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Larry O'Brien - Page 3

Larry O'Brien Larry O’Brien has been a fan of live theater for fifty years since he saw his first live production, A Streetcar Named Desire, at the Trinity Square Repertory Company. He served as a volunteer usher at Trinity for over twenty years and as President of the Board of Directors at the late, lamented Wickenden Gate and Newgate theaters. He has written reviews for the Rhode Island College Anchor and the Arthur miller Journal. While he enjoys what Trinity and PPAC have to offer, he is a big fan of the small theater scene one finds in Rhode Island. He earned his Masters from Rhode Island College and is ready to roll!


MOST POPULAR ARTICLES

LAST 365 DAYS

Trinity REP Scores a Hole-in-One with August Wilson's RADIO GOLF PhotoTrinity REP Scores a Hole-in-One with August Wilson's RADIO GOLF
Posted: Feb. 5, 2020


Justice Done to Dickens A TALE OF TWO CITIES at Trinity Rep PhotoJustice Done to Dickens A TALE OF TWO CITIES at Trinity Rep
Posted: Feb. 26, 2020


BWW Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Providence Performing Arts Center. Don't Miss It! PhotoBWW Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Providence Performing Arts Center. Don't Miss It!
Posted: Feb. 12, 2020


BWW Review: DAMN YANKEES at Ocean State Theater Company Lose Some But Winsome
July 11, 2016

Ocean State Theater Company (OSTC) opens its summer season with the 1955 Tony Award winning musical, DAMN YANKEES. The show may be sixty years old, but as long as the Yankees play ball and there are fans that despise them, it will have a place in many a heart.

BWW Review: HAROLD AND MAUDE at 2ND STORY THEATRE - Flower Power Lives!
July 5, 2016

In keeping with Artistic Director Ed Shea's avowed goal of staging less cynical plays, 2nd Story Theatre in Warren is offering the stage version of the 1971 cult film classic HAROLD AND MAUDE by Colin Higgins, who wrote both the screenplay and this stage version, If you have never seen the film version, which starred Ruth Gordon and Bud Cort, you should get yourself over to Warren; if you have seen the film, you might want to go by a ticket to see what director Kevin Broccoli hath wrought. This production features some fine performances, a couple of almost magical special effects, and a story that is so dated it's current again. As Maude, charmingly played by Isabel O'Donnell, explains to Evan Kinnane's Harold in the second act, 'A cliche today is a profound truth tomorrow, and vice versa.' Somebody say, 'Amen.'

BWW Reviews: TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE at 2ND STORY THEATRE - One from the Heart
June 17, 2016

Either late last winter or early spring, 2nd Story theatre's Artistic Director, Ed Shea, announced that he was looking for less cynicism and revamped the schedule. Out went SPEED THE PLOW and in came CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS. In Jeffrey Hatcher and Mitch Albom's adaptation of TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE (based Albom's book), Shea has struck the mother lode of positivity. In this play (and in the book, and in life) Mitch (Jeff Del Sisto) a young, career-driven journalist learns of his former professor Morrie's (Jay Burke) battle with Lou Gehrig's disease and a one-time visit becomes a weekly pilgrimage and a graduate seminar on the meaning of life and death. The book has sold over fourteen million copies and been translated into fourteen languages. Cynical it is not. The question is, how does into translate onto the stage?

BWW Review: BUDDY - THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY at Theatre By The Sea
June 6, 2016

Theatre By the Sea (TBTS) in Wakefield, RI (I would have thought Matunuck) opens its season with a rousing version of BUDDY-THE BUDDY HOLLY STORY, a jukebox musical in two acts with a book written by Alan Janes, and music and lyrics by a variety of songwriters, mostly of course, Buddy Holly. Based on the life and career of the early rock and roller, the musical hews more closely to Holly's actual life story than the 1978 film version, which starred Gary Busey, and follows Holly from his struggles to escape country music and establish himself as a rocker, to his untimely death in a plane crash in 1959.

BWW Review: Take a Chance on EDUCATING RITA at 2nd Story Theatre
May 9, 2016

EDUCATING RITA by Willy Russell is running at 2nd Story Theatre at 28 Market St. in Warren until May 22. Ed Shea plays Frank, the jaded, just-this-side-of washed-out, alcoholic professor; and Tammy Brown plays Rita, a hairdresser who wants more out of life, who wants not simply a change in circumstances, but, as she says twice in the play, 'the change in yourself.' Rita wants to know, 'what's it like to be free?' If Frank ever knew, he has forgotten. Over the course of the very enjoyable two hours, they each get to look at what they know and to decide what must stay and what has to go. This play reminds you of Shaw's Pygmalion: the young woman comes to the older man seeking knowledge that can transform her life. Henry Higgins is more confidant then Frank in the value of what he has to offer, but Rita, whose real name turns out to be Susan, is every bit as convinced of its worth as Eliza Doolittle ever was.

