Reviews

Area Stage’s Inventive Rethink Of Annie Is Fresh and Engaging

Young, visionary director Giancarlo Rodaz’s winning approach in Area Stage Company’s current unorthodox, yet triumphant production of the classic musical Annie features eight adult actors playing all roles in a stripped down environment in the round.

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Slavery & Mythos of the West Haunt M Ensemble’s Cowboy

M Ensemble’s production of Layon Gray’s Cowboy is everything audiences expect of a rousing western, but it’s also an inherent indictment. It is not of little significance that the play is presented with entirely Black actors in a genre that has only recently begun to welcome melanin in its ensembles.

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Bright Colors Is Manic Tour de Force for Island City Stage

Drew Droege’s Bright Colors and Bold Patterns deftly avoids common tropes of the solo show in its compulsively watchable regional premiere at Island City Stage, a fringe festival-style tour de force for actor Thomas Mark.

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JCAT’s A Class Act Is Pretty Black & White Day In Court

The line in the legal play A Class Act, ““For the right money, I’d settle with Hitler,” stands out as much as it does because the virtuous play and JCAT’s heavy-handed production are otherwise absent this moral slipperiness, favoring a reductive arc of cardboard villains earning their comeuppance.

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Island City Stage Dives Deep Into Current Racial Divide

In an exceedingly timely appearance, Island City Stage mounts a scathing production mirroring current tumult about race in America — a taut, intense, drama The Niceties.

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Ich Bin Ein Berliner Links Fall of Berlin Wall, Oppression in Cuba

Theatre Lab invests its growing expertise in multi-media theater performance in Vanessa Garcia’s premiere of Ich Bin Ein Berliner, a heartfelt memoir of a Cuban-American girl who grows up perceiving a growing, resonance between Berlin escaping Communism when the Wall fell in 1989 and the unrealized-as-yet dream of Cuba escaping Communism.

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A Vibrant Emily Dickinson Soars in Video of Live Performance

A superb evocation of the soul of Emily Dickinson from actress Margery Lowe and director William Hayes marks the video co-production from Palm Beach Dramaworks and Actors’ Playhouse of The Belle of Amherst, filmed from live performances.

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Faced With Pandemic, Zoetic’s Improv Troupe Soldiers On

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.

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Book Review: Stoppard Bio Is As Complex As The Man Himself

Most biographies factually mirror the life and times of their subject in a chronological narrative. But few mirror the complexity and structure of the subject’s own work with the stunning faithfulness of Hermione Lee’s exhaustive and exhausting epic examination of one of the greatest playwrights in English or any other language, Tom Stoppard: A Life.

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Island City’s “Compensation” Pregnant With Potential

Every emotion associated with pregnancy and pending parenthood is present in the 95 minutes of Hannah Manikowski’s smart and promising play Compensation. In fact, most of them appear on the playbill cover photo for Island City Stage’s world-premiere production, an image that encapsulates the disconnected expectations that propel the drama.

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