WW 'Chicago' Hits All The Right Notes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Friday, 20 July 2012 16:47

You must excuse me while I consult my thesaurus in search of additional laudatory adjectives for the current Wagon Wheel Theatre production of “Chicago.”

Chicago Wagon Wheel Theatre  Warsaw  INTo paraphrase Johnny Mercer, “It’s just too marvelous for words!” And that is an understatement!

Let me begin my saying that “Chicago” is one of my very favorite musicals and I have seen it too many times in too many incarnations not to be just a bit wary of any new production.

I should remember, however, that when director/choreographer Scott Michaels promises to “knock your socks off” it’s not just an empty threat.

Of course, he has a lot of help from WW’s fantastic costume designer Stephen R. Hollenbeck and its equally marvelous music director Thomas N. Sterling, lighting designer Greg Griffin and sound man Chris Pollnow, but as everyone knows, the buck (sorry Harry!) stops at the door of the director.

Playing on a set designed by the late Roy Hine for a WW production of “Cabaret,” Michaels creates atmosphere-plus as he brings to life the Windy City in the Roaring Twenties when prohibition was a way of life and murder was entertainment.

Sour Notes Plague 'Wedding Singer' PDF Print E-mail
Written by Marcia Fulmer   
Wednesday, 18 July 2012 20:19

There are many components that go into making a good theatrical production. Lacking one or two, a show may survive if the basic product itself is strong. Without a strong product, however, there is little hope for the final result.

The Wedding Singer The Barn Theatre  Augusta MISuch is the fate of The Barn Theatre’s current production of “The Wedding Singer,” another movie-based musical which literally left me wondering why any group would expend time, talent and money on such a basically weak premise.

It is an accepted fact that any show, professional or amateur, can rise or fall on the strength of its cast. It is also a fact that not every performer, no matter how talented, can be believable in every role. Finding the right fit is everything.

As wedding singer Robbie Hart, Barn veteran Eric Parker works hard to find that fit but, in spite of his excellent baritone, which is best in the show’s few ballads, it just doesn’t work. And his laughably frowsy ‘80’s rocker-style wig doesn’t help.

'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.”

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