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Review: I’m Not Rappaport

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By John Baggett

The year has just begun, and Tyler Civic Theatre is continuing their hot streak with a production of the Tony Award winning classic, “I’m Not Rappaport.”

Set in the fall of 1982, the story centers around two elderly gentlemen who spend their time sitting on the bench in the lower income section of Central Park. There is Nat (Allison Cambre), an aging Communist with a penchant for tall tales and a disdain of capitalism and being “a nobody.” His frequent, unwilling audience is Midge (William Igbokwe), a superintendent whose eyesight is almost as absent as his patience for Nat. The taller the tale Nat tells, the more Midge falls for it, only to come to his senses as the story becomes grander.

Both men are hiding in plain sight – Nat from his daughter, Clara (DeAnna Hargrove) and Midge from Danforth (Michael McLeod), the head of the tenants’ association who intends to rid the building of Midge’s services and residency, as the building is being turned into a co-op. Clara wants Nat to come stay with her or move into a retirement home, as the neighborhood has become too dangerous. This is something Midge can attest to, as he pays one of the local muggers, Gilley (Asa Johnson), to walk him home, as well as protection from other thieves.

Observing them all is a quiet young art student, Laurie (Tara Hoover), whose connection to a mysterious man only known as Cowboy (Jake Gillard) will inevitably draw Midge and Nat into her problems, causing them to get into even more trouble than they were already in, thanks to Nat’s mouth.

The play was written by the great Herb Gardner, who is also known for “A Thousand Clowns” and “The Good People.” Along with “Rappaport,” he also adapted these works into feature films. This production was directed by Tilly McLeod, who previous directed productions of “A Christmas Story” and “Harvey.” McLeod took on this award winning classic and delivered the production is deserves, assembling a cast of wonderful talent, several of whom learned their parts in just a handful of rehearsals due to illness and weather. Even with all of the obstacles they faced, they pulled off a fantastic show.

Cambre is great as Nat, adding an air of sweetness to the role, and getting big laughs the more his character boasts with each wild yarn he spins. Igbokwe, in his first play ever, takes on a role beyond his years and holds his own against stage veterans. He often steals the show, is incredibly talented, and hopefully returns to the Civic Theatre stage very soon.

Hargrove is fantastic as Clara, mixing New York sassiness with heartfelt emotion as a daughter trying to protect her father. Hoover is great in her handful of scenes. Her character may not say much, but her physical performance is wonderfully natural and you can tell her joy of watching Nat and Midge is genuine. As Danforth, Mr. McLeod is hysterical, and you almost feel bad for him when he becomes the target of Nat’s shenanigans. Finally, our two villains, Cowboy (Gillard) and Gilley (Johnson), in a show filled with laughs, do an excellent job of reminding us of the looming threats around the rest of the cast. They both deliver performances that are as menacing as everyone else is charming.

“I’m Not Rappaport” is a delightful, frequently funny show that despite being set in the early 80s feels pretty timeless. Honestly, if they didn’t tell you it was set in the 80s, save for one costume, this story could be from 30 years or 3 days ago. It’s another great show at Tyler Civic Theatre and one that I truly believe you will enjoy.

“I’m Not Rappaport” opens on Friday, February 2nd and runs through Sunday, February 11th.  Tyler Civic Theatre is located at 400 Rose Park Drive.  For more information and to purchase tickets go to http://tylercivictheatre.com/production/2017-2018/im-not-rappaport

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Around East Texas

Make a Splash This Summer at The Waterpark at The Villages Resort

Silverleaf’s Waterpark2Did you know there’s an indoor waterpark in Flint that features a lazy river, waterslides, a wave pool and many other attractions? The Waterpark at The Villages Resort offers 25,000 square feet of fun for the entire family, making it one of the largest in Texas. The 19,000-square-foot, glass-enclosed recreational area is climate-controlled for year-round fun, with a retractable roof that allows for open-air excitement in the summer.

Splash, float, slide or just relax at The Waterpark at The Villages Resort – this is an amusement park for the whole family. The waterpark features a lazy river with a whirlpool for tubers as well as four exciting three-story waterslides. Meanwhile, a forest ranger children’s playscape offers a giant 10,000-gallon bucket dump, three kid-sized body slides and life-size figures of bears and moose.

For guests who just want to relax and watch the fun, there are plenty of lounge chairs and seating areas with tables surrounding the pool areas. Casual dining is also available, including Subway® and pizza.

