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Andria Tieman

Andria Tieman Andria Tieman is a lifelong theatre fan. She has an MFA in fiction, play & screenwriting and presently works as an academic librarian and special lecturer in Providence teaching students how to find and use information. She is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association 2016-present.


BWW Review: Heartfelt DEAR EVAN HANSEN at Providence Performing Arts Center
April 6, 2022

BWW's Critic Writes 'We’ve probably all been in a situation where a white lie or a misunderstanding ballooned into something bigger and unexpected.  DEAR EVAN HANSEN takes this idea and turns it up to eleven when teenage Evan Hansen becomes linked to a classmate who commits suicide.  It’s an interesting examination of how in mourning, we may try to rewrite the narrative of a dead person’s life, but there’s no way to get past the icky feeling that Evan’s actions leave, despite catchy songs and excellent performances.'

BWW Review: An Officer and a Gentleman at Providence Performing Arts Center
February 20, 2022

The movie An Officer and a Gentleman came out in 1982 to both critical and popular acclaim, but turning this story into a jukebox musical many years later seems like a strange choice.  The cast in this touring production are across the board excellent, but some of the musical choices seem forced, and the plot seems torn between conveying the serious themes of the movie and wanting to lean into the more cheesy aspects of the 80s.  The result is an odd hodgepodge that suffers from an identity crisis, but is still entertaining thanks to the efforts and talents of the cast.

BWW Review: The Gamm's AN OCTOROON Is Not To Be Missed
February 2, 2022

In AN OCTOROON, Jacobs-Jenkins seems to delight in taking audiences on a shock-and-awe tour through America’s history and present. In turns horrifying and hilarious, this work manages to elicit almost every emotion a human being can feel as it burrows into your psyche.

BWW Review: HELLO DOLLY Dazzles But Disappoints at PPAC
March 4, 2020

HELLO DOLLY first landed on Broadway in 1964, and the current (2017) revival, playing at Providence Performing Arts Center through March 8, won the Tony Award for Best Revival and Best Actress for Bette Midler. While those who have nostalgia for this show will no doubt think it's fun, the uninitiated may find themselves wishing for a few of the less memorable songs to be traded for more robust character development. Not unlike the recent revival of Miss Saigon, which tried to win new audiences by actually casting Asian actors to play Asian roles and by spending a tremendous amount of money on technical wizardry; this revival of Hello Dolly went all out on sets and costumes, presumably to distract from mostly forgettable songs and a book that is bloated, dated and not nearly as charming as it thinks it is.

BWW Review: Spectacular MARIE ANTOINETTE At Brown/Trinity MFA
February 29, 2020

Providence theatre-goers have the opportunity to spend considerable time in 18th century France this spring--both at Trinity Rep's A Tale of Two Cities, and now at Brown/Trinity's MFA production of MARIE ANTOINETTE.  Seeing both productions back-to-back makes for an interesting juxtaposition as Tale of Two Cities takes us into the lives of the over-taxed working class, and MARIE ANTOINETTE takes us into the opulent palace that those taxes built.  While Marie Antoinette is not exactly an empathetic figure, it's easy to see why movies and plays are produced about her life. Excess -- in fashion, wealth, and consumption of all kinds -- makes for a visually spectacular extravaganza, and this production leans into that in the most delightful way.

BWW Review: Exquisite AGNES OF GOD at Epic Theatre
February 9, 2020

Despite the fact that Norman Jewison's AGNES OF GOD has existed as both an award-winning play and later film, it doesn't seem to have been produced very often.  That's all the more reason to rush out and see Epic Theatre's well-executed version of a play that is strange, fascinating and heartbreaking. Juxtaposing the mystical with legal is always good fodder for a thorny debate, and this solid cast delivers the layered and complicated humanity needed to make the story resonate.

BWW Review: Searing ADMISSIONS Shines at The Gamm
January 22, 2020

Joshua Harmon's ADMISSIONS is a play that wants to challenge well-meaning white people to reconsider how they seek to lift up people of color.  That may make it seem like it's a slog, or like it's a bitter pill one should swallow, but thankfully the biting dialogue and exceptional performances all around make this 110 minute play zing by.  Harmon does a great job of raising the stakes for all the players until the tension reaches a satisfying crescendo, but, in the end, the payoff isn't quite as satisfying as it could be. However, that could also be part of the point.

