Review: “Billy Elliot” at The Civic Theatre of Allentown

Review: “Billy Elliot” at The Civic Theatre of Allentown

“Billy Elliot” is a feel-good story of a mining town on strike getting together to support a child who has the chance to get out of the town. The show is full of great dancing, catchy music written by Elton John, and a script by Lee Hall that never lags. This production at the beautiful recently renovated 19th Street Theatre was of professional quality.

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Review: “Blithe Spirit” at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ

Review: “Blithe Spirit” at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ

Blithe Spirit, directed by Victoria Mack at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, is a classic play by Noël Coward that deals with the supernatural in a humorous way. The novelist Charles Condomine, invites the medium, the eccentric Madame Arcati, to his house to conduct a séance, hoping to gather material for his next book. Coward remarkably wrote the play in just six days. The play performed on the West End during World War II, providing audiences with much-needed escapism during this difficult time in history.

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Review: "Mamma Mia" at Plays in the Park

Review: "Mamma Mia" at Plays in the Park

It is hard to argue that Mamma Mia at Plays in the Park in Edison, NJ, directed by Moggie Davis, is not incredibly cheesy but that is exactly what makes this show so much fun. Plays in the Park is an annual occurrence every summer in Middlesex County where over 500 patrons each night come to see theatre under the stars at an affordable price. As I looked around the open-air theatre, at the rows that stretched back past what I could see, I thought of how theatre has the remarkable ability to bring so many different people together on a Wednesday night to enjoy something that is joyful. Mamma Mia doesn’t have much substance to its script but shows such as this one are important to the scope of musical theatre and are needed in this bleak world that we inhabit. 

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Review: "The Servant of Two Masters" at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ

Review: "The Servant of Two Masters" at The Shakespeare Theatre of NJ

Upon entering the outdoor Greek Theatre on the campus of Saint Elizabeth College, the audience is instantly transferred from Madison, NJ to Venice, Italy. This is partly because of the set design by Jonathan Wentz and sound design (Italian guitar pre-show music) by Warren Pace. The set is stunning and looks as if it could actually be a period villa taken out of Italy with its checkered floor with various colors and attention to detail, such as the porch lights with grill work. The set is two levels with many doors that slide open to create even more ways for the actors to enter and exit and allowed for the comedy and chaos that was to ensue.

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Review: "Fun Home" at 4th Wall Theater

Review: "Fun Home" at 4th Wall Theater

Fun Home won the Tony Award for Best Musical back in 2015. This story of a female coming to terms with her sexuality amidst her father’s relationships with men and underage boys is now being produced by community theatres nationwide. I was curious to see if 4th Wall Theatre would give the show the justice it deserved. With Kate Swan’s direction and the cast, it did more than that. 

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Review: "Small Town Story" at SOPAC

Review: "Small Town Story" at SOPAC

"Small Town Story" is a brand new musical, based on a true story and produced by American Theater Group, about a town in Texas putting on "Rent School Edition" in the high school. This choice of musical causes a divide in the town between those who support it and those who do not. This is an important show that teaches that change and theatre are necessary everywhere. The cast is comprised of a range of actors from professionals to high school students. The biggest standout for me was Ilana Gabrielle as Alex, the new student from Brooklyn. Ilana's acting and singing were incredible as she sang some of the best songs in the show, "Live Here," and "One Lone Star." Other standouts included Nick Siccone, as Scott Ames, who plays a believable teen who finally decides to stop hiding behind his camera and show who he really is as he stands up to his father. His father, played by notable Broadway performer Stacey Todd Holt, gave a beautiful performance as a father just trying to protect his son. Jaqueline Neeley, as musical theatre crazed, semi-annoying Caroline Barnes, was relatable to musical theatre kids and gave a likable performance. This character grows on you throughout the show.

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