.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Welcome in the new year with LALT

-A A +A
By Jennifer Wadsack

Swing in the New Year with the Devil, Daniel Webster and Los Alamos Little Theatre.The Los Alamos Little Theatre (LALT) will hold its annual New Year’s Eve party Monday. For the last 36 years at least, LALT has faithfully held a party to ring in the New Year. The theatre was actually founded along with the start of Los Alamos and the Manhattan Project, back in 1943. In fact, LALT is the oldest community organization in Los Alamos, performing initially in such locations as Fuller Lodge and the Don Juan Playhouse, and only from 1971 on in its current Los Alamos location of the Performing Arts Center (PAC), 1670 Nectar St., a building that originally served as the 1940s Army cafeteria and now marks a stop on the Los Alamos historical walking tour.From its modest beginnings in 1943, the theatre has graced Los Alamos with both classic and cutting-edge comedy, drama and even musicale. During its first year, the theater presented three shows, one of which was the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kaufman and Hart comedy “You Can’t Take It with You.” The next year saw the farce, “Arsenic and Old Lace,” only three years after it debuted on Broadway. Robert Oppenheimer is even rumored to have played one of the dead bodies on stage.Just a small sampling of the theatre’s diverse offerings over the years reads like a theatrical hall of fame: the community satire “Hillzapoppin’” (1947), Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” (1947), Agatha Christie’s “Ten Little Indians” (1951), Lerner and Loewe’s “Gigi” (1953), George Bernard Shaw’s “Arms and the Man” (1957), “Macbeth” (1960), Giraudoux’s “The Madwoman of Chaillot” (1960), Pirandello’s “Six Characters in Search of an Author” (1962), Strindberg’s “Miss Julie” (1967), the Bob Fosse/Cy Coleman musical, “Sweet Charity” (1968), the Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds” (1972), Woody Allen’s “Play It Again, Sam” (1978), “A Midsummer Night's Dream” (1982), “Little Shop of Horrors” (1987), Tina Howe’s “Painting Churches” (1990), Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love” (1991), Alan Ayckbourn’s “Absurd Person Singular” (1995), Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” (1997), “Twelfth Night” (1999), “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (2004), Christopher Durang’s “The Actor's Nightmare” (2007), the world premiere of locally written “U.F.F.D.U.H.” (2007), and the theater’s current production of Stephen Vincent Benet’s “The Devil and Daniel Webster” (2007-2008).Needless to say, a full season of plays for 65 years has produced the tightly-knit sense of community that spawned the theater’s annual tradition of a New Year’s Eve party, often previewing its January show. This New Year’s Eve is no different. Partygoers will get more than their dollars’ worth with a full evening of food and entertainment. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Monday with hors d’oeuvres and mingling. At 8:15 p.m., the entertainment begins with “Yogurt Security,” a 10-minute satire of Los Alamos, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the TSA, written by local playwrights Robert F. Benjamin and Elaine Jarvik. Next, an appropriately-themed number by the Hillstompers will introduce “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” a modernization of the classic Faust tale. The script was written from the famous short story by original Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stephen Vincent Benet as a vehicle for a folk opera by Douglas Moore. The theatre’s version will not include the Moore music. Instead, the performance will feature a rousing rendition of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”After the show, dinner will be served: a full buffet including turkey with all the trimmings, brisket, ham, New Year’s black-eyed peas, rolls, pies, brownies and a host of delectables. Partygoers then dance the night away, as they welcome in the New Year with tiaras, hats, horns, noisemakers, streamers and a midnight balloon-drop, all provided by the theater. No night would be complete without the traditional singing of “Auld Lang Syne” accompanied by the Hillstompers at midnight. “It’s a blast,” Manny Baca, New Year’s Eve party chairperson said, “There’s a great sense of community with people from all walks of life showing up—county council members, police officers.”Tickets cost $25 a person. Tickets may be purchased in advance at C.B. Fox Department Store or at the door.Tom Severinghaus directs “The Devil and Daniel Webster,” while Sheryl Bailey Heath and Dennis Powell direct “Yogurt Security.” Little Theatre president Jennifer Wadsack produces both shows. Although the shows provide the New Year’s Eve entertainment, they, along with much of the aforementioned music, will continue to run together Jan. 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, and 19. All evening performances begin at 8:15 p.m., while the Sunday matinee has a 2 p.m. curtain. “Yogurt Security” may also be seen in a free preview performance at 12:45 p.m. Monday at the Betty Ehart Senior Center. Tickets for the regular run are $12 for adults and $10 for students and seniors and are available for purchase in advance at C.B. Fox or at the door.For NYE information, contact Manny Baca at 412-3082. For regular-run information, contact Jennifer Wadsack at 672-9706.