BWW Review: Trinity Rep's FADE Delights and Infuriates in Equal Measure
December 10, 2019

Tanya Saracho's FADE is a witty and insightful look into work/life power dynamics. What makes this particular story so interesting is the manipulation of status as a minority in the workplace--against another person of the same minority group. Our two characters--Lucia (Elia Saldana) and Abel (Daniel Duque-Estrada) are both Mexican, but he works as a cleaner in her office, and she is a television writer. Playwright Saracho deftly manipulates ideas of class, and uses perceived shared culture as a weapon, and the result is both hilarious and maddening. Saldana and Duque-Estrada play off each other very well keeping the energy high in this 100 minute production.

BWW Review: Absolutely Fantastic COME FROM AWAY at PPAC
December 4, 2019

On the morning of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, there were a lot of other planes in the sky that had to be re-routed and emergency landed wherever pilots were able to find a runway. Thirty-eight of those emergency landings took place in the tiny town of Gander, Newfoundland's quiet airport that was on the verge of being shut down for lack of use. The people of Gander, rather than being overwhelmed by the massive influx of 7000 scared and confused people from all over the world, sprang into action, set up shelters, made food and took people into their homes for five days until they could safely travel home. This is the rare 9-11 story that doesn't focus much on the attack itself, but instead on the ripple effect it had on the whole world, and how even in the midst of tragedy, people come together to help each other. While the premise might sound a bit corny, the execution is absolutely brilliant and the story balanced in a way that feels true to human nature and not at all saccharine. COME FROM AWAY is a rare new musical based on true events that is original, unique and absolutely wonderful.

BWW Review: Fantastic A DOLL'S HOUSE PART 2 at The Gamm
September 18, 2019

One doesn't usually seek out sequels at live theatre, and when Ibsen finished his masterpiece A Doll's House in 1879, one can only assume he thought the interesting part of the story was over.  So the pressure on this play to prove why it should even exist is almost like another character watching from the wings.  Thankfully, what Lucas Hnath has written is a smart and occasionally hilarious play that justifies its creation, and ties the hands of almost all characters equally.  There are plenty of satisfying revelations, and Gamm's excellent cast makes this a show not to be missed.

BWW Review: Magical THE SECRET GARDEN at Epic Theatre
August 14, 2019

Based on the classic children's story of the same name, this stage production of THE SECRET GARDEN tells the story of the orphan Mary Lennox forced to move from India to a distant relative's Yorkshire England estate when a cholera outbreak decimates her family. This stage adaptation sticks very close to the novel, and Megan Ruggerio's capable direction keeps the story moving along at a brisk pace. Excellent performances all around make this a delightful production for all ages.

BWW Review: HAMILTON Lives up to the Hype at Providence Performing Arts Center
July 25, 2019

Have you heard of a little musical called HAMILTON?  Considering how much attention this show has gotten for the past three years, it almost seems impossible for it to be as good as people say it is.  Surely people are just caught up in the hype and the moment? I'm happy to say that that's not the case at all, and all praise for this musical is well-earned. It hits the sweet spot of compelling characters, catchy songs, excellent performances and fantastic dance sequences.

BWW Review: High Energy NEWSIES at Theatre By The Sea
July 22, 2019

Inspired by the actual newsboys strike of 1899, Disney's NEWSIES is a slightly updated stage version of the 1992 film of the same name.  Despite the movie's lack of success at the box office, it became a cult favorite, and bringing it to Broadway in 2011 seems like a no-brainer. The source material is perfect for a high energy stage musical with outstanding dance numbers and supremely catchy songs.  Theatre By The Sea's production is heavy on the dance, and includes some fantastic scenic design and a cast brimming with energy and charisma. Despite the seriousness of some of the subject matter--child labor, unions, capitalist opportunists, this show is pure fun with just enough drama in it to create and raise the stakes.

