Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Review: The Tempest

Posted By on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 at 6:07 PM

Payton Smith and Danny Bowen star in The Tempest. - CAT LANDRUM
  • Payton Smith and Danny Bowen star in The Tempest.

The Tempest, written around 1610, is presumed to be Shakespeare’s final play, and perhaps a metaphor for a deteriorating monarchy. The drama, currently being presented by New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane, revolves around a group of men who cause considerable misery to others in pursuit of their political ambitions. In the end, they are forgiven through the benevolence of Prospero (Danny Bowen), who suffered the most.

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Review: Triassic Parq

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 10:09 AM


Viewers of the film Jurassic Park may feel terrified for the story’s imperiled staff and visitors, not to mention the pathetically bleating goat, but do they wonder how the dinosaurs feel? The monstrous, prehistoric, genetically engineered beasts are imprisoned by electrified fences on a remote island and used as entertainment for ecotourists. That is the perspective taken by playwright and songwriter Marshall Pailet in an alternative, musical interpretation of Michael Crichton’s science-fiction fantasy.

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Friday, June 23, 2017

Review: Annie Get Your Gun

Posted By on Fri, Jun 23, 2017 at 5:41 PM

Jason Dowies and Katie Howe star in Annie Get Your Gun. - PHOTO BY MICHAEL PALUMBO
  • Jason Dowies and Katie Howe star in Annie Get Your Gun.

For eons, women have played the weaker sex so men could feel stronger, but that ploy just never sat well with Annie Oakley (Katie Howe), a backwoods sharpshooter and subject of the 1946 musical, Annie Get Your Gun. The show’s main character, who was based on a performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, longs for attention from her competitor Frank Butler (Jason Dowies), but cannot bring herself to let him win. Throughout the musical, currently running at Summer Lyric Theatre at Tulane University, Annie and Frank vie for the title of world’s best sharpshooter, a contest that quickly becomes an obstacle to their relationship.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Review: It’s Only a Play

Posted By on Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Cecile Monteyne, Sean Patterson and Leslie Castay star in It's Only a Play. - JOHN BARROIS
  • Cecile Monteyne, Sean Patterson and Leslie Castay star in It's Only a Play.

The 1980s Broadway theater community, known all too well by award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, comes to life on the stage of Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre in It’s Only a Play, presented in conjunction with The NOLA Project. (McNally updated the work in 2014 so celebrity names, cultural references and personalities seem contemporary.) A show business parody, the cast is a collection of dramatic egotists coming together for an opening night gala at the producer’s home. As the playwright, the producer, the director, an actress, a supportive friend, a drama critic and a coat check person anxiously await New York newspaper reviews, their personal eccentricities are in plain sight.

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Review: The Taming of the Shrew

Posted By on Thu, Jun 8, 2017 at 11:55 AM

Devyn Tyler and Andrew Vaught star in The Taming of the Shrew. - JASON KRUPPA
  • Devyn Tyler and Andrew Vaught star in The Taming of the Shrew.

The Taming of the Shrew is a classic Shakespeare comedy and one of the playwright’s most popular works. It’s based on the proverbial war between the sexes, and the plot pits an opportunistic, 16th-century lord against a headstrong woman, whom he is wooing in order to acquire her substantial dowry. While Shakespeare’s script never indicated manhandling in order to tame the tempestuous Kate, dramatic interpretations often include bullishness, such as spanking or even Petruchio flinging Kate over his shoulder. The current production at Lupin Theatre, presented by Cripple Creek Theatre Company and New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane, however, positions Katharina (Devyn Tyler) as an equal sparring partner to Petruchio (Andrew Vaught), who aims to transform the wildcat into a sweet and subservient wife.

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Thursday, June 1, 2017

Review: Ain't Misbehavin'

Posted By on Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 4:17 PM


Ain’t Misbehavin’, The Fats Waller Musical, currently running in the retro ambience of The National World War II Museum’s BB’s Stage Door Canteen, begins with the title song, composed by Waller in 1929, and ends with “Keepin’ Out of Mischief Now,” released by Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra in 1932. Waller’s music is lively and bawdy, playful and raw and sometimes recalls speakeasies (“The Joint is Jumpin’”) where liquor flowed freely and marijuana was rife.

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Thursday, May 18, 2017

Caravan Stage Company opens Nomadic Tempest Friday

Posted By on Thu, May 18, 2017 at 10:43 AM


Caravan Stage Company has delayed the local opening of Nomadic Tempest until Friday.

The company lives and performs on its boat, the Amara Zee. Nomadic Tempest debuted in St. Petersburg, Florida April 4. The company was supposed to sail to New Orleans and open the show May 11, but rough weather in the Gulf of Mexico forced delays. The ship is at Pontchartain Landing, where performances will start at 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: The Spider Queen

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 3:58 PM


The Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden in City Park is enchanting even without the appearance of super-sized puppets, medieval costumes, trolls, elves, druids and a Minotaur. So, as The NOLA Project introduces a cast of fantastic creatures and lighting effects in its original production, The Spider Queen, audience members’ imagination ignites. The characters and action are thrillingly close to spectators seated in the round, and lighting and sound effects enhance the story’s illusion.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Review: Bye Bye Birdie

Posted By on Wed, May 10, 2017 at 1:05 PM


By the time Elvis Presley was drafted, he was a teenage heartthrob, drawing swarms of swooning teenagers everywhere he went. His induction into the Army in 1958 was the inspiration behind Bye Bye Birdie, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical parodying public appearances of a fictitious rock ’n’ roll singer, Conrad Birdie (Trevor Brown). Deeply in debt, Birdie’s talent agent Albert Peterson (Bryce Slocumb) concocts a publicity stunt to boost record sales, randomly selecting one member of the Midwest Conrad Birdie Fan Club, Kim MacAfee (Haley Nicole Taylor) to receive a televised kiss as Birdie departs the train station.

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Review: Gutenberg! The Musical!

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 5:38 PM

Gary Rucker and Sean Patterson star in Gutenberg! The Musical!.
  • Gary Rucker and Sean Patterson star in Gutenberg! The Musical!.

“Writing a musical is not easy,” says Doug Simon (Gary Rucker) — to which Bud Davenport (Sean Patterson) quips, “Hats off to you, Elton John!”

Gutenberg! The Musical!, currently being produced by The Storyville Collective at The Theatre at St. Claude, is a play-within-a-play in which a couple of aspiring show creators present a sliver of an idea to would-be producers. The two engaging characters — Bud, who is writing the score, and Doug, who is developing the script — hope to convince investors to back their idea so they can produce it on Broadway. There are just a few problems with their plan. Their nonaction hero, Johannes Gutenberg, invented movable type, which does not lend itself to quick-witted dialogue and dramatic action. Doug and Bud search the internet for information about him but find that details of his life are “scant.” So they make up a story, classifying it as “historical fiction” (“fiction that’s true”) and set it to music performed by the amiable pianist, James Kelly.

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