Maia Nolan-Partnow

"The Ballad of Soapy Smith," which opened Friday at Cyrano's, is a big play -- big story, big cast, big script (with two intermissions, it clocks in at just about three hours). The larger-than-life effect is suitable considering its subject matter; Smith, a gold rush era hustler who took Skagway by storm, is one of the most infamous figures in Alaska's territorial history. Michael Weller's script, which was commissioned to celebrate the opening of the new Seattle Repertory Theatre in 1983, unabashedly embraces all the archetypal gold rush characters. His Skagway is peopled by smooth-talking con artists, humorless lawmen, giggling dance hall girls, crusty prospectors and prim church folk. The large cast is peppered with names and faces you'll recognize from past performances at Cyrano's...Maia Nolan-Partnow
JUNEAU -- I'll be the first to admit that my exposure to the Southeast Alaska arts scene has been shamefully, well, nonexistent. Like most Anchorageites, I was familiar with the regional powerhouses Perseverance Theatre and the Sitka Summer Music Festival, but during a whirlwind weekend in Juneau at the start of this month, I found myself staggered by the extent to which the arts seem to permeate the culture in our state Capitol. I arrived just in time for February's First Friday event, for which the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council had printed up a pocket-sized gallery guide with a walking map of downtown. One popular destination was the Glory Hole, a soup kitchen on Franklin Street where patrons of the arts mingled with patrons of the shelter as they examined pieces by local artists...Maia Nolan-Partnow
So the big news in Alaska politics this week was the resignation of controversial Attorney General Talis Colberg. Poor Talis. When he was asked to be Attorney General, you've got to think that he was looking forward to four years of managing the Department of Law, signing off on motions and speaking at Bar Association luncheons. No way did this small-town lawyer foresee the hurricane that was about to come bearing down on him once Troopernof hit the national stage. But bear down it did, and he made the choices he made, and were I he I'd be more than happy to get the hell out of Juneau and head back to my storefront to re-hang my shingle, to be perfectly honest. What I'll be interested to see now is what happens to House Joint Resolution No. 4, "Proposing amendments to the Constitution of...Maia Nolan-Partnow
Anchorage Community Theatre offers an alternative to conventional holiday fare with "The Last Night of Ballyhoo," which opened Friday. There are no magical spirits or gift-bearing magi to be seen; rather Alfred Uhry's comedy uses the Christmas season to deal with the issue of Jewish identity in 1939 Atlanta. "The Last Night of Ballyhoo" opens on the day of the Atlanta premiere of "Gone With the Wind" and follows the holiday adventures of cousins Lala Levy (played by Kate Williams) and Sunny Freitag (played by Jill Yarbrough) as they prepare for Ballyhoo, an annual gathering of young Jews from across the south. Lala and Sunny's respective plans are complicated by the arrival of Joe Farkas (Kevin Bennett), a new employee of their uncle's who has recently relocated to Atlanta from Brooklyn...Maia Nolan-Partnow
"The Boy Friend" opened Friday night at Cyrano's, and while the premiere had its weak moments, the show appears likely to settle nicely into a fun holiday outing the whole family can enjoy. Opening night started, as opening nights are wont to do, with a few technical snags; first there were some moments of awkward silence punctuated by audible shouts from backstage, and then there was the electric piano that wouldn't play. After a minute or two of fiddling with sound, the cast started to enter sans accompaniment, and even after the piano started working, the lights didn't come up, and the first verse of the opening number was sung more or less in the dark. Once the kinks were worked out, however, "The Boy Friend" picked up momentum rapidly. The supporting cast is young, energetic and...Maia Nolan-Partnow
The holidays are just around the corner, but let's postpone "Good Christian Men Rejoice" in favor of something more immediate: Good musical theater fans rejoice for the singing, dancing gospel has come to the Anchorage stage. And no I'm not talking about "Jesus Christ Superstar." The University of Alaska Anchorage's production of John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz's "Godspell" opened Friday night, and it's a firecracker of a show, funny and touching and earnest, with all the spirit of a Sunday gospel brunch. Even the nonbelievers in Friday night's crowd were clapping along with the reprise of "Day By Day" and lining up to share "wine" with the cast onstage. While "Godspell" draws from the same source material as Andrew Lloyd Weber's rock opera about Jesus' last days, it's a bit...Maia Nolan-Partnow
Several times a year Kamala Derry, a nurse in real life, takes the stage as "Lola Pistola," madam of VivaVoom Brr-lesque, Anchorage's only burlesque troupe. On this particular September day, in an unassuming Anchorage house, Derry and lead dancer "La La La'mour" worked several performers through the number that would open the troupe's first show of the season. Dancers dressed in sweaters, jeans and sweat pants posed on chairs holding invisible lipsticks and adjusting imaginary girdles, preening for an audience of one. "It's supposed to be, like, a little glimpse into the dressing room while we're getting ready" La La explained. "Like, not what really happens," Derry broke in. What really happens backstage borders on chaos. "Total fantasy world," La La agreed. The dancers broke out in...Maia Nolan-Partnow