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“Kinky Boots” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – September 1, 2019

“KINKY BOOTS” DAZZLES IN SMASHING LOCAL PRODUCTION

“KINKY BOOTS”
Mainstage Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre Company
Phoenix, AZ

The Phoenix Theatre Company’s smashing staging of the entertaining “Kinky Boots” musical is one of the first regional productions of the hit Broadway tuner that won a slew of 2013 Tony Awards.  The local version explodes with energetic choreography, a superlative cast that delivers dynamic and comically delightful performances, contains sharp staging that give the show a dazzling performance.  Even the remarkable sets look just like the original show while splashy costumes amuse as they capture the characters with superlative definition.

Like I’ve … Continue Reading

“Spamilton: An American Parody” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – June 15, 2019

“SPAMILTON” SPOOFS “HAMILTON” WITH HUMOROUS JABS AND SLAMS

SPAMILTON: AN AMERICAN PARODY”
Hormel Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre Company
Phoenix, AZ

If you know current and historic Broadway musicals well, you will adore Gerard Alessandrini’s “Spamilton: An American Parody” that opened recently in a smashing touring production at The Phoenix Theatre Company.  The musical spoofs Lin-Manual Miranda’s hit musical “Hamilton” and a spot-on company draws every comic nuance from the show.

Alessandrini previously wrote the popular “Forbidden Broadway” spoofs that ran a long time off-Broadway.  Although Spamilton” lampoons “Hamilton” it lambasts but never ridicules the show and, like the “Forbidden Broadway” … Continue Reading

“Once” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – May 26, 2019

“ONCE” A CELEBRATION OF IRISH LIFE AND HOW TAKING CHANCES WORKS

“ONCE”
Mainstage Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre Company
Phoenix, AZ

“Once” is a joyous celebration of life in a small Irish town where long-hidden dreams become realities as residents push each other to explore their inspirations.  Girl pushes Guy, a local repairman who works for his father fixing vacuum cleaners, to explore his passion for creating lovely melodies with touchingly romantic lyrics.  The provincial town doesn’t have room for creative pursuits but Girl encourages Guy to go to New York City to market his tunes.

Girl is trapped in a … Continue Reading

“Things I Know to be True” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – May 19, 2019

CHALLENGING “THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE” TAKES ON A DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILY

“THINGS I KNOW TO BE TRUE”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

Arizona Theatre Company’s superbly crafted American premiere production of Australian playwright Andrew Bovell’s “Things I Know to be True” is a challenge to watch.  The production is a blessing staged with fascinating patterns by director Mark Clements on Scott Davis’ marvelously designed expressionistic depiction of a family’s house that tells audiences a lot about the dysfunctional six person family audiences are about to meet.

But every character has weird hang-ups that dominate, … Continue Reading

Lea Salonga – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Theater Review – May 18, 2019

LEA SALONGA DAZZLES SCOTTSDALE AUDIENCE WITH SUPERB VOCALS

LEA SALONGA
Virginia G. Piper Theater, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Scottsdale, AZ

Bliss is the word that best describes Lea Salonga’s stunning Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts concert.  Salonga looked dazzling as she slowly walked on stage for the first time since a January skiing accident caused a lengthy recovery with an assortment of devices.  But now all those encumbrances are behind her as a compression stocking hidden by two classy outfits let her still recovering broken leg not stop Salonga.

Let’s put the recovering leg aside and talk … Continue Reading

“Cookin’s a Drag” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – May 4, 2019

WORLD PREMIERE MUSICAL “COOKIN’S A DRAG” IS A ONE JOKE DISAPPOINTMENT

“COOKIN’S A DRAG”
Hormel Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre Company
Phoenix, AZ

It’s rare for a world premiere musical to debut locally so there was interest in The Phoenix Theatre Company’s production of “Cookin’s a Drag.”  While enjoyable, well performed, and a breezy little entertainment, “Cookin’s a Drag” is not a musical destined to be a huge hit.

The show is a one joke story stretched out for way too long so the routine comedy get tiresome and repetitious while the predictable plot is so telescoped in the first few … Continue Reading

“Let the Right One In” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – April 21, 2019

TERRIFYING “LET THE RIGHT ONE IN” IS NOT AN EASY PLAY TO ACCEPT

“LET THE RIGHT ONE IN”
Stray Cat Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

Stray Cat Theatre’s production of “Let the Right One In” is a terrifyingly violent play that is challenging to watch as it tells the tale of two losers who struggle to be part of a normal life and to establish a loving relationship but can’t because each character is plagued with scary deviations that separate the pair from regular people.  It is the problem of weird and unusual bringing-up … Continue Reading

“American Mariachi” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – April 20, 2019

“AMERICAN MARIACHI” PROVIDES AUDIENCES WITH AN INSIGHTFUL VIEW OF HISPANIC CULTURE

“AMERICAN MARIACHI”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

“American Mariachi” introduces a new comedy with music to audiences in one of the first efforts by Arizona Theatre Company to feature a Hispanic themed play by Jose Cruz Gonzalez that looks at a family guided and influenced by mariachi music and turns it into a touching piece about the family’s efforts to establish a women’s mariachi band, something in the Spanish culture that is normally exclusively male.  The play is an entertaining piece that creates … Continue Reading

“Sisters In Law” – Phoenix Theatre

Theater Review – April 19, 2019

“SISTERS IN LAW” PROVES TAME LOOK AT TWO INTERESTING JUSTICES

“SISTERS IN LAW”
Mainstage Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre Company
Phoenix, AZ

“Sisters In Law,” a world premiere play at Phoenix Theatre, tells the story of Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg when they both served on the nation’s highest court from 1993 to 2012.  Audiences learn many things about the two justices but the play, adapted from Linda Hirshman’s book, is a tame look at the ideological differences that separated the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court.

The play tells a lot about … Continue Reading

“The Play That Goes Wrong” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – March 21, 2019

BRITISH FARCE MAY HAVE TICKLED LONDON AUDIENCES IT DOESN’T WORK HERE

“THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

“The Play That Goes Wrong” is a typical British farcical comedy which American audiences may find mildly amusing but it rarely creates the wild guffaws like it did for British theatergoers.  But American comedies often fall flat in London so it says something about what audiences on both sides of the Atlantic like.

While on a London holiday, I caught up with the long-running British comedy.  “The Play That Goes Wrong” is still going strong … Continue Reading