"What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?" is the strikingly articulate song that follows the opening number of AVENUE Q, which opened last night at Amelia Community Theatre. I uncomfortably shifted in my seat, as my B.A. isalso in English (insert face-plant emoji). AVENUE Q, winner of three Tony Awards (including Best Musical), is a blunt, provocative, and at times hilarious, coming-of-age tale of how much it sucks to grow up and be an adult, told through the lens of jaded and satirical puppets and humans, who live in what is described as an "Outer-outer borough of New York City). Basically, it's X-rated Sesame Street. Music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, with book by Jeff Whitty, this musical has received favorable acclaim nationally and internationally alike.BWW Previews: THE CALL at The 5 & Dime August 9, 2017
THE CALL examines the racial barriers, cultural assumptions, and emotional complexities of growing a family through the scope of a white family who pursues the adoption of a child from Africa. With a growing reputation for producing shows that provoke contemplation and conversation, you don't want to miss this meaningful work.BWW Review: Players By The Sea's AMERICAN IDIOT Is Needed and Important July 28, 2017
Theatre inspires. Incorporated as a viral hashtag during the 2017 Tony season, complete with a Facebook frame that many in the theatre industry have made their permanent statement, the arts community has touted the power of theatre to inspire everyone, if we allow it. But what does it inspire? Theatre inspires change. Theatre inspires growth. Theatre inspires community. Theatre inspires conversation. The list goes on. When a community comes together to tell a story about the entangled lives of three young friends who choose three different paths through the lens of an iconic rock album, theatre inspires understanding. To understand, though, you have to see it. Forget whatever plans you have this weekend or next: if you seek to understand those around you, specifically a younger generation, you must, MUST, get tickets right now to AMERICAN IDIOT at Players By The Sea.BWW Review: Jacksonville's Youth Rumble in WEST SIDE STORY at SMTE July 22, 2017
For 12 years running, the FSCJ Artist series and the Wilson Center for the Arts has produced an Annual High School Summer Musical Theatre Experience. This year brings WEST SIDE STORY, a mammothly essential piece of work to all musical theatre lovers. With book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, WEST SIDE STORY is often heralded as a top 5 work of theatre. The show runs through July 30th, and tickets are available here.BWW Review: Readers Theatre Series: BENT at The 5 & Dime July 19, 2017
BENT doesn't request the audience's permission to turn your heart upside down. It forcefully attacks your places of comfort in exchange for a meaningful conversation, for provoking consideration, for basic human empathy.BWW Review: Alhambra Dinner Theatre presents ANNIE July 5, 2017
ANNIE opened at The Alhambra Dinner Theatre last week to a house full of excited young ladies, local theatre lovers, and even those who aren't as familiar with the Jacksonville theatre scene, as the timelessly successful musical tends to draw large crowds who know every song from childhood. With iconic characters, familiar scenery, and a Tony Award winning score, a fellow directing friend from my past once said, "It's really hard to mess this one up," and I tend to agree. There are several elements of this production that left me disappointed, however, the overarching themes and values, along with several outstanding performances, are endearing and inspiring.BWW Review: TOPDOG/UNDERDOG at The 5 & Dime June 22, 2017
Rich in allegorical themes and teeming with tragic irony, Suzan-Lori Parks' Pulitzer winner TOPDOG/UNDERDOG opened at The 5 & Dime Theatre Monday night. Celebrating the removal of the theatre's arch nemesis, a support pole that previously ran straight through the front of the stage, the house was packed (sold out, in fact), brimming with anticipation for this necessary show. TOPDOG/UNDERDOG tells the story of two brothers who have been dealt desolate hands in the game of life, and how each processes his fate.BWW Review: Gimme, gimme! THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE Opens at Theatre Jacksonville June 12, 2017
