Larry O'Brien

Larry O'Brien


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LAST 30 DAYS

BWW REVIEW: AS YOU LIKE IT at the GAMM THEATRE is a Blue Thumbs UpBWW REVIEW: AS YOU LIKE IT at the GAMM THEATRE is a Blue Thumbs Up
Posted: Apr. 24, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Review: THE WIDOW'S BROOM at The Festival Ballet - Too Lovely for Words!BWW Review: THE WIDOW'S BROOM at The Festival Ballet - Too Lovely for Words!
Posted: Nov. 27, 2017


BWW Review: KINKY BOOTS Kicks Butt at Providence Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: KINKY BOOTS Kicks Butt at Providence Performing Arts Center
Posted: Dec. 11, 2017


BWW Review: BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE Does Not Quite Glow at 2nd Story TheatreBWW Review: BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE Does Not Quite Glow at 2nd Story Theatre
Posted: Aug. 19, 2017


BWW Review: THE ILLUSIONISTS--LIVE FROM BROADWAY at Providence Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: THE ILLUSIONISTS--LIVE FROM BROADWAY at Providence Performing Arts Center
Posted: Jan. 20, 2018


BWW Review: THE BEST OF EVERYTHING at 2ND STORY THEATREBWW Review: THE BEST OF EVERYTHING at 2ND STORY THEATRE
Posted: May. 11, 2017


BWW Review: TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL at Burbage TheatreBWW Review: TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL at Burbage Theatre
Posted: Feb. 26, 2018


BWW REVIEW: AS YOU LIKE IT at the GAMM THEATRE is a Blue Thumbs UpBWW REVIEW: AS YOU LIKE IT at the GAMM THEATRE is a Blue Thumbs Up
April 24, 2018

The Gamm Theatre closes its fifteen year run in Pawtucket with Shakespeare's AS YOU LIKE IT, so it was with mixed emotions that I turned right onto Exchange St. last Saturday, for the last time to be squeezed into the lyric, little bandbox of a theater. Fear not, theatergoers, they're not going away, just going to Warwick, where I trust they will continue to produce some of the most entertaining, interesting and thought provoking theater you can find. They chose to go out with Shakespeare and once again have found a new way to look at a play and led us to a new way to look at reality. It's what they do there.

BWW Previews: LE DERNIER REPAS: A LOVE STORY at Counter-Productions Theatre CompanyBWW Previews: LE DERNIER REPAS: A LOVE STORY at Counter-Productions Theatre Company
March 23, 2018

Otto Von Bismark once advised anyone who enjoyed sausage or legislation to avoid seeing how they are made. From first hand experience, I can report that this warning does not apply to the theater. I sat in on a rehearsal of Counter- Productions Theatre Company's upcoming offering, the world premiere

BWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at Providence Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL at Providence Performing Arts Center
March 2, 2018

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL playing right now at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) is the most jukebox of juke box musicals. With a book by Douglas McGrath, it tells the story of King's life and career using songs that she wrote, often together wither sometimes partner and spouse Gerry Goffin, and other contemporary songs by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, Phil Spector and others. What makes it the 'most juke box?' In a play that runs two and a half hours (including intermission), the very talented cast performs over twenty-five songs. Why so many songs? It's a play about songwriters whose best friends are songwriters, who among them wrote some of the most popular songs of the sixties and seventies. With so many songs to cover, McGrath let the music carry the first act and left the story of King's metamorphosis from composer to singer songwriter to Act 2. Somebody is doing something right because BEAUTIFUL opened on Broadway in January of 2014 and has been running ever since. This stop in Providence is the second in our fair city since it went on tour in 2015. As near as I could tell, everybody present had a helluva time last night.

BWW Review: S'Wonderful - AMERICAN RHAPSODY: THE GERSHWIN SONGBOOK at Veterans AuditoriumBWW Review: S'Wonderful - AMERICAN RHAPSODY: THE GERSHWIN SONGBOOK at Veterans Auditorium
February 28, 2018

In addition to seeing some wonderful performance, the great things about wring reviews are that you to get to think, learn, and write. So it was with last Thursday's Firstworks production of AMERICAN RHAPSODY: THE GERSHWIN SONGBOOK with Michael Andrew, Michelle Amato and seventeen piece Gershwin Big Band before a nearly full-house at Veterans Auditorium in Providence. The music was fabulous and I have been thinking about it and the Gershwins ever since.

