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“The Rocky Horror Show” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – October 9, 2021

CAMPY “ROCKY HORROR SHOW” IS A WACKY DELIGHT IN TIP-TOP TPTC STAGING

“THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Hormel Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

“The Rocky Horror Show” film is a bizarre, over-the-top camp extravaganza that delights audiences.  The movie has become a cult classic favorite at midnight showings.  But the show was born on a tiny London stage and arrived in this country originally as an obscure off-Broadway type entertainment at a Los Angeles cabaret where Tim Curry starred as the Sweet Transvesite Transexual Transylvanian Frank ‘N’ Furter.

When I attended the LA premiere, I didn’t … Continue Reading

“Bright Colors and Bold Patterns” – Stray Cat Theatre

Theater Review – September 26, 2021

STRAY CAT THEATRE’S “BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD PATTERNS” EXPERTLY PERFORMED BUT DISAPPOINTINGLY ONE-DIMENSIONAL

“BRIGHT COLORS AND BOLD PATTERNS”
Stray Cat Theatre, Studio Theatre, Tempe Center for the Arts
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

The pandemic stifled the Valley’s live theater scene but now with safeguards in place, established companies are reopening.  It is especially noteworthy that Stray Cat Theatre is back with its usual interesting shows.  The lesser-known plays the company presents provide Valley theatergoers with well-produced alternatives to shows avoided by our established professional theaters – Arizona Theatre Company, The Phoenix Theatre Company, and ASU Gammage’s Broadway Across … Continue Reading

“Camelot” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – September 19, 2021

“CAMELOT” STILL SUFFERS FROM A SOGGY HISTORIC RETELLING EVEN IN THE WELL-SUNG TPTC STAGING

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

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

When Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot” premiered in 1960, the original cast – Julie Andrews, Richard Burton, and Robert Goulet – plus a gorgeous but not historically accurate physical production and a catchy musical score made it a modest success.  High expectations were leveled on it because of the team’s previous “My Fair Lady” hit.  Many reasons caused “Camelot” not to become a triumph including T. H. White’s stodgy source material, “The Once and … Continue Reading

“Hamilton” – ASU Gammage

Theater Review – September 8, 2021

NEW ‘HAMILTON” TOUR IMPRESSES IN ASU GAMMAGE RETURN

“HAMILTON”
ASU Gammage
Tempe, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Concurrently to the “Hamilton” Broadway reopening of the enormously popular musical that vibrantly explains our country’s birth with a contemporary twist, a new national tour of the show debuted at ASU Gammage, marking the show’s second local engagement.  Like the previous tour, the new one smashingly re-creates the brilliant show with the original’s sharp and defining perfection.

Each familiar historical character is beautifully crafted in accordance with “Hamilton’s” creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s, new interpretations of these figures based on Ron Chernow’s book.  Miranda introduces many … Continue Reading

“Daddy Long Legs” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – June 26, 2021

LOVELY “DADDY LONG LEGS” IS A SUMMER DELIGHT

“DADDY LONG LEGS”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Hormel Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

After years of reviewing Valley theater, I have seen most local shows previously on Broadway or in London.  So, it is especially refreshing to see a musical here I haven’t seen and know little about.  When that show is the tenderly endearing “Daddy Long Legs,” produced smashingly by The Phoenix Theatre Company, there is little more local theater lovers could cherish.

“Daddy Long Legs” traces the unusual but respectable relationship between rich Jervis Pendleton who uses his money to provide higher … Continue Reading

“Becoming Dr. Ruth” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – June 6, 2021

MARVELOUS PERFORMANCE BRINGS DR. RUTH’S WITTY SEX THERAPY BACK TO LIFE

“BECOMING DR. RUTH”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Mainstage Theatre
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

We all knew Dr. Ruth Westheimer and her witty jabs at common misconceptions about sex practices.  Bringing the sex therapist back to life is a challenge for any performer but The Phoenix Theatre Company found the perfect actor in Debra K. Stevens who crafts a remarkable portrait in “Becoming Dr. Ruth.”

After over a year without live theater where virtual and outdoor performances substituted for the real thing, “Becoming Dr. Ruth” marks the return of … Continue Reading

“My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – April 17, 2021

“MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA” PRESENTS THE CROONER’S WELL-KNOWN SONG HITS IN AN ENJOYABLE TPTC STAGING

“MY WAY: A MUSICAL TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

Iconic crooner Frank Sinatra died in 1998 but his legend lives on because his recordings, television appearances, and movies preserve his unique song styling and well-known and relaxed delivery.  David Grapes and Todd Olson use Sinatra’s hits to create a winning tribute “My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra.”  This melodic, memory-filled entertainment uses four performers who sing … Continue Reading

“Ring of Fire” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – March 13, 2021

“RING OF FIRE” IS A TREAT FOR JOHNNY CASH LOVERS AND ROUSIING ENTERTAINMENT FOR CASH DOUBTERS IN FOOT-STOMPIN’ TPTC STAGING””

“RING OF FIRE”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

For musical theater lovers, country/western singer Johnny Cash has little relevance while Cash lovers have little use for musicals.  So, it was surprising when Richard Maltby, Jr. and William Meade used several popular Cash song hits to create “Ring of Fire,” a tribute to the great song writer/singer.  And when The Phoenix Theatre Company mounts a sharply performed production, the result is a … Continue Reading

“Murder for Two” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – February 20, 2021

“MURDER FOR TWO” MOCKS SUSPENSE THRILLERS IN FUNNY STAGING

“MURDER FOR TWO”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

The Phoenix Theatre Company was the first local live theater to be reborn after the pandemic closed venues last March.  Since November, TPTC has presented musical revues that have been safely and socially distanced in their new outdoor playhouse at the Central United Methodist Church courtyard north of the company’s theater complex.

Now TPTC has tackled a popular musical murder mystery farce, “Murder for Two.”  It’s refreshing to have a nicely staged and expertly performed … Continue Reading

“Get Happy: Angela Ingersoll Sings Judy Garland” – The Phoenix Theatre Company

Theater Review – January 31, 2021

TPTC’S JUDY GARLAND SHOW BRINGS BACK THE ICONIC SUPER STAR

“GET HAPPY: ANGELA INGERSOLL SINGS JUDY GARLAND”
The Phoenix Theatre Company, Outdoor Theatre, Courtyard, Central United Methodist Church
Phoenix, AZ

By Chris Curcio
Theater Critic

Judy Garland was a dynamic, one-of-a-kind entertainer who had it all – looks, a legendary voice, all the right moves, impeccable stage flourish but most of all a personality like no other performer.  Even when I saw her in her last San Francisco engagement before she took London by storm just before her passing, she was beyond her prime but still something special.

Her earlier brilliance had … Continue Reading