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Reviews for Current Shows

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' AIN'T MISBEHAVIN'
Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horowitz
Presented by Jubilee Theatre
Runs through 4/20/2014

Reviewed by Kristy Blackmon,
Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

In 1978, Broadway audiences fell in love with a new musical revue, Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show. Over three decades later, Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby Jr.’s celebration of black musicians associated with the Harlem Renaissance is still making joints jump in theaters across the country. The show, comprised mainly of songs by jazz pianist Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller, reflects the exuberance of the era. In turn mournful, raucous, suggestive and soulful, Ain’t Misbehavin’ celebrates jazz swing in all of its giddiness.

With a five-person cast and more than 31 songs, Ain’t Misbehavin’ demands unflagging energy from its performers. The cast at Jubilee Theatre maintains that energy and a strong connection with their audience by going out on stage and just having a blast. This show isn’t reliant on ...

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THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY
by Ken Ludwig
Presented by ONSTAGE in Bedford
Runs through 4/20/2014

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

FANTASTIC. The Fox on the Fairway at ONSTAGE in Bedford was absolutely fantastic. From the first line to the last, the play was a riotous, non-stop laugh fest. The characters were quirky and the play was fast-paced and engrossing.

The play centers around two rival country clubs, the Quail Valley Country Club run by Henry Bingham, chucka chucka chucka, and Crouching Squirrel Country Club run by Dickie Bell. After several years losing their annual tournament, Bingham hatches a winning plan by putting a golf champ ringer on his team. He then goads Bell into a massive wager that includes Bingham’s wife’s antique shop. Unbeknownst to Bingham, however, is that his ringer has already secretly switched sides and now plays for Crouching Squirrel. Faced with losing the ...

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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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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 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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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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