Arts : In the round

News and notes from the San Antonio theater scene

Dr. Paul Boskind, owner of the revamped Church Bistro and Theatre (formerly the Alamo Street Restaurant and Theatre), has appointed SAC adjunct theater professor and fellow King William resident Diane Malone artistic director at the new/old venue. Hired to direct Nunsense (sold-out houses mandated an extension: May 6-7, 13-14, 271-7791 for reservations and information.), Malone hit it off with Boskind, and found they shared a common vision for the space.

“I plan to direct more small musicals or musical revues, starting with Forever Plaid in July,” says Malone. Next up is a staged reading of local playwright Gregg Barrios’s new play about Tennessee Williams, and Malone plans to stage Steve Martin’s new comedy, The Underpants, later this summer. The success of Nunsense has led her to consider producing the Christmas version, Nuncrackers, in December.

No word yet on whether the Steven Stoli Playhouse, up ’til now the premiere provider of convent-based comedy in the city, will give up its franchise without a fight.

She may be a lame duck `see Michael Cary’s “Guadalupe theater director resigns,” April 19-25, 2006, on the web`, but there is nothing lame about principled playwright and director Marisela Barrera. Having given notice based, at least in part, because of statements made by newish Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center Prez Bret Ruiz (neither have detailed their disagreement publicly), Barrera will stay on through TeatroFEST, a ground-breaking event that she fought for and developed. Then it will be “time to seek new adventures and opportunities,” she says. “The Guad has a solid history of producing theater. The program will undergo a transition and survive, someday thrive,” she continues graciously. Classy. She’ll be a big loss to the Guad’s program, but fortunately not SA’s loss — at least not yet.

SA did lose a leading light recently: retired CEO of Goodwill Industries of San Antonio, Arno J. “Bob” Blase, who died on April 14. What many may not know is how deeply his loss will be felt in the theater community. A tireless supporter of local theater as an audience member and philanthropist, Blase served a term on the board of the San Pedro Playhouse and spent 10 years on the Capital Campaign Fund Committee, raising money for and overseeing the renovation of the historic theater.

He may have been best-known in the community, however, as the stalwart support of Marianna Blase, his wife of many years and a local stage legend, who died in 2002. Mary Denman, something of a theater legend herself, and a longtime friend of the couple, says that Bob will be remembered as he wished to be, with a memorial bench, shaded by a mountain laurel, at the foot of the stage door stairs at the Playhouse, where he spent so many years as a “stage-door Johnny,” she explains, “waiting for Marianna to come out.”

A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m., May 13, at the SAMMinistries Community Center, 5254 Blanco Road. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Goodwill Industries of San Antonio, 406 W. Commerce St., San Antonio, 78207-3102, or to the San Pedro Playhouse Bob Blase Fund, P.O. Box 12356, San Antonio, 78218.

- Laurie Dietrich