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“Man of La Mancha” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – January 8, 2018

STUNNING “MAN OF LA MANCHA” IS A MUST SEE AT ATC

“MAN OF LA MANCHA”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

The 1965 musical “Man of La Mancha” is based on playwright Miguel de Cervantes life philosophy that has evolved into a clichéd show done to death by every community theater.  The simple show requires one unit set, a prison, where Cervantes, as a late-in-life convict, is imprisoned for his errant life that becomes a tale woven around his lead character, Don Quixote.  The show also triumphed because of its pleasing but well known Mitch … Continue Reading

“The Bodyguard” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – November 29, 2017

SECOND RATE “THE BODYGUARD” WON’T MAKE IT ON BROADWAY

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

There are many reasons why a second-rate tour of a London show that hopes to be a Broadway musical doesn’t work.  “The Bodyguard,” based on the popular 1992 Whitney Houston/Kevin Costner movie, is a dud.  It debuted in London and is now touring America with hopes of landing in New York.  Chances of “The Bodyguard” passing Broadway critics and audiences high standards are impossible.  The tour is part of the local ASU Gammage Broadway series.

The sloppily produced show is … Continue Reading

“The River Bride” – Arizona Theatre Company – Herberger Theater Center

Theater Review – November 19, 2017

ATC’S “THE RIVER BRIDE” GIVES INSIGHT INTO LOVE & HONOR IN THE AMAZON

“THE RIVER BRIDE”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

Arizona Theatre Company’s beautifully etched and stunningly staged production of Marisela Trevino Orta’s “The River Bride” gives audiences illuminating insight into love, honor, and the impact of family in a small Amazon community far removed from the complexities of modern life.

The poetically lyrical play paints a glowing picture of romantic discovery in a culture without many material things as two sisters yearn for the same man.  One sister ends up in an unexpected … Continue Reading

“Newsies” – Phoenix Theatre

Theater Review – November 19, 2017

PHOENIX THEATRE’S WELL DANCED “NEWSIES” IS IMPECCABLE ENTERTAINMENT

“NEWSIES”
Phoenix Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

Tackling “Newsies,” the 2012 Broadway musical version of the popular 1992 Walt Disney film about mistreated New York City children who sold newspapers in 1899, is no easy task.  The show demands a huge cast of superb male ensemble, a pulsating staging pace, dynamic dances, and fully integrated scenery that moves with and becomes part of the show.  All of these elements are present in Phoenix Theatre’s impeccable production.

The energetic local staging is sanctified with a stunning group of accomplished male dancer/singers who are beautifully showcased … Continue Reading

“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