Andria Tieman

Andria Tieman Andria Tieman is a lifelong theatre fan, writer and librarian. She has an MFA in fiction, play and screenwriting and presently she works as an academic librarian and special lecturer in Providence teaching students the joys of research. She is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association 2016-present.


MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: No Trouble with Theatre by the Sea's THE MUSIC MANBWW Review: No Trouble with Theatre by the Sea's THE MUSIC MAN
Posted: Jun. 26, 2017


BWW Review: Trinity Rep's DEATH OF A SALESMAN is Theatre At Its BestBWW Review: Trinity Rep's DEATH OF A SALESMAN is Theatre At Its Best
Posted: Oct. 11, 2017


BWW Review: Highs and Lows at THE BODYGUARD: THE MUSICALBWW Review: Highs and Lows at THE BODYGUARD: THE MUSICAL
Posted: Jan. 10, 2018


BWW Review: Haunting THE YELLOW WALLPAPER at OUT LOUD TheatreBWW Review: Haunting THE YELLOW WALLPAPER at OUT LOUD Theatre
Posted: Jun. 23, 2017


BWW Review: Trinity Rep's World Premiere INTO THE BREECHES is an Absolute DelightBWW Review: Trinity Rep's World Premiere INTO THE BREECHES is an Absolute Delight
Posted: Feb. 2, 2018


BWW Review: UNCLE VANYA at The Gamm is Close to PerfectionBWW Review: UNCLE VANYA at The Gamm is Close to Perfection
Posted: Jan. 23, 2018


BWW Review: Engrossing and Altogether Too Real SKELETON CREW at Trinity RepBWW Review: Engrossing and Altogether Too Real SKELETON CREW at Trinity Rep
Posted: Oct. 26, 2017


BWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! is Something Absolutely WonderfulBWW Review: SOMETHING ROTTEN! is Something Absolutely Wonderful
May 17, 2018

If you take a step back and really think about it, musical theatre is pretty absurd. Actors stop talking and burst into elaborate song and dance numbers, which are often great to watch, but you feel like if aliens landed on Broadway and went to a show, they would have a very strange idea of what human beings are like. That's just one of myriad themes in SOMETHING ROTTEN. Not the part about aliens, but this show is more of a snarky love letter to musical theatre that also happens to contain insanely great song and dance numbers, as well as a few excellent dick jokes. It's something for everyone, and it's a show so layered with inside jokes that it begs to be watched over and over again.

BWW Review: LIFE SUCKS at Epic Theatre, Doesn't SuckBWW Review: LIFE SUCKS at Epic Theatre, Doesn't Suck
May 7, 2018

It probably takes a certain level of masochism to spend part of a weekend at a play called LIFE SUCKS, but it's (probably) been proven that watching the struggles of other people makes us feel better about our own circumstances. In the case of this play, viewers can feel doubly smug because it's based on Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, and therefore counts as high culture. Playwright Aaron Posner is making a career of turning the classics on their head--Wilbury Theatre company recently produced Stupid F%&*ng Bird, a play of his based on The Seagull, and there is a lot in the production to enjoy and identify with, even for those not intimately familiar with the source material.

BWW Review: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE IN CONCERT is a Magical Night of DelightsBWW Review: HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE IN CONCERT is a Magical Night of Delights
May 1, 2018

Music is such an essential element of a movie watching experience, but like the involuntary act of breathing, it often gets taken for granted. This fantastic concert series pairs the much-beloved first Harry Potter film with the Rhode Island Symphony Orchestra in a live experience that is truly magical. Though the film is 17 years old, it remains a timeless treasure for all ages, and getting to experience it in the awesome setting of the Providence Performing Arts Center is a fantastic opportunity all on its own. The true delight of the evening though is getting to witness the outstanding musicianship (and sheer numbers) of the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Shih-Hung Young scoring the film live as the audience watches. Any stuffy ideas one may have about a night at the orchestra go out the window, as the musicians play for three straight hours without a single hiccup.

