BLT God of Carnage on the Move

It’s been almost 3 weeks since the AACT Region VI festival in LaFayette, Louisiana.  Our very talented cast from BLT swept the awards program.  They won! Yes! They won Regional and will be traveling to Carmel, Indiana in June to compete with God of Carnage in the AACT National Festival.  How exciting is that! Pretty darn, that’s how much.

Region VI judges lavished the BLT troupe with awards for best production, best ensemble, best costume and best set design.  The judges presented Taylor Dobbs’ the Best Director award and to our own Amy Miller-Martin they presented the Best Actress award.  I’m so very proud of all of  their hard work.

Theater is a fun hobby, job and social outlet. To be awarded and recognized for one’s unpaid work is certainly gratifying. The Baytown Little Theater for the most part is a volunteer organization with one paid office manager. I think I can speak for most of the organization when I say we are proud of what we do in our little theater. Our talent rivals any of the other community theaters in our area and apparently in our Region which included Oklahoma, Louisiana, Tennessee, and New Mexico. So, yeah…I’m going to brag on these kids.

Taylor, Jamie, Ryan, Amy, Chelsea, Kenny, Stephanie, & Ryan #2., I’m proud of you for hanging in there, rehearsing, making props (including vomit), listening to critique, rehearsing some more and learning to clean up stage dirt. You are #1 in my book no matter what the outcome of Nationals.  So, give it your best and know we love you all for trying with such enthusiasm!


Theater is Alive and Well

Cast & Crew, God of Carnage

The American Association of Community Theatres is an organization that provides networking, resources and support to suit the needs of all those involved in community theatre. Every other year AACT sponsors a play festival to showcase the best of the best community theaters across the USA.  The Baytown Little Theater (BLT) has participated many times through its membership with Texas Nonprofit Theatres (TNT). Over the past several years the BLT has taken shows to this festival advancing out of district to state level competition. The award-winning plays performed by the Baytown actors over the years has been the hilarious three-man show,  America Abridged, the musical, Godspell, featuring some of our best young men and women singing, dancing and acting across a stage. The cast and crew of Del Shores’ Sordid Lives, brought a new edginess to the BLT stage, which ushered in the thought-provoking piece, Rabbit Hole, causing all of us to contemplate a parent’s worst fear. The year the theater’s entry had to drop out, a talented cast stepped up to perform The Pattern is Broken with the professionalism of pros. All of those brilliantly executed plays honorably advanced out of Quad IV to the State level of competition in the AACT Festival.

This 2013 festival year the BLTs entry to the AACT Fest 2013 is God of Carnage. A piece on human behaviors when confronted with either putting on a facade of polite civility or revealing their true, base selves. Ryan Martin, Amy Miller-Martin, Kenny Haney, and Chelsea Denard portray the two couples struggling to come to terms with what boils down to justice for each of their sons. Directed by Taylor Dobbs and assisted by Jamie Garza, Stephanie Whitley, Stephen Bent, and Ryan Marshall, the cast and crew has broken a BLT festival year record by advancing out of the State level to the Region VI level of competition that was held in LaFayette, LA.  Last night my husband and I were among the audience members looking on as the four talented actors performed their brilliantly executed contest piece. On Sunday the festival will end with an awards ceremony at which time we are hoping their play will advance to the Nationals level in Carmel, Indiana in June.

After Sunday we will know whether or not God of Carnage will advance. Winning would send this writer into ecstatic realms of joy  (after all I am the proud mother and mother-in-law of two of the actors), but even if they do not advance, they are winners. We are so very proud of their progress so far. Good Show!