BWW Review: Stunning THE BAND'S VISIT at Providence Performing Arts Center
June 28, 2019

My favorite writing professor loved to say that there are two stories the world: one, a person sets off on a journey; in the other, a stranger comes to town. The second story is precisely the idea behind the 10 Tony Award winning THE BAND'S VISIT. The Egyptian Police Band is on tour, and through a simple language mixup, they wind up in a small town in the Isreali desert . With no way to leave town until the morning, and no hotels available, the police are taken into locals' homes where they start to see into the lives of the people of the village. This is an atypical Broadway musical in that it's very quiet and seemingly simple, but does a fantastic job of showing the struggles of ordinary people, and how two seemingly different groups of people have a lot in common after all.

BWW Review: Thoroughly Charming SINGIN' IN THE RAIN at Theatre by the Sea
June 24, 2019

Singin' in the Rain is one of the best movie musicals of all time, so it is no doubt a daunting prospect to mount a stage production.  Aside from the technical issues of actually making it rain on stage, you need a cast talented and charismatic enough to rival Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.  Theatre by the Sea has managed to give us something that is almost as magical as the original, but with the added bonus of some hyper-local movie scenes within the play.  The result is a laugh-out-loud extravaganza with heaps of talent, fantastic costumes and technical wizardry to rival any Broadway show.

BWW Review: Wonderful WAITRESS at PPAC
May 29, 2019

When the movie Waitress premiered in 2007, it was roundly praised, but didn't make too big of a splash, so it seems like an odd choice of source material to turn into a Broadway musical.  It turns out, that this story works incredibly well in this format, and delivers a musical with great songs, and a unique, quirky spirit that is infectious. There's also the added bonus of the smell of pie wafting through the lobby and theatre. This is the first "smell-o-vision" show I've been to, and the yummy smell of cinnamon and pie crust makes this show a feast for all senses.

BWW Review: MARISOL at Trinity Rep
May 22, 2019

Trinity Rep closes out their 2018-2019 season with Jose' Rivera's MARISOL, the 1993 Obie winner for best new play. It's a hodgepodge of magical realism and absurdism set in a rapidly disintegrating New York City, and is grand in scope as we learn that people's guardian angels have to abandon them to fight a war in the heavens. There is a lot to wrap your head around in this layered story, but a lack of clear direction makes it hard to find desperately-needed footing.  What the audience is left with feels like a lot of sound and fury.

BWW Review: Trinity Rep's World Premiere SONG OF SUMMER Hits All the Right Notes
March 20, 2019

Trinity Rep commissioned playwright Lauren Yee to write SONG OF SUMMER for their company of actors, and the result is such a satisfying and wonderful play that you just want to give everyone involved a big hug. Naturally the casting is flawless, but Yee's dialogue and shrewd observations about growing up, falling in love, small towns and getting sucked into the maelstrom of fame are just so spot on it's almost dizzying. This show is the fresh breath of summer air we need at the end of March.

March 6, 2019

The Gamm is currently showing two short plays back-to-back, with all female casts. ESCAPED ALONE by Caryl Churchill (New England Premiere) is a tight one-act that raises far more questions than it answers. COME AND GO by Samuel Beckett is so brief it almost feels like it's over before it begins, but is strangely haunting. Overall, it's a combination of works that are very well-acted, but also feel somewhat jarring in a way that doesn't quite pay off.

BWW Review: Thoroughly Delightful SCHOOL OF ROCK at PPAC
February 28, 2019

The story of SCHOOL OF ROCK is a fairly simple one-- a somewhat aimless manchild gets a job substitute teaching, and because he doesn't really know how to actually teach subjects like math and science, he instead focuses on teaching the students how to play rock instruments so they can compete in the Battle of the Bands. What really makes this work as a stage musical is that in adapting it from the screen version, book writer Julian Fellowes didn't change too much. The story follows the film pretty exactly, and the ending is 100% predictable, and that's a very good thing. This show is all about the musical skills of some incredibly talented young performers, and that is more than enough.

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