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BWW Reviews: The Orpheum Thinks ONCE Is Not Enough Review BWW Reviews: The Orpheum Thinks ONCE Is Not Enough
by Joseph Baker - October 29, 2014

Despite the fact that I am a great lover of cinema, the film version of ONCE (2006) somehow eluded me; now, the musical stage adaptation, with music by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova and a book by Enda Walsh, is affording Memphians an 'off season' 'pub crawl' at the historic Orpheum Theatre - and though I have never been particularly fond of Irish whimsy (Barry Fitzgerald's coy old priest in GOING MY WAY is probably the source of that), and though PBS repeats of performances of clarion-voiced Irish lasses sawing away at violins and Riverdancers send me reaching for the remote, I am happy to report that . . . I finally 'get it.' ONCE is a refreshingly 'laid back' vehicle for a musical; its often wistful, incisive, perceptive numbers are an intimate alternative to the often overblown showstoppers of larger musicals. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Extraordinary Tony-Winning Revival of PIPPIN Somersaults into SoCal Review BWW Reviews: Extraordinary Tony-Winning Revival of PIPPIN Somersaults into SoCal
by Michael L. Quintos - October 28, 2014

Arguably, director Diane Paulus' greatest triumph to date is the spectacular new production of PIPPIN, the 2013 Tony-winning revival of Stephen Schwartz's trippy but winsome musical about the angst-riddled but hyper-aspirational young son of King Charlemagne, and his erratic, sometimes frustrating journey of self-discovery. In her marvelously inventive, re-imagined update---now playing at the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood through November 9---Paulus brilliantly orients the topsy-turvy machinations of the entire story within the canvas-lined confines of a big-top circus. Here, the over-the-top performance troupe that 'guides' our hero's search for self-fulfillment aren't merely just actors (or 'players') but are also all agile, athletic circus performers that tumble, leap, and balance themselves for our (and Pippin's) entertainment pleasure. As expected, both Pippin and the audience are equally lulled into submission. (more...)


BWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING at the Fabulous Fox Theatre Review BWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING at the Fabulous Fox Theatre
by Chris Gibson - October 27, 2014

If you're a fan of the film DIRTY DANCING then I have no doubt you'll find plenty to be excited about with the stage version that is currently playing at the Fabulous Fox Theatre. It's extremely faithful to the original movie, in fact it may be so much so that you might ask yourself what the point is, since you can always rent or purchase the DVD and watch it over and over to your heart's delight. But, despite that, I think it's a show that has a very broad appeal, and I can see it winning favor with both fans and newbies. And, there's just something special about seeing a show live that can't be, or rarely is, duplicated by Hollywood. That's why I find it especially odd that it's taken ten years for this show to go on a national tour of the USA since it's conception in 2004 in Australia. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Nashville Meets THE ADDAMS FAMILY Review BWW Reviews: Nashville Meets THE ADDAMS FAMILY
by Alaina Rocci - October 25, 2014

Looking for a fun fright this Halloween? The Circle Players production of THE ADDAMS FAMILY sure to give you all the giggles and screams you'll need. Directed by Brett Meyers, this show brings to life the beloved characters from the comic panels of Charles Addams and subsequent TV shows and movies. (more...)


BWW Review: CHICAGO at Tennessee Performing Arts Center Review BWW Review: CHICAGO at Tennessee Performing Arts Center
by Cara Richardson - October 24, 2014

Chicago makes its way back to Nashville this week, making a tour stop at Tennessee Performing Arts Center this week. Tuesday night marked the opening for this sexy, yet satirically funny musical. With catchy and memorable music by John Kander and Free Ebb, and a book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse, this musical takes a hard look at what society views as fame and the role that the media plays in how events and people are viewed. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Newest Broadway Revival of PIPPIN Provides Spills and Thrills at the Pantages Review BWW Reviews: Newest Broadway Revival of PIPPIN Provides Spills and Thrills at the Pantages
by Don Grigware - October 23, 2014

In 1972 Pippin opened on Broadway and became one of the longest running musicals in Broadway history, closing in 1977. Stephen Schwartz's bubbling optimistic tunes made the surreal and sensual mood of the piece an ultra-pleasant experience for theatre goers. One actually left the theatre humming the score. Throughout the dreamlike texture of Pippin's quest for his 'Corner of the Sky', however, there blooms a simplistic, timeless message that reverberates to this day. So, even though this brand new revival set in a circus big top is visually more opulent with high swinging artists and feats of magic, the pieces of the puzzle do fit into place - original director Bob Fosse would approve - and the play's substance is untarnished. Director Diane Paulus may take a bow for her simply stunning ambition of embellishment. I prefer the simplicity of the original, which allows your imagination to take flight, but must own up to enjoying most of the new version. How can you not, as the Fosse-esque style with acrobatics added on make for a visually splendid evening of dance and action. (more...)


