Non-Registered Critics: Julia Stier

Mar

Canyon

Canyon tells a touching tale that highlights family and the sacrifices we make for the ones we love. It also does a wonderful job of exposing how quickly people abandon practicing what they preach when they feel trapped.

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Feb

America Adjacent

Humorous and compassionate, America Adjacent is not to be missed. A strong, all-female cast brings these vibrant characters to life…Top Ten! – RECOMMENDED

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Feb

MAN OF GOD

The show manages to be horrifying yet hilarious as it exposes the extent of the power play that goes on behind abuse. Relevant and well-executed, this production of Man of God manages to make the audience both laugh and squirm. – RECOMMENDED

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Jan

The Cripple of Inishmaan

RECOMMENDED
The script is full of twist and turns, some shocking, others heartbreaking, with one very hopeful one right at the end. The Cripple of Inishmaan makes no attempt to mask the blatant discrimination its characters have against the physically disabled, and in so doing exposes a very ugly side of human nature.

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Dec

Special

The show is a good time for fans of Star Wars. You do not have to have seen The Star Wars Holiday Special to enjoy it, but a love for the franchise is a must. So sit back, relax, and — as they say in this show — “May the Force Bea Arthur.”

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Dec

Clarissant

The message of the play is clear and strong — that self-acceptance allows us the power to create our own stories.

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Nov

Vendetta Chrome

While the meshing of these varying aesthetics makes it hard to place the production, it does help reinforce the idea that strict societal norms for women are present in every time period. However, with so many story lines, this important message isn’t as clear as it might be.

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Nov

Desert Rats

An off-stage, dramatic ending to this comedic and thought-provoking piece allows for the audience to decide the characters’ fate for themselves.

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Oct

Villainy

For those who have not read this book or know Holmes’ background, the play is a bit confusing. Told in a series of flashbacks, the narrative comes out choppy. However, it is a gruesome tale befitting this ghoulish time of year.

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Oct

POSSESSION: An American Serial Killer

The dark, intimate space draws the audience into the story. However, some of the technical elements muddle the narrative rather than enhance it. Many of the scenes begin in a disorienting blackout, and the video projections of lions that appear during Bundy’s more macabre scenes are a little confusing.

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Oct

STARRY

…These three lend their dancing skills to the story, and at times beautifully capture Vincent’s emotions through movement. D’Angelo’s simple staging allows for fluidity in the storytelling. The characters shift easily between many different locations, and the absence of a set allows the audience to be transported into the mind of Vincent van Gogh, a place of magic and madness. – RECOMMENDED

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Sep

The Rescued

Under the direction of Marya Mazor, a small yet spectacular cast takes on the personas of rescue animals and tells their startlingly relatable stories. – RECOMMENDED

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Sep

“BLACK!”

Brown’s belief in the importance of this story, this message, makes him engaging to watch, and he is met with a receptive audience, willing to connect with and learn from him.

For audience members of all races and colors, this show educates, inspires, and illuminates new perspectives on the black experience. – RECOMMENDED

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Sep

ROMEO AND JULIET

Ironically enough, where this tragedy excels is in its comedy… This is a thought-provoking take on a classic tale that reflects a chilling time in history. However, there are a couple of moments that don’t quite add up.

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Aug

HOLE IN THE SKY

The story can be a little hard to follow at times, especially in moments where Connor appears to be addressing an imaginary being. While these interactions are later explained, they can be a bit jolting at first. However, this is a timely story that hits close to home. This production is made possible by an excellent team of technical artists. With the stage backlit by a full moon, Bo Tindell adds warm, amber lighting to light JR Bruce’s rustic set. It’s a beautiful effect. Cricket Myers makes sure that the actors can all be heard over the occasional snorting of a nearby horse.

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Aug

I AM SOPHIE

Shor is enthralling from beginning to end. From her first bubbly “Bonjour!” to her devastating breakdown, she pulls you into her story completely. Moments of heartache are balanced with ones of beauty, and while her tale can get dark, she keeps it from devolving into one of despair. – RECOMMENDED

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Aug

Fallen Saints: Dark

…the ensemble works to put the audience in the appropriate mindset. With the lights off, you can hear the performers creeping and crawling about, using hisses and snarls to create a mood-setting, nightmarish soundscape. Melissa Muñoz’s makeup design is stunning. She turns each actor into a gloriously made-up, though slightly twisted, china-doll-like figure. The result is a collection of beautiful yet grotesque-in-appearance actors who easily shift in and out of their roles to play a wide range of characters.

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Jul

Arrival & Departure

This opportunity to experience a mainstream, theatrical performance that features American Sign Language so prominently is a rare treat. Adam Burch and Stasha Surdyke interpret for Kotsur and Bray respectively, and captioning is presented during non-signed scenes, making Arrival & Departure one of the few shows completely inclusive of deaf, hard of hearing and hearing audience members alike.

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Jul

Pump Boys and Dinettes

Each member of the Pump Boys is an expertly skilled musician, and they cheekily declare themselves masters of “pump rock.” Set designer Jeff G. Rack beautifully accommodates space for both the garage and diner, including a large, vinyl booth where the Cup sisters serve select audience members pie and coffee.

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Jun

Sam Shaber: Life, Death & Duran Duran

Shaber manages to share these painful memories from her past without focusing on the negative. She finds light and optimism in each one,and passes on a message of hope. Furthermore, the trust she puts in her audiences as receivers of her story makes it feel like a privilege to be invited in to listen. She is incredibly honest, which makes it impossible not to be affected.

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