Patsy Cline lives…

Studio 33 delivers memorable musical

Ashley Riley, an actress and singer from Nederland, returned home and founded a new theatre company, Studio 33.  Now that their first production “Always... Patsy Cline” has concluded its run at the Port Arthur Little Theatre Playhouse, its time to consider the future of this fledgling troupe – and the news is good.

“Always…Patsy Cline”  - a hit musical created by Ted Swindley in 1988 in Houston – was the perfect vehicle to showcase the talents of Riley, who has amassed a impressive string of credits over her still-young career.

The 27 songs in this musical posed a stern test that Riley passed with flying colors. Early in the show, she had to sing “I Fall to Pieces” and “Walking After Midnight” – two of Cline’s biggest hits. In this oft-produced show, it is imperative the actress playing Cline perform these two signature songs with skill while evoking Cline at her most memorable. Simply put, Riley knocked those songs out of the ballpark, securing the devotion of a rapt audience for the rest of the show.

In front of a simple set of four barn-door panels to evoke the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville – home of the Grand Ole Opry – Riley made beautiful music with the eight-piece band who could go on the road today with this show to honky-tonks and fancy theatres alike.

Equally impressive was Kathryn Griffith as Louise Seger, Cline’s fan-turned-friend who serves as the audience surrogate – a divorced, 1961 Texas housewife in gold  spandex pants with a snappy patter and irrepressible spirit. Griffith would have walked away with the show if Riley’s vocal tour-de-force had not been so strong.

As it was, these two dynamic women kept the crowd enthralled from beginning to end for as enjoyable an evening at the theater as I have experienced in years.

Where Studio 33 goes from here has not been announced. Riley is four months pregnant, which would surprise anybody who witnessed her star turn as Patsy Cline. But this is a performer – and theatre group – that merits your attention.

- James Shannon

Feds preparing oil & gas leases in Gulf

BOEMRE Calls for Public Input on Proposed 2012-2017 
Gulf of Mexico Lease Sales

Information to be Used to Prioritize Areas, Avoid Potential Conflicts

NEW ORLEANS – The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) today announced it is seeking information and nominations from all interested parties regarding proposed oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico Western and Central Planning Areas for the 2012-2017 Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program.

BOEMRE will analyze information received in response to this Call for Information and Nominations (Call), which will primarily identify and evaluate areas with potential for oil and gas development, as well as determine possible environmental effects and potential conflicts in the Call area.  This is in addition to the information collected through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process. Comments will be used to develop lease terms and conditions to ensure safe offshore operations. Comments will also be used to assess potential conflicts between offshore oil and gas exploration and development operations and state coastal management programs, and to develop proposed actions and alternatives in the NEPA review process.
This early planning and consultation step, in addition to the NEPA-related reviews we are conducting, will ensure that all interests and concerns are communicated to us and are appropriately considered in decisions regarding the leasing process,” said BOEMRE Director Michael R. Bromwich. “All area nominations as well as any information submitted will be fully analyzed and considered as we prepare for the next 5-year program.”

Ten lease sales are specifically covered by this Call: five in the Central Gulf of Mexico (GOM) Planning Area, offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, and five in the Western GOM Planning Area, offshore Texas. Concurrent with this Call, BOEMRE is preparing a multi-sale Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) covering the same sales. 

The Central GOM Planning Area consists of approximately 66.45 million acres, of which approximately 40.85 million acres are currently unleased. The Western GOM Planning Area consists of approximately 28.58 million acres, of which approximately 19.45 million acres are currently unleased. A map outlining available blocks and those excluded is posted at: Call is available for public inspection today through the Federal Register’s website at:

Nominations and comments must be received no later than April 14, 2011 and may be submitted via mail or email to:

·  Mail:  "Nominations for Proposed 2012-2017 Lease Sales in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico" or "Comments on the Call for Information and Nominations for Proposed 2012-2017 Lease Sales in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico,” Mr. Carrol Williams, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, Gulf of Mexico OCS Region, 1201 Elmwood Park Boulevard, New Orleans, Louisiana 70123-2394. 

·  E-mail: Please include “Comments on the Call for Proposed 2012-2017 Lease Sales in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico” in the subject line.