Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our Broadway World - 4/7; NEXT TO NORMAL in Connecticut, I AM MY OWN WIFE in Oklahoma 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 NEXT TO NORMAL in Connecticut, I AM MY OWN WIFE in Oklahoma, and RULES OF SECONDS in Los Angeles, just to name a few. Check out our top features below!
1. Connecticut: Editor Joseph Harrison reviews NEXT TO NORMAL at TheaterWorks. He says, "Anyone who knows me knows I am passionate about the theatre and about the rare and radiant feeling that can only come from a few hours in a darkened space connecting on an emotional level both with a set of actors and those around you sharing that common experience. Sometimes a play gets it right, sometimes it doesn't, but sometimes a production comes along that is something else altogether. It goes beyond entertainment, reaching in and touching you to your very core in a brilliant symphony of emotional energy. This is exactly what is happening at TheaterWorks in Hartford in its latest production - Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey's NEXT TO NORMAL, and it is something truly magnificent." Read more here.
2. Kansas City, MO: Editor Alan Portner reviews A RAISIN IN THE SUN at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. He says, "Greta Oglesby as Lena is a very talented actor. She effortlessly reminds us of the values espoused by our own grandmothers regardless of ethnicity. The scope of her previous work is broad and significant.... "Raisin In The Sun" spotlights significant and serious conflicts, but the playwright has crafted a story that offers a lot to smile about and even laugh out loud. It makes its points about civil rights and the African American experience without excluding people from other experiences. "Raisin" is a long play that somehow never loses the attention of its audience." Read more here.
3. Oklahoma: Editor Ronn Burton reviews I AM MY OWN WIFE at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma. He says,"In this one-man show, Charlotte and all the other roles are portrayed by Matthew Alvin Brown. While remaining in a single costume (designed by Jeffrey Meek) - low-heeled boots, a head kerchief, and a plain gray dress, accented only by a simple string of pearls - Brown instantly transforms before our eyes into over 30 different people to tell von Mahlsdorf's story. In an interesting structure, the playwright Doug Wright is actually a personality in his own play: Brown portrays both sides of the interviews between playwright Doug and Charlotte, plus numerous supporting roles. In this astounding theatrical feat, Brown deftly imbues each part with a distinct voice and physicality, jumping from one person to the next in the blink of an eye. He is particularly nimble and auspicious in landing the humor of Wright's script; his Charlotte always has a twinkle in her eye, adding much-needed levity to some of the heavier plot points." Read more here.
4. Orlando, FL: Editor Kimberly Moy reviews ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA at Orlando Shakes. She says, "Heading the cast is famed Star Trek actor Michael Dorn as Mark Antony. As Antony, Dorn fulfills his role as both powerful and impulsive. After living through all the drama with Julius Caesar, it is no wonder that Antony chooses to take a break and indulge in the grandeur of Egypt. When duty calls, Antony returns to Rome and does what is best for the Empire, but war draws him back to Egypt. He is a fallible character as his love blinds him from making logical war decisions. The rest is history. Shakespeare suits Dorn well. He has a classic pitch and interprets the character well." Read more here.
5. Los Angeles, CA: Editor George Brietigam reviews RULES OF SECONDS at The Latino Theatre Company. He says, "RULES OF SECONDS is easily the best new play that's premiered in Los Angeles this year. John Pollono's original story is well crafted, easy to follow, and very smart... The cast is terrific; the design is stunning; and, the utter ridiculousness of Jamie Harris' character will leave you laughing like a hyena." Read more here.
6. Denver, CO: Editor Chris Arneson reviews JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR at Arvada Center. He says, "The stellar cast is led by Billy Lewis Jr., whom you might recognize as a newcomer Mason on the final season of TV's Glee. Lewis, who's got the Jesus look down, brings killer rock vocals to the role, infused with the kind of passionate pathos you crave from his ballads. He makes Jesus relatably mortal, keeping his struggle evident and profound.... But as much as this is Jesus's story, this is Judas's show. An exceptional Matt LaFontaine (who stepped into the role only a couple days prior to opening) rips his heart out onstage and belts some really impressive notes about it. His portrayal is devoted, not taking a moment for granted, and you can feel it." Read more here.
7. Australia: Editor Jade Kops reviews DRACULA at Shake & Stir Theatre Company. She says, "Nelle Lee and Nick Skubij have adapted Bram Stoker's well known novel for a new generation, presenting a dark and mysterious 105 minute performance that remains true to the original story. Director Michael Futcher has worked with Set Designer Josh McIntosh to present a work that smoothly transitions back and forth between England and Transylvania with moving sets, creeping fog, Guy Webster's ominous Sound Design and new compositions and Jason Glenwright's suspense filled Lighting Design. The multilayered set allows the chaos and madness to be expressed with movement and a multitude of pathways." Read more here.
National Tour Highlight:
8. Pittsburgh Editor Dylan Shaffer reviews THE KING AND I at the Benedum Center. He says, "Ms. Kelly, undertaking the role of Anna, fares tremendously. Her voice is pure and heavenly, a gift directly from Buddha. Her stunning gowns, complete with cage crinoline, never get in her way, even when polkaing across the stage or bowing below the King's head. Ms. Kelly exemplifies the Anna of whom Rogers and Hammerstein wrote." Read more here.
9. Classical Music. Editor Peter Danish features 'What's On Your IPod?' with Jordan Rudess. "Jordan Rudess is without question one of the great keyboard virtuosos in world today. From his early solo work, thru his collaborations with Rod Morgenstern of the Dixie Dregs, to his extraordinary contributions to progressive metal legends Dream Theatre." Find out what's on his IPod here.
10. Frank Benge, Austin, TX. Frank Benge has been active in the Austin Theatre scene since he moved here in 1982 as an actor, director, designer and playwright. He has received both the Austin Applause Award and the Kansas Renna Hunter Award for his acting. In addition to his editor duties for BWW, he is currently in rehearsal for the regional premiere of BONHOEFFER'S COST and is about to begin rehearsals directing the world premiere of MOAN THEM BLUES: A NIGHT WITH Bessie Smith, an environmental theatre piece that will take audiences back to the days of twenties nightclubs. A graduate of Washburn University with a double major in English and Theatre, he has appeared in or directed well over 200 productions.
Why does he enjoy writing for BroadwayWorld? Frank says, "I enjoy writing for BroadwayWorld because it allows me the opportunity to spread the word to people about the really exceptional theatre work that happens here in Austin. It also lets me talk about the people and companies here and hopefully increase their audiences."
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