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“Gloria” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – September 30, 2023

WELL-PRODUCED “GLORIA” PAINTS A BLEAK PICTURE OF THE YOUNGER GENERATION

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

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

For its 22nd season opener, Stray Cat Theatre presents a stellar production of the Arizona premiere of “Gloria,” an interesting, unique, and timely play.  Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins creates a terrifying scenario.  He ends the first act with a horrific and unexpected occurrence that the playwright then dissects the ramifications of what transpired and its character impacts.

The play centers on youngish career persons as it captures their mindsets and how the plot traumatizes them.  … Continue Reading

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – September 14, 2023

TPTC’S “LADY DAY” EXPOSES BILLIE HOLIDAY’S TRAGIC LIFE WITH GREAT SONGS

“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Hardes Theatre
Phoenix AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

When Yolanda London sash shays on stage in a flowing pink gown, she becomes the late, great but troubled singer Billie Holiday in The Phoenix Theatre Company’s commendable staging of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.”

Immediately the audience returns to Philadelphia’s tacky bar back in the mid-1950’s when the singer, also known as Lady Day, is ending her brilliant singing career that was marred by drugs and alcohol.  Between … Continue Reading

“Dreamgirls” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – August 5, 2023

TPTC’S “DREAMGIRLS” MUSICALLY DAZZLES BUT IT SLUMBERS DRAMATICALLY

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

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Back in 1981 when “Dreamgirls” debuted, it was one of the first musicals to use a score rooted in contemporary musical sounds without traditional Broadway showtunes.  The story told a fictionalized tale of a bright young R & B singing group, The Dreams, that was loosely based on The Supremes, James Brown, and The Shirelles.  It’s not an easy show to produce because it mandates lavish sets, glitzy costumes, and dynamic lighting.  Most significantly, the story is plagued by … Continue Reading