“Henry V” at The American Theatre of Actors

“Henry V” at The American Theatre of Actors

Telling the classic story of Henry V’s clash with France and the bloody war that followed, director, Mary Lou Rosato brings us the story once again with an effective minimal set and a large and engaging cast.  Henry V was brought to life by Laris Macario, who balanced the commanding presence of the battlefield with the warm compassion towards his fellow men very well. At first it felt as though Macario was simply screaming through his lines but this improved as the play went on.

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Review: ‘Good Morning, Viet Mom’ by Cahoots Productions

Review: ‘Good Morning, Viet Mom’ by Cahoots Productions

Cahoots has billed this world premiere of ‘Good Morning, Viet Mom’ as authentic and irreverent. Franco Nguyen travels to Vietnam to look for inspiration for his first feature film and he finds an unexpected subject, his mother.  Mr Nguyen then delves into the personal and shares stories about visiting Vietnam for the first time and being re-introduced to the mother he thought he knew.

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Review: "The Father" at The Coal Mine Theatre

Review: "The Father" at The Coal Mine Theatre

I would bet that Coal Mine’s production will probably be nominated for some Dora awards this year. The social justice issues of examining dignity confronting a debilitating and ultimately life destroying disease has been handled with great respect in ‘The Father’. Beg, borrow or plead to get a ticket and to see true ensemble perfection.

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Review: “Girlish” at Fresh Ink Theater

Review: “Girlish” at Fresh Ink Theater

Fresh Ink Theatre Company, an organization known in Boston for producing new works by New England playwrights, recently closed their contemporary play “Girlish,” by Alexa Derman. This show, which ran from February 1st through the 16th at the Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Blackbox Theatre, tells the story of Windy (Atlee Jensen), a teenage girl who, despite her age, finds herself deep in the American Girl Doll fandom. The story follows Windy as she navigates how to balance her love of her dolls with the natural trials of growing up, including dating, makeup, and meeting the expectations of her trendy longtime best friend, Marti (Willa Eigo.) When Windy eventually strikes up a new and exciting relationship with a fellow American Girl Doll fanatic online, AGBOI97 (Dylan C. Wack), she begins to pull away from Marti and, in doing so, discovers a new array of truths about herself and her passion that cause her to step away from playing pretend and face her reality head on.

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Review: “Toto Talks” at the Kraine Theater

Review: “Toto Talks” at the Kraine Theater

If there’s ever a such thing as a cliché, overdone type of fringe show, it would have to be this: A show that’s heavy on humor that relies too much of both innuendo and raunchy humor, as well as recycled stories and characters from within the public domain. If you’re a fan of both drag queens and The Wizard of Oz, then maybe you might enjoy spending an hour of your day watching one of this show’s last performances. Otherwise, you’re probably better off looking into one of the FRIGID Festival’s other offerings this year.

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Review: ‘Little Menace: Pinter Plays’ at Soulpepper

Review: ‘Little Menace: Pinter Plays’ at Soulpepper

Rarely have I ever had a chance to see a Harold Pinter play because one hasn’t been done so far.  So, when I heard Soulpepper would be doing a series of Pinter one acts, I was intrigued and ventured forth to the Distillery District. 

I don’t remember reading Pinter plays during my undergraduate years at Western in studying English Language and Literature.  For shame, for shame, I know but I learned more about the term ‘Pinteresque’ from conversations with others in my involvement in community theatre or in discussions with other actors there.

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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: "Oslo" by Studio 180 Theatre

Review: "Oslo" by Studio 180 Theatre

In this humble guy’s opinion, ‘good theatre’ should entertain an audience while ‘great theatre’ should entertain and teach us something extremely important about the human condition.

For me, playwright J. T. Rogers has created great theatre with ‘Oslo’, but it is a text richly laden with dialogue so the audience will have to pay close and careful attention. Under Joel Greenberg’s astutely-handled direction, thirteen actors channel emotional and passionate driven performances highlighting the first-ever peace deal between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. (PLO).

