Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 6/22 - MATILDA, 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 MATILDA, OKLAHOMA, CHICAGO, and more!
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below!
Australia: Contributor Barry Lenny reviews MATILDA at the Adelaide Festival Theatre. He writes "Lucy Maunder plays the appropriately named, Miss Honey, all sweetness and light, without allowing her performance to descend into syrupy sentimentality. Maunder creates the teacher whom we all wish we had had in out first years at school, warm, gentle, supportive, and caring, the complete opposite of the headmistress. James Millar is hilarious as Miss Trunchbull, the villain of the piece. He struts, growls, shouts, and mentally and physically abuses the children. His Miss Trunchbull is an arrogant tyrant, charging through the students like a combine harvester in a wheat field, with audience laughter following him every step of the way."
Los Angeles: Contributing Editor Don Grigware reviews 3-D Theatricals' OKLAHOMA! He writes "The ensemble headed by Aks and Zachary Ford as Curly are magnificent triple threat performers. Aks has an operatic voice that dazzles and Ford has grown over the years into an exceedingly fine singer and actor. Tom Berklund as Will Parker makes his acrobatic dance moves look second nature and gives a superb performance. In line with the American Dream, both Will and Curly as played by Berklund and Ford show strength and determination in getting ahead and settling down with the women of their choice. Aks as Laurey is a much more complex character than previous Laureys we have seen. Dawson keeps the emphasis throughout on her tomboyish quality and her great outer strength in helping Aunt Eller ( the terrific Tracy Rowe Mutz) run the farm ... and on her fear of commitment to a relationship. When she pushes Curly aside, rejecting his advances, she is deeply struggling to understand her feelings and also her other unusual emotional connection to Jud Fry. Aks is as wonderful with Laurey's inner consternations as Kelly Dorney is with Ado Annie's openly aggressive reactions to the male element. Dorney's is a delicious performance full of feistiness and fun. Bonds is a sensation as Fry, exuding at times a brutal coldness, yet underneath we sense that there's a lot going on, some of which entails a sort of kind intent, apart from the expected cruelty. Boudreau as Hakim is hysterically delightful as the devious merchant, and E. E. Bell as Andrew Carnes, Ado Annie's pa, is simply great in a smaller role, as is Matt Merchant who stands out from among the 40+ ensemble as the stubborn, outspoken Cord Elam."
New Zealand: Contributing Editor Monica Moore reviews The Pumphouse Theatre's BRING IT ON. She writes "All cast members performed with a credibility beyond their years. Samantha Campbell was the anchor of the show and kept it moving along with her very talented performances. Comedic side kick Xanthe Pavlovich provided plenty of laughs as did Jaymee Brearly along and Kristin Paulse provided a fresh and earthy stage presence winning the audience over with her originality. The choreography (Gemma Boswell) was great and the cheerleading moves were creatively worked in. The basketball number was a personal favourite and kept me on the edge of my seat.
Phoenix: Contributor Herbet Paine reviews THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT TIME. He writes "The supporting performances in this production are crisp and engaging. Gene Gillette cuts a sympathetic figure as Christopher's overbearing and protective father, desperately seeking to connect with his son while keeping a secret that may alienate him. Felicity Jones Latta is gripping as the mother whose frustration and guilt tear at her heart. Maria Elena Ramirez is perfect and relatable as Christopher's teacher who understands him better than anyone, provides moral support, and, as a play within a play, narrates the book he's written about his journey."
Chicago: Contributor Rachel Weinberg reviews MOBY DICK at Lookingglass Theatre Company. She writes "While the story may lag in places, MOBY DICK is consistently well-acted. As Ishmael, Jamie Abelson (who performs at all evening shows) embodies the earnest outsider in every way. Abelson's performance is endearing and slightly perturbed, which mirrors the dark overall tone of the tale. Anthony Fleming III is exceptional and often quite funny as Queequeg, Ishmael's fellow outsider on the Pequod. Fleming is not only a superb actor, but also one of the most accomplished acrobats on board the ship. Kareem Bandealy is consistently wonderful as the pragmatic shipman Starbuck. And as the infamous Captain Ahab, Nathan Hosner paints a disturbing portrait as an off-kilter man consumed by an unceasing thirst for revenge."
