Steve Vernon

Big Dawg Productions

Big Dawg Productions presents the television, film, and stage classic, 12 Angry Men. The first weekend sold out, but there are 2 more weekends of performances at the Cape Fear Playhouse on Castle Street. Remaining performances are August 10-13 and 17-20; showtime is 8:00pm on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, with 3:00pm matinees on Sundays.

Tickets are available online, by phone, and by email. Listen to Artistic Director Steve Vernon and Director Katherine Vernon talk about the show above; see the transcript below. 

WHQR/gg

In 1998, a 21-year-old gay man named Matthew Shepard was beaten and tied to a fence in Laramie, Wyoming. Matthew died from head injuries after spending 6 days in a coma. The murder brought national attention to hate crime legislation. It also received attention from the Tectonic Theatre company. The group traveled to Wyoming and created the documentary theatre piece called The Laramie Project. The show runs Thursdays-Sundays at Cape Fear Playhouse through June 25. 

Lisa Mastin/Big Dawg Productions

When I walked into Cape Fear Playhouse, I thought I went in through the out door. I could hear birds and insects in the background, breathing live trees surrounded the space, and the entire floor was covered in rustling pine-straw. There was a campfire burning (in the "stage magic" kind of way) in the center of the stage.  The theatre even smelled like the woods. I spoke with Technical Director Scott Davis and Director Steve Vernon about the play this realistic set was created for, The Last Encampment; listen above.

Harry Taylor Photography / N.C. Arts Council

The Red Barn Theater on Third Street in downtown Wilmington, launched by Linda Lavin and Steve Bakunas, is now on the market.  It’s widely expected to cease operation as a theater.  Thalian Association, the theater company that has rented the space for the last several years, is moving out in a matter of months.

Another small Wilmington venue, the Brown Coat Theater and Pub, closed its doors in October. 

And City Stage, an iconic venue in the Masonic building on Front Street in downtown Wilmington, also recently shuttered.

Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. These are the familiar opening words to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and these words also open a play called Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, presented by Big Dawg ProductionsWhen I discovered two (mostly) comic Wilmington actors were playing the lead roles, I thought the show would be a comedy. But Steve Vernon, playing Scrooge, and Randy Davis, playing Marley, explained that the show is (mostly) a drama. It's clear that both these actors are absolutely in love with this show. Listen above. 

James Bowling

Wilmington theater director Steve Vernon often has something unusual or unheard of for audiences; his current endeavor is par for the course. The show is The Birds Attack, an unauthorized parody of Hitchcock's classic film, The Birds. Notably, all the human characters in this show are played by men- men in drag for the female characters, while the birds are played by 4 women. All the scenes (and many lines) from the movie are included.

Big Dawg Productions

This season, Big Dawg Productions has produced plays in pairs-"companion pieces." Tonight through Sunday, Big Dawg's latest, The 39 Steps, completes its run at the Cape Fear Playhouse; it's the first of a pair of Hitchcock adaptations. Artistic Director Steve Vernon talks about this play and gives a tiny preview of its companion piece opening in two weeks: The Birds Attack. Listen here:


Steve Vernon bought the script for the one-woman show Becoming Dr. Ruth for Big Dawg Productions, but it turned out it wouldn't fit into the season. The script was so compelling, Vernon really wanted to get it on-stage, so he partnered with Panache Theatre to make it happen.

This Communique is a little different than normal. Host Gina Gambony isn't doing the interviewing; instead, WHQR's Program Director Bob Workmon interviews her about a show she's directing and performing in next week: Peter and the Wolf with puppets-shadow puppets to be exact.