“TAKING SIDES”, a professional–level production. Reply

Review by Mark Andrew Lawrence
reviewer_Mark_Andrew
“Is this a professional theatre company?”  The question was asked by an audience member as we headed out for intermission at a recent performance of the play “Taking Sides” being presented by Stage Centre productions at York Woods Library Theatre.  Her companion explained that no, it was company of amateurs.  I suppose technically he was correct since these community theatre casts do not get paid for their efforts, but believe me, every moment of this production has such a professional sheen that I could understand why the patron asked the question. Photo courtesy of Fabio Saposnik

Washbrook interrogated by Rein; observed by a humiliated Frau Straube

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“The PEARL FISHERS”, promises, promises – broken! Reply

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDGcolor

Bizet’s PEARL FISHERS’ plot is as negative as anything in life. Oaths of brotherhood; vows of chastity; pledges of commitment and covenants of loyalty all go by-the-boards when a love triangle happens. The head stops working and the crotch takes over!
The narrative concerns early Taprobanese (Sri Lanka) devout Buddhists who dive for pearls rather than harvesting the much safer tea, cinnamon, or sapphires! Two friends [Zurga & Nadir] reunite just after the former is named leader and the latter returns from a life of hunting. We learn that both previously fell in love with the same dame – Leila, but decided that their relationship is more important so they swear off amore forever.

Ramirez, Hatfield, Polegato & Hegedus - all praying for different things!

Ramirez, Hatfield, Polegato, Hegedus & chorus – all praying for different things!

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“JACOB and JACK”… you don’t have to be Jewish Reply

Review by Mark Andrew LawrencereviewerMark Andrew
               James Sherman’s comedy Jacob and Jack keeps the audience on its toes as it jumps back and forth between two generations. Backstage scenes depicting Jacob Sherminsky, a star of the Yiddish theatre in the 1930s are folded in with scenes of his grandson, Jack Shore, some 75 years later. Jack is preparing a special one-night-only performance that pays tribute to his grandfather, and we witness a number of parallels between the lives and the behaviors of both sets of performers. More…

O.C.O.’s paean to ‘romanticism’ Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
To musicologists; the term ‘romanticism’ refers to the evolved compositional style of the late 18th and 19th centuries. The label derives from the noun meaning optimistic, idealized or subjective.  The music reflects on nature, chivalry and even mysticism in formats that are usually dissonant and chromatic with a definitive virtuoso requirement. The OAKVILLE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA’s decision to stage a concert totally within the aegis meant enlisting an artist of such a skill level as to meet the prerequisite. Cellist Rachel Mercer is just such a performer.

Mercer performing with the O.C.O.

Mercer performing with the O.C.O.

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We’re crazy about MMT’s “Crazy For You” Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

A little personal trivia; almost 6 decades ago, I was in N.Y. to see “Gypsy” and had the opportunity to have tea with its star Ethel Merman. On being introduced; her comment on hearing my name was “Danny; last name wouldn’t be Churchill, would it?” Seems her first Broadway role (1930) was in the Gershwin’s musical –GIRL CRAZY’s Molly opposite the ‘Danny’ role! Skip ahead to 1992 and an updated version “CRAZY FOR YOU”.
Same songs and parallel plot; but just as popular as the original. Meadowvale Music Theatre’s presentation opened last week but fear of Friday’s inclement weather caused this chicken-ish driver to miss seeing the 1st night performance. Sorry, cast & crew… My (our) loss!
The plot is simplistic… big city scion who wants only to dance is sent out West to foreclose on a decrepit theatre.

The musical inhabitants of Deadrock NV!

The musical inhabitants of Deadrock NV!

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Mac’s Musical Theatre tackles ‘Spring Awakening’ 2

Review by Danny GaisinreviewerDJG

At some social event, our table chatter fell to what our occupations were. A surgeon; two engineers, and a lawyer were our companions. When asked about my career, the muse said “He’s a theatre & concert critic”. The others immediately jumped on what they figured must be the apex of professions. Unlike their repetitive jobs, mine must be eternally new – only partially right. This brings me to McMaster Music Theatre’s production of SPRING AWAKENING. Seems like only yesterday (actually 11 weeks ago) we critiqued the same play!

cast & crew of Mac's SPRING AWAKENING

cast & crew of Mac’s SPRING AWAKENING

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