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Photo Flash: Meet the Cast of DJC Productions' RUTHLESS

Sun, 22 Apr 2018 13:11:29 PST

Eight-year-old Tina Denmark knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking, and she'll do anything to win the part in her school musical. Her mother, fellow students, and the rest of the world had better watch out because nothing will stop her quest for stardom! Cunningly spoofing classic musicals and campy films from Gypsy to The Bad Seed, the aggressively outrageous and absolutely hysterical musical garnered rave reviews during its long Off-Broadway run.

RUTHLESS! The Musical is produced by DJC Productions, a company working to bring new and previously unproduced theater to the greater Sarasota area, foster an environment for artists to showcase local talent, create quality intimate theater, and enrich our community. DJC Productions is thrilled to debut RUTHLESS! The Musical in the Sarasota area.

The production is directed and choreographed by Dennis Clark with musical direction by Michelle Kasanofsky and stage management by Diane Cepeda. Asia Dekle and Keity Cairo star as June and Tina Denmark, respectively, with Berry Ayers as Sylvia St. Croix. Rounding out the cast is Sunny Smith (Miss Thorn), Lacey Knispel (Eve), Sarah Haun (Lita Encore), and Natalie Taylor (Louise Lerman).

RUTHLESS! The Musical runs Thursday, April 26ththrough Sunday, May 6that The Starlight Room (located at 1001 Cocoanut Ave. Sarasota, Fl 34236), with $20 general admission tickets and special VIP tickets costing $35. Reservations and more information can be found at

Kaity Cairo as Tina Denmark
Asia Dekle as Judy Denmark, Berry Ayers as Sylvia St. Croix,
Kaity Cairo as Tina Denmark
Berry Ayers as Sylvia St. Croix
Asia Dekle as Judy Denmark


BWW Interview: Maggie Lakis and Rob McClure on Married Life On and Off Stage with SOMETHING ROTTEN

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 11:00:49 PST


No matter how much you love your significant other, chances are that eventually you are going to need some time apart. However, for real-life married couple Maggie Lakis and Rob McClure, that's not so easy.

That's because Maggie and Rob play the fictional married couple Bea and Nick Bottom in the first national tour of the hit musical SOMETHING ROTTEN, which comes to Orlando's Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts from April 24-29.

The hilariously talented couple has not only been together for approaching 13 years, but they've been working together fairly regularly for 13 years as well. SOMETHING ROTTEN is the fifth show, and national second tour, that they have been on together.

With the tour coming to a close next month, on this episode of BroadwayRadio's "Tell Me More," Maggie and Rob not only discuss SOMETHING ROTTEN, but also what life is like on the road for a married couple, how their years of playing opposite each other have mirrored their own maturation, and much, much more.

Listen to the episode here:

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To listen to BroadwayRadio's conversation with SOMETHING ROTTEN's Autumn Hurlbert-- who plays Portia-- about the company's trip to THE PRICE IS RIGHT, click here.

To purchase tickets to the show's run in Orlando, visit the Dr. Phillips Center's website or call 844-513-2014.

You can subscribe to the BroadwayRadio Network on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you get podcasts, or you can listen to all of their episodes on

Banner Image: Maggie Lakis and Rob McClure. Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniel


Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 4/20 - BRIGHT STAR, ALADDIN, THE MUSIC MAN and More!

Fri, 20 Apr 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature BRIGHT STAR, ALADDIN, THE MUSIC MAN and More! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Los Angeles: Contributor Michael Quintos reviews FLYING SOLO. He writes "To reiterate the show's intimacy, Gunn is only joined on stage by his unassuming (but hard-working) musical director/pianist Michael Bagby, who pretty much stays behind the piano hidden in the shadows for the show's entirety. By contrast, Gunn moves about on stage throughout, taking on several other roles besides playing himself, as he reaches for props, costume accessories, and other minimal stage props from behind the antique chair that is a replica of the one that used to be owned by his father." Salt Lake City: Contributor Tyler Hinton reviews THE MUSIC MAN at the Hale Centre. He writes "Chris Brown as Mrs. Paroo (double cast with JaNae Gibbs Cottam), Christian Johnston as Marcellus Washburn (double cast with Matt Baxter), Allan DeWitt as Tommy Djilas (double cast with Cory Reed Stephens), Zac Zumbrunnen as Mayor Shinn (double cast with Brandon Suisse), and Shawnda Moss as Eulalie Shinn (double cast with Sharon Lynn Kenison) are also memorable in their parts." Denver: Contributor Chris Arneson reviews The Arvada's SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. He writes "To produce a solid production of Sunday in the Park with George, it takes a theatre company that can successfully create the ambiance of Seurat's work using suitable tech. Few have the opulence of the Arvada Center, which may explain why this show is done less frequently. Directed by Rod. A. Lansberry, the production plays with an unpretentious sophistication, focusing on the characters but not overlooking the art of it all. Not only is the scenic design (by Brian Mallgrave) meticulously crafted, costumes by Claire Henkel emulate Seurat's work exquisitely, along with a delectable touch of mid-'80s fashion." Brisbane: Contributor Virag Dombay reviews AMERICAN IDIOT at QPAC. She writes "Once you've seen the show, it is clear to see as why the musical is a two-time Tony winner for Best Scenic Design of Musical and Best Lighting Design of a musical. John Mcintosh's bedraggled, grimy, two-level set is representative of the way the characters see the world around them and their role in it, however, it further allows space for Craig Wilkinson's video design to splash the walls with graffiti, live footage of the characters and newsreels of various political figures, such as the current American president. Mathew Marshall's lighting design compliments Lucas Newland's dynamic ensemble choreography (the only colour in the black and white world) through not only bringing light to nooks and crannies of the set in which the characters abide, but involves the audience in the narrative through quite frequently, leaving them in the light or, having the colourful lights circle around them, as if they were trapped in the same tale.My favourite lighting elements were the graffiti of the dates and handful of words from Johnny's diary entries splattered over the backdrop and the constant flashes of the television screen; the media becoming an eye surveilling each character's movements and relationships. Melaine Knight's costuming is the perfect punk-rock blend, with each character wearing clothing of a divergent design but of the same colour palette (with the exception of St Jimmy's bedazzled suite), additionally signifying how they are all the same, in their city of the damned." Denver: Contributor Chris Arneson reviews ALADDIN at the Denver Center. He writes "A few new songs are featured in the production. Some, like "Proud of Your Boy" and "High Adven[...]


Thu, 19 Apr 2018 13:25:11 PST

Photo by Dahlia Katz Almost every woman owns a little black dress. It may be dust-laden, buried in the back of the closet, and seldom worn, but even if you don't own one, the name itself evokes a certain meaning. This simple piece of ebony fabric symbolizes a reason to get dressed up, a glass of wine or two, a night to escape and shed the role of homemaker, professional woman, wife and/or mother, and catch up and make some fun new memories with your girlfriends. Tampa owes the collapse of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA) in the early 2000s to advent of the Little Black Dress - not the one that you wear, but the traveling musical event that hits Jaeb Theatre at The Straz Center stage on April 27 & 28. If it weren't for the close of the WUSA, Danielle Trzcinski, producer, actress and co-creator of The Little Black Dress might have led an illustrious life as a soccer legend and she would have never looked into an acting career that serendipitously led her to writing a fearless, funny musical like Non-Equity the Musical! and now Little Black Dress. She said, tongue firmly planted in cheek. "I thought when WUSA folded, 'I can't be in something unsteady,' so I became an actress." Always the sportier of her two sisters, this Tampa native, Tampa Catholic graduate had no idea when as a high school junior she auditioned for Masque Theatre's Annie Get Your Gun and won the lead, her life was going to take a very different path. "I loved it. I told my parents I wanted to go to college for acting and they were like 'what?'." Danielle graduated from Florida State University and AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts in New York City. At AMDA, she stopped in to an extracurricular composition writing class to see what it was, staying in the back of the classroom to audit. All participants had instruments with them and songs prepared. Danielle did not. "I was in the back and the teacher said 'hey girl in the back, what do you have?'" When she explained that she was only there to watch the class, professor Peter Susser asked her to come front and center and challenged her to make up a song in front of her peers on the spot. Danielle performed a funny song and he suggested she come back. After months in the class, through professor Susser's encouragement Danielle applied to become part of BMI, a prestigious musical theatre writing program equivalent to Julliard for music. His belief in her talent changed her life. She was accepted. "Every major musical theatre writing team has come out of this program," Danielle rattled off a list of names that were the Who's Who of Broadway. "BMI was the turning point for me. I realized that I was good at this and had something unique that I brought to the program and to writing. I'm a female - which there are not a lot of female musical theatre writers - and I write funny stuff, which a lot of people don't." After the conclusion of the two-year program, Danielle auditioned to be in the advanced program by writing a 20-minute musical. Though a highly competitive program with a lifetime membership, Danielle applied and was accepted. "I met Natalie Tanenbaum, who wrote the music for Little Black Dress through this program. She's an amazing composer. BMI gives out an award a year and she won both of them." Danielle didn't wait for her big acting break; she created it. As an actress, she jokingly called herself the "almost girl." She'd audition for large shows, get selected into the top two, but never got booked. Instead of giving up, Danielle decided to write and star in her own show. "I was tired of waiting. That's when I wrote Non-Equity the Musical! I didn't even know what producing was. I just wanted to write and act in something funny that had a lot of heart. It sold out and we were voted top 10 shows at the Fringe Festival,&[...]

