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“Outside Mullingar” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – February 18, 2018

INSIGHTFUL “OUTSIDE MULLINGAR” SHOWS HOW RURAL IRISH HANDLE ROMANCE

“OUTSIDE MULLINGAR”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

Humorous but insightful, playwright John Patrick Shanley takes audiences to rural Irish farmlands in Arizona Theatre Company’s vivid “Outside Mullingar” where we meet two very different families who live on neighboring farms.  The journey Shanley creates provides a view of two divergent people, Anthony Reilly and Rosemary Muldoon, who have known each other all their lives but have struggled to admit their love.

Each has one parent left who push quietly but lovingly in the hope that the unspoken … Continue Reading

“The Boob Show” – Phoenix Theatre

Theater Review – February 18, 2018

REVISED “THE BOOB SHOW” IS LESS PERSONAL, MORE HUMOROUS BUT PROVES LESS GRIPPING

“THE BOOB SHOW”
Phoenix Theatre, Hardes Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

Sally Jo Bannow is a multi-talented local performer equally at home in plays or musicals.  In 2003, she confronted breast cancer that in 2015 led to a play with music about the situation.  “The Boob Show” needed polishing but it was a heartfelt and emotional story about how she tackled the cancer battle.

After reworking the piece with the help of Phoenix Theatre’s producing artistic director Michael Barnard, PT is premiering the revised show.  There’s hope that after … Continue Reading

“Hamilton” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – February 7, 2018

“HAMILTON” IS OUTSTANDINGLY INTERESTING AND WONDERFULLY ENTERTAINING

“HAMILTON”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

Few Broadway musicals come with as much hype as “Hamilton,” the Lin-Manuel Miranda show about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and our country’s establishment but it is all justified because the outstanding show is interesting and wonderfully entertaining.

We all know our country’s history and the nerve shattering complexities of our founding.  The stunningly well staged show under Thomas Kail’s sprightly direction and Andy Blankenbuehler’s richly integrated choreography has brilliant dialogue that keeps you interested and enchanted because the staging, set, dances, costumes, and … Continue Reading

“Candide” – Arizona Opera

ARIZONA OPERA MOUNTS IMPRESSIVE “CANDIDE”

“CANDIDE”
Arizona Opera, Symphony Hall
Phoenix, AZ

Arizona Opera presented an impressive production of Leonard Bernstein’s Broadway musical/opera masterpiece “Candide.”  The company borrowed the stylish projections and staging from Portland Opera and brought in excellent singers who struggled valiantly with the show’s theatrical moments but generally did fine things with the Scottish Opera version that was used.

Most remarkable was hearing a huge orchestra play Bernstein’s brilliant score with such lush vibrancy using the rarely heard full orchestration.  It was conducted masterfully by Joseph Colaneri.  As many times as I’ve heard the score, I’ve never heard it better performed.  The … Continue Reading

“Hand to God” – Stray Cat Theatre/Phoenix Theatre

Theater Review – February 4, 2018

STRAY CAT AND PHOENIX THEATRE’S EDGY “HAND TO GOD” IS PERVERSELY ENTERTAINING

“HAND TO GOD”
Stray Cat Theatre/Phoenix Theatre, Hormel Theatre, Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

It’s wild, it’s irreverent, it’s blasphemous, it’s derisive, it’s impudent, and it’s very adult.  These adjectives summarize Robert Askins recent off-Broadway and Broadway hit “Hand to God.”  The show deftly uses puppets to assist inhibited characters in a crazy church environment reveal the far side of their bizarre, sexually-oriented thinking.  These dedicated churchgoers live vibrant undercover alter egos.  Some characters, too ashamed to openly discuss their sexual yearnings, reveal their proclivities through puppets.  The … Continue Reading