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Defender Picks


The Sunday Critic

FEEEELings: Once More With Dr Horrible Reviewed

Nothing is more pleasing to review than a show that changes my mind. So far my response to on-script ‘concert readings’ of pop-culture material, whether parodied or presented straight, has been a big ole “meh.” Along comes Four Sweater Vests with a double bill of material borrowed from adored television & film writer/producer Joss Whedon – most of the award-winning web series Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, followed by an abridged version of his famous musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, “Once More With Feeling” – to make an irresistible argument that, for some tribute shows, concert readings are not just adequate but preferred. Full production of either of these charmers would only invite unpleasant comparisons to the big-budget originals and, given the lessened rehearsal commitment, the format allows high-octane talent to say yes.

State of Play: Theatre Listings 7.29-8.12

Compiled by Michael Martin

These are unusually lively dog days for the New Orleans theatre scene. A much-missed venue reopens under new management, an equally missed company returns with one of its biggest productions to date, two ambitious new companies make their debuts…and it isn’t even Labor Day yet.

Teatro Sin Fronteras

Jose Torres-Tama's Latest Project

The first time I went to Teatro Sin Fronteras (“Theater Without Borders), was the production's inaugural event. The scene reminded me of my native Miami, being surrounded by Hispanics, who weaved in and out of Spanish and English seamlessly, with different artistic forms being executed. The performance was in a small space and was very intimate. It was a beautiful experience, and I haven’t missed one since. 

State of Play: Theatre Listings 7.16-7.23

Compiled by Michael Martin

A lively pair of musicals and the blackest of black comedies open soon. Plus Halley's Comet continues her ride and Earnest stays important. For a full listing of this week's theatrical offerings, click on through.

State of Play: Theatre Listings 7.09-7.15

Compiled by Michael Martin

The week is filled with fresh works on the stage. The Princess and the Pea and Pinochio offer family friendly fare. Incarnate, and The Importance of Being Earnest kick off the Tulane Shakespeare Fest. For actual Shakespeare, The Tempest is playing downtown. Click through for complete listings.

State of Play: Theatre Listings 7.01-7.15

Compiled by Michael Martin

Save for the fifth anniversary of Debauchery, Pat Bourgeois’ much-loved monthly soap opera parody, July is filled with all-new productions. The Princess and the Pea and Pinochio will entertain audiences of all ages. Shakespeare is well represented Uptown and a "sidewalk sale" at the Old marquer celebrates smaller works. Click through for complete listings.

The Sunday Critic

All the Way Home: 
The Color Purple at ABCT

I doubt there’s another show on a New Orleans stage that better proves the primacy of the performer over the performed than The Color Purple, now in its closing weekend at the Anthony Bean Community Theater. Almost none of the songs (by the non-legendary team of Brenda Russell, Alice Willis, and Stephen Bray) rise above rudimentary. The beyond-complicated script is a hot mess, adapted (more from the beloved Spielberg film than from Alice Walker’s novel) by Marsha Norman, who must have set herself the task of offering a Cook’s tour through every trope of African-American theatre she could think of. There are scenes on the cotton fields, in the gospel church, at the juke joint, in Africa… everywhere but Harlem, I think. 

State of Play: Theatre Listings, 6.12-6.17

Compiled by Michael Martin

For those with classical tastes Cymbeline is opening the New Orleans Shakespeare Festival. If you're lookign for somehting a bit campier, The Great American Trailer Park Musical is in Mandeville. Strays and Blackbird are continuing to please critics. For all of the theatre this week, click on through.


Dionysus' Dance at the Marigny Opera House

By Alex MacDonald    

The performing arts in NOLA are not known as prudish, but this weekend one show will be taking hedonism back to its classical roots. On Friday, June (6.12) and Saturday (6.13), Dionysus brings his boozy brand of music and debauchery to the Marigny Opera House (725 St. Ferdinand Street).

Sunday Critic: The Miracle Worker

By Michael Martin

The Sunday Critic spends so much time in over his head in storefronts, parsing new work and non-traditional stagings that it’s easy to forget, or under-rate, the satisfactions to be had from the traditional American well-made play. William Gibson’s evergreen The Miracle Worker is enjoying a near-perfect revival at the Bayou Playhouse under the loving guidance of Bayou artistic director Perry Martin, who began his career with a production of the classic showdown between teacher Annie Sullivan and blind-and-deaf “wild child” Helen Keller almost three decades ago. With a couple of audience-demand performances added to this closing weekend, you can just make it to Lockport if you jump in the car.

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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


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.


Listings Editor

Linzi Falk

Editor Emeritus

Alexis Manrodt

B. E. Mintz

Stephen Babcock

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