Our newestSummer Baycouples – Ada Nicodemou andJamesStewart,Sophie DillmanandPatrick O’Connor,Sam FrostandJake Ryan, andEmily WeirandTim Franklin– have exclusively opened up the New Idea and revealed what it’s really like to film those steamy love scenes and their idea of the perfect winter date night.
WATCH NEW IDEA EXCLUSIVE: Quick Questions with Home and Away’s Emily Weir and Tim Franklin
Emily Weirwho playsMackenzieandTim Franklinwho playsColbyon the hitAustraliansoap revealed everything from their favourite date spots (an Art Deco theatre for Tim) and their top advice for those looking for love.
Here is what the couple hot couple onHome and Awayhad to say!
Best date you’ve been on?
Emily: I was dating someone when I was living in Europe whom I met on a Contiki tour. We went out for drinks in bars around Prague and that was pretty cool. Ingredients for the perfect winter date night?
Tim: I love going to an old Art Deco theatre and getting an obscene amount of popcorn.
Emily: A good meal, an open fire, some music and a game of cards or a board game.
What’s it really like filming love scenes?
Emily: My love scenes so far on the show have only been with Tim and they’re actually hilarious – a lot of fun. I’m not easily embarrassed, so I don’t get too nervous about them.
Tim: The ones withEmilyhave been so much fun. We just make each other laugh so much – she has such a great sense of humour.
Most romantic thing a partner’s ever done for you?
Emily: Once for my birthday, a partner paid for me to go to China for 10 days and we visited the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. It was epic.
All-time favouriteHome and Awaycouple?
Tim: I love Marilyn and John – they’re such an odd little couple.
Emily: Will (Zac Drayson) and Dani (Tammin Sursok) – oh my God, I was obsessed with them!
What romantic advice would you love to give your character?
Emily: Relax, enjoy and have fun.
Tim: Stay calm and carry on.
For more, pick up the latest copy of New Idea on sale now!
One of our favouriteSummer Baycouples share what it is really like to film those steamy love scenes as their Home and Away charactersLeahandJustin, plus reveal their idea of the perfect winter night date.
WATCH OUR EXCLUSIVE VIDEO OF ADA AND JAMES BELOW
Best date you’ve ever been on?
Ada Nicodemou: If there’s a seafood platter and some Champagne involved, that tends to be my favourite.
James Stewart: In New York with Sarah [Roberts, James’fiancée] – we had a really beautiful dinner at a wonderful Italian restaurant and then went to see To Kill a Mockingbird with Jeff Daniels – one of the best theatre shows we’ve ever seen. It was one of those nights we’ll always remember.
What’s it really like filming love scenes?
Ada: Oh, just awkward and you’re happy when they’re over. [Laughs] There’s nothing romantic about a studio full of people and there’s basic choreography you have to get through.
All-time favourite Home and Away couple?
Ada:Leahand Vinnie (Ryan Kwanten). Ryan’s such an amazing actor and a good friend as well – and they were just a really sweet, innocent couple. And now I really likeDean andZiggy.
James: Once it was Shane (Dieter Brummer) and Angel (MelissaGeorge), but now I love Alf (Ray Meagher) and Martha (Belinda Giblin).
What romantic advice would you give your character?
Ada: Just go in with her heart, whichLeahalways does. Even though she’s previously been very unlucky in love, I like the fact that she jumps in there and doesn’t think twice.
James: Take a chance, man!
Which characters would you like to see embarking on a new romance?
Ada: Alf (Ray Meagher) and Martha (Belinda Giblin) for sure.
James: I’d really like to seeMason(Orpheus Pledger) find someone – he’s got a lot of love to give.
For more, see this week’s issue of New Idea out now
A single, bare bulb stands onstage each night after the Majestic Theatre closes, faintly illuminating the curtains, seats and balconies of the empty, 2,300-seat auditorium. The “ghost light,” as it is known in the theater business, is an age-old tradition dating back at least to the early days of Broadway productions.
Every theater has at least one resident ghost, it is said, and the light is meant as both a gesture of welcome and a ward against trouble.
Now celebrating its 90th anniversary, the Majestic Theatre itself might have become a ghost if not for the foresight and efforts of a dedicated, visionary consortium of public and private interests.
