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Patrick Brassell - Page 4

Patrick Brassell Patrick Brassell is the author of five published novels and five produced plays. He has directed, produced, and designed sound for about fifty theater productions, and he has acted on rare occasion. He sang with a number of unsuccessful bar bands, wrote a comprehensive blog about the history of the Academy Awards, and wishes he were young enough to audition for American Idol. In the meantime, he has a day job in the financial industry, and lives in the Portland neighborhood of Cedar Mill.


BWW Reviews: THE GREAT GATSBY is an Ambitious Undertaking at Bag & Baggage
September 29, 2013

Simon Levy's adaptation is actually a skillful condensation of the events and dialogue of the novel, stitched together with some narration, but this production isn't up to his writing, let alone Fitzgerald's.

BWW Reviews: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF Is a Long But Moving Evening at Portland Center Stage
September 28, 2013

One of the most famous quotes regarding Fiddler on the Roof came from the producer of the first Japanese production, who said to the writers, 'Do they understand this show in America? It's so Japanese!' Well, you don't have to be Japanese, or Jewish, or anything else to understand Fiddler.

BWW Reviews: Clackamas Rep's THE 39 STEPS Will Surprise You All the Way Through
September 24, 2013

This is The 39 Steps as filtered through Monty Python or Carol Burnett. If you're old enough to remember Carol's Saturday night movie parodies, with the wigs that never quite fit and the accents that were hammier than Easter dinner, you'll have a sense of what this show is trying to do.

BWW Reviews: LUCKY STIFF Will Make You Glad You're Alive
September 24, 2013

Lucky Stiff is an early project by composer Stephen Flaherty and lyricist/librettist Lynn Ahrens, who went on to create Once on This Island, Ragtime, and the underrated A Man of No Importance. It's an odd mating of one of those twee English comedies that always seemed to feature Alec Guinness and a dorky 1980s comedy, specifically Weekend at Bernie's.

BWW Reviews: THE MOUNTAINTOP Is a Difficult Climb
September 16, 2013

A high point of the first part of the play is when King asks Camae what she would say to the world if she were in his shoes, and she literally puts on his shoes (and coat) and launches into her own oratory, which is surprising and intelligent, if quite different from King's perspective on the conflict between the races.

BWW Reviews: No Reservations - THE BIG MEAL Is Fantastic
September 9, 2013

The Big Meal is about nothing less than the entire scope of life, played out in a series of meals in a variety of restaurants.

BWW Reviews: A Sloppy KISS OF THE SPIDER WOMAN Opens at Triangle Productions
September 9, 2013

I salute any theater that tries to push itself into new creative directions. However, if you're going to do those risky shows, especially those with challenging roles, you need to have the right people to lead the way.

BWW Reviews: LICKING BATTERIES is a Terrible Title for a Thoughtful Drama
August 14, 2013

In Licking Batteries, electricity is both literal (in the use of electroshock therapy to treat mental illness) and metaphoric (in the sparks between people), and it gets used in a multitude of ways to tell an engrossing story.

BWW Reviews: A Big Hug for KISS ME, KATE at Clackamas Rep
August 5, 2013

Cole Porter's songs are justifiably classic, both the tunes that relate to the backstage story and the numbers for the show within the show, and this company has the voices to put them over sensationally.

BWW Reviews: Broadway Rose Finds All the Charm in MY FAIR LADY
August 4, 2013

The late Lehman Engel was a conductor for a number of Broadway shows in the 1940s through the 1960s, in addition to writing several masterful books on the creation and construction of musicals, and founding the musical theater workshop that bears his name and has trained many of the top songwriters and librettists of the past thirty years. He invented the term 'charm song,' referring to a song that isn't a true comedy song or a ballad, but is intended to make the audience smile and like the character singing it. The gold standard for charm songs is My Fair Lady - practically the whole show is charm songs like 'The Rain in Spain,' 'Wouldn't It Be Loverly,' and and 'You Did It.' The only overt love song is handed to a minor character, and the story is resolved via dialogue rather than a big final number. And it's just a great show.

BWW Reviews: Shakespeare Goes Mod in Portland Shakespeare Project's THE TAMING OF THE SHREW
July 15, 2013

We enter the world of Padua, which in director Michael Mendelson's vision takes place in the swinging 1960s. The set is a clear reminder of Laugh-In, with its pastel colors and patterned walls with small doors that the actors can peep through. The costumes are witty reminders of that era, particularly the women's outfits and wigs. And the music throughout echoes Carnaby Street.

July 8, 2013

Is there a more reliably funny performance piece than The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield?

BWW Reviews: Broadway Rose Gives Its All to CATS
July 2, 2013

Director-choreographer Lyn Cramer put her cast to work right away, sending them on one by one during the overture, crawling, slinking, and rolling onstage. The cast of twenty-four filled the auditorium's huge stage, each one in full cat costume and moving in time to the music. The actors stay in character throughout, and their energy is infectious; they kept me riveted almost throughout the show.

BWW Reviews: AVENUE Q Is Sweet, Salty, and Very, Very Funny
June 16, 2013

I attended Avenue Q at a sold-out Saturday night performance on Pride weekend in Portland, and the house was filled with people who clearly knew the show and were ready to have fun. The couple seated next to me, however, came with a group of friends and seemed confused about what they were going to see. 'It's Sesame Street for twentysomethings,' I explained. 'It's a great comedy.' And so it is. But what hit me this time (my third) was how sweet and likable the show is. At the end of Act One, when the various plots hit their snags and the characters are heartbroken, I heard an audible 'Awwww' throughout the house. This is the triumph of Triangle Productions' 2013 take on Avenue Q: They've found the heart underneath the goofiness. And this is by far the best rendition of the show I've seen.

BWW Reviews: SOMEWHERE IN TIME is Enchanting... But A Bit Too Long
July 7, 2013

The lush music, the period costumes, and Andrew Samonsky's performance kept me involved. There's some trimming to be done, and some rewriting, and maybe it will work for fans of the movie. But there could be so much more.

BWW Reviews: ITHAKA Journies Into Mind and Heart of a Returning Soldier
June 2, 2013

When soldiers go to war, they find themselves in unbearable, life-threatening situations, and terrible things happen. Then, if they survive, they have to find their way back to the places they lived before, where society expects them to pick up where they left off. But soldiers are changed by what they see and do, and coming back isn't all that simple.

Summer Stages: Five to Watch for in Portland
June 14, 2013

Here are five upcoming productions in the Portland area that shouldn't be missed this summer. Of course, we'll have our eyes open for other productions as well, which will be reviewed in this space as they arrive. And don't forget the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, which is not part of the Portland area, but is certainly worth the drive for great theater in a beautiful setting.

BWW Reviews: CROOKED - A Clear-Eyed Look at Adolescence
May 20, 2013

Catherine Treischmann's play Crooked, now playing at CoHo Productions, is about a fourteen-year-old girl named Laney who is even more confused and angry than most kids her age.

BWW Reviews: ARI-MARIA, An Operatic Musical at Triangle Productions
May 7, 2013

Tommy Tune said it (or sang it) best in Seesaw, to the music of Cy Coleman and the lyrics of Dorothy Fields: "It's not where you start, it's where you finish." When a show has a strong finale that sends you out into the night singing, you'll forgive it some bumps along the way.

BWW Reviews: TEN CHIMNEYS at Artsts Repertory Theatre
April 28, 2013

The play looks and feels like a bright, witty comedy, the kind that used to light up Broadway stages year after year.