Note: An update to follow Sunday award announcements. (4/21/13)

From a Loyal Admirer

Aunt Pearl and Vera Carp

When Kim came home sometime last year and announced he was going to perform Tuna Does Vegas (written by Jason Williams, Joe Sears, and Ed Howard) with his buddy, Jim, at the New Year’s Eve celebration, I sighed. Still reeling from the summer of ’09 and the agonizing task of helping Kim learn a multitude of English verbiage for My Fair Lady, I was not looking forward to that process again. Although, Henry Higgins did survive community theater and Kim lived to play another role on the American stage. In 2012 he was cast in our son Ryan’s directorial debut of Twelfth Night at the Baytown Little Theater (BLT). However, muddling through that swamp of Shakespearean language, Kim once again emerged triumphantly from the pages of old English he recited on stage. After Twelfth Night it was my hope that my talented husband would take a breather and let the younger actors tackle the pages and pages of memorization that one endures in a leading role. What was I thinking? Have I not learned a thing from the 42 years I have known that man?!  “Here we go again,” I thought as a cloud of angst seemed to slowly drift overhead.

The one redeeming factor about the Tuna Does Vegas script is that the English spoken is more of the American sort with a southern kick to the accent as opposed to the King’s English. I was confident that Kim could handle the characters’ different speech patterns. Our theater patrons would love watching he and Jim come out in the 18 different costumes and characters they would depict. Having a person like Jim on stage with you can work to your advantage when you are stuck for a line. Kim can ad lib pretty well until that magic word or phrase is delivered in character by Jim. Then, the line pops into his head and the scene moves on. Kim and Jim took on the many parts of Tuna and the play took shape.

By the end of the run, everyone was having fun. During one performance Kim, also known as Inita, was in a playful mood and began to dance around in character during a scene with Jim, aka Helen. Jim began to break character, Carol Burnett style and laugh. As Jim attempted to mask his urge to laugh at Kim’s antics, the audience responded with uproarious laughter.  When actors are comfortable in their role well enough to truly be that character onstage, it transmits to the audience and a whole aura of theatrical magic is cast. It was at that moment I thought, “this is great!”

Although, I approached this show with some dread, I have to admit working on Tuna was a lot of fun. Not long into Act One audience members began to forget it was Kim and Jim and enjoyed getting to know the citizens of fictional Tuna, TX. I was one of the seven dressers backstage stripping and redressing Kim pushing him back out on stage throughout the course of the play. Quick backstage changes can really get the adrenaline pumping be exciting fun. Our number one question as we prepared for the next costume change was, “boobs or no boobs?” When my team had fully dressed Kim as Bertha, Joe Bob, Inita, Shot, Elvis, Leonard, or Pearl and sent him back out on stage, we smiled at each other as we felt the thrill of theater. From radio announcers to waitresses, old women to Vegas showgirls, Kim and Jim hilariously brought down the house as they strutted their stuff across the BLT stage at every performance.

In the end I was glad that Kim chose to perform with Jim in this funny, silly play. They brought a lot of laughter and joy to our patrons. The men were great and I had a good time dressing and undressing my husband even if it was with two other women. Kim is a real artist. Learning lines may not come as easily for him as it once did, but he perseveres through the hard work and worry. Seeing it all come together on opening night makes all the labor worth it.

After Tuna closed, Kim alluded to finally stepping back from leading roles, passing those to younger actors with sharper memories. It has been my privilege and delight to assist my husband on several productions he has directed, as well as performing beside him onstage. Whether it be on or off stage, I will look forward to working with him again on another production. I’m proud of Kim’s ability to portray a wide range of characters over the last 40+ years. He is a talented person who can pass his theater knowledge on to the next generation of actors. Now, don’t misread my words here, he is not giving up the stage to observe from the wings. No, he will be on stage again, you can highlight my words. He has not given up the lights, greasepaint, and applause of live theater. Kim is merely taking fewer lines in future plays enjoying his part amongst the leading characters and perhaps directing more plays than performing in them.

As a Drama-wife I may not always play the part of the doting wife, but I hope Kim knows that I am a loyal admirer of what he does and for doing it so well. Good show, Kim!

Elivs #11

Elivs #11

The Drama Never Stops

Kim, John & Travers in a scene from Twelfth Night

Just because I have not posted here since last February after the BLT’s production of A Chorus Line, does not mean we have not been busy on and off stage.  After Chorus Line closed, Kim began work with our son, Ryan on Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Ryan, pictured in my previous Chorus Line post, chose the Shakespearean play as his first BLT directing project. Faced with a bit of a challenge, Ryan was not daunted and envisioned this tale of misconception set in 1920’s New Orleans during the celebration of Mardi Gras. The BLT production was a great success and the audiences left their theater experience more cultured and enlighten about the world of Shakespeare. Yours truly got involved in this production through heading up our box office volunteers, selling tickets.