ARTS46/4 Continues In May With Dance Featuring Helen Hansen French

Thu, 19 Apr 2018 11:50:11 PST

First Unity continues the launch of ARTS46/4 with the second of five special events: MOVEMENTS OF MOTHERHOOD, a Mother's Day afternoon of dance, with dessert provided by Village Inn, happening Sunday, May 13th at 1:30pm. MOVEMENTS OF MOTHERHOOD begins with a screening of Helen Hansen French's dance film, Within the Bounding Line, which was made possible in part from a grant from Creative Pinellas, and features poetry by Maureen McDole, and original music by Elizabeth A. Baker. Within the Bounding Line is a cinematic exploration of the experience of being an artist and mother, which Helen began while pregnant with her second son, and completed after his birth. Then Helen performs live, alongside Rogue Dance member Jessica Ruddock, in "Songs Without Words," a multi-disciplinary experience originally presented at the Museum of Fine Arts in conjunction with Story Days. While photography is projected, Frank Wells improvises music on piano based on the images, and Helen and Jessica improvise dance based on the music. Featured photographers will include Sheri Kendrick, Brett Wells, Jacob Bailes, and Charlotte Suarez. Helen Hansen French is a native of St. Petersburg who received her BFA from The Juilliard School. Upon graduation she was invited to join Buglisi Dance Theatre. In addition to BDT's annual New York City seasons she has toured nationally and internationally performing in such venues as the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, Chautauqua Dance Festival, Vail International Dance Festival, Rishon LeZion International Festival in Israel, and the Oriente Occidente Festival in Rovereto, Italy. ? Mrs. French has also been a member of Karen Reedy Dance and had the pleasure of performing with Nilas Martins' Dance Company, participating in a residency at White Oak Dance working with choreographer Adam Hougland, and performing in the Guggenheim's Works/Process program with Brian Reeder and Pam Tanowitz. She has been awarded a 2015, 2016 and 2017 Individual Artist Grant from the City of St. Petersburg and she is also a 2016 Creative Pinellas Artist Fellow. Her work has been shown at The Peter Jay Sharp Theater, Clark Studio Theater, Kaatsbaan, Studio@620, and The Palladium, which has hosted her performance series for St. Pete, BEACON, for the past three years. She is a founding member of the St. Petersburg Dance Alliance, Frank Wells' musical career has included serving as Associate Conductor with Tampa Bay Opera, training choruses and conducting outreach programming for the Florida Orchestra and Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center (Straz Center), and as Music Director of the Tampa Bay Concert Choir, in addition to being a composer and arranger whose works are performed nationally and internationally. These days, Frank is most often seen musically behind a piano instead of a baton, exploring cross-disciplinary collaborations with artists in the visual and performing arts, especially in long-form improvisational pieces that weave performers, images, text and audiences into intricate, responsive, spiritually-present musical tapestries. This event will be held in the First Unity sanctuary space, which recently removed its pews in favor of chairs that allow for flexible seating configurations. For more about ARTS46/4, visit ABOUT FIRST UNITY SPIRITUAL CAMPUS First Unity Spiritual Campus is a spiritual community who welcomes all, committed to teaching a positive, practical, and progressive approach to spirituality. The St. Petersburg Campus features a sanctuary which also serves as a performance venue, spiritual education classrooms, chapel, meditation garden, gallery and visual art center, bookstore, coffee shop, and is home to Spice Routes restaurant. In addition to weekly Sunday and Wednesday services, First Unity Spiritual Campus continually offers support groups and a variety of events, activities, and classes. This thriving communit[...]


Tue, 17 Apr 2018 17:01:10 PST

Photo by Patel Conservatory, The Straz Center Today, more than ever, the arts are being stripped away. That is why places like Patel Conservatory are so very important to immerse your child in theatre, music and dance so he can experience firsthand the magic that comes from putting on a live production. Over 50 young Patel Conservatory actors, third through eighth grade, and three high school mentors have been rehearsing since February three times a week and two Saturdays to bring to their production of Peter Pan, Jr. to stage at TECO Theatre at The Straz Center on April 26-29. Nearly sold-out, under the masterful direction of Matthew Belopavlovich, an instructor at the Patel for six years, Peter Pan, Jr. offers the cream of the crop of talent for this production. Over 92 auditioned and Patel selected the students that had the "wow factor." One such student is 14-year-old Lindsey Davis who plays the beloved role of Peter Pan. Lindsey discovered Patel two years ago from an ad in a newspaper where she joined the mini theatre camp and "never left." She described her Patel summer camp experience: "They are really professional and scheduled, which made me feel like I was in good hands. The level of professionalism and efficiency was incredible, and the quality of shows that they turn out are amazing for the amount of time period. It's a good amount of working hard and relaxing. It's a fun balance." She said her role as Peter Pan was an incredible experience. "It's one of the most fun roles I've ever gotten to play because the community is great and Peter Pan is such a fun and iconic character," she said. "His personality and characteristics make him such an interesting role to play. There are so many levels to the character that you really get to discover throughout the process." Her favorite songs alternate between "I Won't Grow Up" because it is a classic and "I'm Flying" because the show uses a lot of dancing and specialized movement. "I want the audience to take away that although this is a kid's production, it's a professional production. Kids can do as much as adults, which is kind of the spirit of Peter Pan. You don't have to grow up. You can still be a kid and put on a good show." On the opposite side of the pendulum is 12-year-old Erica Turner as the villainous Captain Hook. She hopes to pursue theatre as a career. She was introduced to Patel Conservatory by an elementary school teacher when she discovered her middle school did not offer an acting program. She's since participated in nearly every show in which her youth group was involved. "I love it here at Patel. They are so accepting and loving. We all bond with each other. When you're at school, you can go up to somebody and they're into sports. At Patel, in our cast, everybody loves to sing, dance, and act. It's our passion and it really bonds us together." Erica said it was initially difficult to play the notorious villain because Captain Hook acted completely different than how she would naturally want to be. "It's so much fun! I love the challenge," she said. "This role has pushed me to do things I never thought I could do and I'm very grateful for that. I want the audience to feel what I think the theme is - there is hope. Though growing up isn't all fun and games, it isn't that bad either. I hope after seeing the show that everyone feels a little more in touch with their old childhood." This summer Patel will be auditioning talented performers for three major productions - Wizard of Oz for third through eighth grade students, Hello Dolly for ninth grade through college, and for seventh grade through college, Showstoppers Broadway Intensive. The cast of Showstoppers also performs at Walt Disney World and Universal Studios Resorts. [...]


Fri, 13 Apr 2018 09:16:21 PST

"Brilliant" is a word both director Nancy Sears and choreographer Jarrett W. Koski use to describe the comedy musical Legally Blonde, that New Tampa Players is opening Saturday, April 14 at University Area CDC. Chelsie Camaro Smith stars as the bubbly pink-clad UCLA sorority girl Elle, who with her beloved dog Bruiser (Zoe) follows her career-obsessed ex-boyfriend Warner (Brad Roberts) to Harvard Law School in hopes of being considered more "serious" to win him back. "In telling this story in our current time, I have put a lot of thought into the perception of the male characters and the roles they each play in Elle's story. It would be easy to empower Elle by displaying most of the male roles as wicked villains. Through character study and careful work with the actors, we were mindful of the fact that there are both male and female characters in the story that are victims of cultural and social expectations," said Nancy. "There are some interesting and subtle choices throughout the production to showcase empathy for all of the characters that really believe they are doing the right thing based on how they were brought up and what they have been taught; particularly Elle's first love interest, Warner. I credit the writers for allowing room for that-- making the piece relevant to our current social awareness and constant need for change and growth in order to be the best we can be." Elle studies hard and successfully enters the prestigious school and course alongside Warner. Though she struggles, she learns to find her footing both academically and socially, all the while validating her ability. Finding a friendship with Paulette (Kristy Noel Carlson), Elle slowly begins to realize her calling as a trainee lawyer. "To be Elle is such an honor because there's a little bit of Elle in every single girl and you get to bring that out and go through her story," said Chelsie. Production managed by Nora Paine, assisted by Joshua Eberhart, and under the musical direction of G. Frank Meekins, the cast of 39 features Chelsie, Brad, Kristy, James Faurote, Tim Curran, Melissa Doell, Darrah Barsness, Hillary Lusignan, Emily Shumaker, Lexi Balestrieri, Zoe Donofrio, Piper Allen, Reagan Farmer, Melissa Ordeneaux, Britny Cuilty, Anna Morris, Israel Rivera, Nikki Yuse, Alexander Alfonso, Erik Schepman, Tara Duffy, Melissa Ordeneaux, Raymond Brady Lay, Kelly Nowicki, Gillian Isibue, Amanda Solberg, Alexander Graulau, Alexis Jones, Erica Speranza, Christopher Gorman, Taylor Hendershot, Diana Diaz, Kay Brown, Diana Paty, Olivia Pfister, Aisheeda Benjamin, Melissa Vinnedge, Caleb James King and Michael Schreiner. "This show is for anyone who wants to be entertained. The music is fun with very strong lyrics. This talented cast really works hard to tell the story," said Jarrett. "This entire cast has been wonderful going on this magical journey to tell Elle's story. Each actor brings their own unique spin on their specific character. The energy of this cast is brilliant. As an ensemble cast, they will amaze the audience." The message is simple. "There are many wonderful people that can help us and guide us along the way. There are also just as many there to distract us," said Nancy. "Ultimately, it is up to you to find your own way." Legally Blonde may not be for the littler ones as it is rated similar to the movie, but for a mature audience, this is a guaranteed to be an energetic fun show that will make you a fan of the color pink. Legally Blonde runs April 14-22 at University Area CDC, 14013 N. 22nd St. For the deaf community, Saturday's 2pm performance will be interpreted by Sota Interpreting. Tickets are $23 student/senior/military, $25 adult and for the Harvard VIP Experience Package $50, available at[...]

Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 4/12 - LOVE NEVER DIES, FINDING NEVERLAND, FUN HOME, and More!

