Review: “Xanadu” Presented by MainStage Irving-Las Colinas

Review:  “Xanadu” Presented by MainStage Irving-Las Colinas

The eclectic musical comedy, “Xanadu,” rolled in under the sparkling disco lights on the MainStage Irving-Las Colinas stage and delivered a passionate, upbeat and entertaining performance. Based off the lackluster 1980 film of the same name, the comedic musical, “Xanadu,” spins the tale of a talented Venice Beach, California artist, “Sonny Malone,” who, in the midst of a creative slump, inadvertently garners the attention of the Nine Greek Muses of Olympus.

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Review: “Daddy’s Dyin’...Who’s Got the Will?” at Richardson Theatre Centre

Review: “Daddy’s Dyin’...Who’s Got the Will?” at Richardson Theatre Centre

Richardson Theatre Centre’s production of Del Shores’ play “Daddy’s Dyin’...Who’s Got the Will?” delivered an intimate, well-rounded and entertaining performance. The Dallas-FortWorth-area audience in attendance quickly connected with the cast’s portrayal of a 1980s-era family from the small town of Lowake, Texas. Here, siblings reunite for the first time in years to spend a few last days with their ailing father who recently suffered a debilitating stroke.

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Review: “Oswald” at Firehouse Theatre

Review:  “Oswald” at Firehouse Theatre

The story of the infamous figure of Lee Harvey Oswald is of particular interest here just outside of Dallas, Texas. Over half a century ago, he became a household name not just in Texas, but across the world for gunning down the 46-year-old President in downtown Dallas. After the Kennedy assassination, the details of Oswald’s life were dissected, analyzed, and sensationalized to the point where few, including his widow, actually recognized the man they thought they knew.

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Review: Garland Civic Theatre Presents “Nunsense”

Review: Garland Civic Theatre Presents “Nunsense”

To most of us, nuns appear to be quiet, reserved, pious members of the Catholic religious community who devote themselves to a life of solitude, simplicity and humility. However, in Dan Goggin’s “Nunsense,” the good sisters of Hoboken offer a glimpse of the all-too-human, often amusing, frailties lurking beneath the veil. Garland Civic Theatre’s production channeled these underlying qualities into fun song and dance numbers and hilarious physical comedy which delivered a high-energy, uniquely-entertaining and praiseworthy comedic romp.

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Review: “The Wizard of Oz” at Casa Manana

Review: “The Wizard of Oz” at Casa Manana

Casa Manana’s production of, “The Wizard of Oz,” delivered all the wonder, magic and energy which has made this story a celebrated part of the American stage and screen tradition for multiple generations. Together, the show’s dynamic cast and crew took the audience on a remarkably-authentic journey down Oz’s yellow brick road while incorporating just the right mix of modern creative elements to make it truly shine.

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Review: “Gruesome Playground Injuries” presented by Millennial Poison Theatre Co.

Review:  “Gruesome Playground Injuries” presented by Millennial Poison Theatre Co.

The two-member cast of Millennial Poison Theatre Company’s inaugural production of the visceral love story, “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” at Richardson’s intimate Core Theatre delivered an energized, compelling and authentic performance. Fueled by equal portions of pain, passion and playground injuries, stars Michael Breath Jr. and Shelby Priddy wove together an introspective story of a maturing friendship and love which can withstand the physical and emotional pain life often throws our way.

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Review: The Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Leslie Odom, Jr.

Review:  The Dallas Symphony Orchestra presents Leslie Odom, Jr.

The success of Broadway mega-hit, “Hamilton” likely drew a majority of the audience into the expansive Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center for an evening with Leslie Odom Jr. However, shortly into his performance with the dynamic Dallas Symphony Orchestra, it became apparent that Odom’s silky-smooth voice and versatile style transcends well-beyond the score of “Hamilton” to soar high into the stratosphere of onstage vocal talent.

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Review: 'Once on this Island' at Firehouse Theatre

Review:  'Once on this Island' at Firehouse Theatre

Firehouse Theatre’s production of the Caribbean-inspired, Little Mermaid adaptation, “Once on this Island,” enchants with uptempo, dynamic and heart-wrenching performances. Through spirited choreography and well-harmonized vocals, the talented cast breathes a gust of warm tropical air into Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty’s story and music.