Just as Kim was closing Twelfth Night, his students at Deer Park High School North along with some students from South Campus were preparing a production of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind, which is a collage of short plays; 30 plays in 60 minutes. Immediately following the production closing, Kim traveled with the DP South Campus UIL students to State UIL competition in Austin, TX.  The UIL Region winners and their directors advanced to the state level where their One Act production of The Rimers of Eldritch took a respectful 4th place.

Kim & Mary Lou

Somewhere in between productions, Kim and I managed to attend the Texas Nonprofit Theaters (TNT) conference in Tyler, TX. It was fun to perform an original piece, Dream Date, with Kim for the conference. Kim was honored with the Ovation Award from TNT. The three day conference is always fun to attend and with it set in Tyler, the Rose capital of the state, made it a nice get away for both of us.

Award presented to Kim.

With summer in full swing, so is the Baytown Little Theater’s fund-raising campaign for the new building.  Kim continues to attend committee meetings with individual prospective donors, civic groups, and the hired fund-raising company who are advising the BLT building committee members.

Another BLT committee I am chairing this summer is in full swing reading scripts for the new 2013 season.  My task as committee chair is to lead a team to read, review and present a list of potential plays to the BLT board of directors.  I have really enjoyed reading the plays this summer and meeting with my committee to discuss the scripts we are reading. Although the turnaround for submitting our list has been short, fast and challenging, the dive into artistic script reading has been gratifying.

The next BLT production will be Urinetown, the Musical and the Martin in this production will be our son, Ryan Martin playing the role of Officer Lockstock. The production opens Friday, August 3 at the BLT and will run for three consecutive weekends closing August 19.  Up next opening August 24 in a sister community theater, Pasadena Little Theater, will be the musical production of Gypsy, starring our oldest son, Jason Martin in the male lead, Herbie and our grandchildren Regan and Aidan Martin as part of the children’s chorus. That production will close September 16 and school will have started again.

The new school year will bring another theater son, Kyle Martin, into a new teaching position in Abilene ISD. Kyle was very pleased to tell us that he will once again be teaching high school theater this year at Cooper High School.  Last year he was at Abilene High School where he monitored credit recovery in a computer lab. A pretty boring job for an active theater guy like Kyle. While he did participate in productions at the local community theater, Abilene Community Theater; it did not satisfy his artistic desire involving him in the excitement, stress and delight that is high school theater.

The Martins are ever on stage whether it is in community theater or high school theater. We enjoy live art and hope that many of you will also participate in some form of art this year whether as an active participate or a patron.  Your support, donations and enjoyment of the arts will ensure a future for The Arts.

A Chorus Line at the BLT

A Chorus Line

Ryan & Amy in finale costume

We watched the newest play at the Baytown Little Theater last night. Ryan plays, Zac, the director and Amy the dancer, Cassie, in A Chorus Line. The play opened last weekend, Feb. 17 and runs another weekend through Sunday, March 4, 2012.

I’m really proud of our kids and their performances.  It isn’t Broadway, but it is Hugh Echols Blvd in Baytown, TX.  Our community theater puts on quality shows for a friendly price at $15.00 per ticket.

I’d love to help you with tickets. Go online to or leave a message for tickets on 281-424-7617.  Tickets available for the last 5 performances remain.

How proud is this mom?  Very proud!!

The Return of The Buzz

Recently, I consented to once again write articles for our community theater’s newsletter, The Buzz. It wasn’t difficult coming up with articles about the awesome shows, exciting auditions and latest buzz about our new building.

