Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 11/17 - MARGARITAVILLE, LES MIS, WAITRESS 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 Escape to Margaritaville, Les Miserables, Waitress, and More!
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Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our new "Around The World" section!
Chicago: Contributor Misha Davenport reviews the Broadway-bound ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE. He writes "The score of 27 songs features many of Buffett's greatest hits and Parrotheads in the audience are encouraged to sing along at various points in the show (as if anyone could stop them). The songs are listed in the program in alphabetical order. It's a calculated move; to list them as they appear in the actual show would only add to the predictability of the plot. There are a few genuine surprises with the song placement, though. "Fins" and "Margaritaville" particularly appear in unlikely places in the score (Devine's choreography in the former is especially creative and fun).
San Diego: Contributor E.H. Reiter reviews HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS at The Old Globe. She writes "As per usual with holiday traditions, it's hard to be the newcomer to them and make them your own. But Edward Watts' take on the Grinch is one that fits in perfectly. His portrayal is a bit more snarky, with a touch of subtle sweetness that keeps this Grinch from being too overblown (and probably makes him a bit more relatable). Watts has a strong voice, and the growl that keeps this character formidable right up until he is felled by that tiny tot Cindy-Lou Who."
Kansas City: Contributor Alan Portner reviews WAITRESS at Broadway Theater League. He writes "Of special note is Desi Oakley as the lead character, Jenna. She is cute, funny, absolutely on her game and has a voice that rings clear like a very lovely bell. Jeremy Morse (Ogie) brings down the house with his comic antics as Dawn's loving foil. And I have a soft spot for Larry Marshall as Joe. He is a true gentleman and a great character actor. It is a pleasure to see him again. Larry was in the original cast of "Hair" 49 years ago and was featured in the "Hair Retrospective" at the KC Rep in 2014."
Dallas: Contributor Kyle Christopher West reviews the National Tour of WHITE CHRISTMAS. He writes "Although the true stars of WHITE CHRISTMAS are Irving Berlin's hummable tunes, Randy Skinner's flashy choreography, and Carrie Robbins' vibrant costumes, the touring company is peppered with triple-threat singers, dancers, and actors who further raise the bar. Among the cast, Sean Montgomery and Jeremy Benton leave lasting impressions as Bob and Phil, respectively. The pair's chemistry is only rivaled by their effortless approach to the many challenging song and dance numbers they lead. Equally impressive is Broadway's leading lady legend Karen Ziemba as Martha Watson, whose brassy "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy" is a major crowd pleaser. The greatest disappointment in the casting department, however, is their too literal approach to achieving a white Christmas (if you catch my drift). As the company's only obvious person of color, Dance Captain Kristyn Pope does manage to shine in the spotlight numerous times throughout the show."
Rhode Island: Contributor Veronica Bruscini reviews A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Trinity Rep. She writes "Though the heart of the story beats as strongly as ever, regular Carol attendees will find some notable differences with this year's production, primarily altered musical selections and a few trimmed lines of dialogue. The spotlight also shifts away from Trinity's troupe of actors to shine on a series of special guest artists. This Christmas, Trinity will partner with 18 local non-profit organizations to bring attention to the work these groups are doing in the community. Brazil and Thorne provided space for the seamless incorporation of this partnership in A Christmas Carol's storytelling and the narrative never breaks. On opening night, members of Progresso Latino, Inc. took to the stage with a rousing, hand-clapping, and thoroughly engaging rendition of "You Gotta Sing (When the Spirit Says Sing)" that perfectly complemented Scrooge's reclamation."
Long Island: Contributor Melissa Giordano reviews ANNIE at The Engeman. She writes "On Ms. DiPietropolo's clever creative team, the set, done by Christopher Swader and Justin Swader, is stunningly enhanced by John Burkland's beautiful lighting design and Kurt Alger's gorgeous costumes. It seems like a very busy show and being a large cast, everyone is able to pitch in to ensure seamless scene changes. And the company runs through Ms. DiPietropolo's fun choreography with élan particularly the children with "Hard Knock Life". The entire production is visually stunning. And, of course, it is always thrilling to see a fantastic live orchestra headed up by talented Music Director Jonathan Brenner."
