Saturday, May 26, 2012

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson at Beck Center for the Arts
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Beck Center for the Arts
May 25-July 1
(216) 521-2540 x10 or www.beckcenter.org

Bob Abelman


This musical is a history lesson for Generation Y—a raucous mix of subversive political satire, emo rock rhythms, and jello-shots of audacity.  Despite its bold, hit-and-run recklessness and theatrical risk-taking, it never loses focus, direction, or its audience’s undivided attention. “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is invigorating theater; the type of show that demonstrates that quality entertainment comes in all forms.  

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.


Roy Berko

Though not for everyone due to the pounding music and uncensored language, BLOODY BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON, is one exciting and well conceived show.  In my mind, it’s a sure MUST SEE!

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.


Kory

Beck Center's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is great on paper, but falls short in execution.

To see a full review of this show, read Kory's blog here.


Marjorie Preston

"Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is a raunchy, fast-paced rock n' roll retelling of the life of the seventh U.S. president Andrew Jackson. The stellar cast, in fabulous shoes, play out the story of a Tennessee orphan who went on to break treaties with countless Native American tribes and kill the Spanish settlers in the South before becoming president. Dan Folino as the cocksure rockstar plays the loner who hates “the Spanish, British, Washington aristocrats and Indians” in a musical that unfortunately gets cluttered as it tries to cover too much ground.
To see reviews of other shows, read Marjorie Preston's blog here.

Art Thomas

The clever construction of this show has audience giggling at the racist and self-serving treatment of American Indians and Hispanics at the hands of Andrew Jackson as he rises from teenage victim to President of the US. The language and rock and roll will alienate many theatergoers as well. There is an enthusiastic audience for this show, and hopefully The Beck Center will find it.

Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

Akarui
Cleveland Public Theatre
May 24-June 9
(216) 631-2727 or www.cptonline.org


Roy Berko
--> AKARUI [Bright] brings to an end another theatre year for Cleveland Public Theatre.  Though a challenging concept, the play and production just didn’t have the same positive effect as some other offerings by CPT.
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.


Christine Howey

In the world premiere of Akarui, now at the Cleveland Public Theatre, playwright Jen Silverman pitches her dramatic tent on several different steaming fissures: transgender issues; murder, guilt and death; and medical experimentation. The result is astounding in all respects, even with a couple performances that fail to capture the twisted grandiosity of Silverman’s vision.


To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan


Marjorie Preston

The World Premiere of “Akarui” is a must-see multi-faceted spectacle filled with music, dance, percussion and otherworldly characters. The spirit world plays a large part in this show, where audiences can watch a dead man search for his killer while at the same time learn about the Afro-Brazilian musical tradition of Candomobl√©. This bold, thrilling show about transformation involves the audience at times √† la Blue Man Group, while offering captivating character portrayals and gripping, pulsing moments.
To see a full review of other shows, read Marjorie Preston's blog.

Monday, May 21, 2012


13 Most American Dreams

Cleveland Public Theatre
May 17-June 2
http:www.cptonline.org or 2160631-2727

Bob Abelman


For 60 minutes, cast members Amy Compton, Benjamin Gregg, Caitlin Lewins, Anne McEvoy, and Darius Stubbs relive the stuff of which night visions are made—disorienting encounters with loved ones, incoherent philosophical reflections, and haunting anxieties—and weave them together to form a surreal  slice of stream-of-subconscious REM storytelling.  Only fleeting moments strike a familiar cord and while very well done, “13 Most American Dreams” is largely undecipherable.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.

Christine Howey

Wake Me When It's Over.  Cleveland Public Theatre gets caught napping in Dreams.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at Cleveland Scene

 


Monday, May 14, 2012


DEVIL BOYS FROM BEYOND
convergence continuum
May 4-June 2, 2012
http://convergence-continuum.org or call 216-687-0074

Bob Abelman

Parodies are far from original fare, borrowing shamelessly from more sober source material and then exploiting it for their own ill-gotten gains. They can, however, be genuinely fun affairs if they take creative risks, plenty of liberties—and no prisoners. Such is the case with the weird and wonderful “Devil Boys From Beyond.”

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko

-->
DEVIL BOYS FROM BEYOND is fun.  It could have been hysterical with a more farcical, 1950’s stylistic performance approach. 

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Christine Howey

With three of the four female roles in this production played by men, in the boisterous style of low drag and high camp, the unevenly-performed show is quite amusing and at times hilarious. 


To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Thursday, May 10, 2012

 
HELLCAB
BLANK CANVAS THEATRE
May 4-20
www.blankcanvastheatre.com or 440-941-0458


Roy Berko

HELLCAB is a thought provoking, sometimes humorous glimpse into life in a big city which exposes the foibles and lives of people who use a cab as their means of transportation.  It’s na evening of impressive performances and well worth seeing.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Christine Howey
Written by Will Kern, the highly episodic show is a fast and furious ride through the numb-nuts, horndogs and wasteoids that wind up occupying one cabbie’s backseat on his Christmas Eve shift.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan

Kory

How the Hell (Cab) does Blank Canvas Theatre keep getting better? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I am drinking the Blank Canvas Kool-Aid! Hellcab is hilarious, well presented and moving!

To see a full review of this show, read Kory's blog here.

Marjorie Preston

"Hellcab" is a series of vignettes in the life of a beleaguered cabbie (Patrick Ciamacco) trying to be human while driving a Chicago cab at Christmastime.  Kern's fast-paced script delves into the most personal moments of Chicagoans when their guard is down.  The great comic timing in "Hellcab" is a testament to both Marc Moritz's skillful directing and the talents of a stellar cast, including Ciamacco, who learned his role in less than 48 hours.  The show is poignant and funny, while it touches on all number of social issues from race, class and ethnicity to mental health and family troubles.

