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Jim Yarnes plays legendary composer Ludwig van Beethoven in ’33 Variations’


Beethoven 01Opening on January 20 in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts is Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations. The play is a mystery involving the world’s second greatest classical composer and a modern-day musicologist who is desperately trying to figure out before she dies from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) why Beethoven spent the final years of his life writing 33 variations of a beer hall waltz written by a pedestrian music publisher. The action moves from modern day New York City to Vienna in 1819 and finally Beethoven’s house in Bonn, Germany, where both Dr. Brandt and Beethoven meet over their obsession with the music, although existing in different times. And in the role of the legendary composer is none other than local actor Jim Yarnes.

Beethoven and Schindler 07Like Johnny Depp in the genre of film, Yarnes is building of late a reputation for playing off-kilter and larger-than-life characters. He just reprised the role of Pinchwife in The Country Wife, a abusively possessive husband who locks his young bride in a room rather than risk her seduction by a London rascal by the name of Harry Horner. In The Book of Liz, he played two characters, the first being an arrogant and misogynistic reverend by the name of Tollhouse and the second as a charming gay restaurant manager by the name of Duncan Beethoven and Diabelli 02Trask. (Here’s Art Southwest Florida’s review of Yarnes’ performances in these role.) Prior to that, he was in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Jennifer Haley’s sci-fi crime thriller The Nether, where he played a man named Sims who creates a nostalgic, pseudo-Victorian internet haven called The Hideaway where paying guests come to have sex with, murder and dismember the exquisite, eerily identical virtual children who live and play there. He also played Sims’ avatar in The Beethoven, Schindler and Diabelli 03Hideaway, the genial but paternalistic host named Papa, who keeps the virtual children in line and ensures that guests indulge their darkest fantasies. (Here’s ARTSWFL’s review of Yarnes’ performance in The Nether.)

Yarnes is enjoying his 37th year on stage. He started with Gulf Coast Opera Company before going on to perform at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, Cultural Park Theater, Lab Theater and Theatre Conspiracy. Last season, Jim played Beethoven, Schindler and Diabelli 01the critically ill husband John in Tim Firth’s Calendar Girls, which ran at Lab Theater from October 2-17, 2015. His favorite shows include Pirates of Penzance, Music Man, Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof, Evita, Phantom, Barefoot in the Park, Swell Party and A Position of Relative Importance. Jim has also done staged readings at Lab Theater.

January 12, 2017.

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