Fri, 13 Apr 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature LOVE NEVER DIES, FINDING NEVERLAND, FUN HOME, and More! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! San Francisco: Contributor Linda Hodges reviews The Bridges of Madison County at TheatreWorks. She writes "Director Robert Kelley lovingly navigates Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Marsha Norman's script by slowly simmering the attraction between Francesca and Robert. Kelley sprinkles in small moments of laughter and cameos of country life, all the while leading us inexorably to the moment when Francesca and Robert cross over the line and into each other's arms, drinking in a love that they didn't know they were BWW Review: TheatreWorks Brings the Passion of THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY to the Stage and Into Your Heart even thirsty for." Santa Barbra: Contributor Anna Jensen reviews AMERICAN IDIOT at Center Stage Theater. She writes "Out of the Box's concept for the production foregrounds this particularly American malaise, the dissatisfying circumscription of the self, bound by the parameters of commodity culture. The show's scenic design supports the theme of the individual defined as product, brand, social media alter-ego. To illustrate, a large screen hangs over the stage space on the upstage wall, continuously streaming a montage of text and imagery gleaned from commercials, news, and social media. Out of the Box regularly employs Center Stage's upstage back wall to great effect, expanding the visual perception of the intimate theatre's stage space. In this production, the upstage screen's imagery and text (designed with virtuosity by Timothy Reese) exists in precisely timed dialogue and sometimes counterpoint, with the action on stage." Sacramento: Contributor Courtney Symes reviews FINDING NEVERLAND at California Music Theatre. She writes "Ray makes Barrie inherently likable. He is whimsical, not immature. Creative, not childlike. In awe of the world around him, not naive. His strong vocal background comes through in numbers such as "My Imagination," "Neverland," and "When Your Feet Don't Touch the Ground." Creative projections and scenic design by Scott Pask and a jewel-toned lighting theme by Kenneth Posner (both of Pippin) enhance the feeling of fantasy and make for some truly awe-inspiring scenes. "Hook" is not to be missed and, in a stronger second act, what may be sad is mitigated by the pure magic of the special effects." Jacksonville: Contributor Jordan Higginbotham reviews BEAUTIFUL at the Times Union Theater. She writes "The stage design of Beautiful was incredible. From the moment the show starts, the audience was mesmerized by "So Far Away". Carole, while sitting on her piano, is rolled away and the set is completely changed in a matter of seconds. Throughout the show, the audience is in awe of the ever-changing set, where one minute we viewed Carole and Gerry's office, and the next the piano and desks are switched to Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil's office just on the other side of an invisible wall. One of the most incredible set changes was the change between Barry and Cynthia's office to the bright lights of Broadway in "On Broadway". The lights, the set, the performance truly captured Broadway at this time and was magnificent." Salt Lake City: Contributor Blair Howell reviews FUN HOME. He writes "As adult Alison's lover, Mary-Helen Pitman is correctly unshowy. The penultimate scene of Kennington's "Telephone Wire" that leads into "Edges[...]

BWW Previews: COMEDIC FARCE THE FOREIGNER COMING TO Carrollwood Players Theatre

Mon, 09 Apr 2018 12:14:25 PST

Photo by Beth Behner

Actor Allan T. Anderson describes the farce coming to Carrollwood Players Theatre April 13 through May 5 as "comedic, absurd, and high energy."

Larry Shue's 1985 play The Foreigner, directed by Miguel E. Rodriguez, features Hippie Griswold as Charlie Baker, a British proofreader who is painfully shy and dealing with depression over his wife's illness. Charlie's friend, English explosives expert Staff Sergeant "Froggy" LeSueur (Constantine Kyriakou) takes him for a mini-vacation to a fishing lodge in rural Tilghman County, Georgia.

At the lodge, Charlie's social phobia causes him to remain silent when people try to talk to him. Froggy claims Charlie is a "foreigner" and does not understand their customs or language.

The lodge's residents believe the subterfuge and hold sensitive, private discussions in Charlie's presence. During the course of the comedy, Charlie overhear various secrets, scandals and schemes and learns to use his wits to change from socially phobic to "saving the day."

"People are going to love Charlie because he is so relate-able about his worries about life and what others think of him," said Hippie. "I came into this show late, but I couldn't be happier to be a part of it. I'm working with people I've worked with before, and some I'm just meeting now. The hard work and effort being put in is astounding. Everyone wants this to be an astounding show, and I know it will be."

The Foreigner cast also features Allan as Ellard Simms, Michael C de Baca as Owen Musser, Ann K. Lehman as Betty Meeks, Elsie Michelle Mendez as Catherine Simms, and Bo Smith as David Lee.

Miguel said the show message is very relevant today.

"Nobody's like anybody. We are not defined by how we speak or by the color of our skin, but by how we relate to and communicate with one another."

The Foreigner is at Carrollwood Players Theatre, 4333 Gunn Hwy., Tampa April 13-May 5. Learn more at Performances are Friday and Saturday 8pm and Sunday 3pm. Tickets are available at


Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 4/6 - THE COLOR PURPLE, WAITRESS, WICKED and More!

Fri, 06 Apr 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature THE COLOR PURPLE, WAITRESS, WICKED and more! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Cincinnati: Contributor Abby Rowold reviews SOONER/LATER at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. She writes "As usual, the Playhouse delivered on the technical side. The costuming by Teresa Squire humorously displayed Nora's fashion impediments and the set design by Narelle Sissons was simple and tasteful. It evoked the various locations of the play while conforming to the dimensions of the cozy space, managing to fit a stylish coffee shop, a boudoir filled with baskets, shelves, and racks of clothing, and a widow's walk looking over the sea under a starry sky without the stage seeming cluttered." Delaware: Contributor Greer Firestone reviews DIRTY DANCING at The Playhouse. He writes "The leads could dance, case closed on that. And there was some steam arising from the bedroom scenes. Aaron Patrick Craven (Johnny Castle), Kaleigh Courts (Baby) and Anais Blake (Penny) come from strong ballet upbringings. Craven's lines were beautiful, intensified by his height. He worked seamlessly - and should I say courageously - in his lifts of Courts and Blake. His tough guy vibe and attitude got a bit old and my guest lamented that he did not smile until the last 4 minutes of Act II." Raleigh: Contributor Lauren Van Hemert reviews THE COLOR PURPLE at the Durham Performing Arts Center. She writes "Five members of the original Broadway cast lead the national tour, including Adrianna Hicks (Celie), Carla R\. Stewart (Shug Avery), and Carrie Compere, who reprises her role of Sofia. Compere commands the stage with her unapologetic portrayal of Sofia and brings down the house with her rendition of Hell No! and rollicking romp through Any Little Thing with fellow Color Purple Broadway Alum J\. Daughtry (Harpo)." Buffalo: Contributor Michael Rabice reviews SCHOOL OF ROCK at Shea's Buffalo. He writes "The star of this production is the large ensemble of children. A prerecorded announcement from Andrew Lloyd Webber himself informs the audience that yes indeed, each child does play their own instruments on stage. These kids are all super multi-talented and have such infectious energy that you can't help but root for them. But their chance of winning a band competition may be spoiled when their parents overtake the school for parent conferences and their teacher is exposed as a fraud. Here the poignancy of the story allows each child's inner story to be exposed to their tough as nails parents by Dewey." Dallas: Contributor Kyle Christopher West reviews WAITRESS at Music Hall at Fair Park. He writes "Three talented leading ladies take on the bulk of the baking: Leanne Kingaman as quirky-but-cute Dawn; Charity Angél Dawson as the steadfast and sassy (and high belting) Becky; and Desi Oakley as down-on-her luck and damaged Jenna, who attacks the world with a tough-as-nails approach until a change in her routine gives her a fresh look at life. Oakley's performance takes a bit to warm up to, but once she soars on her emotional eleven o'clock ballad, "She Used to be Mine," we're there to hold her hand through the final curtain. Bryan Fenkart (Dr. Pomatter), Nick Bailey (Earl), and Ryan G. Duncan (Cal) prove perfect scene partners for the night, but it's Jeremy Morse (Ogie) who is hands-down the audience favorite. And, just in case there weren't already enough sweet treats on stage, four-year-old Eliza Chabot of Farmers [...]

Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 3/30 - PRETTY WOMAN, LES MIS, BOOK OF MORMON, and More!

Fri, 30 Mar 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature PRETTY WOMAN, LES MIS, BOOK OF MORMON, and More! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Chicago: Contributor Misha Davenport reviews PRETTY WOMAN. He writes "The fault does not lie with the casting. Samantha Barks (Éponine in the film version of "Les Miserables") is making her Broadway debut as Vivian Ward, the hooker with the heart of gold played in the film by Julia Roberts. She is radiant and likeable in the role and can belt out the score with an emotional intensity. This could be her breakout Broadway moment much like the film was for Roberts' career." Milwaukee: Contributor Kelsey Lawler reviews LES MIS at the Marcus Center. She writes "The women of the revolution - a grown-up Cosette and Eponine, played by Jillian Butler and Emily Bautista, respectively - are each incredibly strong. With one a sweet soprano and the other a sky-high belter, these parts can sometimes play out as shrill or try-hard. Butler and Bautista consistently strike the perfect chord." Seattle: Contributor Jay Irwin reviews THE GREAT LEAP at Seattle Rep. He writes "Director Eric Ting does a fantastic job of switching between the time periods and locales and keeping the action moving with never a wasted moment. Yes, it's literally writ large on the stage but the tone shifts are palpable as well with each moment building beautifully on the last until they all come to a head in an incredibly fast paced game of words. And kudos to Christopher Kuhl for his lighting and Shawn Duan for his projections which aid in that tension build immensely." Long Island: Contributors Anthony Hazzard and Scott Stolzenberg review MAMMA MIA! At the Smithtown Center. They write "Finally, Sophie's groom to be is just sensational. The great Niko Touros is absolutely fabulous as Sky! As much as we support Sophie's self-searching and Donna's breakdown, we are on team Sky the whole way and certainly don't want his warm heart to be broken. Mr. Touros is a triple threat who deserves every ovation coming to him as he flies and glides through every lavish song and dance number with the widest of smiles." Central PA: Contributor Marakay Rogers reviews THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES at Servant Stage. She writes "The songs, though predictible, are enjoyable. The Fifties set, in the first act, is the wholesome, non-controversial popular music of teen love ("Lollipop," "Mr. Sandman") and teen loss ("Lipstick on Your Collar"). The Sixties, though, are more mature and more rebellious, and so are the Wonderettes ("You Don't Own Me," "Son of a Preacher Man," "Leader of the Pack," "Respect"). Because of that, and because of the plot, as they say, having thickened over ten years, the second act is more energetic and more edgy, but that's a deliberate construction in the plot." Louisville: Contributor Annette Skaggs reviews YOU ACROSS FROM ME at Actors Theatre of Louisville. She writes "Ms. Guha's Mother's Blessings was perhaps the least entertaining of the evening. While the actors did well in grasping what is considered an Amish tongue and dialect, there were those among the troupe that swallowed their lines, which is quite unfortunate as the storyline was extremely hard to follow when one could not understand even half of the dialogue." Los Angeles: Contributor Michael Quintos reviews THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Segerstrom Center.[...]

