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Reviews for Current Shows

by Mark Twain Edited and Adapted by Susan Sargeant
Presented by WingSpan Theatre
Runs through 8/2/2014

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

“Wheresoever she was, THERE was Eden.” - from Adam’s Diary.

Twain had an interest in the story of Adam and Eve as far back as 1893 when he was writing calendar maxims for Pudd’nhead Wilson, where the couple from Eden appears. After that, he began writing extracts from Adam’s Diary and followed that with Eve’s Diary, first published in the 1905 Christmas issue of Harper’s Bazaar magazine, and in book format in June of 1906. One of a series of books Twain wrote about Adam and Eve, her diary has a lighter tone than Extracts from Adam’s Diary, That Day in Eden, Eve Speaks, Adam’s Soliloquy or The Autobiography of Eve. Often called a tribute to his late and beloved wife, Twain’s Adam and Eve tale has been ...

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by Jim Kuenzer
Presented by NOUVEAU 47 THEATRE
Runs through 8/2/2014

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

The Metamorphosis is a novella by Franz Kafka, first published in 1915, and is studied widely in colleges and universities. It is the story of a travelling salesman, Gregor Samsa, who wakes to find himself transformed into some sort of large, insect-like creature. The reason for the transformation is never given and the novella deals with Samsa and his family’s attempt to deal with his new incarnation. In Jim Kuenzer’s sequel, Metamorphosis II, presented by Nouveau 47, Samsa isn’t a large insect but might as well be, as he is now shown as one of the corporate drones that become fodder for the technology grist mill. His family isn’t very nice either. In the first scene, they’re in the midst of some sort of sitcom/reality show mash-up, ...

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Book and Lyrics by Howard Ashman Music by Alan Menken
Presented by Jubilee Theatre
Runs through 8/3/2014

Reviewed by Jeremy William Osborne,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

Little Shop of Horrors opened off-off-Broadway in 1982 and since then has spawned countless productions around the world, including the popular 1986 film starring Rick Moranis and featuring Steve Martin. It's campy and creepy with fabulous 1960s style “doo-wop” and pop ballad musical numbers. It's in the same style as The Rocky Horror Picture Show but much more family friendly.

The musical centers around Mushnik's Flower Shop on Skid Row, a rough, low-rent neighborhood. The flower shop is failing, and as Mushnik announces he will be closing the shop, his young apprentice, Seymour, shows him a strange and interesting plant he has found which draws in customers. However, the plant has a terrible secret. It's actually a carnivorous, man-eating, fly-trap that will not be satiated until ...

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Written by Steve Martin
Presented by ONSTAGE in Bedford
Runs through 8/3/2014

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

“Take a couple of geniuses, put them in a room, and wow!” Gaston’s exclamation summed up the essence of the play, Picasso at the Lapin Agile (pronounced laPEN aJEEL). The play was written by the actor and comedian, Steve Martin, who described the play in this manner, “Focusing on Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity and Picasso’s master painting, “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon,” the play attempts to explain, in a light-hearted way, the similarity of the creative process involved in great leaps of imagination in art and science.” The play achieves the author’s intent. Through dialogue between Picasso and Einstein, the true impact of genius is explored. Picasso is seen as a genius of art, Einstein a genius of science. During the play, the two debate on which will have the most ...

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Music and lyrics by Maury Yeston Book by Arthur Kopit Based on The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
Presented by MainStage Irving - Las Colinas
Runs through 8/9/2014

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

Most lovers of musical theater have an immediate reaction to the title, The Phantom of the Opera. The popular musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber has played around the world since 1986 and it is the default production we associate with the story. The novel, The Phantom of the Opera, was first published as a serial of articles by Gaston Leroux in Paris around 1910. The story became popular in America in a 1925 film with Lon Chaney and then exploded in 1986 with Webber’s adaptation.

But there was another musical score about Leroux’s Phantom that was being written around the same time Webber and Hart wrote theirs, this one by Maury Yeston, with book by Arthur Kopit. When Webber’s musical came to Broadway in 1986, Yeston stopped writing, but took it up ...

