Review: "The Scottsboro Boys" at Playhouse on Park

Review: "The Scottsboro Boys" at Playhouse on Park

John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical “The Scottsboro Boys” was not one of the duo’s more successful shows. The show opened on Broadway on Oct. 31, 2010 closed within six weeks amidst protests from people who were offended by the musical’s minstrel show themes.

Now, Playhouse on Park has chosen to take on this very timely, if possibly problematic musical, running through Aug. 4.

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Review: "Avenue Q" at CT Arts Players

Review: "Avenue Q" at CT Arts Players

Every theater-goer knows that they’re in for a treat when they get to see Avenue Q, and that’s exactly what the CT Arts Player’s production of the show was: a treat! It’s truly a show that never gets old. I have seen a few productions of Avenue Q throughout my life, but now that I’m a young adult, I definitely connected to the show in ways I hadn’t before.

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Review: "Actually" at Theatreworks

Review: "Actually" at Theatreworks

Consent and truth. What do these words mean to two people who recently met, went to a party, have sex afterward, and then one of them accuses the other of rape?

In her play, “Actually,” playing through June 23 as part of TheaterWorks Hartford’s residency at The Wadsworth Atheneum, Anna Ziegler attempts to challenge our assumptions of consent by making us look at the social, racial, and gender politics that arise when a night of irresponsible behavior ends with two young Princeton students in bed. The next morning, something has happened that will change both their lives forever.

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Review: “Godspell” at Ivoryton Playhouse

Review: “Godspell” at Ivoryton Playhouse

Yes, “Godspell” is an enjoyable and silly showcase, but under all the merriment Hubbard’s production is smart and thoughtful in the ways it makes the show feel like a piece that belongs in 2019. The show opens to news reports about global warming, North Korea and immigration. One parable includes mention of equal pay for equal work, and there are a few prerequisite Trump jabs. But the most politically-minded thing isn’t the new soundbites and jokes, it’s the seamlessly diverse group Hubbard has assembled to retell these timeless biblical messages of inclusion and peace.

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Review: "The Flamingo Kid" at Hartford Stage

Review: "The Flamingo Kid" at Hartford Stage

It’s unfortunate that “The Flamingo Kid” is coming out in the wake of so many “teen musicals” like “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Be More Chill,” and “The Prom.” It would be a shame if people think it is just another coming-of-age teen show, especially since it is better than these other shows with the exception of “Be More Chill.” “The Flamingo Kid,” though not perfect, has a lot of great things to offer.

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Review: 'Girlfriend' at TheaterWorks

Review: 'Girlfriend' at TheaterWorks

It’s understandable how Matthew Sweet’s power-pop album, “Girlfriend,” could be a score to a musical. The songs were all recorded by him following his divorce in 1990 and they expose his feelings about the entire relationship. He commented to Rolling Stone, “It's funny how the album ended up showing everything I needed to feel. Everything I needed as an antidote is there." There is emotion throughout the songwriting with a natural timeline feel and flow, making it a great fit for the musical theatre genre.

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Review: “The Royale” by Collective Consciousness Theatre

Review: “The Royale” by Collective Consciousness Theatre

It’s an interesting coincidence that Collective Consciousness Theatre’s stirring production of “The Royale” opened only two days after Long Wharf’s “An Iliad.” While they are two wildly different shows, both share surprisingly similar bones. Both are stories told by people of color. Both use narratives based on history to tell a larger, parable-like story. Both use stylized movement and music. Both are about the way society views violence and the perils of toxic masculinity. It’s the ongoing battles that separate the two. For “Iliad,” that conflict is the Trojan War, while “The Royale” centers on Jim Crow-era racism. The hero at the center of Collective Consciousness’ play is a fighter whose biggest opponent is the bigotry he faces on a national scale. This is another great choice for the socially-minded company (henceforth referred to as CCT), even if the production is one small stroke shy of being a total knock-out.

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Review: 'Iliad' at the Long Wharf Theatre

Review: 'Iliad' at the Long Wharf Theatre

Long Wharf’s “An Iliad” is theatre in its oldest and most distilled form. One performer, with only a simple costume and a handful of props, recounts a complicated story that is, to borrow a phrase from a very different kind of entertainment, a tale as old as time. It may sound simple, but it’s not. “An Iliad” is a captivating, thrilling, chilling piece of theater that is unlike almost any I’ve seen before.

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Review: “Twelfth Night” at Yale Repertory Theatre

Review: “Twelfth Night” at Yale Repertory Theatre

Shakespeare fans: Hold on to your ruffled collars because this version of “Twelfth Night” is unlike any you’ve seen before – and it’s marvelous. Illyria has been reimagined by director Carl Cofield as Wakanda where George Clinton, Sun-Ra, and T’Challa decided to produce this Shakespeare classic of mixed-up gender identity. If that sounds out of the ordinary, that’s because it is, and I loved every minute of it.

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Review: “Tiny Beautiful Things” at Long Wharf Theatre

Review: “Tiny Beautiful Things” at Long Wharf Theatre

Here’s the thing, the night before I was supposed to see “Tiny Beautiful Things” at Long Wharf Theatre, I started to feel ill. A little nauseous, fatigued and achy. Even a few hours before curtain, I was unsure if I’d feel up to going. But, as it turns out, “Tiny Beautiful Things” is a theatrical Balm of Gilead. I’m not exactly saying it has curative properties. No play holds those powers…not even “Hamilton.” But the moving “Tiny Beautiful Things” is like a hug, a therapy session and a good cleansing cry all at once. It’s a rare thing for a play of substance to make you feel better upon leaving than when you walked in. “Tiny” does just that.

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Review: “Good Faith: Four Chats About Race and the New Haven Fire Department” at the Yale Repertory Theatre

Review: “Good Faith: Four Chats About Race and the New Haven Fire Department” at the Yale Repertory Theatre

“So, I get a call a few years ago from a renowned institution, which I attended and to which I still owe money. ‘Would you care to dramatize a multi-year racially charged Supreme Court Case involving a bunch of firefighters in 2003?’ First I think: I will fail; this subject lies in that evil zone where boring meets offensive.”

When Karen Hartman, or at least the nom de plume of Hartman played winningly by Laura Heisler, says those words at the beginning of Yale Repertory Theatre’s “Good Faith: Four Chats About Race and the New Haven Fire Department” she is wrong. “Good Faith,” which was commissioned by the Rep and had its world premiere February 7th, is neither boring or offensive. It’s a smart, surprisingly engaging piece of docudrama that seeks to make sense out of a thorny and controversial event in New Haven’s history. It’s an imperfect work – “Faith” occasionally drags and is overly verbose – but a fascinating one nonetheless, directed with a steady hand by Kenny Leon

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