News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 17, 2012

Shawnee alumni performing in Hollywood; theater announces season


Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Two of The Shawnee Theatre of Greene County’s alumnus have reconnected in Hollywood at Noah Wyle’s The Blank Theatre Company. Former producing artistic director, Matthew Graber, and former actor, Nick Vienna, first collaborated in 2006 in Bloomfield. Now they find themselves in similar roles as Nick acts for The Blank Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., where Graber serves as producing director. Vienna has acted in three staged readings for the theater and is serving as understudy for the part of Father Canary in the world premiere of five time Tony Award nominee Michael John LaChiusa’s play “Sukie and Sue: Their Story,” produced by Graber. The play runs until June 3.

On top of their work together on “Sukie and Sue,” Graber directed Vienna as the lead role in a staged reading of “Jersey Shore House” by Michael Ferrell. Vienna got to share the stage with such actors such as Eugene Byrd (“8 Mile,” “Bones”), Deborah Van Valkenburg (“The Warriors”) and Don Stark (“That ’70’s Show”). More recently, Vienna appeared as a eastern European gangster opposite Robin Weigert (“Deadwood”) in a reading of the play “Bourgeois Pig” by Brighde Mullins. Both plays were part of The Blank’s Living Room Series, where the theater has done workshop readings of more than 30 plays a year. For more information on The Blank theater visit theblank.com.

“Nick and I were just talking about it at the opening night party for ‘Sukie and Sue,’ there we were hanging out at a restaurant near Hollywood and Vine surrounded by actors like Mackenzie Phillips [“One Day at a Time,” “American Graffiti”], Lindsey Broad [“The Office,” “21 Jump Street”] and Lenny Jacobson [“Nurse Jackie”] it’s all hard to believe sometimes. We’re a long way from Indiana, but in some ways it’s all the same. We’re just making theater. Just doing what we love to do.” Graber said.

“Getting the opportunity to work with Matt at The Blank has been awesome. It’s funny when other artists around the theater first see the two of us interact, because they have no idea that we have 6 years of friendship between us,” Vienna said. “They just think we’re really rude to each other! But the truth is, the bond we made making theater six years ago in rural Indiana is one of those that’s almost like family. I can say the same of other folks I met at Shawnee, including current artistic director Kevin Guthridge. We were doing our very best to create something special for the audience then, just like we are now. It’s just the palm trees that are different.”

Graber credits his home state with his success.

“I’m having a great time. It’s been outstanding getting to work with Nick again, as well as getting to know people like Noah Wyle,” Graber said. “I would have never got the chance to be in charge of Shawnee if it wasn’t for Arthur Finesod and all the amazing people in the Indiana State University Theatre Department. I also have to say that I’d never be doing this if it wasn’t for the board of directors of The Shawnee Theatre taking a chance on putting a 27 year old guy in charge of their theater. I will always be in their debt.”

Graber has not cut all his ties with Shawnee. He is one of the writers of “Zombie’s in Greene County: In 3D” along with current Shawnee producing artistic director Kevin Guthridge and associate producer Josh Carroll.

Tickets may be purchased for Shawnee’s 53rd season at shawneetheatre.org. The Shawnee Theatre, Indiana’s oldest continuously running summer theater, is a mile south of downtown Bloomfield at R.R. 6 Box 36, Bloomfield. For more information contact shawneetheatre@

hotmail.com or go to www.shawneetheatre.org.

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Shawnee Theatre 2012 Season

• “Clue: The Musical,” June 14-17, 21-24, Book by Peter DePietro, Music by Galen Blum, Wayne Barker and Vinnie Martucci, Lyrics by Tom Chiodo. Based on the Parker Brothers’ Board Game

The internationally popular game is now a fun filled musical murder-mystery which brings the world’s best known suspects to life and invites the audience to help solve the mystery: Who killed Mr. Boddy, in what room, and with what weapon. Bring the whole family and put on your thinking cap as you play along with the action on the stage. (RATED PG)

• “Moon Over Buffalo,” June 28-July 1, By Ken Ludwig

Charlotte and George Hay, an acting couple not exactly the Lunts are on tour in Buffalo in 1953 with a repertory consisting of Cyrano de Bergerac “revised, one nostril version” and Noel Coward’s Private Lives. This backstage farce by the author of Lend Me a Tenor brought Carol Burnett back to Broadway co-starring with Philip Bosco as her megalomaniac husband and leading man. (RATED PG-13)

• “Rounding Third,” July 5-8, By Richard Dresser

The hilarious journey of two Little League coaches through an entire season, from their first tentative meeting to the climactic championship game. The audience is the stand-in for the team, so the coaches speak directly to the audience about competition, character, punctuality, and the importance of wearing the right equipment. If you like little league baseball, you’ll love this play! (RATED PG-13)

• “The Haunting of Hill House,” July 12-15, By F. Andrew Leslie, Based on the novel by Shirley Jackson

A chilling and mystifying study in mounting terror in which a small group of “psychically receptive” people are brought together in Hill House, a brooding, mid-Victorian mansion known as a place of evil and “contained ill will.” Led by the learned Dr. Montague, who is conducting research in supernatural phenomena, the visitors have come to probe the secrets of the old house and to draw forth the mysterious power that it is alleged to possess — powers which have brought madness and death to those who have lived therein in the past. (RATED PG-13)

• “Shawnee Variety Show,” July 16

The 2012 Shawnee Company will be performing a series of songs, sketches, monologues, etc for our patrons. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.

• “Zombies in Greene County” (in 3D), July 19-22, A Melodrama by Kevin Lee Guthridge, Josh Carroll, and Mathew Graber

Shawnee Theatre is thrilled to bring back our family-friendly melodrama this year with an original piece by both past and present company members. Get your throwing arm ready to chuck some tomatoes at the villain and boo at the bad jokes in this zombie-filled tale of a an unlikely hero. (RATED PG)

• “Dial ‘M’ for Murder,” July 26-29, By Frederick Knott

You’ll be on the edge of your seat every moment of this quintessential thriller. It’s a dark, dangerous, delightful whodunit of forbidden love, delightful suspense, blackmailers, and backstabbers — figuratively and literally. Made famous by the 1954 Hitchcock Film. (RATED PG-13)