TheatreSquared patrons got a peek behind the curtain Oct. 22 at the Season 18 Celebration in Fayetteville. "We reimagined our traditional season kickoff to invite you backstage to see the inner workings for behind-the-scenes fun," Bob Ford, artistic director, told guests. "Tonight you'll experience some of the happenings backstage that make the onstage magic happen."
Theater tours that were part of the evening included access to the basement, trap room, costume shop and catwalks. Patrons also had opportunities to try on costume pieces and participate with the in-house production team in interactive labs dabbling in scene painting and working with props and lighting and sound.
The theater's 18th season will include productions of "A Christmas Carol," Nov. 29-Dec. 24; "What the Constitution Means to Me," Jan. 24-March 3; "Cambodian Rock Band," Feb. 28-March 24; "Laughs in Spanish," March 27-May 5; "Fat Ham," April 17-May 12; and the world premier of "Responders," June 5-30.
Those joining the theater to celebrate the season included Carolyn Henderson Allen, Jerry Perez, Amanda and Josh Wood, Jenifer Tucker, Andrea and Jeremy Wilson, Suzanne and Michael Saltz, Teresa and Alex Cornett, Walter and Terry Harris, Paula Jenkins and Lee Brown, Nicole Clowney, Mayor Lioneld Jordan, Susan Hall, Lori Bremer and Wayne Stout, Sara Parnell, Denise and Dwayne Thomas, Sandy Edwards, Margaret Whillock, Judy and Bill Schwab, Rosemary and George Faucette, Joyce Stafford, Denise and Hershey Garner and Marybeth and Micky Mayfield.
Top Chef NWA
Four area chefs went head-to-head flexing their culinary skills Oct. 27 to benefit the Rogers Public Library Foundation and earn the title of Top Chef NWA. More than 350 library supporters joined the organization at Metro Appliances & More in Lowell to help raise some $35,000 while savoring gourmet cuisine, cocktails and desserts. VIP ticketholders were treated to their own lounge sponsored by Cherokee Casino and Hotel. Chefs Billy Flynn, Mat Zimmerman and Ken Manahl "created a multi-coursed culinary menu highlighting food and drink with a connection to the Cherokee culture for our special attendees," organizers said.
The foundation "fuels a bright future for our community" by supporting Rogers Public Library programming and outreach," Brenda Majors, foundation executive director, tells me. Programs include the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, which provides children birth to 5 years of age a book a month, and the tutor.com online program, which provides tutoring to students at all levels and in all subjects.
Chef Casey Coverdell of the Walmart AMP and owner of I'd Smoke That, was named this year's Top Chef NWA. His prize-winning presentation consisted of roasted butternut squash and fennel puree, aleppo and espresso rubbed pork tenderloin, caramelized cippolini onion, brandied apples, parsnip chips, micro greens and red wine pickled pomegranate. The meal was paired with a mulled apple cider with red wine, apple cider, cloves, bay leaf and cinnamon, with a pickled cranberry and mandarin orange float.
Other chefs vying to be Top Chef were Chef Zack Young, Tyson Foods; Chef Jaime Landu Colin, Wellington's; and Chef Garyn Folden, Cura Culinary, who won the People's Choice Award.
Those with the enviable task of judging the competition were:
Chef Marshall Shafkowitz, executive director of Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food;
Chef Mike Henry, certified executive chef;
Chef Daniel Hintz, co-owner of Bauhaus Biergarten;
Allison Wise, 40/29 News;
Chef Paul Allen, co-owner of Allen Event Group;
Chef Brent Hale, founder of Big Sexy Food;
Chef Maudie Schmitt, co-owner and chef of Cafe Rue Orleans; and
Erin Rowe, owner of Ozark Culinary Tours and author of "An Ozark Culinary History."
For more event photos -- nwaonline.com/photos/society.
Columnist Carin Schoppmeyer can be reached by email at [email protected].