Articles tagged with: William Brown
Review: Brawny Phil Hogan and his imposing, hard-as-nails daughter Josie are poor tenant farmers in 1920s Connecticut. James Tyrone Jr., who owns the farm, is a wealthy playboy who’s always had a soft spot for Josie – and for booze and, by loud proclamation, the tarts on Broadway. The daily bread of them all, these desperate occupants of Eugene O’Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” is mendacity. They lie to each other and they lie to themselves, until they each find some part of redemption in some measure of truth. Their rough progress toward that grail is a magical thing to witness at Writers Theatre. ★★★★
Preview: At the outset of its 38th season, American Players Theatre has the look of a company starting afresh. Its 2017 summer at Spring Green, Wis., about 30 miles west of Madison, opens on a brand-new stage, the centerpiece of an $8 million renovation of both production and public facilities. “Our theater was literally falling down,” says APT artistic director Brenda DeVita. “This renewal has given us, and our audience, a theater that is better is so many ways.”
Review: It has been only a half-season inauguration, this first series of plays in Writers Theatre’s splendid new building, but the finale, a sly and penetrating account of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Company,” exemplifies how the main stage offers visitors an intimate, indeed an ideal, theatrical experience. ★★★★
Review: She is a fascinating character, indeed one of the iconic personas in all of theater, Blanche DuBois, the fallen Southern belle of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.” The undying question is, Why? What’s so intriguing about this dame with the checkered past? Perhaps it’s her vulnerability, or her delusion, or her sheer refusal to go quietly into middle-aged oblivion. I think that’s the thing, her feisty pluck, that makes Tracy Michelle Arnold’s Blanche so compelling at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wis. ★★★★★
Preview: In her second summer as artistic director of American Players Theatre, Brenda Devita can claim her fingerprints alone on the scheme of eight widely ranging plays that will run in repertory well into the autumn. And DeVita embraces that authorship with pride, starting with the company’s first go at Tennessee Williams’ monumental tragedy “A Streetcar Named Desire.” “We’re taking it outdoors,” she says, referring to the starry-domed 1,148-seat Up-the-Hill Theatre.
Review: Perhaps it’s because theater companies and audiences have always taken to heart Oscar Wilde’s subtitle for “The Importance of Being Earnest” that this silly, precious comedy of manners has remained a repertory fixture since its premiere in the Victorian world of 1895. Wilde slyly dubbed his play “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People,” and its triviality is indeed embraced seriously in this summer’s amusing romp at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wis. ★★★★
Interview: “Terror is a good place to start,” Karen Janes Woditsch was saying about her beguiling performance as cooking icon Julia Child in “To Master the Art.” “And I started there. I added the ingredients of her character very slowly.”
Review: It is like properly prepared scrambled eggs, this rebuilt production of “To Master the Art,” the story of how a tall, kitchen-clueless Californian became the famous Julia Child: basic, sumptuous, irresistible. If this lovely play, written by William Brown and Doug Frew, possessed an intimate charm in its original 2010 staging at TimeLine Theatre that cannot be replicated in the Broadway Playhouse’s grander proscenium venue, its essential warmth and honesty remain undiminished. ★★★★
Ninth in a series of season previews: As artistic director Michael Halberstam began putting together the 2013-14 season at Writers’ Theatre with associate artistic director Stuart Carden, one coincidence seemed too good to be true: Halberstam’s right-hand man had been the teacher, at Carnegie-Mellon University, of an eclectic group of seven buddies called the PigPen Theatre Co., who were the buzz of Greenwich Village for their folksy fable called “The Old Man and the Old Moon.” The charming off-Broadway saga now comes to Writers’.
Seventh in season preview series: Northlight Theatre’s marquee for 2013-14 promises a world premiere turn by actor John Mahoney, the company directing debut of Ron OJ Parson in a Midwest premiere and director Kimberly Senior’s inauguration in her new role as the 39-year-old company’s first artistic associate.
Review: Young, lusty, autobiographically creative Dorante embraces a simple code: The unimagined life is not worth living. From the tangled roots of that premise springs Pierre Corneille’s 1643 comedy “The Liar” – revamped and translated for today’s English-speaking audiences by David Ives, and now brought to the stage with a farcical flourish at Writers’ Theatre. ★★★★
Seventh in a series of season previews: What begins in September as an ambitious and far-flung season at Court Theatre, with August Wilson’s “Jitney,” ends next spring with nothing less than a prodigious Molière double-header, back to back productions of “The Misanthrope” and “Tartuffe.”
Second in a series of season previews: Playwright Susan Felder’s “Wasteland,” a world premiere about two American G.I.’s imprisoned in Vietnam isolation, plus three Chicago premieres make up TimeLine’s 2012-13 schedule; season opens Aug. 24 with a musical riddle.
Sondheim’s paean to love. 4 stars!