BWW Review: Trinity Rep's NATIVE GARDENS Unpacks the Complicated World of Neighbors and FencesBWW Review: Trinity Rep's NATIVE GARDENS Unpacks the Complicated World of Neighbors and Fences
April 10, 2018

What do you do when you finally buy your dream house and then immediately run into issues with the next-door neighbors? On the surface, that's essentially what Native Gardens is about, but as the plot starts to develop, issues of age, race, gender, immigration, privilege, environmentalism, class, heritage and more start to percolate to the surface in what began as a feud about a fence. Despite all those heavy topics, it's a comedy, and a genuinely hilarious one at that. Smart comedies like this serve to shine a light on genuine issues without becoming didactic and preachy, and all the characters get a chance to have their say, while also getting contradicted by someone else.

BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS S'Wonderful Spectacular of Dance and SongBWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS S'Wonderful Spectacular of Dance and Song
March 16, 2018

The current touring production of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS is an absolutely resplendent musical from start to finish. Heavy on the dance and with stunning sets, this show is a feast for the senses that will have your toes tapping and fill your heart with joy.

BWW Review: The Gamm's A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT Can't Quite ConnectBWW Review: The Gamm's A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT Can't Quite Connect
March 14, 2018

The Gamm's current production A HUMAN BEING DIED THAT NIGHT, is a play written by Nicholas Wright in 2013 based on the book of the same name by Dr. Pumala Gobodo-Madikizela about her time on South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which began in 1995 after the fall of apartheid. It's an incredibly interesting premise that deals with complex political and racial issues that should be both explored and remembered, but as a dramatic production, it falls unfortunately flat due to a number of factors both in the writing and the production of the play.

BWW Review: Wilbury Theatre Group's THE FLICK is Fun and UnexpectedBWW Review: Wilbury Theatre Group's THE FLICK is Fun and Unexpected
March 13, 2018

Ever wonder what movie theatre employees do after the projector is shut down for the night? Well, there's a lot of sweeping, but there's also the perfect atmosphere for those types of relationships that develop when you're in your 20s working a job that is neither intellectually stimulating, nor likely to last past a certain stage in the inevitable slog toward adulthood. THE FLICK captures that sweet spot of drama that's not life or death; romances that seem to be based more on proximity than actual feelings, but still feel VERY IMPORTANT; and trying to learn your role in a system that's ever changing. On its surface, the tension in this play seems a bit low-stakes, but the talented cast managed to win our hearts and take the audience back to a simpler time when everything is ahead of you, but the big picture is a bit scary, so you focus instead on the smaller, more manageable things.

BWW Review: Another Stunning UP CLOSE ON HOPE from Festival Ballet ProvidenceBWW Review: Another Stunning UP CLOSE ON HOPE from Festival Ballet Providence
March 12, 2018

Festival Ballet's Spring offering of their Up Close on Hope series offers a charming mix of old favorites and exciting new works. There are two world premiere pieces in this selection, as well as a new interpretation of a world premiere from two years ago.

BWW Review: Trinity Rep's World Premiere INTO THE BREECHES is an Absolute DelightBWW Review: Trinity Rep's World Premiere INTO THE BREECHES is an Absolute Delight
February 2, 2018

Playwright George Brant seems to have a strange hold on the state of Rhode Island. INTO THE BREECHES is the third play of his to be produced locally in four years, and this one was commissioned by Trinity Rep, and takes place in Providence. While it's always fun to hear places you know like Woonsocket and Federal Hill name checked, this play is also so lovingly and obviously written for Trinity's company of actors, that it almost feels familiar. The play itself is thought-provoking and heartwarming, and would likely be good on any stage, but these performances click so perfectly that the whole experience is like a breath of fresh air that will leave one smiling like a dope at the end.

BWW Review: UNCLE VANYA at The Gamm is Close to PerfectionBWW Review: UNCLE VANYA at The Gamm is Close to Perfection
January 23, 2018

Occasionally the name Anton Chekhov invokes the same kind of anxiety one may get from Shakespeare or other heavy literary writers who we feel like we should go see to appear educated/ arty, but who no one really enjoys. Unfortunately, that makes people forget one of the reasons Chekhov and Shakespeare are great--they know how to balance humor and drama in that way that feels very human and well-rounded. It activates all the parts of the viewer's brain, and leaves one feeling thoroughly entertained and thought-provoked at the end. The Gamm's production of UNCLE VANYA, translated and directed by Curt Columbus' manages to communicate volumes, while keeping everything accessible and relatable. The moments of humor are genuine and serve to heighten the tension in other scenes. Gamm regulars will have seen these actors in a dozen other roles over the years, yet they all managed to adopt their new personas in a way that feels so genuine it's like this world has always existed, and the audience managed to wander in at exactly the right time.

