese, "Kodo" has two meanings: "heartbeat" and "children of the drum."
Both definitions come into play tonight when the taiko drumming group Kodo visits The Smith Center with the latest incarnation of their ever-evolving One Earth Tour.
For more than three decades, Kodo has explored the seemingly limitless possibilities of the traditional Japanese taiko drum; their current show, "Legend" – created under the direction of Japanese Living National Treasure Tamasaburo Bando – explores the four seasons, nature’s beauty and unique taiko traditions through rhythm, music and dance.
Kodo will perform at 7:30 tonight in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave. Tickets ($29-$89) are available by phone at 749-2000 or online at www.thesmithcenter.com.
FREE CONCERT SPARKS
‘THE ART OF ROMANCE’
Guitarist Esteban takes a break from LVH headliner duties to perform a free concert at tonight’s First Friday celebration, themed around "The Art of Romance."
Esteban and his violinist daughter, Teresa Joy, will perform at 6 tonight at the Arts District event, centered at Casino Center Boulevard and Colorado Avenue.
Also on tap: a giant Hop-Scotch Party – complete with multiple courses and prizes – from 5 to 10 p.m. Animator John Rowe will teach kids to improve their own drawing at the KidZone, where RagTag Entertainment also will perform.
Other First Friday draws range from ballroom dance lessons to art lessons to "Green Street," where visitors can learn about urban gardening, renewable energy and water conservation.
And, as always, more than 75 artists, four stages featuring live bands and DJs and more than 25 food trucks will participate in First Friday, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m. More information is available online at www.firstfridaylasvegas.com.
‘JAZZ ROOTS’ CONCERT
SALUTES MUSIC LEGENDS
To music fans, they’re first-name legends: Ella, Joe and Count. And for those who need last names, they’re equally, instantly recognizable: Fitzgerald, Williams and Basie.
Alas, all three are with us only in recorded memory. But the legendary trio lives on in Sunday’s "Jazz Roots: A Tribute to Ella, Joe and Basie" concert at The Smith Center.
The Count Basie Orchestra’s bluesy, jumping, piano-accented beat provides the instrumental backing for vocalists Janis Siegel (of Manhattan Transfer fame), scat specialist Kevin Mahogany (whose style has drawn comparisons with Williams, a Las Vegas resident until his death in 1999) and Canada’s Nikki Yanofsky , whose recordings include "Ella: Of Thee I Swing."
The downbeat blast begins at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in Reynolds Hall at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, 361 Symphony Park Ave. Tickets ($26-$99) are available by phone at 749-2000 or online at www.thesmithcenter.com.
– By CAROL CLING