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: , , , , , , , ,

Favorite

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…

  • Photos from March for TC

    Last night, dozens of friends of TC Edwards, the Little Rock musician and man on the scene who was found murdered Dec. 7, marched in his memory, chanting "Justice for TC" and "TC is metal" as they walked from Pizza D' Action up Kavanaugh.
    • Dec 17, 2014
  • Geena Davis to start film festival in Bentonville

    Actress Geena Davis announced today that she's launching a new film festival to be held in Bentonville (and called the Bentonville Film Festival) and sponsored by her own organization, the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, as well as corporate partners Wal-Mart, Coca-Cola, AMC Theaters and ARC Entertainment. The festival, set to be held May 5-9, will begin accepting submissions on Jan. 15 and will focus on films highlighting women and minorities in cast and crew.
    • Jan 6, 2015
  • Torii Hunter calls writer a prick for asking about endorsement of Asa Hutchinson

    Torii Hunter, the Pine Bluff native and major league baseball star, called a reporter a prick four times during a news conference yesterday for asking about his endorsement of Asa Hutchinson for Arkansas governor and his opposition in that endorsement to same-sex marriage.
    • Dec 4, 2014

Most Shared

  • Tackling autism, child by child

    An Arkansas Children's Hospital doctor is testing a new drug that targets one of a host of ailments the highly individual disorder can cause.
  • Tom Cotton flat on his big night

    Sen. Tom Cotton's big Republican National Convention speech was nothing to write home about.
  • 1957 all over again

    Last week, the State Board of Education voted to ignore federal courts and allow school district transfers that will encourage segregation.
  • Death penalty lives

    Barely clinging to its flagging life, the death penalty got a merciful reprieve last month from the unlikeliest quarter, the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • Drinking culture

    Here we go again. At the rate these campus sexual abuse sagas are making news, it's reasonable to ask what college administrators can possibly be thinking about.

Blogroll

 

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