Non-Registered Critics: Melinda Schupmann

Oct

Something Rotten! presented by Musical Theatre West

Director Josh Grisetti, who also performed Nigel in the New York production, leads the cast in a brisk, well executed play. Giving a nod to the Globe Theater, working from the stage and stage apron, the scenic changes can be as fluid as necessary as the actors traverse the locations.

Led by the multi-talented Music Director Dennis Castellano, numbers like "Welcome to the Renaissance" give the show its Broadway sizzle. Choreographer Eric Sciotto also puts his cast through some engaging numbers, including "It's Eggs" with some fine visuals.

Costumes by Robin I. McGee are colorful, and scenery/lighting (Paul Black) and sound (Terry Dycus) easily fill the bill. Wigs are nicely done by Michon Gruber-Gonzales.

This show makes a great addition to MTW's season. It's big, it's fun, and it has enough wit to engage and dazzle to delight. Judging by the audience's reception, it should be a winner for the company.

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Oct

BLUE MAN GROUP

Among the most recognizable novelty acts extant, the three cobalt-blue headed guys in black trench coats are still amusing audiences long after their 1987 debut. What they do is part clown, part musician, and part artist. It is impromptu and planned, depending on the whims of the performers. For 90 minutes they unleash their special blend of theatrical shtick to the delight of the crowd.

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Sep

To Dad with Love: A Tribute to Buddy Ebsen

Another highlight is a sequence in which Kiki imagines a dance with her father (played by  Gast). It is icing on the cake--an evocative moment that must be a pleasure for Kiki Ebsen to include. Overall, it is a charming tribute to the man so familiar to us all yet one with the usual human foibles.

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Jul

The Producers

Never let it be said that a large profile show needs an enormous stage to execute fabulous musical numbers, because the tiny LGBTQQIA-friendly Celebration Theatre at the Lex has surpassed any expectations for re-creating the wonderfully funny 2001 Tony award-winning Broadway hit. On an almost impossibly small stage, 13 cast members bring to life the improbable story of producer Max Bialystock's (Richardson Jones) frenzied quest for a return to glory.

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Jun

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Director Michael Heitzman brings out the special qualities required to give this story its emotional core as special effects take center stage...

This is a show that draws children and adults to the theater with happy anticipation, and La Mirada delivers all that could be hoped for.

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May

The Price

Credit goes to the actors who make believable the interference from the old man and the ultimate showdown telegraphed from the start.

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May

Daniel's Husband

Director Simon Levy skillfully provides a balanced and evenhanded touch at the lighthearted and charming outset, but when Daniel's fate has to be decided, he gives the actors space to explore the realism of the situation with empathy and believability. His emphasis on the multi-dimensional nature of the characters adds to the thoughtful import of the story...

This is a play that resonates long after the final moments. McKeever follows the dramatic ending with a flashback that allows the audience to revisit Daniel and Mitchell in a sweeter moment. Thanks to the fine production, this night of theater stimulates discussion and debate.

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Apr

SINGIN' IN THE RAIN

The success of a show is determined by the audience reaction to the production, and many moments bring extended applause and gasps of pleasure as fancy footwork is exhibited and all the elements of the original movie come to life... It's clear that Singin' in the Rain continues to be a welcome revival with its familiar music and cheerful romantic storyline.

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Apr

HEISENBERG

Director Katherine Farmer understands them well and lets them find the trajectory that propels the story forward. Pauses are profound and stage business disappears as the audience becomes more and more involved in discovery. There is much humor in the journey...

The rebirth of these two individuals challenges theories about how people behave when paired in a seemingly random way. Though Stephens ends the play with closure, his gift to the audience is that you are left to ponder what might really happen next for these two as their lives play out.

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Apr

Catch Me If You Can - The Musical

The show is part fun, part object lesson, and, given Musical Theatre West's treatment by director Raben, an audience pleaser. It makes a nice addition to MTW's 66th season.

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Mar

Life Could Be A Dream

Bill Wolfe's musical direction is spot-on, adding to the success of the many vocals in the show...

This is a crowd-pleaser, certainly for those in the audience who listened to the originals growing up. For a younger generation, it's an introduction to the '50s and '60s doo-wop phenomenon first-hand.

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Feb

HELLO DOLLY

Though by modern standards the plot and sentiments of Dolly are far from politically correct, star power takes center stage, supported by an ensemble that adds the requisite humor and goofy charm...

The show is full of froth, and love triumphs as expected. The cast and ensemble meld together as perfectly as one would hope, which is not always the case in touring shows.

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Oct

42ND STREET

Directed with precision by David F. M. Vaughn, the 40-member cast sings and taps with high spirits and sparkle. With over eighty wigs and a hundred costumes, the production numbers, enhanced by Corey B. Hirsch's fine musical direction, often dazzle.

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Jul

THE HUMANS

There have been hundreds of plays written about family dynamics, sometimes even set, as this one is, in an apartment around a dinner table. This play is a notch above the pack, and it is notable for its naturalistic style and dialogue that packs a subtle punch. It is utterly believable, sympathetic, and its humor guarantees that it will be a theatrical staple illuminating the human condition

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Jul

The 39 Steps

Summer is a perfect time for light comedy, and ICT delivers a delightful homage to Hitchcock and the mystery genre. It's a familiar tale, but as played by the four actors, it becomes fresh and entertaining.

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Jun

CLYBOURNE PARK

The ensemble tackles the characterizations zealously, and Norris's long, slow curve eases us into the diverging issues as we discover the anxieties and dilemmas facing this diverse group. Director Matt August handles both the wit and drama of the story with a fine touch, allowing each character to shine.

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Mar

Daddy Long Legs

This production is an idyll in the canon of musical theater. It doesn't take itself too seriously, and it follows Webster's book much more carefully than several other adaptations, including the 1955 movie starring Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron. Touches of humor and the right amount of romantic tension make this production a durable choice for ICT's 33rd season of Hope, Humor, and Heart.

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Jan

ALADDIN

This touring production has all the flash and dazzle required to ensure audiences will enjoy it and can appeal across a broad spectrum of ticket buyers.

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Sep

Arsenic and Old Lace

In these days of graphic storytelling, Arsenic and Old Lace is a welcome foray into a gentler time. Kesselring's happy ending with a twist comes as a neat conclusion to a production that has an enthusiastic ensemble enjoying themselves with a willing audience along for the ride.

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