“The Kite Runner” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – April 10, 2024

INSIGHTFUL “THE KITE RUNNER” GETS LOST IN THE INHOSPITABLE ASU GAMMAGE

“The Kite Runner”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Matthew Spangler”s theatrical adaptation of Khaled Hosseini’s best-selling book, “The Kite Runner” is an exquisitely intimate play that dissects the rich Afghan cultural heritage as it exposes its distinctive but destructive class system, women’s second-class stature, and the challenges of immigration.  But the play’s most distinguishing attribute is its exploration of the importance of friendship, something critical in every culture.  This makes “The Kite Runner” a universal piece.

The play begins in 1975 Kabul … Continue Reading

“Master Class” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – March 31, 2024

BRILLIANTLY ACTED “MASTER CLASS” EXPOSES HATED OPERA DIVA MARIA CALLAS

“MASTER CLASS”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Maria Callas was an egotistical, narcissistic operatic superstar who used her vocal talents to achieve unbelievable world-wide acclaim even when she continued to perform as her gifts faded.  She then used her stature to continue her career to the chagrin of her fans and opera lovers.

Callas was a peculiar artist and her trying personality is graphically recreated in Terrence McNally’s brilliant award-winning play “Master Class” which the Arizona Theatre Company has brought … Continue Reading

More Exclusions On Local 24/25 Broadway Season Show Up In Tucson

Theater Commentary – March 25, 2024

MORE EXCLUSIONS ON LOCAL 24/25 BROADWAY SEASON SHOW UP IN TUCSON

2024/25 Broadway Across America – Arizona and Broadway in Tucson Seasons
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Looks like I spoke too soon with regard to the Broadway Across America – Arizona series at ASU Gammage versus the Broadway in Tucson series sponsored by the Nederlander Organization at U of A Centennial Hall. Turns out the Tempe eight-show series plus one option includes two shows previously presented in Tucson, two identical shows, plus four shows that haven’t yet played Tucson.  There are … Continue Reading

“MJ The Musical” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – March 13, 2024

“MJ THE MUSICAL” DYNAMICALLY RECREATES THE MULTI-FACETED ARTIST

“MJ The Musical”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Michael Jackson was the consummate musical artist – singer, song stylist, and dancer par extraordinaire, plus a character actor – who was taken from the world when his career was about to have a re-birth back to the soaring days of his early success.  Who knows what more he could have created but he left a great legacy and the Tony Award-winning “MJ The Musical” is Broadway’s tribute to Jackson.

The dynamic show landed this week at … Continue Reading

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – March 9, 2024

“BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL” FEATURES DYNAMIC PERFORMANCES IN A WELL STAGED TRIBUTE TO A GREAT ARTIST

“Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Mainstage Theatre
Phoenix AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Not only is singer/songwriter Carole King’s rich and interesting life amazing but “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” includes most of her hit tunes. The Phoenix Theatre Company’s (TPTC) marvelously explosive staging crafted by the company’s producing artistic director Michael Barnard is aided by a superb cast who sing, act, and dance with spit-fire precision keeping the audience joyously entranced for two-and-a-half hours of exciting theater.

TPTC’s shows, … Continue Reading

2024/25 Broadway Across America – Arizona Season Announcement

Theater Commentary – March 5, 2024

LOCAL 24/25 BROADWAY SEASON SKIPS SEVERAL RECENT SHOWS BUT INCLUDES A MAJOR MUSICAL HIT

2024/25 Broadway Across America – Arizona Season Announcement
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

The 2024/25 Broadway Across America – Arizona season announcement had some surprises and unexpected shows.  The season will include the huge Broadway hit “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” but why it took that show so long to play locally remains unanswered.  The season includes several recent Broadway hits that are touring but it also excludes major shows that are playing on most 2024/25 Broadway Across America … Continue Reading

“Intimate Apparel” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – February 18, 2024

STUNNING “INTIMATE APPAREL” MAKES UNIVERSAL STATEMENT ABOUT THE NEED FOR LOVE

“INTIMATE APPAREL”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

There’s something special about the poignant universality of unrequited love.  That’s the heart of Lynn Nottage’s beautifully crafted “Intimate Apparel” which is being presented in a brilliantly staged and marvelously acted Arizona Theatre Company production.

Set in early 20th century New York City, Esther, a talented and hard-working 35-year-old Black seamstress, has saved all her life making intimate apparel for rich women.  She’s never married, yearns for genuine love but has avoided … Continue Reading

“Until the Flood” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – February 17, 2024

“UNTIL THE FLOOD” DISCUSSES TERRIBLE RACIAL ISSUES BUT WEAK STAGING TURNS THE PLAY BLAND

“Until the Flood”
Stray Cat Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

An unusually small opening night audience greeted Stray Cat Theatre’s Arizona premiere production of Dael Orlandersmith’s “Until the Flood” with a standing ovation.  Unfortunately, this was an unwarranted reaction to a penetrating play.  Based on the unjustified murder by white cops of Michael Brown, the play is a perceptive and insightful look at the appalling racial treatment throughout the nation but it focuses on situations that occurred … Continue Reading

“The Woman in Black” – Herberger Theater Center

Theater Review – February 11, 2024

“THE WOMAN IN BLACK” IS A WELL PRODUCED WHODUNIT

“The Woman in Black”
Herberger Theater Center, Center Stage
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

British humor and play structure are usually different from American shows. American comedy is often based on a succession of quick one-liners where British comedy usually takes time to build before the laughs begin.  A prime example of these distinctions is the long-running British whodunit “A Woman in Black” which the Herberger Theater Center has imported from London where it just ended a 33-year run as one of the West End’s longest running shows.

The production is … Continue Reading

“The Truth About Winnie Ruth Judd” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – February 10, 2024

“WINNIE RUTH JUDD” FAILS TO MAKE THE NOTORIOUS MURDERER INTERESTING

“The Truth About Winnie Ruth Judd”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Hardes Theatre
Phoenix AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

The notorious murderer Winnie Ruth Judd is a Phoenix legend for her killing of two friends, the dismemberment of one of the bodies, and stuffing both victims into leaky trunks she shipped by train to Los Angeles.  But did she kill the pair or did an accomplice commit the crimes?  That is the question “The Truth About Winnie Ruth Judd” tries to answer in its world premiere engagement at The Phoenix Theatre … Continue Reading