Central New York: Contributor Natasha Ashley reviews CHICAGO at the Central New York Playhouse. She writes "Shannon Tompkins' (also cast as Velma Kelly in select performances) choreography, based on Bob Fosse's original choreography, is some of the best that I have seen at this theatre. The Fosse-style dance expertise of ensemble member and Assistant Choreographer Stephfond Brunson also brought a wow factor to the proceedings. His solo dance in "Tap Dance" is a standout moment in the show. The choreography for this number is intricate, seductive, and intense."
Niagara on the Lake: Contributor Michael Rabice reviews THE MADNESS OF GEORGE THE III at the Shaw Festival. He writes "Director Kevin Bennett moves the evening along swiftly, but at the times the complexity of the dialogue as well as the various accents and dialects made the long first act a challenge. Mr. Bennett novelly chose to have the actors interact with the audience before each of the two acts. Subtle lighting changes make you unaware that the play begins with full house lights up, but then slowly dim as the action melds from off stage to onstage. Set designer Ken MacDonald has created an ingenious unit set that cleverly mirrors the actual interior of the Royal George Theatre. Box seats have been built on either side of the playing area, where actual theatre goers are seated. This brings an immediacy to the play, allowing these audience members to be embedded in the action, giving them a few bits of business to complete the staging."
New York / Dance: Contributor Christina Pandolfi reviews SWAN LAKE at American Ballet Theatre. She writes "And yet, all of that changed in the best way at the start of Act III in the great hall. The drama unfolded as von Rothbart appeared on the scene, introducing partygoers to his daughter, Odile. This time, Seo - dancing the iconic dual role of Odette/Odile - was edgy, sharp, and biting, as she bourréed with cutting intent and determination. Gomes matched her intensity, but offered a more subtle approach, lending her the steadfast guidance and support she deserved. The only time Seo showed her humanity was during the BLACK SWAN variation, where a repeated series of pirouettes tripped up her stability."
Cleveland: Contributor Roy Berko reviews AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at State Theatre. He writes "The elegant, artsy projections by 59 Productions create a cityscape of Paris, that makes the smell of baguettes baking, the trickling sound of the meandering Seine River, and the illuminating gaslights of the city live. The effect is aided by the lighting of Natasha Katz and the scenery and costumes by Bob Crowley. The orchestrations are both lush and, at times, jazzy. The musical sounds are full, enhancing the singing and dancing. The triple threat cast is generally strong. The petite, lovely, Sara Esty, a Leslie Caron look-alike, who was the understudy for the Broadway run, captivates as Lise. Her dancing, singing and acting are top-notch. (BTW, her sister, Leigh-Ann plays the roll on Sunday evenings during the Cleveland run)."
Chicago: Contributor Rachel Weinberg reviews THE KING AND I at Broadway in Chicago. She writes "Sher has assembled a talented and powerful ensemble for this tour. In Laura Michelle Kelly's self-assured Anna, Sher has found a tremendous leading lady for the tour. Not only is Kelly a perfectly expert vocalist, but she gives freely to her performance. Her Anna strikes the balance between firm and tender. Kelly's performance of the showstopper "Shall I Tell You What I Think of You" is particularly interesting; it's softer and less outright angry than other takes I've seen, but in a way that grants the number even more power for we see how deeply Anna feels in that moment. Kelly is well-matched by José Llana as the King of Siam. Llana's King is less severe than others I've seen, and one of the strongest singers I've seen in this role. That's an added benefit, especially because it makes Anna and the KIng's iconic duet "Shall We Dance?" all the more enjoyable."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Los Angeles Contributing Editor
Don Grigware is an Ovation nominated actor and journalist/writer whose contributions to theatre through the years have included 6 years as theatre editor of NoHoLA, a contributor to LA Stage Magazine and currently on his own website:
Don hails from Holyoke, Massachusetts and holds two Masters Degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Education and Bilingual Studies. He is a teacher of foreign language and ESL.
"I enjoy meeting people at shows who recognize me and tell me that they read my reviews. I'm always surprised....happy, but surprised. Having a direct effect on people and their theatre choices is what it's all about for me. We as writers do make a difference. I love the theatre as an actor, a writer and want to support good theatre in Los Angeles.Actors and their creative teams desperately need our support. I am lucky to have a terrific writing team and we work well together to get the word out. BWW is the largest online outlet to promote theatre all over the world and I am honored to be a part of it."
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