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Actors Theatre of New Orleans


After more than half a decade, Actor's Theatre of New Orleans is closing their doors.  Perhaps it would be more fitting to say we are moving to a new location. This re-grouping and re-booting will allow us to find a more suitable space, a larger building, and one that will certainly bring a more promising future to our theatre community. Presently several properties are being researched. This hiatus has been long coming with the decline of audience attendance, the increase of rent, and the economy paying its toll. Since our inception, (We opened in August 2005, a month before Hurricane Katrina) we haven't stopped. We re-opened after the storm in November 2005 and have been credited as being the first theatre to re-open its doors in an area that was affected by the storm. We developed a 'Spring' season of shows and a 'Fall' season of shows. Both seasons ran 6 months in length and we produced a show a month. Doing quick math this worked out to be a total of 80 productions in 6 ½ years! The productions covered everything from comedies and dramas to musicals and original works. We weren't afraid to take chances with selecting a season of shows ranging from quirky comedies (The Nerd) to hard-hitting plays with emotional impact (Rabbit Hole, for which we won a Big Easy award for Best Director of a Drama). We dug plays up from 'dinner theatre days' (Norman, Is That You?, Everybody Loves Opal) to right off Broadway. Among them we produced the Regional Premiere of the hit musical I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, Fat Pig (Among other Neil LaBute plays), and most recently The Graduate (starring the overly talented and extremely underutilized, Chelle Duke). We also produced a production of A Piece of My Heart in which playwright Shirley Lauro attended our opening night performance and stayed for a Q & A session with audience and cast members. We were nominated for a variety of productions by the Big Easy Committee, Storer Boone Awards, Ambush Awards, and The Marquee Awards. We also held Summer Acting Workshops for children and young adults for the past 5 summers, hosted multiple Acting Theatre Workshops for adults, and even Workshops for movies. The theatre produced outside productions by various independent companies that needed a place to perform, and was home to two different comedy improv troupes (Class Clowns & most recently, Improv-7). ATNO produced cabaret theatre and even had a movie premiere inside the theatre celebrating the 16th annual holiday classic spoof A Christmas Carol - The Whole StoryActor's Theatre of New Orleans was truly a unique venue that was always producing something thus giving even more opportunities for actors to shine.   For those of you who have never been to our theatre located in the heart of Metairie, Actor's Theatre of New Orleans was a cozy 50-seat theatre. Upon entering one might instantly think of an off-Broadway type of theatre. They got the reputation of being one of only a few theatres that actually held auditions, giving newcomers a chance to be bitten by the acting bug. Over the years Actor's theatre of New Orleans has worked with over 200 actors and another 50 crew and volunteer staff members. For many of these actors it was their first time trodding the boards, and still others (veterans of the stage) went on to win awards both here and around the city. Although I directed the majority of productions here, I was fortunate to have a few directors, Dr. Rebecca Hale, Chelle Duke, Leon Contavesprie, "Uncle" Wayne Davenport, Dane Rhodes, Marc Belloni, and Amanda Francis, who graced the theatre with their knowledge and expertise. ATNO also had the wonderful experience of having theatre legends, the late Mr. Stocker Fontelieu, direct his final production (The Dining Room), as well as the late Pauline Prelutsky starring in what would become her last stage role (Driving Miss. Daisy).  Actor's Theatre of New Orleans continued show after show with only a handful of volunteers, working daily to provide the quaint theatre with the energy and resources to keep its doors open. In March of 2011, after a year and a long paper process, Actor's Theatre of New Orleans became an official 501(c)(3) Non- Profit Theatre. With the much anticipated grants that did arrive, we were able to continue doing shows throughout the year, namely organizing and producing children plays that furthered exposed our youth to the thrill and joy of live theatre. Our last 'performance' will be on Saturday- January 21, 2012. IMPROV-7 (10:30 pm/ Tickets only $10) will closeout our lease at ATNO and therefore put a hold on our Spring 2012 season.  If you would like to support our future endeavors and donate to our theatre, (all donations are tax-deductible) please send all e-mails to or any regular mail correspondences to Mr. René J.F. Piazza at:Actor's Theatre of New OrleansAttention: René J. F. PiazzaP.O. BOX 7986Metairie, LA 70010Like the Phoenix, we will rise again, with a new locale, a better facility, a larger audience area, and plenty of parking and restrooms. We also plan to put into motion a second stage for children's theatre, as well as a venue for late night comedy, cabaret acts, and a few secret surprises. Should you need to speak with me, please feel free to contact me at (504) 885-2113. If you would like to speak to Chelle Duke (Managing Director), please contact her at (504) 382-7291. To all of our faithful season ticket holders and general patrons who visited us repeatedly and believed in our mission, I say 'THANK YOU'! To the actors and crew that performed both on stage and behind the curtain, I say 'THANK YOU'! To our Board of Directors who helped guide us through the legal process of running a theatre, I say 'THANK YOU'! And last, but not least, I say 'THANK YOU" to the newspapers, media and theatre critics, who helped spread the word (Through good reviews and not-so-good) and helped promote theatre in this great city of ours. Having done theatre for over 40 years I feel honored and privileged to have been a part of such an incredible group of theatre peers.   Actor's Theatre of New Orleans was 'the little engine that could', and we did, and we will again! I look forward to the next phase of my life in theatre and as soon as we find a future home for our new theatre we will contact each and every one of you. Have a great New Year and may 2012 be a year of Theatre rebirth! Sincerely,René J.F. PiazzaArtistic Director/CEOActor's Theatre of New Orleans, Inc.      DONATIONS TO ATNOHOW TO DONATE TO ATNO:By Mail:Actor's Theatre of New OrleansAttention: Rene' J. F. PiazzaP.O. BOX 7986Metairie, LA 70010  On behalf of the artists, board and staff of ATNO. . . A HUGE THANKS! Actor's Theatre of New Orleans, Inc. is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization pursuant to section 501(c)(3) of theInternal Revenue Code and is registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office Charter #36420018N. 100% ofall donations benefit the mission of Actor's Theatre of New Orleans, Inc. ID# 13-4356352.  Financial contributions toATNO are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law.  A copy of the official registration may be obtained from theLouisiana Secretary of State's office by calling (225) 925-4704. Registration does not imply endorsement, approval orrecommendation by the state. A copy of financials may be obtained from Louisiana Department of Revenue office bycalling (225) 219-7462.  Thank you for being a great patron of the arts -   Rene' J. F. Piazza Artistic Director/CEO

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