Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our Broadway World - 1/27; ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE in Raleigh, THE LAST FIVE YEARS in Los Angeles 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 IN THE HEIGHTS in Detroit, ALWAYS... PATSY CLINE in North Carolina, THE LAST FIVE YEARS in Los Angeles and more. Check out our top features below!
1. Baltimore, MD: New Editor Kristen Price reviews SUPERIOR DONUTS at Third Wall Productions. She says, "...Ed Higgins was a fabulous choice to play this very important character. He had the perfect mix of hippie, kindness, comedy and gravity. Arthur is the center of his little piece of the world, and all of the other characters revolve around him. Higgins seemed to have perfect chemistry with every other character. You could tell the actors felt the same way about him, as their characters felt about Arthur. Isaiah Evans, the actor playing Arthur's employee, Franco was another standout." Read more here.
2. Detroit, MI: Editor Katie Laban reviews IN THE HEIGHTS at Stagecrafters. She says, "Gary LaKind plays the role of Usnavi. LaKind tackles the challenging role marvelously. Instead of copying Miranda's creation of Usnavi, LaKind went on to construct his own version him, but still keeps the character true to the original idea. He is energetic, honest, endearing, and a bright light to watch on stage because it is easy to see how much fun he has when he is performing." Read more here.
3. Milwaukee, WI: Editor Peggy Sue Dunigan reviews Ayad Ahktar's DISGRACED at Milwaukee Rep. She says, "So potently relevant is Aktar's play and The Rep's production, that the company names the performance Act I, and the half hour discussion groups to follow, Act II. These groups were well worth the time and emphasized the extreme contemporary significance of Disgraced. The Rep's effort to have patrons seriously consider two issues-- which character spoke to them as an individual and what personal part of an audience member's identity influenced their life---offers additional insight to the production." Read more here.
4. Omaha, NE: Editor Christine Swerczek reviews AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS at Omaha Community Playhouse. She says, "Although I've never been a great fan of slapstick comedy, there is an amazing comedic aspect of the actors that cracked me up. In particular, Ben Beck's posture and facial expressions, along with his mannerisms, are flat out hilarious. He, Monty Eich and Teri Fender are all gifted performers who easily shift from one character to another. They change personality and accent just as readily as their costumes. Susan Baer Collins had her work cut out for her as dialect coach. Her efforts paid off." Read more here.
5. Austin, TX: Editor Frank Benge reviews the World Premiere of A PERFECT ROBOT at The Vortex. He says, "Saltwick's play examines themes previously explored in both PYGALION and FRANKENSTEIN in a fresh and fascinating way. Her script is wise and witty and totally engaging, updating this classic myth for our current time. It is part science fiction and part mystery with a great sense of the comic. Director Rudy Ramirez works his usual magic on the script by focusing on this set of characters, making them easy for the audience to relate to. Time and again he presents us with visual beauty on the stage." Read more here.
6. Raleigh, NC: Editor Jeffrey Kare reviews North Carolina Theatre's Always...Patsy Cline. He says, "In this production currently playing at the A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater through January 29th, Sally Struthers narrates the whole show as Louise Seger from beginning to end. Struthers not only proves to be such a comedic highlight, but is also very heartfelt by the end of the show. She also shares some great onstage chemistry with Carter Calvert as Patsy Cline. Calvert presents a very authentic take on the legendary country singer not only in the acting department, but also offers a strong resemblance to Cline's voice." Read more here.
Want to watch highlights of the production? Check out the video below!
7. Los Angeles, CA: Editor Ellen Dostal reviews THE LAST FIVE YEARS at La Mirada. She says, "McCoy Rigby Entertainment and La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts have reimagined this gem of a musical in a wonderfully creative way and the result is truly something special. If you are one of the few who has not seen the show before, or if you've only seen it produced on a small scale, this is memorable work you don't want to miss." Read more here.
8. Israel: New Editor Yuval Gerstner reviews HACHAYAL HARAZE at Cameri Theatre. He says, "But even more than the play itself, Tal Brenner managed to bring this written story to life by using many creative ideas and by understanding what Levin was trying to tell us. Tal Brenner and the entire cast have succeeded in capturing the audience and making them feel what Levin wanted them to feel when he was writing this play." Read more here.
National Tour Highlight:
9. Pittsburgh Editor Dylan Shaffer reviews HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH at the Benedum Center. He says, "When Hedwig finds herself touring the country, she must learn how to work a crowd, and fast. Euan Morton's performance was no exception to this. He strutted and teased across the stage, reacting to the audience in real time but never missing a beat in the script or an opportunity to hair toss.... Hedwig's husband, Yitzhak, was played by Hannah Corneau, and like Mr. Morton, Ms. Corneau's voice rang through the theatre. Everything from a Whitney Houston belt to a raspy rock riff came out of this queen's mouth." Read more here.
10. Don Grigware, Senior Editor, Los Angeles: 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: www.grigwaretalkstheatre.com. 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. Don is in his eighth year with BWW, currently serving as Senior Editor of the Los Angeles Page. He received a BWW Award for Excellence in 2014 as one of the top ten Regional Editors across the globe. Don is also an author/playwright and recently published Books I, II & III of his children's fable Two Worlds Together: Donnelly's Greatest Christmas. You may purchase copies of the two volumes at amazon.com A trilogy of one-acts in a collection called Holiday Madness was recently revised and re-published, also on amazon.com. Both the story and plays are available on kindle as well as in paperback.
On writing for BroadwayWorld, Don says,"Writing for BWW is a wonderfully creative and enjoyable experience. It is great to know that what you are saying is reaching so many people and that you can make a difference in what shows they choose to attend. It gives you a sense of empowerment, as your opinions actually count. I am still amazed when folks come up to me in public and thank me for my contributions to LA theatre."
STUDENT BLOGGERS! We'd like to feature a few of our student bloggers below!
This week, we'd like to welcome our newest contributing writer in Hawaii, Taurie Kinoshita, Cillea Houghton in Nashville, Greer Firestone in Delaware, and Deb Kelley in Tampa, who will also be contributing to BWW Books.
*BONUS* - Interested in joining our team, but not exactly sure what we do? All of your questions are answered, along with every open position from guest and student bloggers, Regional Editors, and more! Find out where we have open positions available here!