Tuesday, September 6, 2011

An introduction to an old friend...

To many in the Endstation family whom I know well and to those I have yet to meet mano a mano, my name is Michael Stablein, Jr. I came to Sweet Briar four years ago at the behest of our Artistic Director, Geoffrey Kershner to play Romeo in Romeo & Juliet for the inaugural season of the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. Since that time, I've had the good fortune to play many of the great roles of Shakespeare's canon (Demetrius, Midsummer Night's Dream; Laertes, Hamlet; Duke Orsino, Twelfth Night) alongside contemporary roles in The Bluest Water: A Hurricane Camille Story and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged. In my second year, the company allowed me to build the Playwrights Initiative Residency Program. Going into its fourth summer, the Initiative provides artistic residency and a staged Public Reading Series for emerging, professional playwrights in the month of July. And this past summer, I joined the faculty of BLUR: Summer Institute for Young Artists teaching Voice For The Actor to an immensely talented group of Virginia high-schoolers.

I am honored to introduce myself this time around as the Associate Artistic Director of Endstation Theatre Company.

Now before you all up and mutiny and... burn the Hamlet barn to the ground, I am NOT (I repeat, NOT) taking over the Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival. (Although it would befit one of our Shakespearean selections next season.) Geoffrey, our fearless leader, has me on a tight leash. In addition to acting in at least one of our outdoor Shakespeare's and heading the Playwrights Initiative, I will be assisting in season selection, co-chairing the drama division of the BLUR Institute, taking charge of marketing design, and dressing as Geoffrey when he would like to take the day off. AND THAT'S ALL.

Internally, we call my role 'Departmental Alleviation'. I'm taking a little bit off of everyone's plate so that no one of us... eats too much. I'm happy to do it, my mother always said I was a good eater.

As I mentioned above, I am just so honored to have this opportunity to continue building this company alongside the rest of the artistic and administrative staff. I promise to work hard for this company, I promise to serve the community that supports us, I promise to refrain from grand-standing and wearing t-shirts with my new title printed in bold.

To the Brutus(es) and Cassius(es) out there, I assure you I want no crown. I'm still the wide-eyed actor who arrived on campus four years ago; the boy who saw Virginia as a place to discover, Endstation as an opportunity in which to grow, and the Blue Ridge... as a home.

All that's different now is it'll be that much more difficult to get rid of me.


Michael Stablein, Jr.
Associate Artistic Director
Endstation Theatre Company

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The 2012 season!!

I am thrilled and excited to announce our 2012 Blue Ridge Summer Theatre Festival season! This year's season will include TWO OUTDOOR productions and we will produce our SECOND MUSICAL, with a fresh take on an American musical classic.

Here it is folks! The wait is over!

Comedy of Errors (June 1st - July 20th) 

In 2012 Endstation will expand its outdoor offerings with this madcap Shakespearean comedy which will take place on the grounds of Sweet Briar House (the original Sweet Briar plantation home and now home to the SBC president). This particular production will run in repertory through the entire season, allowing visitors from outside the area to see two different productions in one weekend. Endstation will also tackle this high energy comedy by performing the show with only six actors portraying all of the roles, intensifying its madcap energy. This production will be sure to have you rolling in the grass with laughter as you enjoy a picnic and wine.

Big River (June 21 - July 1) 

Endstation is excited to produce this classic musical based on Mark Twain's novel, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. We meet Huck Finn, who has been recently adopted by the Widow Douglas. Unfortunately, Huck finds trouble when his estranged and ill intentioned father returns to town. Huck is forced to fake his own death to escape and joins up with another on the run - Jim, a slave in the search of freedom. Huck and Jim's journey takes them down the Mississippi River. Their passage down the river is one filled with adventure, laughter, and valuable lessons. This folk and bluegrass inspired musical score and Endstation's exciting new and fresh approach will be sure to wow audiences.

Macbeth (July 6 - July 22nd) 

The conclusion of Endstation's 2012 summer season will be one of Shakespeare's most popular tragedies. The story of Macbeth is a morality tale about greed, ambition, and the lust for power. The tale of the Macbeths, their rise to power and ultimate self destruction remains a timeless story and a tale well suited for Endstation's brand of adaptation. Endstation will once again be collaborating with the bluegrass inspired rockband Virgineola (Hamlet 2010) to create a powerful, exciting, and thrilling night of live outdoor theatre. 

There's more?!

We also have some other season events on the docket. In May, we will be bringing back our "Broadway in the Blue Ridge" kick off concert. Our new Associate Artistic Director, Michael Stablein Jr., is in search of a "theatre for young audiences" production that we hope to send into area elementary schools in May. In July, we will hold a concert reading of a new bluegrass musical we have in development, which we are very excited to share with the public. Then, as usual, we will welcome some incredible playwrights to the Sweet Briar College campus to participate in our annual Playwright's Initiative in July. 

So stay tuned, get excited, and join us in May 2012!!!

Geoffrey Kershner
Artistic Director