'Tenor' Laughs Are Fast And Furious PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 17:19

Next to Neil Simon, Ken Ludwig may be the most prolific writer of comedies in this generation. Of the six which have had Broadway runs, the best known (and probably the best) is “Lend Me A Tenor,” a fast-paced farce which opened Friday evening at the Bristol Opera House.

lend me a tenor elkhart civic theatre bristol INI have to admit I have seen at least five different productions of this play and laughed as hard at this last as I did at the first.

The Elkhart Civic Theatre production, directed by Rick Ellis, starts off in high gear and continues from there in fast forward. In the cast are several seasoned community theater veterans as well as a couple of fledgling performers. Here the old and the new work well together.

Because it is a farce, don’t expect any polished quips or sharp repartee. It’s mistaken identities taken (literally) to the Max and one double entendre after another, all punctuated with lightening fast exits and entrances made through incredibly sturdy doors which, when slammed shut, stay shut, no mean feat in this increasingly frantic plot.

No Pleasant Surprises in 'Gypsy' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Monday, 30 April 2012 04:04

At the risk of repeating myself, I will say again that I go to EVERY theatrical production, professional or amateur, hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Most the time, I am. Friday evening, I was not.

It was opening night for the South Bend Civic Theatre production of “Gypsy,” the much-revived musical based on the memoirs of actress/author/ecdysiast (aka stripper) famous in the 1930s and ‘40s as Gypsy Rose Lee.

Gypsy South Bend (IN) Civic TheatreFirst on Broadway in 1958, the Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents work starred Ethel Merman as the prototype stage mother who drove her children to stardom whether they wanted it or not. “Gypsy” has returned to Broadway four times since the original, with the role of Mama Rose interpreted by Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters and Patti Lupone. The 1962 film miscast Rosalind Russell as the dragon matriarch and Bette Midler was equally unsuitable in the 1993 TV production.

It is a story of the frequently seamier side of show biz, which should by no means be a signal to present a shabby, shoddy or embarrassingly unready production. Unfortunately, that is what greeted the opening night audience.

'Young Frankenstein' Alive With Laughter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Wednesday, 25 April 2012 06:23

In 1931, British actor Colin Clive uttered the immortal words “It’s Alive” and brought to life one of the world’s best-known monsters in the now-classic horror film “Frankenstein.”

Actually, as Dr. Henry Frankenstein, Clive uttered those words eight times —and although he was the first, he certainly has not been the last.

Young Frankenstein Miller Auditorium tour KalamazooThe movie was based on the 1818 book by Mary Shelley. It brought fame and a life-long association, wanted or not, to actor Boris Karloff, who created The Monster (which was NOT named Frankenstein).

In the decades since, countless “sequels” and “re-imagined” versions of the original have been filmed, with probably the best known being “Young Frankenstein,” by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, which put a wildly comic face on the story and its characters.

Never one to let sleeping monsters lie, Brooks wrote music and lyrics and teamed with Thomas Meehan on the book to turn the 1974 movie into a theatrical musical. It came to Broadway in 2007 and hit the road in 2009.

'Sticks And Bones' Delivers Hard Knocks PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Wednesday, 04 April 2012 02:22

The “average American family” comes in for some harsh knocks in “Sticks and Bones,” the 1971-72 Tony Award-winning play by David Rabe which opened Friday evening in South Bend Civic Theatre’s Warner Studio Theatre.

Billed as a “black comedy” and directed by one of the area’s finest, Scott Jackson, it is more black than comic and definitely not what you would call a “fun” evening.

sticks and bones south bend (IN) civic theatreIt’s aim, however, is to make the viewer think and in that, even 40 years later, it certainly succeeds. One of a trilogy of plays about the Vietnam War by Rabe, a Vietnam veteran, it looks (no pun intended) at the homecoming of a blind vet, the reaction of his family and, conversely, his reaction to their expectations of his returning quickly to a “normal” life

A glance at the program, which lists the primary characters as Ozzie, Harriet, David and Ricky, is the first clue to Rabe’s juxtaposition of the popular 1950-60’s TV show, touted as America’s first “reality” sitcom, with the darkly real situations faced by Vietnam veterans

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