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Theatre Reviews

Freshened 20th century classic delivers message of hope 

        Long before Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas, legendary director Frank Capra gave us It’s A Wonderful Life. The holiday perennial most of us have seen a dozen times is now being performed by Twin Beach Players.

Can glimpses of a dark future inspire change — in time?

                    Why has the U.S. Naval Academy’s Masqueraders, its drama club, chosen Endgame, an absurdist play about the futility of existence, as its major production of 2018?

An enjoyable adventure for preteens just in time for Halloween

      Twin Beach Players take us on a time-traveling adventure with an adaptation of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, the father of science fiction. Wells’ oft-told tale is now 125 years old.       In Wells’ telling, “the time traveller,” is a scientist; Twin Beach Players playwright Mark Scharf features Wells himself as that main character, time-traveling scientist. Regan Garnett directs the production.

Everyone has a story — which makes a long play

       Don’t blame yourself if you’ve never heard of The Babylon Line, the second show of Colonial Players’ 70th season. It opened off Broadway in December 2016 and closed after just seven weeks.          Playwright Richard Greenburg chose the title from the Long Island Railroad’s line. In 1967, Aaron Port rides that line to reverse commutes from New York City to Levittown to teach an adult-education writing course. Port’s own writing career has not taken off; he needs the money.

Compass Rose Theater creates a small, intimate miracle

       Darkly comic and spookily erotic, Venus in Fur, David Ives’s play within a play, is Compass Rose Theater’s offering this October.          A storm rages outside as writer/director Thomas Novachek  (Joe Mucciolo) complains on the phone about his day to his fiancée. He has seen 35 actresses, and not one is capable of playing Vanda. “They bring props,” he rants, “whole sacks of costumes. Whatever happened to femininity?  Bring along some of that, please.”

The classic movie splashes to life

         In 1952 Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds teamed up on what was to become the top film musical ever made, according to the American Film Institute: Singin’ In the Rain. The story centers on the transition in the 1920s from silent film to talkies, and of course features that unforgettable title song, choreographed by Kelly complete with a drenching rain. The movie became a Broadway musical in 1985, lasted about a year, and has been making the rounds of local theaters since.
Enjoy an evening full of laughs in memory of Neil Simon
      Rumors was the first attempt at a laugh-out-loud farce from fabulously famous playwright Neil Simon, who died last month. It opened on Broadway in 1988 to decidedly mixed reviews. The comic master of character-driven classics — from The Odd Couple to the semi-autobiographical trilogy Brighton Beach Memoirs, Biloxi Blues and Broadway Bound — pulled out every gag in his file drawer for the more plot-driven Rumors. Critics weren’t all friendly.

Follow these young actors through sadness and joy to the fever pitch of the climax

          The Talent Machine Company has done it again. The teens behind The Hunchback of Notre Dame are actors, dancers and singers as impressive as their juniors, who captivated me in 42nd Street.

Come to see not one but three terrific leading ladies 

          Based on the 1980 musical of the same name and featuring music and lyrics by the multi-talented Dolly Parton, 9 to 5 The Musical had a solid pedigree but lasted only five short months on Broadway. Critics blamed the show’s sparse story line wrapped in big budget choreography and musical numbers. Still, the three female leads drew praise.

These kids invite you to both laugh and listen

Theater nourishes many aspects of creativity. Actors, directors, musicians, choreographers, costumers, make-up artists, set designers, tech operators and playwrights all make up every show.