With wide eyes and big dreams, Millie Dillmount leaves behind her small town of Salina, Kansas to pursue a life of riches and fame in New York City. Like most of us, it takes Millie mere moments in the Big Apple to learn her goals may be a little harder to come by than she had originally thought. THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE, a comedic musical in two acts is full of fun choreography, toe-tapping songs, and larger-than-life characters.BWW Feature: VITAL 5: This Weekend In Jacksonville Theatre June 8, 2017
The 5 & Dime held an evening of song at BABS Lab in Riverside Friday and Saturday night. Some of Jacksonville's finest took the stage in a themed 'Miscast' Cabaret, and I was there to speak with the castand audience members post-performance.BWW Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS at Alhambra Dinner Theatre May 31, 2017
Summer is right around the corner for Jacksonville students, and that means sun, fun, andsummer camp! If you're looking for a week-long adventure for your children this summer, you'll want to consider Shortstack Theatre Company's Acting and Musical Theatre Camp offerings, hosted by The 5 & Dime in Jacksonville's urban core.BWW Feature: Douglas Anderson's SPRING MUSICAL THEATRE SHOWCASE at the DuBow Theatre May 22, 2017
With tear stained cheeks, the 2017 graduating Musical Theatre class at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts took their final bows in the DuBow Theatre last Thursday night at the Spring Musical Theatre Showcase, directed by David Loudermilk. In his first year at Douglas Anderson, Loudermilk directed a phenomenal performance of PARADE in the fall, which was met with high acclaim and appreciation, and set the tone for a diverse and compassionate season.BWW Feature: SENIOR THEATRE SHOWCASE at Douglas Anderson School Of The Arts, with Interviews May 11, 2017
There was an energy buzzing throughout the black box theatre at Douglas Anderson School of the Arts last Wednesday night. A thoroughly packed house, full of family, friends, and students awaited the final theatre projects of the graduating class of 2017. The evening was stuffed withtwo movement pieces, 12 monologues, five duet scenes, and four ensemble scenes, and I experienced so many emotions.BWW Feature: VITAL 5: This Weekend in Jacksonville Theatre April 27, 2017
Ron Shreve's vision for this show is stunningly complimented by Erin Barnes' musical direction. Intricately staged, every movement is purposeful to the story. The acoustics at The 5 and Dime are swell, and this cast of ten posesses a full, awe-inspiring sound. Rarely a missed note was uttered, and not once did I catch an early execution of a line.BWW Review: STEEL MAGNOLIAS in Full Bloom at Theatre Jacksonville April 23, 2017
If you are like me and were practically raised inTruvy's Beauty Parlor, when STEEL MAGNOLIAS hits the stage, you're in the front(ish) row, trying to get Shelby to drink her juice. If you're not like me, you might check it out because it has become a classic and you want to know why. Whichever your stance, you're in luck, because Theatre Jacksonvilleopened STEEL MAGNOLIAS Friday night, and it will play through May 7th.BWW Review: STRAIGHT OUTTA OZ Spends One Short Day at the Thrasher-Horne April 23, 2017
Brilliant costumes and catchy, well-written songs cannot salvage this provoking concept that ultimately misses the mark. This is not my story or your story, and no one in the room is encouraged to see themselves in Todrick's story (unless we are one of the ensemble dancers). Todrick knows that, acknowledges it in the pricey playbill, and his fans do not seem to mind one bit.BWW Interview: VITAL 5: This Weekend in Jacksonville Theatre April 20, 2017
'Whattya wanna do?'
'I dunno, what do YOU wanna do?'
'I dunno, what do YOU-'
Stop the madness, y'all. Jacksonville is the smallest big town I've ever seen, and although there is so much to do, it can be overwhelming trying to narrow it down. The Vital 5 is here to help you decide. This weekly feature breaks down my top 5 theatrical picks for the upcoming week. Share this to help your friends, and we can then all avoid the frustration of having to choose (well, kind of - you're on your own for dinner plans!)BWW Feature: Northeast Florida Premieres A NEW BRAIN at The 5 & Dime April 11, 2017
The northeast Florida premiere of William Finn and James Lapine's A NEW BRAIN (1998) opens April 21st at The5 & Dime's new, permanent space off East Adams Street in Jacksonville's core. A NEW BRAIN carries risks, much akin to that of the lead character's brain condition, but Josh Waller's soaring voice as Gordon Schwinn complemented by the fluid sound of a strong ensemble should top your to-do list next week.