Sunday, November 24, 2013

theatre review THE MOUNTAINTOP, Arizona Theatre Company, November 21

Erika LaVonn and James T. Alfred
Here is my review at Talkin' Broadway of The Mountaintop at the Arizona Theatre Company.

"The Arizona Theatre Company is presenting the Arizona premiere of Katori Hall's The Mountaintop. The fictionalized play that represents Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last night before he is assassinated is a two-character piece that isn't at all what it first appears to be. This Arizona Theatre Company / Penumbra Theatre Company co-production is well cast and directed, and the play takes the audience on quite a journey."

The Mountaintop, a co-production of Arizona Theatre Company and Penumbra Theatre Company, through December 1st at the Herberger Theater Center, 222 E. Monroe Street. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling (602) 256–6995. This production then moves to the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in Charlotte, North Caroline from February 4th to March 2, 2014, and then the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapolis, Minneapolis, from March 28th through April 20, 2014.

Photo: Tim Fuller/Arizona Theatre Company

Saturday, November 23, 2013

theatre review THE MUSIC MAN, Scottsdale Musical Theatre Company, Nov 17

Matt Newhard, Lindsay Urbank and Cast
My review of the Scottsdale Musical Theatre Company's production of The Music Man at Talkin' Broadway can be found by clicking here.

"Community theatre productions of well-known musicals tend to be hit or miss. While the material and songs are well known by audience members, the cast and physical production elements generally lean toward the substandard. Often, cast members, especially the ensemble, aren't much more than window dressing, not knowing how to properly act in the background of scenes, and the sets, costumes and lighting can be minimal and unimaginative. So I'm happy to report that the Scottsdale Musical Theatre Company's recent production of The Music Man got just about everything right with winning leads, a fun ensemble, and a minimal yet effective design."

Scottsdale Musical Theatre Company's official site

theatre review A STEADY RAIN, Actors Theatre, Oct. 26

Christopher Haines and Joseph Kremer
Here is a link to my review of A Steady Rain at the Actors Theatre in Phoenix.

"Keith Huff's A Steady Rain was a sellout hit on Broadway back in 2009. While that was likely due to the fact that Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig were the two stars of the production, A Steady Rain is a powerful, gripping drama that only needs two good actors to portray the dark tale of cops caught up in a nightmare of events and emotions. Fortunately, the production running at the Actors Theatre of Phoenix through November 10th has two skilled actors, good direction, and is not to be missed for those seeking a fiercely dramatic play that is both provocative and even somewhat inspiring."

Actors Theatre official site

Photo: John Grossclose

theatre review THE LION KING, ASU/Gammage, October 24

Brown Lindiwe Mkhize
Click here for my review of the national tour of The Lion King at Talkin' Broadway.

"Julie Taymor's production of The Lion King created a sensation when it opened on Broadway 16 years ago in November 1997. Based on the 1994 Oscar-winning film, Taymor added puppetry and theatrical magic to this coming of age story of a lion cub and it went on to win six Tony Awards and is still running on Broadway today. The national touring production that just opened at ASU Gammage and runs through November 17th is thrilling and also a good family theatrical experience."

ASU Gammage Official Site

The Lion King National Tour Official Site

Photo: Joan Marcus

theatre review THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA - Southwest Shakespeare Theatre Company, Oct. 13

Ian Christiansen, Bre Jarvis and Marshall Glass
Here is a link to my review at Talkin' Broadway of The Two Gentlemen of Verona at the Southwest Shakespeare Theatre.  It was an interesting production, with some nice additional musical moments, but overall Shakespeare's first play isn't that interesting.

"William Shakespeare's earliest play, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, doesn't quite have the same lyrical language and in-depth character analysis that his better regarded plays do. While there are plenty of plot developments and foreshadowing of what Shakespeare would create with his later works, at its core, Verona is a simple play, with simple characters and language. The Southwest Shakespeare Company production has updated the story to the Roaring '20s of Chicago and added in a nice amount of music and even a little dancing, including a fun "Charleston", but in end very little can be done to make it more than simply Shakespeare's first comedy which also happens to be one of his less accomplished ones."

Southwest Shakespeare Company's official site

photo: Mark Gluckman