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Robert Barossi

Robert Barossi Robert Barossi has worked in just about every possible job in professional theater, from actor to stage manager to company manager to box office and house manager. This has included time spent immersed in the theater and arts scenes in places like Philadelphia, D.C., Boston and Rhode Island. He has also been a staff writer for Motif Magazine in Rhode Island, writing reviews, previews and features, for six years, leaving the publication just recently. Though not working in professional theater currently, he continues to work on being an aspiring playwright and getting to as much theater as possible.
MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Reviews: Wilbury Group's Surprising ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDNESTERN ARE DEAD is A Must-SeeBWW Reviews: ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDNESTERN ARE DEAD is a Must-See
Posted: Jan. 26, 2015


BWW Reviews: Spectacular Magic and Hilarious Comedy Brought to PPAC by THE ILLUSIONISTSBWW Reviews: Spectacular Magic and Hilarious Comedy by THE ILLUSIONISTS
Posted: Jan. 17, 2015


2nd Story Explores Relationships and Writers in Wonderful COLLECTED STORIES2nd Story Explores Relationships and Writers in Wonderful COLLECTED STORIES
Posted: Jan. 19, 2015


The Gamm's Unique MORALITY PLAY Offers Big Ideas but Lacks DepthThe Gamm's Unique MORALITY PLAY Offers Big Ideas but Lacks Depth
Posted: Jan. 7, 2015


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Reviews: The Impossible Dream Falls Flat in Lackluster MAN OF LA MANCHA at PPACBWW Reviews: The Impossible Dream Falls Flat in Lackluster MAN OF LA MANCHA at PPAC
Posted: Feb. 16, 2014


BWW Reviews: Mediocre MARY POPPINS Lands at Theatre By the SeaBWW Reviews: Mediocre MARY POPPINS Lands at Theatre By the Sea
Posted: Jul. 28, 2014


BWW Reviews: Trinity Rep's VERONICA MEADOWS Turns Into a Confounding, Disappointing MysteryBWW Reviews: Trinity Rep's VERONICA MEADOWS Turns Into a Confounding, Disappointing Mystery
Posted: Apr. 7, 2014


BWW Reviews: WE WILL ROCK YOU at PPAC Lives Up to Its TitleBWW Reviews: WE WILL ROCK YOU at PPAC Lives Up to Its Title
Posted: Apr. 16, 2014


BWW Reviews: Incomparable LINDA EDER Brings Showstopping Talent to The VetsBWW Reviews: Incomparable LINDA EDER Brings Showstopping Talent to The Vets
Posted: Dec. 15, 2014


BWW Reviews: Ocean State Theatre Kicks Off Summer with Pitch-Perfect ALWAYS...PATSY CLINEBWW Reviews: Ocean State Theatre Kicks Off Summer with Pitch-Perfect ALWAYS...PATSY CLINE
Posted: Jun. 9, 2014


BWW Reviews: Wilbury Group's Surprising ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDNESTERN ARE DEAD is A Must-SeeBWW Reviews: Wilbury Group's Surprising ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDNESTERN ARE DEAD is A Must-See
January 26, 2015

It may sound strange but, at its best, theater is not unlike an ecosystem in the natural world. Every organism in nature interacts with every other organism. All the various parts of that system, living and nonliving, must work together so that the system as a whole can survive and thrive. Similarly, every part of a theatrical production must work well together. All the elements, acting, directing, sound, lights, costumes, etc. must be working in harmonious union. If not, it's just a gathering of disconnected ideas, concepts and gimmicks, making a collection of nice parts but not a cohesive whole. On the other hand, when done just right, all of the parts come together to create a perfectly executed singular vison. The Wilbury Group's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead is exactly that type of show.
2nd Story Explores Relationships and Writers in Wonderful COLLECTED STORIES2nd Story Explores Relationships and Writers in Wonderful COLLECTED STORIES
January 19, 2015

'Write what you know' is a phrase writers hear often and have heard for probably a very long time. It's also a hotly debated piece of advice, with some saying it's essential that writers do just that and others saying that writers should ignore it and write about anything and everything. It boils down to the writer's source material, the fountain of their inspiration. Should they draw only from their own lives and experiences? Or should they draw from the lives and experiences of everyone else around them? And is there anyone or anything that is off limits? These are just a few of the central questions in 2nd Story Theatre's emotional and though-provoking production of Collected Stories.
BWW Reviews: Spectacular Magic and Hilarious Comedy Brought to PPAC by THE ILLUSIONISTSBWW Reviews: Spectacular Magic and Hilarious Comedy Brought to PPAC by THE ILLUSIONISTS
January 17, 2015

