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Reviews for Current Shows

NOCTURNE NOCTURNE
by Adam Rapp
Presented by Second Thought Theatre
Runs through 4/26/2014

Reviewed by Charlie Bowles,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Bryant Hall was a dim, undecorated black box theater looking a bit like a modern art museum. Interesting pieces lay on the floor around and behind the seating risers, each spotlighted as if an art piece on display. A clawfoot tub stood in the entry to seating. A small table with photos and memories of a family lay against a bare wall. A garden tray filled with books and an old typewriter on top of a pile of books occupied open spaces on the floor. An old grand piano sat in the corner of the sparse stage area, the only real set piece, while a recorded piano piece played quietly, evoking an air of melancholy. It seemed most patrons ignored the art pieces in the entryway, talked through the evocative music, ...

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MARIANELA MARIANELA
by Benito Pėrez Galdós Adapted for stage by Mark-Brian Sonna
Presented by MBS Productions
Runs through 4/26/2014

Reviewed by Scott W. Davis ,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Have you ever wondered what life must have been like back in the 1920’s? MBS Productions transports you back into the heart of the twenties with their new production of Marianela.

Marianelais the story of a young servant who’s tasked with helping take care of her employer’s son Pablo, blind since birth. Through their time together you see a bond building between the two. Pablo meets a doctor who may finally be able to fix the man’s blindness. Florentine, Pablo’s girlfriend, talks her family into paying for the surgery in return for Pablo’s hand in marriage. But he loves Marianela, and in the end Pablo must make the decision whether to leave Florentine for the woman who’s taken care of him for some years.

Mark-Brian Sonna took on the challenge of ...

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GIDION'S KNOT GIDION'S KNOT
By Johnna Adams
Presented by Kitchen Dog Theater
Runs through 4/26/2014

Reviewed by Mary L. Clark,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

168 hours in a week, and for young American children a minimum of 35, more like 40, are spent in school. In elementary and middle schools, if you add the ever-growing need for after school care, it becomes closer to 50 hours, almost one-third of a week, all under the supervision of too few adults, mainly women, and hundreds of other impressionable children in which to mold one’s identity, personality, confidence and self-worth.

A young child’s school life being so many of those 168 hours, in the circle of teacher vs. parent, teaching vs. raising, the age-old question always comes back to what degree our children are taught who to be over what to think. Where does the ultimate responsibility lie for who a child becomes, what they ...

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ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD
Book by Tom Stoppard
Presented by Fun House Theatre and Film
Runs through 4/26/2014

Reviewed by Eric Bird,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is an absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy that was first staged at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 1966. The play has two characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who as very minor characters in Hamlet have no idea what is happening during this play. It explores the interactions of these two childhood friends of the Dane who are occasionally visited by characters from Hamlet.

The set was masterfully designed by Clare Floyd DeVries. The main color theme was a dark grey which was artfully combined to show a very monotone world of arches. To support the existentialism of the show, some arches were upside down and some stair-cases led straight to the ceiling in Escher-like fashion. This enhanced the concept of not knowing where they ...

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GALATEA GALATEA
SIHK Brothers and SCDallas presents A Prism Movement Co. Show
Presented by SiHK Brothers
Runs through 4/27/2014

Reviewed by Chris Jackson,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Galatea: “She who is white as snow." - translated from the Greek.

Indeed, white is the dominant color in Galatea, the theater/dance/art piece now playing at Trinity Groves Warehouse. White paper, white costumes, white aerial silks, and a white set form the backdrop for this one-of-a-kind experience. Combine that with pops of color as the story progresses and it transforms into one of the most creative and entertaining shows I have seen in quite a while.

The not unfamiliar story of Pygmalion and Galatea begins, of course, according to the ancient Greek myth, with artist Pygmalion trying to create the perfect woman. Prayers to Venus result in his piece of art coming to life, and adaptations and variations on this story have been around for centuries. The most famous ...

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THE UNEXPECTED GUEST THE UNEXPECTED GUEST
by Agatha Christie
Presented by Richardson Theatre Centre
Runs through 4/27/2014

Reviewed by Scott W. Davis ,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

There’s a dense fog swirling around Richardson this month. Enshrouded in it is the one, the only, Agatha Christie in the form of The Unexpected Guest at Richardson Theatre Centre.

The story follows the Warwick family over a two day period. Richard Warwick, the king of the castle, is found shot in the study along with his wife who just happens to be holding the murder weapon. A passer by happens to stumble onto the murder site after wrecking his car nearby. As the night goes on the family tries to figure out what exactly to do in the situation. When the police are finally contacted, everyone from Mr. Warwick’s wife all the way to his son is a suspect.

Walking into the theatre space, the set immediately caught my ...