BWW Review: JERSEY BOYS at Providence Performing Arts Cewnter
April 28, 2016

JERSEY BOYS has opened at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC), 220 Weybosset St., Providence. The touring company moves out Sunday May 1, which does not give you a lot of time to pick a date, come up with the scratch and get your butt over there. This play rocks, and this iteration of it rocked PPAC opening night.

BWW Review: Let CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS School You!
April 19, 2016

CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS by Casey Kurtti, the current offering at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren, follows MASS APPEAL and continues the theater's exploration of the Catholic Church in the second half of the late, lamented Twentieth Century. While MASS APPEAL concentrated on the masculine side of the Church (priests and would-be priests), CATHOLIC SCHOOL GIRLS focuses on the distaff side by following the school lives of four grammar school girls and the nuns who teach them at St. George's School in Yonkers. Four actresses play the girls and each takes a turn playing a different nun. Unlike a show like NUNSENSE, which is played for laughs, Kurtti's play explores both the lighter and darker sides of the girls experience; sometimes it's funny, and sometimes it hurts. You don't have to be Catholic, but it helps.

BWW Review: MASS APPEALs at 2nd Story
March 24, 2016

2nd Story Theatre in Warren is on a pretty good run in 2016: HYSTERIA, LOVE DEATH AND WHAT I WORE, and now MASS APPEAL by Bill C. Davis, playing Upstage until April 3, have each provided entertaining and interesting evening or afternoons for their audiences. This play premiered in 1981-about halfway between Going My Way and Spotlight. That seems right: the show does not portray priests as saints, and only hints at the existence of problems, that will be revealed later on. In ninety minutes, MASS APPEAL tells the story of Father Tim Farley (Bob Colonna), a Catholic parish priest whose comfortable existence is upset by the arrival of an idealistic young seminarian, Mark Dolson (David Sackal), who becomes Fr. Farley's charge and challenge. Father Tim Farley is highly popular with his parishioners due to his charm, wit, easy-going manner, and entertaining (but unchallenging) sermons. One Sunday Dolson interrupts Farley's 'dialogue' sermon to challenge his stance on the ordination of women. In fairness to the young man, Fr. Farley had invited questions but got more than he asked for from Dolson. The pastor is outraged yet intrigued by Dolson, and asks to have him assigned to work with him. And that, as Rick tells Captain Renaud in Casablanca, is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

BWW Review: LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE at 2nd Story
February 29, 2016

You are almost out of time to go see LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE by Delia and Nora Ephron, currently running Downstage at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren. Part of this is 2nd Story's fault, as the show had a limited run to begin with; and partly this is my fault because my computer monitor quit and delayed you faithful correspondent in the swift completion of his appointed rounds. Sigh. Still, you have another weekend.

BWW Reviews: HYSTERIA at 2ND STORY THEATRE
February 4, 2016


BWW Review: Odd But Funny STORY THEATER
November 27, 2015

STORY THEATER by Paul Sills is one odd little theatrical experience. It features music by the estimable duo of Atwater and Donnelly and a half-dozen or so actors performing the fables of Aesop and the Brothers Grimm. This piece originally opened on Broadway in 1970 and closed after 243 performances with three Tony nominations, including one for best play. Paul Sills has an outstanding pedigree in improvisation: in the fifties he opened the Compass Players, which was an early platform for the esteemed Mike Nichols and Elaine May; in the sixties, he was a co-founder of Second City improvisational comedy troupe (Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroyd, John Belushi and Stephen Colbert are among the alums). After leaving Second City, Sills ran several schools teaching improvisational techniques around the country.

BWW Review: Be On the Lookout for NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH
November 20, 2015

Your intrepid correspondent saw two plays this weekend, Andrew Case's THE RANT at the Gamm Theatre in Pawtucket and NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH by Alan Ayckbourn Upstage at 2nd Story Theatre in Warren. Each of these plays dealt a violent death at the hands of the police. THE RANT is a powerful, drama about the dark recesses of murder and unknowability, while NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH is a light-hearted romp through the dark recesses of middle-class paranoia. I enjoyed them both very much, but then I'm middle-class with dark recesses of my own.