Casts and Directors Announced For Theatre Odyssey's 2018 Ten-Minute Play Festival

Wed, 28 Mar 2018 08:57:47 PST


Theatre Odyssey announced the casts and directors for the thirteenth annual Ten-Minute Play Festival being held May 3-6 at the Cook Theatre (Asolo/FSU Center for the Performing Arts). For tickets, click here.

The 2018 plays are:
A Love Story by Dan Higgs
Directed by Carole Kleinberg
Pete: Neil Levine
Gene: Don Walker
Young Jean: Tahlia Chinault
Young Gene: Shawn Cacciola
Jean: Jenny Aldrich Walker

Bob's by Fredric Sirasky
Directed by Ren Pearson
Letty: Andrea Dovner
Bob: Chuck Conlon

Cliché by Keith Whalen
Directed by Brendan Ragan
HE: Harry Lipstein
SHE: Andrea Dovner
COP : Ashkey Strand

Death of Honor by Bernard Yanelli
Directed by Ren Pearson
Philip Hamilton: Shawn Cacciola
Alexander Hamilton: James Kassees
Gouverneur Morris: Tom Aposporos

Silent Letters by Cece Dwyer
Directed by Carole Kleinberg
Lila: Julee Breehne
Phil: Ashley Strand

The Card Game by Michael Bille
Directed by Brendan Ragan
Bill: Richard LeVene
Michael: Neil Levine

The Hallmark Man by Seva Anthony
Directed by Jamie Butrum
Laurie Martinsen: Tahlia Chinault
Jess Wright: Harry Lipstein
Kim Wakefield: Megan Radish

U-Turn by Frank Motz
Directed by Jamie Butrum
Frank: Philip Troyer
Joe: Dylan Jones
GPS: Lauren Ward

2018 Best Play from the Sixth Annual Student Ten-Minute Playwriting Festival Too Many Cooks by Luke Valadie
Directed by: Seva Anthony
Husband, actor: Richard LeVene
Wife, actress: Judy Glynn
Jack, producer: David Yamin
Will, director: Chuck Conlon
Stagehand: Donna DeFant


First Unity Launches ARTS46/4 with a Five Month Arts Initiative

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 19:23:49 PST

First Unity announces the launch of ARTS46/4. Named for First Unity's location on 46th Avenue and 4th Street North in St. Petersburg, ARTS46/4 is an independent-yet-integrated venue / producing partner to bridge the Arts community with First Unity Spiritual Campus. In April, ARTS46/4 will kick-off with a five month arts initiative, which includes both a dedicated Arts component in all the Sunday services, and producing a series of public special events featuring well-known members of Tampa Bay's thriving Arts community. "Art is born of inspiration, which is spiritual in nature, and through a spiritual practice, we work to master the art of being alive," says Becca McCoy, who devised ARTS46/4 on behalf of First Unity. "Art and spirituality are both integral to deepening our human experience, and ARTS46/4 is designed to allow one to augment the other. This inaugural initiative is to explore what is possible and establish ARTS46/4 as a partner for future creative collaborations in the community." From April through August, each month will highlight a different arts discipline. In April, the concentration is Literature, utilizing spoken word to enhance the Sunday services and featuring a special event on April 12th produced in conjunction with the 4th Annual SunLit Festival. May is centered around Dance, and on Mother's Day, Helen Hansen French will perform live as well as screen her dance film Within the Bounding Line. In June, a curated gallery exhibit featuring local Visual Art luminaries such as Carrie Jadus, D. YaeL Kelley, Nathan Beard, Jennifer Kosharek, and Zulu Painter will feature in the service visuals all month long and be the stars of a guided ekphrastic open to the public on June 16th. July is the month for Theatre, and each Sunday, a different local performer will appear as a special guest in the service and on July 20th, the Campus becomes the stage for an original work of immersive theatre. Finally, August celebrates Music, with an unconventional chamber music concert that incorporates elements of dining and conversation on August 24th featuring the Ibis Quartet. See below for complete event descriptions and participants. "Spirituality is art in any language," says First Unity's Spiritual Leader Reverend Temple Hayes. "The gift of connecting with the heart is the opening for art to be created. For us at First Unity, we see ARTS46/4 as the bridge connecting the heart, and mind, with all who say yes." First Unity is well-equipped to serve as an Arts venue, with a 5400 square-foot Sanctuary space whose pews are being replaced with chairs to allow for flexible seating configurations, recently upgraded theatrical sound and lighting, projection capabilities, hardwood platform and separate music stage, visual art gallery, reception areas, and ample free parking. For more about ARTS46/4, visit THE FIVE-MONTH ARTS INITIATIVE: PUBLIC SPECIAL EVENTS APRIL is LITERATURE Thursday, April 12th, 7-9pm - "InSights: A Convergence of Adolescence" A mixture of writers, artists, and community leaders will read excerpts of their high school writings - from poetry to homework assignments to "Dear Diary" entries - intermingled with current area high school students sharing their present-day thoughts. Foresight meets hindsight in a convergence of adolescence: what is Universal about those formative years across generations, and how have things changed in the Digital Age? Tickets: Free. Donations will be collected for the Broward Education Foundation's Stoneman Douglas Victims' Fund. Participants to include David Warner and Cathy Salustri of Creative Loafing, Mayor of Gulfport Sam Hend[...]

100 Theaters Join Playwrights in The Nationwide Ticketing Initiative

Tue, 27 Mar 2018 19:07:56 PST

Playwrights Welcome, the nationwide free ticketing initiative created by Samuel French for Dramatists Guild of America members, is thrilled to announce that over 100 theaters have joined the program. These Participating Theaters, located in 26 states, have joined Playwrights Welcome to invest in the success and artistic health of our industry writers, and by extension, the vibrancy of the American theatre. Knowing that attending theatre is an integral part to how writers learn their craft, Playwrights Welcome was created to provide free theatre access to playwrights, composers and lyricists. The program was established in 2016 with the support of the Dramatists Guild of America, as well as all major publishing and licensing houses. Playwrights Welcome offers available tickets to Dramatists Guild members and student members on the day of a performance, free of charge. These tickets are ones that would otherwise go unsold; Samuel French and all other publishers firmly believe that no theater should give away a ticket that could otherwise be sold. "With Playwrights Welcome, theatre writers can do what has previously been almost impossible due to the prohibitive cost of tickets both in New York and across the country: stay current with their craft," comments Doug Wright, president of the Dramatists Guild. "We are grateful for the community of theatre makers who are committed to fostering the craft of playwrights, composers and lyricists, the originating artists in the theatre," says Bruce Lazarus, Samuel French's Executive Director. "We encourage theaters at every level to make a commitment by joining Playwrights Welcome. Samuel French looks forward to adding the next 100 in the coming year." With Playwrights Welcome continuing to grow, Participating Theaters have also found that the program provides a positive a way to give back to their local playwrights. "The Alliance thoroughly enjoys welcoming Atlanta-based Dramatists Guild members to our productions, especially since we offer a group Playwrights Welcome night during the run of every show in our season," says Celise Kalke, ALLIANCE THEATRE Director of New Projects. "The playwrights help to build word of mouth and have become a cornerstone of our audience engagement activities. We thoroughly enjoy this partnership!" As of March 27, 2018, the Participating Theaters of Playwrights Welcome are: Actors Collaborative Toledo (Toledo, OH) ALLIANCE THEATRE (Atlanta, GA) American Repertory Theater of WNY (Buffalo, NY) American Shakespeare Center (Staunton, VA) American Stage (St. Petersburg, FL) Amphibian Stage (Fort Worth, TX) Artists Repertory Theatre (Portland, OR) Atlantic Theater (New York, NY) Axis Theatre (New York, NY) Barnstormers (Grants Pass, OR) Barrington Stage Company (Pittsfield, MA) Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Berkeley, CA) Bishop Arts Theatre Center (Dallas, TX) Boston Playwrights' Theatre (Boston, MA) Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company (Boulder, CO) Camp Death Productions (Dallas, TX) Capital Stage Company (Sacramento, CA) Center Stage (Baltimore, MD) Children's Theatre Company (Minneapolis, MN) Cleveland Public Theatre (Cleveland, OH) CoHo Productions (Portland, OR) Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (Colorado Springs, CO) Community College of Baltimore County (Baltimore, MD) Coterie Theatre (Kansas City, MO) Dallas Theater Center (Dallas, TX) Denver Theater Center (Denver, CO) Dorset Theatre Festival (Dorset, VT) The Drama Center (Greensboro, NC) Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre (Summit, NJ) Ford's Theatre (Washington, D.C.) Forward Theater Company (Madison, WI) FreeFall Stage (Folsom, CA) Geffen Playhouse (Los Angeles, CA) Goodman Theatre (Chicago, IL) Guthri[...]

Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 3/23 - PHANTOM, IN THE HEIGHTS, WAITRESS and More!