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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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Off-Broadway Review: “Hurricane Diane” at New York Theatre Workshop

Off-Broadway Review: “Hurricane Diane” at New York Theatre Workshop

Playwright Madeleine George sets her “Hurricane Diane” in an Early Anthropocene Time, the era defined as “the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.” Most, except members of the current Administration, see that influence to have been deleterious at best and are aware of the dire predictions for Planet Earth’s future viability unless this human activity is modified speedily and thoroughly. The effects of climate change are as evident now as they were when Ms. George’s play had its debut at Two River Theatre in New Jersey in 2017. Perhaps even more so. So why does New York Theatre Workshop team up with Women’s Project Theater to resurrect this problematic play?

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Review: “Immigrants: We Are Them, They Are Us” at The Tank

Review: “Immigrants: We Are Them, They Are Us” at The Tank

Ever since the election of Donald Trump nearly three years, the topics of immigration and racism have come to the forefront on the national conversation, and have fueled many – in some cases uncomfortable, but consistently honest and necessary – discussions on these topics in the arts and the general public sphere. The latest example of such work was seen recently at The Tank, when the Asian-American Film Lab presented Cheryl L. Davis’s new play Immigrants: We Are Them, They Are Us for a brief limited engagement.

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Review: "Mules" by Scotiabank Community Theatre at Streetcar Crowsnest

Review: "Mules" by Scotiabank Community Theatre at Streetcar Crowsnest

‘Mules’ is a dark comedy about choices, trust, friendship, circumstances, poverty and drug smuggling. In ninety minutes with one set and three actors, this play achieves what plays aspire to be. It is dramatic, suspenseful, comedic and emotional. The dialogue is engaging, the characters are complex and the performances are superlative.

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Off-Broadway Review: Fiasco Theater’s Production of “Merrily We Roll Along”

Off-Broadway Review: Fiasco Theater’s Production of “Merrily We Roll Along”

“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” could prove to become the mantra of the famed Sondheim musical “Merrily We Roll Along” which was a dismal failure when it first opened on Broadway in 1981. There is a new production helmed by the Roundabout’s resident Fiasco Theater Company which falls short of delivering a new efficacious incarnation, becoming yet another casualty in the history of this troublesome and puzzling show. This current endeavor lacks the emotional depth of the characters needed to successfully bring forth the message; additionally, the cast is not vocally capable of delivering most of the brilliant musical numbers. However, the orchestrations and new arrangements for the eight-piece orchestra by Alexander Gemignani allow the audience to wallow in the brilliance of Mr. Sondheim’s captivating score and are the highlight of this production.

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Review: “The Glass Menagerie” by Pigeonhold Theatre Company

Review: “The Glass Menagerie” by Pigeonhold Theatre Company

“The Glass Menagerie” is a Tennessee Williams’ classic that needs no introduction.  Often thought of as autobiographical the piece explores the weight of familial obligations and the dangers living in the past all told through the lens of a memory by the play’s focal point, a  guilt-ridden Tom who is often thought to be a stand-in for Williams himself.

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Review: “Lights Out: Nat ‘King’ Cole” at the Geffen Playhouse

Review: “Lights Out: Nat ‘King’ Cole” at the Geffen Playhouse

Velvety voice Dulé Hill portrays Nat “King Cole during the last night of his televised variety show in Lights Out: Nat “King Cole at the Geffen Playhouse.

Taking my seat before the show, I admired Clint Ramos and Ryan Howell’s 50s style television sound stage set with “applause” and “on-air” boxes high up. We feel as if we are part of a studio audience. Musicians David Witham (Conductor/Keyboards), Greg Poree (Guitar), Edwin Livingston (Bass) and Brian Miller (Drums/ Percussion/ Orchestra Conductor) warm up before the show begins.

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Review: “The Glen” at Shetler Studios

Review: “The Glen” at Shetler Studios

“The Glen” , set mostly in the 1940s and 50s, follows the life of Dale Olsen as he transitions through being a young man living on a farm in Northern California to joining the U.S Army. Telling a story of belonging, identity, and family, Dale must make sense of the world around him and ultimately himself. This makes for a very heartwarming and sometimes, tragic story that many can relate.

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