Heading to Providence Performing Arts Center the other night, I couldn't help but turn to my friend who accompanied me and say, "When was the last time you saw a magic show??" It seems that these days magic shows are less common than they were in our youth. Back in the day, you would often hear about and could witness live the likes of David Copperfield, Doug Henning, The Pendragons and others. Today, it seems, magic shows are relegated to kids' birthdays, college campuses and the Las Vegas Strip (wherefore art thou, Sigfried and Roy?). On the other hand, The Illusionists, a touring show featuring seven different magicians and playing this weekend at PPAC, proves that magic shows are alive and well. And still extremely entertaining, although perhaps in slightly different ways. While magic shows of old seemed to be much more about the grand illusions and massive spectacle, The Illusionists keeps things at a much smaller scale. This may be due, largely or in small part, to the fact that it's a touring show. There's only so many props and set pieces you can fit in the back of a truck.
The Gamm's Unique MORALITY PLAY Offers Big Ideas but Lacks DepthThe Gamm's Unique MORALITY PLAY Offers Big Ideas but Lacks Depth
January 7, 2015

An audience member sitting by me at the Gamm's performance of Morality Play mentioned that one of the reasons she loves the company is their penchant for putting on plays that are daring, challenging and different. They do not just do the same old thing, she said, and she's absolutely correct. It is one of the characteristics of the Gamm that make it stand out among the theatrical crowd, that they take on plays that are more unique or risky than other companies might dare to produce. Morality Play is, arguably, a bit of a risk. While successful at being something unique, it is not as successful at being an entertaining, compelling or enjoyable piece of theater. Based on a novel of the same name, by Barry Unsworth, Morality Play is adapted for the stage by the Gamm's Tony Estrella. The story revolves around a roving troupe of actors, traveling the harsh English countryside in the winter of 1361. This gang of thespians are among the earliest practitioners of theater, actors who performed morality plays, one of the three major types of drama in the Middle Ages (the other two being miracle plays and mystery plays). In morality plays, a figure representing the common man, often called something like Everyman, is tempted by the personification of qualities such as Vice, Avarice or Lust, but is then saved by the appearance of, for example, Truth, Faith or Conscience. In the case of this play, our actors have just suffered the death of one of their company. Almost immediately, they meet a runaway priest who they allow to join them as a player, to take on the roles of the dead actor. Shortly thereafter, the troupe, very short on funds, arrives at a town where they will perform one of their morality plays. After that play fizzles, they decide to perform a new kind of play, one based on an actual real-life event, a true crime that has just occurred, the murder of a young boy. While doing so, they begin to solve the crime and put their own lives in jeopardy. If that sounds like an interesting idea, actors solving a crime using their powers of performance, it truly is. Unfortunately, this play is more of a collection of interesting ideas and concepts than an engaging piece of theater. Much of the play's early going feels like the Theater History 101 class that every theater major takes in college. It's as if the professor said, Come up with a morality play and put it on for the class, just how the actors of the time would have. And I'm willing to give Estrella and director Tyler Dobrowsky the benefit of the doubt that they have accurately recreated the feeling of the times and created an accurate and true recreation of the drama of the Middle Ages. Still, most of it is fascinating but boring and uninspired, not likely to excite many audience members, other than those who took that class in college. After getting through all of the this is what theater was like in the 1300's stuff (and it takes a long time), we finally reach the play's central story, the true-crime murder mystery. Unfortunately, this part of the play just demonstrates how many times we've seen all of this before. It quickly becomes an episode of C.S.I.: Broadway, with actors, instead of scientists, running around investigating and solving the crime. And in the third act, there are enough twists and turns to fill a season's worth of Law & Order episodes, with everything from corrupt heads of state to pedophiles and mysterious diseases. Yes, I realize that part of the point is that things that happened way back then are still relevant today, but in this case, they just make for a dull, predictable mystery, rather than an exciting and compelling story. One reason why it's not compelling is that we never really get to know any of these characters, not well enough to really connect with or care about them. The runaway priest, Nicholas Barber, is given a bit of backstory here and there, but not enough (he also may suffer from the fact that he is no longer the central character and narrator of the story, as he is in the novel). The master player, Martin Bell, also has some hints thrown his way about a possible checkered past, but not enough is provided to really make us feel for him. The other players are almost nameless and mostly interchangeable. Most of the rest of the characters, the King's Justice, for example, are just stereotypes, given no depth whatsoever, as they are only there to further the plot. Not helping is the actors milling about before the show, interacting with the audience as themselves, not in character, as far as I can tell. It adds to the feeling that we are watching Providence actors giving us a demonstration of early drama, not watching real, developed and believable people who lived at that time. Having said that, the Gamm has assembled an all-star team of some of the area's best acting talent. The dashing and charismatic Jesse Hinson makes his Gamm debut as the priest, Nicholas Barber. Hinson is masterful in the role and provides a number of the play's highlights, from his scene with the accused woman's father to another scene with the acting troupe's whore, who is about to get out before it's too late. Hinson makes every moment count and is impossible to not watch when he's in a scene. On the other end of the who is the protagonist? tug-of-war is Martin Bell, played by Tony Estrella. Bell is the leader of the troupe of actors, their motivator and moral compass, or at least he tries to be. Estrella, as usual, plays all of the nuances with skill and dexterity. At times, he is the seeker of truth and justice, and at other seems like a bit of a snake-oil salesman. It's a balancing act that he's able to pull off better than most. Our travelling troupe of performers are played by an excellent ensemble, all giving fine performances, even if they aren't ever given the chance or reason to dig very deep emotionally. Steve Kidd is a standout as Stephen, as is Elliot Peters as Springer. Jed Hancock Brainerd is also wonderful, though given a bit less to do. All three shine especially bright during the scenes when the troupe puts on their plays, from the biblical story of Adam to the true-crime tale of murder. All of the movement and physical action in those scenes is especially interesting and partly due, I assume, to Normand Beauregard, who plays one of the actors, Tobias, but is also one of the area's best fight choreographers. In what seems at times like a cast of thousands, a number of other actors appear and vanish. The wonderful Jeanine Kane, as the Innkeeper and wearing a hat she stole from Pharrell Williams, is mostly wasted. Jim O'Brien also gets little to do but does give a brilliant turn in one scene as the weaver, the father of the accused woman. And that woman herself, who is deaf and mute, is played by Clara Weishahn, providing one of the show's best performances. Her scene with Estrella, where they communicate without words, is beautiful and mesmerizing. It's unfortunate that the rest of play could not be as spellbinding or entertaining as that one scene. Instead, it relies of far too much speechifying and talking a lot about big ideas. Much of it is also heavy handed, as if they really want to make sure the audience gets the message, loud and clear. There are certainly some interesting themes and messages for the audience to ponder as they leave the theater, but the rest of the production may leave them cold and wanting more.
BWW Reviews: Incomparable LINDA EDER Brings Showstopping Talent to The VetsBWW Reviews: Incomparable LINDA EDER Brings Showstopping Talent to The Vets
December 15, 2014

Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence may not always get the same level of appreciation or respect that is bestowed upon its big brother, Providence Performing Arts Center. Underappreciated or not, The Vets, as it's called, brings in its fair share of wonderful performances and fabulous productions. This past weekend's holiday concert with Linda Eder was easily a highlight of the season for everyone in attendance. From the first moment to the last, Eder proved why she is one of the most talented and beloved professional songstresses of our time.
BWW Reviews: Broadway Tour of CAMELOT Dusts Off an Old Tale at PPACBWW Reviews: Broadway Tour of CAMELOT Dusts Off an Old Tale at PPAC
December 11, 2014

Some classic stories, tales, myths and legends do more than stand the test of time. They speak to generation after generation, entertaining and teaching new audiences across the ages. The legends of King Arthur and his knights of Camelot are those kinds of stories. They remain as well-known and beloved today as they have ever been. There are similar theatrical entertainments, plays and musicals, that stand the test of time, entertaining the masses in the same way for years and decades. Unfortunately, Camelot, the musical version of those Arthurian legends, is not that kind of musical.
BWW Reviews: It's a Bumpy Ride on THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL at 2nd Story TheatreBWW Reviews: It's a Bumpy Ride on THE TRIP TO BOUNTIFUL at 2nd Story Theatre
December 1, 2014

We've all heard 'You can't go home again.' Or how about 'Home is where the heart is'? At this time of year, it's 'Home for the Holidays.' The idea of home, what and where it is, is a powerful theme throughout all types of artistic expression, from paintings to books to stage plays. It's a universal theme that anyone can understand and relate to. And it's at the center of 2nd Story Theatre's holiday season production of Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful.
BWW Reviews: A PUBLIC READING OF AN UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY ABOUT THE DEATH OF WALT DISNEY Creates a Magical  Journey at WilburyBWW Reviews: A PUBLIC READING OF AN UNPRODUCED SCREENPLAY ABOUT THE DEATH OF WALT DISNEY Creates a Magical Journey at Wilbury
November 16, 2014

