Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 12/29 - FIDDLER, LES MIS, LOVE NEVER DIES, 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 FIDDLER, LES MIS, and LOVE NEVER DIES.
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section!
Japan: Contributor Mara Jill Herman reviews Toho's production of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. She writes "In great voice, a charismatic and equally comedic Tevye (Masachika Ichimura) breaks the fourth wall to relay the state of affairs in his Russian shtetl. As "Tradition" resounds, the full company emerges, arms linked at a 90-degree angle, paying homage to Jerome Robbins' signature choreography. Shigeki Majima recreates most of Robbins' original staging but adds his unique stamp to this American music theater classic."
South Carolina: Contributor Neil Shurley reviews ON YOUR FEET at the Peace Center. He writes "Christie Prades and Mauricio Martinez star as Gloria and Emilio. Prades is simply terrific as Gloria, with a voice that sounds, to my ears, nearly spot on to the original. She also convincingly shows us an awkward young woman who grows into her rightful place in the spotlight. She's well matched with Martinez, who almost drips charisma and easily pulls us all under his sway as the confident, swaggering, charmer who is Emilio Estefan."
Rhode Island: Contributor Veronica Bruscini reviews LOVE NEVER DIES at Providence PAC. She writes "Gardar Thor Cortes is an ideal Phantom in every way. He moves across the stage with an effortless elegance, styling the Phantom as both powerful and vulnerable by turns, and his utterly luminous vocal performance truly befits Christine's "Angel of Music." As Christine, Meghan Picerno shows playfulness in her relationship with Gustave, real affection during her conversations with Raoul, and authenticity in her abiding love for the Phantom. Picerno's breathtaking delivery of the show's title song absolutely brings down the house in the second act."
Orlando: Contributor Kimberly Moy reviews SCHOOL OF ROCK at the Dr. Phillips Center. She writes "Rob Colletti plays Dewey and seemingly embodies the character. He is comically on point as Dewey stumbles through his life. It was not surprising to learn that Colletti played Elder Cunningham in BOOK OF MORMON. Both characters have this charm about them that causes audiences to get behind the character. Colletti can carry the show and is believable with his rock obsession. Despite being lazy, Dewey is a good person and his juvenile nature allows him to connect with the students. He is able to see their strengths and understand what motivates them."
Jackson: Contributor Juliana Asbill reviews A CHRISTMAS STORY in Jackson. She writes "The company of this show is one guaranteed to entertain and delight. Chris Carsten as Jean Shepherd was spot-on with his comedic narrations throughout the show, telling the story as a now-older Ralphie. On for Ralphie at this performance, Tristan Klaphake embodied the beloved movie character hilariously well while adding an element the movie didn't include - talented vocals. Along with Mother, played by Sara Zoe Budnik, Matthew Brennan in the role of The Old Man, and Evan Christy as Ralphie's younger brother, Randy, the Parker family was one rife with charm, heart, fun, and incredible voices. (Miss) Shields, Ralphie's teacher, is played by Angelica Richie, and she blows the top out of her big song and tap number with Ralphie's classmates. And, of course, the ensemble brought their A-game, performing their big numbers with impressive cohesion, skill, and energy."
Rockland: Contributor Peter Danish reviews HUNCHBACK at White Plains PAC. He writes "In fact, the show is absolutely replete with beautiful visual and vocal movements, especially when the mammoth 32-person chorus is in full swing. Cleverly attired in monk robes and subtlety ensconced on the second story balcony of the huge and magisterial set, the chorus brought an enormous amount of depth and passion to the sound and the show itself. Whether accompanying the leads or delivering a solo monastic choral number, the chorus provided a gigantic wall of sound that spoke in a visceral manner of the power of the church in 15th century Europe. Special kudos to conductor and musical director Stephen Ferri who marshalled together the largest orchestra and largest chorus in WPPAC history with extraordinary results."
Washington DC: Contributor Evann Normandin review LES MISERABLES at the National Theatre. She writes "This touring production of LES MISERABLES is unabashedly funny at times, and not just when the Thenardiers are involved. The love sick Marius, innocent Cosette, and love lorn Eponine provide moments of genuine humor and sweetness. Joshua Grosso as Marius made me understand, perhaps for the first time in my many LES MISERABLES viewings, the delight and tragedy of his "meet cute" with Cosette-played by the lovely Jillian Butler. Phoenix Best as Eponine gives one of the most effective renditions of "On My Own" I've ever seen. Also of note is Matt Shingledecker's Enjolras, J. Anthony Crane's Thenardier, and Allison Guinn's Madame Thenardier. This ensemble cast is truly impressive."
Chicago: Contributor Rachel Weinberg reviews BLKS at Steppenwolf. She writes "Under the direction of Nataki Garrett, Barnes has also found an ensemble capable of bringing BLKS's complex script to life. As Octavia, Carroll milks the role for maximum humor but also leans into many moments of true vulnerability. Cooper is equally excellent as Imani, particularly as she navigates a new passion for stand-up comedy. The scenes between Cooper and O'Sullivan are also especially powerful. O'Sullivan's character is justifiably widely drawn in Barnes's script, and she does not shy away from the character. As June, Ayers delightfully balances her character's controlled, bold facade while also allowing us to see the heartbreak and sadness that lie below the surface. Smallwood deftly navigates a series of different roles throughout the play, making each turn distinct. As Octavia's partner of questionable relationship status Ry, Davis infuses even more humor into Barnes's inherently funny text and gives us additional insight into the central character of Octavia based on their connection."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Mara Jill Herman
Japan Contributing Editor
Mara Jill Herman is chronicling her performance adventures in Japan as Guest Contributor for UArts College of Performing Arts' blog. In 2012, she co-authored So You Wanna Be A Superstar? The Ultimate Audition Guide (Running Press Kids). Her writing has appeared on many arts-driven sites including OnStage Blog, Theatre Nerds, Equity News, Troika Entertainment, Holland America Line, BroadwaySpace, and the National YoungArts Foundation. She is the recipient of the 2011 Young Alumni Service Award from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. Mara is a freelance writer and member of Actors' Equity Association. www.marajillherman.com
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