Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 11/02 - THE LITTLE MERMAID, THE LION KING, SOMETHING ROTTEN 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 THE LITTLE MERMAID, THE LION KING, SOMETHING ROTTEN and More!
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our new "Around The World" section!
Appleton: Contributor Meredith Kreisa reviews THE LITTLE MERMAID at FOX Cities P.A.C. She writes "The live show builds further on the premise of the movie by providing more backstory, including explaining Ariel's mysteriously absent mother, clarifying the relationship between Ursula and King Triton, developing the relationship between Ariel and Flounder, and finally clarifying why King Triton actually hates humans so much. Plus, the live show also builds a stronger basis for the relationship between Ariel and Prince Eric. Perhaps one of the highlights of the musical is that it features many of the entertaining side characters much more heavily than does the movie, so fans of Ursula, Flotsam and Jetsam, Scuttle, and Ariel's sisters take heart!"
Philippines: Contributor Jude Buot reviews CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG at Resorts World Manila. He writes "What is also worthy of accolades is the dedication and energy of such a top-notch and well-casted company of actors and ensemble. Leading the pack are Magdangal and Yanah Laurel (Truly Scrumptious) who are both in their prime as lead actors of the Manila theater scene. Magdangal, also a father in real life, carries the show from start to finish without a hint of exhaustion, just like his character's dedication as a father to his kids. There is also undeniable chemistry between him and Laurel, so as early as now we are already gushing over the thought of seeing them again as romantic leads in future projects. Among the featured roles, we truly enjoy the performances of Raymund Concepcion (The Baron of Vulgaria), who is almost unrecognizable with that wig and make-up on, and the tandem of Mako Alonso (Boris) and Red Atadero (Goran). The latter have impeccable comic timing that even their crazy antics do not feel rehearsed or sloppy."
Los Angeles: Contributor Michael Quintos reviews END OF THE RAINBOW at La Mirada. He writes "Also worth noting in this production is its top-notch technical aspects. Pulling triple duty as the play's musical director and principal pianist while also playing the role of Anthony is Steinhagen, who leads a rousing, terrific orchestra situated at the rear of the stage. Stephen Gifford's impressive set which switches from a hotel suite into the Talk of the Town stage then back again is helped along by Steven Young's precision-timed lighting design during the venue conversions. And Bill Morey's richly textured costumes suitably recalls the time period."
Los Angeles: Contributor Gil Kaan reviews YOHEN at East/West Players. He writes "The Robey Theatre Company has teamed up with East West Players to present an intriguing production of YOHEN directed by Ben Guillory. How generous an actor Danny Glover to cede the East West stage to June Angela's dominating performance of Sumi, the traditional, meek Japanese housewife finally coming into her own after 37 years of marriage to James (Glover's character). Angela's Sumi (running the gambit of emotions from very proper Japanese to flirty date to full-blown, frustrated wife yearning for more, demanding for more of anything) takes full advantage to tower over Glover's committed portrayal of an aged, fumbling, despondent James, many times at lost with his own words. The East West stage is Angela's for the full 90 minutes of Philip Kan Gotanda's YOHEN. Glover eventually does get his opportunity to grab his spotlight in his final explosive speech to Sumi. BWW Review: A Radiant June Angela Dominates YOHENYOHEN's one scene of levity has James teaching Sumi how to toss peanuts into her mouth, which Angela does hysterically, purposely off-target. Brava June Angela!"
Syracuse: Contributor Natasha Ashley reviews the revamped tour of THE LION KING: She writes "Buyi Zama as Rafiki opens the show beautifully with her perfect comedic timing, impressive vocals, and dramatic flair. She is a true standout performer. Gerald Ramsey, as Mufasa, is powerful and authoritative and sings a memorable rendition of "They Live in You." Greg Jackson, as Zazu, skillfully maneuvers the puppet. Mark Campbell's line delivery is spot on as Scar, stealing the spotlight at every opportunity, especially in his number "Be Prepared." The hyenas - Shenzi (Martina Sykes), Banzai (Keith Bennett), and Ed (Robbie Swift)- have perfect chemistry when they perform "Chow Down" and "Madness of King Scar." Nick Cordileone, as Timon, and Ben Lipitz, as Pumbaa, play the comedic duo with perfect comedic timing and deliver a memorable performance of the hit song "Hakuna Matata." Gerald Caesar, as adult Simba, shows off his vocals in the beautiful number "Endless Night;" his energy and facial expressions capture Simba's growth perfectly. Nia Halloway, as adult Nala, is confident and strong, fully capturing Nala's loyalty, beauty, and strength in "Shadowland."
Arizona: Contributor Herbert Paine reviews SOMETHING ROTTEN at ASU Gammage. He writes "At the center of this whirlwind are the sterling performances of Rob McClure (on fire from start to finish) and Josh Grisetti as the aspiring playwrights Nick and Nigel Bottom, who conjure up a new concept in theatre ~ the musical! ~ that, in turn, will take shape in the staging of Omelette!, thanks to the counsel of soothsayer Thomas Nostradamus (gleefully portrayed by Blake Hammond), and thus grant them the means to get a leg up on The Bard. Adam Pascal (Rent, Aida, Memphis) is terrific as a less than honorable Shakespeare, ever one step ahead of the Bottom brothers."
Chicago: Contributor Rachel Weinberg reviews BILLY ELLIOT at Porclight Music Theatre. She writes "Seymour is supported by a superlative cast of 34 players who bring this musical's emotional center to life. The always excellent Sean Fortunato shines in the role of Billy's gruff father, who is still keenly grieving the loss of his wife. Though Fortunato presents an appropriately hardened exterior, he takes his character's arc to its full depth-particularly when he must decide whether to shun or embrace what he considers an unusual activity for his son to pursue. Adam Fane also hits the right notes as Billy's older brother Tony and brings a fiery dedication to all of his scenes. Iris Lieberman adds humor to this melancholy piece as Billy's eccentric Grandma, and her timing is immaculate. As Billy's best friend, Michael, Peyton Owen is nothing short of delightful, and he makes the number "Expressing Yourself" a highlight. Shanésia Davis finds the balance between tough dance teacher and warm mentor as Billy's ballet instructor Mrs. Wilkinson. The ensemble work is solid throughout the production, and the actors collectively give a needed sense of community."
Long Island: Contributor Melissa Ciordano reviews CLEVER LITTLE LIES at Hampton Theatre Company. She writes "The Ensemble Company is truly top notch. Carolann Di Pirro wonderfully portrays Billy's wife Jane. They make a great team as stage husband and wife bickering and getting on each other's nerves. His nerves the frustration of being in love with two women and not knowing what to do and her nerves being a new mother. In the attempt to help them with their troubles, Billy's mother and father have them over for an evening, which is where the bulk of the story takes place in the gorgeous living room of the parent's house. Terrance Fiore portrays Billy, Sr. and I dare say he receives the most laughs from the enthusiastic audience. And HTC Artistic Director Diana Marbury superbly portrays Billy's well-meaning mother Alice without coming across as annoyingly overbearing as Alice tries to help her son."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Appleton Contributing Editor
Growing up, Meredith wanted to be a Broadway star and marry Adam Pascal. But when she realized she was a triple non-threat and no marriage proposals were forthcoming, she settled for getting an M.A. in communication and seeing as many shows as her remote location allows. She is a writing tutor and a writer, writing about learning languages, aliens, gnomes, squirrels, and grave robbers because she is an adult and this is what adults do.
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