BWW Review: Highs and Lows at THE BODYGUARD: THE MUSICALBWW Review: Highs and Lows at THE BODYGUARD: THE MUSICAL
January 10, 2018

The musical THE BODYGUARD is based on the 1992 film of the same name, which is best known for Whitney Houston's cover of the song I Will Always Love You . It's rather telling that that movie is best known for a song, and that seems to have been the impetus behind relaunching as a musical. This stage version follows the plot of the movie loosely--a famous singer has a stalker which requires hiring a more disciplined bodyguard, danger and romance ensue; but the stage version relies much more on vocal talents than acting. The casting of Grammy award winner Deborah Cox is a clear signal that this is much more music focused than plot driven, but even so, walking the line between concert and musical doesn't come easy for this production, even though the performances are largely quite satisfying.

BWW Review: The Gamm's THE SANTALAND DIARIES Is a Snarky Christmas DelightBWW Review: The Gamm's THE SANTALAND DIARIES Is a Snarky Christmas Delight
December 15, 2017

THE SANTALAND DIARIES, based on the essay of the same name by David Sedaris, tells the story of his working as an elf at Macy's Santaland in the early 1990's. Those who are familiar with Sedaris's writing can imagine the witty and wry observations he took away from such an experience, but like all his work, there is a bit of heart as well. This play has been performed at the Gamm three times in the last ten years, but despite the fact that the actor (Steve Kidd) in this one man show never changes, the sets and script are slightly different each time. This time, the set is far more expansive than the 2009 production, but still manages to feel intimate, in part due to Kidd's excellent use of the space physically, and delightful sets and Christmas decorations that make the audience feel like they are in Santaland. The script is showing its age a bit (the essay was originally read on NPR in 1992), but it's still thoroughly entertaining, and Steve Kidd manages to keep his performance high energy and fresh.

BWW Review: The Wilbury Theatre Group Takes Us To CHURCHBWW Review: The Wilbury Theatre Group Takes Us To CHURCH
December 12, 2017

There is nothing quite like a powerfully delivered sermon. Even non-believers may find themselves getting chills in the presence of impassioned oratory, regardless of the subject matter. That seems to be a central point of young Jean Lee's CHURCH, currently playing at The Wilbury Theatre Group. Similar to last year's production of Lee's Straight White Men, she again toys with typical expectations, this time of religious services, and manages to be somewhat heartwarming while also being confounding. But lack of solid direction and movement leaves the production feeling much longer than it is, despite an exceptionally talented cast.

BWW Review: THE BOYS OF ST. MATTHEW'S PRESENT JESUS CHRIST! AND OTHER CHRISTMAS TALES is The Raunchy Reason For The SeasonBWW Review: THE BOYS OF ST. MATTHEW'S PRESENT JESUS CHRIST! AND OTHER CHRISTMAS TALES is The Raunchy Reason For The Season
December 4, 2017

Since The Boys of St. Matthews burst onto the theatre scene with their 2015 production of Tartuffe, they have been a reliable source of hilarity and dick jokes. Thankfully, the Christmas stories in JESUS CHRIST! let these young men do what they do best--kidnap teachers and put on the most offensive versions of classic plays they can. This time around, we get a mashup of Christmas Carol and the story of Jesus' birth with some exceptionally intense Santa Claus and Frosty the Snowman thrown in. Also, there's a turkey. This is not a story for the prudish, as evidenced by the four people who walked out on opening night, but for those who want an excellent night out at a show that is so jam-packed with jokes you can barely catch your breath, get your tickets immediately.

BWW Review: Fully Immersive KING LEAR at OUT LOUD TheatreBWW Review: Fully Immersive KING LEAR at OUT LOUD Theatre
November 27, 2017

OUT LOUD Theatre's production of KING LEAR is an incredibly ambitious undertaking both in terms of performance and also technical elements. The end result is a production that is almost overwhelming to take in, but that does an excellent job capturing the emotional drama of the play. Unfortunately, some plot points take a backseat to style in a way that doesn't quite work, but it's fair to say that this is unlike anything else that's out there right now.

