“King Elizabeth” at the Gamm (Pawtucket, RI)

 

By Richard Pacheco

 

The Gamm is doing a new version of Frederich Schiller’s “Mary Stewart” adapted and directed by Gamm Artistic Director Tony Estrella. While there are some slow moments in it, the acting is excellent and vibrant.

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WFT ‘s Spins Delightful ‘Charlotte’s Web’ with New Staging

(Glenn Cook photo)

 

By CJ Williams

‘Charlotte’s Web’ by E.B. White in adaptation by Joseph Robinette;  Scene Design by Jim Byrne; Directed byEmily Ranii; Stage Management by Katie Graves;  Choreographed by  T. Lawrence-Simon;  Costume Design by Zoe Sundra; Lighting Design by Frank Meissner Jr; J Sound Design by Josh Northcutt, playing at Wheelock Family Theater, 80 Riverway, Boston, MA 02215 through May 14th

‘Charlotte’s Web’, now playing at Wheelock Family Theater, is a delight up and down. But just because it’s delightful, doesn’t mean it doesn’t run deep. In fact, anyone who knows E.B. White’s charming classic knows the themes dance from levity to despair, new life to the ever-threatening shadow of death, humor to poignancy. All the same, if you’ve seen a story, you’ve seen it, right?

 

Maybe not.

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“The Best of Everything” at 2nd Story (Warren, Rhode Island)

 

By Richard Pacheco

 

“The Best of Everything” at the 2nd Story Theatre is a play based on the Rona Jaffe controversial best selling novel about sexual politics in 1960’s Manhattan. Set in the pre-women’s liberation era, “The Best of Everything”, tells the story of five young and impressionable secretaries who are new to Manhattan and publishing and their adventures to find a nice boy to take them out to dinner, and possibly lasting love while dodging the garter snappers and lotharios at Fabian Publishing. While it was highly provocative and controversial at the time, it seems rather tame and mild today.

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‘Fish Food’ Delivers A Hilarious Take On the Luxury Hotel Biz

 

By Mike Hoban

 

‘Fish Food’ – Written and Directed by Michael O’ Halloran; Presented by Avenue Stage, and performed by Geoffrey Pingree, Desmond O’Halloran, Eunice Simmons, Jennifer Jones, Molly O’Halloran, and Miss Mary Mac. At the Dot 2 Dot Café in Dorchester (with more dates to be announced).

 

 Fish Food, a coming of age tale which premiered at the Dot 2 Dot Café in Dorchester before the company heads to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August, is a charming little comedy loosely based on playwright Michael O’Halloran’s experiences as a young adult in the hotel industry. Set around 1990, the play gives us O’Halloran’s fictional stand-in, Joe Bacon (portrayed by O’Halloran’s lookalike son Desmond in an appealingly innocent turn), who just turned 21 and is seeking a job at a swank downtown hotel (the ostentatiously named Grand Plaza Court). Owned by shady financier Avery Grand, whose modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to that of the current POTUS (right down to his book, “The Deal is Everything”), the play sends up the boozy, amoral world of luxury hospitality.

 

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“VICTOR VICTORIA” Ocean State Theatre Company

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The current musical at Ocean State Theatre Company is “Victor Victoria”, the 1995 musical which is based on the 1982 movie starring Robert Preston and Julie Andrews. The 1982 movie was a remake of movie from 1933 called “Viktor Viktoria”, a German film comedy. A penniless soprano, named Victoria Grant, colludes with a struggling gay impresario to disguise herself as a man named Victor, who entertains as a female impersonator known as “Victoria.” This down on her luck singer finds fame as a drag queen.

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Love and Mercy in New Rep’s “The Gift Horse”

 

By Michele Markarian

 

The Gift Horse, by Lydia R. Diamond. Directed by Jim Petosa. Scenic Design by Jon Savage, Costume Design by Penney Pinette; Lighting Design by Alberto Segarra; Sound Design by Dewey Dellay. Presented by The New Repertory Theatre, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown through May 14.

 

Ruth (Obehi Janice) is an energetic and engaging teacher and artist who is struggling to conceal, even from herself, a painful secret from her childhood. Once in college, she falls in love with, and then befriends, Ernesto (Alejandro Simoes), her gay neighbor. Ernesto and Ruth connect in all ways but one, but with Ernesto’s recommendation and support, Ruth is introduced to her therapist and future husband, Brian (Maurice Emmanuel Parent). Brian helps Ruth unravel the mystery of her inability to be intimate with a man, and despite Ernesto’s and Brian’s resistance to one another, they all manage to come together and create a different kind of family than the one Ruth grew up in.

