Columnists

CURTAIN CALLS: “Peter and the Starcatcher” – a great catch

“Everything’s got a moral if only you can find it.” So said the Duchess to Alice on her journey through Wonderland, and who am I to contradict her? Just so, “Peter and the Starcatcher” has its fair allotment of moral lessons in right behavior – but that’s not why I would recommend it. I recommend it because it is laugh-out-loud fun. […]

Columnists

CURTAIN CALLS: We learned to like it

“As You Like It”, Shakespeare’s frolic in the Forest of Arden, is one of those iron sided plays that can withstand all manner of interpretation. Call it the dude ranch trail horse of Elizabethan comedy. Director Gaye Upchurch may have an angle in mind, but it’s hard to discern in this scattered approach. But thanks to some fine performances of the cast, the story of jealousy, banishment, and foolish love emerges more or less intact. […]

Columnists

CURTAIN CALLS: One night with the Fifties’ Fab Four

They laughed, they jammed, they harmonized and – if Colin Escott’s and Floyd Mutrux’s book is to be believed – three of them had bad news for Sam Phillips. None of it would have survived over time to be enjoyed today if it weren’t for the foresight of sound engineer Jack Clement. […]

Columnists

CURTAIN CALLS: ‘Titanic:’ The unsinkable musical

The greatest theatre often requires the greatest risks. There’s no statuette for playing it safe. Aware of the challenges but thrilled by the possibilities, composer and lyricist Maury Yeston steamed ahead with writer Peter Stone into unchartered waters. Their destination: a musical version of the Titanic disaster – and the risks were legion. […]

Columnists

CURTAIN CALLS: Leg lamps and bullies and BB’s – Oh My!

As sure as Ralphie is going to shoot his eye out, everyone but the most dedicated Scrooge hopes Christmas will be, if not “magical,” at least enjoyable. To that end, we can count on every old chestnut of the season showing up in the TV guides and on stages. Relatively new to the annual lineup is “A Christmas Story” – much newer than “Christmas Carol” or “White Christmas”, but old enough to be in the national consciousness. […]

Columnists

CURTAIN CALLS: ‘The Secret Garden’ – Bloomin’ Beautiful

Personal note: Twenty-five years ago, I had the pleasure of seeing the first musical production of “The Secret Garden” on Broadway. It was a lush and lovely spectacle, but I especially remember the little girl, 11-year-old Daisy Eagan, who played Mary Lennox. She carried the weight of the show on her small shoulders and became the youngest ever recipient of the Tony Award. I remember how, standing for a well-deserved ovation, I saw myself as part of a picture from her past. I have often wondered since then where the trajectory of her life has taken her. […]

Columnists

Curtain Calls: Golden “Carousel” comes ‘round again

The jewel in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s crown doesn’t need any tinkering or apologies. All it needs is the treatment it’s getting right now at Arena Stage. Set in the four-sided Fichandler space, Todd Rosenthal’s simple, whitewashed plank stage evokes a small town band gazebo in early 1900s New England. Its second tier, suspended high above us, houses half of the live orchestra and hosts the second act “heaven” scene. Rich simplicity and virtuoso performances on all levels carry this production. […]

Featured

Curtain Calls: Catch these ‘Little Foxes’

Lillian Hellman’s radioactive drama about the Hubbard family’s insatiable avarice hit Broadway in 1939, but was set in 1900. The turn of the previous century was regarded by many as the opening to boundless financial opportunities for those ambitious – or shifty – enough to pursue them. […]

Featured

Curtain Calls: ‘The Madness Makes Sense’

One has only to read Jane Austen’s first published novel, “Sense and Sensibility”, to wonder how in the name of all that is corseted and prim such a thing could be staged. It is, after all, a literary bonbon made delectable by Miss Austen’s subtle observations and sideways sense of humor. And theatre can be such a direct medium. How is it possible? […]

Columnists

Curtain Calls: ‘Once More Into The Breeches!’

What better way for the Folger Theatre to demonstrate devotion to the greatest poet in the English language on the 400th anniversary of his death than to present – for the first time ever! – his long lost very first play? And we know it’s his first play because the three-man comedy team of The Reduced Shakespeare Company tells us so. […]

Columnists

Curtain Calls: Love and Sex – Beyond the Mystery

It’s complicated. Bathsheba Doran’s latest work, “The Mystery of Love and Sex”, manages to touch the love bases from friendship to family, other sex, same sex, and no sex, and do it with such wit and grace that it feels like a problem solved. Directed by Stella Powell-Jones, this sympathetic exploration of a seemingly ordinary family and a childhood friend navigating the minefields of life and change resonates on multiple levels. If we haven’t been there or done that, we know someone who has. […]

Featured

A ‘Loverly’ finish to Season XVIII

She’s 60-years-old this spring, but “My Fair Lady” is as witty and captivating as she ever was. Messrs. Lerner and Loewe’s undisputed greatest work could retire on its heap of Tonys and “Bests” and retain its crown, yet remains one of the most popular revived musicals of all time. […]

Columnists

Curtain Calls: Fight for Civil Rights goes ‘All The Way’

If I had known how interesting 1964 would be, I would have paid more attention. That important year – the first complete year of LBJ’s inherited presidency – saw passage of the deeply divisive Civil Rights Act. The South rebelled, then fell into line. Alliances were torn apart and re-formed. Even the intended beneficiaries, black Americans and the inner circle of the SCLC, were polarized. It was too soon. It was high time. It was too much. It wasn’t enough. Could LBJ be trusted to deliver? Could he be trusted at all? […]