Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 12/22 - THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, A CHRISTMAS CAROL, THE LORAX, 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 Phantom of the Opera, A Christmas Carol, The Lorax, and More!
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section!
Sweden: Contributor Annette Stolt reviews THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA at Goteborg Opera. She writes "Christine does not feel as girly and naïve. From the beginning she is more in command of her feelings and acting and does not let herself be seduced She has a stronger will. She doesn´t faint when she looks at the Phantom but walks freely with him into his bedroom with the red silky sheets... Raoul doesn't have the usual boyish appearance, he's more man and more equal to the Phantom, both voice and appearance. It seems like the director wanted to have another dynamic between the characters. Raoul are more modern dressed, like a businessman and Christine is wearing a bit more provocative and modern dresses in some scenes."
New Jersey: Contributor Sarah Vander Schaaff reviews A CHRISTMAS CAROL at McCater Theatre. She writes "This production does not linger long on moments of loss or suffering-the plight of the Cratchit family, the children of London, the duping of Fuzziwig or farewell to Fan, can't compete with the ebullient pace that drives, unrelentingly, to the end. Considering this is an annual production, it's worth asking how much these elements deserve more attention in years to come, as does the use of the community ensemble. But those are questions for another year. As Scrooge learns, there is no time like the present to spread the joys of the season."
Des Moines: Contributor Zachary James reviews A CHRISTMAS CAROL at Iowa Stage Theatre Co. He writes "Iowa Stage skillfully brings the story to life with an impressive ensemble cast, each of whom wears many hats throughout the performance, literally and figuratively. Richard Maynard is exactly the Scrooge you would hope for, miserly and miserable, a shadowy, chilling figure you would not wish to darken your doorway. He at once is both terrifying and delightful in his characterization and takes the audience on a smartly crafted journey, the ultimate pay off, as with any version of this beloved holiday favorite, when we see an old grump of a man transform before our eyes into a cooing, giggling baby, a surprisingly buoyant moment from Maynard's Ebenezer. Scrooge's misery is self-imposed and it is an important lesson to observe his transformation, the ice melting from his heart as we warm to his bubbling new visage."
Toronto: Contributor Taylor Long reviews THE LORAX. He writes "Where THE LORAX doesn't necessarily succeed is in the structure of the show. Squeezing a two-hour musical out of a 45-page children's book is problematic without the creation of engaging, new material. The result, in this case, is a compelling first act that moves quickly through the story, and a second act that struggles to maintain the energy of the piece, extending the drama to fill time."
Washington DC: Contributor Andrew White reviews AN IRISH CAROL at Keegan Theatre. He writes "American audiences used to hard-luck stories of Irish immigrants ("Brooklyn," anyone?) might be surprised to find that in An Irish Carol, the immigrant bartender is Polish. Josh Sticklin does a fine job as Bartek, a seemingly eternal optimist who lives humbly with a wife and young daughter nearby. Early on, it becomes clear that there are only two kinds of people who can stand to be anywhere near his boss: childhood friends who still stop by on occasion for a pint, and Bartek, who despite all odds and all appearances prefers to see the good in David."
Kansas City: Contributor Alan Portner reviews A SPECTACULAR CHRISTMAS ShOW at Musical Theatrer Heritage. He writes "Original script by Tim Scott is tight and is evenly distributed throughout. Exceptional attention has been paid to stage pictures, cast focus, a complex and professional lighting plan, a very nice and flexible setting, and some intricate choreography. I first noticed Kenny Personett as an ensemble member in a production of "West Side Story." He stood out because of his unusual ability to focus his character. It is a talent that he has clearly passed on with the choreography to this cast. Not only are the steps inventive, but the movement schemes tend to be individual in their designs and for each of the musical numbers."
Dallas: Contributor Samuel Webber reviews Cirque du Soleil's VAREKAI. He writes "Anyway, for my first indulgence into Cirque du Soleil territory, Varekai was certainly fun. The aerialists and acrobats in particular are a favorite, as was the inclusion of Georgian dancers. And of course, the show ended with the famous image of the Russian Swings that we all associate with the company. If anything was off, it was only that the space of the Fort Worth Convention Center seemed a bit too large and vacuous for the show on a surprisingly intimate stage. Nonetheless, families in particular will love the colors, audience-involved-clowning, and some truly gorgeous lighting. For DFW locals, go see Varekai now before it retires forever. I have little too compare it too, but it's a unique experience that won't be around much longer. And per expectation, the technical skill of the performers of all kind is crazy - these are truly athlete/artists at the peak of their craft."
Washington DC: Contributor Benjamin Tomchik reviews AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at the Kennedy Center. He writes "McGee Maddox fills Kelly's dance shoes in this production with a serviceable performance as Jerry Mulligan. He is handsome and charming; however his singing voice is weak. With solos like "Liza" and "Beginner's Luck" Maddox appears to struggle, while with "They Can't Take That Away From Me" he is overpowered by co-stars Matthew Scott and Ben Michael. Happily though his dancing ability and talent are far superior and so is his chemistry with Allison Walsh's Lise Dassin."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Sarah Vander Schaaff
New Jersey Contributing Editor
Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaff is a freelance writer and blogger. Her work has appeared in many national outlets including The Washington Post, HuffPost, and Getting Smart. With a background in theatre and journalism, she loves creative endeavors, artistic people, and Early Grey tea. She lives near Princeton, New Jersey with her husband and two children and has just finished her first novel. Follow her at @writeonsarah and www.writeonsarah.com
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