BWW Review: The Gamm's INCOGNITO Will Make Your Head SwimBWW Review: The Gamm's INCOGNITO Will Make Your Head Swim
November 15, 2017

INCOGNITO is an incredibly ambitious play--not in terms of sets, but in terms of what is asks both the actors and the audience to comprehend. Each of the four actors in this production plays multiple characters over the course of four different but tangentially related vignettes that shift rapidly from one to another, and back and forth in time. Sound confusing? Don't worry, it is. The talented actors and director do quite well with a script that seems like a logistical nightmare, but what the playwright favored in cleverness, he neglected in terms of empathy and character development. There are some moments of genuine heart, but ultimately it feels like for the mental gymnastics the play asks of the viewer, the payoff isn't quite enough.

BWW REVIEW: UP CLOSE ON HOPE Has Something For EveryoneBWW REVIEW: UP CLOSE ON HOPE Has Something For Everyone
November 11, 2017

The UP CLOSE ON HOPE productions are always a delightful way to see the range of talents--both in dance and choreography that Festival Ballet brings to the table, and this Fall program continues that standard of excellence. There are several classical ballet pieces, some whimsical and some surreal, but each are delightful in their own way. The best aspect of the UP CLOSE ON HOPE series, is that one never knows what to expect except another fantastic evening.

BWW Review: FUN HOME is a Touching Coming of Age Story with Real HeartBWW Review: FUN HOME is a Touching Coming of Age Story with Real Heart
November 10, 2017

FUN HOME, the Tony Award winning musical based on the graphic novel style memoir by Alison Bechdel initially seems like something that just can't work. The story, framed around her relationship with her father, is about Alison growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, working at the family funeral (fun) home then going off to college, and learning more about her father as she grows up and after he dies rather suddenly. The source material hits every emotion, and the stage production manages to really capture the feel of the book and elevate the emotion in a way that's hard to do just in text. The trouble of adapting a graphic novel too, is that the audience who have read it, already have very specific ideas of how a stage production should look. Great care was evident in the set design and costuming to make sure that the stage show matches the book. Book and lyrics writer Lisa Kron was also very canny to keep the story about the Bechdel family, but hone in on universal themes of growing up, finding independence and starting to see your parents and real people, rather than just as an extension of yourself. This may be the story of one family, but everyone can see a bit of themselves in it too.

BWW Review: Engrossing and Altogether Too Real SKELETON CREW at Trinity RepBWW Review: Engrossing and Altogether Too Real SKELETON CREW at Trinity Rep
October 26, 2017

SKELETON CREW, currently running in rotation with Death of a Salesman at Trinity Rep is a story similar to Death of a Salesman in that it focuses on workers being forced away from their careers. This group works in an auto factory and face plant closure while realizing that all the hard work and years they've put into their jobs can be snatched away with little-to-no-notice. The cast is small and the sets are minimal but the layers in this play are sprawling and completely relatable, even to people who have never been in this kind of work. Everyone has suffered the jolt of unrealized expectations; everyone has had their loyalties and priorities tested and everyone has made mistakes. This may be a play about factory workers on the surface, but it's an incredibly human story of choices, perseverance and relationships.

BWW Review: Trinity Rep's DEATH OF A SALESMAN is Theatre At Its BestBWW Review: Trinity Rep's DEATH OF A SALESMAN is Theatre At Its Best
October 11, 2017

DEATH OF A SALESMAN is a story so human and massive that it's almost impossible to summarize. Like all great drama, every word feels perfectly selected to heighten tension, despair and frustration, but it doesn't leave the audience demoralized or depressed, but rather full of questions and theories and appreciation for the fine craft of storytelling. Trinity Rep does a fantastic job with the source material, and somehow manages to make it seem current, even though it's clearly set in the 1940s. It's startling to be confronted with the fact that the problems of the 40s are still things we are grappling with today, even as we seem to be yearning for those simpler times. This is obviously something director Brian McEleney had in mind, as did Artistic Director Curt Columbus when he titled the fall season The American Dream, Then and Now , and paired DEATH OF A SALESMAN with Skeleton Crew, a current story of another type of displaced worker. This play is a masterpiece for a reason, and seeing a masterpiece performed in the intimate Dowling Theatre is a pure pleasure.



1