THE CLASSICAL THEATRE COMPANY
THE SPECKLED BAND:
An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes
By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Timothy N. Evers
Directed By Troy Scheid
February 4 - 22, 2015
THE GREAT DETECTIVE RETURNS
Classical Theatre Company presents the local premiere of Arthur Conan Doyle’s
The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes
WHO: Classical Theatre Company
WHAT: The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes
By Arthur Conan Doyle
Adapted by Timothy N. Evers
WHERE: Classical Theatre Company
4617 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, TX 77006
WHEN: February 4 – 22, 2015
TICKETS: General Admission $20, Seniors $15, Teachers/Students and Industry $10
Available online at www.classicaltheatre.org/tickets
This play, penned by Doyle himself in 1910, dramatizes one of the Great Detective’s most famous mysteries: The Adventure of the Speckled Band. Adapted by Timothy N. Evers, whose adaptation of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus the CTC produced last season, this script has been streamlined to have a contemporary feel about it. Evers has also inserted some of the original short story into the play, helping fill out the scenes and characters more fully.
CTC Executive Artistic Director John Johnston, who, along with Evers is a lifelong Holmes fanatic, has been planning this production for several years. “We were talking about Sherlock Holmes at a holiday party four or five years ago, and I lamented that there seemed to be no excellent stage interpretations of the Great Detective,” says Johnston. “And Timothy agreed, but mentioned that he knew of this Doyle script that existed and that it had a great deal of potential, but needed some adapting. So he got to work on it, and now, some four years later it’s coming to the stage.”
Set to star Johnston in the titular role, and directed by CTC veteran Troy Scheid, this production will capitalize on the Sherlock-mania that is gripping pop culture right now, while breathing new life into Doyle’s century-old play. “I have idolized the character of Sherlock Holmes since I was a little boy,” says artistic chief Johnston, “and the opportunity to portray one of my literary heroes on stage is a real thrill.”
The Classical Theatre Company is dedicated to boldly re-envisioning classical drama on the stage, in the community, and in the classroom through engaging and enlightening plays - bringing them new life and relevance while maintaining the integrity that the works deserve.
For more information on this production or the Classical Theatre Company, or to arrange interviews with director Troy Scheid and actors participating in The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CLASSICAL THEATRE COMPANY
PLAY: The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes
DIRECTOR: Troy Scheid
CAST: Sherlock Holmes – John Johnston
Dr. John Watson – Andrew J. Love
Billy – Ezra Serebrin
Dr. Grimesby Roylott – James Belcher
Helen Stoner – Amelia Fischer
Rodgers – Ted Doolittle
Longbrace – Tom Long
DATES: February 4 – February 22, 2015
Wednesday, February 4, 2014 8:00 PM (Preview)
Thursday, February 5, 2014 8:00 PM (Preview)
Friday, February 6, 2014 8:00 PM (Opening)
Saturday, February 7, 2014 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 8, 2014 2:30 PM (Post-show talk-back)
Monday, February 9, 2014 8:00 PM (Industry Night) (Industry Night is open to the public)
Thursday, February 12, 2014 8:00 PM
Friday, February 13, 2014 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 14, 2014 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 15, 2014 2:30 PM (Post-show talk-back)
Wednesday, February 18, 2014 8:00 PM
Thursday, February 19, 2014 8:00 PM
Friday, February 20, 2014 8:00 PM
Saturday, February 21, 2014 8:00 PM
Sunday, February 22, 2014 2:30 PM (Post-show talk-back)
MORE INFORMATION: Classical Theatre Company
Tel: 713.963.9665 Fax: 713.963.9665
An Earnest Jack of all Trades
Interview with John Johnston Starring as Sherlock Holmes
In Classical Theatre Company’s production of The Speckled Band
By Theresa Pisula
January 31, 2015
Elijah Rodin Key-Tello, my nephew and godson, sends me a text which read “There’s a Christmas Carol play that we just saw and I thought it was awesome. I want to see it again with you. We can interview the characters so you can put it on your website.” The theatre he was referring to is Classical Theatre Company (CTC). I must admit, I was intrigued and inspired by his enthusiasm. Eli is fourteen going on fifteen, and in the past, he and I have done interviews together for HoustonTheatre.com children’s theatres. I had to explain to him that we’ll go see the play but it may be too late for the interview since we need ample preparation ahead of time.
