Thursday, March 22, 2012

Musical reviews for the week of March 19, 2012

When finished come back here to read the Play Reviews for the week of March 19, 2012

The Broward Stage Door Theatre presents My Fair Lady by Lerner and Loewe until March 25.  Directed by Avi Hoffman and features: Matthew William Chizever , Diana Rose Becker, Regan Featherstone, Bob Levitt, and Michael Douglas.

Ron Levitt reviewed the show for ENV Magazine

There are a number of reasons to compliment the production of My Fair Lady currently drawing crowds to the Broward Stage Door Theatre in Coral Springs.  First and foremost, it’s a gutsy call by the producers to tackle such a popular, well-known  show which millions have seen in theatres and, most handsomely on the big screen with  Rex Harrison  and Julie Andrews.

Matthew William Chizever as Professor  Henry Higgins is in topnotch form. Chizever does more than do justice to the role of the phoneticist who  plans on turning a Cockney flower girl into a well-born lady. And, Diana Rose Becker, a recent grad of the Eastman School of Music, tantalizes the audience with her stunning voice as she recreates the role of Eliza Doolittle. It is not easy stepping into Julie Andrews’ skin, but Becker is “loverly”  and a voice that indicates a glowing future on stage.

Credit, of course, goes to the supporting roles, particularly  Regan Featherstone, whose voice dominates when he is on stage as the love-smitten Freddy,    Also thumbs up to Bob Levitt as Colonel Pickering;  Michael Douglas as Alfred Doolittle, and the rest of the ensemble company. Such pleasurable dancing and vocalists add to the luster. 

The Maltz Jupiter Theatre presents Hello Dolly! by Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart until April 1.  Directed by Avi Hoffman and features: Vicki Lewis, Gary Beach, Daniella Dalli, Matt Loehr, Kara Curtis, and Katie Emerson.

Bill Hirschman reviewed the show for Florida Theater On Stage

There’s a brand new musical comedy you’ve never seen before playing at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre with an infectious score, ingenious choreography, inventive staging and a star turn you’ll have trouble forgetting.

It’s something called Hello, Dolly! and if you think you’ve seen it before (and before and before), we’ll argue with you. Because director/choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge and leading lady Vicki Lewis invest the Jerry Herman-Michael Stewart warhorse with a freshness that nearly obliterates the iconic images created by Gower Champion and Carol Channing.

They don’t reinvent or reinterpret it so much as sidestep a great deal of what’s been done before by treating the work as if someone just dropped an untitled manuscript off on the theater doorstep.

The rest of the cast, all looking for their share of adventure, is fine.  If you have to hunt for a weakness, the Maltz might have sprung for another couple of singer/dancers and a couple more pieces of brass to put just a shade more oomph to the production numbers.  But that’s the reality of economics.

Christine Dolen reviewed the show for Miami Herald 

Right up front, let’s acknowledge that the Maltz Jupiter Theatre audience loves, loves, loves the theater’s new production of Hello, Dolly! Director-choreographer Marcia Milgrom Dodge has delivered her own take on Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart’s beloved, Tony Award-winning Broadway classic, and the Maltz crowd pretty much eats it up, start to finish.

Critics, of course, can be tougher to thrill.

Each actress who plays matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi has the chance to make the part her own, and at the Maltz, Vicki Lewis certainly does. The theater has also done its usual fine job of casting, with Tony winner Gary Beach as cranky Horace Vandergelder, clarion-voiced Daniella Dalli as pretty widow Irene Molloy and Matt Loehr as the smitten clerk Cornelius Hackl. The unit set by Paul Tate Depoo III is elegantly minimalist, and Gail Baldoni’s costumes are flat-out gorgeous.

But (and you knew there was a “but” coming), with a few welcome exceptions, the acting in this Hello, Dolly! is extremely broad, almost becoming a caricature of musical comedy performance.

The Arts Garage presents Woody Sez until April 8.  Directed by Louis Tyrrell and features:  David M. Lutken, Helen J. Russell, Megan Loomis, and David Finch.

Christine Dolen reviewed the show for Miami Herald 

Florida Stage founder Louis Tyrrell’s new dramatic venture, The Theatre at Arts Garage, has already had a number of events that constitute a “soft” opening: readings, conversations with nationally known playwrights and a new play festival.

With Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie, the theater is up and running, offering a first hint at what the theater component at Delray Beach’s bustling new arts complex could become if Tyrrell’s vision has the time and backing it needs to develop.

Granted, this modest four-person revue wasn’t produced or directed by Tyrrell. It’s a piece that has traveled around Europe and the United States, celebrating an American troubadour whose songs about hard times are all too resonant today. But two of the four performers, David M. Lutken and Helen J. Russell, were part of the cast when Tyrrell’s Pope Theatre Company (the precursor to Florida Stage) presented the Carbonell Award-nominated Woody Guthrie’s American Song in 1994. So the Theatre at Arts Garage is starting small and familiar in its cozy space, with grander plans ahead.

Bill Hirschman reviewed the show for Florida Theater On Stage
Of course, any musical revue of Woody Guthrie’s work must end with the anthem “This Land Is Your Land.” What the musical revue Woody Sez at Arts Garage does is put that expression of patriotism and brotherhood in a sobering context of Guthrie’s chastening life experiences.

The man who wrote of diverse people forged into a joint identity by the common belief in a grand dream of what we could be, that man had seen crushing poverty far more widespread than even today’s plight; an indifference, even collusion, among the people chosen by us to serve us, and internecine oppression waged with violence.

The tunes and sentiments resonate for any audience but are guaranteed to strike a chord in an audience of a certain age. At Sunday’s matinee, mesmerized audience members clapped to the music, mouthing the lyrics and finally joining in out loud.

The production values are simple: period clothing, a few backdrops, some wooden crates seeming made out of old boxcar walls. Appropriately, several of the instruments, notably Lutken’s guitar, show the wear and tear of miles on the road.


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