“Something Rotten!” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – November 1, 2017

DOES THE TOURING “SOMETHING ROTTEN!” DUPLICATE THE ARTFUL BROADWAY PRODUCTION?

“SOMETHING ROTTEN!”
Broadway Across America – Arizona
ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

On Broadway, “Something Rotten!” was a delicious and witty look at the “birth” of the American musical theater set in the Renaissance of 1595 when Shakespearean plays were the talk of England.  The hilarious musical affectionately slams the Bard’s masterpieces and America’s contribution to world theater.  On Broadway “Something Rotten!” was a rollickingly entertaining and wildly madcap delight.  The touring version arrived Tuesday, October 31 at ASU Gammage as part of this season’s Broadway Across America series.

Like the season … Continue Reading

“Chapter Two” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – October 8, 2017

ATC’S “CHAPTER TWO” RAISES OLD, LESS VIABLE ISSUES

“CHAPTER TWO”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

Arizona Theatre Company opens its 51st season with Neil Simon’s autobiographical “Chapter Two” that raises lots of issues.  Far from Simon’s best play, the 1977 “dramedy” has a smattering of Simon’s renowned but predictable jokes resulting in some raucous laugh moments.  There are several gaps, though, where tediously slow plot and character development result in boredom.  The only other positive is that “Chapter Two” pushed comedies to include a tad of plot substance that resulted from interesting characters.

That’s about … Continue Reading

“Hedwig and the Angry Inch” – Phoenix Theatre

Theater Review – September 24, 2017

PHOENIX THEATRE’S DAZZLING “HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH” PUSHES THE MUSICAL THEATER TO CONTEMPORARY SUBJECTS

“HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH”
Hormel Theatre, Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

With its stellar “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” production, Phoenix Theatre has taken a giant step from just producing the more traditional musicals they usually do so well to presenting the more off-beat musicals that explore bizarre contemporary life issues.  Not everyone will like “Hedwig…” but for those lucky enough to see this remarkably sleazy but artful staging, welcome to the new world of contemporary musicals.

“Hedwig…” centers on the title characters impersonation of … Continue Reading

“Mamma Mia!” – Phoenix Theatre

SPLASHY “MAMMA MIA!” PRODUCTION AT PHOENIX THEATRE ENTERTAINS

“MAMMA MIA!”

Mainstage Theatre, Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix, AZ

Nothing profound happens in “Mamma Mia!,” the splashy musical that weaves hit ABBA tunes around a simple story set on a remote Greek island where Donna owns and runs a taverna where locals and guests have a ball.  But there’s nothing wrong with spirited entertainment which is exactly what the stellar Phoenix Theatre production delivers.

As the story unfolds, Donna’s daughter, Sophie, discovers her unmarried mother spent the summer of her conception romantically involved with three different men who visited the island.  Unbeknownst to Donna, Sophie invited them to … Continue Reading

“Fun Home” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – September 7, 2017

“FUN HOME,” ASU Gammage, Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio

Theater Critic

While a review of “Fun Home,” the prize-winning musical that opened the local Broadway Across America season at ASU Gammage Tuesday, September 5, should appear in this space, the venue refused to provide this critic with press seats although other local critics did receive press seats.

ASU Gammage distributes an abundance of free tickets to each Broadway show’s opening night.  Some of these “media” tickets result in reviews but many do not review the show but are provided to stimulate free publicity.

Is not providing a theater critic who … Continue Reading

Summer Hiatus

During the months of July and August, 2017, no major theater openings are scheduled locally so there will be no new reviews on this site until September 2017 when the 2017/18 theater season begins.  All posted reviews will remain accessible on the site.  Please rejoin me in September for what appears to be an interesting season based on the announced shows at the local professional theaters.  If you have any comments or suggestions about the site or the reviews, please feel free to send those comments to me.  I will read and seriously consider any suggestions any reader may have. … Continue Reading

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – June 22, 2017

ASU GAMMAGE OVERWHELMS AN INTIMATE EXPOSE ON A YOUTH WITH AUTISM

“THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

It’s nice that ASU Gammage’s Broadway series schedules an occasional play along with the musicals it usually features.  But plays aren’t designed for large venues like ASU Gammage so they get lost in such big theaters.  Such is the case with the final show of the current season, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” that won the 2015 Tony Award as best play.

It is an intimate expose … Continue Reading

2017/18 Theater/Opera Season Highlights

Theater/Opera Peview – June 19, 2017

2017/18 MAJOR THEATER/OPERA SEASON HIGHLIGHTS

Over the past few weeks, we have reviewed Arizona Theatre Company, ASU Gammage, and Phoenix Theatre 2017/18 seasons.  In addition, the Valley has other significant performing arts companies that bring popular, classic, and premiere attractions here.  Today we look at highlights from the new Arizona Opera, Childsplay, Hale Centre Theatre, Phoenix Symphony, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts, and Stray Cat Theatre seasons.

Arizona Opera presents five productions of usually standard operatic fare.  This season, in addition to three warhorse productions, the company will present a new opera based on the popular … Continue Reading

2017/18 Phoenix Theatre Season

Theater Review – June 12, 2017

2017/18 PHOENIX THEATRE SEASON ANNOUNCED AND DISCUSSED

Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

Under Michael Barnard’s expert artistic direction and Vincent Van Vleet’s fiscally sharp manaqing direction, Phoenix Theatre is now a thriving local professional theater that focuses on new and classic musical theater productions plus an annual festival of premiere shows.

The company’s productions are attractive, sleekly staged with strong choreography that result in Broadway quality productions featuring the best local performers augmented by imported professionals, often with Broadway credits.

The company’s downtown Phoenix three theater campus has abundant free parking, and allows production of big and intimate musicals.  What was … Continue Reading

2017/18 Arizona Theatre Company Season – Herberger Theater Center

Theater Review – June 5, 2017

2017/18 ARIZONA THEATRE COMPANY SEASON ANNOUNCED ALONG WITH SOME ADMINISTRATIVE CHANGES

Arizona Theatre Company
Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

After 50 seasons, the Arizona Theatre Company approaches the 2017/18 season with renewed vigor after several recent financial struggles almost closed Arizona’s only fully professional theater company that performs in Phoenix and in Tucson.

The new season will see some major administrative changes plus an eclectic six show season that includes a popular musical, two classic plays, a recent musical revue, a new play that won the 2013 ATC National Latino Playwriting award, and a Broadway Tony Award nominee for Best … Continue Reading