BWW Reviews: New Orleans Gets Jazzed Up With CHICAGO Review BWW Reviews: New Orleans Gets Jazzed Up With CHICAGO
by Tara Bennett - October 23, 2014

From Oct. 7-12, the Crescent City turned into the Second City as the sensational Broadway hit "CHICAGO" gave audiences "All that Jazz" at the Saenger Theatre for the theatre's Broadway in New Orleans series. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Rodgers + Hammerstein's CINDERELLA - A New Girl of the Cinders Review BWW Reviews: Rodgers + Hammerstein's CINDERELLA - A New Girl of the Cinders
by Jimmy Ferraro - October 23, 2014

If you like classic fairytales with a new, comedic, contemporary twist, Rodgers + Hammerstein's "CINDERELLA" is the show for you, and the entire family! (more...)


BWW Reviews: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is a Glossy Premiere with Substance Review BWW Reviews: CATCH ME IF YOU CAN is a Glossy Premiere with Substance
by Tyler Hinton - October 19, 2014

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN at Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley is a slick, joyful production with heart. When its glossy veneer opens up to reveal the substance beneath, it is truly show-stopping. Both ebullient and poignant, this regional premiere is certainly not to be missed. (more...)


BWW Reviews: LION KING Gets Off to a Roaring Start in Columbus Review BWW Reviews: LION KING Gets Off to a Roaring Start in Columbus
by Paul Batterson - October 17, 2014

Not all memories of THE LION KING are good ones. (more...)


BWW Reviews:  PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Adrienne Arsht Center Review BWW Reviews: PETER AND THE STARCATCHER at Adrienne Arsht Center
by Roger Martin - October 14, 2014

Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, this stage version by Rick Elise is a deliciously campy prequel (God, I hate that word) to the advent of the famous Peter Pan. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Undeniably Magical CINDERELLA Launches National Tour in Providence Review BWW Reviews: Undeniably Magical CINDERELLA Launches National Tour in Providence
by Veronica Bruscini - October 14, 2014

The cast and crew of CINDERELLA have already polished their performance to a brilliant shine; this tour is Broadway quality in every particular, brimming with talent, and an utter delight and a joy to watch. From singing and dancing to costumes and sets, Rodgers + Hammerstein's CINDERELLA is one of the highest caliber shows to play PPAC in recent years. (more...)


BWW Reviews: National Tour of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is More Beastly Than Beautiful Review BWW Reviews: National Tour of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is More Beastly Than Beautiful
by Jeff Davis - October 10, 2014

The current touring production of Beauty and the Beast shares the songs, dialogue, title, and even the creative team of the original Broadway production, but it completely lacks any sort of purpose, save the desire to put cash in the pockets of its producers. There's no magic or life in this pitiful production at all. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Everybody Say 'Yeah' to KINKY BOOTS at the 5th Avenue Review BWW Reviews: Everybody Say 'Yeah' to KINKY BOOTS at the 5th Avenue
by Jay Irwin - October 10, 2014

As you know, Dear Readers, I have no love for the constant turning of movies into Broadway shows but I'm afraid that it's a trend that is not going away any time soon and sometimes results in some good shows (a certain blonde lawyer springs to mind). And the latest of those movie to stage conversions, "Kinky Boots" has hit the 5th Avenue Theatre with its tour and while the show's lack of songs that move the story along should kill it for me, somehow they've made it a raucous good time and I think I know why. But we'll get to that in a minute. (more...)


BWW Reviews: MAMMA MIA! a Smash Hit at the Music Hall in Kansas City Review BWW Reviews: MAMMA MIA! a Smash Hit at the Music Hall in Kansas City
by Steve Wilson - October 09, 2014

Mamma Mia! what a way to open a season. Mamma Mia! the feel-good musical that has over 5,000 performances on Broadway opened Tuesday October 7 at the Music Hall in Kansas City, MO. Phyllida Lloyd directs the Broadway Across America special engagement that runs through Sunday October 12. Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus wrote the music and lyrics with choreography by Anthony Van Laast. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ONCE Upon A Time Review BWW Reviews: ONCE Upon A Time
by Finny (Amanda Finn) - October 08, 2014

A Broadway show to end the notion that every tale is a fairytale, though the title of this article would allude otherwise, Once finds its power in all things realistic rather than in a storybook romance. It takes the age old understanding that when a man and woman find each other everything else will work out and flips it on its head. While Hollywood and its cohorts would love for the public to believe that every story has a clear cut path, Once provides insight into what audience members already know. After all, the great Victorian playwright Oscar Wilde Once penned, 'the truth is rarely pure and never simple.' Once merely reiterates the fact. (more...)


BWW Reviews: ONCE - The Best Australia Has Seen Review BWW Reviews: ONCE - The Best Australia Has Seen
by Tim Carney - October 08, 2014

Once, the musical adaptation of the film by the same name is quite possibly the most complete display of craftsmanship and creativity in modern theatre. This coupled with its stunning book by Edna Walsh and equally exquisite score by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova provide for an evening at the theatre unlike any other. (more...)


