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Courtney Symes

Courtney Symes

Courtney Symes is a long-time theatre aficionado who has been writing for BroadwayWorld since 2017. She has been active in theatre and youth organizations in her community. After trying law school, she decided that a life in the arts was the way to go. In addition to theatre, Courtney enjoys music, sports, and raising San Francisco Giants fans.  




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Review: THE LOST CLAUS Finds Christmas Spirit at the B Street Theatre
November 23, 2022

‘Tis the season to be jolly!  Unless you’re Santa, whose ancient body has compiled a laundry list of ailments. Playwright Buck Busfield has imagined a contemporary North Pole in this sweet and salty tale of Christmas hijinks at the B Street Theatre.

Review: THE LARAMIE PROJECT Sparks Dialogue at Sacramento State's Playwrights Theatre
November 21, 2022

As I watched The Laramie Project at Sacramento State University on Saturday night, I thought to myself how far we’ve come as a society and how much progress we’ve made since 1998. That was the year Matthew Shepard was beaten and tied to a fence in rural Wyoming by two young men – left to die simply because he was gay. What I didn’t know was that, at about the same time, another tragedy was unfolding in Colorado as another young man opened fire on innocent victims at an LGBTQ nightclub, proving that we have much further to go and illuminating the importance of pieces like The Laramie Project.

Interview: Freefall Stage Talks About THE MOUSETRAP, Plays vs. Musicals, and Being Excellent
November 13, 2022

A cozy parlor, a warm hearth, an inviting inn…what could possibly go wrong when seven strangers gather to seek refuge from a storm?  Come find out in Freefall Stage’s production of Dame Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. Known as the world’s longest-running play, it has run in London’s West End continuously since 1952, only halting temporarily due to Covid restrictions. 

Review: Sacramento Says Hello! And Welcome Back To THE BOOK OF MORMON
November 3, 2022

Our favorite doorbell-ringing devotional devotees are back in Sacramento with a new and improved version of the Tony Award-winning hit, The Book of Mormon.  It’s been four years since they brought the good word of the creators of South Park (Trey Parker and Matt Stone) and Avenue Q (Robert Lopez), and we are ready for a refresher! 

Review: Come Aboard for MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS at Sacramento Theatre Company
October 14, 2022

It’s the dawn of a titillating new season at Sacramento Theatre Company (STC) and this one may be the best yet!  The 2022-2023 Season of Curiosity, Intrigue, and Suspense kicked off with previews of the adaptation of Agatha Christie’s famous whodunit, Murder on the Orient Express.  Published in 1934 to rave reviews, the story has stood the test of time.  Versions have been performed on stage, television, and, most recently, in a 2017 film featuring Kenneth Branagh.

Review: LOVE AND BASEBALL is a Grand Slam at B Street Theatre
October 5, 2022

Two of my guilty pleasures-romantic comedies and baseball-are married in a hilarious one-act play showing now at the B Street Theatre.  Love and Baseball is the latest success by B Street Theatre playwright Jerry Montoya.  This clever take on gender stereotypes has also recently been made into a movie that is streaming now on HBO Max.    

Review: COME FROM AWAY Comes To Broadway On Tour at the SAFE Credit Union Performing Arts Center
September 21, 2022

Once in a while, an event occurs that is so viscerally powerful that you will always remember exactly what you were doing when it happened.  Most people over 70 will remember what they were doing when John F. Kennedy was assassinated.  People my age remember the Challenger disaster vividly (I was in my 6th-grade classroom watching the launch on t.v.).  Arguably even more tragic are the events that transpired on September 11, 2001.  From the dust of the wreckage, though, came hope and a unified country.  Come From Away is a story of that hope and unification.  It makes its Sacramento premiere this week in a special engagement that had been postponed since 2020. 

Review: Come Join the CHARADE at The B Street Theatre
September 11, 2022

A beautiful woman, international espionage, a mysterious stranger, and so many twists that you’ll be dizzy-that’s what’s happening at the B Street Theatre this week.  Based on the 1963 film starring Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, Charade has been adapted for the stage by Dave Pierini, who is also a Core Acting Company member of the B Street Theatre. 

Review: Say 'Hell Yes!' to THE COLOR PURPLE at Broadway At Music Circus
August 24, 2022

For me, the end of summer in Sacramento is signaled by the same event every year-the last show of the Broadway at Music Circus season.  This summer’s end is particularly bittersweet, as it marks the finale of a return to the round after two years of being in the dark.  Fittingly, this show is the most powerful production of the summer.  The Color Purple is the last in what has been a remarkable season of unparalleled talent and delicate themes.  Based on Alice Walker’s 1982 novel and 1985 movie adaptation of the same name, The Color Purple opened on Broadway in 2005 and earned eleven Tony Award nominations. 

Review: IN THE HEIGHTS Dazzles at Woodland Opera House
August 21, 2022

My first foray to the historical Woodland Opera House occurred this weekend to take a trip back to Washington Heights, the neighborhood that Lin-Manuel Miranda memorialized in In the Heights, his successful precursor to Hamilton.  It was written as an homage to the community that shaped him and the struggles of the immigrants that live there.  After premiering on Broadway in 2008, it took home four Tony Awards out of thirteen nominations, securing Miranda’s career as a lyricist and composer. 

