Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Show reviews for the week of Feb. 13

Broward Stage Door Theatre presents the Neil Simon play Last of the Red Hot Lovers.
Directed by Michael Leeds and featuring Ken Clement, Elissa D. Solomon, Shira Abergel and Carol Sussman. Bill Hirschman reviewed the show for Florida Theater On Stage

Red Hot Lovers Sizzle At Broward Stage Door

Broward Stage Door Theatre has a knack for Neil Simon. Just when you thought there wasn’t much new to be done with yet another of Simon’s old chestnuts, the Coral Springs theater company presents a fresh production that’s entertaining from beginning to end. With its latest Last of the Red Hot Lovers, Stage Door loads one of Simon’s funniest plays with talent, which only makes the comedy soar higher.

Anagram Entertainment presents Top Gun!: The Musical at Empire Stage
Directed by Jack Gardner and Featuring (among others): Todd Storey, James Lott, Kelly Kopf, Christie Oliver and Gisbert Heuer.  Mary Damiano reviewed the show for Florida Theater On Stage

Top Gun! The Musical In FTL Crashes And Burns
Even though Top Gun! The Musical gets off to a promising start, with Goose pushing Maverick around the tiny stage in a cockpit that appears to have been fashioned from a wheelbarrow, singing the catchy song “We’ve Got a Plane to Catch” an opening number designed to give exposition about Maverick’s dead daddy issues, Top Gun! The Musical quickly takes a nose dive. There is no plot to speak of; the cast simply recreates/parodies various scenes from Top Gun, while dealing with typical backstage dramedy.

Top Gun! The Muscial was also reviewed by Rod Stafford Hagwood  for the Sun-Sentinel

'Top Gun! The Musical Won't Take Your Breath Away
The musical satire, staged by Anagram Entertainment at Empire Stage in Fort Lauderdale, sputters to get airborne and then barely stays aloft in what appears to be an underrehearsed, undisciplined production.

That's a real downer, because you can tell there is some real lift in the book and lyrics by Denis McGrath, and fine-but-forgettable music by Scott White. The show is begging for a cast with a sharper sense of comedic timing to turn chuckles into howls.

It's not a total crash and burn. The songs have just enough bite and sarcasm. There are so many backstage-musical punch lines that if you could look past the self-conscious movement, stiff acting and fair to please-God-stop-singing vocals, the show could be a cult hit.

And lastly Top Gun! The Muscial was also reviewed by John Thomason for the Broward / PalmBeach New Times

Top Gun! The Musical At Empire Stage: Offbeat Comedy Is Just Plane Bad

Top Gun! The Musical is a show-within-a-show comedy that premiered at a fringe festival in 2002 to great success. It's about the making of a disastrous musical adaptation of the cornball 1986 film, crash-landing from the beginning thanks to backstage rivalries, an overambitious director, a vain cast, and an ex-Navy SEAL producer aiming to use the musical as a propaganda tool. The problem is, in this case it's impossible to tell the sloppiness of the show from the sloppiness of the show.

The Red Barn Theatre in Kew West presents God of Carnage
Directed by Joy Hawkins and featuring: Mimi McDonald, George Murphy, Annie Miners and Bob Bowersox.  C.S. Gilbert reviewed the show for Keys News

Curtain up on 'God of Carnage'
Brilliantly directed by Joy Hawkins, every one of these actors is flawless. Hawkins moves them around with blocking so good it's almost a cosmic dance. There is just one possible misstep, and that is casting. Only McDonald appears of an age realistically to have an 11-year-old child. Bowersox comes close and Murphy is certainly possible. (Some guys never know when to stop.)

The Waterfront Playhouse presents Dead Man's Cell Phone 
Directed by Stefani Sertich and featuring: Lela Elam, Brandon Reach, Robin Deck, Stephanie Yosen, and Shakti Assouline.  C.S. Gilbert reviewed the show for Keys News

'Dead Man's Cell Phone' Rings Good and Loud (Same article as "God of Carnage' review)
A somewhat generic, middle-aged female named Jean sits alone in a restaurant, minding her own business as she samples the lobster bisque. A couple of tables over, a cellphone begins to ring. Its owner, "Gordon," a mysterious man in an expensive suit sits unmoving. A few minutes later the phone again signals a call; still Gordon refuses to answer. Irritated now, Jean strolls over to investigate. To her horror, she discovers that Gordon is as dead as AT&T's reputation for providing quality coverage.


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