To read Marjorie's other reviews, head to Marjorie Preston's blog.
 
GEM OF THE OCEAN
Karamu

May 11 through June 3, 2012
www.karamuhouse.org or 216-795-7070

Fran Heller
The Karamu production… is suffused with integrity, heart, and some piercing moments throughout the long, voluble play.  
Committed actors are emotionally invested in their characters, and it shows in the sincerity of their impassioned performances.  
 If you love the poetry and magic of August Wilson , you’ll enjoy this play.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News


Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene



I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE
ACTORS' SUMMIT
My 10-June 3, 2012
Tickets:  http://actorssummit.org/tickets.htm or 330-374-7568


Roy Berko

I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE makes for a pleasant afternoon/evening of theatre.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson

Actors’ Summit, which produced the regional premiere of I Love You, you're Perfect, Now Change a decade ago, is reprising the light-hearted revue in a polished production whose four actors have excellent senses of comedic timing and play skillfully off each other.  This show, whose  love vignettes present plenty of stereotypes about male-female relationships, is dominated by ultra-light fare. Most of it’s not meant to be taken too seriously, and this ensemble sets just the right tone to bring audiences on a fun-loving lark.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Fran Heller

The mating game is as old as…well…Adam and Eve.
Entertaining and instructive show is a refreshing reminder that in a world of constant flux, some things, like looking for love, never change.
This lighthearted revue, first presented at Actors’ Summit 10 years ago, proves that some things are worth repeating.


To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News


Saturday, May 5, 2012

SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM
HANNA THEATRE--PLAYHOUSE SQUARE (BROADWAY SERIES)
May 16-July 8, 2012
www.playhousesquare.org or call 216-241-6000

Bob Abelman

There is much to like in “Sondheim on Sondheim.”  Stephen Sondheim is indisputably the most influential song writer to emerge in the last half-century, and this production nicely showcases the reasons why.  But is there enough in this musical revue to love?  Not so much. It has something for everyone but not enough for anyone.


To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.

Roy Berko

-->
SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM, in its regional premiere, was a major disappointment. I wanted so much to be involved, to be excited, to gain a further appreciation of the “amplifications, dogmas, harangues, anecdotes and miscellany” that makes Sondheim Sondheim.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog entry at:  www.royberko.info


Kerry Clawson

Sondheim on Sondheim, the musical revue making its regional debut at the Hanna Theatre in Cleveland, achieves what it set out to do by taking audience members on a journey that results in a deepened understanding of Sondheim the man.
The presence of composer/lyricist Stephen Sondheim himself --- featured larger than life in video interviews from his home as well as archival TV footage -- is the key element of the production that enables that to happen. We see the Broadway legend, whose career spans more than 50 years, in a relaxed state, speaking about his creative process.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.


Fran Heller
Unlike other Sondheim songfests, this show is an amalgam of song and story culled from Sondheim's nineteen musicals and interspersed with video interviews of the musical maestro. The show offers a rare glimpse of the man behind the musical genius. He is warm, funny, self-effacing, honest and open about his difficult relationship with his mother and his emotionally deprived childhood.


To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News


Christine Howey
This roughly chronological journey through la vie Sondheim is an often enthralling biography for lovers of Broadway music. 
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan

Kory
Sondheim On Sondheim resembles a live action, musical, biographical documentary, but does it REALLY well!

To see a full review of this show, read Kory's blog here.


Art Thomas
Even Sondheim's most dedicated fans will learn something about his approach to his craft. For those less dedicated, this production is well-sung, but incredibly dense fare. Don't expect joyous escapism in this musical revue.
Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

COME FLY AWAY
Palace Theatre/PlayhouseSquare
May 8-May 20, 2012
www.playhousesquare.org or call 216-241-6000
-->
Bob Abelman

Those who speak the language of musical theater know of the “triple threat”—a top-notch performer proficient in the disciplines of acting, singing, and dancing.  The national tour of the 2010 Broadway hit “Come Fly Away” gives new meaning to the term.  It is a rare and enchanting evening of pure dance, live music heavy on brass, and an intoxicating dose of Sinatra. 

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's News-Herald article here.


Roy Berko
-->

If you’re a Sinatra fan, you’ll have an evening of nostalgia with old blue eyes.  If you’re a dance aficionado, you’ll experience an evening filled with the visual delights of Twyla Tharp.  If you are a lover of musical theatre filled with a strong story line and message, this isn’t going to be your thing.  Me?  I really, really enjoyed myself.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.


Fran Heller

Vegas comes to Cleveland in "Come Fly Away", the razzle-dazzle dance revue conceived, directed and choreographed by Twyla Tharp around the songs of Frank Sinatra.  The show is a tribute to "Ole Blue Eyes," eighty minutes of non-stop entertainment featuring the fabulous big band sound of a live onstage orchestra, the dubbed in recordings of the inimitable Sinatra and some phenomenal hoofing (albeit repetitive choreography) by principal dancers and ensemble.  What "Fly Away" is not is musical theater with a cohesive story and strong character development.

Christine Howey

Come Fly Away spins a succulent blend of music and movement that will transport any Sinatra fan. And when the backdrop of stars align at the conclusion, you are reminded once more that these tunes must have been heaven sent.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan

Kory

Twyla Tharp’s unmistakable choreography and Frank Sinatra’s vocals work together seamlessly in Come Fly Away, now playing at PlayhouseSquare.

To see a full review of this show, read Kory's blog here.

Art Thomas

Twyla Tharp pays homage to an American icon by preserving his vocal tracks. They're backed with a big band on stage. The real star of "Come Fly Away" is the choreography performed by a first-rate dancing cast. The varied music ranges in style from gentle adagio to almost violent sexuality. 

Click here to read the complete review at WestLife