Tag Archives: David Arisco
Every couple of years, Actors’ Playhouse – home of the mainstream musical –mounts an edgy modern work that nourishes the creative soul of the theater’s more adventurous patrons like next to normal and Floyd Collins. Add to that list the cult rock opera Murder Ballad that mixes love, lust, loss, passion, fury, pain and violence in a fatal triangle as old as Mankind but as current as last week’s tabloid.
Some patrons might be a tad uncomfortable at Murder Ballad at Actors Playhouse. After all, a lovesick swain likely will pour his heart out while standing on a chair a few inches away from an audience member’s face. A ticket buyer may find herself within spitting distance of a sweaty couple trying to kill each other.
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.
Scott and Hem, an imagined reunion of Fitzgerald and Hemingway, is half comprised of deadly accurate insights into the angst of creative souls; the other half is just deadly dumps of name-dropping and exposition. A talented cast and director struggle to make the play at Actors Playhouse land solidly, and sometimes they succeed, but not always.
A delightfully demented cast enhanced by the inventive imagination of chief jester/director David Arisco and choreographer Ron Hutchins make Actors’ Playhouse’s Spamalot a satisfying pleasure even on its fourth or fifth visit.
End Of The Rainbow is not a Judy Garland tribute concert – it’s a dramatic play with music about her death spiral entering its final turn. Actors Playhouse’s production is shot through with witty gallows humor and compassion for a wounded soul.
Sometime after more than 400 performances, Wayne LeGette lost track of how often he had appeared in the enduring musical about relationships I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Whatever the figure was, the odometer is about to roll over this month.
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.
Everything about Ruthless! The Musical at Actors Playhouse from dripping furs to the Ethel Merman voices, everything is over the top. Way over the top. Thank goodness. Well, actually, don’t thank goodness. Ruthless is a gleefully uninhibited celebration of greed, venality, ambition and ego. In other words, show business.
Rated P For Parenthood at Actors Playhouse is a 90-minute hoot that bowed off-Broadway last year strings together almost 30 vignettes that chronologically trace the joys and absurdities of raising a child from conception to empty nesting.