Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 7/7 - BEAUTIFUL, LION KING, DISASTER, 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 BEAUTIFUL, THE LION KING, DISASTER, MY FAIR LADY, and more!
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below!
Toronto: Contributor Taylor Long reviews BEAUTIFUL - THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL. He writes "Chilina Kennedy is Carole King. I had to remind myself to distinguish between the two during Kennedy's polished portrayal. Even after two years of playing the role on Broadway, Kennedy's performance feels fresh. From the moment she steps onto the stage (So Far Away), her nuanced performance embodies King's mannerisms - climaxing in the show's title number (Beautiful). The title role demands an interesting vocal technique from its star. In an effort to mimic King's sound, the leading lady needs to manipulate her voice into a pressed, straight belt throughout the show. The line, "and I'll be there" in You've Got a Friend is a perfect example of this. Adopting that Carole King sound can be extremely challenging - unless you're Chilina Kennedy."
Baltimore: Contributor Charles Shubow reviews MY FAIR LADY at the Olney. He writes "The story involves how Higgins, a phonetics expert, meets Doolittle and has a problem with her accent. In a great scene, he can guess those in the flower market where they come from just by listening to them speak. While there he comes across another phonetics expert Col. Pickering (the talented Todd Scofield (who I remember so well in Olney's terrific play NEVILLE'S ISLAND) and he challenges Pickering to a wager that he can turn the "wench" into a respectable young woman and pass her off as a "duchess". Higgins sings the wonderful "Why Can't the English" learn to speak. Later he will perform "I'm and Ordinary Man" and "Hymn to Him"."
Long Island: Contributor Melissa Giordano reviews ON THE TOWN at The Gateway. She writes "I really could go on and on about the large, extraordinary cast; each member is truly brilliant as is Mr. Thompson's creative team. Michael Boyer's retro set is stunningly enhanced by Mr. Thompson's terrific choreography. And the ten piece orchestra, headed up by Jeffrey Buchsbaum, is thrilling. Indeed you will be bopping in your seat to the upbeat numbers like the iconic "New York, New York."
Palm Beach: Contributor Keith Waits reviews the touring production of Kentucky Shakespear's JULIUS CAESAR. He writes "Julius Caesar is political because it indicts everyone in the play. That includes every senator and general, each shown to be human and flawed. Lesser productions might cut the script and cast the characters in a way that Caesar gave us simple answers. Instead Kentucky Shakespeare's excellent production, under the direction here of Artistic Director Matt Wallace, tells us to think for ourselves about what is right and wrong, holding all who would hold power responsible for the real content of their speeches, promises, and most of all, their actions."
Nashville: Contributor Jeffrey Ellis reviews HEDWIG at The Roxy. He writes "Ryan Bowie takes on any theatrical challenge with the skill and commitment of a pro and he succeeds because of his commitment and focus which, when coupled with his estimable talents and a never-say-die attitude, always results in success. Take, for example, his performance last Saturday night, coming on the heels of an opening night performance in which he was injured (most likely, an untimely ankle sprain brought on by some of Hedwig's more athletic, if raunchy, choreography. While someone less dedicated to his craft might have called out sick for the next show, instead Ryan Bowie made his way to the stage like the trouper he is to deliver a performance that you must experience in order to fully comprehend."
Stratford: Contributor Lauren Gienow reviews THE CHANGELING at the Stratford Festival. She writes "This season at the Stratford Festival has proven to be a stellar one, and Jackie Maxwell's production of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's THE CHANGELING on the Tom Patterson Theatre stage is no exception. The questionable morals and values of the characters, and the intense relationships between certain characters leave the audience feeling uncomfortable (as was likely intended by the playwrights) but the performances by the members of the company and the overall impact of the production itself, leaves the audience feeling exhilarated."
Dallas: Contributor Jef Tingley reviews DISASTER at Onstage in Bedford. He writes "With so much going on, it could be easy for the cast to overplay their roles to try to stand out. Luckily, that's not the case. The actors are able to ham it up without overselling the jokes. Among the most memorable performances are Michelle Phillips as Sister Mary Downey bringing a whole new twist to love ballad "Never Can Say Goodbye," Jason Solis as a very convincing disco diva Levora Verona, and Grayson Oliver doing double duty as twins Ben and Lisa. The youngest member of the cast, Mr. Oliver proves he's got the comedic chops to keep up with even the most seasoned pros. And honorable mention to Sherry Etzel as Shirley, a seemingly mild mannered cruise goer who uses the power of tap dance to save the day."
St. Petersburg: Contributor Peter Nason reviews INTO THE WOODS at the St. Petersburg Opera Company. He writes "Sometimes I felt that the direction (by Raymond Zilberberg) tried too hard to make the work seem new, but ultimately it fell short. I love adventurous direction, but here it seemed like he didn't know when to stop. He's obviously quite smart and imaginative, but what was he going for? What was the end result? Many of his choices seemed to undermine and perhaps even mar the story, like painting a mustache on the Mona Lisa without Marcel Duchamp's irony. It sometimes verged on being in the "So Bad It's Good" department, like watching "Red, Hot & Blaine" in Waiting for Guffman."
Houston: Contributor Bryan-Keyth Wilson reviews THE LION KING at the Hobby Center. He writes "THE LION KING is a musical for the entire family. I had the pleasure to take my mother and watching her reactions to the larger than life puppets walking down the aisles to the overall spectacle of this production was priceless. It was Julie Taymor who said, "There is incredible power in the arts to inspire and influence," Hearing the childlike reactions from the adults and the jaw-dropping faces from the kids in the audience was beautiful. I left this production humming "Hakuna Matata" and I was filled with inspiration. This is what the theatre is for folks! I hope that you take some time from this hot summer and go purchase the hottest ticket in town."
Pittsburgh: Contributor Greg Kerestan reviews MISS ABIGAIL'S GUIDE at the Pittsburgh CLO. He writes "True to her background both in theatre and reality TV, Paige Davis is a wonder, lighting up the stage with a natural charisma and audience rapport. Her off-the-cuff remarks during the audience interactions were witty and topical; the night I attended, many of them focused on the surprise closure of An Act of God at the Public due to the star's wife going into labor. (Davis, in character as Miss Abigail, even quipped that she wished she could have seen that show when Paige Davis did it down in the Southwest.) No, Davis does not deploy one of her signature high kicks in this show, but with all the wit and warmth she brings to the slightly-Southern hostess, you'll never miss them."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Toronto Senior Editor
Fairly new to Toronto, Taylor Long was born and raised on the east coast of Canada in Halifax, NS. Full of maritime charm, he moved to Toronto to be closer to more live theatre. Taylor studied opera at Dalhousie University and has performed in various musicals, plays and operas over the past 8 years. Taylor joined BroadwayWorld in April 2017 and is the Senior Editor for Toronto.
Writing for BroadwayWorld is a dream job for a theatre nerd. I am beyond grateful that I have the opportunity to experience the incredible talent that Toronto has to offer. I love writing for BroadwayWorld because it gives me a chance to hopefully inspire someone who has never been to the theatre, or never been to an opera or a ballet - to take a chance, and take it in.
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