BWW Review: TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL at Burbage TheatreBWW Review: TWELFTH NIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL at Burbage Theatre
February 26, 2018

The Burbage Theatre continues its inaugural season in its new home at 249 Roosevelt Ave. in Pawtucket with a raucous production of Shakespeare's TWELFTH NIIGHT, OR WHAT YOU WILL. Harold Bloom has called TWELFTH NIGHT 'the funniest of all Shakespeare's plays.' While I'm not sure Bloom is a reliable guide to comedy, the mostly youthful Burbage cast has managed to fully mine the humor in this piece. 'We're eager to bring (TWELFTH NIGHT) to life, and we've got the team to do it,' said director Jeff Church, who is also Artistic Director at the Burbage.

BWW Review: THE ILLUSIONISTS--LIVE FROM BROADWAY at Providence Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: THE ILLUSIONISTS--LIVE FROM BROADWAY at Providence Performing Arts Center
January 20, 2018

If you hurry, you still have time to get over to the Providence Performing Arts Center to catch THE ILLUSIONISTS-LIVE FROM BROADWAY. Most touring shows do not have the Broadway cast, but this one does. It blends very funny comedy with jaw-dropping feats of magic and/or derring-do. My wife and I walked out asking each other, 'How did they do that,' and, as Butch said to Sundance, 'Who are those guys?' There were five of them and three assistants, and they took turns stopping our thought processes cold. I am going to take them in order of enjoyment.

BWW Review: KINKY BOOTS Kicks Butt at Providence Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: KINKY BOOTS Kicks Butt at Providence Performing Arts Center
December 11, 2017

KINKY BOOTS, book by Harvey Fierstein (La Cage aux Folles and Torch Song Trilogy) and songs by Cindy Lauper and inspired by true events, is in Providence at the Performing Arts Center for a very short run. Blink and you'll miss it. The musical tells the story of Charlie Price (Lance Bordelon), who inherits a shoe factory from his father and forms an unlikely partnership with cabaret performer and /drag queen Lola (Jos N. Banks) to produce a line of high-heeled boots designed to withstand a man's heft and save the business. In the process, Charlie and Lola discover that they are not so different after all. . When was the last time you saw a Broadway show about sensitive, heroic businessmen? I have to admit that KINKY BOOTS had escaped my notice until the other night and that the audience and I had a really good time Friday night!

BWW Review: THE WIDOW'S BROOM at The Festival Ballet - Too Lovely for Words!BWW Review: THE WIDOW'S BROOM at The Festival Ballet - Too Lovely for Words!
November 27, 2017

I have not been to a ballet since I took my daughter to a performance of The Nutcracker some thirty years ago, so it was with some trepidation that I accepted the assignment to review the Festival Ballet's performance of THE WIDOW'S BROOM, based on the story by Chris van Allsburg. I was afraid I would be first bored to death and then unable to write a coherent review. I could not have been more wrong about my first fear-let's see how I do with the second.

BWW Review: WAITING FORGODOT at Counter-Productions Theatre Company: A Rare gem in a Black BoxBWW Review: WAITING FORGODOT at Counter-Productions Theatre Company: A Rare gem in a Black Box
October 24, 2017

Counter-Productions Theatre Company begins its 2017/2018 season with Samuel Beckett's absurdist masterpiece, WAITING FOR GODOT at AS220's Black Box Theatre on Empire St. in Providence. The New York Times has called this the greatest play of the Twentieth Century. It has attracted talents from Bert Lahr to Steve Marin and Robin Williams to John Turturro to take it on. I had never seen this play, was somewhat afraid of it, and am now glad I have. Sometimes it's tedious (I think that's deliberate and blame Beckett), but sometimes it's hilarious and sometimes very touching. Here we all are, trapped between life and death.

BWW Review: Providence Performing Arts Center Presents LES MISERABLESBWW Review: Providence Performing Arts Center Presents LES MISERABLES
September 29, 2017

If you hurry over the Providence Performing Arts Center, you might still be able to catch one of the last performances of LES MIS. This show is a force of nature and hardly needs me to tell you how great it is, which is a good thing since it closes tomorrow night. Not my call, it's how the production company wanted it.

