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Great theater continues in Las Cruces in 2020


Las Cruces theaters had an outstanding 2019, and just wait until you see what’s coming in 2020!

We welcomed two new theater companies to Las Cruces in the last year with the founding of Junk Drawer Productions, whose principle, Diane Thomas, is a longtime musical theater genius; and The Blank Conversations Theatre Company (BCTC), whose founder, Gus Sanchez, is a freshman theater major at New Mexico State University already making a name for himself as a talented actor and director. BCTC’s production of the musical “The Last Five Years” will run from Feb. 7-16 (including a Valentine’s Day performance) at Mayfield High School. Find BCTC on Facebook.

  • Boba Café and Cabaret’s new owner, Angela Stoltenberg, is looking for a new artistic director to continue the long string of outstanding shows that Chris Waggoner started at Boba some years ago. Call her at Boba at 575-647-5900. Boba’s “Search for A Star” competition will be Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, 7 and 8, with participants competing for a $500 cash prize. The last audition for the show is 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020 at Boba, 1900 S. Espina St.
  • Among Las Cruces Community Theatre’s offerings in 2020 is its annual One Act Play Festival in April. It is a great opportunity for local playwrights, directors and actors to showcase their talents. The Bulletin will have more to come on deadlines and guidelines.
  • LCCT kicks off 2020 with its production of “Arsenic and Old Lace,” directed by Darin Robert Cabot. Darin is the theater teacher at Centennial High School and one of the best actors I’ve ever seen. He has a great cast for “Arsenic,” and I am especially pleased to see the return of James Boberg, who has done some great work at LCCT. Opening night is Friday, Jan. 31.

LCCT will follow “Arsenic” with “Harvey,” directed by my dear friend Gail Wheeler. Everyone knows the 1950 movie starring James Stewart, but the play came first – in 1944 – and won playwright Mary Chase a Pulitzer Prize. “Harvey” ran for 1,775 performances and was in production at the 48th Street Theatre on Broadway at this time 75 years ago.

“Harvey” runs March 20-April 5 at LCCT, followed by the One Act Play Festival, April 24-26, and the season-ending production of “Nunsense,” June 5-21, which returns this hugely popular show to Las Cruces. “Nunsense” ran for 3,672 performances beginning in 1985, making it the second-longest running off-Broadway show in history.

  • Black Box Theatre begins 2020 with its production of Eugene Ionesco’s “The Killing Game,” directed by Marissa Bond, whose one-person performance in Neal Adelman’s “I, Custer” at LCCT in 2016 is among the best performances I’ve ever seen.

“The Killing Game” will open Jan. 24 at BBT and continue through Feb. 9. It will be followed by “Bosoms and Neglect” (March 6-22), written by John Guare and directed by longtime Las Cruces actor and director Monte H. Wright.

BBT co-owner Ceil Herman will direct Mark Medoff’s “The Majestic Kid” April 17-May 3 during the first anniversary of Medoff’s death. Known for the strong women (Sarah Norman, for example, in the Tony-winning “Children of a Lesser God”) and anti-heroes (Stephen "Red" Ryder in “When You Comin’ Back, Red Rider?”) he created, Medoff died last April, leaving a gaping hole in local and national theater that no one will ever fill.

BBT will close its season with the musical “Next to Normal,” directed by the wonderful and talented Nikka Ziemer.

  • Look for “Broadway on Stage 2020” on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the ASNMU Center for the Arts. Tickets are $20 and $25 and are already on sale. Call 575-646-1420 and visit theatre.nmsu.edu.

The NMSU Theatre Department’s production of “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” directed by department head Wil Kilroy, will open March 6. It will be followed by William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” directed by Michael Wise, May 1-10. These will be two outstanding productions.

  • Doña Ana Repertory Theatre (DART) will produce “Tartuffe” in February, continuing its impressive string of outstanding productions. One of its co-founders is the previously mentioned Darin Cabot. Their 2016 production of “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot” is one of the finest shows I’ve seen on a Las Cruces stage, and one of best performances of the late and still greatly missed Dick Rundell. Find DART on Facebook.

It’s going to be another great year for Las Cruces theater. If you haven’t been to a play or musical, this would be a great time to try it out.