When Jonathan Mares signed a two-year lease as manager of the AllWays Theatre in the Faubourg Marigny in April, the young theatrical producer immediately began planning how to get more use out of the sporadically booked facility.
A month later, one of his plans began taking shape.
Mares started booking shows during the daytime for audiences seeking live theater during traditional off-hours and billed it as the Silver Series.
“They’re tired of just going to movies or doing the same old stuff,” Mares said. “So they’re really responding to being able to go to a show on a weekday afternoon.”
In addition to offering live entertainment, the series offers box lunches with beverages. Group discounts are available.
Wrapping up today is “Seelos, Doctor of Souls.” On the schedule for the summer are “The Fourposter” (June 10-26), “Anais St. John Presents the American Songbook” (July 1-17) and Mark Twain’s “The Diary of Adam and Eve (August).
“The Fourposter,” which opens Tuesday, is a two-person show focusing on a couple and the experiences — good and bad — of their 35-year marriage.
Taking its name from the bed that occupies most of the play’s set, it was written by Jan de Hartog and starred real-life husband and wife Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy when it opened on Broadway in 1951. It received Tony Awards for best play and best director (José Ferrer).
The local production stars Joel Derby, who recently appeared in Le Petit Theatre’s presentation of “Death of a Salesman,” and New Orleans newcomer Julie Roundtree. Kris Shaw, Mares’ partner in the AllWays Theatre management, is the director.
In addition to the weekday shows, one Saturday evening production of “The Fourposter” has been scheduled, along with a Sunday matinee, Mares said.
For the next installment in the Silver Series, Mares chose a live cabaret-style show. Anais St. John, a popular local singer and voice instructor will sing classic songs from The Great American Songbook for two weeks in July. She will be accompanied on piano by Harry Mayronne.
“This is going to be a really fun cabaret show,” Mares said. “People will get a little bit of a variety here.”
The August production of “The Diary of Adam and Eve” has not yet been cast, and the exact dates haven’t been set. Details will be announced later, Mares said, adding that he also hopes to offer it on one or two evenings. Shaw will direct this production as well.
Looking ahead to the fall schedule, Mares is getting a jump on the cultural season by opening a month early with Tracy Letts’ “Bug” in August.
Throughout the rest of the year, the theater will be booked by various performing arts groups, including NOLA Project with “Shiner” in October and the Hell Yes Comedy Festival and several Fringe Festival productions in November.
December will see the return of the popular Amazing Acrocats in a holiday-themed show.
Mares, whose credits this past season include “Killer Joe,” “The Normal Heart” and “New Orleans Nightingales,” said, “Our objective is to have no downtime at the AllWays Theatre. We’re trying to keep things moving and get shows scheduled in the theater at all times and just come up with as many different ways to do that as possible. I’m really looking forward to doing great things here.”