Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 6/29 - THE LITTLE MERMAID, RAGTIME, NEWSIES, 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 LITTLE MERMAID, RAGTIME, NEWSIES, and more!
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below!
Central Pennsylvania: Contributor Marakay Rogers reviews NEWSIES at the Fulton Theater. She writes "Matt Farcher, who plays Jack Kelly, leader of the newsboy throng, is certainly energetic as well as a fine vocalist; local audiences will possibly not recognize him, though they've seen him before - as the Beast at Fulton's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST. His performance here may be a bit more informed, however, by his prior performance as Che Guevara in EVITA in Maine, as well as having played revolutionary Enjolras in LES MIS in the past. (That "LES MIS turns positive" vibe is strong with this show.) Kate Fahrner makes for a tough, but charming, potential love interest as Katherine Plumber, intrepid early female reporter who is trying hard to not be her father's daughter - a major plot point of the show. If there's a real criticism to be had of the book, it's Katherine's part; the amazement over a female journalist shouldn't have been so great, given that Nellie Bly was a major expose writer for Pulitzer (the big bad of the show) in 1887 and that her famous Around The World stunt was done for Pulitzer in 1888. The historic newsboy strike was in 1899, when Bly had only recently (and temporarily - she did war correspondent work in World War One) retired. Writer Fierstein presumably based Katherine on Bly, but the show is set just late enough that anyone relatively familiar with history will find the lack of prior existence of Bly irritating."
New Zealand: Contributor Monica Moore reviews BONNIE AND CLYDE. She writes "Bonnie, played by Nicolette Nes is superb. She has the look, the voice and the style. And the top quality performances just keep coming at you. Blanche (Katrina McConnell) is excellent along with Buck (Brian Wolfman) Preacher (Simon Chapman) and well, actually they're all pretty darn good! Special mention to the young Bonnie (Samara Bayliss and Medody Lui-Webster) and Clyde (Tim Cloves) who deliver Great Performances. The set is engaging and designed by the well-known John Fausett who cleverly incorporates and ensures the story is kept interesting."
Minneapolis: Contributor Karen Bovard reviews SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE at the Guthrie Theatre. She writes "Crucial to the success of any production of this show are the two leads. Randy Harrison is suitably difficult and awkward in Act 1 as Seurat, and far slicker as his great grandson George in Act 2, where he seems more in command. Act 1 belongs to Erin Mackey as Dot, who is sexy and sympathetic and sly and sings with great feeling. She's also fully credible as the elderly wheelchair bound Marie in Act 2; it's a startling, funny, and moving transformation. All the members of the strong ensemble take on new roles in Act 2, and part of what makes this second act work so well are the bold choices they've made in sketching in their characters. The music swells with real grandeur, thanks to their ensemble power, an excellent mic system, and a full 13 piece orchestra behind them, helmed by conductor and pianist Mark Hartman."
Oklahoma: Contributor Ronn Burton reviews MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET at the Lyric Theatre. He writes "Director Dave Steakley wisely steps back and lets his boys go to town when necessary, yet his subtle guidance of the tone and flow of the show does not go unnoticed. The costumes by the reliably-proficient resident designer Jeffrey Meek are period-perfect yet fashion-forward. Helena Kuukka's lighting and Adam Koch's sets work hand-in-hand seamlessly - the colors and patterns playing off each other consummately. Important to note: the musical performances wouldn't be as impeccable as they are without Anthony Risi's sound design, which subtly yet perfectly enhances the recording studio vs. live performance effects throughout the evening."
Long Island: Contributor Melissa Giordano reviews RAGTIME at East Islip's BayWay Theatre. She writes "Among the talented cast, Chazmond Peacock makes a superb Coalhouse; intense, great voice... he's a natural for the role. Coalhouse is the beau of Sarah (and father of her child) portrayed exquisitely by Amanda-Camille Isaac. Ms. Isaac's striking portrayal of poor Sarah is a roller coaster of emotions including a gorgeous rendition of the hopeful song "Wheels Of A Dream" with Mr. Peacock. Additionally, kudos to Mike Press who is an outstanding Booker T. Washington, Coalhouse's mentor. On Ms. Waller's clever creative team, Bob Butterley's bi-level set ideally fills the open stage. Rolling pieces, tucked away on the sides, are used throughout. Also, the fun here is that you get to use your imagination a great deal. The music, on tracks, is coordinated by Eizabeth DeGennaro who is also part of the cast. This is enhanced beautifully by Jessy Gill's choreography and Joseph Kassner's stunning costumes."
Kansas City: Contributor Alan Portner reviews JERSEY BOYS at Starlite Theatre. He writes "Jersey Boys offers up super production values with this touring show. Portrayals of Massi and DiVito are a little one dimensional, but the singing, acting, production, and dancing make up for any lack. The supporting cast is excellent. Jersey Boys is a little strange to get used to. It is an excuse for a concert of great music. The music does not advance the story much except in parallel in the documentary. Most of the first act is required for the audience to get used to the style, but the final forty minutes grabs the audience and transports them back to the golden age just prior to the Beatles in the Doo Wop period. The audience ends up loving the performance."
St. Louis: Contributor Chris Gibson reviews SEUSSICAL at Stages St. Louis. He writes "Ryan Cooper is a perfectly disarming and amusing Cat in the Hat, with nimble movements and well-timed comic delivery of lines that bring forth smiles and laughs from young and old alike . You can just see that he's having fun. Cooper and Company draw the audience into the tale immediately with the rousing opening number "Oh! The Things You Can Think," and Cooper takes on several different comedic roles throughout the proceedings. As JoJo, Colton James Kastrup is a very believable little boy, and definitely possesses just the right voice and enthusiastic innocence that fit the part. Anthony Arpino absolutely shines as Horton, with a warm and deeply concerned performance that makes you genuinely care about his plight. April Strelinger is delightfully vainglorious as Mayzi and oozes attitude to spare. Leah Berry is simply terrific as Gertrude McFuzz, a single-feathered bird who's in love with Horton, but having trouble getting him to realize it. Her take on "Notice Me, Horton" is a sad and sweet delight."
Rhode Island: Contributor Andira Tieman reviews THE DIANA TAPES. She writes "The Diana Tapes is a tightly-written one act with just four actors. Playwright James Clements takes on the role of biographer Andrew Morton with Sam Hood Adrain as Michael O'Mara, his publisher. The two of them receive and transcribe recordings made by Princess Diana's friend James Colthurst, played by Jorge Morales Pico. The attention to detail with the sets and costumes is impressive for a production barebones as this. Battered chairs are swapped for fancy ones when the scene changes from the office where Morton and O'Mara frequently meet to Diana's residence where she talks with Colthurst. Diana's iconic wedding ring, now Kate Middleton's, is replicated. While the men's costumes are necessarily basic, Diana gets several glamorous outfit changes that suit the scenes perfectly."
St. Louis: Contributor Chris Gibson reviews THE LITTLE MERMAID at The Muny! He writes "Emma Degerstedt is delightful as Ariel, effectively conjuring up the image of a young mermaid who wants more out of life, and is positively driven to do so. Her voice is splendid as well, as would befit a character who uses it as a bargaining chip so she can gain her true love. Jason Gotay does fine work as the object of her affections, Prince Eric, and you genuinely root for them to connect. Emily Skinner is perfectly menacing as Ursula, creepily costumed and brimming with malevolent intentions, Skinner makes a memorable impression. Jerry Dixon is commanding and surly as King Triton, bringing plenty of bluster to the role. James T. Lane is enthusiastic as Sebastian, the red Jamaican crab who is also a composer. The undeniably catchy "Under the Sea" gets a great workout under his guidance. Jeffrey Schecter is funny and friendly as Scuttle the seagull, and Spencer Jones is awfully cute as Flounder. Kevin Zak and Will Porter are quite good as Ursula's moray eel minions; Flotsam and Jetsam, respectively. Frank Vlastnik is also sharp as Chef Louis/Pilot, specializing in seafood dishes as the Chef, which naturally rubs Sebastian the wrong way. Richard B. Watson rounds out the cast as Eric's manservant/confidante, Grimsby. Of course, the large ensemble also adds to the merriment, and gives the show an even wider scope."
Chicago: Contributor Rachel Weinberg reviews MOBY DICK at Lookingglass Theatre Company. She writes "MOBY DICK also features three extraordinary female actors in its ensemble: Kelly Abell, Cordelia Dewdney, and Mattie Hawkinson. While each essays various roles, they also come together as the three Fates-an inventive and eerily effective device. Decked out in Sully Ratke's magnificent and haunting costumes, they provide the warning of what's to come upon the play's conclusion. At various points in the production, Abell, Dewdney, and Hawkinson also embody various elements of nature: the ocean, a whale carcass, and even Moby Dick himself. Outside of the skeletal structure of the set, there is no literal whale onstage-but that is perhaps one of the most striking representations of Moby Dick in the production."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Pennsylvania Contributing Editor
Christy Brooks is a teaching artist, actor and scriptwriter located in South Central Pennsylvania. She works as an independent contractor in producing and directing small and large-scaled performing arts productions. In addition, Christy has created curriculum, focusing on Reader's Theatre, Acting Workshops, and Scriptwriting, for public and private school districts. She donates a portion of proceeds from theatrical work to local non-profit organizations. Christy is a proud graduate of The Pennsylvania State University.
Writing for Broadway World has been a wonderful and fulfilling complement to my involvement in the performing arts. It brings me joy to watch a live performance and absorb the many facets involved in producing and acting in a performance. Whether I am reviewing a show or interviewing actors, my focus is on what I might learn from each theatrical encounter. Theatre is ever-evolving and I want to contribute to it in a passionate way that promotes constructive, not destructive, dialogue.
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