“This theater closed temporarily [in 1974] and kept closing and reopening and closing and reopening,” said attorney Frank Ruttenberg, “struggling … right up until the time we started the renovation process” in the late 1980s.
With philanthropist Jocelyn L. “Joci” Straus, in 1988 Ruttenberg helped establish Las Casas Foundation to manage the preservation and restoration of the historic theater, along with its downtown twin, the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre. Ruttenberg currently serves as the foundation’s chairman.
A Majestic History
An ad for Robert Morton Organ Co. highlights the new Majestic Theatre.
The Greater Majestic Theatre opened to much fanfare in 1929 as the largest theater in Texas and the first public facility in the state to be air-conditioned. Headlines such as “Seats of Latest Design Provide Utmost in Comfort” trumpeted the grand new entertainment venue in a special edition of the San Antonio Light newspaper dated June 9, 1929, five days before the grand opening.
The first mission of the new theater was to show movies and host touring vaudeville acts (spelled “Vode-Vil” in an advertisement for the first show, which featured Jimmy Rodgers the “Yodeling Brakeman” and “Banjo Boy” Don Galvan). The second mission was to create “fantasy worlds into which anyone could escape for a few hours,” with an architecturally elaborate interior designed by John Eberson, as noted in a successful 1992 application for National Register of Historic Places landmark status.
“Every stop is pulled out to enhance the illusion of an exotic outdoor scene,” wrote Mary Margaret McAllen, projects director of Las Casas Foundation who authored the application. McAllen listed the elaborate Spanish Mission and Mediterranean-inflected architectural features Eberson incorporated into his asymmetrical design, which was also unusual for theaters at the time: “towers, turrets, arches, brackets, corbels, twisted columns, straight columns, balconies, oriels, windows, fountains, vine-covered latticework, grillwork, tilework, figurative sculpture, and much more,” concluding that “though the two sidewalls are completely different there is a remarkable coherence to the assemblage of details.”
Courtesy / Majestic Theatre – Mike Hume
The elaborate interior of the Majestic Theatre was designed by John Eberson.
Known as “Opera House John” for his early theater architecture, Eberson achieved a nationwide reputation for his so-called “atmospheric theater” designs. But from more than 100 Eberson-designed theaters across the country, only 17 remained by the time the Majestic closed, which created an additional sense of urgency for its preservation.
A history of the theater (available on its website) describes the conditions that forced its closure as “changing entertainment habits,” generally attributed to the rise of suburban malls pulling entertainment patrons away from downtown. Despite that challenge, forces mobilized to save the theater. “Thankfully you had the right people involved in the process of putting this all together,” Ruttenberg said, including Mayor Henry Cisneros and City Manager Lou Fox.
At the time, Cisneros and Fox looked to accomplish several goals. One was to find a home for the struggling San Antonio Symphony, which had moved from auditorium to auditorium for its concerts. Another was to revitalize Houston Street, a once-thriving downtown thoroughfare that had fallen into disuse. Crumbling buildings and vacant storefronts surrounded the failed or failing Alameda, Texas, and Majestic theaters on Houston and the Empire and Aztec theaters just around the corner.
The City bought the Majestic and Empire properties, then enlisted private developers to play a significant role in crafting a redevelopment plan. “Virginia Van Steenberg and Tom Wright … were tenacious and their interest in getting this done,” Ruttenberg said of two real estate developers notable for their interest in a revitalized downtown. Wright was a colleague of impresario and developer Hap Veltman, who knew of Ruttenberg’s interest in historic preservation and recommended him for the project.
Two groups were formed: the private Majestic Development Co., run by Van Steenberg to manage the 18-floor office tower and businesses surrounding the theater, and Las Casas Foundation, run by Straus and Ruttenberg.
The foundation was named for the four remaining downtown theater “houses,” with the Texas Theater having already been redeveloped as the IBC Centre Building, with only its façade intact. (The old ticket booth and marquee remain in place to this day, directly next to the Zócalo Mio restaurant, thanks to the efforts of the San Antonio Conservation Society.) The Alameda and Aztec were soon slated for separate projects, leaving the Majestic and Empire as a focus for new residential and commercial development above and around the theaters and restoration of the once-grand entertainment houses.