BWW Reviews: NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT Tour Review BWW Reviews: NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT Tour
by Kathy Strain - October 06, 2014

As The Tobin Center for the Performing Arts opened its doors in September, it was clear they had a lot to offer the locals of San Antonio with their variety of shows including the touring company of NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT. (more...)


BWW Reviews: JERSEY BOYS Rocks LA Once More Review BWW Reviews: JERSEY BOYS Rocks LA Once More
by Don Grigware - October 06, 2014

Jersey Boys, called a jukebox musical, is an uber well-structured, Tony Award-winning show presented in a documentary-like format. It tells the true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, retaining most of their original musical hits. There are lots of laughs, great rock and roll music and a realistic look at how the group got started in 1963, the difficulties they faced in staying together, their eventual breakup and ultimate survival. Director Clint Eastwood kept pretty close to the book of the show in his recent film adaptation, and the musical score, generated by its lead actors along with some tracks of the real Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, is dynamite. The show has played world wide and now returns on tour to the Pantages for 3 weeks only. Judging by its reception opening night, Jersey Boys keeps on captivating its audiences, young and old. This cast under the original direction of Des McAnuff is every bit as supreme as the original including the first national tour. (more...)


BWW Reviews: EVITA Brings a New Argentina to DC's Kennedy Center Review BWW Reviews: EVITA Brings a New Argentina to DC's Kennedy Center
by Jamie McGonnigal - October 03, 2014

There are few shows I know every word to, and even fewer I've known for 30 years. When I was 10, I was in the chorus of a community theatre production of EVITA in Hingham, MA. I became obsessed. In 5th grade, we had to do a biographical report on anyone we chose. All the other boys chose Babe Ruth, Abraham Lincoln, Ted Williams...I threw up my hand and shouted 'Eva Peron!' The black and white covered vinyl double album became my own personal soundtrack. And I was somehow surprised that people knew I was gay. (more...)


BWW Reviews: Likable KINKY BOOTS Inaugurates Gammage Auditorium's 50th Anniversary Season Review BWW Reviews: Likable KINKY BOOTS Inaugurates Gammage Auditorium's 50th Anniversary Season
by Tim Shawver - September 29, 2014

Like its composer, KINKY BOOTS is so unusual. Meticulously derivative, yet passingly original. (more...)


BWW Reviews: 'Don't Sit Under the Chandelier with Anyone Else But Me' - PHANTOM Haunts the Orpheum Review BWW Reviews: 'Don't Sit Under the Chandelier with Anyone Else But Me' - PHANTOM Haunts the Orpheum
by Joseph Baker - September 29, 2014

When Gaston Leroux published THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA back in 1911, little did he realize the numerous chandeliers that would come crashing down through the decades, and I've witnessed a good number of them. First, in 1925, there was 'the Man of a Thousand Faces,' Lon Chaney, Sr., who frightened poor Mary Philbin (a well-done version, even IF the film was silent); then, for Universal in 1941, Claude Rains (Bette Davis' favorite co-star) was a more subdued vocal coach for soprano Susanna Foster (a wooden Nelson Eddy, alas, is a greater impending horror as 'Raoul'). I could go on - even Herbert Lom, the actor who was the harried police superior to Peter Sellers' 'Inspector Clousseau,' took a swing on the old light fixture. (And let us not forget diminutive Paul Williams in the slightly askew PHANTOM OF THE PARADISE.) All of these pale, of course, in comparison to the legendary interpretation by Michael Crawford in the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, which first brought the audience to its feet in 1986. (more...)


BWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING is an Off-Beat Production Review BWW Reviews: DIRTY DANCING is an Off-Beat Production
by Kelly Thompson - September 29, 2014

Dirty Dancing is now playing at the Aronoff and if I had to simply sum up my thoughts on the production I would say this: This show has a major identity crisis going on. (more...)


BWW Reviews: PIPPIN Revival Hits the Heights - Now thru October 19th Review BWW Reviews: PIPPIN Revival Hits the Heights - Now thru October 19th
by Linda Hodges and Nick Hodges - September 29, 2014

The air was crackling with excitement on opening night for the much anticipated revival of Pippin at San Francisco's Golden Gate Theatre. And for good reason. The show won four Tony Awards last year including Best Musical Revival, with Diane Paulus taking home the Tony for Best Director. Patina Miller as the Leading Player took home Best Actress, while Andrea Martin won Best Featured Actress. Not to be outdone, the national tour signed Sasha Allen, Lucie Arnaz, and John Rubinstein, not to mention Canada's circus troupe, Les 7 doigts de la main. Talk about the wow factor. Pippin is an exuberant, extravaganza of a show and it plays now through October 19 at SHN's Golden Gate Theatre. (more...)


BWW Reviews:  Fall in Love with the Soulful Radiance of MEMPHIS the Musical at the Arvada Center Review BWW Reviews: Fall in Love with the Soulful Radiance of MEMPHIS the Musical at the Arvada Center
by Michael Mulhern - September 28, 2014

This is one word that fits that amazing show - FANTASTICAL! (more...)