There are men’s and women’s changing areas complete with lockers, restrooms, and showers. The Splash Store provides guests with any last-minute essentials needed for an exciting day of family fun.

The waterpark is a great venue for your next family reunion, work party, birthday party, or other gathering. The Party Room is ideal for a party up to 12 guests, while the entire waterpark can be reserved for up to 1,200 guests.

The waterpark, which first opened its doors in January 2008, is located on the grounds of Holiday Inn Club Vacations® Villages Resort. This family playground is a prime Texas vacation destination, featuring spacious villas and fun-filled amenities and spanning nearly 3,000 acres among the woods along Lake Palestine.

The Waterpark is open daily 10am-9pm. Tickets are $10 for observers, $21.95 for under 48” tall, $24.95 for others. Twilight Passes are $18.95 for under 48” tall, and $21.95 for others 4-9pm.

The Waterpark at the Villages Resort is located at 18270 Singing Wood Ln., Flint. For more info call (903)534-8400 or go to waterparkatthevillages.com

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Family

Cool $1 Movies at Studio Movie Grill

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Join the fun at Studio Movie Grill (SMG), located at 8954 S. Broadway Ave., Tyler. Tickets are available at the door and at studiomoviegrill.com. SMG offers box office hits as well as special screenings. These include:

Classic Comedies (7:15pm)

  • July 18th: “Blazing Saddles”
  • July 25th: “National Lampoon’s Vacation”
  • August 1st: “Risky Business”

Lord of the Rings Series (7:15pm)

  • August 8th: “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring” (extended)
  • August 15th: “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (extended)
  • August 22nd: “ The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (extended)

Big Screen Classics (2pm and 7pm each day)

  • July 15th and 18th (2pm and 7pm) –  “Big” 30th Anniversary Special
  • September 23rd and 26th (2pm and 7pm each day) – “Rebel Without a Cause”

$1 Children’s Summer Series (10am)

  • July 16th-20th: “The Peanuts Movie”
  • July 23rd-27th: “The Croods”
  • July 30th-August 3rd: “The Prince of Egypt”
  • August 6th-10th: “Megamind”
  • August 13th-17th: “Puss in Boots”
  • August 20th-24th: “Epic”
  • August 27th-31st: “Flushed Away”
Special Needs Screenings (11am)
Family-friendly movies are free for children with special needs and their siblings with adult tickets available for before-noon price. Special Needs Screenings are shown with the lights up and the volume lowered, and children are free to move around, talk, or even dance in the aisles during the movie. The scheduled movies are:
  • July 14th: “Ant-Man and the Wasp”
  • July 21st: “Hotel Transylvania 3”
  • August 4th: “Teen Titans Go to the Movies”

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Around East Texas

The 70th Season Begins at Tyler Civic Theatre Kicks-Off July 26th

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The 2018-2019 season begins with a lot of fun!

Single show tickets are available for $18 for adults and $15 for students. FLEX Pass are available for multiple performances. Tyler Civic Theatre is located at 400 Rose Park Dr., Tyler, next to the Tyler Rose Garden Center. For more info or tickets call (903)592-0561 or go to tylercivictheatre.com. The 2018-2019 productions are:

July 26th-August 12th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Singin’ in the Rain” – The “Greatest Movie Musical of All Time” is faithfully and lovingly adapted by Broadway legends, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, from their original award-winning screenplay in “Singin’ in the Rain.” Each unforgettable scene, song, and dance is accounted for, including the show-stopping title number, complete with an onstage rainstorm! Hilarious situations, snappy dialogue and a hit-parade score of Hollywood standards make “Singin’ in the Rain” the perfect entertainment for any fan of the golden age of movie musicals.

September 6th-9th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “The Touch” by Mike Hargrove – “The Touch” tells the story of a grandmother with a healing touch – a secret “gift” her own grandmother helped her to discover and understand. An accident on the family farm brings opportunity for restoration of body and soul that spans four generations. Hope is found in a family secret buried beneath decades of doubt and skepticism. Playwright, Mike Hargrove made his final edits to the script only five days before his untimely death in January 2017. DeAnna Hargrove is honored to present her husband’s story for the first time in the theatre he fervently supported alongside her.

October 5th-14th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Dial M for Murder” – Tony Wendice has married his wife, Margot, for her money and now plans to murder her for the same reason. He arranges the perfect murder. He blackmails a scoundrel he used to know into strangling her for a fee of one thousand pounds, and arranges a brilliant alibi for himself. Unfortunately…the murderer gets murdered and the victim survives. But this doesn’t baffle the husband: He sees his hireling’s death as an opportunity to have his wife convicted for the murder of the man who tried to murder her, and that is what almost happens. Luckily, the police inspector from Scotland Yard and a young man who is in love with the wife discover the truth, and in a scene of almost unbearable suspense they trap the husband into revealing his guilt, thus freeing Margot.

