Registered Critic: Paul Myrvold - Theatre Notes

Paul Myrvold has been writing theatre commentary for over thirty years, first in the Bay Area covering every kind of performance including plays, musicals, ballet, opera, circus and even a Portuguese-style bull fight. He has written about theatrical performances at all levels in all kinds of venues from the premiere theatres, such as A.C.T., Berkeley Rep and TheatreWorks, to smaller, high quality venues such as San Jose Stage Company, City Lights Theatre Company and Pacific Repertory Theatre in Carmel. He has also covered community theatre productions, college and university productions and, on occasion, high school productions. Now residing in Southern California, Paul has been commenting on shows throughout Los Angeles County and has stretched his beat to Orange County and South Coast Repertory. An Equity actor for over forty years, Paul played Jonathan Jeremiah Peachum in San Jose Stage Company’s award winning production of The Three Penny Opera and the dual roles of Sir Walter Elliot and Admiral Croft in the world premiere of Jane Austen’s Persuasion also at San Jose Stage Company. He earned a Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Award for “Outstanding Performance” in the supporting roles of J. V. “Major” Bouvier and Dr. Norman Vincent Peale in the musical Grey Gardens at TheatreWorks (2008). In the summer of 2018, he appeared in the highly acclaimed Open Fist Theatre production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood as Reverend Jenkins and Narrator. Paul has performed on Broadway (most notably in the hit show Shenandoah with John Cullum), off Broadway, off-off Broadway, in regional theatres, summer stock and as a Guest Artist at colleges and universities from coast to coast. He has performed his signature role Cervantes/Quixote in Man of La Mancha eight times over four decades, the latest of which was an intimate, theatre-in-the round production at Pacific Repertory Theatre. Some other favorite roles include King Lear, Fred Graham/ Petruchio in Kiss Me, Kate, Trigorin in The Sea Gull, Fredrik Egerman in A Little Night Music and Caldwell B. Cladwell in Urinetown. Paul is never happier than when he is in the theatre, either on stage or in the audience, and he hopes to see you at intermission or after the show.
Sep

The Glass Menagerie

The action of the play, with the Williams' inimitable flow of language, keeps the audience rapt as it absorbs the quirks of the characters and the humor and pathos of their individual situations. The cast is sterling led by a bravura performance by Ms. Parsons who does justice to the first of Tennessee Williams' grand females. Ms. Zerebko gives a nuanced, complex performance as Laura. Mr. Mayberry's Tom is instantly likeable as he bonds with the audience, but fierce in his desire to escape the smothering life he leads as Amanda's son and Laura's brother. And Mr. Garcia-Sanchez, handsome and charming as Jim, is the perfect picture of the disappointed former high school hero struggling to regain that glory.

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Sep

Infidel

Produced by Rebecca Robertson-Szwaja and directed by the playwright, Infidel benefits from a fine creative team. The projections by Sean T. Cawelti are excellent and support the action as well as time and place. His Bull of Heaven mask is terrific. Jeff Gardner's sound design with music of Arabian flute and oud is spot on. Rounding out the team are lighting designer Derrick McDaniel, costume designer Phoebe Longhi, props designer/set dresser Tiffany Miller, and graphics designer Leonard Konopelski.

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Jul

The Foreigner

The Foreigner, deftly directed by David Graham, boasts excellent production values with a surprisingly spacious, impeccably dressed set by scenic designer Kaitlin Chang, and subtle, unobtrusive lighting by Shannon Barondeau. Elena Vannoni's costumes are appropriate to time, place and character. And the sound design by director Graham adds fine moments of reality, and the incidental bluegrass music is perfect. Tara Donovan produces, and the stage is deftly managed by Jacob Severance.

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Jun

SOFT POWER

David Henry Hwang's Soft Power is a bold triumph in a unique form that blends the social issues of race relations, international relations, and American and Chinese politics in an up-to-the minute sensibility that includes the American gun tragedy and the world's wonder at the convoluted situation of an electoral college rooted in a past that insured the continuation of slavery. Soft Power is a heavyweight work of art that is as thought provoking as it is entertaining. It fully deserved the opening night audience's instantaneous standing ovation that continued in power as the large cast took their well deserved bows. If you love theatre, if you love drama, if you love comedy, if you love musical theatre, this is your show. Soft Power is a powerhouse. See it!