Our theater is currently in the throes of a campaign to raise funds for a new theater in historic downtown Baytown. The property acquired and a sign proclaiming The Future Home of the Baytown Little Theater has even been erected on the corner of Texas and Main should you want to drive by for a look. The architect renderings are drawn up and the contractor hired. With the present economy like it is, some of our beloved backers are holding their money in their tight little fists until they are more comfortable to let go of it. Hopefully, the government can get their act together and balance the country’s budget for us soon. Until that happens, our executive board of directors faithfully continue to invite the arts-loving community of theater-goers to contribute any extra funding they have to our new venue. With that in mind, you are also invited to contribute to our growing capital by clicking this link . On the website, scroll past memberships (unless you’d like to join our merry band of actors) to the step 2. where you may donate to our building fund.

The Buzz is a collection of newsworthy articles about the Baytown Little Theater which might just show up in your mailbox in October. It is the hope of the news staff that most of our members will prefer reading the newsletter online and save some trees. However, to get the news-ball rolling again, this comeback issue will be sent to our entire mailing list. Yep, you read that correctly and yep, that’s a lot of licky-sticky envelopes to sort for bulk mailing. The envelope will be needed in order to enclose a free BLT brochure chock full of 2012 season information at no extra cost to our readers. That by Hamlet, is a great deal!

It will be especially exciting see the revamped Buzz with its brand-spanking new logo atop page 1 of the tabloid. Our theater held a contest earlier in the season for a new theater logo and a talented person named Amy K. Shipley won. Including prizes awarded to Ms Shipley, her artwork has already blazed the sides of BLT coffee mugs, travel mugs, decals and show posters. The new BLT 2012 season Playbill will likely display her creative talents on the covers, too!

Next up at the BLT is a detective spoof called, Three Murders and its Only Monday!, written by Houston playwright, Pat Cook and directed by charter member and theater veteran, Joy Woods.  Three murders? Wow! That’s more murders than Leroy Jethro Gibbs has to solve on Tuesday nights for NCIS. I wonder who done it? I guess we’ll all just have to wait until opening night, November 4th to find out. The play runs for three consecutive weekends through November 20th. Tickets will soon be for sell online at for $15.00 each. If you bring a group of at least 15 people, a free ticket will be included for an extra person to drive you all down to the theater. Sounds like a good time to me!

Well, I guess I should have given a spoiler alert at the start of this post, but you haven’t read all the great information in The Buzz.There’s a lot more coming to a mailbox of website near you. Be on the lookout and tell all your friends to watch out for The Buzz!

The BLT Sign

BLT sign at TX Ave. & N. Main St.

“The Lost Tribe” World Premiere

On Sunday, June 5, 2011, another  Baytown Little Theater (BLT) production closed during this 50th Anniversary Season.  Kim,  director, our son, Ryan, assistant director and yours truly “production secretary”, (Definition: costumes, props, coffee maker,budget keeper & general flunky) were satisfied with the outcome of this world premiere production.

The Lost Tribe centered around two elderly Holocaust survivors and the one who came into the aging barber’s shop one day resurrecting feelings of revenge in the barber’s wife. New playwright, Jeff Stolzer, from the “Big Apple”, wrote his first play project as an assignment for a playwriting class several years ago. Noting difficulty getting his play on stage, Stozler chose to enter his script in the Texas Non-profit Theatre (TNT) POPS festival for new playwrights where his play earned the opportunity to be produced by one of its member community theaters. The BLT added The Lost Tribe to its regular six-play season for 2010-2011.

Delighted that Jeff decided to fly down from New York for the play’s premiere, May 20, 2011 at the BLT; the usual champagne reception was particularly festive. The TNT association was well represented by its director, Linda Lee, and other TNT members. With anxious anticipation, the show opened to a moderate crowd of regular patrons along with a handful of new faces.  As curtain came down on opening night, we sensed an acceptance of the play and the message to remember the atrocious events of the Holocaust.

Jeff Stolzer joined our cast and crew afterwards at the opening night cast/crew party.  Pleased by what he had seen on stage that evening,  Stolzer said it was “just like he had imagined it in his head.”  His comments made us feel that the play was a success.

As Kim and I relax back into our summer routine, we are happy it does not include the theater’s summer musical.  However, we will do our part to help with box office work, house managing and other peripheral production tasks.

Next up at the BLT: Roar of the Greasepaint, Smell of the Crowd

July 15, 16, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 31, 2011