November 6th-7th (school shows) and November 8th-11th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs” – The classic children’s tale of Snow White, seven dwarfs, a magic mirror and an evil queen comes to Tyler Civic! Supposedly disposed of by the wicked queen, Snow White finds her way to a happy glen and the home of seven friendly dwarfs. A deadly apple casts her into a deep sleep, from which she is revived in time by her devoted prince.

January 13th-14th (school shows) and January 15th-20th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “The Taming of the Shrew (Condensed)” – This season TCT performs a hilarious, but seriously abridged version of Shakespeare’s classic “The Taming of the Shrew.” The 45-minute play preserved the original language along with all the major plot turns, but condensed it down to a one-act play and is a perfect introduction to the Bard for participant and audience member alike.

February 8th-17th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “On Golden Pond” – This is the love story of Ethel and Norman Thayer, who are returning to their summer home on Golden Pond for the 48th year. He is a retired professor, nearing 80, with heart palpitations and a failing memory but still as tart-tongued, observant, and eager for life as ever. Ethel, ten years younger, and the perfect foil for Norman, delights in all the small things that have enriched and continue to enrich their long life together. They are visited by their divorced, middle-aged daughter and her dentist fiancé, who then go off to Europe, leaving his teenage son behind for the summer. The boy quickly becomes the “grandchild” the elderly couple have longed for, and as Norman revels in taking his ward fishing and thrusting good books at him, he also learns some lessons about modern teenage awareness – and slang – in return. Date Night for Valentine’s Day will be February 14th with a Dessert Theatre. Tickets are $24 for adults, $20 for students.

March 8th-17th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Bus Stop” – In the middle of a howling snowstorm, a bus out of Kansas City pulls up at a cheerful roadside diner. All roads are blocked, and four or five weary travelers are going to have to hole up until morning. Cherie, a nightclub chanteuse in a sparkling gown and a seedy fur-trimmed jacket, is the passenger with most to worry about. She’s been pursued, made love to and finally kidnapped by a twenty-one-year-old cowboy with a ranch of his own and the romantic methods of an unusually headstrong bull. The belligerent cowhand is right behind her, ready to sling her over his shoulder and carry her, alive and kicking, all the way to Montana. Even as she’s ducking out from under his clumsy but confident embraces, and screeching at him fiercely to shut him up, she pauses to furrow her forehead and muse, “Somehow deep inside of me I got a funny feeling I’m gonna end up in Montana …” As a counterpoint to the main romance, the proprietor of the cafe and the bus driver at last find time to develop a friendship of their own; a middle-age scholar comes to terms with himself; and a young girl who works in the cafe also gets her first taste of romance.

April 11th-14th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “The Complete Works of Shakespeare – Abridged” – Come see all 37 Shakespeare plays performed in 97 minutes! Three madcap men in tights weave their wicked way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, and tragedies in one wild ride that will leave you breathless and helpless with laughter. An irreverent, fast-paced romp through the Bard’s plays, “The Complete Works of Shakespeare – Abridged” was London’s longest-running comedy.

May 10th-19th (Thursday-Saturday at 7:30pm, Sunday at 2:30pm): “Groucho Marx, A Life in Revue” is a stage play written by Groucho Marx’s son Arthur Marx and Robert Fisher with musical direction by Jim Grady. It is a look at the life and career of the famous entertainer Groucho Marx of the Marx Brothers and “You Bet Your Life” fame. It opened off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on October 8, 1986 and played 254 performances closing on May 3, 1987. This inspired bio musical about “The One and Only” begins with Groucho as an old man doing his famous Carnegie Hall show. It then goes back to the beginnings of the Marx Brothers and their struggles to make it in vaudeville, their rise to stardom and their eventual break up. All classic Groucho songs are included. One actor plays Groucho, another plays Chico and Harpo, and one actress plays all the wives, girlfriends and Margaret Dumont. A hit in New York, across the U.S. and in London, this show will delight Marx Brothers fans and the as yet uninitiated. The performance on Sunday, May 12th (Mother’s Day) has an optional pre-show brunch. Tickets are $34 for adults, $30 for students. Also, a dinner-theatre opportunity will be available for Thursday May 16th performance.

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