St. John Theatre announces 2011 schedule

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2011

By David Vitrano


LAPLACE – Supporters of St. John Theatre packed PJ’s Coffee in LaPlace Thursday for the latest in a string of events meant to raise public awareness of the Reserve landmark.

A formal announcement of the shows that will comprise the 2011 theater season, Managing Director Denise Borell organized the event — the first of its kind for the theater. The evening also served as a fundraiser of sorts, with a portion of the evening’s king cake sales going to the theater.

First up is a voice workshop put together by Board Vice President Suzette Hullette.

A fan of Japanese animation, Hulette said she got the idea for the workshop from attending anime conventions and learning about the voice work that must be done to prepare Japanese animation for foreign audiences.

“Every voice actor I’ve met has started in theater,” she said.

She added it would be a good way to introduce younger children to the world of theater.

For the workshop, a group from Funimation Entertainment — the South’s premier anime company — will teach fundamentals such as vocal exercise, preservation and projection. They will also go over some of the basics like the audition process.

The day’s activities will culminate in a live dubbing of an anime cartoon.

“It’s not going to be a day of boredom. I can guarantee you that,” she said.

The workshop will take place April 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will cost $45.

Said Hullette, “We want this to be something we do every year.”

Next, frequent St. John Theatre Director Darryl Clement took the microphone to announce the theater’s big summer musical.

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” based on the 1988 movie of the same name, will heat up the local stage as the weather heats up outside.

“What happens will make you laugh right out of your seat,” he said.

In contrast to recent summer offerings, the cast will be comprised of adults, although Clement admitted, “Adult is relative to the auditioners we have.”

Clement said all roles are open, and auditions will take place the week before Easter.

“We try to make opportunities for everyone that wants to be a part of it,” he added.

Closing out the announcements, Jennifer DeLatte, fresh off her starring role as Emma Carew in “Jekyll and Hyde,” said the Jefferson Performing Arts Society will bring its production of “Petit Rouge” to Reserve in October.

The musical tells the story of Little Red Riding Hood, but with a Cajun twist.

“The River Parishes will especially enjoy this production,” she said.

JPAS Executive Director Dennis Assaf was on hand to discuss the show and the benefits of live theater in general.

“It’s really a fun, fun show,” he said. “Don’t just send the kids.”

The stop at St. John Theatre will be one of many for the show, which will also visit Covington, Hammond and Meridian, Miss.

“We want to make St. John Theatre a regular stop,” he said.

Assaf said the benefits of working with theater go well beyond the stage.

“Think of the confidence it can instill,” he said. “Those experiences you gain will propel you.”

He also commended the theater staff and supporters for the recent efforts to reach out to surrounding theater groups.

“Your theater can become the cultural center for this community,” he said.

More information on upcoming events can be found at stjohntheatre. com.

Said Borell, “Come out and see what we’re about.”