Wondering what to give your theater lover this holiday season – besides season tickets, of course. Our media reviewer Brad Hathaway listens to, reads and sees nearly everything, and he makes his annual suggestions.
Nicky Silver’s wickedly hilarious satire The Lyons about self-centered souls in the most dysfunctional family ever seen, on display at The Women’s Theatre Project, hides a deeper portrait of wounded people still seeking the affirmation that they never got from the people who society says should have been their primary nurturers.
To summarize The Lion in Winter as a drama about a dysfunctional family is to facilely devalue this examination of just how base the human animal can be in the grip of power and ambition. Director William Hayes and a fine cast make the most of the acerbic gallows humor in Palm Beach Dramaworks’ bravura production, but they also build Goldman’s underlying case for the less than laudable aspects of our nature.
Put Actors’ Playhouse production of Making God Laugh pretty much in the insightful column. Playwright Sean Grennan uses our recognition of the laughter and pain common to most familial relationships and uses it as a building block in his farcical comedy that transmutes into poignant drama.
While David Sedaris’ The SantaLand Diaries has its share of funny, when his script stoops low for laughs, he dashes all the other precious gifts he doles out in this very inventive one-person show. Yet there are reasons to see Empire Stage’s production of the adult-tinged, bah-humbug holiday theater tradition.
The Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s sumptuous and skillful production of Annie resembles that strange holiday gift that you’re not quite sure how to react to. It’s beautifully wrapped and artfully manufactured but it’s missing the magic and heart you were secretly hoping for.
The Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Kravis Center is, unlike much in life, precisely what its reputation promises. Start with spectacular, derived from the word spectacle. Nearly 40 people on stage tapping, swirling or gracefully gesticulating while crooning to familiar tunes played by a lush if not live orchestra through 12 scenes.
Hallelujah, children! We are delivered from the bondage of political correctness, the oppression of reactionary repression and the tyranny of the status quo. Raise up your voice and praise the bringer of these blessings — the national tour at the Broward Center of the Broadway musical, The Book of Mormon.
Like walking toward a great work of art at the end of a hallway, the magnificence of GableStage’s production of My Name Is Asher Lev grows slowly as you approach it, as you spend time with it, delving deeper until the accumulated detail of its brushstrokes reveals its full splendor.
A solid cast molded by director Hugh M. Murphy adds Alfred Uhry’s The Last Night of Ballyhoo to the quietly growing list of solid productions that Broward Stage Door has been accumulating in recent years.