Photo by Don Kellogg

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Parallelogram

One of the few magical plays out there this season.  Bruce Norris is a master of subjects tangled up in mystery and time.   A Parallelogram is no different - can we change the outcome of the future if we knew or could replay what we already have done?  If we only knew?  Would we be kinder?  These and many other questions are tackled with aplomb by the top notch cast in this last presentation of the season over at Second Stage Theater.

A clever loophole and a fascinating theory fill this play with mystery and wonder.  Steven Kunkin (Jay) can smell the cigarette smoke (the loophole).  Celia Keenan-Bolger (Bee) provides the many of the questions and wonder.  Anita Gillette (several Bee's) provides some, but not all, of the answers and the magic. Together this husband and wife (and wife) team plow thru life and we are aware that something is not quite right.

Don't expect all the answers.  But expect a wondrous, funny, heart-warming performance by all the actors in what might be Mr. Norris' second best play.

Friday, July 7, 2017


The master or parody strikes again.  Gerard Alessandrini has penned yet another spoof - this time based on one show - Hamilton.   However, his shtick involves making fun of the indomitable Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hamilton using the hit songs and divas from the many other big Broadway hits - Hello Dolly, West Side Story, Camelot, Wicked, Book of Mormon, and the list goes on... and on... and on...

Thanks mostly to casting outstanding singers rather than just comedic actors - Mr. Alesandrini reaches the stratosphere of success with this latest hit.

Dan Rosales (Lin-Manuel Miranda) with his long brown locks looks, sounds, and captures the nuances of his real life character.  Nicole Vanessa Ortiz can belt out a tune just like Audra MacDonald and captures many of the nuances of her Hamilton characters as well as the divas that she inhabits.  Chris Anthony Giles and Aaron Michael Ray play two Hamilton side kicks and literally hundreds of others with aplomb.  Newcomer, Erik Hernandez, looking delicious with his shirt on AND even better off, knocks it out of the park.  We even got an appropriately hysterical visit from King George - played with gay-to-the hilt at this performance by Glenn Bassett.

If you're even a tiny fan of musical theatre and enjoyed your Hamilton experience - you will definitely enjoy this slightly more off-beat interpretation!  Go see it, Mr Burr, Sir.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Hello Dolly!

Wow, Wow, Wow.  Dancing waiters, gorgeous gowns with gloves, gorgeous sets, fun, frivolity, and a magnificent score by Jerry Herman!  What more could you ask for in a decadent evening at the theatre?  Well, it only gets better when you add the delicious (this July only) Donna Murphy (Dolly Gallagher Levi), the fun and wacky David Hyde Pierce (Horace Vandergelder), the dapper and debonaire Gavin Creel (Cornelius Hackl), the darling and dashing Taylor Trensch (Barnaby Tucker) and the delightful Kate Baldwin (Irene Malloy) along with an ensemble the size of a small town.

This classic made famous by the indomitable Carol Channing roars back to life on Broadway this spring to pure delight.  Sure, the show is old fashioned, but isn't this just what the doctor ordered these days?  The characters are silly, the songs are lush, and the dancing is delicious.  Dolly plods on thru to get her man and makes a few matches along the way from Yonkers to New York City.

I opted to see Ms. Murphy on purpose and she didn't let me down with her spunk, pluck, elegance, and raw talent for playing a character.  Wow, Wow, Wow is an understatement when it comes to this show and this production does not disappoint - the lighting, the sets, the olios (canvases with murals painted on them), the costumes and color along with the music all contribute to the non-stop feeling of exuberance and joy this show brings to the audience.  When we get to the title number in Act II the audience has already contemplated an ovation twice before and at this point it is virtually un-stoppable.

Dolly, whether Ms. Murphy or Ms. Midler, is indeed back where she belongs.  Wow, Wow, Wow!