BWW Review: GALILEO Worth Seeing at The Burbage Theatre Co.BWW Review: GALILEO Worth Seeing at The Burbage Theatre Co.
August 30, 2017

The first time I saw GALILEO by Bertolt Brecht performed was thirty-five years ago at Trinity Rep. I remembered being blown away by the experience-the late great Richard Kneeland played the title role and Brecht's play put the conflict between science and dogma right on the table. I remember loving the idea that one person can be right and the rest of the world wrong. So now the Burbage Theatre Company in Providence is offering GALILEO directed by Vincent Petronio and I was curious to see if they could measure up and if the play held up.

BWW Review: BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE Does Not Quite Glow at 2nd Story TheatreBWW Review: BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE Does Not Quite Glow at 2nd Story Theatre
August 19, 2017

BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE must be missing the eye of a newt.

BWW Review: THE BEST OF EVERYTHING at 2ND STORY THEATREBWW Review: THE BEST OF EVERYTHING at 2ND STORY THEATRE
May 11, 2017

Women in business in the 1950's--not the easiest row to hoe.

BWW Review: Song, Dance and Cynicism--CHICAGO at Providence Performing Arts CenterBWW Review: Song, Dance and Cynicism--CHICAGO at Providence Performing Arts Center
May 3, 2017

They sing, they dance, they have no values.

BWW Review: VICTOR/VICTORIA at Ocean State Theatre CompanyBWW Review: VICTOR/VICTORIA at Ocean State Theatre Company
April 30, 2017

Pretty good production of a pretty good Broadway musical. VICTOR/VICTORIA is fun, but lacks a truly memorable song (or two).

BWW Review: FAITHFUL CHEATERS at Trinity Repertory CompanyBWW Review: FAITHFUL CHEATERS at Trinity Repertory Company
April 27, 2017

FAITHFUL CHEATERS is a zany, fast-paced, did I say zany already,well-acted farce. Zany.

BWW Recommends ART: It's Good for Ya!BWW Recommends ART: It's Good for Ya!
April 25, 2017

'ART' has come to Rhode Island in a very entertaing production. Hey, what is art, and why are your friends your friends?

BWW Review: LEND ME A TENOR a Little Off Key at Rhode Island Stage EnsembleBWW Review: LEND ME A TENOR a Little Off Key at Rhode Island Stage Ensemble
April 9, 2017

Some good things, some not quite so good things going on in Woonsocket.

BWW Review: Willy Russell's SHIRLEY VALENTINE Comes to 2nd Story TheatreBWW Review: Willy Russell's SHIRLEY VALENTINE Comes to 2nd Story Theatre
March 14, 2017

Willy Russell's SHIRLEY VALENTINE is running right now at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren, and I advise you to call them at once to purchase a ticket and them come back and finish reading my review. This is the second trip to Russell-Land for director Mark Peckham and 2nd Story; last year they scored with EDUCATING RITA. I think they're on to something. This time Russell has created the circumstance of a housewife, who, feeling shortchanged by life, has the chance to travel to Greece and see what more there might be.

BWW Review: Very Silly but Funny MURDER AT THE HOWARD JOHNSON'S at 2ND STORY THEATREBWW Review: Very Silly but Funny MURDER AT THE HOWARD JOHNSON'S at 2ND STORY THEATRE
February 19, 2017

2nd Story Theatre in Warren is currently offering Sam Bobrick and Ron Clark's 1979 classic MURDER AT THE HOWARD JOHNSON'S. Did I say classic? What I meant was a shallow, pithy, superficial, farcical, and light-weight comedy. Bobrick and Clarke cut their teeth writing tv comedy for some of the smartest television of all time like The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Dick Van Dyke Show and The Steve Allen Show. (Look these up if you have to.) This is a comedy about murder and infidelity-now who couldn't like that? 2nd Story says they were shooting for 'a pain-reducing balm' to what we've been experiencing the past months, and I think they more or less delivered. The audience was laughing and, my God, needed it.



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