Fri, 23 Mar 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature PHANTOM, IN THE HEIGHTS, WAITRESS and More! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Orlando: Contributor McKenzie Lakey reviews WAITRESS at the Dr. Phillips Center. She writes "Center stage Oakley shines in every number she takes part in, and her chemistry with co-star and on-stage love interest Bryan Fenkart (in the role of the quirky Dr. Pomatter) is palpable. Their scenes on-stage together don't disappoint as they range from humorous to intimate and poignant. Oakley's depiction of Jenna's personal struggle with her situation is highlighted well through dramatic comparisons to Jenna's childhood and her mother's own experiences. These recollections help the audience understand the deeply intimate connection they shared through baking-all leading up to Oakley's soaring ballad of "She Used To Be Mine." Chicago: Contributor Emily McClanathan reviews AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE at The Goodman Theatre. She writes "Philip Earl Johnson shines as Thomas Stockmann, the idealistic doctor who discovers the deadly bacteria infesting the water supply of his beloved hometown. Johnson movingly portrays Stockmann's journey through a variety of stages - disillusionment when the local authorities fail to act in the interest of their constituents' health, outrage when the townspeople whom he seeks to protect label him a traitor to society, and, finally, determination to stand alone for what he believes." Long Island: Contributor Melissa Giordano reviews IN THE HEIGHTS at the Engeman. She writes "Excellently leading the cast as bodega owner Usnavi - Mr. Miranda's role from the Broadway showing - is Spiro Marcos in his Engeman début. Mr. Marcos receives roaring applause and laughs for his natural wit and first-rate renditions of "96,000" and the show's title number with the company. Also, Mr. Marcos' performance of "Hundreds Of Stories" with Tami Dahbura, portraying Abuela Claudia, the town grandmother, is truly endearing and an audience favorite." New Orleans: Contributor Tara Bennett reviews THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at the Saenger Theatre. She writes "Directed by Laurence Connor, PHANTOM still emits a sense of wonder and the macabre. The combination of talents from its cast, consisting of newcomers and Broadway vets, make for a compelling and engaging story. In the title role, Quentin Oliver Lee is overall triumphant in his sensitive interpretation of the tragic, disfigured outcast behind the mask. With a resonant voice that haunts the stage - even when he's not on it - Lee reigns with a commanding physical presence, towering over his scene partners. His spell was initially broken during the first act as his voice seemed straining his notes out at times. However, by the second act, he sang with the intensity you expect from the Phantom." Miami: Contributor Roger Martin reviews ONCE at the Actors' Playhouse. He writes "Jodi Dellaventura designed the bar, remarkable in its authenticity and detail and Jeni Hacker provided choreography and musical staging that lagged not a whit. Ryan McCurdy directed the music, with Shaun Mitchell designing the sound and Ellis Tillman the costumes. Eric Nelson designed the lights and here's my only carp: too much of the show was in the dark. Atmospheric lighting sure, but don't drive me to a white [...]

BWW Review: American Stage's Production of Jordan Harrison's Absorbing, Heartbreaking MARJORIE PRIME

Tue, 20 Mar 2018 09:14:06 PST

"I was so devastated by the loss of my dear Samantha, after 14 years together, that I just wanted to keep her with me in some way." --Barbra Streisand in an interview with 'Variety,' on why she cloned her dog Watching American Stage's production of MARJORIE PRIME by Jordan Harrison, I thought of Barbara Streisand and her heartbreak that led to the national news story of her canine cloning. If we could, wouldn't we do it of our own beloved, whether pet or parent, child or soul mate? Even if it's not quite the same, wouldn't we still try it? Wouldn't we like to have at least some aspect of our departed loved ones to keep us company, to enthrall us as they had in life, to remind us that we loved them and that they loved us? Loss is too devastating, too hard, for so many of us; wouldn't we choose to interact with at least some form of our beloved dead if we could? And that's what MARJORIE PRIME is about...dealing with loss using the furthest extremes possible. In it, people of the future are able to interact with Prime versions of their dead loved ones, creations made of pixels and fed information from their lives. Although it's not as diabolical as The Stepford Wives, which was about men being afraid of independent women and turning them into automaton Fifties housewives, it does carry that same "feel" when the living are dealing with replicas of the people they knew and loved. There's something creepy in all this, but also something very touching. MARJORIE PRIME is an entertaining, mind-bending, overwhelming, sad and exquisite show. It tells its story efficiently and hauntingly, and two days later, it's still preoccupying my thoughts. And yes, it had me crying, not an easy feat for those who know me. So be warned: Bring your handkerchiefs. The cast of four is as strong as they come. Leading the way is Janis Stevens as Marjorie. She really has to play two distinct characters--Marjorie and Marjorie Prime--and she valiantly succeeds. Her Marjorie is a woman of eighty-six losing her mind and body, walking slowly and hunched, and trying to figure things out in a constant squint. She speaks with her own dead husband--now "Primed"--and lets him know how scared she is. And then she becomes the other character--Marjorie Prime, a "different" version of her original self--and it's incredible to watch. She doesn't overdo the android-like aspect of the part...she tackles this with heart, warmly "fake" smiling, endearing, and yet "off." Yes, there's an automaton feeling to her, like something out of Disney's Hall of Presidents, but there's also something personable as well. She puts the human in "humanoid." It's astonishing to watch, fascinating, and Stevens constantly jolts the show to life in surprising ways. Jamie Jones as Marjorie's daughter, Tess, is so real that we feel her struggle. Loss may have hit her hardest, and seeing the effect on her is devastating. There' s more to her part that I won't give away, but it's a beauty of a performance. Steven Sean Garland will break everyone's heart as Tess' husband, Jon. There is a monologue near the end that is so overwhelmingly emotional in his hands that I can't imagine anyone else performing it. Although I shouldn't say the word "performing," because Garland is so natural onstage, so real and relaxed, that we never really see him "acting." He's always being instead of performing; natural, in the moment, reacting without overdoing it. And some of his moments here are filled wit[...]

Photo Flash: American Stage Reveals Their 2018-2019 Season

Mon, 19 Mar 2018 22:32:53 PST

American Stage announces their 2018-2019 Mainstage Series, marking Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte's third season selected themed as "LIFE. OUT LOUD." The 2018-2019 season will feature a diverse line-up that includes four Tampa Bay Area Premieres, four female playwrights, two Pulitzer Prize winners, a Tony Award-winning musical and an American classic that continues the American Legacy Series. American Stage is also excited to announce their first Playwright-in-Residence, Natalie Symons, during their 2018-2019 season. Coming to our Mainstage this Fall, American Stage Education presents the Family Series: WINNIE THE POOH. This production will also hit the road in September as the American Stage School Tour. 2018-2019 MAINSTAGE SEASON SELECTIONS: BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY By Stephen Adly Guirgis Tampa Bay Premiere October 3 - November 4, 2018 Winner! 2015 Pulitzer Prize MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY By Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon Tampa Bay Premiere November 28 - December 30, 2018 PIPELINE By Dominique Morisseau Tampa Bay Premiere January 23 - February 24, 2019 THE ROOMMATE By Jen Silverman Tampa Bay Area Premiere March 13 - April 7, 2019 LONG DAY'S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT By Eugene O'Neill American Legacy Series May 29 - June 30, 2019 Winner! 1957 Pulitzer Prize in Drama Winner! 2013 Olivier Award, Best Revival Winner! Tony Award for Best Play FUN HOME Book and Lyrics by Lisa Kron, Music by Jeanine Tesori July 17 - August 18, 2019 Winner! 2015 Tony Awards for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book NOTES ABOUT OUR SEASON THEME: FROM PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, STEPHANIE GULARTE: The Urban Dictionary describes living out loud as "Living on purpose, loving others and yourself, living passionately for your values, no matter what. Letting others see your light shine, and not being afraid to be different or worry about others' opinions of you. Living a life you're excited about, with purpose, on your terms. Inspiring others to do the same." At American Stage we are committed to telling stories that impact our hearts and minds, honor our diversity, embrace our differences, and rejoice in our shared experience of what it is to be a human being. Our season theme LIFE. OUT LOUD. reflects our passion for Powerful Stories, Boldly Told and our dedication to promoting connection and unity in our community through the power of live theatre. Our 2018-19 season features characters laughing, crying, loving, rebelling and soaring out loud. These are sit-up-and-take notice stories that will dare you to lean forward and be transported. Join us in celebration and contemplation of Life. Out Loud. ABOUT THE PLAYS SELECTED: BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY Tampa Bay Premiere October 3 - November 4, 2018 Winner! 2015 Pulitzer Prize HUSTLE. OUT LOUD Winner of the 2015 Pulitzer Prize, BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY tells the story of ex-cop and recent widower Walter "Pops" Washington and his newly paroled son Junior. They have spent a lifetime living between Riverside and crazy. The dog is a nuisance, the landlord wants him gone, and the NYPD is demanding a settlement on an outstanding lawsuit. After an enlightening encounter, Pops decides to take things in his own hands with a final ultimatum, while everyone else hustles to get what they think they deserve. "Somewhere south of cozy and north of dangerous, west of sitcom and due east of tragedy." -Ben Brantley, The New York Times MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY By Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon November 28 - December 30, 2018 Tampa Bay Premie[...]

Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 3/16 - IN THE HEIGHTS, GUYS AND DOLLS, MOTOWN and More!

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature IN THE HEIGHTS, GUYS AND DOLLS, MOTOWN and More! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Louisville: Contributor Keith Waits reviews DO YOU FEEL ANGER at Actors Theatre of Louisville. He writes "By the end of the show, I found that I was a little disappointed - not with any of the performances, production value or even writing, as all of that was at a level befitting the Festival's history. I wanted to have answers. I was angry with what happened to the characters I had fallen in love with. I was as powerless to help them as they were to help themselves. I think that was precisely the point, but it didn't make the play an easy watch by the end. I'll put it another way by borrowing the play's title and one of Sofia's empathy exercises:" Indianapolis: Contributors Dylan and Celeste Caraker review LES MIS at the Old National Centre. They write "The costuming, wonderfully designed by Adreane Neofitou and Christine Rowland were expertly crafted and Matt Kinley's incredible set and images (literally based on images by Victor Hugo) provide a topnotch backdrop for the action. As a techie, if any part of the production design could really be the star of the show last night, it would have to be the intense lighting design by Paule Constable, which perfectly recreated the world of Hugo's France with admirable skill. The lighting was absolutely breathtaking and gorgeous, and it really helped focus the attention of the audience with ease and created a sense of wonderment as the story unfolded." Raleigh: Contributor Jeffrey Kare reviews THE WIZARD OF OZ at North Carolina Theatre. He writes "Though under the direction of Dean Sobon, there is a wonderful cast of performers that should keep audiences invested. Kalie Kaimann as Dorothy Gale gives a performance that really makes you care for her throughout the show. Her three companions in Oz are perfectly portrayed in this production with Chris Duir as the brainless Scarecrow, Christopher Russell as the heartless Tinman, and Victor Legarret as the Cowardly Lion. As the story's classic antagonist, Emily Perzan is wickedly spunky as The Wicked Witch of the West." Palm Springs: Contributor Stan Jenson reviews SISTER ACT at Palm Canyon Theatre. He writes "The energy throughout the evening is spectacular, especially in the numbers where Tillman is leading the sisters in enthusiastic sacred production numbers. Tillman hails from Asbury, New Jersey where she is the Worship Leader of the Shore Christian Church, so her role indeed finds art imitating life. From her first number in the nightclub, "Take Me to Heaven," we know that she is a very special talent, and it is obvious why PCT was willing to transport her across the country to take on this role. There doesn't seem to be a moment in the show when she sits back and takes a breath." Jacksonville: Contributor Jordan Higginbotham reviews Motown at the Times Union Center. She writes "Berry Gordon, played by Kenneth Mosley, was spectacular. My first thought to Mosley's performance was he portrayed Gordon as a voice behind the iconic voices, but Mosely's voice was just as memorable. Mosley performed with such strength and stamina through the entire production. His "Can I Close the Doo[...]

