“The Value of names”; family, politics & ‘HUAC’ Reply

Review by Ailine Hessreviewer Ailine Hess

Jeffery Sweet’s 30-year-old play “Value of Names”  is presently staged, produced and directed by Ari Weisberg, the Artistic Director of TEATRON . Before the play began Weisberg told the audience that the original Benny withdrew from the production less than two weeks prior to opening night. Eric Fink stepped in on short notice and is still not completely off-book. He plays the role with intelligence, wit, and conviction.
As the play begins, Norma Silverman, the daughter played by Justine Lewis, comes to visit her father Benny, played by Eric Fink.

the protagonists of "VALUE OF NAMES"

Leo; Norma & Benny; the  “VALUE OF NAMES” protagonists

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“In The Heights”, another Sheridan success Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor

Manhattan may be an ethnic melting pot but is in reality a collage of neighborhoods. Harlem runs from 96th to 155th, and Washington Heights comprise 156th to about 190th. Ellington’s famous “Take the A Train” was, and still is, the major North/South connector including a jog over (under) to Brooklyn. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “IN THE HEIGHTS” captures the spirit of immigrant Latinos settling into a ghetto of familiar and shared socio-economic environment. All iterated as a rap musical.
Director/Choreographer Marc Kimelman’s take is classy and certainly tasteful. *

The residents of "THE HEIGHTS"

The residents of “THE HEIGHTS”

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“The Heart of Robin Hood”; an innovative Mirvish success Reply

Review by Shibley AhmedreviewerAhmed
               It’s not often we celebrate the exploits of bandits, swindlers and overall criminals but that’s the case when describing a certain archetypal English hero and his band of “Merry Men”. Laced with a live bluegrass soundtrack and a multifaceted acrobatic theme we witness as folk music meets folklore in David Farr’s latest classic adaptation, “The Heart of Robin Hood”.
As the title suggests, this particular remake explores the softer side of our protagonist.  Photo courtesy of Joan Marcus

Gabriel Ebert & Izzie Steele in Sherwood Forest

Gabriel Ebert & Izzie Steele in Sherwood Forest

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“The Mumberley Inheritance”; Rx for February ‘blahs Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Feb. 6th, ‘15

A number of years ago (i.e. before SAD was defined) my GP prescribed heading south during February to offset a diagnosed ‘February Blahs’. Fortunately, West End Studio Theatre has a remedy that’s cheaper and requires no security line-ups… it’s Warren Graves’ MUMBERLEY INHERITANCE and I guarantee the season’s inclemency will seem almost non-existent for every audience member who has an easy sense of humour. It’s that enjoyable and professionally presented.

the Good; Bad & Ugly residents of Mumberley Mansion

the Good; Bad & Ugly residents of Mumberley Mansion

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“Glengarry Glen Ross”; portrait of a hustle Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG

Occasionally it behooves a critic to preamble a column by acknowledging a bias or an involved history. This is one such circumstance. From 1973 to ’81, I worked for a Buffalo N.Y. – based pool company branch-operating locally …it was an eye-opener into the machinations of high-powered American sales techniques. Some of those can be witnessed on “Pawn Stars”. Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross” characterizes some of those; but 1987’s “TIN MEN” could have been shot in my showroom.

the antagonists of Glengarry Glen Ross's Real Estate office

the antagonists of Glengarry Glen Ross’s Real Estate office

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“Don Giovanni”; an unorthodox COC rendering 3

Review by Mike MandelreviewerMike
Yesterday, was the premier of the Canadian Opera Company’s Don Giovanni, and to say that director Tcherniakov delivered an unorthodox performance to the sold-out audience, is akin to saying the Titanic brushed against some ice. But despite the protestations of the traditionalists, it’s actually difficult to ruin Mozart. The music is as good as it gets, and Don Giovanni, with Da Ponte’s libretto is about as perfectly designed as an opera can be. So how much can one alter the opera’s intent, without lessening its impact? Can this “opera of operas” survive intentional time distortion and reworked familial relationships, and still be Don Giovanni?            Photo by Michael Cooper

the cast of COC's 2015 "Don Giovanni"

the cast of COC’s 2015 “Don Giovanni”

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