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BWW Review: THINGS AS THEY ARE examines poet Wallace Stevens in world premiere at Playwrights Local BWW Review: THINGS AS THEY ARE examines poet Wallace Stevens in world premiere at Playwrights Local
by Roy Berko - May 15, 2017

As a play in process, "Things As They Are" needs to be reexamined with an eye for sharpening and tightening the dialogue and ascertaining whether all the visual and audio stimuli are necessary to tell the tale. For those who like to see new works, to discuss and add in-put into the development proce... (more...)
BWW Review: “Forever Plaid,” a pleasant Jukebox musical @ Great Lakes Theater BWW Review: “Forever Plaid,” a pleasant Jukebox musical @ Great Lakes Theater
by Roy Berko - May 09, 2017

"Forever Plaid "is an escapist evening of theater, which is a pleasant trip back to yesterday, when clean-scrubbed boy singers waxed beautifully about the angst of young love, trips of fantasy and the mini-stresses of life. If you like that kind of thing, this is a show for you.... (more...)
BWW Review:  Well-Written and Performed SALVAGE Fascinates at None-Too-Fragile BWW Review: Well-Written and Performed SALVAGE Fascinates at None-Too-Fragile
by Roy Berko - May 07, 2017

'Salvage,' continues none-too-fragile's history of outstanding theatrical presentations as it takes George Brant's well-crafted script from page to stage, with clarity and vividness.... (more...)
BWW Review: THE NORTH POOL at Ensemble BWW Review: THE NORTH POOL at Ensemble
by Roy Berko - May 02, 2017

While the production is well-conceived and holds attention, "The North Pool" is somewhat unsatisfying as a thoughtful piece of play crafting. The script leaves us wanting more, a clearer message to carry from the theatre.... (more...)
BWW Review: LIZZIE, the grizzly musical, rocks the Ohio BWW Review: LIZZIE, the grizzly musical, rocks the Ohio
by Roy Berko - May 01, 2017

"Lizzie," the rock musical, based on the Lizzie Borden murder mystery, is as much rock concert as theatre, represents the movement in musicals to take on modern trends in music, e.g., rock and rap, and appeal to a younger, modish audience.... (more...)
BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN is a must see musical farce at Playhouse Square/Connor Palace BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN is a must see musical farce at Playhouse Square/Connor Palace
by Roy Berko - April 28, 2017

"Something Rotten" is a theatrical treat…a wonderfully conceived and performed musical farce. Anyone who wants to go to the theater and have a great time, unburdened by a complicated plot, listen to fun lyrics, see dynamic dancing and experience two acts of non-stop laughter…this is the must see mus... (more...)
BWW Review: Superb HAND TO GOD Demands Attention with Laughter and Angst at Dobama BWW Review: Superb HAND TO GOD Demands Attention with Laughter and Angst at Dobama
by Roy Berko - April 25, 2017

"Hand to God" is a brilliant production, and places a spotlight on lost people caught up in their inabilities to cope with grief and abandonment. In fascination, we watch as these people lose healthy reality, replace it with abject pain, interspersing horror with laughter. This must-see staging, ha... (more...)
BWW Review: FREAKY FRIDAY at Cleveland Play House BWW Review: FREAKY FRIDAY at Cleveland Play House
by Roy Berko - April 24, 2017

If you go to the theater for enjoyment, Cleveland Play House's "Freaky Friday" is your thing. If you go to the theater to see marvelous talent, in a well-directed, well-conceived show, "Freaky Friday" is your thing. If you don't go to theater but have always wondered what a Broadway show is like, "F... (more...)
BWW Review: YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU at Karma BWW Review: YOU CAN'T TAKE IT WITH YOU at Karma
by Roy Berko - April 24, 2017

During the late 1920s and into the 1940s, the United States went through the great depression. Unemployment in the U. S. rose to 25%. These were drab times and, as is the case, since the arts represent the era from which they come, the theatre of that time period represented two extremes: heavy dram... (more...)
BWW Review:  Disturbing, Funny BETWEEN RIVER AND CRAZY at the Cleveland Play House BWW Review: Disturbing, Funny BETWEEN RIVER AND CRAZY at the Cleveland Play House
by Roy Berko - April 12, 2017

Pulitzer Prize Winner and Steinberg Distinguished Playwright, Stephen Adly Guirgis, whose script 'Between Riverside and Crazy,' is now on stage at Cleveland Play House, is noted for writing plays that feature racial discord and the definition of family, while examining 'self-interest, self-delusion,... (more...)
BWW Preview: 2017 Season is About to Raise the Curtain at the Shaw Festival BWW Preview: 2017 Season is About to Raise the Curtain at the Shaw Festival
by Roy Berko - April 05, 2017

Those nice people from the North who are getting ready to create great theater are beaconing people from CLE to be their guests.... (more...)
BWW Review: A Female HAMLET Brings a Twist to the Play at Great Lakes Theater, Well, Almost . . . BWW Review: A Female HAMLET Brings a Twist to the Play at Great Lakes Theater, Well, Almost . . .
by Roy Berko - April 03, 2017

Having been summoned home to Denmark from school in Germany to attend his father's funeral, he is shocked to find his mother Gertrude already remarried to his Uncle Claudius, the dead king's brother, who has declared himself the king, though young Hamlet is the actual heir to the crown. Hamlet, righ... (more...)
BWW Review: A Tale of Disinterring Bodies Makes For Wild Night of Irish Black Comedy at none too fragile BWW Review: A Tale of Disinterring Bodies Makes For Wild Night of Irish Black Comedy at none too fragile
by Roy Berko - March 27, 2017