Laurie Themm Walker Exhibit Holds Opening Reception, 3/10

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 23:26:02 PST

(image) Laurie Themm Walker is no stranger to large things - she paints animals often on oversized canvases and has been the subject of numerous one-woman art shows, including one opening next month in St. Petersburg. But it's the tiny details that make her work come to life. She has developed her own meticulous technique using very fine brushes in distinct layers of color so that she can represent the animals as they appear as if the viewer could reach out and feel the texture of their fur, feathers and skin.

The details going into this method are time-consuming, but always worth the effort. She's also a great multitasker. "It helps me to have several paintings going at one time so that I can stand back and view my works as the various processes take life." To prepare for her show at the Mirella Cimato Gallery, which opens in March, she worked simultaneously on paintings of a mountain lion head, a horse head and a wolf, among other subjects.

The exhibit will present a large variety of paintings, most on canvas, and selected polished, sliced stones. "It's fun to see a stone and know how I can blend in the natural background of the stone to work with the subject," she said. Walker finds inspiration as nearby as her backyard, observing a rabbit eating her daisies, and as far away as National Parks, where most recently in Yellowstone National Park, she got her inspiration for her wolf painting that will be on display.

An animal lover, Walker has also worked with various zoo organizations and belongs to several wildlife-related groups. "I have loved animals of all types since I was a young child," she said. After graduating from Trinity University with a fine arts degree, she combined her love of art and animals to create her unique works. "Whatever animal I'm doing, I'm studying and learning about it," Walker said. "I hope my paintings will raise awareness of the beauty and wonder of the animals that surround us."

The Mirella Cimato Gallery is within Opera Central, 2145 First Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida. Part of the proceeds from the art show sales go to the St. Petersburg Opera. The gallery's hours are Monday through Friday, 1 to 5:30 p.m. An opening reception will take place March 10 from 5 to 9 p.m., during St. Petersburg's monthly ArtWalk. The exhibit runs through March and April.


DADDY LONG LEGS Makes Its Tampa Bay Premiere At FreeFall Theatre

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 11:13:41 PST

freeFall favorites Nick Lerew (freeFall's The Light in The Piazza) and Britta Ollman (freeFall's Red Velvet) return to St. Petersburg to co-star in a delightful musical romance. If you loved freeFall's The Light in The Piazza, you will fall in love all over again with freeFall's Spring Musical, Daddy Long Legs. Jerusha Abbott is the "Oldest Orphan in the John Grier Home" until a mysterious benefactor decides to send her to college to be educated as a writer. Required to write him a letter once a month, she is never to know the benefactor's identity so she invents one for him: Daddy Long Legs. Although she knows that he will never respond to her letters, she grows more and more fond of this elusive and kindly "old" gentleman. But another relationship soon begins to develop in Jerusha's life. Jervis Pendleton is the well-to-do "youngish" uncle of one of Jerusha's roommates, who introduces her to a world of literature, travel, and adventure. Through her correspondence with Daddy Long Legs and her growing intimacy with Jervis, Jerusha's letters chronicle her emergence as a delightfully independent "New American Woman." Yet there is one startling fact Jerusha has yet to recover, one that will change her life forever. Based on the classic novel, which inspired the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire, Daddy Long Legs is a beloved tale in the spirit of Jane Austen, The Brontë Sisters and "Downton Abbey." Daddy Long Legs features music and lyrics by Tony Award-nominated composer/lyricist, Paul Gordon (Jane Eyre), and Tony-winning librettist/director, John Caird (Les Misérables), and is a "rags-to-riches" tale of newfound love. This all-new musical adaptation is directed by Douglas S. Hall and musically directed by Michael Raabe. Performance Information The production runs March 16 through April 8, with performances Wednesday through Sunday. Check our schedule for new added performances on Wednesday at 2pm and Sunday at 7pm. ENRICHMENT EVENTS After opening weekend, there will be a talkback after every Friday night performance. Resident Dramaturg Timothy Saunders will give two freeFall foreword talks on April 1 and April 8 at 1pm. Both events are free and open to the public. freeFall foreword sessions take place in our auditorium space. CREATIVE TEAM Douglas S. Hall - Director Michael Raabe - Musical Director Eric Davis - Set & Costume Designer Cody Basham - Lighting Designer Steve Kraack - Sound Designer Timothy Saunders - Dramaturg TICKETS $37-$52 Discounts for groups are available. Contact the Box Office for more details. | (727) 498-5205 | Photo Courtesy of Thee Photo Ninja[...]

Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 3/9 - WAITRESS, RAGTIME, CHICAGO, and More!

Fri, 09 Mar 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature Waitress, Ragtime, Chicago, and More! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Pittsburgh: Contributor Greg Kerestan reviews WAITRESS at the Benedum. He writes " Sassy waitress Becky (Charity Angel Dawson) loves her invalid husband, but is having an affair with the more vital Cal (Ryan G\. Dunkin), the diner's grouchy manager. Dawson has an amazing voice, and Dunkin finds the meat in a one-dimensional role without any singing, but both of them are saddled with the most sitcom-generic of characters. Lenne Klingaman fares better as buttoned-up waitress Dawn, who learns to open up and love life with the help of her persistent, quirky suitor Ogie, as played by Jim Hogan. Hats off to Hogan, handling one of the most difficult comedic roles in contemporary musical theatre, charming the audience and winning over Dawn at the same time. We have every reason to see Ogie as a loser, a creep, or even a stalker- in his very first scene, he must bring enough joy and innocence to his persistence that we see why Dawn comes to fall for him quickly. Finally, Larry Marshall (who played a manic Simon Zealotes in the first Jesus Christ Superstar film) brings both warmth and crustiness to the role of Old Joe, the diner's owner and chief patron. At first, I was a little uneasy with seeing a black man in the role- there's a certain touch of the outdated "Magic Negro" trope around a lovably raunchy old black man who is always handing out sage advice and solving white people's problems with handy deus ex machina moments. (It's not an inherently offensive trope so much as a trite one- the Magic Negro cliché dates all the way back to Uncle Remus.) Nonetheless, Marshall overcomes this slight cultural baggage to make Old Joe more than just a Morgan Freeman wananbe." Los Angeles: Contributor Ellen Dostal reviews JACKIE UNVEILED at the Wallis. She writes "Burrows delivers the herculean task of presenting a two hour solo play with finesse but is also undermined by Jackie's accent. Though carefully studied and phonetically perfected, it is centered around one pitch and never varies much from it. The limited vocal range combined with a downward emphasis at the end of every sentence becomes monotonous with its predictable rhythm. And while she is working very hard to connect with the audience, it never feels like we truly get to see behind the veil. Something in the eyes still keeps us at a distance and that is a missed opportunity." Sioux Falls: Contributor Katie Becker reviews CHICAGO at The Washington Pavillion. She writes "Several cast members return to roles in this production of Chicago, including leads Dylis Croman (Roxie Hart) and Terra C\. MacLeod (Velma Kelly), bringing with them a familiarity and excitement for their characters. Throughout the show, MacLeod expertly conveys the desperation of Velma Kelly as she watches Roxie go from media revival to finally convincing her to become the other half of her double act. One of MacLeod's strongest scenes is during the Act 2 duet, Class, between her and Jennifer Fouché's Matron Mama Mortan; beautifully capturing the strong on stage chemistry between the two." Tampa: Contributor [...]

Deadline Announced for 2018 ICWP 50/50 Applause Awards for Theatre Gender Parity Nominations

Mon, 05 Mar 2018 21:59:23 PST

The International Centre for Women Playwrights (ICWP) is proud to sponsor the seventh annual 50/50 Applause Award, celebrating theatres who achieve gender equity for playwrights in their 2017-2018 Season. The nomination window for the 2017-2018 theatrical season is open! The balance of opportunity, employment and career prospects for female dramatists has lagged well behind their male counterparts. The sheer amount of academic research and published reports is staggering. Landmark events include, in 1978, the Feminist Theatre Study Group picketed five shows on London's West End, through 2009 with an article by Marsha Norman, a 2010 speech by Theresa Rebeck, and the 2016 outcry in Dublin, Ireland that gave birth to the movement #Wakingthefeminists. There is an ever-brightening spotlight on theatre companies around the world who consistently produce the work of male playwrights at roughly double the rate of female playwrights. Activist groups and, in France, government committees, have urged theatre managements and artistic directors to implement gender equity policies when selecting works for their seasons. The exponential growth of independent female-only theatre companies is a symptom of the gender bias that has existed and still exists in the majority of large publicly funded theatres. Awards Co-chair Patricia L. Morin said " We ask theatres everywhere to examine their own production output and see how they stack up in terms of playwrights' gender and that their local subscribers and patrons will do the same. They can find the criteria we are using for the 2017 -2018 Applause Awards on our website and, if their local theatre qualifies, make a nomination." This year's nomination form will remain open until 15 March 2018 on the ICWP website, where you will also find links to videos, press releases, and news. Anyone may nominate eligible theatres. The eligibility criteria have changed from previous years. Here are highlights of the new qualifying criteria: - Have at least three productions in their season - Have plays by both female and male dramatists in their season - At least 50% of the plays produced between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018 are the work of female playwrights - At least 50% of the total number of performances during that window are the work of female playwrights - Only Main Stage productions will qualify where a company has several venues. - Theatres may not have the development of works by women as their main mission statement The guidelines are available at Please contact us if you need translation assistance. We have French and Spanish versions available. Nominations may come from artistic directors, theatre employees and members of the public. Please share this information with your theatre friends and colleagues around the world! Recipients of the 2017/18 award will be announced in May 2018. For more about the awards history and previous recipients, go to ABOUT ICWP Established in 1989, The International Centre for Women Playwrights promotes and supports women playwrights. We aim to help achieve a fair representation of the female imagination on the world's stages. ICWP provides a place for peer support, knowledge-sharing, and play publication[...]