After a luxurious supper at The Black Labrador, a cozy British pub and restaurant on Montrose Boulevard, across the street from CTC which is situated in the Chelsea Market also on Montrose, Eli and I proceeded to head to the theatre. A bespectacled youthful-looking dark-haired gentleman greeted us at the box office where we purchased our tickets. As we seated ourselves for the start of the show, the same bespectacled young-looking man appeared on center stage and introduced himself as John Johnston, the Executive Artistic Director of Classical Theatre Company. Wow, I thought to myself, as I read the playbill for more information on this young man. John Johnston is quite the jack of all trades.
John Johnston (or J. J. for short) is the founder of Classical Theatre Company. Not only is he an actor and an accomplished director; included on the Christmas playbill was the headline “a brand new adaptation by John Johnston & Matthew Keenan.” Wow (again!), this impressive young man does not cease to amaze me. He does it all! In late 2006, inspired by a casual conversation about Houston theatre at a Christmas party, John came to the conclusion that there was a distinct niche to fill in the local community. Thus, the Classical Theatre Company was born. “The impetus for the company was that I saw a distinct niche that needed filling in the Houston theatre community. The fourth largest city in the country lacked a year round classical theatre,” explains John. I asked him, how does one begin? “I spoke to patrons, colleagues, teachers and artists about the idea of starting my own company, and through their support I began the process.”
I asked him about his most memorable childhood experience. “I suppose one of the stronger memories from my childhood was a trip to Disney I took with my family. I distinctly remember being terrified of pretty much every ride except the iconic tea cup ride, which I recall adoring.” That’s funny and a little quite endearing, I thought. Maybe his “terrifying” fear of Mickey Mouse theme park rides is what drives him to be so creative. I don’t know, just a thought.
Not unlike Eli, John grew up in Houston, Texas. “I love Houston. It’s my home and is, hands down, my favorite city I’ve ever been to. The diversity. The big city opportunities with a small town feel is terrific.” Learning that he has spent years in Washington DC, Boston and New York City, I asked him – why did he chose Houston to open CTC? “Well to begin with, I grew up in Houston and so I have a strong affinity for the city. Secondly, it was a theatre community that sorely lacked a theatre company that focused on the classics. In order to have a fully realized cultural landscape, I felt like it was necessary to fill out the theatre scene.” What about setting your sights on Broadway? He responds “I suppose that’s in the back of my mind somewhere, but it’s definitely not a goal for me. My focus is definitely on Houston and the theatre companies here.”
What inspired you to pursue a career in Theatre? “I don’t know if I was inspired to pursue a career, but I was first really drawn to theatre when my best friend was cast in a school production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. We were both in seventh grade and I remember being struck with the whole sound and spectacle of the event. It was pretty tremendous.” As far as inspiration, he claims “I’ve always held British actors in very high regard. The likes of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anthony Hopkins, and Alec Guinness struck me at a young age.”
In the upcoming production of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes, he plays the title role. “My favorite role would have to be Michael in Frank McGuinness’s Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, which I played during my undergraduate degree at Boston College,” says John. “Though a close second would be getting to play Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest last spring for CTC.” The role of Jack in the Oscar Wilde comedy was his CTC acting debut.
John Johnston in one of his favorite roles as Jack in THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Photo courtesy of Classical Theatre Company. Located at 4617 Montrose Blvd. Houston, TX 77006 in the Chelsea Market Theatre. For more information, call ph. 713-963-9665 or visit www.classicaltheatre.org
Of all the trades / roles he plays, which one is the most challenging? “Without question being Executive Artistic Director is the most challenging aspect of my job. Primarily because it is the position where the buck stops. Everything is my responsibility and the job never stops. A production may end, but the next one is right around the corner. Plus I need to raise funds, marketing, prepare for board meetings, performing the bookkeeping for CTC. It’s quite a workload.”
What qualities do you look for when hiring people to work at CTC? “Facility with language is something that we hold at a premium. Because the scripts we work from are almost all some form of heightened language, we need our actors to be able to handle the text. Also, we pride ourselves on being a supportive, nurturing, and safe environment, so I don’t work with jerks. Our casts and our production staffs need to be able to work well with others.”
The Speckled Band: An Adventure of Sherlock Holmes penned by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is playing from February 4 – 22, 2015. John would like the audience to walk away with “a newfound appreciation for Doyle’s writing. Come support Classical Theatre Company in our new home at Chelsea Market!” At the same time, meet the enigmatic John Johnston in the role of detective Sherlock Holmes in this classic mystery masterpiece.