Partake in the free shot of Jamison, which is the hallmark of the pre-show ritual at none-too-fragile, sit back, and allow yourself to be immersed in an Irish black comedy, complete with skull battering, blunt language and a wee bit of fun.... (more...)
BWW Review: HARM'S WAY Examines the Underbelly of Humanity at Convergence Continuum BWW Review: HARM'S WAY Examines the Underbelly of Humanity at Convergence Continuum
by Roy Berko - March 27, 2017

Cleveland is in the midst of 'The Mac Wellman Homecoming Festival,' presented by Playwrights Local, in partnership with Cleveland State University Department of English, the NEOMFA Creative Writing Program, and the Michael Schwartz Library, with performances by Playwrights Local, Theater Ninjas, c... (more...)
BWW Review: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Connor-Palace/Cleveland BWW Review: THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME at Connor-Palace/Cleveland
by Roy Berko - March 23, 2017

When the 2016-17 Key Bank Broadway series was announced, I was ecstatic. Three of my favorite recent Broadway shows were listed: 'Something Rotten,' 'An American in Paris,' and 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.'... (more...)
BWW Review: Ensemble's 2017 COLOMBI NEW PLAYS FESTIVAL Features OCCUPATION DAD at Ensemble BWW Review: Ensemble's 2017 COLOMBI NEW PLAYS FESTIVAL Features OCCUPATION DAD at Ensemble
by Roy Berko - March 23, 2017

Ensemble Theatre's 'Playwrights' was established in the early 1990's by Don Bianchi, one of the founders of Dobama, and Park Goist, a professor of American Studies at Case Western Reserve. It was started with the hope of creating an opportunity for local playwrights to have their works staged.... (more...)
BWW Review: 'Honey, Honey,' MAMMA MIA! Makes Yet Another Stop at Cleveland's Connor Palace BWW Review: 'Honey, Honey,' MAMMA MIA! Makes Yet Another Stop at Cleveland's Connor Palace
by Roy Berko - March 16, 2017

Yes, the jukebox musical 'Mamma Mia!' is back in Cleveland. And, as has consistently happened in the past, the audience was on its feet dancing and singing in the rows and aisles during the extended curtain call.... (more...)
BWW Review: HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE Makes For a Slow Haunting Trip at Cleveland Play House BWW Review: HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE Makes For a Slow Haunting Trip at Cleveland Play House
by Roy Berko - March 13, 2017

The mission of the Cleveland Play House is to produce plays that 'inspire stimulate and entertain.' It further intends to bring bold, necessary, personal stories told in imaginative ways to the public.... (more...)
BWW Review: FLOYD COLLINS Melodramatically Spelunkers Into Eternal Fame at Blank Canvas BWW Review: FLOYD COLLINS Melodramatically Spelunkers Into Eternal Fame at Blank Canvas
by Roy Berko - March 13, 2017

'Floyd Collins,' now on stage at Blank Canvas Theatre, isn't your typical musical. There is no dancing, no show-stopper production numbers, no intentional humor, no subplot, no 'I wish for' numbers. It's a tale of simple folks, a story focused on a man with an obsession to spelunker (explore caves),... (more...)
BWW Interview: Nancy Maier and OPEN A NEW WINDOW:  THE SONGS OF JERRY HERMAN by The Musical Theater Project BWW Interview: Nancy Maier and OPEN A NEW WINDOW: THE SONGS OF JERRY HERMAN by The Musical Theater Project
by Roy Berko - March 09, 2017

Nancy Maier left New York and a budding career to move to Cleveland. Yes, she traded the Big Apple for Cle!... (more...)
BWW Review: Controversial, Thought-Provoking A GREAT WILDERNESS at Beck Center for the Arts BWW Review: Controversial, Thought-Provoking A GREAT WILDERNESS at Beck Center for the Arts
by Roy Berko - March 07, 2017

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BWW Review: Compelling THE FLICK Unreels as a Must See Production at Dobama BWW Review: Compelling THE FLICK Unreels as a Must See Production at Dobama
by Roy Berko - March 06, 2017

Annie Baker, who deservedly won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for her play The Flick, was perceived by the awarding committee as one of 'the most impressive dramatists of her generation.' They went on to say she, 'writes with tenderness and keen insight.'... (more...)
BWW Review:  I CALL MY BROTHERS Challenges and Confounds at Cleveland Public Theatre BWW Review: I CALL MY BROTHERS Challenges and Confounds at Cleveland Public Theatre
by Roy Berko - March 01, 2017

It's no wonder in this age of xenophobia, racial profiling and baiting, irrational interpretation of regulations, police brutality and alternate facts being spewed, that when a car bomb goes off in the center of a large American metropolis, a Muslim young man would become paranoid.... (more...)
BWW Review:  Well Done BARBECUE Lights Up Cleveland Public Theatre BWW Review: Well Done BARBECUE Lights Up Cleveland Public Theatre
by Roy Berko - February 27, 2017

Addiction, whether it's alcohol, drugs, sex, racism, obsessive compulsion or eating, is no funny matter. That is unless it's in a play written by playwright Robert O'Hara.... (more...)
BWW Review: Ensemble Hits a Hole-in-One with RADIO GOLF BWW Review: Ensemble Hits a Hole-in-One with RADIO GOLF
by Roy Berko - February 27, 2017

August Wilson is considered not only one of the greatest of African American playwrights, but of all theatrical writers. His themes of self-identity, racism, loyalty, religion, deception, love, gentrification and historical verification form the centerpiece of his well-received 'Century Cycle' about... (more...)