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THE DIVINERS THE DIVINERS
By Jim Leonard, Jr.
Presented by Contemporary Theatre of Dallas
Runs through 4/27/2014

Reviewed by Elaine Plybon,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

The Diviners brings the realities of life in the depression to its audience by depicting a few days in the lives of the folks in fictional Zion, Indiana, as they experience laughter, hope, disappointment and tragedy. Jim Leonard, Jr. skillfully prepared a script that takes its audience through the ebb and flow of life without seeming contrived. The characters are genuine and the emotion real in the story of young Buddy Layman, who divines water and has a deathly fear of the same, his family, and the townspeople who are a part of his daily life.

Traveling preacher, C.C. Showers, arrives in Zion one day and begins working for Buddy’s father, a mechanic. The events surrounding the preacher’s arrival in a town that has been without a church for over a ...

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THE YELLOW BOAT THE YELLOW BOAT
by David Saar
Presented by Artes de la Rosa Cultural Center for the Arts
Runs through 4/27/2014

Reviewed by Joel Taylor,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

“I see red, I hear blue, I feel purple, I taste green, I choose yellow.”

Written by David Saar, The Yellow Boat tells the touching story of David’s young son Benjamin who was born in 1979 with congenital hemophilia and died in 1987 of AIDS related complications. Through his writing, Saar takes the audience on a journey across a sea of emotion as he shares a celebration of living through the eyes and narration of his son. Eight-year-old Benjamin is the narrator for most of the story, sharing with the audience his thoughts, feelings and his talented artwork as he experiences the normal experiences of childhood and the special challenges of living with hemophilia and his eventual contraction of AIDS, at a time when AIDS was believed to be a death sentence. ...

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EVITA EVITA
Music and Orchestrations by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Presented by Dallas Summer Musicals
Runs through 4/27/2014

Reviewed by John Garcia,
Senior Chief Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

If you are a regular reader/COLUMN subscriber then you are clearly aware that I write my theater reviews with a very different, unique, and distinct perspective point of view. There is the saying that goes, “Those who can’t, teach.” As my background has clearly shown, I am still an active working actor who happens to be a theater critic. Thus you also know as an avid reader of my reviews that I tend to add my personal or professional connections to the material. I start my critique of Evita this way because of the following revelation.

Only my very close circle of friends is aware of my family linage to the former first lady of Argentina, Eva Perón. I betcha most critics can’t say that!

My mother was born in Buenos ...

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DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
Book by Linda Woolverton Composer - Alan Menken Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice
Presented by AT&T Performing Arts Center
Runs through 4/27/2014

Reviewed by Eric A. Maskell,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

The Broadway tour of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was simply MAGICAL. The musical is based on the classic story of Beauty and the Beast. A story of love and sacrifice, a young selfish prince is cursed to live forever as a beast unless he can learn to love and in return find someone who will love him before all the petals on the enchanted rose wither. Belle and her father Maurice live in a small town on the outskirts of a massive forest. While traveling through the forest one day, Maurice unknowingly seeks refuge from a pack of wolves in the castle of the beast and is imprisoned. Belle finds the castle and her father and agrees to take his place as prisoner. Thus begins ...

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THE PEARL FISHERS THE PEARL FISHERS
Music by Georges Bizet Libretto by Eugène Cormon and Michel Carré Sung in French with English and Spanish supertitles 2014 Fort Worth Opera Festival
Presented by Fort Worth Opera
Runs through 5/2/2014

Reviewed by Laurie Lynn Lindemeier,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

The 2014 Fort Worth Opera (FWO) Festival presented Georges Bizet’s lesser known opera The Pearl Fishers, on opening festival night April 19th with grand eccentric pizzazz. The choice of this work exemplifies General Director Darren Woods’ ability to prospect for gold. He finds lesser-known productions, performers, and talent and makes one ask, “How does he do this over and over?”

No, I don’t believe Woods has magical powers, but his nose for brilliance does remind me of the commercial character for Froot Loops cereal. Toucan Sam was the clever bird who could always sniff out the flavor of fruit wherever it grew. This depiction fits Woods to a tee, only his artistic nose sniffs out treasures in musicianship wherever it’s hidden– be it a soprano in a church or a neglected ...

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THE BUTLER DID IT THE BUTLER DID IT
by Walter Marks and Peter Marks
Presented by Garland Civic Theatre
Runs through 5/3/2014

Reviewed by Amy Thurmond,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Garland Civic Theatre was a buzz as audience members tried to figure out just who did it in the whodunit romp, The Butler Did It, by Walter Marks and Peter Marks. The show is a play within a play and is set sometime in the 1980’s. The play’s character, Anthony J. Lefcourt is at the helm of his off-Broadway show that has been solely contrived by him to save his ever plummeting career. Desperate to produce a hit, Lefcourt withholds the last scene of his play from his cast hoping to garner a genuine reaction when the murderer is finally revealed. Directing a cast of has-beens and have-yet to-bes, Lefcourt slowly starts to unravel amidst the “real-life drama brought on by his own machinations and those of his cast. Add ...

