Macbeth’s witches to stir their brew at Johnson Park

— Laura Austin, who will portray Lady Macbeth here, is best known locally as the Redhouse’s artistic director, but she’s also an experienced professional actress with a long list of impressive credits.

In the early 1990s, her acting career blossomed in Los Angeles as she won choice roles on popular television shows such as “21 Jump Street,” “Raising Miranda” and “L.A. Law.”

In fact, Austin appeared on two episodes of “21 Jump Street,” alongside actors Johnny Depp and Brad Pitt, now two of Hollywood’s biggest box-office draws. One of her favorite TV roles was her turn as an insane French maid on the HBO comedy series “Dream On.”

After getting married and starting a family, Austin moved to Skaneateles. In August 2001, she and her husband, Dr. Scott Allyn, started the Redhouse, a multi-faceted arts center in downtown Syracuse.

Over the past four seasons, Austin oversaw the production of 16 plays at Redhouse in which her responsibilities spanned selecting, casting, commissioning, directing, acting, promoting and fundraising. Whew !

I’ve seen her in several Redhouse shows, notably its first-ever, “Proof,” in which she brilliantly portrayed the feisty and flawed daughter of a once-brilliant mathematician going mad. “She’s everything I like in a role,” Austin told me at the time. “She’s strong, she’s funny, she’s dysfunctional.”

She could practically say the same thing about Lady Macbeth…maybe not so funny…

I bumped into our old buddy, Jim Durkin, at the ballpark last month. What’s the name of that place now? Well it was recently renamed NBT Bank Stadium, but that’s an annoyingly redundant moniker because NBT stands for Norwich Bank & Trust so the ballpark is actually Norwich Bank & Trust Bank Stadium...duh!

Anyhow, Durkin’s now semi-retired and running casino bus-tours. He’s taking some folks to an out-of-state resort on June 25. For info, call Durkin Excursions at 668-8418, or email Jim at jchief1@aol.com.

The Syracuse Chiefs all-time all-star vendor, Jim used to live in Liverpool but now he calls Pennellville home.

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