Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 3/9 - WAITRESS, RAGTIME, CHICAGO, 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 Waitress, Ragtime, Chicago, and More!
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below! Want more great global content? Check out our "Around The World" section!
Pittsburgh: Contributor Greg Kerestan reviews WAITRESS at the Benedum. He writes " Sassy waitress Becky (Charity Angel Dawson) loves her invalid husband, but is having an affair with the more vital Cal (Ryan G. Dunkin), the diner's grouchy manager. Dawson has an amazing voice, and Dunkin finds the meat in a one-dimensional role without any singing, but both of them are saddled with the most sitcom-generic of characters. Lenne Klingaman fares better as buttoned-up waitress Dawn, who learns to open up and love life with the help of her persistent, quirky suitor Ogie, as played by Jim Hogan. Hats off to Hogan, handling one of the most difficult comedic roles in contemporary musical theatre, charming the audience and winning over Dawn at the same time. We have every reason to see Ogie as a loser, a creep, or even a stalker- in his very first scene, he must bring enough joy and innocence to his persistence that we see why Dawn comes to fall for him quickly. Finally, Larry Marshall (who played a manic Simon Zealotes in the first Jesus Christ Superstar film) brings both warmth and crustiness to the role of Old Joe, the diner's owner and chief patron. At first, I was a little uneasy with seeing a black man in the role- there's a certain touch of the outdated "Magic Negro" trope around a lovably raunchy old black man who is always handing out sage advice and solving white people's problems with handy deus ex machina moments. (It's not an inherently offensive trope so much as a trite one- the Magic Negro cliché dates all the way back to Uncle Remus.) Nonetheless, Marshall overcomes this slight cultural baggage to make Old Joe more than just a Morgan Freeman wananbe."
Los Angeles: Contributor Ellen Dostal reviews JACKIE UNVEILED at the Wallis. She writes "Burrows delivers the herculean task of presenting a two hour solo play with finesse but is also undermined by Jackie's accent. Though carefully studied and phonetically perfected, it is centered around one pitch and never varies much from it. The limited vocal range combined with a downward emphasis at the end of every sentence becomes monotonous with its predictable rhythm. And while she is working very hard to connect with the audience, it never feels like we truly get to see behind the veil. Something in the eyes still keeps us at a distance and that is a missed opportunity."
Sioux Falls: Contributor Katie Becker reviews CHICAGO at The Washington Pavillion. She writes "Several cast members return to roles in this production of Chicago, including leads Dylis Croman (Roxie Hart) and Terra C. MacLeod (Velma Kelly), bringing with them a familiarity and excitement for their characters. Throughout the show, MacLeod expertly conveys the desperation of Velma Kelly as she watches Roxie go from media revival to finally convincing her to become the other half of her double act. One of MacLeod's strongest scenes is during the Act 2 duet, Class, between her and Jennifer Fouché's Matron Mama Mortan; beautifully capturing the strong on stage chemistry between the two."
Tampa: Contributor Deborah Bostock-Kelley reviews FOREVER PLAID at the Straz Center. She writes "The men are funny and engaging. Before performing their opening number Three Coins in a Fountain, there's a quiet warning of "it's time to start the show; check your flies." The quartet's perfected goofiness and appropriate stiffness took a backseat when the first notes waft through the theatre. The voices are absolutely incredible, whether flawlessly blending together or soloing; yet, my favorite part of the show was when the men sang acapella in perfect harmony."
New Jersey: Contributor Michael T. Mooney reviews RAGTIME at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center. He writes "Salgado's cast does not disappoint. They are a focused and tight group that is obviously wholly on-board with Salgado's staging and Terrence McNally's challenging libretto based on E.L. Doctorow's 1975 historical novel. Iterating them singly would do a disservice to the ensemble nature of the piece. Musically, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's sprawling score has rarely sounded better. What's more, the large non-Equity cast seems to understand the show and their place in its storytelling. They act as a seamless whole and consistently deliver on Salgado's vision."
Buffalo: Contributor Michael Rabice reviews SOMETHING ROTTEN at Shea's. He writes "Broadway veteran Adam Pascal, of RENT and AIDA fame, plays Shakespeare and is having a rollicking good time. With his bare chest exposed under his tunic and skin tight leggings, he is made up to be a walking theatre God. The adoration poured upon him is gleeful and his Act II number "Hard to Be the Bard" allows his to strut, gyrate and be revered. Mr. Pascal oozes star presence and his voice rocks the house."
Chicago: Contributor Rachel Weinberg reviews PLANTATION! at Lookingglass. She writes "PLANTATION! is a timely, truthful, and outright hilarious comedy, and I particularly appreciated seeing a show that was focused on all women. While I think there are a few beats towards the end in which Douglas could have let the satire abate to arrive at some more serious moments, the play overall has a wonderful sense of timing and narrative arc. The show also succeeds in being both immensely entertaining while also opening up some important and overarching questions about race in this country and about how we can truly overcome a racist past."
Los Angeles: Contributor Michael Quintos reviews THE GRADUATE at Laguna Playhouse. He writes "As adorkably skittish, direction-less recent college grad Benjamin Braddock, relative newcomer Nick Tag proves himself to be an intriguing lead. While seemingly rife with annoying traits and odd red flags, Ben---in Tag's hands---ends up becoming an endearing (albeit flawed) character. He does a genuinely appealing job portraying a young man on the brink of adulthood---whether he likes it or not. Despite his smarts and scholastic achievements, Ben is scared shitless for his uncertain future... a future his parents and all their adult friends seem to want him to decide for him right here and right now. For his part, Tag does a great job straddling this fine line between being eccentric and being relatable."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Pittsburgh Contributing Editor
A long-time BWW regular, Greg Kerestan is proud to join the staff of his favorite website. Greg is a graduate of Duquesne University and Seton Hill University, where he studied both theatre and English. In his spare time, Greg works as a part-time actor and full-time playwright, lyricist and composer.
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