Casting Announced For FreeFall's DADDY LONG LEGS

Thu, 01 Mar 2018 22:42:23 PST

(image) freeFall favorites Nick Lerew (freeFall's The Light in The Piazza) and Britta Ollman (freeFall's Red Velvet) return to St. Petersburg to co-star in a delightful musical romance. If you loved freeFall's The Light in The Piazza, you will fall in love all over again with freeFall's Spring Musical, Daddy Long Legs.

Jerusha Abbott is the "Oldest Orphan in the John Grier Home" until a mysterious benefactor decides to send her to college to be educated as a writer. Required to write him a letter once a month, she is never to know the benefactor's identity so she invents one for him: Daddy Long Legs. Although she knows that he will never respond to her letters, she grows more and more fond of this elusive and kindly "old" gentleman.

But another relationship soon begins to develop in Jerusha's life. Jervis Pendleton is the well-to-do "youngish" uncle of one of Jerusha's roommates, who introduces her to a world of literature, travel, and adventure. Through her correspondence with Daddy Long Legs and her growing intimacy with Jervis, Jerusha's letters chronicle her emergence as a delightfully independent "New American Woman." Yet there is one startling fact Jerusha has yet to recover, one that will change her life forever.

This charming novel spawned a motion picture starring Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. This all-new musical adaptation is directed by Douglas S. Hall and musically directed by Michael Raabe.

Performance Information
The production runs March 16 through April 8, with performances Wednesday through Sunday.


Douglas S. Hall - Director

Michael Raabe - Musical Director

Eric Davis - Set & Costume Designer

Cody Basham - Lighting Designer

Timothy Saunders - Dramaturg


Discounts for groups are available. Contact the Box Office for more details.


Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 3/2 - ALLEGIANCE, RAGTIME, GHOST, and More!

Fri, 02 Mar 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature Allegiance, Ragtime, Ghost, and More! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Los Angeles: Contributor Don Grigware reviews ALLEGIANCE at the JACC. He writes "As I mentioned above the entire 15 member cast do splendid work with their acting, singing and dancing. As a chorus, they sound terrific. Choreographer Rumi Oyama does nice work putting the cast through some fast and furious moves. Se Hyun Oh's scenic design is adequate, as are Halei Parker's costumes. Nice projection work from Adam Flemming, who puts his projections in several places across the stage. One very strange element is the use of box-like shapes that float down consistently. One side of each is used for projections, but why these curious shapes? Do they symbolize something in the Japanese culture? Very disconcerting!" Philadelphia: Contributor Pati Beuhler reviews SOMETHING ROTTEN at the Kimmel Center. She writes "Did I mention that the theatrical competition at that time is none other than William Shakespeare? Broadway legend Adam Pascal plays the strutting peacock "I am the Will with the skill/ To thrill you with the quill". Pascal is obnoxiously talented in his role. But Nostradamus assures Nick that one day he will dazzle the whole world with his immortal work - a musical called "Omelet". Well, that's almost all the plot you need, because there's entirely too much insanely crazy gobbledygook in Act Two." Madison: Contributor Scott Rawson reviews AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at the Overture Center. He writes "This combination ballet/musical has cleaned up most of the sexism and misogyny of the original film, as it should, we are, after all, living in a different age. The dancing was fabulous, if not excessive. The set and multi-media were breathtaking. The actors, for the most part, believable." Seattle: Contributor Jay Irwin reviews Seattle Rep's HERSSEY FELDER AS Irving Berlin. He writes "Felder's talent on the piano is only matched by his talent as a storyteller. He locks you into the ride from the beginning and never lets go. You need someone with presence to be able to carry a one-man show such as this and Felder has that presence in spades but it's an unassuming presence, so you feel like you're just listening to a friend and not a performance. He draws you in with heart and humor and delightfully with a couple of sing-a-longs into which the audience gleefully joined. And adding to the storytelling is a magnificent set from Felder that looks like a living room but then doubles as a backdrop for amazing lighting and projections from Richard Norwood and Christopher Ash & Lawrence Siefert." Los Angeles: Contributor Michael Quintos reviews THE KING AND I at the Segerstrom Center. He writes "From the moment the curtain rises to reveal the show's first "wow" moment---which finds a stunningly imposing ship Chow Phya slowly docking into Bangkok carrying widowed British school teacher Anna Leonowens (played by the spectacular Laura Michelle Kelly) and her young son Louis (Rhyees Stump)---the production will have you instantly [...]

Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 2/23 - THE LION KING, FINDING NEVERLAND, and More!

Fri, 23 Feb 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature The Lion King, Finding Neverland, The Crucible, and more! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Orlando: Contributor McKenzie Lakey reviews THE LION KING at the Dr. Phillips Center. She writes "The Lion King" is the perfect introduction to Broadway musicals for audience members of all ages, but still maintains the pure talent, ingenuity and sheer power that only the best of Broadway can produce and maintain. No matter how well you know the story or how many times you have seen "The Lion King" (either animated or brought to life on stage), it always has a way of transporting viewers back to a period in their life filled with the awe and wonder of childhood that they may have long forgotten-and it's a trip definitely worth taking." Baltimore: Contributor Charles Shubow reviews THE GREAT SOCIETY at Arena Stage. He writes "This play should be required viewing for all high school students. No books or lectures could reveal how President Johnson was able to push through his "Great Society" legislation that included passage of the Civil Rights Act, Voting Rights Act, Clean Air Act, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, Head Start, Social Security, Public Broadcasting, National Public Radio, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Is there any doubt why this era was called "The Great Society"?" Jacksonville: Contributor Jordan Higginbotham reviews MADAMA BUTTERFLY at the Times Union Theatre. She writes "All parts were beautifully and poignantly portrayed in the opera. The cast was amazingly talented and dedicated to their characters. As someone who has listened to the Miss Saigon soundtrack, I could not help making the connections of each character to its inspired character, and the story in which it was based." Nashville: Contributor Jeffrey Ellis reviews SMART PEOPLE at Nashville Rep. He writes "Clearly, the four people who inhabit the world as presented in Smart People are indeed more intelligent than most of the people in your neighborhood (and certainly my neighborhood), they each represent some archetype in order to create a universal tale that is at once appealing, yet somehow troubling. In the manner of all compelling theater, Smart People makes you think, encourages you to consider your own thoughts and actions, and challenges the status quo in which we are all complicit. One thing you can be certain of - you'll have plenty to talk about after the curtain has rung down on Nashville Rep's articulate Smart People." Norfolk: Contributor Jeremy Bustin reviews A RAIN IN THE SUN at Virginia Rep. He writes "Jasmine Coles is perfectly cast as the eccentric and aspirational Beneatha, and has a show-stealing moment with a tribal chant and dance featuring an equally delightful Solomon. But it's Trezana Beverley as Lena 'Mama' Younger, who gradually inherits the reins of the production with a finely shaded performance. Audiences will hear the nuance in every word she speaks and absorbedly watch every move she makes." Milwaukee: Contributor Kelsey Lawler reviews FINDING NEVERL[...]


Wed, 21 Feb 2018 11:23:51 PST

(image) Want to be part of what producer Keith Eisenstadt has described as "the most unique theatre experience available in Tampa"? Adults, 18 and over, can enjoy the music of the heroes and heroines of Broadway in Broadway Bent: Heroes.

Keith and Aaron Washington, founders of Washington and Eisenstadt present, create productions that are classics, but have a new and original way of showcasing them.

"Everyone, 18+ who loves a fun, rowdy, not too serious night of great music should come see this show," said Eisenstadt.

With no Hurricane Irma to disrupt the run like with its evil counterpart Broadway Bent: Villains in September 2017, guests can expect an interactive musical experience like no other - for two days only. During this limited run, patrons can expect the cast to interact with them, share a drink, or maybe even sit down at their table.

In The Studio, behind Carrollwood Cultural Center, audience members will enjoy a cabaret, party-like atmosphere and full service open bar, while Topher Warren, Jessica LaPollo, Richard Cubi, Stephanie Coatney, Gam Calderon, Melissa Doell, Lance Rumowicz, and PaVonne Scott perform popular pieces from favorite Broadway musicals.

That's the Broadway part. Why is it Bent?

Just like the two productions that preceded it, there is no gender attached to any song. Men sing women's and women sing men's songs.

If you're curious where a line like "I have maggots in my scrotum" fits into hero/ine music, $30 tickets are available for Friday, February 23 and Saturday February 24 at 8pm. Open bar begins at 730pm.

Keith said, "Theatre is a voice, a living, breathing being that feeds on social change. It has always been a place for people to express themselves openly and without judgement." He added, "We need that as much as possible."

He said that the message of Broadway Bent: Heroes is simple. Be a hero of your own story. Enjoy life and don't get too bogged down.

