Regional Roundup: Top New Features This Week Around Our BroadwayWorld 9/8 - FOLLIES, GYPSY, GHOST, 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 FOLLIES, GYPSY, GHOST, and More!
Check out our top features from around the BroadwayWorld below!
Boston: Contributor Nancy Grossman reviews GYPSY at Lyric Stage. She writes "Making her directorial debut at Lyric after several previous choreography gigs, Bertone adds another feather to the burgeoning plumage of her colorful cap (The Wild Party, Barnum, Carousel). She overcomes the challenge of fitting the show into the parameters of the small thrust stage, making good use of the ramps, stairways, and loft platform above the main floor for dramatic entrances and select scenes. While scenic designer Janie E. Howland's decorative proscenium arch and giant folding fans loom in the background as constant reminders of the world where it all happens, effective set pieces, blocking, and lighting (Franklin Meissner, Jr.) suggest a plethora of locations, all smartly announced by video theater cards projected on the wall stage right. Costume designer Rafael Jaen provides an array of character-defining threads, with those for the strippers being especially delightful, and Andrew Duncan Will's sound design ensures that all vocals come through loud and clear, perfectly blended with the lively accompaniment of Music Director Dan Rodriguez's 7-piece orchestra sequestered above the set."
Australia - Melbourne: Contributor Victoria Beal reviews THE BODYGUARD. She writes "Australian Idol alumni Paulini definitely has the voice to sing Whitney's hits, but isn't necesarily a leading lady. Prinnie Stevens in the role of Nicki Marron, the pop stars envious sister truly shines in all her vocal moments and the blend of her voice with Paulini's is just divine. Stevens works strongly with the rewritten character she's been given and gives a noteworthy performance. In the role Kevin Costner made famous, Kip Gamblin's Frank is a man of few words. His brooding character is reminiscent of Costner but there is something missing when it comes to the chemistry and romance between the two lead characters."
West End: UK Editor Marianka Swain reviews FOLLIES at the National Theatre. She writes "The Olivier's revolve really feels choreographed, sweeping around Vicki Mortimer's set: the jagged brickwork of the shattered theatre walls, neon lighted sign blinking into life, backstage to front, feathers and beads to alumni sashes, reality to dream and memory - physicalising the whirlwind polyphonic drama. It links together the show's vignettes, covering the odd lull or lapsed transition and maintaining a clear thematic arc. Each character in that drama is beautifully distinct thanks to a sensational 37-strong cast. There are shades of her superlative Momma Rose in Imelda Staunton's Sally - the eager chorus girl who wants something too much, and rather than admitting its passing, continues to rage against the world that denies her."
Central NY: Contributor Natasha Ashley reviews GHOST. She writes "Like the film, the story centers on the death of Sam Wheat (Derek Carley). He was murdered while walking home with his girlfriend Molly (Sarah Ellis) after a date. Sam's spirit remains on Earth after his death, staying near Molly so he can watch over her. He is not visible to the living, but he does encounter and interacts with other spirits. Sam soon comes to realize that his death was not an accident and that his colleague and supposed friend Carl Bruner (Ben Maters) was involved. Sam knows that Molly is in danger and finds Oda Mae Brown (Allyson Kaye Daniel), a woman that has a gift to hear and connect with spirits, to help him prove his murder and protect the woman he loves."
Louisville: Contributor Keith Waits reviews HIR at The Liminal Playhouse. He writes "We eventually discover that Isaac's PTSD and other problems that led to his dishonorable discharge, Arnold's condition is pitiful, and Paige is clearly unhinged, so one of the surprising, and therefore most provocative, ideas discovered here might be what to make of Max's transition. It is a testament to the writing that the character comes closest to being whole, or at least on a certain path to relative wholeness. Part of the reason might be that, after some understandable confusion about his sibling's status, Isaac accepts hir and even begins to bond to some degree. Which is not to say Max doesn't struggle with the same issues as the rest of the family, but Mac is wise enough to grant the character the same dignity of human contradiction as the other characters and never lets Max become idealized."
Toronto (PEI): Contributor Chelsey Robinchaud reviews ANNE OF GREEN GABLES at the Charlottetown Festival. She writes "The two standouts of the 53rd season of Anne are A.J. Bridel and Aaron Hastelow. Bridel's Anne Shirley is one for the books; she encompasses the role with a new found lively hood to the character in an interpretation that simply stands out as a crowd pleaser. Keeping you at the edge of the bugy! Aaron Hastelow is the first Island born actor to play Gilbert and does an incredible job as the heartthrob who is looking for the approval of the underdog. The pair provided the perfect chemistry of a rivalry turned friendship. As individuals, they reminded me of Broadway stars Ben Platt and Anna Kendrick. Aaron's face during "Wondr'in" makes you think he is going to break into "Waving Through A Window" any second where as A.J. brings the spunk of Anna Kendrick with her youthful singing that the screen star has used for her animated feature film Trolls."
Maine: Contributor Dan Marois reviews HEARTBREAK HOTEL at the Ogunquit Playhouse. he writes "A hidden gem performance comes through with the character of Dewey Phillips (Christopher Sutton) one of the early disc jockeys of the period who serves as narrator and comic relief. Rather than simply having a voice over narration, the producers were brilliant in making a disc jockey fulfill that role. Sutton is perfectly matched to the role that comfortably moves the storyline of the show. Executive Artistic Director Bradford T. Kenney reminded the audience during the pre-show patter that the show is a work in progress noting that scripts for some scenes were distributed on opening night and that the show might be much different toward the end of its five-week run. And while the show is extremely entertaining and sure to be a hit, here are a few thoughts to consider as the work develops."
Kansas City: Contributor Alan Portner reviews FINIANS RAINBOW at Spinning Tree Theatre. He writes "Finian McLonergan (Phil Fiorini) is your stereotypical Irish dreamer. He is forever chasing his crock of gold; the end of his rainbow. Using unassailable logic, he has determined that the land adjacent to the U.S. Gold Depository at Fort Knox must be fertile ground for the growing of a bumper crop of gold bullion. It is his plan to acquire a bit of this land and seed it with gold he has temporarily borrowed from an leprechaun named Og (Michael DeCoursey). In six months, he will harvest the new gold grown from the gold farm near Ft. Knox and return Og's crock. No harm. No foul. Finian and his lovely daughter Sharon (Elise Poehling) have skedaddled from their home in Ireland and landed at Missitucky- near Ft. Knox. Sharon is unaware of her father's questionable logic. She is also unaware that the elf from whom the gold crock has been purloined is in hot pursuit and I mean hot. It seems that if a leprechaun loses his crock for any period of time, he risks losing his immortality and worse yet he becomes insatiably horny. OK, you got all that? The magic crock has three wishes attached to it. Anyone standing close to the darn thing can exercise the wishes."
Regional Editor Spotlight:
Bonston Contributing Editor
From producing and starring in family holiday pageants as a child, to avid member of Broadway Across America and Show of the Month Club, Nancy has cultivated her love of the art and respect for the craft of theatre. She fulfilled a dream when she became an adult-onset tap dancer in the early 90's ("Gotta dance!"); she fulfills another by providing reviews for BroadwayWorld.com and serving on the Executive Board of the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE). Nancy is an alumna of Syracuse University and a retired Probation Officer-in-Charge in the Massachusetts Trial Court system.
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