'Hairspray' Sends Message With A Beat PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Monday, 16 July 2012 17:52

There is no way to view the current Elkhart Civic Theatre production of “Hairspray” without a smile on your face.

hairspray  elkhart civic theatre  bristol  INThat definitely was the expression of choice at the conclusion of Friday evening’s opening performance in the Bristol Opera House. In fact, the sold-out house responded enthusiastically and frequently throughout the two and a half hour (including intermission) production.

“Hairspray” is another of the movie-to-musical shows which have become prominent in the legitimate theater during the past decade. It is, however, the one that has been the most successful.

The reason for this must lie in the fact that, along with all the fast-paced singing and dancing and comedic moments, “Hairspray” (unlike “Grease”) delivers some very solid and positive messages.

There are 41 in this cast, plus one understudy, many of whom are in — or just out of — their teens. From the moment leading teen Tracy Turnblad (Ashlea Romano) wakes up to say “Good Morning, Baltimore,” the musical action is, with only a few balladic exceptions, in very high gear.

R&H Classic Still Shines on WW Stage PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Saturday, 07 July 2012 15:00

The opening moments of “Carousel,” the current production at Warsaw’s Wagon Wheel Theatre, build to a visual and orchestral climax that received spontaneous and well-deserved applause from the Wednesday evening audience.

Carousel  Wagon Wheel Theatre  Warsaw  INThe show’s “Prologue” (aka “The Carousel Waltz”) is admittedly one of the most difficult portions of any production. At almos five minutes in length, it sets the scene and introduces the characters and their connections without words. No wonder that audience interest can stay or go based on its impact.

There was no doubt of the impact in this version of the classic musical. It was indeed theatrical “magic” as the dark and grimy world of Bascombe’s mill was transformed into the glittering and colorful carnival atmosphere with the whirling carousel as the main attraction.

“Carousel” is the second of the “big five” from Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. All are based on existing texts, a format which brought much more success to the R&H team than working “from scratch.”

New Format, Same Fluffy 'Blonde' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Thursday, 05 July 2012 15:52

OK. I give up.

Seeing the fluffily foolish entertainment that is “Legally Blonde, The Musical” for the second time in two weeks, I have to admit to enjoying the musical in whatever Legally Blonde The Barn Theatre Augusta, Michproduction format it appears, providing the cast is up to the challenge of almost non-stop vocals and highly energetic dancing.

The “straight stage” version (performed in a traditional venue) opened Tuesday evening at The Barn Theatre in Augusta, Mich. My previous encounter was presented in the round. It seems that the megaton of energy exuded by the primary blonde, Elle Woods (here played with unshakable determination and irresistibly kooky charm by Melissa Cotton) is just about impossible to ignore.

The score still lacks anything that I can recall this morning but, at the time, it was totally entertaining. Guess that means you have to be there.

Pink, pink and more pink is the color of every day for Elle and her sisters of Delta Nu Sorority at UCLA. When their collective anticipation of Elle’s engagement to Warner Huntington III (Jamey Grisham, also the show’s choreographer and a dead ringer for film Warner, Matthew Davis) is dashed by his determination to find someone more “Serious,” they muster their considerable forces to send her off in his direction, that being Harvard Law School.

Little Heat In SBCT's 'Anna In The Tropics' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Tuesday, 26 June 2012 19:25

The Wilson Mainstage Auditorium is the venue for the South Bend Civic Theatre production of Nilo Cruz’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play “Anna in the Tropics,” which opened Anna in the Tropics South Bend Civic Theatrea two-weekend run Friday evening.

In spite of the excellent scene design by David Chudzinski and Doug Hildeman’s mood-setting lighting, this is one play that might have been better served in the theater’s smaller and more intimate alternative space, the downstairs Warner Studio Theatre, aka the black box.

The intimate nature of the narrative and the sultry atmosphere of the Ybor City, Fla., warehouse in which the action is set seem to loose depth in the ultra-airy auditorium.

Under the direction of Kevin Dryer, the eight-member cast never drops a line or misses a directional change. What it does, however, is to miss the smoldering intensity that must underscore each of the changing relationships.

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