Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our Broadway World - 4/21; TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD in Salt Lake, THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE in L.A. and More!
BroadwayWorld presents a comprehensive weekly roundup of regional stories around our Broadway World, which include videos, editor spotlights, regional reviews and more. This week, we feature WEST SIDE STORY in Philadelphia, THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE in Los Angeles, and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD in Salt Lake City, just to name a few. Check out our top features below!
1. Norfolk, VA: Editor Jeffrey Walker reviews SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER at Riverside Center for the Performing Arts. He says, "At Riverside, the Travolta role of disco-king Tony Manero is taken by Michael Notardonato who has the looks, moves and charms to carry the show handily. Unlike Travolta in the dramatic film which featured dancing to a Bee Gees soundtrack, Notardonato has to sing for his supper, as well as emote and dance the night away. No worries here - Riverside's Tony has strong and expressive pipes and delivers his five numbers stylishly. He truly embodies the restlessness of the 19-year old stuck in a dead end job, frustrated at how his parents treat him, and who lives for those Saturday night's at the 2001 Odyssey, the Brooklyn discotheque that serves as his weekly kingdom." Read more here.
2. Central NY: Editor Natasha Ashley reviews THE ODD COUPLE at The Central New York Playhouse. She says, "John Melvin as the "divorced, broke, and sloppy" Oscar Madison is hilarious as he continually trashes the home and covers his poker game buddies with food and beer. Melvin is relaxed, comedic, and plays off of his fellow actors perfectly. He is definitely enjoying every moment on stage. His confidence, attitude, and facial expressions are what the audience would expect for Oscar Madison." Read more here.
3. New Jersey. Editor Marina Kennedy reviews THE WOMEN OF PADILL at Two River Theater. She says, "THE WOMEN OF PADILL is timely piece that conveys a poignant statement about the tragic effects that war has on the homefront. And with conflicts now occurring around the world, the situations and sentiments are universal ones. The leadership of Two River Theater that includes Artistic Director, John Dias and Managing Director, Michael Hurst; have, once again, presented the metro area audience with a theatrical gem. Read more here.
4. Nashville, TN: Editor Jeffrey Ellis presents a new feature, GOOD MORNING, THEATERATI, where he asks the musical question: "What's happening this week?" In his first installment, he features "Nashville Rep's stellar production of A Raisin in the Sun closes out its run on Saturday night, the very same night Murfreesboro's Center for the Arts hosts its annual fundraising gala! Actors' Bridge and Belmont University Theatre throw open the theater doors this weekend for the final weekend of Jessica Dickey's The Amish Project, starring an astonishing ensemble of students and pros...while Nashville Shakespeare Festival and Lipscomb University Theatre welcome audiences to their continuation of the Sean Martin-directed Richard II, starring some of my very favorite actors!" Read more here.
5. Los Angeles, CA: Editor Shari Barrett reviews THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE at Geffen Playhouse. She says, "The play with fantastic and ultra-flamboyant musical numbers will keep you laughing from beginning to end, centered on "a wildly joyous story of empathy, of inclusivity, of community, of the potential for art to build bridges," according to the Geffen's Artistic Director Randall Arney. Along with Mr. Arney, I send kudos to the six collaborators who have shepherded the play in its journey before arriving at the Geffen: playwright Matthew Lopez, director Mike Donahue, choreographer Paul McGill, cast memberMatt McGrath, set designer Donyale Werle and sound designer Jill BC Du Boff so that L.A. audiences have a chance to celebrate the glory that stems from watching the best drag queen show since KINKY BOOTS." Read more here. Want to see what other critics had to say? Read our Review Roundup here!
6. Salt Lake City, UT: Editor Tyler Hinton reviews Hale Centre Theatre's TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. He says, "The technical elements eschew ostentatiousness with sensible, appropriate, and attractive imagery. The scenic design by Jennifer Stapley Taylor cleverly utilizes columned platforms as both neighborhood porches and the courtroom. A gnarled, picturesque tree overlooks the proceedings both physically and thematically. The costume design by Peggy Willis is accurate to the time and place and matches the set and script in color and sentiment. The sound design by Dan Morgan and lighting design by Adam Flitton are both afforded moments to shine with carefully rendered offstage dialogue." Read more here.
7. China. Sevin Ceviker of FJK Dance blogs about her tour in China. In this week's installment, she shares a meet and greet with the cast. She says, "What we experience beyond the stage with these kids is priceless! Some of them haven't even heard of some iconic and historical names of dance legends, and it feels wonderful to give them a little bit more to learn. We are hoping they take this further, and use our connection as the inspiration to follow their dreams, as I was so fortunate to do." Check out her blog here.
National Tour Highlight:
8. Appleton, WI: Editor Meredith Kreisa reviews FINDING NEVERLAND at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. She says, "The child performers are among the best you could hope to see in any production. They are all excellent singers, actors and dancers and bring energy to the show. Ben Krieger is a particular standout as Peter. His vocals are impressive, and his skillful acting makes his character particularly sympathetic." Read more here.
9. Opera. Editor Richard Sasanow reviews Tchaikovsky's EUGENE ONEGIN at the Met. He says, "Soprano Anna Netrebko turned in another one of her magic acts at the Met, on April 12, with a gorgeously sung performance of Tatiana in the Tchaikovsky work, which is based on one of Russia's most beloved novels. Oh sure, she didn't exactly come across as a teenager in Act I--few can--but, nonetheless, the emotions and commitment behind the role and its music had me hooked. Her "Letter Scene" was devastating, as was her reaction to being dismissed by Onegin, a blase, older man." Read more here.
10. Lauren Yarger, Connecticut. Lauren Yarger is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state, and Reflections in the Light, the only website offering theater coverage with an added Christian/family perspective on content. She is a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com and writes regular monthly columns on women and theater and Top Picks for upcoming Connecticut theater. She also contributes reviews to Theaterlife.com and BuddyHollywood.com among others.
She is Second Vice President of the Drama Desk where she oversees special events and serves on the Membership Committee. She is a voting member of the Outer Critics Circle and is managing this year's awards dinner at Sardi's.
In Connecticut, Yarger is a Co-Founder of the CT Chapter of the League of Professional Theater Women and a member of the CT Critics Circle. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT and is a voting member of the American Theater Critics Association.
She served as the theater critic for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, the Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com and as a Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.
Yarger trained for three years in the Broadway League's Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Three-Day Training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run.
She has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events. She co-wrote a musical version of "A Christmas Carol" which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded a Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for "People's Choice for Theatre." She also has written two dinner theaters and currently is adapting the autobiography of actress/model Jennifer O'Neill for the stage.
A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri's School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc.
She also reviews books and writes for Publishers Weekly and helps authors create a buzz about their books with special events through her business TheWritePros.com.
On why she loves writing for BroadwayWorld, Lauren says, "BroadwayWorld brings the stages of New York and Connecticut theater (as well as thousands of other locations) to a national audience. It is a privilege to work with journalists dedicated to covering the performers, creative minds and works that make theater such an exciting and rewarding industry."
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