Tag Archives: Eric Alsford
Sometimes all you want out of an evening of theater is not Lear or Seurat. But just fun. Escapist laughter-laden fun. Dovetailing with the re-opening of the Maltz Jupiter Theatre, the daffy musical Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a welcome distraction from headlines and deadlines.
Jason Robert Brown’s brilliantly insightful and emotionally powerful Songs for a New World lets you know you’re not going crazy all alone in Slow Burn Theatre’s season opener that would be a triumph even if it didn’t signify a full-throated celebratory return of regional theater.
MNM Theatre Company’s filmed cyber-distributed pandemic production of Closer Than Ever needs no excuses, no politely lowered expectations. Just as it would if produced live in an intimate venue, this effort mesmerizes and moves with the emotional power of performers acting this song cycle rather than performing them as if they were in a cabaret setting.
It’s not lost on anyone as these Florida actors sing ardent songs to each other — separated by six feet of stage — that the musical they are filming is titled Closer Than Ever. It’s impossible to ignore that resonance in MNM Theatre Company’s production currently being edited for online streaming release Nov. 27-Dec. 31.
With exploratory baby steps, South Florida theater companies are staging events: A cut-down Hamlet by the Shakespeare Troupe, a filmed full production of Closer Than Ever by MNM, and Patti LuPone in a livestreamed concert for the Broward Center.
Six months into the pandemic, theater artists are struggling with a profoundly damaging dimension particular to their purgatory-like limbo: The calling that gives their lives meaning requires interaction with other people in the same room. Late this summer, 33 South Florida storytellers agreed to draw back the curtain on their backstage battles that form the spine of an all too real three-act drama.
In 2019, if you want some idea what the original production of Crazy For You was like, or what those Depression Era musicals were like, live and in the flesh, settle in for The Wick Theatre’s glorious revival.
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.
This may seem a backhanded compliment, but it is meant with awe : The most memorable aspect of The Wick Theatre’s The Pirates of Penzance is you can understand the bloody words. The production has many other virtues: delightfully broad comedy a parade of costumes that are a hoot in themselves, first-rate soloists and an overwhelming choir-smooth ensemble.
The stirring musical Fun Home is a detective story in which the mystery is never solved, but the investigator comes to terms with the existence of the enigma. What Zoetic Stage’s triumphant production does better than the Tony-winning production is its depiction of the unalloyed joy and bottomless agony of discovery in that journey.