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Written by Nick Jones and Rachel Shukert
Presented by Amphibian Stage Productions
Runs through 8/10/2014

Reviewed by Larry Ukolowicz,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

As The Nosemaker’s Apprentice: Chronicles of a Medieval Plastic Surgeon at Amphibian Stage Productions progressed, I felt as if I was on a Tilt-a-Whirl in a Monty Python-Princess Bride-South Park Adventureland, left of the Twilight Zone and just around the corner from Pee Wee’s Playhouse. Throughout the evening, I chuckled, snickered and tittered as I found myself in a surreal willowy world much like Fractured Fairy Tales on the old Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Each scene was more ridiculous than the last and it kept cascading throughout the evening. So much so, I really was expecting Natasha and Boris to make a special appearance.

The story is told by a sketchy, intoxicatingly negative, modern-day surgeon to his sweet and skeptical young daughter who simply wants to go to ...

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by Gérald Sibleyras translated by Tom Stoppard
Presented by Stage West
Runs through 8/10/2014

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

Three elderly men, sitting on a stone terrace – reading, nonchalantly chatting about the day, dreaming of days gone by – not the most exciting of scenarios, but played by three of our region’s most accomplished actors, the play Heroes takes on a funnier and more radiant luster than the play itself will ever be alone.

Set in 1959 France in a retirement home for First World War veterans, Gérald Sibleyras’ 2003 play, Le Vent Des Peupliers, was then translated into English and adapted by Tom Stoppard two years later, winning the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2006. The title’s literal translation means The Wind in the Poplars, a subject brought up several times in the play by Gustave. To not confuse it with the children’s book, The ...

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World Premiere by Alejandro de la Costa and J. Kyle Harris
Presented by MBS Productions
Runs through 8/10/2014

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

Half-dressed Men – check. Half-dressed Women – check. Adult, sexual humor – check.

Must be an MBS Productions, Alejandro de la Costa show!

It’s the middle of summer in North Texas and things are steamy hot, not because of Mother Nature mind you. No, it’s the heat coming out of The Stone Cottage in Addison as MBS Productions brings a new play to life, The Straight Guy, by Alejandro de la Costa.

The Straight Guy is a comedy based on stories from J. Kyle Harris’ life. While it’s touted as a comedy, be mindful that it’s an adult comedy. The F word is prominent throughout the show. Set in Jason’s apartment in Dallas, he is in need of a roommate so asks his girlfriend Lara to move in to help him out, but she ...

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A musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg Based on a novel by Victor Hugo Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer Original French Text by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel Additional Material by James Fentin Adapted and originally directed by Trevor Nunn and John Caird Orchestrations by John Cameron
Presented by Dallas Theater Center
Runs through 8/17/2014

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

If you are a regular reader of my reviews then you are clearly aware of what my point of view or opinions are because of what pours out from my critiques and writing. You are also quite aware from my reviews that I groan, moan, and complain endlessly when it comes to theater companies producing and presenting shows that have been done ad nauseam around the metroplex.

When theaters do either those war horse musicals or a recent Broadway hit, I can only speak for myself as a critic or just as an audience member, I do not want to see the same thing over and over again. This goes for both Equity and non-Equity. It baffles me when theaters stage a replica of the same, rehashed version we’ve seen a ...

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based on the Disney cartoon film Book by David Henry Hwang Music and Lyrics by Phil Collins
Presented by Artisan Center Theatre
Runs through 8/23/2014

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

Tarzan is one of my all-time favorite Disney movies, so when I heard Artisan Center Theater would be taking on the huge task of bringing it to their stage, I had to go. Unfortunately, from the beginning of Act I, my high hopes were quickly killed as I realized this version would not be of the caliber that it deserved.

Tarzan: The Musical is based on the 1999 Disney cartoon feature film which was adapted from the 1914 novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs. The songs are written by Phil Collins with a book by David Henry Hwang. Tarzan tells the story of an orphaned infant boy who is taken in and raised by gorillas. The young boy strives for acceptance from his ape father while trying ...

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