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Las Vegas Little Theatre deserves to take a bow

When you see so many playhouses come and go so quickly, you have to tilt your hat to Las Vegas Little Theatre. The folks there have somehow managed to make it to their 30th season. That’s a jaw-dropping achievement in a town that’s not exactly known as arts-friendly.

The little theater that could was born in a small storefront at the Fashion Show mall site. It kept getting kicked around the city. Home for a while was the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; the Spring Mountain Library; and a small warehouse just down the street from its current location at 3920 Schiff Drive. Its 8,000-square-foot space with two stages makes it the envy of the local theater world. The group runs six shows a season on the main stage and four experimental works on its Black Box.

It’s a reminder that it takes more than just a love of performing to be successful. Obviously, LVLT folks have a solid business sense. They seem to know their audience, and they’ve figured out a way to keep them happy. …

The City of Las Vegas Arts & Community Events Division has a history of excellent programming at the Charleston Heights Center, but it hit a rickety step in the recent presentation of a thing called “Barbara C. Willingham’s Songs of Broadway.” The “set” consisted of a logo giving us the title of the show. The program was made up of all the show tunes we’ve heard before, sung with excessive vibrato, mugging and three-male backups trying their damnedest to hit notes beyond their range. My favorite moment was the star instructing the audience to keep applauding after a song because the curtain call was about to begin. …

And speaking of applause, I wish it could be made illegal for performers to ask, “Are you having a good time?” The question is often met by mild shouts of approval from the polite audience, which causes the performer to yell back, “I said, are you having a good time??” with the audience now roaring yes, perhaps in an effort to shut the performer up. …

UNLV’s one-act program, on view through Sunday at the Paul Harris Theatre, suffered a blow with the sudden death of Michael Tylo’s son Oct. 24. Tylo had been directing one of the shows when he got word that his 19-year-old son had drowned in his ex-wife’s Henderson home. Others stepped in to polish Tylo’s near-completed work and the program opened as planned.

Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.

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