Compared with today’s numbers, Ruttenberg said, the amount needed to restore the Majestic seems relatively small at $17 million. But the city could only afford to dedicate $5 million, leaving a gap of $12 million for the foundation to cover, Ruttenberg said. He enlisted Straus, and the project began in November 1988 with the ambitious goal of reopening in September 1989 in time for the San Antonio Symphony’s first season in its new dedicated home.
The theater has run successfully ever since, with no subsidies from the City necessary to maintain operations, Ruttenberg said. “So they got something for their money. … They’ve got these great amenities for their city, which has been terrific.”
The dedication to tradition and historic preservation remains apparent in the Majestic’s restored and continually maintained exterior and interior.
Arts Center Enterprises, the longtime agency that for years had booked entertainment at the Majestic and its partner the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, eventually gave way to the international Ambassador Theatre Group in 2015, which manages current programming and maintains the building.
“They get the whole concept of how valuable these assets are,” Ruttenberg said. “They don’t think twice about continuing to invest in and keeping these theaters immaculate. … They look as beautiful as they did when we completed the restoration back in 1989.”
Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report
Frank Ruttenberg walks to the Majestic Theatre’s Houston Street entrance.
During the restoration process, Ruttenberg said, the artisans involved “fell in love with the project” and practically lived at the theater. “It wasn’t just a paycheck to them,” he said, “it was a piece of art that they were getting to restore. To them it was like a Mona Lisa.”
Today, painter John Coutu continually refreshes the many painted surfaces of the interior, including the decorated metal seating plates along the aisles, with colors matched to the original theme. Self-described “stuccoist” Thomas Michael Battersby continues a multigenerational family tradition of maintaining the elaborate painted plasterwork that adorns every surface of the foyer and Eberson’s fantastical proscenium architecture.
The pride of the Majestic Theatre is its grand white peacock, perched high on a proscenium balcony at stage right, overlooking the auditorium. An original detail of Eberson’s fanciful architectural scenario, the peacock oversees a flock of 28 other stuffed birds including doves, woodpeckers, and another peacock of the regular variety. The bird also graced the Majestic and Empire’s 2019 Fiesta medal, attesting to its endurance as a symbol for the two theaters.
Though the current management for the theater remains respectful of its history and traditions, it is also cognizant of keeping up with the times and new technology. “They’re constantly keeping us on the cutting edge of the way performing arts facilities should be working,” Ruttenberg said of the Ambassador Theatre Group.
Emily Smith, general manager of the Majestic and Empire theaters, noted that all of the plentiful architectural lighting has been replaced recently with energy-saving LED lighting, and free public Wi-Fi is available in both theaters.
“The history of the theater is very important to us, but also [important is] bringing in those modern conveniences to keep what we’re doing here relevant and continue to attract audiences,” Smith said.
Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Attendees cross Houston Street to the Majestic Theatre.
The Majestic celebrated its “Birthday Bash” on June 21 but continues the celebration through its summer programming, to include actor John Leguizamo’s “Latin History for Morons” July 27-28, Grammy-winner Wiz Khalifa on Aug. 4, comedian George Lopez Aug. 9-10, Lyle Lovett and His Large Band on Aug. 19, and The B-52s on their 40th anniversary tour Aug. 21. Details, tickets, and full schedule available here.
A special 90th anniversary Happy Hour Tour will take place Monday, offering a peek into the deep history of the Majestic, including its backstage catacombs decorated by touring performers with autographs and elaborate paintings. Tickets are $25, available here.
Historic Flight is an unusual aviation collection because you can walk right up to its vintage aircraft, dating from 1927 to 1957. Look into the cockpits up-close – no roped-off areas. Hear the planes’ intriguing background stories from knowledgeable docents. Watch mechanics work on vintage planes, perhaps inside the hangar or just outside on the tarmac.
Located at the Kilo-7 site on the west side of Paine Field, Historic Flight is the private collection of aviation enthusiast and pilot John T. Sessions. He created the Historic Flight Foundation to collect, restore and share significant aircraft between 1927 (Charles Lindbergh’s solo Atlantic crossing) and 1957 (just before the Boeing 707’s first jet trans-Atlantic service).
