* You are viewing the archive for January, 2019

“Hostage” – iTheatre Collaborative

Theater Review – January 22, 2019

POWERFUL “HOSTAGE” DEALS WITH 1980 EVENT THAT HAS RELEVANCE TODAY

“HOSTAGE”
iTheatre Collaborative, Kax Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

“Hostage,” a powerful political drama set in 1980, has relevance today.  Michelle Kholos Brooks’ play is being presented in a winning Arizona premiere production by iTheatre Collaborative.

The play tells about Kenny Timm’s incarceration when Tehran students took over the American Embassy and held 52 Americans for over a year.  The play imagines Kenny’s mother, Barbara, and a trip to visit her son in captivity.  Mother and son talk with Kenny’s guards about why United States actions have made Kenny … Continue Reading

Audra McDonald In Concert – Scottsdale Center for the Arts

Theater Review – January 20, 2019

AUDRA McDONALD DELIVERS SMASHING SOLO PERFORMANCE SINGING MUSICAL THEATER CLASSICS

“AUDRA McDONALD IN CONCERT”
Broadway @ Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Virginia G. Piper Theater
Scottsdale, AZ

Six time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald dazzled a capacity Scottsdale Center for the Arts audience with amazing solos of musical theater classics.  Many songs represented shows McDonald did originally on Broadway.  With music director and host Seth Rudetsky, McDonald told interesting stories about her legendary Broadway career in between her songs as well as affectionate tales about her children including her surprise daughter, two-year-old Sally.

McDonald sang with her beautifully luminescent soprano … Continue Reading

“Two Mile Hollow” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – January 19, 2019

OFF-KILTER “TWO MILE HOLLOW” MAKES FUNNY POINTS ABOUT RICH PEOPLE

“TWO MILE HOLLOW”
Stray Cat Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

An off-kilter wealthy and bizarrely unreal family is moving out of its mansion so they gather to partake in the joys of reconciliation but is it a happy occasion?  One guess in Stray Cat Theatre’s sharply staged and well-acted production of Leah Nanako Winkler’s “Two Mile Hollow.”

The play makes an important statement about superficiality in families that can’t get along and the playwright points out that money doesn’t necessarily create contentment.  The message is … Continue Reading

London Theater Review of Seven Current Plays

Theater Review – January 13, 2019

LONDON THEATER REMAINS THE ENGLISH SPEAKING FINEST

“THE INHERITANCE”
Noel Coward Theatre

“COMPANY”
Gielgud Theatre

“EVERYBODY’S TALKING ABOUT JAMIE”
Apollo Theatre

“THE COMEDY ABOUT A BANK ROBBERY”
Criterion Theatre

“SWITZERLAND”
Ambassadors Theatre

“THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG”
Duchess Theatre

Although the Phoenix theater scene grows richer and more diverse over time, true theater lovers must head to New York to see the latest in trend-setting contemporary theater.  Just about every theater piece seen in Phoenix starts in New York.  But for truly fabulous theatergoing, London is the place to see the best in English speaking comedy, drama, and musical theater as occurred on a recent five-day London trip … Continue Reading

“Hello, Dolly” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – January 10, 2019

LEADS DISAPPOINT BUT THE ENSEMBLE BRINGS “HELLO, DOLLY” REVIVAL TO LIFE

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

Even though Betty Buckley is not the perfect performer to play the lovably matchmaker, Dolly Levi, she works hard to bring the awesome challenge off.  Like Barbra Streisand in the movie version of Jerry Herman’s bright and tuneful show, Buckley is always playing the meddlesome controller but she never actually becomes the endearing character.  And Buckley, at age 70, doesn’t have the pristine vocal prowess she once had so now she talk-sings her way through the role … Continue Reading

“The Music Man” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – January 10, 2019

ATC’S REMARKABLE “THE MUSIC MAN” BRINGS DYNAMIC LIFE TO AN OLD CHESTNUT

“THE MUSIC MAN”
Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man” is an old chestnut musical that looks affectionately at turn-of-the-last-century small-town America.  We’ve all seen the show and enjoyed the jubilant songs even though many musicals have similar scenarios.  But when the 1957 show is done with the lovely perfection of David Ivers’ classy Arizona Theatre Company production, a warm affection washes over the audience causing cheers of delight that make this new “The Music Man” the local show to see.

There are … Continue Reading

“It’s Not You, It’s Me – The Second City” – Phoenix Theatre

Theater Review – January 6, 2019

SECOND CITY’S “IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME” PROVES AMUSING FUN AT PHOENIX THEATRE

“IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME”
Hormel Theatre, Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

For the first time in its almost 100 year history, Phoenix Theatre is presenting an imported rather than a locally produced show.  The result, Chicago’s Second City’s hilarious “It’s Not You, It’s Me,” is a fanciful laugh fest that dissects contemporary relationships with a splash of current events.  The show pokes fun at the weird things that happen between people including some artful digs at current politics and how world issues are approached.  The mocking … Continue Reading