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State of Play: Theatre Listings 5.26-6.02


Compiled by Michael Martin

Tourist season may be tapering off, but theatre season is stil on full blast. Arlen, Darlin'Creep Cuts, and Rent are all opening. Verbatim Verbotem is returning and Sondheim's Merrily, We Roll Along is, well, rolling along. Click on through for a full rundown of this week's offerings.


The Sunday Critic

Theatre Review: She Was Born



Last year a friend brought to my attention a quotation from the famed producer, playwright, and critic Robert Brustein that is much less sunny than he thought it to be. "The primary function of a theater is not to please itself, or even to please its audience. It is to serve talent." I take Mr Brustein to mean that theatre has no higher goal than to make it possible for genius to operate, fully and freely, whatever it takes.


The Sunday Critic

Theatre Review: Antigone



With just two productions in as many months, New Noise co-artistic director Joanna Russo has leapt to the top of the list of directors I admire. Following the perfectly executed Never Swim Alone for Elm Theatre with this all-female staging of Antigone for Lux et Umbra, Russo demonstrates thrilling mastery of the theatrical approach I least favor: director-centric, all light & movement & sound. If I want spectacle I go to the movies. On stage, especially in a storefront theater, I’m usually looking first for rich language delivered by exciting actors.


The Sunday Critic

If You Breathe, It Breaks
: The Glass Menagerie at ABCT



Gwendolyne Foxworth’s portrayal of Amanda Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie alone makes the ABTC production worth your time…at least if you haven’t visited Tennessee Williams’ game-changing memory play for awhile, or ever. (Even then, I assume no plot summary is necessary. This is one of those perennials that every theater lover “knows” even if they don’t know it.)


The Sunday Critic

Theatre Reviews: Two for Tennessee, Dinner With Friends



“If not for infidelity the lives of the middle class would have no drama at all,” said some famous writer whose name escapes me. One of the most divisive recent plays to address the repercussions of unfaithfulness, Donald Margulies’ 2000 Pulitzer winner Dinner with Friends, is running at the reinvigorated Le Petit in a semi-revival. (The director, René J.F. Piazza, and half of his four-person cast have been here twice before.) Respected theatre pundits dismiss Margulies’ drama as “upper-class white people’s problems,” but I’m a fan.


State of Play: Theatre Listings 4.02– 4.13


Compiled by Michael Martin

The Tennessee Williams Festival is over, but local theatres are continuing to stage works by the City's favorite playwright. Plus, a couple of shows salute Eartha Kitt and Patsy Cline. For all the happenings on stage this week, click on through.


The Sunday Critic

The Tender Trap



An easily abused theatrical device – having an actor or actors perform in silence during the pre-show – is enjoying resurgence. If you want to give it a try, let me recommend casting Jen Pagan. In Christopher Bentivegna’s staging of Rudy San Miguel’s new Human Resources, Pagan logs at least 15 minutes at her desk on Playhouse NOLA’s postage-stamp stage while the audience assembles (no lobby) before the play proper begins: signing and filing documents, making marginal notes, brewing coffee.


State of Play: Theatre Listings 3.17-4.02


Compiled by Michael Martin

The spring theatre season is nearing its peak. Drama lovers will have lots of Tennessee Williams to check out in the weeks ahead. Plus, a couple of Broadway road shows are coming to town. Throw in some labor rights, a little cabaret, and a couple classics and you have some busy nights ahead.


The Sunday Critic

Theatre Reviews: Monsters, Stinky Cheese, & Sex Please



The Sunday Critic, finding his Sundays too restful, keeps falling behind in coverage of shows he found interesting. Short reviews of three shows I’ve seen lately (including one that has closed, simply for the acknowledgment) follow, in hopes of being ready to rise to the spring flood of shows soon to hit.


The Garden of Good Not Evil

Southern Rep’s Suddenly Last Summer



The fascinating aspect of Southern Rep’s Suddenly Last Summer is how much director Aimee Hayes and her expert cast have warmed up one of Tennessee Williams’ most luridly Gothic melodramas. Unlike their superb staging of A Streetcar Named Desire a few seasons ago (I missed the recent Night of the Iguana), which was thoroughly traditional in its interpretation of every element (excepting Stanley Kowalski), Last Summer is a genuine and generally successful, rethinking of one of Williams' good but not great works. The tone is closer to The Glass Menagerie than to, say, 27 Wagons Full of Cotton.


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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Naimonu James, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Nina Luckman, Dead Huey Long, Alexis Manrodt, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via, Austin Yde

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt


B. E. Mintz


Stephen Babcock

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