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Dixie's Tupperware Party

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Outrageous and audacious, Dixie Longate hosts her very special Tupperware party in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the GeffenPlayhouse. As the audience enters, Dixie herself greets each patron with a nametag to wear and the tantalizing hint that there may be a payback for wearing one. Once that task is completed, she bounds onto the stage in her three-inch heels, throws her arms up in the air, and calls for the fun to begin.

Dixie is the alter ego of actor Kris Anderrson, and he never misses a beat in his portrayal of this over-the-top Southern gal with her big hair, big voice, and rapid-fire delivery. She claims Alabama and a trailer park as home.

From the outset, naughty double-entendres pepper her sales pitch. Soon, the naughty turns bawdy, and Dixie pulls out all the stops to the delight of the audience. Two ladies each are seated on twin couches on either side of the stage as though at a real party, and Dixie cleverly works them into her spiel. She also targets a couple of audience members for her comedy routine. One woman is given a fairly salacious task to perform, but she seems to be willing to be Dixie's abettor.

Written by Andersson and directed by Patrick Richwood, Dixie's Party is roughly ninety minutes without an intermission, and Andersson proceeds at breakneck speed with all the down home kitsch one might expect. At the conclusion, she offers a glimpse of the Dixie who finds self-worth in her Tupperware job.

Along with the comedy, Dixie tells us the back story of Brownie Wise, the first woman to have her picture on Business Week magazine in 1954. She is credited with the creation of the home sales party, an invention which gave many post-World War II housewives an opportunity to have an income while still being at home.

Enhancing the production is a large screen on which images of Dixie and Wise appear. Lighting designer Richard Winkler provides effective stage and audience lighting, and Christopher K. Bond employs efficient sound design. Dixie's wig is courtesy of Rebecca A. Scott.

As Dixie demonstrates the bowls and containers along the way, she provides both common and libidinous suggestions for their usage. The clincher is that Dixie will sell some Tupperware at the end of the show, and it is reported that Andersson is the leading national salesperson of the product. A catalog is provided at the seats.

This R-rated show seems out of place at the Geffen. A more likely location might be Las Vegas, but it seems to be a bit dicey for the general playgoer who comes to it unprepared. I think one might like Dixie but not her message.

Dixie's Tupperware Party runs from July 8 to August 3. Tuesday-Friday at 8 Saturday at 3 and 7. Sunday at 2 and 7. Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen, 10866 Le Conte, Los Angeles. For more information visit www.geffenplayhouse.com

 

 

 

Spotlight

Laguna Playhouse Announces Ellen Richard as its Interim Executive Director

May 3, 2016…Laguna Beach, Calif…Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors announced today that, later this month, Ellen Richard will be joining Laguna Playhouse as its Interim Executive Director. The Playhouse announced late last year that it was undertaking a national search guided by Arts Consulting Group (ACG) for an Executive Director to succeed Karen Wood who had held this position for the past eight years.

Commenting on the appointment Joe Hanauer and Paul Singarella, Co-Chairmens of the Board of Directors, said “In the midst of our search we encountered this wonderful opportunity to engage Ellen while we continue to seek appropriate long-term leadership. To have found someone with the extraordinary qualifications that Ellen has is thrilling. She is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer at New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company where she was Managing Director. Ellen also has strong successes in supervising the construction of theatres in New York and also in San Francisco at the American Conservatory Theater, a rare and valuable skill set considering the contemplated major remodel and expansion of the Laguna Playhouse.” Laguna Playhouse Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham adds, “We are pleased and proud to have Ellen Richard, truly a rock-star in our field, join us as our interim Executive Director who will help guide the Playhouse during this transition.” Comments Ellen Richard, “I have quickly grown fond of Laguna Beach and the Playhouse. I embrace this extraordinary opportunity to join one of the country’s top regional theatres at this time in its remarkable 95-year history. I look forward to helping the Playhouse and working with their incredible Board of Trustees and Ann E. Wareham.”

ABOUT ELLEN RICHARD

Ellen Richard served as Executive Director of the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco from 2010 through 2015.  During her tenure, Ms. Richard negotiated a deal to buy the Strand Theater in tech corridor of Mid-Market San Francisco, helped raise the $34,000 million to renovate and operate it and steered the design and construction for the project which opened in May of 2015. The complex featured two performance spaces and has won multiple awards.  She opened the 50 seat Costume Shop Theater, a 49-seat “black box” venue used for the company’s Master of Fine Arts students and for shows by other local companies.  Ms. Richard was also credited with expanding the company’s educational efforts, coming up with programs like the San Francisco Semester, which brings undergraduate acting students to ACT from around the world, and Stage Coach, a community theater mobile unit that reaches into diverse neighborhoods

She was also Executive Director of The Second Stage Theatre in New York City. During her tenure at Second Stage, which began in 2006 (through 2009), she was responsible for the purchase contract of the Helen Hayes Theatre, growth in subscription income of 48 percent, and growth in individual giving of 75 percent, as well as conceptualization of a highly successful gala format and “Second Generation,” a giving program through which donors enable deserving New York City youth to experience live theater. Under Ms. Richard’s leadership, Second Stage provided the initial home for the Broadway productions Everyday Rapture, Next to Normal, and The Little Dog Laughed.

From 1983 to 2005, Ms. Richard enjoyed a rich and varied career with Roundabout Theatre Company. The Roundabout that Ms. Richard joined was a small nonprofit theater company in bankruptcy. By the time she departed as Managing Director, Roundabout had become one of the country’s largest and most successful theater companies of its kind, with net assets in excess of $67 million dollars. Ms. Richard is the recipient of six Tony Awards as producer, for Roundabout productions of Cabaret (1998), A View from the Bridge (1998), Side Man (1999), Nine (2003), Assassins (2004), and Glengarry Glen Ross (2005). As producer of more than 125 shows at Roundabout, she had direct supervision of all management and marketing functions. She created Roundabout’s “Theatre-PLUS” programs, which include singles, teachers, family, gay and lesbian, wine tasting, and the 7 p.m. “Early Curtain” series, all of which grew to represent more than 10 percent of Roundabout’s 40,000 subscribers.

As director of design and construction at Roundabout, Ms. Richard was responsible for more than $50 million of theater construction for 11 projects. She conceptualized the three permanent Roundabout stages — The Broadway venues of Studio 54 and the American Airlines Theatre, and the Off-Broadway venue The Harold and Miriam Steinberg Center for Theatre She directed the location search for Cabaret and oversaw the creation of the production’s environmental Kit Kat Klub. Prior to her tenure at Roundabout, Ms. Richard served as business manager of Westport Country Playhouse, theater manager for Stamford Center for the Arts, and business manager for Atlas Scenic Studio. She began her career working as a stagehand, sound designer, and scenic artist assistant.