“Five Women Wearing the Same Dress” is a delightful, sometimes intense, sometimes funny, almost always true-to-life glimpse into the complex and challenging personal relationships of five 20-to-30 something, on-again, off-again friends who were asked to be bridesmaids in “Tracy’s” wedding. What an event it proved to be!
Expressing the intimacy of a relationship, and the pain of loss, can be a difficult task for actors. Translating these very personal emotions and character choices from the silver screen to the stage is doubly hard. When songs, choreography and fantastic special effects are added, characters can quickly disappear into the spectacle.
The Webster Conservatory has revived Craig Lucas’ fantastical little comedy, "Reckless", from 1983. We find Rachel, a pretty young wife and mother, experiencing an attack of euphoria on Christmas Eve. Rachel (as more than one critic has said) is something of a Candide in her irrepressibly optimistic attitude toward life. But she’s blended with a large dose of June Cleaver (for those of you old enough to remember “Leave it to Beaver”). She’s blissful in her conventional domestic role.
Harold Pinter is one of the few playwrights who have become adjectives: you know, like “Shakespearean”, “Shavian”, “Chekhovian”, “Brechtian”. We so easily say “Pinteresque” to convey that sense of muted menace seeping through the cracks of mundane detail in his dialogue. In Pinter the pauses seem to carry far weightier meaning than the words themselves.
That Uppity Theatre Company and VITAL Voice recently presented their third annual "Briefs:a Festival of Short LGBT Plays" La Perla. The show's run performed to sold out audiences every matinee and evening, a testament to the production's growing popularity and the attention this emerging festival is deservedly attracting.
"Never Mind the Why and Wherefore" is still merrily dancing and skipping in my ear. Will I ever get it out? Why in the world would I want to?
The Rep has opened that hilarious backstage slap-stick sex-farce, "Noises Off". This amazing play by Michael Frayn has left audiences breathless with laughter since 1982 when it won both the Olivier and the Evening Standard awards for Best Comedy. With the help of a few modernizing touch-ups by the playwright over the years it shows no sign of aging. It's still bright and fresh and goofy and wild and delightful—AND an immense challenge for any company attempting it.
The New Jewish Theatre's presentation of "The Price" is an artfully staged, well-acted production that fully embraces the essential themes of playwright Arthur Miller. There's layered intention in every line and the cast, with strong, purposeful direction from Bruce Longworth, does an admirable job of navigating the playwright's subtleties and inferences while avoiding excess.
The writers and producers of "We Will Rock You" are bringing down the house at the Fabulous Fox with a fitting tribute to the rock band Queen's enduring popularity that is also an incredibly good time.
Kate Chopin's seminal "The Awakening" is a deeply powerful, ground-breaking novel that explores one woman's emergence as a fully independent self. One of the first works of feminism, it manages to remain fresh and poignantly insightful. In dramatic form, it also presents an opportunity to showcase the talents of an actress capable of playing a character who must express her discontent with the status quo, as well as her awakening passion, with a subtle, nuanced touch.
Adam Rapp's "Red Light Winter" is an exploration of a contemporary love triangle and, frankly, every bit as compelling as a car wreck or sensationalized celebrity crime scene. Watching the play unfold is at times uncomfortable, and occasionally disturbing, but equally compelling.
In his director's notes for "Soups, Stews, and Casseroles: 1976," Seth Gordon notes that the play "asks questions that are important for us to contemplate and then leave us to work it out in the end. I've heard many an audience member tell me that his or her favorite play is the kind that keeps one talking about it for a long time after viewing."
Ko-Ko san and Nanki-Poo compete for the hand of the lovely Yum-Yum as Pish-Tush and Poo-Bah tend to civic duties in the town of Titipu in Gilbert and Sullivan's "The Mikado".
In an interview earlier this week, I asked Emily Bergl what it was about her approach to cabaret that set it apart from more traditional shows. "I'm presenting a complete evening of entertainment," she replied, "with a real narrative and lots of different characters. I don't assume that if I just sit on a stool and do a bunch of torch songs it's going to be fascinating. We like to entertain the folks!"
The rock musical "Rent" is an unflinching, uncompromising look at the struggles of a community of young artists in essay writer New York City late in the twentieth century. At its heart, it's a coming of age tale, and New Line Theatre takes this broad concept and distills it into an intimate, emotionally charged production filled with memorable performances. The show isn't always pretty and the situations not easily packaged, but there's an honest, hard-earned integrity that reveals an underlying hopefulness.
"Musical Comedy Murders of 1940" seeks a slasher who killed three dancers in the chorus of a musical called "Manhattan Holiday." It also has other villains. That's why playwright John Bishop had to make it the "Musical Comedy Murders of 1940," even though he wrote it in 1987: one set of villains are Nazi saboteurs.
The Peabody Opera House recently played host to several performances of the Tony-winning “Peter and the Starcatcher,” based on a novel of the same name, and in subject a prequel to J. M. Barrie’s 1904 play and subsequent 1911 novel about Peter Pan, “Peter and Wendy.”
Winter Opera is closing its seventh season with a very strong production of Gaetano Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor."
Isabel Allende established herself as a major Latin American writer in 1982 with her first novel, "The House of the Spirits." It traces four generations of a family through the upheavals in Allende's native Chile.
Plays, movies and books about men's "midlife crises" are a dime-a-dozen; it's much less common to see a show that delves, artfully and thoughtfully, into the secret desires of a middle-aged, married woman. Luckily, Dramatic License Productions' humorous, yet realistic, one-woman show, "Shirley Valentine," is here to fill that gap.
"Diavolo," writes the company's Artistic Director Jacques Heim in his program notes, "is a fusion of many different movement vocabularies such as everyday movement, ballet, contemporary, acrobatics, gymnastics, martial arts, and hip-hop." On stage, that translates into genre-bending theatre pieces that are a mashup of dance, Olympic-class athletics, and circus arts that are sometimes thrilling and always mesmerizing.