Historic Flight opened to the public in 2010. Nearly all its vintage aircraft are meticulously restored to flying condition, and many take to the air during Paine Field’s free Fly Days.
Historic Flight’s collection includes aircraft with great stories, such as the North American Aviation B-25D Mitchell. This early 1940s bomber — a World War II “warbird” — was nicknamed “Grumpy.” It was flown to Historic Flight from Britain in 2009 by
John and fellow pilots; they retraced the primary route used in World War II to deliver thousands of bombers to the European Theatre of Operations. Look for the “Grumpy” cartoon character near its nose cone — where the machine gunner sat — and the many bomb symbols that document how many missions it flew.
Other aircraft have equally amusing nicknames and often an accompanying illustration near the nose or cockpit. Look for the “Impatient Virgin,” a P-51B Mustang fighter that escorted bombers deep into enemy territory during World War II. Next to the illustration are seven Nazi swastikas, showing the number of enemy planes shot down by two pilots.
Between 1944–1945, the “Impatient Virgin” flew more than 700 hours for the 376th North American Fighter Squadron in England — an exceptional record compared to the average 25 hours before irreparable damage. This plane finally crashed and lay scattered/buried in a British beet field for more than a half-century before being rediscovered and restored.
“Wampus Cat” is one of just 10 Grumman F8F Bearcats still flying today. It was an interceptor fighter that defended U.S. Navy fleets from Japanese Zeros and incoming kamikaze attacks. The scrappy little plane goes from brake release at sea level to 10,000 feet in just 96 seconds.
Grumman TBM-3E Avenger gained its “Avenger” moniker after the Pearl Harbor attack on Dec. 7, 1941. First deployed in the Battle of Midway, Avengers became the heavyweight bomber in the U.S. fleet. The paint scheme of this Avenger reflects air support during the 1943-44 Battle of the Atlantic when German U-boat submarines threatened conveys.
The Supermarine Spitfire is an agile fighter plane that flew from 1936 to 1957 and served four Air Forces. It was one of the most important fighters ever built and played a vital role in winning the Battle of Britain in 1940.
You can’t miss the bright red Beechcraft Staggerwing D-17S. Its upper wing is staggered behind the lower wing, giving pilots maximum visibility while minimizing the tendency to stall. This plane launched locally in 1944 at Sandpoint Air Naval Station in Seattle, then spent decades flying in Canada and the U.S.
Also look for the 1939 Waco UPF-7 biplane, once flown to encourage people to take their first flight and experience the new aviation industry. Check out the de Havilland Beaver, used in Korea for liaison, observation and search/rescue missions; Piper L-4J Grasshopper, a diminutive spotter plane; and Travel Air 4000 biplane, manufactured in 1927.
The Canadair T-33 Silverstar is now under major restoration, and you may see volunteers working on it if you visit mid-week. Historic Flight also has a DC 3-47B, which John Sessions flew to France to participate in D-Day 75th anniversary events; it will return to Paine Field about July 20.
On July 20, Historic Flight will be participating in SkyFair, hosted by Flying Heritage & Combat Armor Museum at Paine Field. Watch amazing flights by aircraft from both these vintage aviation collections.
You can also see Historic Flight’s vintage airplanes take to the skies during Paine Field’s free Fly Days on Aug. 3 and Sept. 21. Join Historic Flight as a sponsoring member and then be able to actually fly in one of its planes! For more information: [email protected].
With its vintage aircraft collection growing, Historic Flight will be expanding beyond Paine Field to a new collection facility at Felts Field in Spokane. Construction began last August; opening is slated for this coming October — should you be traveling to Eastern Washington then.
Historic Flight is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Admission:$15 adult, $12 senior (65+)/military, $10 youth (ages 11-17), free age 10 and under.
Julie Gangler is a freelance writer who has worked as a media relations consultant for the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau. She began her career as a staff writer at Sunset Magazine and later was the Alaska/Northwest correspondent for Travel Agent Magazine.
Signature Theatre is ending its 29th season with a funny, light-hearted look at the end of the era of pirates in the Atlantic Ocean in the 1700s. “Blackbeard” is a fun, mildly ribald romp through the last voyage of Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard. This Eddie has some daddy issues, is growing older and wearier, and has left at least one woman powerfully seeking revenge, but he also gets to rumble with Odin, Kamikaze (the Wind of Japan), and Kali of India.
