Sporting the highly hummable melodies of composer Gioachino Rossini, The Barber of Seville kicks off Opéra Louisiane's fourth season on Sunday, November 14 with a comic tale of romance and deception. Lead warblers Leah Wool and Jason Detwiler—both veterans of their roles—help set the tone for a production that will engage ears with an auditory high five and eyes with a visual feast of opera meats.
For 65 years, the artistic staff at Baton Rouge Little Theater has enriched the local community with theatrical opportunities and brought the work of great playwrights to a subscriber base that extends across the country. Their performance of It Runs in the Family festoons the Main Stage Theatre with Ray Cooney's farce about the misfortunes of the ambitious Dr. David Mortimer on his way to deliver a lecture that could make his career. En route to his goal, Mortimer must face a paternity suit, a disgruntled ex-wife, an absurd assortment of hospital denizens, and the prospect that British audiences will refuse to call him doctor without a PhD. London's Sunday Express said the play "tickles the funny bones quite shamelessly," though it displays enough decorum to earn BRLT's PG rating.
Ascension Community Theatre gathers gifted local actors and directors on the stage of the historic Pasqua Theater for acclaimed modern plays. The Pulitzer Prize–winning “Rabbit Hole,” directed by renowned Louisiana talent Mattie Olson, tells the tale of a family outlasting a major loss with elements of comedy flickering through the somber subject matter. Nicole Kidman was recently nominated for an Oscar for a film adaptation of the play, and Ascension’s staging shares the movie’s emotional complexity while swapping in real people for the holograms that take all but a few leading roles in most Hollywood films. Balcony seats unveil the best views in the historic Pasqua Theater.
Clouds of fog roll through darkened halls, concealing mercenaries tracking their target’s movement. Before their trap can be sprung, the unthinkable happens: their vests begin to vibrate as a giggling child yells, "Got you!"Laser Tag of Baton Rouge's family-friendly laser-tag sessions thrust players aged 7 and older into similar faux combat, peppered with flashing lights and thumping music. Players race through a 7,500-square-foot multilevel arena brandishing Gen 6 laser-tag weapons that dole out precise shots and automated score updates. Special scenarios challenge players to work cooperatively toward a shared goal; for instance, in the Fugitive mission, one or two targets must escape a group intent on their capture.
Between bouts inside the arena, players can test their gaming skills at the center's arcade, which is filled with contemporary and classic machines. Each game is outfitted with the Power Play system, a swipe-card-and-sensor combo that tracks remaining game credits, relieving players from the hassle of endlessly fishing for quarters. The arcade also leads to an observation deck that looks onto the laser-tag arena, giving spectators a giant's-eye view of the combat below.
Recently featured in the Times-Picayune for its riveting staging of Blackbird, Elm Theatre brings socially conscious theater to New Orleans's drama devotees. North Baton Rouge native and recent Windy City dweller Garrett Prejean returns to his home state to teach introductory acting to aspiring stage stars and uncanny De Niro impressionists sick of doing scenes with their reflection in a mirror. Prejean is a graduate of The Second City’s acting program, and he later taught at the famed comedy-star breeding ground. At Elm Theatre, he leads a series of workshops that includes the Acting 1 course. Groupon holders will be treated to an exclusive, three-week abridgement ($31.25-per-week value) of this course, with no required long-term commitment or blood-signed contract. The three-week session will touch on monologues, auditions, acting exercises, and the fundamental techniques actors use to create and finely tune their characters.
In 1977, Professor Longhair didn't have long to live. As a human bridge connecting early 20th century blues, traditional Big Easy jazz, and Cuban funk, the now legendary musician changed the soundtrack to the city, paving the way for acts such as Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. Perhaps most notably, he penned the ubiquitous carnival anthem "Mardi Gras in New Orleans." But when it looked like his time was up, the NOLA community wasn't going to let him fade away. A group of fans, dubbed "The Fabulous Fo'teen," sought out a spot for the "Fess" to play at until his dying day. And that's exactly what he did at Tipitina's. They even named the place after one of his songs.
Proof that a former gambling parlor and cathouse can change its ways, Tipitina's century-old building has earned a reputation as one of New Orleans's finest music venues. Within its hallowed walls, many famous Crescent City acts have launched to stardom, from funk collectives such as The Neville Brothers and The Meters to rockers like Better than Ezra and the Radiators. All of these names grace the outdoor Walk of Fame, and the club also attracts national artists such as Wilco and Nine Inch Nails. However, the venue's immersion in the musical community goes beyond just shows—it also hosts music lessons for kids, weekly Cajun dance parties, and a retirement home for senior citizen horns. But as much as Tipitina's has expanded over time, it pays respect to the Longhair of its namesake every year with the appropriately punned "Fess Jazztival."