Regional Roundup: Top 10 Stories This Week Around the Broadway World - 7/31; Ogunquit's NICE WORK, a 'Brilliant' BENT at CTG, LIZA and More!

This week, we go around our Broadway World to feature stories in Chicago, Maine, New Orleans and more. Check out our top 10 stories around our Broadway World below, which include Ogunquit's NICE WORK, DAMES AT SEA at The Winter Playhouse, and LIZA in New Orleans, just to name a few.

East/Northeast

INTO THE WOODS

1. Pittsburgh, PA: Editor Greg Kerestan reviews INTO THE WOODS at at St Vincent. He says, "It takes a special company to make Into the Woods work, and the St. Vincent Summer Theatre company, a Western Pennyslvania institution for some time, is luckily very special. Even before I became a critic, I was a regular theatregoer in their auditorium, and this is easily their largest and most ambitious show of all time. In downtown Pittsburgh, a cast of this caliber would be a godsend. In Latrobe, one of Pittsburgh's more far-flung sub-suburbs, it's nearly miraculous." Read more here.

2. Maine: Editor Trevor Worden reviews NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT at Ogunquit Playhouse. He says, "As Billy Bendix, Amanda Lea LaVergne is a standout talent. She is beautifully relatable as Billy and she is makes every moment onstage work for her. She navigates each scene with poise and grace. Her comedy is expertly smart and pointed. She takes a two dimensional character and makes it live onstage. Her voice lacks the nuance and agility for jazz, but it is a fine standard musical theater voice." Read more here.

Midwest

3. Chicago, IL: New Guest Blogger, Neala Barron of Brown Paper Box Company's TITLE OF SHOW shares an exclusive 'day in the life' of her expericnes with the show. Check out an exclusive look at her entire day, from morning routines, meals, backstage shenigans and more! Read it here.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

4. St. Louis, MO: Editor Chris Gibson reviews The Muny's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. He says, "Nicholas Rodriguez delivers us a perfect Beast of a performance that has his complete conviction. Even under all the makeup and hair (with a shout-out to all the wigs designed by John Metzner) that he's wearing, he manages to convey the rage and heartache that the character is experiencing. He's especially strong during "If I Can't Love Her," the closing number for the first act. Kate Roswell is a lovely and very appealing Belle, and she displays a splendid voice as well. Roswell particularly shines during numbers like "Belle," "Is This Home?" and "A Change in Me." Rob McClure, who is always a welcome presence, is simply terrific as Lumiere, the candlestick who comes to life, and who leads the ensemble in a dazzlingly staged version of "Be Our Guest." Read his full review here.

South

5. Houston, TX: Editor Katricia Lang interviews Director Mitchell Greco and Playwright Ted Swindley in HONKY TONK ANGELS. On the talented cast, Director Mitchell Greco says, "Mitchell Greco: Not only are Chelsea, Holland and Kelley incredibly talented (with killer voices), but they're also super intelligent and extremely collaborative. I believe strongly in hiring smart people, pointing them in the same direction, and getting out of their way. The comedy, heart, and soul that these women bring to this play is invaluable. Chelsea is instinctively maternal in real life, and added with stellar comedic chops and a rocking voice, she's ideal for Angela. Holland, a Stages favorite, is also a comedic genius with a killer voice is perfect for Sue Ellen. Kelley is sensitive, sweet and wonderfully talented, and really grounds the piece as Darlene. I couldn't have asked for a better cast." Read more here.

DAMES AT SEA

6. Orlando, FL: Editor April Montgomery reviews DAMES AT SEA at The Winter Playhouse. She says, "Jackson was glowing with youthful delight and angelic vocals from the moment she stepped on stage. She delivered her lines with delicate ease and brought a graceful presence to each number. She really lit up the stage in one of the show's concluding songs, "Star Tar." Whether or not you are impressed by the lyrics, you may find yourself leaving the show singing this amusing song. I am eager to see Jackson grow and develop as a professional performer. Wettstein was instantly lovable as well and extraordinarily comfortable on stage. He outperformed his counterpart from the 1971 film version of the show by a longshot." Read her full review here.

7. New Orleans, LA: Editor Heidi Scheuermann reviews LIZA MINNELLI, who performed at Biloxi's IP Casino with her comeback performance "Liza Minnelli in Concert with Billy Stritch." She says, "AND THE CROWD GOES WILD!" is the only phrase to even remotely describe the audience's reaction to Ms. Minnelli stepping onto the stage in her sparkling black attire complete with hot pink scarf. She looked as fabulous as always, and she was obviously just as thrilled to be back on stage as her audience was to have her stating, "I feel like I'm home." Welcome home, Liza!" Read her full review here.

West

BENT

8. Los Angeles, CA: Senior Editor Don Grigware reviews a "Brilliant" BENT at Mark Taper Forum. He says, "In a rare revival, Moises Kaufman brilliantly directs this new production of BENT at the Mark Taper Forum, and you'd be a fool to miss it. The cast is extraordinary, and Martin Sherman's poignant lyricism is simultaneously funny, touching and thoroughly riveting from moment to moment." Read his full review here.

International

9. Spain: Editor Paola Abril reviews PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, the symphony and concert version, which comes to Madrid for just five days, from 18 to 23 August at the Teatro Compac Gran Via. Check out her full review here.

National Tour Highlight:

10. St. Louis editor Chris Gibson reviews Stages St. Louis' "Delightful and De-Lovely ANYTHING GOES." He says, "Brent Michael Diroma is handsome, likable and charming as Billy, and he does splendid work with a fabulous score that's a great fit for his pleasing vocals. The vivacious Julie Cardia brings down the house repeatedly as Reno, belting out several show-stopping songs, while aiding Billy in his quest, even though she has her own strong feelings toward him. Bob Amaral is an absolute riot as Moonface Martin, and Laura Taylor is a spicy treat as his companion, Erma, who takes advantage of the trip to naughtily work her way through the ship's crew." Read his full review here.

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