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12 ANGRY JURORS 12 ANGRY JURORS
By Reginald Rose
Presented by Lakeside Community Theatre
Runs through 5/3/2014

Reviewed by Elaine Plybon,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

12 Angry Jurors was first produced in 1954 under the title 12 Angry Men. It was a live television play which starred Norman Fell as the jury foreman. Since that time, it has been adapted for stage and made into a film twice, in 1957 starring Henry Fonda, and in 1997 with a star-studded cast including James Gandolfini, George C. Scott, Jack Lemmon, and Hume Cronyn among others.

The action centers on the 12 jurors of a trial involving a young man accused of stabbing his father to death. The initial vote indicates that only one juror believes the young man is not guilty, and the play proceeds through three acts depicting the interactions and arguments between the jurors as they attempt to reach a unanimous verdict.

The original script called ...

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ORLANDO ORLANDO
adapted by Sarah Ruhl from the novel by Virginia Woolf
Presented by Stage West
Runs through 5/4/2014

Reviewed by Michala Perreault,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

"He - for there could be no doubt of his sex - though the fashion of the time did something to disguise it."

So begins the lyrical swirl that is the tale of Virginia Woolf's precious, gender-fluid Orlando. Woolf's 1928 panegyric to beloved companion Victoria Sackville-West was brought to film in 1992 (Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane and the incomparably enigmatic Quentin Crisp), but has found the stage only recently in Sarah Ruhl's 2010 adaptation.

To capture such a story well in a time slot digestible by a modern audience presents a true challenge. Orlando spans nearly 400 years: charged by Queen Elizabeth on her deathbed, "Do not fade. Do not wither. Do not die," a charming and youthful English nobleman obeys - and never ages. Woolf's loving narrative enrapts the reader instantly. Taking ...

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HUNTING AND GATHERING HUNTING AND GATHERING
by Brooke Berman
Presented by Amphibian Stage Productions
Runs through 5/4/2014

Reviewed by Angela Newby,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

To be content with yourself, you must be able to own up to each and every adventure that you take. Brooke Berman does a fantastic job of telling the stories of four intertwined 20 and 30-year-old somethings as they try to not only find the perfect real estate in New York City but also the perfect relationship. Ruth, Astor, Jesse and Bess all find a way to land in each other’s apartments, but also their minds and hearts. In this fast-paced performance, the audience will be led through the search for the perfect home and relationship.

Director Harry Parker brought together four amazing actors that nail the friendships Berman had in mind while writing this piece. Their chemistry works well together on stage.

Lydia Mackay, Ruth, is ...

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SPUNK SPUNK
Written by George C. Wolfe A Tale of Three Stories by Zora Neale Hurston Music by Chic Street Man
Presented by WaterTower Theatre
Runs through 5/4/2014

Reviewed by Mary L. Clark,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Zora Neale Hurston was as big a part of the Harlem Renaissance cultural movement as Langston Hughes, Alberta Hunter, Fats Waller, Paul Robeson or Josephine Baker. Also known as the “New Negro Movement”, the list of literary, visual and performing artists who were given the opportunity to express themselves is extensive, and that era a fascinating and mind-opening read.

Hurston was a true southern woman. Born in Alabama in 1891 (though she claimed to be born in 1901 in Florida), she left home around age ten after her mother died. Sent off to school by relatives, she worked her way through high school then Howard University, and it was there she wrote her first short story. This led to recognition, work with New York magazine, Opportunity, ...

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ENCHANTED APRIL ENCHANTED APRIL
by Matthew Barber From the novel by Elizabeth von Arnim
Presented by Plaza Theatre Company
Runs through 5/10/2014

Reviewed by Charlie Bowles,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

People go to extraordinary measures to get away from their problems. For most of us it might be a trip to the mall, a Big Bang binge, or maybe a visit to the Gulf coast or Las Vegas. Some drive to Cleburne to watch a play. But for Lotty Wilton and Rose Arnott, well, they travel to Italy and rent a castle for a month. That’s Enchanted April, now playing at Plaza Theatre Company.

It seems that relationships in the early 1920s could be as difficult as they are today and Lotty and Rose had relationship issues. Of course, during the twenties, for a woman to be independent was rare, and women’s ability to get away from dysfunctional marriages didn’t exist. That changed for Lotty Wilton when she saw an ad ...

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GODSPELL GODSPELL
Book by John-Michael Tebelak Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz
Presented by Granbury Theatre Company
Runs through 5/18/2014

Reviewed by Angela Newby,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Godspell, the story of Jesus mainly based on the Gospel of Matthew is performed in a series of parables interwoven with music and lyrics from traditional hymns. The musical leads the audience through the joy and tragedies of the ministry of Jesus, including the passion of Christ, in song and dance.

Godspell originally opened Off-Broadway on May 17, 1971. It is a highly entertaining theater piece that has played in various touring companies and revivals since. Several cast albums have been released over the years as well.

Granbury Theater Company’s production steps outside the box to highlight all of the talent that graces the stage, yet keeps within the tradition of the musical. Director Kent Whites does an amazing job and hits the nail on the ...

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