BWW Review: Let the BUYER & CELLAR Beware
October 16, 2015

Jonathan Tolins' BUYER AND CELLAR is being performed at Downstage, which is appropriately a cellar, at 2d Story Theater in Warren, RI. I have to admit I have been putting off writing this review. In this eighty-minute one-man show directed by the estimable Lara Hakeem and featuring the multi-talented Kevin Broccoli as Alex Moore, a struggling actor recently fired from Disneyland for failing to stay in character, takes a job working in an underground mall beneath the home of Barbra Streisand. Did I say he plays a struggling actor? That is only partially correct: moving effortlessly from persona to persona, Broccoli also becomes Alex's lover, Streisand's secretary, James Brolin and Streisand herself. BUYER AND CELLAR really seemed to be hitting its stride when Alex and Streisand (Broccoli v. Broccoli) meet in one of the shops in the subterranean private mall and conduct a lengthy negotiation of the absurd, haggling over the price of a doll she already owns. At this point, BUYER AND CELLAR is laugh out loud funny. Would that it had stayed that way.

BWW Review: BWW Suggests You Avoid This DANGEROUS CORNER
October 2, 2015

J.B Priestley's DANGERUOUS CORNER is the season opener at 2nd Story Theater in Warren, and I have to say I was disappointed. Theater requires a 'willing suspension of disbelief,' to steal a phrase from William Taylor Coleridge, and this production did not facilitate that end. Trevor Elliot's set was fine, some truly beautiful art deco chairs stage left, very cool wall decorations, and a baby grand stage right. Ron Cesario's costumes-black tie for the men, elegant gowns for the women, also looked good on the actors.

BWW Reviews: See, Reader, See DIE, MOMMIE, DIE at 2nd Story
July 21, 2015

According to Artistic Director Ed Shea, the two most frequently produced playwrights at 2nd Story Theatre are Moliere and Charles Busch: apparently these people like to laugh. The current offering from Busch is the outrageous DIE, MOMMIE, DIE, which is running in rep with I HATE HAMLET thru August 28. Charles Busch is shameless enough to write plays in which he can play the leading lady. He does not hold back-this is campy, frankly sexual, insightful, absurd and hilarious.

BWW Reviews: I HATE HAMLET at 2nd Story
July 16, 2015

I HATE HAMLET by Paul Rudnick is a very funny play being given an excellent production at 2nd Story Theater in Warren. 2nd Story is on a roll of comedies this summer, mostly of the dark variety, but this one has no dark shadows (Well, one shade--the ghost of John Barrymore, but he is a friendly ghost) and is just plain hilarious. Got twenty-fie bucks? Get over to see it.

BWW Reviews: VENUS IN FUR at 2nd Story Theater
June 15, 2015

2nd Story Theater is currently offering an excellent production of VENUS IN FUR by David Ives in its intimate, seventy seat Downstage. Let's not bury the lead: the play itself, the cast, the set, the lighting, the costumes and the props are all terrific, but what really makes this work is an outstanding performance by Lara Hakeem. This is the second time I have seen Ms Hakeem perform at 2nd Story (my loss-she's been there since the theater opened in 2001), and ass good as she was in AND MISS REARDON DRINKS A LITTLE, she is even better here. Hakeem is at once hilarious and sexy as her character, Vanda-an auditioning actress, slowly but surely turns the table on her putative writer/director, Thomas, played by Richard Derry. He is miserable to her at first, as she seems all wrong for the part, but she understands: 'You're a writer and director; it's your job to torture actors.' Once she comes in from the rain in a trench coat, she spends the evening in tight leather undergarments, and Derry's Thomas crumples before the charms of Hakeem's Vanda. A newcomer to 2nd Story, Derry is also very good, particularly showing his chops in the brief time he and Hakeem switch roles and he plays Vanda.

BWW Reviews: 2nd Story Offers Very ENTERTAINING MR. SLOAN
May 14, 2015

ENTERTAING MR. SLOAN by Joe Orton, the latest entry in the grim comedy sweepstakes currently going on at 2nd Story Theater in Warren, is a funny plays made with gruesome ingredients. When the audience takes its seat, it is greeted by Trevor Elliot's set--a simple, orderly middle class living room, which suggests nothing of the chaos soon to take place. Like the characters Orton created in 1964, the set is not what it first appears to be: what the audience cannot see is that the orderly living room is in a house at the edge of a dump.

BWW Reviews: 2nd Story Wins with MISS REARDON
April 30, 2015

And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little This is a comedy about family dysfunction, desertion, abandonment and alcoholism; think A Long days Journey into Night meets The Honeymooners.



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