Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 12/15 - BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, ANNIE, 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 Beauty and the Beast, Annie, and More!
Los Angeles: Contributor Don Grigware reviews BEAUTY AND THE BEAST at Pasadena Playhouse! He writes "Most everyone knows Beauty and the Beast from the fine musical retelling of the fairy tale. Redemption, hope, faith and love are at the core, and Kris Lythgoe has kept the lovely story pretty much in tact with some great choreography from Mandy Moore - those kids can really dance - and overall slick staging from director Sheldon Epps. In the Panto version, the place is Pasadena, France...and the villain, Gus (James Snyder) a muscular stud who typifies self-adulation. Belle (Kelli Berglund) is the beautiful heroine who with her father Marcel (Gedde Watanabe) are held prisoners of the Beast (Jonah Platt). Gus tries to win Belle, but the wise young girl prefers the intelligence and thoughtfulness of the Beast who is actually a handsome Prince, under the spell of a curse. Love wins out, and the curse is broken allowing all to live happily everafter."
Minneapolis: Contributor Jill Schafer reviews ANNIE at The Ordway! She writes "The adults are pretty good too. Broadway actor Lance Roberts' Daddy Warbucks is more jolly than scary, making it easy to see why Annie wants to be with him. Our very own Ann Michels is a dream as Warbucks' assistant Grace (with the most divine wardrobe, more on that later). Another Broadway actor, Michele Ragusa, comes close to stealing the show as Miss Hannigan. I know we're supposed to hate her, but I sure did love her; her experience on stage shines through in every moment, big or small. As Miss Hannigan's con artist brother Rooster, Britton Smith is simply fantastic. How can we convince him to stay in the Twin Cities? Along with a great turn by local actor Cat Brinidisi as Rooster's ditsy girlfriend, this trio is the highlight of the show (after the orphans, of course). The ensemble is filled with too many talented #TCTheater actors to mention, all of whom bring great life and personality to the multiple roles they play (with honorable mention for Elise Benson, appropriately and prophetically singing "A Star to Be"). Oh and of course, the other star of the show is the famous canine Marti as Sandy, reprising her role from the 2014 movie, looking adorable and hitting every mark (in exchange for treats)."
Cleveland: Contributor Roy Berko reviews THE LOUSH SISTERS at Cleveland Public Theatre. He writes "The girls are less humorous when they are acting out the plot of a meaningless "story" line, supposedly a take-off on the '80s film, "Die Hard." No sense in writing a recap of the tale...no one is there for the plot...they are there to laugh at the not-for-prime-time material, often yelling comments to and about the girls. (Depends on the night as to how raucous it gets.)"
Los Angeles: Contributor Aimee Curameng reviews A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM at the Garry Marshall Theatre! She writes "For example, Joey McIntyre best known for his role in the popular group New Kids on the Block, performs several seconds of "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," dance moves and all, and the audience, comprised of plenty of New Kids fans and some non-New Kids fans, reacted with instant recognition. I'm sure this will change as he's left the production with his last performance on December 10th, having played the role of Pseudolus for three weeks. I have no doubt that this particular scene will be altered for something equally as memorable and as funny."
Seattle: Contributor Amelia Reynolds reviews Seattke Public Theater's CHRISTMASTOWN! She writes "Seattle Public Theater time and time again impresses with its set design, and "Christmastown" is no exception. Granted, it's a sparse set, but it's effective (especially complimented by Ahren Buhmann's very creative lighting techniques). Scenic and prop designer Milo Robinson also does a lot with a little, only using the necessary scenic accouterment to establish setting. For example, all that is on stage are a crystal whiskey decanter and a three-panel divider, but it's clearly a speakeasy dressing room. Robinson uses very characteristic props to set the scene and keep things minimal."
Minneapolis: Contributor Peggy Sue Dunigan reviews Lyric Arts' A CONEY ISLAND CHRISTMAS. She writes "Scenic Designer Leazah Behrens recreates the step back in time set seamlessly under Elena Gianetti's direction. Supporting performances by Shirley's music teacher,Lydia Wildes' Miss Glacé and her own schoolroom teacher, Michael Conroy's Mr. Hilton, present alternate perspectives to the Abramowitz's family dilemma. Humor and poignancy meld along with the pure joy of being a child, memories that even royalty display as England's young Prince George recently performed in his schools Nativity pageant. Childhood recasts these events in light of youthful acceptance and enthusiasm, where those iconic Christmas pageants of the past capture an innocence that resonates in 2018."
Nashville: Contributor Cillea Houghton reviews Nashville Ballet's NUTCRACKER. She writes "The Ballet and company's tireless efforts to put on an unparalleled performance do not go unnoticed, with each performer pairing strength with pure grace throughout the production's entirety. Judson Veach is powerful as Drosselmeyer, captivating the audience with his composure and commanding stage presence, while Carissa Surber is equally as delightful and charming as Clara. Guest conductor Ming Luke and the incredible Nashville Symphony Orchestra masterfully honor the famous score, while Campbell Baird and Shigeru Yaji couldn't have done a more exquisite job with the costume and scenery design, respectively."
Detroit: Contributor Katie Laban reviews CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND at Fisher Theatre. She writes "A talented cast of twenty-four singers and dancers bring Christmas Wonderland to life on stage. Santa high kicks with chorus girls and entertains the audience throughout the performance dancing and singing right along with the cast. The show is filled with fantastic dance numbers that wow the crowd to holiday hits such as "Winter Wonderland," "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "Let It Snow," "O Holy Night," "Jingle Bells," "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," and many more Christmas favorites. Plus, there is an astonishing surprise during the show. It is amazing, awe-inspiring moment for the audience that should not be missed!"
San Antonio: Contributor Kathy Strain reviews Majestic Theatre's WHITE CHRISTMAS. She writes "Other extraordinary performances included actor Conrad John Schuck as General Henry Waverly. If the name sounds familiar, his face would be even more recognizable. He has been in many notable films and TV shows over the years including "Mcmillan and Wife" as Sgt. Enright with Rock Hudson and Susan Saint James. Shuck was perfectly cast as the strict yet soft General Waverly. And he showed off his chops more than once with some of the songs. Another hit performance was that of actress Karen Ziemba. As Martha Watson, her singing talents along with her comedic timing made Ziemba perfectly cast in this role."
France: Contributor Michael Pereira reviews THE ADDAMS FAMILY in Paris! He writes "The only disappointment of the evening was that use of a prerecorded orchestra. The use of these tracks flattens the experience in the theatre and in some ways inhibits the artists on stage. However, I recommend this amusing musical that fills Théâtre Le Palace with laughter, merriment and good old vaudevillian fun! It's fun time for the whole family, with amusement for the youngsters and double meanings for the grown-ups. Most importantly this musical reminds us that opening our hearts and minds to people's differences can change your life."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Los Angeles Contributing Editor
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 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 ninth 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.
Join Team BroadwayWorld! 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!