Celebrities, famous folks and iconic figures are often enigmatic, especially those who lived in bygone days, long before the internet and social media. To most of us, they are a mystery. From their exalted and distant perches far above the ordinary, average citizen, they alter and impact our lives. At the same time, they remain shrouded in secrecy, their true lives unknown or unrevealed. This can be said of the famous figure at the center of Wilbury Group's second play fo the season, A Public Readng of an Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney. You may think you know something about the man behind the mouse, as he's sometimes referred. On the other hand, this play sets out to offer a different view, one that's decidedly darker.
BWW Reviews: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT Ovewhelms PPAC Stage with SpectacleBWW Reviews: JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT Ovewhelms PPAC Stage with Spectacle
November 5, 2014

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is a musical that lends itself to a wide range of production styles and interpretations. Having seen it done in a very minimalistic and simple style, the show can be very impactful and effective when done in that vein. At the far, far other end of the spectrum is the Broadway touring production currently in house at Providence Performing Arts Center. Anything but simple or minimalistic, the production turns Joseph into an overloaded, bloated, overwhelming spectacle of light and sound.
BWW Reviews: Three Wonderful Performances Fill 2nd Story's Beautiful ELEEMOSYNARYBWW Reviews: Three Wonderful Performances Fill 2nd Story's Beautiful ELEEMOSYNARY
November 3, 2014

For a writer, whether writing theatrical reviews or anything else, words are everything. Words are the lifeblood of the writer, that which provides a means for expression, revelation or catharsis. In Lee Blessing's Eleemosynary, presented by 2nd Story Theatre, words are also how one character lifts her soul and strives for excellence. The play as whole demonstrates Blessing's own skill with words, as he crafts a poetic yet accessible play that deals with a number of very relatable human experiences.
BWW Reviews: Uneven DIAL M FOR MURDER Fails to Thrill at OSTCBWW Reviews: Uneven DIAL M FOR MURDER Fails to Thrill at OSTC
November 3, 2014

To start a review with 'it was a dark and stormy night' would probably be as unoriginal as that infamous line itself. On the other hand, in this case, it fits. It was in fact a dark, windswept, rain soaked, stormy night in Warwick when a sizable crowd attended the performance of Ocean State Theatre Company's (OSTC) production of Dial M for Murder. The atmosphere outside the theater was ripe for mystery, suspense and intrigue. Unfortunately, the uneven and mostly average production didn't really live up to the mood set by Mother Nature.
BWW Reviews: Storytelling at Its Finest in Out Loud Theatre's METAMORPHOSESBWW Reviews: Storytelling at Its Finest in Out Loud Theatre's METAMORPHOSES
October 6, 2014

The only thing that is permanent is change. Change is inevitable. It's going to happen, and stories of how things and people change have been told for centuries. Mary Zimmerman's Metamorphoses, presented by Out Loud Theatre at Artists' Exchange in Cranston, is a collection of ancient myths, all of which somehow involve a change or altering. What hasn't changed is how powerful and important these stories of change are. It's a true testament to the power of myth that these stories still hold up in our modern age. They are just as relevant and relatable today as when they were written by Ovid, a Latin poet who is believed to have completed his collection of poems around 8 A.D.
BWW Reviews: Stellar Cast Tells Same Old Story in Wilbury Group's THIS BEAUTIFUL CITYBWW Reviews: Stellar Cast Tells Same Old Story in Wilbury Group's THIS BEAUTIFUL CITY
September 28, 2014

Stories of religious coflict and controversy have been around as long as...well...religion. Today, we are indundated with stories about the way religion continues to change, shape, impact and effect us and our world. Religious fanaticism, especially, has come to the forefront in recent years and now dominates the news we read and hear. Religious themes are also presented in artistic and creative works, including movies, books, tv shows and plays, including This Beautiful City, the first show of the season at The Wilbury Group. And while the play's life started with a interesting concept, the final product is mostly a rehash of religious stories we have heard many times before, told in more compelling and relatable ways.
BWW Reviews: Gamm Opens Season with Riveting Solo Show GROUNDEDBWW Reviews: Gamm Opens Season with Riveting Solo Show GROUNDED
September 10, 2014

'With literature, human beings have invented a way of enabling us to try out and weigh up the possibilities of action and thought.' That excellent quote by author Michael Rosen also sums up the essential quality of live theater. It allows the audience to actually experience a moment in time, a moment in the life of a person or people, and share in that moment. Not only share in it, but truly live it and feel it. Grounded, the first play of the Gamm's 30th season, perfectly accomplishes this feat, giving the audience an entirely real experience, allowing us to live inside the mind of a person and become one with their actions and thoughts.
BWW Reviews: Theatre By the Sea Summer Ends with Splendid SPAMALOTBWW Reviews: Theatre By the Sea Summer Ends with Splendid SPAMALOT
August 27, 2014

