How Louisville’s performing arts community is bringing the stage to you
Compiled by Liz Bingham
Local performing arts organizations are offering several entertainment opportunities during this period of social distancing. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has forced them to postpone or cancel upcoming shows and activities, these performers are staying connected with fans and community supporters.
Here are just a few local organizations that are using the Internet as their stage:
Although live Kentucky Opera performances, including the highly anticipated youth opera performance of Robin Hood, are currently postponed, the Kentucky Opera website is offering a list of streamable performances you and your loved ones can enjoy in the comfort of your home. The list includes performances from the Met Opera, Opera America and Operavision. Other non-opera performances available includes Kentucky Shakespeare’s 2017 rendition of “Much Ado About Nothing,” orchestral music from the Berliner Philharmoniker Digital Concert Hall, Alvin Ailey American dance theater performances and a running list of instructors’ online classes to practice in your own home, and a variety of artforms from The Social Distancing Festival.
Visit kyopera.org/art-from-a-distance for more information.
If you’re looking for something to read other than your typical book choice, the Louisville Ballet recently made their Etoile program magazines available to the public for free viewing! Each program includes details, photos and director notes from past performances and more. For access, visit issuu.com/louisvilleballet.
The Louisville Ballet School’s Mind Body Balance health and wellness initiative is currently offering live Facebook streaming classes of all levels with schedules posted regularly on their Facebook page facebook.com/mindbodybalanceLOU. This week they will be offering the following classes:
Wednesday, April 1: 8 am Advanced Pilates Matwork
Friday, April 3: 11 am Mixed Level Ballet Barre
Broadway Across America Louisville
As Broadway Across America Louisville is currently saying, “This is just an intermission,” the good news is Louisville can look forward to the Broadway performance of Anatasia that has just been rescheduled to perform at the Kentucky Center August 4-9! Visit louisville.broadway.com for more information, including a full list of shows scheduled to come to Louisville with updated performance dates and more.
Although Actors Theatre’s 2020 season is currently suspended, including nearly 100 planned performances as part of the 44th Humana Festival of New American Plays, Actors Theatre of Louisville and Executive Artistic Director Robert Barry Fleming are proud to announce the launch of Actors Theatre Direct: multi-channel, on-demand creative content to ensure that world-class theatre continues to thrive and enrich lives during this turbulent time. The flagship offerings of Actors Theatre Direct are two full-length, filmed performances of the Humana Festival productions:
— Where the Mountain Meets the Sea by Jeff Augustin with music by The Bengsons, directed by Joshua Kahan Brody and featuring Allan K. Washington, Nathan Hinton and Shaun and Abigail Bengson. This play was commissioned by Actors Theatre.
— Are You There? by Vivian Barnes, Jonathan Norton and Gab Reisman, directed by Robert Barry Fleming, commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville and performed by the 2019-2020 Professional Training Company.
Virtual tickets are now available at ActorsTheatre.org/Direct. Tickets start at $15 and streaming will begin April 6.
Local audiences can create a complete “dinner and show” experience at home with a special offer from Bearno’s Pizza. Bearno’s By-the-Bridge location will offer free breadsticks or cheese bread to those who mention “Actors Theatre” for a delivery or pickup order. Call Bearno’s By-The-Bridge at 502-584-7437.
Actors Theatre Direct will also feature free content, with a pay-what-you-wish donation encouraged, on Actors Theatre social media channels. Details and FAQs available at ActorsTheatre.org/Direct. Hashtags: #ActorsTheatreDirect #LiftUpLou #ArtsAndCultureINKY
All Louisville Orchestra concerts scheduled through April 25, 2020 have been canceled, however, in an effort to support the Louisville Orchestra members, you can donate your tickets to canceled concerts to help cover the value lost due to cancellations. Donate your tickets today and receive a gift acknowledgment for the value of the donation. Ticket donations can be made online by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org (name, phone, CID, seat locations), by phone, or in person.
