Tag Archives: Stuart Meltzer
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.
The premise of Every Brilliant Thing might fool you into thinking that it’s kin to a “very special” Lifetime Movie of the Week: a boy tries to ease the pain of his suicidal mother and his own anxiety by making a list of “brilliant” things and leaving them for his mother to find. But themes hide just under the wry and warm exterior: highlighting aspects of life that can be beautiful and sustaining, as well as the damage that depression can wreak on an entire family.
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.
In Zoetic Stage’s premiere Dracula, the vampire is a sexist pig (as are several men in the play). The protagonists are strong-willed proto-feminists. Together, they embody a society struggling with re-envisioning what self-empowered women can and should be. Michael McKeever’s script as directed by Stuart Meltzer presents social commentary told with droll, wry and self-aware humor, and the retelling of the classic horror narrative.
When Elena Maria Garcia, one of the finest comediennes in the region, and Stuart Meltzer, one of the finest directors, team up to co-write Fuácata! (Or a Latina’s Guide to Surviving the Universe) at Zoetic Stage, it’s cause for celebration.
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.
Dancing Lessons is punctuated with interpersonal strife, frustration, heartache and some very funny moments. But mostly Zoetic Stage’s production is a warm quiet sustained smile for a warm quiet early spring night.
They are unlike any trials you have ever seen on Law & Order. Zoetic Stage’s world premiere of Christopher Demos-Brown’s Wrongful Death And Other Circus Acts is a hilarious but merciless satire on the civil legal profession by, indeed, setting the evening in and as a highly stylized circus.
Christopher Demos-Brown has a world premiere Friday of Wrongful Death And Other Circus Acts at Zoetic Stage, but his play American Son is slated to open on Broadway in November.
One pleasure of a theater critic’s job are these year-end retrospectives that require looking back at reviews and be reminded, “Oh, yeah, that was really great. And right, there was that. And how could I forget that one?”