G-L-O-R-I-A! Gloria fascinates, frightens at ACT

Feb 27

G-L-O-R-I-A! <i>Gloria</i> fascinates, frightens at ACT

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' Gloria is a fascinating play. It's a lively workplace comedy until it's an unsettling workplace drama. There's a sheen of satire to it but also reality and heart. There's a bracing boldness to it that makes its two hours fly by, and its path is never exactly what you think it will be.

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There’s a Sting in this Ship but no sting

Feb 26

There’s a Sting in this <i>Ship</i> but no sting

When a show flops on Broadway and then undergoes serious re-tooling, you hold out hope that lessons were learned, wrongs righted and mistakes corrected. The debut musical from rock icon Sting, The Last Ship, fizzled in New York, but that didn't mean dry dock for this vessel. No, Sting continued to work on it, giving it a complete re-write (with director Lorne Campbell), shuffling and re-shuffling songs and characters and setting out on another voyage, first in England, then in Candada.

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Soaking it up at the SpongeBob musical

Feb 13

Soaking it up at the <i>SpongeBob</i> musical

SpongeBob SquarePants: The Broadway Musical, is the kind of energetic, colorful endeavor that nearly did the trick when it came to making everybody happy. Director Tina Landau and scenic/costume designer David Zinn delivered something with broad humor, fan service and buckets full of flash and sparkle. Cynical critics had to admit they were somewhat surprised to enjoy something they would never have expected to like in a million years.

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Life, death and more fill Will Eno’s Wakey, Wakey at ACT

Jan 30

Life, death and more fill Will Eno’s <i>Wakey, Wakey</i> at ACT

Will Eno is one of the most interesting playwrights in the theaterverse. He's weird and brilliant, funny and deeply humane. Because there can be an oblique and highly theatrical quality to his work, he has often been compared to Beckett, but for me, I feel more Thornton Wilder (somewhere between The Skin of Our Teeth and Our Town). He wrestles in creative and insightful and surprising ways with what it is to be alive and how we're all connected by the knowledge that none of us is getting out of here alive and that we could all probably be doing better when it comes to being aware of our lives as we're living them.

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Summer’s a bummer in all but music

Dec 05

<i>Summer’s</i> a bummer in all but music

For a terrible show, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical is fairly enjoyable, and that is for one reason alone: the music. As jukebox musicals go, this one is toward the bottom of the list, which is surprising given that director and co-writer Des McAnuff has two shows much (much) higher on that list: Jersey Boys and Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations.

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Harry Potter grows up in magical Cursed Child

Dec 02

Harry Potter grows up in magical <i>Cursed Child</i>

Harry Potter, known as "the boy who lived," has continuously found life on the pages of seven best-selling novels, on the screen in eight blockbuster films, in theme parks both in Florida and California and now on stage in an epic two-part, five-plus-hour play that has to be seen to be believed.

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