Review: Come and Enter THE SECRET GARDEN at Broadway At Music Circus
August 10, 2022

Broadway at Music Circus is taking us back to England again, not to a shoe factory or the Globe Theatre, but to a gloomy moor in Yorkshire.  Based upon the 1911 Frances Hodgson Burnett novel of the same name, The Secret Garden premiered on Broadway in 1991 and earned three Tony Awards, including Best Book of a Musical. 

Review: CIRQUE DU SOLEIL Brings the Magic of ALEGRIA to Sutter Health Park
July 29, 2022

Cirque du Soleil is back in Sacramento, this time under the big top at Sutter Health Park.  It brings to us its reimagined classic, Alegria, which features updated costumes, characters, and music.  Boasting a multi-cultural cast from over 20 countries, Alegria takes the best the world has to offer and presents it on stage for all to enjoy.

Review: Nostradamus Predicts a Hit With SOMETHING ROTTEN! at Broadway At Music Circus
July 27, 2022

Broadway at Music Circus welcomes you to the Renaissance with its newest resounding success, Something Rotten!  This is the first time the Tony Award-nominated musical is being performed at Music Circus and the round lends a special intimacy to the production that, I’ll admit, made it better than the national tour.  With a book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell and music and lyrics by Karey and Wayne Kirkpatrick, Something Rotten! will hilariously satisfy Oxfordians, who question how an uneducated man such as Shakespeare could have written such sophisticated content as is attributed to him.  Even loyal Stratfordians will enjoy the story of Shakespeare-as-plagiarist, for there is no resisting the irreverent humor and jaw-dropping talent that make up the show. 

Interview: Jonathan Louis of THE BAND CELL Talks About The Who, Local Music, and His Eccentric Style
July 18, 2022

Just over the Sierra Nevada Mountain range from the Sacramento Valley lies the town of Reno, Nevada. Its proximity to Sacramento makes it a popular destination for entertainment and its casinos attract well-known talent. It was during one of these concerts that serendipity intervened, and I met the charmingly eclectic indie artist, Jonathan Louis. A drummer for a local group called The Band Cell, Louis is branching out into solo territory with new songs “The Next Big Thing,” and “Bouncy.” Broadway World spoke to Louis about the post-pandemic music scene, his quirky style, and how The Who inspired his music career.

Review: It's Another Op'nin, Another Show With KISS ME, KATE at Broadway At Music Circus
July 15, 2022

Another classic from the 1940s is gracing the stage at Broadway at Music Circus.  This time, it’s Kiss Me, Kate, the musical-within-a-musical that cemented Cole Porter’s return to Broadway as a successful lyricist and composer.  It ended up being Porter’s longest-running Broadway show and won the very first Tony Award for Best Musical. 

Review: CAROUSEL Has June Bustin' Out All Over at Broadway At Music Circus
June 30, 2022

The world has changed a lot since 1945, when Carousel opened on Broadway.  The Tony Awards hadn’t been established yet.  Interracial marriage was not yet legal.  Its score speaks of a bygone era when people comported themselves with a certain modesty and societal rules were very different.  One would wonder how such a show has survived through the years, but Rodgers and Hammerstein’s second musical has themes that are relevant today.  Domestic violence, poor choices, hope, and redemption are all things that society still experiences.

BWW Review: KINKY BOOTS Kicks Off Summer at Broadway At Music Circus
June 15, 2022

After being dark for two years, Broadway at Music Circus opened its 2022 season with Kinky Boots, the glittery hit from Broadway legend Harvey Fierstein and 80s icon Cyndi Lauper.  After opening on Broadway in 2013, it surprised everyone by surpassing its competition and securing a season-high 13 Tony Award nominations and 6 wins.  In addition to Best Musical, Kinky Boots won the Tony for Best Original Score, making Lauper the first woman to win alone in that category-in her first foray into Broadway composing. 

BWW Review: TOOTSIE Closes the Season at Broadway Sacramento
May 18, 2022

Broadway Sacramento is closing out their 2022 Broadway on Tour season with the first national tour of Tootsie.  Based on the 1982 film of the same name, Tootsie features music and lyrics by David Yazbek (The Band’s Visit, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) and a Tony Award-winning book by Robert Horn.  Rolling Stone called it “musical comedy heaven” and they’re not wrong.   Easily the funniest show of the season, Tootsie is full of one-liners, sarcastic wit, and self-deprecating humor. 

BWW Interview: Todd Schroeder's YOUNG ARTISTS' GRANT Benefit Concert Returns to Sonora High School
April 17, 2022

This year's graduating seniors have had anything but a normal high school experience and the past two years have taught them resilience, flexibility, and grace. Undoubtedly, they deserve a bit of celebration for their tenacity and courage. Luckily for students at Sonora High School, Todd Schroeder is back after a five-year hiatus to raise money for the Todd Schroeder Young Artists' Grant to benefit young graduates going into the arts. Todd himself is a graduate of Sonora High School who went on to a successful career as a pianist, composer, and music director. Since 1995, Todd has been giving back to the community with this grant. This year boasts an impressive lineup of celebrities, such as Jason Alexander of Seinfeld fame. Broadway World spoke to Todd about his organization and what we can look forward to at this year's benefit concert that will be happening in Sonora on April 30.

BWW Review: WICKED is Decidedly 'Popular' at Broadway Sacramento
April 3, 2022

It’s been almost 19 years since Wicked debuted on Broadway, but you would never know it by the reception Sacramento gave the national tour this week.  Read our critic's review of the show 'Wicked has lost none of its salability and the energy was palpable in the room in anticipation of the show that surpassed Les Miserables to become Broadway’s fifth longest-running musical.'