Reservations for Broadway Bent: Heroes are available by calling (813) 922-8167. For more information, visit



Fri, 16 Feb 2018 10:45:25 PST

I was told by director Sarah Berland that the 26 young actors starring in The Aristocats KIDS did not want to put on a kids' show, rather a professional performance that had child actors. After seeing opening night's performance, I will go one step further than that - these are 26 mini-adults masquerading in the bodies of actors that just happen to be no older than 10. Were there a couple mic tech issues that were immediately brought under control, yes, but these children handled it like the professionals they were. I've seen adults perform with less fluidity. Complimented by a beautiful easily-interchangeable set, each of the 26 were charismatic, sometimes over-the-top goofy, fun-to-watch actors, singers and dancers who brilliantly told the tale of the fumbling butler who kidnaps the Aristocats and the animals that help to reunite the family. Costume clothing designed by Camille McClellan and coordinated by Gaby Belknap, paired with hats with ears for cats, dogs and a mouse, and bonnets for geese were enough to give the illusion of animals without hiding the personalities of the children. And a special call out to Alondra Rios, Emma and Sofia Oros and assistant stage manager, Isabella Falber for beautiful stage makeup that further brought the story to life. The kids' facial expressions were priceless! Actor Hannah Carey was senior-citizen beauty and grace as the beloved Madame Bonfamille, owner of the Aristocats. Korban Quillian stole the show as the bumbling jealous butler Edgar who will do anything to rid himself of the sneeze-inducing Duchess and her kittens. His response to the kittens being left everything in Madame's will - What? What! WHAT!!!! - had the audience rolling in aisles, but that happened any time he was on stage. Bianca Ten Caten Settle, in a beautiful white lace gown and matching hair bow, was the picture of elegance, a perfect loving mother to her three kittens, rough and tumble Toulouse (Antony Simonetti) and Berlioz (Angel Vasquez), and girl-powered Marie (Arielle Black-Diamond). Roquefort (Charlie Bern) was adorable as the mouse who fell asleep in the cats' tainted milk bowl, who swallowed his fear of wild alley cats to approach them to save his friends, Duchess and the kittens. Seth Barack was the perfect embodiment of the hip alley cat leader Thomas O'Malley. His reaction to discovering Duchess had the three kittens had the audience in stitches. His cool pack of jazz cats were fun to watch. Standouts were Scat Cat (Scarlett Burleson) and "Crazy man, crazy" Hep Cat (Alyssa Black-Diamond). Napoleon (Gian Simonetti) and the Pups were perfectly in tune and I loved the song Use Your Nose. And one cannot mention the other animals without talking about the geese. Maya Rapson and Anna Lilly Woodward made me and the audience laugh out loud at their comedic antics, wing flaps and bustle waggles. The voices and dance numbers were on point. The comic bits and physical comedy spot on and much like the milk the butler used to dose the Aristocats family - the audiences lapped it up. And so will you. To copy directly from the Director's Note in the program... I'm pawsitive you will enjoy this special feel-good show. Disney's The Aristocats is in the TECO Theater through Feb. 18. Performances are Friday at 7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday at 1 and 4 p.m[...]

Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 2/16 - HUNCHBACK, HAMILTON, FRANKENSTEIN, and More!

Fri, 16 Feb 2018 06:00:54 PST

BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature HUNCHBACK, HAMILTON, FRANKENSTEIN, and More! Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section! Salt Lake City: Contributor Tyler Hinton reviews HUNCHBACK at the Hale Center. He writes "Director/choreographer Dave Tinney and musical director Kelly Dehaan have shepherded the performances to be much more than just the individuals on their own. There is a unity and power that radiates from the large group of actors and singers, skillfully costumed by Peggy Willis, as they navigate through the ever-shifting multi-leveled set." Seattle: Contributor Jay Irwin reviews HAMILTON at the Paramount Theatre. He writes "And now I must mention four tracks that may be the most demanding in the show and were stunners. These four actors have to pull double duty all night long, each with two very different characters. Elijah Malcomb starts the night as one of Alexander's best friends John Laurens with tons of resolve and dedication and then moved onto play Hamilton's son Phillip whose bravado will break your heart. Fergie L. Phillipe was probably my favorite of the four with his braggadocious Hercules Mulligan and then going into the meeker and sickly James Madison. Kyle Scatliffe who Seattle audiences may remember from his amazing turn as Jud in "Oklahoma" a few years back was a stunner as the quick talking Lafayette and then the scheming Jefferson. And last but certainly not least Danielle Sostre as the notably overlooked Schuyler sister Peggy who turns around to completely kill it as the sultry Maria Reynolds." Omaha: Contributor Natalie McGovern reviews AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at the Orpheum Theatre. She writes "Jerry Mulligan (McGee Maddox) has the je ne sai quoi you'd expect from a worldly artist and American GI, as he glides through scenes effortlessly, polished and charismatic. Other standouts are Lise, talented Houston Ballet veteran Allison Walsh, with her perfected French accent that comes off as charmingly authentic and demure, and a brooding yet sentimental Jewish composer, Adam Hochberg (Matthew Scott) already resigned to the fact he may only get the girl in the form of a muse." Portland: Contributor Krista Garver reviews A GENTLEMAN'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MURDER at the Keller Auditorium. She writes "Where things get really fun is the murders themselves. All of the D'Ysquiths ahead of Monty are played by James Taylor Odom. As such, he dies eight times during the show, from causes ranging from wind and ice to barbells and bees. Odom does this brilliantly. Bearing more than a passing resemblance to John Cleese, Odom also has a gift for physical comedy, ratcheting up the outrageousness with each death. The whole show feels at times like a Monty Python sketch." Dallas: Contributor Samuel Weber reviews FRANKENSTEIN at Dallas Theater Center. He writes "Mary Shelley's now timeless speculative fiction concerns itself with more than green monsters and mad scientists. Rather, Shelley's work is almost an exercise in understanding what lies at[...]

BWW Review: Lorraine Hansberry's Powerful A RAISIN IN THE SUN at American Stage - An Ageless Classic Done Right

Tue, 13 Feb 2018 12:30:19 PST

"Child, when do you think is the time to love somebody the most? When they done good and made things easy for everybody? Well then, you ain't through learning--because that ain't the time at all...when you starts measuring somebody, measure him right, child, measure him right. Make sure you done taken into account what hills and valleys he come through before he got to wherever he is." --from A RAISIN IN THE SUN 1959 was a very good year for theatre. In that year, on the musical front, Rodgers and Hammerstein's last effort together, The Sound of Music, tied for the Tony Award for Best Musical with Bock and Harnick's Fiorello! Left out altogether is one of the great musical comedies, Once Upon a Mattress, and perhaps the greatest musical of all time, Gypsy. Regarding the non-musicals, The Miracle Worker garnered the Tony with also-rans that included Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth. And the most important play of that year--one of the towering triumphs of Twentieth Century Theatre--A RAISIN IN THE SUN won no Pulitzer Prize and none of the four Tony Awards that it was nominated for, but significantly, it did earn the New York Drama Critics Circle Award. Its young playwright--Lorraine Hansberry--became the first African-American to win that award (she was also the fifth woman and the youngest writer to achieve this honor). She was also the first black woman to have a show open on Broadway. But unlike so many of the other great productions from that year, her play stands as a testament of the power of the very best of American theatre, an inarguable classic that has not been cobwebbed, that does not seem dated nearly sixty years after its premiere. And its power has not dissipated. Very few plays that don't involve the loss of a dog can leave me blubbering. The plot of A RAISIN IN THE SUN is as well-known as most plays of the past 100 years. A black family in Chicago, the Youngers, live in roach-infested, cramped quarters and are looking for a means to move on up, but life, circumstances and their own shortcomings seem to get in the way. Walter Younger dreams of a better life, but never seems to be able to do anything about it, so his dreams remain just that--mere dreams. His wife gets pregnant and even wonders if it's best to abort the child rather than have it live in a house devoid of hope. Walter's 20-year-old sister, Bennie, is crackerjack smart, quirky, and knowledgeable, and is torn between two suitors--an understanding African man and a rich, but clueless black man. Will her dreams of becoming a female doctor, hard at any time but near impossible in 1959, come to fruition? And Walter's mother, Lena, is strict in her ways but will do anything for her children and grandchild. A $10,000 check, made possible from the insurance of Lena's late husband, may change the fortune of this family, or will it? This show lives and breathes with the part of Walter Younger. First made famous by Sidney Poitier, this is perhaps the greatest role for a thirty-something black actor to portray. At American Stage, Enoch King fills the role with so much energy, heartbreak, and power, that there are not enough words to express the admiration for such an astonishing performance. I say he "fills the role" because Walter [...]

BWW Interviews: RACHEL BAY JONES On Connections, Theater's Impact, and How Art Will Save Us

Mon, 12 Feb 2018 09:19:29 PST

Imagine giving your heart and soul, deconstructing the difficulties of depression, anxiety, overwork, and suicide, to the literal brink of a human's capacity - to the extent that physical therapy becomes an addendum to the fact. And then doing it twice in one day. A Saturday. Somehow, supermom (of both her daughter, and Evan Hansen) and 2017 Tony-winner Rachel Bay Jones took the time between to answer some questions, laugh about her Berlin production of RENT in 1999, and shed light on some of her more mysterious, and fascinating, chapters in one of the most radiant and hope-filled interview I've gotten in a long while. We talked on her home town, where she'll be performing with Seth Rudetsky in the Parker Playhouse's Broadway Series this Friday, we talked about her insights of an international theatre, and, of course, how this role has grown with her over Dear Evan Hansen's four years. BWW: Right now, you are in a show that is truly one of the first discussing social media, online presence, and the power behind that - the same season you opened on Broadway, one of the most original shows Broadway has seen in a while, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812, got a bit of whiplash from the same online power that's being discussed. How do you view Twitter, Facebook, all of the resources online? Are they a positive or negative tool today? Rachel Bay Jones: I think it depends on how you use it. We've all experienced both the up and down sides of the power of social media. What I see a lot of is that it's an incredible way to connect with people in this day and age when we're all so busy and we don't have the ability to see the people that we wanna see. I'm seeing (that is a positive expression of this especially) in the kids, and the parents and full on adults, that we're able to find a community, that's not limited to us by geography. We're able to build a community of people who appreciate each other for reasons other than proximity. That can be a really beautiful thing. What that does, though, is it allows us to create these personas that can veer pretty wildly away from reality. And that, of course, has a tremendous effect on us, as for manufacturing our ideal personality (laughs) Getting farther and farther away from who we actually are, and what are the implications of that? What are we doing to other people by presenting ourselves as these perfect creations? BWW: You've been playing Evan's mom, Heidi, almost four years, various venues and to various Evans. You've said it doesn't get easier, that there are still hard days - but so much in your life has to have changed. How have you grown around Heidi, or vice versa? Photo Credits: Susan Stripling RBJ: Heidi changes all the time. Which is what's so beautiful about the script, and how the show has been directed, and has been allowed to grow and flourish - it is a breathing organism. That these people can change. As I get a new son in (several times now), you realize to be a mother to this person, I would have to be subtly different in these ways. Not just mannerisms, but the way that I parent this child would understandably have to be different. I know who Heidi is, but how would Heidi parent this Evan? It[...]