If you hire strong voices as they did in MNM Theatre Company’s production, the venerable musical Grease cannot help but be entertaining with its elbow-nudging pastiche of faux late ‘50s-early ‘60s rock n’ roll. The challenge in which MNM doesn’t prevail is finding the difficult to locate tone for the script scenes because Grease is not simply a straight ahead comedy as it’s played here.
When a script is as strong as Michael McKeever’s Carbonell-winning Daniel’s Husband and begins to develop legs beyond its local premiere, one pleasure seeing it produced elsewhere is noticing how different editions such as a new one at the Westside Theatre bring their own vibe to the same work.
If you are or have been the caregiver to a senior suffering with dementia, delusions and/or Alzheimer’s disease, the revival of The Waverly Gallery is a pain-riven reminder of the mutual agony. If you aren’t in that dilemma yet, be assured that this production featuring an unforgettable performance by Elaine May is a precise preview of the agony to come.
Jonathan Tolins’ satirical Buyer & Cellar provides a steady supply of giggles and guffaws in this tale about an actor hired by Barbra Streisand to staff in shops that she built in the basement of her estate’s barn in Malibu. But Island City Stage’s production, while certainly funny, lets us view Tolins’ more serious glimpses of just how different life is for celebrities cut off from the real world.
Slow Burn Theatre hembraces this glam/grunge rock musical headlined by a protagonist who suffered a botched sex-change operation. It’s an in-your-face raunchy celebration of alternative sexuality, a show that recognizes absolutely no bounds and revels in it.
“Amazing” is a word you don’t read in too many theater reviews. So keeping in mind that it’s well-considered use here requires a lot of contextual “yets” and “buts,” King Kong is amazing, both the creature and the show. Its flaws and shortcomings as a musical are impossible to ignore, but as spectacle and entertainment, it’s hard to deny that King Kong is a jaw-dropping experience.
Peter Wayne Galman in Thinking Cap Theatre’s production is a likeable Lear. He’s also narcissistic, ego-centric, driven, demanding, confused, playful and timeless. It helps that Galman delivers William Shakespeare’s poetry like the masters – think Ian McKellen, Sir John Gielgud. There isn’t a word that isn’t sacrosanct. He relishes the work, and, in turn, audiences will, too.
The publicity for Christopher Demos-Brown’s racially-charged play on Broadway, American Son, has focused on its inescapable resonance with the zeitgeist – a virtue championed by its star, Kerry Washington. But what Demos-Brown wrought is a fusion of the intense racial issues with the universal terror of parents struggling to prepare a teenager to graduate into an antagonistic and unforgiving world.