In 1991, the musical version of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic children’s book THE SECRET GARDEN debuted on Broadway. It went on to win three Tony Awards (including the youngest ever winner – 11 year old Daisy Egan nabbing the Best Featured Actress award for her portrayal of Mary Lennox) and played for almost two years and over 700 performances. A national tour followed (which was my first exposure to the show) and a couple of international productions. But until now, the show has never been revived in any significant way in the United States. The producers of this joint venture between Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars, the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre are hoping to make it to Broadway. But are they ready and is the show good enough?
What is true? What is a lie? As one character explains at the beginning of DESCRIBE THE NIGHT, it’s very simple. The truth is what is true and a lie is what is not. But (as the modern world teaches us) truths are not always absolute. Is an omission therefore a lie? This is one of the many themes interwoven into this brilliant world premiere play by Rajiv Joseph.
The golden age of Broadway musicals saw many stage shows turned into classic films. But reversing that process has not always been as easy or successful and that trend unfortunately continues with THE BODYGUARD, a production that could more aptly be titled THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY instead of using the name of the hit 1992 movie.
Alfred Hitchcock loved “The MacGuffin.” For those unfamiliar, a “MacGuffin” is a plot device that the protagonist pursues, usually with little or no narrative explanation. What is the secret of this year’s Alley Theatre “Summer Chills” production ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S THE 39 STEPS? It doesn’t really matter. What they’re pursuing isn’t the point – in this case getting there is ALL the fun.
My first exposure to “Falsettos” was a national tour in the early 90s and while I enjoyed that production, it didn’t stay with me long after the final curtain. The recent revival, which was screened earlier this week in movie theaters and will be a part of “Live from Lincoln Center” on PBS this fall, is a simple yet highly effective staging of this powerful musical.
Pippin is a man in search of something more — his “Corner of the Sky.” Throughout his journey, he finds some exciting things, but they’re never enough. “Pippin” the show, which opened for a free week-long run at Miller Outdoor Theatre last night, has the same problem. It finds some exciting moments but needs to keep searching for something more.
Being a big theatre fan, I love the Tony Awards. This year, I’m at sea for the show so I won’t get to see it or live blog it, but I’ll be keeping tabs. So this auto-post is my predictions, made before I set sail on Carnival Valor. I’ll update when I return with my win/loss percentage and thoughts on the winners & show.
The directions to Neverland, according to Peter Pan, are quite simple: “Second star to the right and straight on ’til morning.” Making a musical about the development of Peter Pan and what inspired its writer J.M. Barrie to pen the classic is a bit more complex. “Finding Neverland” arrived earlier this week at The Hobby Center as part of its first national tour and while it made it to the second star just fine, it doesn’t quite get all the way to morning.
“Dreamgirls” is a Tony-winning musical about the show business aspirations and successes of R&B acts like The Supremes, The Shirelles, Jackie Wilson, James Brown and many more. This show, much like those legendary acts, mostly shines but does have some bumps along its road to eventual success.
Today the Alley Theatre announced the eight plays for its 2017-2018 season and I must say I’m intrigued. As a subscriber, I know the high quality of the productions there and have learned to trust them when it comes to “unknown” properties. Many of the next season’s selections are in that category but I’m confident they will continue the tradition of fine theatre.