Will Call: tips & tidbits for the theatrically inclined

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Ask any actor what his favorite holiday is and nine out of ten times you'll get the same answer: Halloween. Maybe that's why fright night shows are so much fun. And I've got to admit, I'm kind of excited about the shows I'm going to see this weekend. And bargain hunters should also be really happy about the opportunity to see an interesting new company's extravagant second production for half price. Yep, half price. Well, if you can get a date, that is.

Tonight (Friday) I'm heading to Germantown Community Theatre to take in the offbeat musical Gorey Stories, which is based on the ghoulish cartoons of Gashlycrumb Tinies author Edward Gorey. I'm a huge fan of Gorey's macabre doodles and have deep admiration for his superb taste in footwear. So I'm fully prepared to be underwhelmed in the way I usually am when people start messing with my cherished childhood memories. But there's one thing I know won't disappoint: the set.

Full disclosure: My old pal L.D. Beghtol, a gifted illustrator whose love of EG's scary scribbles dwarfs even my own, has been called down from NYC to draw the set. That's right, I said DRAW the set. Not to design it or build it but to take his fat felt tips to a stark white set and make hundreds of thousands of tiny black marks. Before Beghtol ran off to the big city to play with bands like The New Criticism, Flare Acoustic Arts League, and The Magnetic Fields he had quite the reputation as an artist and from what I've seen already, he's only gotten better.

On Saturday I'm off to see Jekyll & Hyde at Theatre Memphis. Voices of the South's Artistic Director Jerre Dye directs a new adaptation of the horror classic by Compleat Female Stage Beauty playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. What's not to like about that combination?

Finally, if you're more interested in fairies, goblins, and sprites the fledgling Tennessee Shakespeare Company is offering two for one tickets for its Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Although I had problems with some of the acting there's no denying that this is a thoughtful, elegantly realized production and worth the full price of admission.

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