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Jun

Coriolanus

The Theatricum Botanicum production is an extravaganza boasting a cast of fifty-eight that fill the stage with action. The acting is big and declamatory, de rigueur for an outdoor theatre... Coriolanus is not an easy show. It can challenge an audience with its language and unfamiliar story... Readers, grab this chance to experience this remarkable production. You may not have another chance.

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Jun

Disasteroid! (Best Musical Nominee - Encore Performance)

Disasteroid!, written and composed by Zachary Bernstein, who also serves as musical director and show drummer, is the perfect late night capper (lights up at 11pm) for those on the town. Smartly directed by Guy Picot, the show boasts a cast of actor/singer/dancers who, from first note to last, invest the musical with precise style and unflagging verve... The dancing, choreographed by Sarah M. Kruger, is vigorous, precise and amazingly energetic...  The singing in the show matches the precision of the dancing with close country harmonies that are frequently backed up by the excellent three-piece band

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Jun

Lysistrata Unbound

As the character of Lysistrata carries the hope of the world on her shoulders, so Brenda Strong carries the show. Her performance is powerful and passionate. All the other characters are essentially archetypes, which is not to say they are dull. Indeed, this company of players expresses the same level of ardent commitment as Ms. Strong. Their bodies, hearts, and minds are totally in the game. The commitment to social justice and the end of war matches what I saw and participated in back in the day, when theatre groups hit the streets in protest and El Teatro Campesino encouraged farm workers to throw off their chains.

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May

Mr. Pim Passes By

Under the direction of Jules Aaron, the show strives for a modern pace, but the script is leisurely and may try the patience of a modern audience. Myself? I giggled quite a lot throughout, but never got to guffaw. And though the play is an antique, I am very glad to have seen it.

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May

Wiesenthal

For more than ninety minutes, Mr. Dugan portrays with sparkling good humor a man still vibrant in his nineties who shuffles more than he walks as he details some of his accomplishments,...

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May

The Giant Void in My Soul

This show shines with brilliance. Mr. Cubría's script is lean, precise and filled with originality in concept and language.

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May

Forever Bound

A BONA FIDE MUST-SEE… The playwright's pace of revelation is too engrossing, too delicious to reveal anymore of the plot… The actors, under the incisive, fast paced direction of Ann Hearn Tobolowsky, deliver crisp, nuanced performances that are at once both searing and emotionally gripping while dancing on the knife edge of riotous comedy.

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Apr

What Happened When

This cast is extraordinary, expressing a range of emotions that is utterly, intensely absorbing. Nothing is held back. It is as tight an ensemble as can be imagined.

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Apr

Akuma-Shin

While there is much to admire in the show, Akuma-shin seems like an extended series of Saturday Night Live skits, some of which work and some don't. It is hard to know quite what to make of it. I left the theatre bemused.

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Mar

Unemployed Elephants - A Love Story

Under the savvy direction of Maria Gobetti, Ms. Bee and Mr. McCabe are terrific together, getting the most out of the comedy while connecting to the audience with true emotion.

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Mar

A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

The Actors Co-op Theatre Company's production of A Man for All Seasons is absorbing, thrilling theatre, that packs an emotional punch exactly when it should.

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Mar

The Alamo

It is breathtaking theatre at its very best....the cast as an ensemble delivers performances of indelible truth. Splendid new play. I feel it now as I write. I can't forget it, nor will I forget this performance.

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Feb

Daddy Long Legs

This version of Daddy Long Legs is a chamber piece that is almost an opera, with spoken words seamlessly leading into song and back again, with song accounting for ninety percent of the action...Produced by Artistic Director caryn desai, Daddy Long Legs is a triumph for ICT, and fully deserves the spontaneous standing ovation rendered by the audience on the evening I saw the show.

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Feb

One Year Later

Open Fist is excellent in producing a show of what they call pop-ups, that is, really short plays that are serious, comic, and deeply thought provoking. The sketches express the currents of social and political reality.

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Feb

ELLIOT, A SOLDIER'S FUGUE

The cast, under the outstanding direction of Shishir Kurup, is sensational, seamlessly moving back and forth in time, assuming the characteristics of their older and younger selves as they bear the misfortunes of war.

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Feb

WATER BY THE SPOONFUL

Superbly produced by Center Theatre Group, Water by the Spoonful, the second play in Quiara Alegría Hudes' Elliot Trilogy, is a vibrant play of ideas, emotion and heart, leavened with abundant humor.

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