Wheeling Actor Performs In NYC

Actor Brian Linden, who hails from Wheeling, performed in a new play, “Pride River Crossing,” at the All Out Arts Fresh Fruit Festival in New York City earlier this summer.

“Pride River Crossing” was described as an LGBT take on Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology.” Performances were presented at The Wild Project in New York.

According to promotional material for the production, Linden was part of the cast of “six townspeople” who played 45 characters in “Pride River Crossing,” set in a Midwestern town.

Linden’s online biography states that he grew up in Wheeling and Lincoln, Neb. Now a New York-based actor, he graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.

His biography also states, “In 20 years onstage, he has performed the classics of Shakespeare, Pirandello and Melville, as well as new works by Kirk Wood Bromley, Jim Farmer and Carson Kreitzer.” He has been nominated for two New York Innovative Theatre Awards.

Prior to moving to New York, Linden lived in San Francisco for 12 years and apprenticed at the Berkeley Shakespeare Festival. He has been a member of Actors’ Equity Association since 2001 and of the New Jersey Repertory Company since 2007.

Linden also states that “he counts himself fortunate to share life with his parents in West Virginia, his sister in Atlanta, his brother in Cincinnati and his many friends …”

According to its promoters, “Pride River Crossing” written by Patrick Thomas McCarthy, “channels ‘Spoon River Anthology’s otherworldly voices to comment on contemporary gay life in America with its many voices speaking both from current events and from the afterlife.”

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West Liberty University’s 2012-13 theater season will open this month with a reprise of the spring production, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.”

University officials said the play will be performed this time with “a mostly-alumni cast.” John Hennen, adjunct professor of theater and a 1970 graduate of West Liberty, is the director of the comedy.

Described as “a comic romp that pokes fun at the more ridiculous aspects of ‘show biz’ and the corny thrillers of Hollywood’s heyday,” the play will be presented at Kelly Theatre in the university’s Hall of Fine Arts at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 2. All performances will be open to the public.

The cast includes faculty members Linda Cowan, Michael Aulick and Melinda Kreisberg and current students Matt Dougherty and Kevin Hensley. Alumni in the cast are Melody Medows, Class of 1991; Judy Porter Hennen, Class of 1973; Karissa Martin, Class of 2012; Josh Fromhart, Class of 2004, and Gretchen Schneider, Class of 2008.

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Two well-known area performers will be joining forces for a special concert at Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh next weekend.

Rick Witkowski of Weirton and Kelsey Friday of Pittsburgh will perform at the Carnegie Science Center’s Sonic Acoustic Stage from 2-3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, as part of the center’s acoustic performance series. Entrance to the concert is included in the general admission price to the science center.

Witkowski, who has won acclaim as a guitarist, songwriter, producer and recording engineer, has been a member of the B.E. Taylor Group rock band since the 1980s. He also is the co-founder of Crack the Sky, a critically acclaimed band that earned rave reviews from national music critics.

Friday, a Bethany College graduate and singer-songwriter, performs with her band, Kelsey Friday & the Rest of the Week. Area fans also remember Friday as the former lead singer of the band Brownie Mary, which had a huge following in the tri-state region.

Acoustic performances are being presented at the science center to coincide with a traveling exhibit, “GUITAR: The Instrument That Rocked The World,” that runs through Sunday, Sept. 30.

Linda Comins can be reached via e-mail at: Comins@news-register.net