Raleigh: Contributor Jeffrey Kare reviews GYPSY at North Carolina Theatre. He writes "As for this production directed by Eric Woodall, it's got an amazing troupe of performers from New York and the Triangle area (including some of the students from the North Carolina Theatre Conservatory). In one of (if not) the most behemoth characters in musical theatre, Christine Sherrill not only portrays Mama Rose as the aggressive stage mother that she is, but also displays the human side of her in one of the characters more heartfelt moments. It is especially evidenced at the end of the show when Sherrill gives her rendition of 'Rose's Turn', which has to be the greatest 11 o'clock number ever written for a musical. Mary Mattison gives an enthusiastic, yet heartfelt performance as Louise, who probably has one of the best character arcs ever written for a musical. It is especially shown during 'Let Me Entertain You' in Act II, where the character begins as a shy girl who's very reluctant to perform, but grows into a more confident performer as the song goes on. Martin Moran also gives a very charismatic, yet caring performance as Rose's manager/love interest Herbie. Standouts include Tanisha Moore as June and Sidney DuPont as Tulsa, who especially shows himself as a real triple threat in his number, 'All I Need is the Girl'. Another highlight of the second act is the number, 'You Gotta Get a Gimmick', performed very well by Amma Osei as Mazeppa, Lynda Clark as Electra, and J. Elaine Marcos as Tessie Tura. I'd also have to give a special shoutout to conservatory students, Mackenzie Pierce and Skyla I'Lece Woodard for their talented performances as Baby Louise and Baby June, respectively."
Toronto: Contributor Taylor Long reviews UNCOVERED at the Musical Stage Company. He writes "The night is divided into Dylan and Springsteen, Acts I and II. With the curation of quotes used, the transition between artists is effortless and makes perfect sense. As Dylan, Farb opens the evening with "Mr. Tambourine Man", sung in precious clarity. Farb's spoken voice evolves so naturally into her singing - the quotes following the same pattern as they travel into music."
Nashville: Contributor Jeffrey Ellis reviews LES MISERABLES at TPAC. He writes "There have been some changes made in the intervening decades since the show premiered in London (and before that in Paris): the turntable - such a revolutionary piece of theatrical wizardry when the show debuted that it remains a touchstone for stage design since then - is gone, now replaced with a staging that gives the production a new and updated visual appeal, and the direction by Laurence Connor and James Powell (with musical staging by Michael Ashcroft and Geoffrey Garrett) has somewhat streamlined the storytelling approach to the material, moving the show's already cinematic pace to a quicker level to engage contemporary audiences whose attention has become accustomed to a brisker form of storytelling."
Central PA: Contributor Allison Rambler reviews A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at Theatre Harrisburg. She writes "A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM hosts all varieties of humor, whether it be subtle puns or in-your-face slapstick comedy. The cast of Theatre Harrisburg's rendition of this lesser-known Sondheim piece work in tandem frequently and expertly to bring an endlessly entertaining show that tickles each and every funny bone. The plot twists and turns in outrageous ways, and the company of FORUM takes each one in stride, hitting nearly all the marks. It is a show that warms the heart and brings the laughs, and proves that musical theatre can be, in fact, a funny thing."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Chicago Senior Editor
Misha Davenport is the chief critic for Broadway World Chicago. A Chicago-based freelance writer, blogger, critic and singer. He studied playwriting at Michigan State University under the late Arthur Athanason. He covered theater in the Windy City for more than a decade at the Chicago Sun-Times. He is a fierce advocate and lover of live theater from shows in 50-seat storefronts to big Broadway blockbusters.
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