“An American in Paris” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – January 28, 2023

CAPTIVATING “AN AMERICAN IN PARIS” DAZZLES MIGHTILY AT TPTC

“AN AMERICAN IN PARIS”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Mainstage Theatre
Phoenix AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Turning the award-winning 1951 Best Film musical “An American in Paris” into a Broadway musical was a major undertaking for Craig Lucas, the stage book author, but he was blessed with the film’s many positive elements.

There’s the romantic love story set in post-World War II Paris coupled with the brilliantly tuneful but musically complex George and Ira Gershwin score.  The plot requires a huge cast and multiple City of Lights locales, historically accurate and colorful … Continue Reading

“Constellations” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – January 14, 2023

THOUGHTFUL “CONSTELLATIONS” STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE OF CAREFUL COMMUNICATIONS

“CONSTELLATIONS”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Hormel Theatre
Phoenix AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Every day we say things to many people.  Usually when you say something to someone, that is your only chance to express that thought.  We all know that there are a variety of ways to say things.  Sometimes we are strident and dictatorial, sometimes we are thoughtful and sensitive, sometimes we are neutral when a bit of emotion might help, and sometimes we luck out and say whatever we must to another person immaculately.

All these ways of communicating are … Continue Reading

“The Wickhams Christmas At Pemberley” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – December 11, 2022

“THE WICKHAMS: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY” IS ANOTHER DELIGHTFUL HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT

“THE WICKHAMS: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY”
Arizona Theatre Company, Center Stage, Herberger Theater Center
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

There’s a second wonderfully festive show in town to put theatergoers in a rich holiday mood.  The first is The Phoenix Theatre Company’s delightful “Cinderella” and Arizona Theatre Company’s “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” continues last season’s superb first installment with a bright new take on Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

Instead of centering on the Wickhams and their relatives, the Darcy’s, this year we learn how the Darcy’s servants, Mrs. Reynolds, … Continue Reading

“To Kill a Mockingbird” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – December 7, 2022

AMAZING “MOCKINGBIRD” STUNS IN AN ASTONISHING TOURING PRODUCTION AT ASU GAMMAGE

“TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD”
Broadway Across America – Arizona, ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Dramatizing Harper Lee’s sprawling and moving 1960 novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” is no easy task.  The 1962 now classic movie version was vibrant but a stage version has remained elusive.  Since 1990, a mediocre and unauthorized adaptation by Christopher Sergel has played schools and community theaters.  In 2019 Aaron Sorkin’s interpretation took Broadway by storm. It was a vehicle for Jeff Daniels who triumphed as Atticus Finch, the small-town Maycomb, Alabama … Continue Reading

“La Ruta” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – December 4, 2022

“LA RUTA” IS A POWERFUL AND WELL ACTED PLAY ABOUT THE AWFUL TREATMENT OF WOMEN

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

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

We all know, though some deny, that women are not always well or equally treated.  Playwright Isaac Gomez’s powerful “La Ruta,” receiving its Arizona premiere in a robust Stray Cat Theatre production, has chosen the abused and maligned Hispanic women who live in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico but work in U.S. factories as its focus.

The women slave for 12 hours, six days a week in a non-descript factory … Continue Reading

“Cinderella” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – November 20, 2022

MAGICAL “CINDERELLA” IS THE PERFECT HOLIDAY ENTERTAINMENT

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

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

As you enter The Phoenix Theatre Company’s Mainstage Theatre for Rodgers and Hammerstein’s enchanting “Cinderella,” you leave the world of unrest, election deniers, unjustified wars, political discontent, and today’s general turmoil as you escape into a beautiful fairy tale place where dreams come true. There’s melodic music and the well-known story as the show creates a luminescent cloud.  Everybody needs such diversion as we confront daily living.

Based on the 1957 television version that featured a young Julie Andrews, this script … Continue Reading

“Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age” – Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts

Theater Review – November 13, 2022

ALAN CUMMING PRESENTS ENTERTAINING SCOTTSDALE PERFORMANCE

“ALAN CUMMING IS NOT ACTING HIS AGE”
Virginia G. Piper Theater, Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts
Scottsdale, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Alan Cumming is the consummate entertainer as he proved mightily in his high energy, musically interesting solo appearance at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.  He billed his performance “Alan Cumming Is Not Acting His Age” as he amusingly bemoaned his 57 years.  His candid and raunchy chatter between the dozen musical numbers allowed him to talk openly about his life.  He focused the discussion on his outsize sexual gymnastics … Continue Reading

“The Lion” – Arizona Theatre Company

Theater Review – October 23, 2022

“THE LION” IS A TALE OF A CHILD’S CHALLENGING RELATIONSHIP WITH HIS FATHER

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

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

As you enter the theater for Arizona Theatre Company’s “The Lion” the stage is a down home locale with five different guitars prominently displayed across the rear of the stage.  Each instrument will be used by agile star Max Alexander-Taylor playing Ben who sings 15 simple but catchy tunes used to describe his challenging relationship with his father, Rick.  The father heads an American home that also includes two brothers plus … Continue Reading

“Oklahoma” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – October 19, 2022

TOURING “OKLAHOMA” REVIVAL LACKS THE UNIQUENESS THAT MADE IT A NEW YORK AND LONDON HIT

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

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Many Broadway shows use unique casting and are presented in theaters with special audience configurations.  These productions often secure glowing reviews that focus on the performers and staging netting financially successful engagements that make them ripe to tour the country.  That’s especially true with well-known shows. Often, these acclaimed productions fail to duplicate New York castings and tours must play in conventional theaters.

Such is the case with the revival of Rodgers … Continue Reading

“Six” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – October 5, 2022

“SIX” IS DAZZLING AMUSEMENT BUT IT’S NOT A CONVENTIONAL BROADWAY MUSICAL

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

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

“Six” is an entertainment extravaganza but it is not a conventional musical as it tells the story of English King Henry VIII’s diverse half-dozen wives.

The musical’s approach to the historic tale is delivered in very contemporary ways avoiding conventional musical theater storytelling techniques.  The score, which explains much of the story, is steeped in the pulsating beat of modern dance hall style tunes associated with that musical genre.  The song lyrics often have a clever … Continue Reading