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Review: “ComedySportz” at the Comedy Arena

Review:  “ComedySportz” at the Comedy Arena

The bright glow of the Comedy Arena was a welcome escape from an otherwise dark and damp night in downtown McKinney, Texas. Inside, warm laughter was in store for the audience who chose to spend an evening with the talented improv team onstage performing in “ComedySportz.”

The format for “ComedySportz” is simple, yet incredibly engaging and entertaining. Experienced comedians with quick wits divide into two teams, red and blue, and go toe-to-toe in a knock-down-drag-out, good-spirited, high-energy improv battle. Competitors earn points by swaying the audience to vote for their team by serving up ample portions of hilarity, physical antics and more.

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Review: Garland Civic Theater Presents “The Foreigner”

  • Shawn Stalter, Contributing Critic - Dallas/Ft. Worth

Garland Civic Theater delivered yet another top-tier show with their recent production of the hilarious international comedy, “The Foreigner.” Written by Larry Shue, “The Foreigner” spins a tale of two Englishmen, “Froggy” and “Charlie,” and their interaction with the locals at a rustic Georgia hunting lodge.

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At the start of this story, the shy and timid “Charlie” agonizes over the prospect of interacting with anyone at the lodge. His hopes to spend a few days in peace quickly shatter as “Froggy” develops a hair-brained scheme which calls for Charlie to pretend he is a foreigner unable to understand or speak a word of English. Unfortunately, this ruse quickly comes off the tracks as Charlie unwittingly becomes an active participant in the lives of the locals and finds himself in the middle of a brewing scandal.

The cast of Garland Civic Theater’s production of “The Foreigner” gave inspired, well-rounded and dynamic performances. In the lead role of “Charlie,” Gary Eoff aptly captured the absurdity of his character’s situation and his increasingly-deeper immersion into the “foreigner” persona. Additionally, Tom McWhorter’s portrayal of the xenophobic and abrasive “Owen Musser” certainly grabbed the audience’s attention.

Those unfamiliar with the story or the world view of “Owen” found themselves wincing in disgust at his racist tirade and aspirations to craft a home for the “invisible empire” of the Ku-Klux-Klan.  When “Charlie” and “Owen’s” personalities collide, the audience was treated to intense, albeit, highly-entertaining interactions. In addition to “Owen” and “Charlie,” Heather Smothers’ performance of the sweet and simple lodge owner, “Betty,” was spot-on.

Beyond the performances this talented cast delivered, the production also soared on the wings of the exceptional stage design which transported the audience to a quaint and cozy, rural Georgia lodge. Despite some obstructed sight lines which made it difficult to keep pace with all of the action unfolding onstage, the cast and crew did a great job working all angles of the spacious stage to keep the audience engaged. Although this was the last performance of Garland Civic Theater’s run of “ The Foreigner,” their upcoming lineup promises additional high-caliber entertainment for DFW theatergoers.

 

Garland Civic Theater’s production of “The Foreigner” was directed by Juan M. Perez and produced by David Tinney. The show’s cast included Gary Eoff as “Charlie Baker,” David Noel as Sergeant “Froggy” LeSueur, Heather Smothers as “Betty Meeks,” Russell Sims as “Rev. David Marshall Lee,” Stephanie Oustalet as “Catherine Simms” , Tom McWhorter as “Owen Musser,” and Steven Pedro as “Ellard Simms.” Shauna Holloway served as stage manager, Hank Baldree as set designer, props courtesy of Kerra Sims and sound by Brittany Mantsch.

Learn more about upcoming shows at Garland Civic Theater by visiting www.garlandarts.com or calling 972-205-2790.

Photo credit:  Russell Sims

Review: “FoxFire” at Theatre Three

Review:  “FoxFire” at Theatre Three

We all give lip service to slowing the pace of life to craft a more genuine “smell the roses” experience. In the meantime, we robotically consume over-caffeinated, over-priced, lattes, complain about gridlock traffic and politics while ingesting never-ending streams of social media, sitcoms and talking heads. Does the pace and focus of modern life enhance its meaning, or are most of us missing out on something more authentic?

