Art Beat: ACT reprises popular 'Angels' comedy

Mike Dunham
Calvin Snead is shown singing the National Anthem during a University of Alaska Fairbanks hockey game on Nov. 17.
Photo courtesy U.S. Army
The "Cotton Patch" pickers, from left: David Stogdill, Hillary Saffran, Wes Yuill, Alex Lindgren and Steve O'Brien.
Photo by Joyce Martin
The three convicts in ACT's current production of "My Three Angels," top to bottom: Max Aronson, Kevin T. Bennett and David Flavin.
Photo by Tony Batres
The felons in ACT's 1960 production of "My Three Angels," top to bottom: Everett Harris, John Roderick (better known as Jack) and Harry Groom.
Photo courtesy ACT

Kevin T. Bennett, who drew considerable praise for his somber portrayal of George in the recent Perseverance Theatre production of "Of Mice and Men," is back in a much funnier role. Bennett plays one of three convicts sent to help a struggling family in a tropical French colony in "My Three Angels." Though assigned to fix a roof, the felons begin to apply their criminal expertise into getting the family out of a financial jam -- with ridiculous results.

Anchorage Community Theatre is staging the family friendly comedy with Christmas overtones for the third time. The "Angels" in prison stripes in the 1960 version were Harry Groom, Anchorage attorney Everett Harris and Jack Roderick, later mayor of the Greater Anchorage Area Borough. Roderick was due to be in the audience on opening night, Friday.

In addition to Bennett, the unhallowed "Angels" this time around include Dave Flavin and Max Aronson. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 23 at ACT's Studio Theatre, 1133 E. 70th. Tickets are $15, $11 for kids age 12 and under, at

A profile of Bennett by Shareen Crosby is posted at ArtSnob.


Foot-stompin' 'Gospel' returns to VPA

When Valley Performing Arts gave the local premiere of "Cotton Patch Gospel" in 1990, it broke attendance records. It would be nice if that success could be repeated with the reprise, which started on Friday, since performances are doubling as collection points for donations to the Food Pantry of Wasilla and the Toys for Tots program.

The story sets the New Testament gospels of Mark and John in rural Georgia in a book by Clarence Jordan. The book was turned into a musical that features music by the late Harry Chapin, a dedicated advocate of anti-hunger efforts in addition to being a hit songwriter. Chapin laced the dialogue with bluegrass and country tunes for a "fun, foot stomping and inspiring journey with plenty of places to laugh and cry."

General admission is $19, available at or by calling 907-373-0195. Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 23 at the Machetanz Theater in Wasilla. Bring food.


Final 'Finales'

The premiere run of Dick Reichman's play "Bruckner's Last Finale" will take place at 3 p.m. today and next Sunday, Dec. 2, and at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Nov. 28-Dec. 1, at Cyrano's, 413 D St. Although closing in Anchorage, there are murmurings that it might travel to Europe. In our opinion it would make a great BBC-style two-part miniseries on PBS, shot on location at historic sites in Austria and Germany.


Fairbanks singer in top 12

Calvin Snead -- husband of Fort Wainwright Staff Sgt. KaMesha Snead, a former soldier himself and Army reservist -- is in the top 12 finalists in the Army-wide Operation Rising Star competition. Snead, who considers himself primarily a gospel artist, is expanding his palette for the finals. "I think I've chosen a nice variety of music that should showcase my vocal range," he said.

Operation Rising Star is based on "American Idol," complete with celebrity judges and recording artists. Snead, for instance, will be working with Debra Byrd, the main vocal coach on "Idol." And, like the FOX network program, the public will have the chance to vote on their favorites. The finals will be televised on the Pentagon Channel from Fort Sam Houston Theatre in San Antonio, Texas. The show is scheduled to air at 4 p.m. on Dec. 8, 10, 12, 14 and 15. Those without access to the channel can stream the program live at Tune in and vote often.


Small town libraries noted

The public libraries in Unalaska, Haines, Seward, Homer and Peterburg were among 262 libraries in America to be designated as "Star Libraries" by Library Journal. More than 9,000 libraries nationwide and 87 in Alaska were evaluated for the honor. The libraries were judged on several criteria involving the amount of usage they had compared to the population of the service area.

In a press release, State Librarian Linda Thibodeau said, "Unalaska, Haines, and Seward have been listed as Star Libraries for all five years in which these ratings have been published, an honor which only 108 other libraries nationwide can claim. Petersburg has received this honor three times and Homer has been starred twice."


Reach Mike Dunham at or 257-4332.