Author Archive

Three Penny Opera by Frank Theatre, performing at the Southern

Three Penny Opera by Frank Theatre, performing at the Southern

Three Penny Opera (Frank Theatre, performing at the Southern, through May 4) was written in 1928 by playwright Bertolt Brecht with music by composer Kurt Weill. I point this out because the program for the Frank production makes no mention of these two great artists; they are unnamed, un-bioed, unacknowledged in any way. Nor...
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Once by Hennepin Theatre Trust, at the Orpheum Theatre

Once by Hennepin Theatre Trust, at the Orpheum Theatre

Compare the focused intimacy of Once (at the Orpheum, through April 6) with the over-the-top, big-bang-for-your-buck musicals recently produced in the same venue.  Phantom Of The Opera, Evita, The Book Of Mormon, et al. Once contains no gee-whiz, that-musta-costa-fortune scenic effects. No high-falutin orchestrations. No operatic, sung-through music. No cast of dozens. No hidden...
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The Mountaintop by Penumbra Theatre performing at the Guthrie

The Mountaintop by Penumbra Theatre performing at the Guthrie

We see it when we walk into the McGuire: the Lorraine Motel sign, visible through the window of Room 306, stark against the black Memphis sky, crashes of lightning bringing it into high relief.  The Lorraine.  Where Martin Luther King met his unwished-for martyrdom.  The site of unspeakable national tragedy, a place associated in...
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The Odyssey by Walking Shadow Theatre Company, performing at Open Eye Figure Theatre

The Odyssey by Walking Shadow Theatre Company, performing at Open Eye Figure Theatre

The rosy red fingers of dawn steal over the wine dark Aegean Sea.  The rising (and eternal) Grecian sun shines down on wandering Odysseus, as he leads his battered fleet home from Troy. Odysseus!  He of the unflagging spirit, unending courage and near-terminal homesickness.  Odysseus the intrepid adventurer.  In performer/adapter Charlie Bethel‘s wonderful The...
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The Scarecrow And His Servant at Children’s Theatre Company

The Scarecrow And His Servant at Children’s Theatre Company

“Bigger!” the wonderful Doc Whiting used to shout at us in the olden days.  “Make it bigger!”  One step backward wasn’t enough; Doc wanted two step reactions.  Leaps of wild horror.  Pop-eyed grimaces.  Takes to the audience.  Always run.  Most important: have fun.  If you do, so will the audience. I suspect that Peter...
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Othello at the Guthrie Theater

Othello at the Guthrie Theater

In the dark and affecting Othello (at the Guthrie, through April 20) director Marion McClinton and costumer Esosa dress the Moor (played thrillingly by Peter Macon) in thick leather and stiff boots.  This imparts to him a lumbering, dominating authority.  Add to this the fact that Macon is a large man.  In comparison, the...
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Ash Land by Transatlantic Love Affair, performing at Illusion Theater

Ash Land by Transatlantic Love Affair, performing at Illusion Theater

Here’s the ensemble-created plot of the affecting Ash Land (Transatlantic Love Affair, performing at Illusion Theater as part of their Lights Up! series, through Feb 22): John and Mary Stone’s farm is suffering the triple whammy of Drought, Dust and Depression.  But before the farm dies, Mary does, leaving her dreamy and hapless husband John...
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Cabaret by Theatre Latté Da, performing at the Pantages

Cabaret by Theatre Latté Da, performing at the Pantages

A match made in Thespic heaven: Theatre Latté Da, our premier purveyor of music theater, known for its non-treacly and trenchant intelligence and its astonishing ability to produce super-high-quality theater on a strict budget.  And Cabaret, (John) Kander and (Fred) Ebb‘s great masterpiece, set in the early 30s, in the Kit Kat Klub, where...
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The School For Lies at Park Square Theatre

The School For Lies at Park Square Theatre

A play has two primary sources of appeal.  First, there is the moment-by-moment texture.  Is it fun to act?  Fun to watch?  Does the language enthrall, are there compelling nooks and crannies in the characters?  Does the design provide good eye candy? And then you have the overall arc: what do the moments add...
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The Phantom Of The Opera at the Orpheum Theatre

The Phantom Of The Opera at the Orpheum Theatre

The Phantom Of The Opera (playing at the Orpheum through Jan 5) has become an international phenomenon.  It opened in London and on Broadway in the late 1980s and is still running, having racked up more than 10,000 perfs.  Dozens of production grace the stages of the world (Las Vegas, Tokyo, Paris, et al). ...
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