‘Blackbeard’ is a fun romp to start the summer with . . . and a lovely, breezy look at how to leave a legacy.
After defeating a French warship, Blackbeard (a handsome, wryly funny and bombastic Chris Hoch), and his crew read the mail (after freeing the treasure and rum and guns and ammo and before scuttling the French ship). They learn that the English governor of Virginia has a mission from England—take 50 warships and scuttle Blackbeard permanently. He gives the crew a choice—face the English or retire to Florida (he hears it’s nice). So sets the tone for 90 minutes of round-the-world magical action.
Blackbeard needs help, so he decides to sail to the Caribbean and persuade his old girlfriend, Dominique (a glorious Nova Y. Payton who brings the house down with her song “Spellbound”), who he tricked into turning into a coral reef (he left her for La Mer—the blonde spirit of the sea). She has neither forgotten nor forgiven, but tricks Blackbeard into believing she will help him raise an army of undead pirates from the sea. Off he goes on his quest to procure three gems for her crown that will restore her full powers—one each from Valhalla, Japan and India. Oh, and they have three days to get this done.
As Odin, Bobby Smith, in horns, is pure comic genius. His song and dance with his backup, including Freya and another god (might be Loki, in a grand set of horns), is flawlessly executed and just plain funny. Who can ask for more than dancing gods in horns with jazz hands?
Chris Mueller’s turn as Kamikaze is a whirling dervish of robes and Samurai sword and his special gift, wind-summoning. Thanks to Blackbeard’s crew, they subdue the wind with sails. Then it’s off to India to confront Kali. She doesn’t have a lot of time because she and her followers are heading off to eternal damnation, quite gleefully, so she just gives him the jewel he needs.
Throughout, Blackbeard is ably supported by his crew—frankly, they’re better at planning and executing his vision and putting the brakes on his plan to retire to Florida. Kevin McAllister as Caesar, Ben Gunderson as Garrick, Lawrence Redmond as Samuel, and Awa Sal Secka as Shanti are the administrative geniuses behind his plans. In that respect, it’s reminiscent of a modern start-up—you have the visionary leader, but someone has to flesh out the plans.
There’s a sweet subplot involving Roger (Rory Boyd), a stowaway they found in a carpet in the French ship who signs on with Blackbeard. Young and bound for glory, he gives Blackbeard the opportunity to live on in history as a “broth of a man.”
Maria Engler lends her incredible voice to La Mer (and also Morgan) as she sweeps hauntingly through the piece. She’s Blackbeard’s muse and his love and fate. As a Norse god, she also rocks a set of horns too.
The set is designed by Paul Tate DePoo III and it is a glorious mélange of lands and the ship. One of the neatest special effects is when all goes nearly dark and dead pirates come marching out from the huge doors—life-size skeleton puppets that march and turn on a dime while menacing with swords.
The costumes by Erik Teague are spot-on. The fantasy is brought to vivid life especially by Payton’s coral queen (the only thing she can move as she slowly turns into a reef is her head and arms); the creatures that make up a living coral are eerie as they scale her body. And Engler’s La Mer is a vision of the changing, pulsating sea in blues and greens and teals.
The cast is rounded out by Jessica Bennett, Ian Anthony Coleman and Bob McDonald. All of the cast, except Hoch as Blackbeard, play multiple roles, and the costume changes from pirates to Kali’s followers, to French soldiers to English soldiers, to gods, and additionally, in Redmond’s case, to the Old Man (aka White Beard) are dizzying in their speed.
This world premiere by Dana P. Rowe (music) and John Dempsey (book and lyrics) is ably directed by Eric Schaeffer and smashingly choreographed by Matthew Gardiner. Jon Kalbfleisch conducts the live orchestra; as usual, this adds depth to the show.
“Blackbeard” is a fun romp to start the summer with (and frankly, the idea of being in the sea is alluring in this heat), and a lovely, breezy look at how to leave a legacy.
Running Time: 90 minutes with no intermission.
“Blackbeard,” runs through July 14, 2019, Signature Theatre, Arlington, VA. For more information, please click here.