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Joseph Baker - Page 5

Joseph Baker I received my Master of Arts Degree in English from Memphis State University and worked as an English instructor at Christian Brothers High School from 1971 until 2007. When I retired, I was Chairman of the English Department and moderator of the Film Society. I have always been involved in the arts, and upon retirement I pursued my interests in painting (watercolors, acrylics, oils) and sketching (charcoal, pen and ink, graphite), ultimately resulting in a one-man show at WKNO Gallery in 2013. Having taught American, British, and World Drama, I have always had an interest in local theatre; and my reviews of plays at such venues as Theatre Memphis, Playhouse on the Square, and Circuit Playhouse have been posted on FACEBOOK and CALLBOARD in Memphis.



BWW Reviews: Theatre Memphis Toots Its Horns in THE MUSIC MAN
June 16, 2014

A number of years ago, I was ordering breakfast at the Dogwood Cabin in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and before the food arrived, a barbershop quartet began to harmonize. 'How delightful,' I thought - and then there was another song, followed by yet another: A barbershop quartet convention was in town, and several groups were scattered throughout the restaurant and waiting for their opportunity to perform. Before my pancake syrup was even out of the bottle, I was already craving some antidotal 'heavy metal.' Such experiences remind me of Mark Twain's story CAPTAIN STORMFIELD'S VISIT TO HEAVEN: Upon first arriving behind the Pearly Gates, the Captain is delighted to hear the heavenly harps; but as time passes, the harmonies become stultifying. Thankfully, the barbershop quartet that strolls through Theatre Memphis' colorful new production of Meredith Willson's THE MUSIC MAN never overstays its welcome.

BWW Reviews: Circuit Invites the Audience into THE LYONS Den
June 2, 2014

There's a moment in the first act of Nicky Silver's THE LYONS when dying patriarch 'Ben' is asked whether he is in pain; his response, a monosyllabic 'Yes,' hardly ranks with any of the brilliantly barbed lines scattered throughout the play, but as intoned by veteran actor Ron Gephart, it acquires a startling variety of shades. As uttered by this gifted performer, a number of insights can be gained into the unfortunate Ben's character: Frustration, resignation, intolerance. If Mr. Gephart can manage that by simply saying 'Yes,' imagine what he is able to do with the dialogues and monologs that follow.

BWW Reviews: New Moon Theatre Ghost Hunts with HAINT
June 1, 2014

For some months, I had been hearing strong, positive comments about a previous stage reading of actor/singer Justin Asher's original HAINT, and finally, tonight, after mounting publicity (including a spot on WKNO's Checking on the Arts and an article in The Commercial Appeal's GO MEMPHIS), I was able to attend the first, complete performance of the play, staged by New Moon Theatre at Theatre Works. Not since Jerre Dye's original CICADAS have I left a theatre in such a state of excitement; like Mr. Dye's play, which recently had a highly successful production in Chicago, this is a play born of a region and time - in this case, the isolated Ozarks of Arkansas in 1953.

BWW Reviews: BEST OF BROADWAY 2 Proves You Don't 'Gotta Have a Gimmick'
May 25, 2014

Stage Door Productions BEST OF BROADWAY 2 Proves You Don't 'Gotta Have a Gimmick'

Summer Stages: Spring and Summer Find Theatre Blooming in Memphis
June 4, 2014

As barbecue fests, music venues, and baseball elbow their way into spring and summer in Memphis, there is still reason for theatregoers to be excited about the arrival of several stagings either taking place or about to take place in the area.

BWW Reviews: Playhouse's GYPSY Offers Rose Her Turn
May 12, 2014

The collaboration of Jules Stein and Stephen Sondheim on GYPSY provided the late Ethel Merman with a career boost into immortality. What isn't familiar about this material? Everyone knows the general outline of the play itself - 'Mama' Rose is 'Mommie Dearest' without the wire hangers; at the beginning of the play, she practically declares war on a quiet home life and, taking with her daughters June (the precocious and 'pretty' one) and Louise (the shy and recessive one), she practically declares war on domesticity and seeks to channel her dreams through their success.

BWW Reviews: Theatre Memphis Goes Hare Hunting with HARVEY
April 26, 2014

BWW Reiews: Circuit Playhouse in Memphis Offers Moments of GRACE
April 24, 2014

Don't Put Your Faith in HIMmelman