Also, the Louisville Orchestra Facebook page offers plenty of virtual musical content thanks to the Music Director, Teddy Abrams and the Orchestra family at large. The page includes videos of musical performances, virtual conductor lessons by Teddy Abrams himself, and live score readings. Visit facebook.com/LouisvilleOrchestra for all content. Abrams is also partnering with Lift Up Lou, a Facebook group where Louisvillians can view and share ideas for fun activities and experiences at home. Visit facebook.com/LiftUpLou for more info.
Kentucky Shakespeare is offering a virtual “Dinner and a Show” on April 3 from 7:00 p.m.-9:30 p.m. EDT as a free broadcast Facebook premier of King Lear from the 2019 Summer Season. Producing Artistic Director Matt Wallace set Shakespeare’s royal family tragedy in iron age England, and the production features Jon Huffman as the aging king, Neill Robertson as Edgar, and the Arts-Louisville Broadway World Award winner Jennifer Pennington as Gloucester. In an effort to encourage viewers to support our independent, local restaurants, they recommend ordering take out from one of the following partner restaurants to enjoy while you watch the show from your home:
All Thai’d Up
Get it on a Bun at Booty’s
Six Forks Burger Co.
Visit facebook.com/KentuckyShakespeare on Friday to tune in!
Kentucky Shakespeare’s workshop for adults, Shakespeare Off the Page, is now available remotely via Zoom virtual meeting program. For the final spring session, they’ll be reading Much Ado about Nothing and Henry V. Visit kyshakespeare.com/programs/adult-workshops-2 to register now.
Lastly, Kentucky Shakespeare’s amazing costume designer, Donna Lawrence-Downs, is beginning work on making surgical masks for our healthcare community! Visit kyshakespeare.com to see how you can help.
The Kentucky Center
If you’re looking for a single online source to access any and all art forms taking place digitally in Louisville, look no further than the open Facebook group, Louisville Bright Spots. Kentucky Performing Arts Senior Programming Manager, Erin Palmer, created the group to be an online arts exchange for Louisville to stay connected and creative. Members can upload a song, a video, a poem, pictures of your visual art or start a watch party and more.
Posts thus far have included performances or music by regional musicians in multiple genres including Teddy Abrams, Louisville Orchestra’s conductor and a composer, the musicians of Bourbon Baroque, and four Louisville Orchestra musicians who recently formed The Social Distancing Quartet. Literature includes posted poems, to children’s stories read in videos — like those from Lincoln Elementary Performing Arts School teachers. Different types of dance can also be found on the page with links to dance lessons, like those being provided currently by the Louisville Ballet School. Other posts have links to streaming performances of plays and operas both locally and worldwide, including Kentucky Shakespeare and the Metropolitan and Paris Operas. Check it out now by visiting facebook.com/groups/LouisvilleBrightSpots.
CenterStage at the J
The Jewish Community Center’s J Arts + Ideas Louisville page on Facebook is a great resource for community members and non-members of all ages. It will be posting content for kids to do at home including crafts to do alone or as a family, audition classes, free streamable Broadway shows, musical theater cardio dance classes, sing alongs, videos of people singing their favorite song and talking about their favorite past role, live chats, and much more! They will be posting a challenge next week with details coming soon, so stay tuned by visiting facebook.com/groups/JArtsandIdeas.
Commonwealth Theatre Center
If you want to still feel involved with Commonwealth Theatre Center from your home, Artistic Director, Charlie Sexton, is now hosting weekly #ChatsWithCharlie on the Center’s Facebook and Instagram pages where he will be reading books, sharing improv games and sending links to other theater games both kids and adults can do at home. Visit facebook.com/CommonwealthTheatreCenter to tune in.
Derby Dinner Playhouse
Although all Derby Dinner Playhouse performances are currently canceled through May 17, you can take a trip down performance memory lane via their Facebook page currently featuring daily clips from past performances. Their page also shows shared rehearsal videos, messages from their cast and crew, and musical performances from other local musicians. Visit the Derby Dinner Playhouse Facebook page to check out their latest content at facebook.com/derbydinner. V