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Crossing Frontiers

by James Yeara October 15, 2015


  “It’s the era of the shrinking man.” --Capt. Robert Smith When Grinder’s Stand, the latest production in an excellent year at Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, finally gets to Grinder’s Stand on the Natchez Trace in Tennessee, ...

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Family Business

by James Yeara October 8, 2015


  The Lion in Winter is James Goldman’s 1966 play on the unseemly machinations and mayhem of a thoroughly modern Henry II (the first of the Plantagenet rulers, father of Richard the Lion-Hearted, and all-around champion ...

0 comments Oldcastle Theatre Company

Murder Most Wonderful

by B.A. Nilsson October 1, 2015


  As a dizzying set of intrigues continues to build through act two, we’re taken to the apartment of Monty Navarro (Kevin Massey), who’s been briskly murdering his way to a dukedom. He is amorously closeted ...

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Sweet Liberty

by James Yeara September 10, 2015


  Two sheets of deep green satin fabric drape from floor to ceiling upstage center and up left. The stage floor is black, the three circular wood oval stands are black, and the one wood cube ...

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The Stars Aligned

by James Yeara August 28, 2015


  Summertime is a season of rare celestial occurrences: conjunction of Jupiter and Venus, Perseid meteor shower, blue moons, super moons. But few things are as rare, and never to be repeated, as what is happening ...

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Framed in Truth

by James Yeara August 28, 2015

  The moment American interloper Ira Aldridge (the deservedly much-lauded John Douglas Thompson) first meets the much-lauded Victorian actress Ellen Tree (Kelley Curran, star of Shakespeare & Company’s The Comedy of Errors here showing a range ...

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Friendly Maneuvers

by Ralph Hammann August 20, 2015


  At the season’s end, the WTF is certainly pulling out the heavy artillery and scoring direct hits. The titular intervention is intriguingly complex in this American premiere, which boasts dialogue that is refreshingly literate and naturalistic. ...

0 comments Williamstown Theatre Festival Nikos Stage

The One-Act Life

by James Yeara August 20, 2015

  Kaliyuga Arts presents theater that you won’t see on any other stage in the region. A worthy inheritor of StageWorks/Hudson’s mantle of ballsiest theater in the region, the latest production on the Bridge Street Theatre’s ...

1 comment Bridge Street Theatre

How I Botched That Story

by Ralph Hammann August 20, 2015


  In program notes for the London premiere of His Girl Friday, John Guare correctly called The Front Page, his source material, “the secret great American play.” As a tribute to its greatness, he has written ...

0 comments Barrington Stage Company

Broad Intimacy

by James Yeara August 13, 2015


  Saratoga Shakespeare Company chose an excellent locale, the intimate and versatile black box theater at Skidmore College, and play, Donald Marguiles’ popular 2007 fantasy Shipwrecked!, for their first indoor summer production. The black box created ...

0 comments Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theater

Deep Feelings

by Ralph Hammann August 6, 2015


  Williamstown Theatre Festival has a winner in this world premiere. Everything about Unknown Soldier works wonderfully and generously fulfills the contract that theater should make with its audience. It won’t remain unknown outside of Williamstown ...

0 comments Williamstown Theatre Festival Nikos Stage

Winter Storms

by James Yeara July 30, 2015


  As titles go for a world-premiere play, I Saw My Neighbor on the Train and I Didn’t Even Smile isn’t promising, but it’s thematically apt. When the piano player enters downstage center and adjusts, slightly, ...

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Fires Burn Softly

by Ralph Hammann July 30, 2015


  The Paradise is a jazz club and boarding house owned by Blue (a trumpet player) and located in the Paradise Valley area of Detroit in 1949. The area was also known as Blackbottom due to ...

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Crimes of Nonpassion

by James Yeara July 23, 2015

  Deathtrap on the Fitzpatrick Main Stage of Berkshire Theatre Group in Stockbridge has the feel of classic summer stock theatre. Ira Levin’s 1978 play was well-regarded, it’s light and tight (six scenes in two acts ...

Berkshire Theatre Group Fitzpatrick Main Stage

Dark Magic

by Ralph Hammann July 16, 2015


  This is the best stage production of Cabaret I’ve seen, or am likely to see, in my lifetime. The Bob Fosse film, still the best film musical ever, rang the death knell for the original ...

2 comments Oldcastle Theatre Company

Crazy Fun

by James Yeara July 16, 2015

Photo by Enrico Spada.

  It was a tough off-season at Shakespeare and Company: Tony Simotes, 2014 artistic director and founding member of the troupe, “left” and was soon picked up by the Berkshire Theatre Group; the new executive director, ...

Shakespeare & Company

A Joyful Sound

by Ralph Hammann July 16, 2015


  One of the best seldom-produced musicals, Bells are Ringing, is getting the full bells-and-whistles treatment at the Colonial by the most ridiculously talented cast and crew artistic director Kate Maguire has ever assembled. It is ...

Colonial Theatre

False Hearts

by Ralph Hammann July 9, 2015


  The WTF’s new artistic director, Mandy Greenfield, is boldly setting her own course at the theater that built much of its reputation on reviving classics of American and world theater. Of the eight plays (two ...

Williamstown Theatre Festival Nikos Stage

Drops of Magic

by James Yeara July 9, 2015


  Owen Smith, producing artistic director, gave the best criticism for Park Playhouse’s 27th annual production, this year’s Singin’ in the Rain, a 1983 musical based on the immortal MGM 1952 film of the same name ...

2 comments Washington Park Lakehouse

Addled and Elevating

by Ralph Hammann July 2, 2015


  When one first encounters David Adkins as Henry David Thoreau on the Unicorn’s dark stage, he is crowing in discordant concert with a rooster, putting one more in anticipation of Peter Pan than the transcendentalist ...

Berkshire Theatre Group Unicorn Theatre

From Court to Battle to Bar, Bracingly

by B.A. Nilsson July 2, 2015


  It’s almost insulting to our received images of warfare, this Battle of Agincourt, with a handful of black-clad actors suffering slo-mo agonies while the stage is littered with drapes of red. Since scenes of actual ...

Shakespeare & Company

Good Grief

by B.A. Nilsson June 25, 2015


  Before God, there was Gilgamesh. His story is one of the oldest known narratives, with many of its elements echoed in later sacred and secular epics. The Epic of Gilgamesh tells the story of the ...

1 comment Bridge Street Theatre

The Dream Comes Alive

by James Yeara June 18, 2015


  This stage picture--smoke and shadows, iron bars, ropes wrapped around 2-foot-thick wooden beams that soar three stories tall lit only from the pale orange glow of lanterns hung from the beams and a cool violet ...

Barrington Stage Company

Generation Gap

by B.A. Nilsson June 11, 2015


  It’s a confrontation between rival evolutionary biologists; between feminists of different generations with different generational opinions; between a mother and the daughter she gave up for adoption three decades ago. The conflicts cross, of course, from ...

Shakespeare & Company Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre

War Games

by B.A. Nilsson June 6, 2015


  To anyone of draftable age when “Pippin” arrived on Broadway in 1972, it remains the oddball offspring of Woodstock and the Vietnam War. It straddles history and fantasy, casting far enough back for the war ...