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Avenue Stage’s ‘Fish Schticks’ a Delight

 

By Beverly Creasey 

 

Michael O’Halloran’s cheeky comedy, FISH FOOD (playing in Avenue Stage’s DOT 2 DOT space through this weekend only) is a delightful send-up of the hotel business. From management to bellhops, they’re all a little nutty, as one might full well expect after listening to the country’s first Hotelier-President carry on. O’Halloran writes from experience, having been employed at one of Boston’s tony hotels.

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“THE BEST OF EVERYTHING” (2nd Story Theatre)

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

2nd Story Theatre’s latest show is “The Best of Everything”, by Julie Kramer is the adaptation of Rona Jaffe’s 1958 novel. It shows how young women were treated in a paperback publishing company when men ruled the roost. The lone female editor is 36 year old Miss Farrow. The original novel electrified women back then at a look at the lives of these five young women who are employees of this firm. This show captures the incisive look at the personal and professional struggles these women faced and at times still face.

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“GODSPELL” Barker Playhouse

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The Players last show of their 108th season is “Godspell” with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak, originally opened Off-Broadway on May 17, 1971. It is the loose account of the life and death of Christ and is constructed as a continuous stream of stories, told through parables, many taken from the Gospel according to St. Matthew and St. Luke. The show lives on in the minds of many as one of the “hippie” musicals and is performed in two acts. Also Godspell is the Old English spelling of gospel. The show is sketch-like in nature and suited to improvisations and ad libs. The timeless message of “Godspell” has always been about finding your quiet, unshakeable faith amid a loud, very cold, very shallow modern world. Mike Farrelly picks 10 of the best performers for this show and elicits terrific performances from each and everyone of them. Musical director Ron Procopio not only taught the different style of songs to the cast but plays lead keyboard while conducting a three piece orchestra. Choreographer Michael Maio taught the different styles of dance to them including soft shoe, Charleston and jazz. Their combined efforts win them a standing ovation at the close of the show.<P>

The set for the show is by Patricia Cotoia while all the costumes are by Bob DeMattio. Ed Benjamin III stars as Jesus and is excellently cast in this role. One of Jesus’ most powerful numbers is “Alas for You” where the words “Alas, alas, alas for you! Blind Fools!!” which rings true today as it did back in biblical times as well as in 1970’s when the show was first written. Ed’s first song is “Save the People” where the cast dances around him. He also sings “Beautiful City” where he explains that he wants a city for all men. The Last Supper and the death scene are fabulously portrayed not leaving a dry eye in the house including mine. The opening philosophers section has beautiful harmonies in it and is wonderfully performed as they sing individual parts first and then later in harmony. Black and gray costumes are used for this opening segment and then brightly colored costumes are used for the rest of the show.

Michael always does an incredible job on any show that he directs. He gives all his performers their moment to shine in this high energy show. The first act is vaudevillian while the second act becomes more somber after “Turn Back O Man.” Samuel Gelman as John the Baptist sings “Prepare Ye” and later becomes Judas where he and Ed stop the show with “”All for the Best” done in counterpoint. “Day by Day” is given a lovely rendition by Trish St. Laurent with her powerful voice where the disciples learn to share with each other. Another fantastic group dance occurs as Bethany Lynn Giammarco belts out “Bless the Lord.”

A rousing number is “We Beseech Thee” with powerful vocals by Chris Margadonna and a dynamite dance by the cast. The betrayal scene is stunning, too. “By My Side” is a dynamic touching duet by Rebecca Kilcline and Stephanie Post. Stephanie also sings “Learn Your Lessons Well.” Ron Procopio sings the tear jerking “On the Willows” during the Last Supper as Jesus says goodbye to his followers which leaves the audience in tears. My favorite song in the show is “Turn Back O Man” sung excellently by Christy McCarthy as she tries to seduce the men in the audience as well as Jesus. “All Good Gifts” is sung by Tim Reid with his tenor voice soaring off the charts. Court Stafford sings “Light of the World” which closes the first act. “Long Live God” and “Prepare Ye” are done in counterpoint as Jesus is crucified. The show’s ending will leave you emotionally drained at its intensity but uplifted because Jesus left hope for the future. In these trying times who could ask for anything better for the world. So for a marvelous rendition of “Godspell”, be sure to catch this version at The Players. To join this 108 year old theatre club, just call Bill Applegate.

GODSPELL (12 to 21 May)

The Players, Barker Playhouse, 400 Benefit Street, Providence, RI

1(401)273-0590 or www.playersri.org

 

“YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN” Shining Lights Productions, Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket, RI

Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Shining Lights Productions current show at the Stadium Theatre is “Young Frankenstein” by Mel Brooks. This musical is the inspired reimaging of the Frankenstein legend based on Mel Brooks classic comic movie masterpiece. The story follows bright young Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (that’s Fronkenstein) as he attempts to complete his grandfather’s unfinished masterwork of bringing a corpse to life.

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