Theatre Three’s production of “FoxFire” delivered a genuine and inspired performance exploring this time-honored debate of “tradition” versus “innovation” with quiet sophistication and grace. Audiences here found a comfortable, welcoming space for an introspective journey examining where we’ve come from and where we’re heading.

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Review: MainStage Irving-Las Colinas presents “The Night of the Iguana”

Review:  MainStage Irving-Las Colinas presents “The Night of the Iguana”

The talented cast of MainStage Irving-Las Colinas skillfully navigated the complex emotional terrain of Tennessee Williams’ classic play, “The Night of the Iguana.” Based on a short story which was later expanded into a full-scale play, “The Night of the Iguana” offers an evocative journey through the rabid mind of the former priest, Reverend Lawrence Shannon. After enduring expulsion from a Virginia-based ministry over his sexual misconduct and blasphemy, Rev. Shannon flees to the west coast of Mexico to serve as a tour guide.

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Review: “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Wandernook Theatre

Review:  “The Importance of Being Earnest” at Wandernook Theatre

Wandernook Theatre brought Oscar Wilde’s, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” to life with well-crafted dialogue, authentic costuming and grace which paid homage to this beloved tale highlighting the absurdities of courtship, class--and earnestness--in Victorian-era high society.

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Review: “The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn” at Theatre Three

Review:  “The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn” at Theatre Three

“The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn” at Theatre Three took the audience on an emotionally-charged, whirlwind journey through the shifting life, and mind, of self-described daydreamer, Eveline Flynn, played by the vibrant Lauren LeBlanc. This production not only traverses some uncharted waters, but it also does so with a unique flair and fresh perspective which breathes life into its characters in an accessible way.

Created by talented Dallasites Michael Federico and Ian Ferguson, “The Manufactured Myth of Eveline Flynn” places the audience inside the imaginative mind of a woman searching for meaning and connection while slipping in and out of a turbulent inner world. At first, we believe she’s an eccentric escapist but quickly come to discover that there’s much more to her story.

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Review: Garland Civic Theatre Presents “The Buddy Holly Story”

Review:  Garland Civic Theatre Presents “The Buddy Holly Story”

Garland Civic Theatre’s production of “The Buddy Holly Story” delivered a high-energy, immersive journey exploring the formative years of rock-and-roll as viewed through the bespectacled eyes of legendary Texas musician, Buddy Holly. With lively musical stylings and dynamic character portrayals, this supremely-talented cast took the audience on a surging, head-first adventure down Buddy’s path to break new ground in a music industry hell-bent on resisting change. Although hard to fathom, we’re now nearing the 60th anniversary of the musical pioneer and Lubbock, Texas’ native’s death, February 3rd, 1959.

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Review: The Rose Table Presents the “12 Months of Disney Dinners” Series

Review:  The Rose Table Presents the “12 Months of Disney Dinners” Series

In her Disney-inspired dinner series, “12 Months of Disney Dinners,” foodie, blogger, adventurer and culinary mastermind, Katie-Rose Watson, not only crafts inspired recipes, but she incorporates elements of her background in the Arts to infuse dinners with a sense of magic. Her blog, The Rose Table, is the canvas she uses to paint an exquisite landscape to help us all learn more about taking time to savor life’s pleasures.

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Review: “The Second City Guide to the Symphony”

Review:  “The Second City Guide to the Symphony”

What do you get when you cross the diverse talents of a top-tier improv comedy troupe with a world-class symphony orchestra? You get a dynamic and entertaining performance which peels back the thin veneer of stuffiness and intellectual snobbery associated with the symphony to reveal the rich textures of humanity beneath.

In “The Second City Guide to the Symphony,” conductor Case Scaglione paired the superb musical talent of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra (DSO) with comedic powerhouses from Second City. Together, they delivered a performance which carved out distinctive and uniquely-entertaining territory equally appealing to both classical music buffs and improv comedy fans alike.

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