Tag Archives: Barry Tarallo
Actors Playhouse’s lively Bright Star is a folk-country fable replete with spirited dances, classic character types, a genuine respect for everyday folk, and, ultimately, a moral about bedrock virtues persevering over profound tragedy. But this production’s strengths are its banjo-and-fiddle bluegrass score and its soaring performance by Kimberly Doreen Burns.
A raft of country classics are interspersed in this clear-eyed yet affectionate bio-musical Hank Williams: Lost Highway at Actors Playhouse tracking the rise and collapse of the music legend.
The “horror” in Zoetic Stage’s Frankenstein shares little kinship with the film monster with bolts in his neck terrorizing the countryside or even the 1818 novel of science gone wrong. But a different very contemporary terror is there all the same from the breath-taking wordless prologue of a stitched together embryo clawing out of a pod to the silent final image of two bodies crawling through Arctic waste.
It’s an obvious truism that most theater art – from dialogue to the lighting design – is partly a product of the artists’ past experience. But playwright-director Amy London’s Story of a Life, a harrowing examination of generations caring for loved ones suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, is ripped directly from the marrow of her own painful past.
A central facet of his premiere Watson at GableStage is depicting what may be the world’s first personal information disaster, a horrifying tragedy as American-licensed technology is sold to the Nazis who later use it to identify Jews for extermination. But what resonates in these times are capitalism’s responsibility to humanity, and the intentional blindness styling itself as innocent ignorance.
It’s not that it’s impossible to mess up the musical Annie, but when you have a reliable troupe of talented hands like those connected to the current Wick Theatre production, you are guaranteed an entertaining evening.
Just in time for the start of the holiday, the Wick Theatre delivers a shiny ornament in the form of the unabashedly romantic musical She Loves Me.
The Mousetrap at the Maltz is indeed a hoary old chestnut chock full of clichés which weren’t even new when it bowed in 1952. But director Peter Amster and his cast wisely don’t try to fight it or update it. Instead they embrace it with gusto and with hardly a post-modern wink other than playing up everyone’s suspicious facets with a gleeful melodramatic flair that is usually, but not always under control.
These fluffy summer fripperies at Actors’ Playhouse must be successful because here’s a sequel Mid-Life 2: the Crisis Continues, the off-spring of 2008’s Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical. Once again, the same folks have achieved precisely what they sought: a fun, light-hearted divertissement, but the varied quality of the material is not worthy of the skill, talent, polish and unflagging commitment of the cast and crew.
Sometimes theater works even when you can’t quite explain how or why or even quite what you saw. Such is the quirky, thematically fuzzy but thoroughly entertaining new musical at Arts Garage, The Trouble With Doug. The titular trouble is the archetypical twenty-something hero is turning into a slug. Not a slacker. An actual slime-oozing, lettuce-addicted slug