Everybody needs a little bit of theater in his or her life, especially people from colorful and theatrical New Orleans. So, if you need your fix, then NOLA Voice Theatre and the Valiant Theatre have just what you need this summer.
NOLA Voice Theatre, which is dedicated to the preservation of voice theater and to helping raise funds for local theaters, will be presenting a season of shows for the summer at the Valiant Theatre and Lounge, located on 6621 St. Claude Ave. in Old Arabi. The series, which has 7:30 p.m. performances on June 17, July 17, and August 19, will directly benefit the Valiant Theatre as a fundraising event. The Valiant opened about six months ago and used to be a pawn shop as well as a Mardi Gras storage building.
The series features many different productions for each of the show days. Act One for each performance day will present an ongoing original series titled Untold New Orleans, directed by Vatican Lokey—who is also the head of NOLA Voice Theatre—and starring local theater icon Edward R. Cox. Act Two will have a different famous production for each day: Arsenic and Old Lace on June 17, Death Takes a Holiday on July 17, and The Shop Around the Corner on August 19.
The Valiant Theatre and Lounge contains a fairly large black box theater that can comfortably fit 99 to 110 people, and is connected to a comfortable and pretty-looking lounge area. The lounge has plenty of comfortable seating and a fully stocked bar that will also be selling a special cocktail for each performance night. The drink, called the “NVT Cocktail,” is made up of a number of different fruits that have been soaked in grain alcohol for a couple days.
The series, which is presented under the Actors’ Equity Association’s Members’ Project Code, will include many talented and local actors like Soline McLain, Jessica Dangle, Alan Lee, and Richard Mayer, who is also the owner of the Valiant Theatre and Lounge. Mayer said that he hopes the shows will help bring people in to the neighborhood of Old Arabi, as well as giving them a better appreciation for theater.
Lokey stated that he and everyone involved with NOLA Voice Theatre are completely dedicated to New Orleans theater, and are working very hard to preserve a sense of community for local theater lovers.
“With seemingly no one in the city working towards preserving or protecting our deep culture of theater and the performing arts in New Orleans, we feel it is incumbent upon us to do what we can,” Lokey said. “Instead of large, lavish fundraisers where most of the money goes for paying for the party, we choose instead to get down to the grassroots level, working with these new theaters to provide them with fundraising opportunities that fit within their business model, involve as many professional and community theater talents as possible, and give the theater and the performers as much publicity and press as possible.”
Lokey said that he is excited to be able to gather together an impressive ensemble of actors for this summer series and to put it all on for the benefit of the Valiant Theatre and Lounge. “We are thrilled that there are so many professionals and community theater folks involved in our shows,” Lokey said. “It demonstrates that we are on the right track, and that our work has real-world value for the city.”