For audience member's of a certain age, it's likely that they have heard of Monty Python. Younger audiences, on the other hand, may or may not want to do a quick Google search before seeing Monty Python's Spamalot at Theatre By the Sea. It all depends on just how surprised you are willling to be, just how comfortable you are at being caught off guard by a unique brand of comedy that Python's fans know only too well. Pre-show Googling or not, the true enjoyment of the show comes from just sitting back, relaxing and letting yoruself be wrapped in the warm embrace of some of the most weird, wacky, irreverant and witty comedy you ever likely to see in a Broadway musical.
BWW Reviews: Jackson Browne Offers Timeless Music at Soulful PPAC ShowBWW Reviews: Jackson Browne Offers Timeless Music at Soulful PPAC Show
August 22, 2014

Full disclosure here, right at the start. Before attending the concert at Providence Performing Arts Center, I had only heard of Jackson Browne in passing, had heard reference made to his music but had not heard his music, or at least that's what I believed. Chalk it up to my poor musical upbringing, having never been introduced in my youth to many great aritsts, Browne among them. Luckily, his acoustic tour made a stop here in Rhode Island and I was able to find out just why he is a legendary musician who can still bring a house down.
BWW Reviews: Mediocre MARY POPPINS Lands at Theatre By the SeaBWW Reviews: Mediocre MARY POPPINS Lands at Theatre By the Sea
July 28, 2014

When it comes to live theatre, there are many different ways to present it and at least two distinct camps. One is the minimalist, pared down production, often focused on story, dialogue, and character. The other is the big, highly technical spectacle filled with all sorts of theatrical magic tricks. With their current production of Mary Poppins, Theatre By the Sea has focused on the latter at the expense of the former, choosing gimmickry over truthful, enjoyable storytelling and characters. And unfortunately, that's only the beginning of the production's weak spots.
BWW Reviews: Versatile BECK Brings Endless Energy to Spectacular PPAC ConcertBWW Reviews: Versatile BECK Brings Endless Energy to Spectacular PPAC Concert
July 27, 2014

In the name of full disclosure, I will admit to having no idea what to expect upon arriving at Providence Performing Arts Center on Saturday night for Beck's one-night-only appearance. Beck's songs had certainly been part of the soundtrack of my early college years, back in the mid-to-late 1990s. Since, the, though, I truthfully had no idea what he had been up to. As it turns out, he's spent the better part of twenty years honing and fine tuning his skills as a singer, musician and all around entertainer, skills which he brought out in full force in front of the large and enthusiastic Providence crowd.
BWW Reviews: Perfectly Entertaining Mystery at 2nd Story Theatre's AND THEN THERE WERE NONEBWW Reviews: Perfectly Entertaining Mystery at 2nd Story Theatre's AND THEN THERE WERE NONE
July 27, 2014

If there was an award for Rhode Island's current busiest man in show business, one of the nominees would absolutely have to be 2nd Story Theatre's Ed Shea. The company's Artistic Director is currently performing in the Downstage production of Freud's Last Session. Last night, in the Upstage space, he made an appearance and gave the curtain speech for Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, which he directed. During his visit upstairs, Shea spoke about summer stock theaters and how they once dotted the landscape in these parts. No longer as much of a presence as they once were, they featured a certain kind of theater experience, something lighter, more whimsical and fun than the weighty, thought-provoking works seen throughout the winter months. That sense of offering something entertaining and fun permeates his entire production of Christie's play, a perfect summertime treat of mystery and murder, tempered with the right amount of wit and whimsy.
BWW Interviews: RAIN Tour Brings Beatles Tribute Show to PPACBWW Interviews: RAIN Tour Brings Beatles Tribute Show to PPAC
June 17, 2014

It would be hard to argue that any musical group in the last century has had a more lasting impact than the Beatles. They are one of the most instantly recognizable and well-known bands in music history and have many of the most instantly recognizable and beloved songs in contemporary music. Those songs are still as popular and poweful today as they were when audiences first cheered and swooned for the band in the 1960s. Since then, there have been many tributes to the Beatles, including the smash hit Rain - A Musical Tribute To the Beatles. Now, this multi-media concert event which explores the lives and music of the fabulous foursome is rolling into Providence Performing Arts Center for one night only.


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