Tag Archives: Jeni Hacker
Savor an unqualified success with playwright-actor Ronnie Larsen’s The Actors. Copious laughs dominate a seemingly silly sit-com situation, but they recede (though never disappear) as the human angst underneath keeps poking toward the surface until it becomes the reason for the evening.
Some of the most skilled theater artists in the region deliver a gloriously funny and moving celebration of the work of the finest musical theater genius of the 20th and 21st Century in Zoetic Stage’s do-not-miss-this production of Side by Side by Sondheim with more emotional depth and directorial touches than in any of the many other revues.
As live arts and entertainment return in fits and starts, and our culture continues its tortoise crawl toward normal, one thing has become apparent: Face masks may be vital in impeding the spread of COVID-19, but they equally hamper the spread of comedy. The debut of Zoetic Schmoetic showed the more physical the show becomes—the more the actors’ bodies, not their voices, drive the storytelling—the better it gets.
The 44th Carbonell Awards celebration was unique, not simply because it was online, but because of its acknowledgement of the diversity of the theater community. Honoring excellence for 2019, the awards, which have been quietly accused of not reflecting diversity, pointedly went out of its way to be inclusive in its annual celebration.
As we get older, the reality of loss becomes an inescapable fact of life. How we deal with that is the core of Stephen Brown’s Everything is Super Great at Theatre Lab (subtitled “a comedy about what’s missing”). Brown’s look at four troubled lonely people struggling to cope is quietly mordantly funny, but the humor is infused into underlying poignancy and compassion.
Crucial to know about Grindr Mom is that while the heroine is a middle-class pearl-wearing politically conservative Mormon who volunteers once a week at the local school, “The Wife” as she is called in Ronnie Larsen’s script is decidedly engaging, likable and genuinely charming — certainly not a monstrous homophobic bigot.
One definition of classic theater is a piece that not only remains popular or relevant through time, but which can be endlessly reinterpreted or restaged without losing any of its brilliance, Shakespeare’s work being the most obvious example. Zoetic Stage’s latest entry working its way through the Stephen Sondheim canon underscores how Sweeney Todd qualifies.
Usually, Zoetic Stage’s director Stuart Meltzer’s deft work is almost invisible to audience members other than bringing a fresh vision to familiar titles. But his masterful work in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time is so clearly displayed that his reinvention becomes the “star” of the production.
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.
What the musical Once illustrates on the stage of Actors Playhouse is the unparalleled power of song to capture and then share the pure pain and pleasure of love.