Monday, January 9, 2012

Comedy theater comes to North Little Rock

Posted By on Mon, Jan 9, 2012 at 12:55 PM

15 characters played by a cast of three at Radio Music Theater
  • courtesy of Steve and Vicky Farrell
  • 15 characters played by a cast of three at Radio Music Theater

In April, Vicky and Steve Farrell plan to open The Joint, a comedy/rock club cum coffeehouse/bar, in that gaping storefront on Argenta's Main Street. The Farrell's are new to Little Rock, but they're no strangers to comedy or theater. They met in the mid-70's, as college theater geeks, performing in a summer show on a Mississippi Riverboat. They married and acted in conventional plays in Minneapolis before launching two comedy ventures in Houston,Texas. The first of those, The Comedy Workshop, hosted national acts such as Rodney Dangerfield and Robin Williams.

Their North Little Rock venue will borrow from their second Houston venture, Radio Music Theater, a conceptual approach to two act plays, involving a cast of three tackling 20 or more characters. On weekends, The Joint's large stage will host similarly structured plays riffing on local politics and other topics. But the coffee/comedy fusion is new to the Farrells, and they're branching out in other ways, too. They plan to have a small stage and a permanent piano in the coffee shop, which will open early and close late, serving wine and beer at night. The space seats up to 30 and will host open mics and informal music. The large stage, in a room which can accommodate 120, will host Wednesday night improv and Thursday night local and national music acts.

"We want it to be a clubhouse where people who like what we're doing can hang out and meet their friends," said Steve. "So maybe they'll come for coffee in the afternoon and then come back for an evening show."

About a decade ago, the Farrell's began actively searching for a "relaxing" place to relocate after they'd "done the big city," according to Steve.

They dismissed any place with cold weather. Charleston lost out because of hurricanes. Santa Fe has water rationing; Austin has traffic. "We only looked at places we thought were beautiful, where the people were friendly," said Steve. "With it's rolling hills and the river, Little Rock was a standout, especially after we got to know people in the Argenta arts community."

But originally, they encountered Little Rock on happenstance. "We were flying into Memphis, but we ended up having to fly into Little Rock. So we rented a car and drove to Memphis," said Steve. "Otherwise, we never would have considered Little Rock."

They convinced their adult children and Steve's parents to relocate, as well. Over the past year the whole family has, in staggered succession, situated itself in Little Rock. The Farrell's son Adam and his wife Sara will handle the coffee shop ("He's partial to African coffees," said Steve), while their daughter Erika and her husband Ross Peters will juggle promoting The Joint with their public relations day-jobs at KATV and The Peabody.

Steve writes the plays, and both he and Vicky act. For the past six months, they've been scouring local theater, comedy and music events for their third cast member — and they think they've found someone. This person will also manage The Joint Venture — The Joint's weekly improv group.

Steve's writing resume is impressive. It includes film shorts for Saturday Night Live and clips for National Public Radio programs. Their plays will be family-friendly — "Nothing you wouldn't see on a CBS sitcom," said Steve. "We're used to broadcast standards, so we don't get laughs over four letter words."

The Joint is located at 301 Main Street in North Little Rock. The coffee shop will open in April, and comedy shows will start in May.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Speaking of...

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Cheree Franco

Readers also liked…

  • Staff Picks: Netflix and Chill, Benji's pasta fresca, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more

    The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
    • Aug 28, 2015
  • Guest Mix: Rural War Room

    World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
    • Sep 14, 2015
  • Your new flags of Little Rock

    BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
    • Sep 18, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Next week a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems will be held in Little Rock by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change. The conference will discuss deploying existing technologies to increase access to food, water, energy, clean environment, and medical care.
  • Tomb to table: a Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk

    Plus, recipes from the Times staff.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.
  • Fake news

    So fed up was young Edgar Welch of Salisbury, N.C., that Hillary Clinton was getting away with running a child-sex ring that he grabbed a couple of guns last Sunday, drove 360 miles to the Comet Ping Pong pizzeria in Washington, D.C., where Clinton was supposed to be holding the kids as sex slaves, and fired his AR-15 into the floor to clear the joint of pizza cravers and conduct his own investigation of the pedophilia syndicate of the former first lady, U.S. senator and secretary of state.
  • Reality TV prez

    There is almost nothing real about "reality TV." All but the dullest viewers understand that the dramatic twists and turns on shows like "The Bachelor" or "Celebrity Apprentice" are scripted in advance. More or less like professional wrestling, Donald Trump's previous claim to fame.

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Most Viewed

  • Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers come to Verizon Arena April 23

    Tom Petty announced in a sketch on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon" last night that he and his longtime band The Heartbreakers, will be reuniting for a 40th anniversary tour with Joe Walsh, and the tour will stop at Verizon Arena April 23, 2017.



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation