Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 7/14 - BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, HOOD, 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, HOOD, PIPPIN, and more!
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below!
Boston: BroadwayWorld brings you exclusive video from North Shore Music Theatre's Beauty and the Beast! The cast of Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST is led by Rose Hemingway as Belle and Stephen Cerf as the Beast. The show also features David Coffee (Maurice), Taylor Crousore (Gaston), Joy Hermalyn (Madame De La Grande Bouche), Benjamin Howes (Lumiere), Andrew Kruep (Lefou), Ryah Nixon (Babette), Christiane Noll (Mrs. Potts), Phillip Taratula (Cogsworth), and Ben Choi-Harris (Chip).
Dallas: Contributor Kyle Christopher West reviews HOOD at Dallas Theater Center. He writes: "With a pocketful of power ballads for the show's leading ladies, Alysha Umpress (Broadway's ON THE TOWN, AMERICAN IDIOT, ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER, PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT and BRING IT ON) and Ashley Park (SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE, THE KING AND I and MAMMA MIA), plus Beane's slick direction and occasional zingers, the musical displays definite potential, but never quite finds its footing. Unlike the abovementioned enhancements to Beane's CINDERELLA, HOOD struggles from a lack of well-defined relationships and a bit of exposition overkill in act one, where the bulk of the story is unnecessarily focused on introducing each of the Merry Men as they join the infamous rob-from-the-rich-and-give-to-the-poor mission. The role of Meg (which Ms. Umphress fills with charm, while delivering her songs through the roof) is acknowledged as a familiar face to Robin and his men, yet is often left on the sidelines without having any emotional engagement in the scenes. Without a romantic subplot or purpose beyond "sexy sidekick with occasional advice," finding sympathy for her fate late in the show is challenging. Alternatively, Ms. Park's material is further developed. Here, Marian is self-sufficient and able to hit a target with more skill than the men who call the shots-which she executes without apology or any put-on tomboy transformation. But despite Park's gorgeous voice and nuanced performance, her songs (as with much of the score) tend to be forgettable. Without a published song list, the only titles I can immediately recall from last evening's performance are "Be Robin Hood" and "Merry Be" (both coincidently sung by Meg)."
Chicago: Contributor Misha Davenport reviews SOMETHING ROTTEN at the Oriental Theater. He writes "Nick decides to employ Thomas Nostradamus (Blake Hammond as the nephew of the famous seer who has inherited a somewhat watered down version of his uncle's abilities of prediction) to peer into the future to see what the next big thing in theater will be. The results are the bona fide big, glitzy Broadway showstopper "A Musical." Hammond's performance here (and, frankly, throughout the rest of the show) is one of pure comedic genius. The musical zingers come fast and furious, but homages include "Annie," "Chicago," "Pippin," and "A Chorus Line," just to name a few. Nostradamus succeeds in convincing Nick to produce the first-ever musical against the better judgement of his brother Nigel."
Niagara on the Lake: Contributor Michael Rabice reviews WILDE TALES at the Shaw Festival. He writes "Remembering that the author also penned such dramas as THE PICTURE OF DORIan Gray and SALOME made the play all the more enthralling, giving a glimpse of a gentler and more innocent side of Wilde. The Happy Prince tells of a statue of a prince who speaks to a migrating bird, urging him to poke out his bejeweled eyes and remove his golden robes to help others who are in need. Remarkable Rocket allows a group of Roman Candles and other fireworks to gleefully prepare for a wedding, ending with each of them being set off by a creative simulation of lighting a match. Through handheld puppets, the actors become birds, matches, fireworks and trees. The few simple props on stage morph magically from a utilitarian trunk to a mini stage with small puppets acting out their own drama, or a street lamp that becomes a moon. Goodman's fantastic costumes help color the stage, especially with her whimsical designs for the fireworks."
Houston: Contributor Gary Laird reviews PIPPIN at Theatre Under The Stars. He writes "The show is handsomely mounted. Costumes and sets are elaborate and serve the action well. The outdoor setting is appropriate, and for all you snowflakes who are recoiling in horror at the thought of Houston's outdoors in July can get over it. If I can do it, you can do it. Believe me. The seating area has huge ceiling-mounted fans that are quite effective, and I'll let you in on a little secret: The closer you are to the stage, the cooler it is. The stage AC spills over. But you didn't hear it from me."
Philippines: Contributor Vince Vicentuan reviews KINKY BOOTS from Atlantis Theatrical. He writes "Volante as Lola skillfully maneuvers powerhouse ballads (Not My Father's Son, Hold Me in Your Arms) and upbeat ditties (Land of Lola, Sex is in the Heel) with the class and sass of a true drag queen. Nary a falsetto line, he sashays the role in full-voiced glory, filling up the theater like he owns it, taking the audience for a nonstop rollick of laugh-out-loud moments and high-kicking drama. Volante must have the "strength of Sparta and the patience of Job" to wear those deadly boots without actually tearing a muscle or two!"
Connecticut: Contributor Joseph Harrison reviews NEWSIES at Connecticut Rep. He writes "The relationships on stage feel real and authentic and the struggle (though punctuated with singing and acrobatic dancing) seems oddly current. Christopher d'Amboise, who serves as both Director and Choreographer captures the emotion of the piece, effectively using the CRT stage and guiding the actors nimbly through very difficult dance numbers. And, while the stage itself is smaller than the original Broadway stage, Mr. d'Amboise fills every inch with leaping, spinning, and flying newsboys. It is truly magnificent to see and one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of the show."
San Diego: Contributor E.H. Reiter reviews GUYS AND DOLLS at The Old Globe. She writes "Choreographed and directed by Josh Rhodes, the "Crap Shooter's Dance" and "Havana" are highly athletic, enthusiastic, and exciting. They are supported by the wonderful Sinai Tabak's band, and highlighted by Paul Miller's lighting. This New York bustles and dances with retro homage to the 1950's musical but it all happens under a wide expanse of neon lights which helps add a layer of Technicolor vividness to the show."
Kansas City: Contributor Sara Brown reviews AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Starlight Theatre. She writes "While the show uses the Gershwins' peppy songs like "I Got Rhythm," "Fidgety Feet," and "I'll Build a Stairway to Paradise," for show-stopping dance numbers (all choreographed by Sam Davis), most of the show is performed (even in cross overs down stage) with sophisticated ballet movements choreographed by director Christopher Wheeldon. The ballet in the show and the mini-ballet that Adam creates will leave you breathless, as all of the dancers in the show are stunning. Esty is a gorgeous dancer having received the Princess Grace Fellowship Award for her excellence in dance."
Central NY: Contributor Natasha Ashley reviews PARADE at The Merry Go Round Playhouse. She writes "Other memorable performances include Marcus Jordan as Newt Lee in the "Interrogation Sequence," and Alexander Zenoz as the Young Soldier opening the show with the breathtaking number "The Old Red Hills of Home" along with David Atkinson as the old soldier. Jamison Stern, as Hugh Dorsey, makes his mark with "Twenty Miles from Marietta." Likewise, Dave Shoonover, as Governor John Slaton, performs a lovely rendition of "Pretty Music" while Scott Guthrie as Britt Craig shows off in "Real Big News;" Erin Katzkar, as Mrs. Phagan, sings an emotional rendition of "My Child Will Forgive Me." Banji Aborisade and Crystal Sha'nae charm in "A Rumblin' and a Rollin'." Fergie L. Philippe, as Jim Conley, is confident and intense while Jake Mills is most memorable as Tom Watson. Finally, the talented Emma DeGroff, Madeline VanRiper, and Adeline Whitener portray the Factory Girls with such maturity and professionalism."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Kyle Christopher West
Dallas Senior Editor
Kyle Christopher West is a recent transplant to Texas, having previously worked in Arizona, New York City and Massachusetts. For his work in theatre, Kyle has received numerous awards for his stage direction, choreography, costume and scenic design. He has recently served on the board of directors for Phoenix Youth Ballet Theatre and Mesa Encore Theatre and has produced and directed dozens of stage productions. Outside of theatre, Kyle is passionate about travel, event planning and photography. For more information, visit www.KyleChristopherWest.com.
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