After ten years of
redefining your movie watching experience with the convenience and pleasure of
having beer, wine, and food delivered to your seat, the downtown Alamo theater
is about to mix it up a bit. Beginning this weekend, we now have a full liquor
license at the Ritz Theatre on Sixth Street, making us the only movie theater in
Austin serving liquor at all, much less letting you order it from your seat
throughout the show.
We’re plenty excited about being able to offer a Bacardi Alamojito to guests, but what really drove us to pursue this liquor license was the possibility for brand new kinds of pairings and specialty feasts. When IRON MAN opens at the Ritz on Friday, May 2nd, we’ll have special Scotch Flights available (because Tony Stark loves him some scotch) that will let you sample a full line of premium scotches throughout the movie. At the Cinco de Mayo THREE AMIGOS Quote-Along and Feast, we’ll be starting the show off by having the whole crowd enjoy a shot of Herradura Silver Tequila, and courses of the feast itself will be paired with top shelf margaritas in addition to the usual wine pairings. When the SEX AND THE CITY movie opens on Friday, May 30, the Alamo Ritz will be the only theater in town where you can enjoy cosmopolitans (and other classy Manhattan cocktails) while the girls on screen are gabbing over their martini glasses. And when Master Pancake Theater takes on the classic Bond film GOLDFINGER, everyone in the crowd will be able to have their very own “shaken, not stirred” vodka martinis.
We’ll be rolling out more cocktails and specials as we grow into this new era more, but starting with this weekend’s showings of Master Pancake’s PLANET OF THE APES, Negativland live in concert, SMART PEOPLE, BE KIND REWIND, THE THING, SUPER FUN MONKEY BASH 2008, and even SUPER HIGH ME (where we wish we could have a special brownie license, but… you know), you can enjoy any of the following cocktails off of our brand new drinks menu.
"Greater Tuna," the comical, affectionately satirical look at small-town southern life, will open a limited engagement at Aurora Community Theater.
Shows will start at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 27 through March 7.
Two longtime ACT favorites, Kevin Horak of Aurora and Brian Diehl of Hudson, will perform all 20 characters in this over-the-top caricature of one hilarious day in Tuna, the fictional, third smallest town in Texas.
Horak noted the irony in that he had been looking "for a respite" after acting in Aurora Community Theatre's "Noises Off."
"I realized this was even more challenging," Horak said.
But Horak said he has enjoyed working on the play.
"In my old age, I am appreciating more and more, shows which force me to stretch and grow," Horak said. "'Greater Tuna' fits that bill on several levels. Artistically, the show is a challenge in playing multiple characters, each with distinct personalities, voices and even body language."
Diehl said the play is "just a sort of 'day in the life' of these characters -- and these characters are characters."
On a blank stage with just one desk, two tables and five chairs, the play takes us from sign-on to sign-off of radio station OKKK, where the weather forecast is always rain and the music of Patsy Cline never dies.
"[The call letters for the station] gives you an idea about the people of the town," Diehl said.
The broad jokes and thin plot revolve around how the zany townsfolk react to the news that former Judge Roscoe Buckner has been found dead in bed, dressed in a Dale Evans swimsuit.
Directing the show is Barbara Rhoades.
Diehl said that rehearsals for "Greater Tuna" are "sort of an improv process."
"The neat thing about Barbara Rhodes is that sometimes, we make a mistake, but she sits back and says 'let's leave that in there,'" Diehl said. "There are several happy accidents that got put into the show."
Both actors said the main challenge in this show was switching from character to character, sometimes in a matter of seconds.
"They are all unique challenges," Diehl said. "The trick is making each one distinct. Poor Kevin has some of the fastest costume changes. He has 20 seconds at times to change costumes from one to the other."
Horak said that one of his favorite characters was an employee with the town's humane society.
"Petey Fisk is out to save the world, or at least the animal world," Horak said. "He's a sweet character. Many of the characters are more caricatures, but some, like Petey, are characters with a heart."
A more difficult character is teen rebel Stanley Bumiller, Horak added.
Helping to transform the two actors into the various Tuna residents are Daniel White and Kristy Sidors, who enable the lightning-fast costume changes; Linda Balwinski, who oversees props and assists with dressing; Michael Minite, stage manager; and Zach Wells, his assistant. John Marchese is the producer, and Marianne Paul took charge of finding the 1970s-era costumes, wigs, hats, eyeglasses and more.
Diehl said the humor should still appeal to audiences as much today as when the show first came out.
"Audiences have been enjoying 'Greater Tuna' since it came out about 30 years ago," Diehl said. "The production has multiple layers that can be appreciated, a rich tapestry of characters, hilarious moments, reflective, even spiritual, segments and the fun of watching two poor slobs run their bottoms off -- performing 20 characters -- for about two hours."
When not on stage, Diehl works at his graphics design company, Thinknik. He has helped create the logos for several shows at theaters such as Aurora Community Theatre and Hudson Players. He also was co-founder of Actors Inequity, an organization for non-Equity actors looking to network and find ways to keep their acting skills sharp. Besides, Diehl added, "it's fun carrying an Inequity Card."
Horak, when not on stage, is associate pastor at the Church of Aurora, a position he has had since 1981. He lives in Aurora with his wife of 30 years, Kathleen. They have two adult daughters.
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