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Plenty of reasons to head to the theater this weekend

Looking at the list of shows recently opened and still playing, I’m surprised at how many different good reasons there are to go to the theater this weekend.

The Atlas/College of Southern Nevada’s "Reefer Madness" contains a bellyful of musical numbers poking fun at our nation’s former obsession with the horrors of marijuana. And "Reasons to Be Pretty" at the Nevada Conservatory Theatre gives Las Vegans a look at a celebrated Neil LaBute drama. I didn’t find it worth celebrating, but, hey, it’s good to be well-exposed to these things. And it contains an unforgettable, easygoing performance by Ryan Fonville. Don’t look for big, neon acting. Just honesty, small-scaled and moving. "Deathtrap" is finishing up its three-week run at Las Vegas Little Theatre, and it’s a thriller that wants nothing more than to please. It does. …

The Nevada Conservatory has changed two major shows on its season schedule. The highly anticipated version of Israel Horovitz’s "A Christmas Carol: Scrooge and Marley," scheduled to open Nov. 17, has been replaced with David H. Bell’s version of the Charles Dickens classic. Clare Boothe Luce’s "The Women," scheduled for Jan. 29, has been axed in favor of Arthur Miller’s "All My Sons." NCT’s Web site hasn’t yet announced the change, but trust me. …

Ed Gryska, who often can be found house-managing at the College of Southern Nevada, already is preparing for his own version of "A Christmas Carol" at Lawry’s the Prime Rib. When I first attended this annual show, I was seated at a table with business people and a barely teenage actress who was playing one of Bob Cratchit’s daughters. The deal was, the actress was supposed to continue playing her role all through the meal, and so, of course, we did our best to get her to break character. She was a real pro. We couldn’t even get her to say anything bad about Tiny Tim. Gryska tells me the actors will be back at the tables this year. Auditions are taking place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday at the restaurant, 4043 Howard Hughes Parkway. …

A posting in the Vegas All That Chat room on the TalkinBroadway.com Web site had a curious posting. Director Chris Mayse of "Reefer Madness: The Musical" was announcing that a preview of the show at the College of Southern Nevada had been canceled, and anyone wanting to know why should contact Performing Arts producer Joe Hammond. That seemed like war words. I contacted Hammond, who said that Mayse was aware that the college needed 48-hour notice before a preview to secure a legally required house manager. Hammond said Mayse did not come through. Mayse says he did indeed, but there was a communication mix-up. This isn’t the first time CSN has had trouble playing host to community theater. Hammond says, "This is the last group of which I will be involved in bringing into the space."

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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