“Little shop of (Hilarious) Horrors”; by Burloak. Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

The ridiculous concept behind the 1960 B-movie and subsequent off-Broadway presentations led to a big-budget film 25 years later directed by Frank Oz of Muppet & Sesame Street fame. A voracious Venus Flytrap; an amateur botanist; a failing flower retailer located in the slums; and a terrific trio of back-up singers provide all the ingredients for an evening of mirthfulness and entertainment…but only if done as professionally as possible. BurlOak Theatre group and director Mike Ranieri have staged something faultless. Attending a final dress rehearsal meant that this scribe was accorded the opportunity to observe the stage manager’s (Greg Stanton) last chance for his ‘technical tweaking’.

The cast of BurlOak’s “Little Shop of Horrors”

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“CHESS, The Musical”, a creation of 2/4ths of ‘ABBA Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
Q B pawn to d4! Not a coded spy message but an opening gambit. The game of chess was created during the sixth century in India or maybe Persia or perhaps China. It still is popular and such tournaments as Levitsky v Marshall in 1912; Byrne v Fischer in ’56; the Kasparov/Topalov match in 1999 was only out-viewed by the former taking on IBM’s “Deep Blue” in 1996.
The winner of the 1974 Worldvision TV talent show was won by a Swedish group. Two males-Benny Andersson & Bj
örn Ulvaeus were joined by singer/dancers Agnetha and Anni-Frid and by incorporating their 1st initials became known as ABBA. Remember them?

the cast of CCMPs “CHESS, the Musical”

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“Anything Goes”, (and keeps on going) Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
During the recent Olympics, there was a kerfuffle over judging. Seems a skater received less points than a competitor that actually fell on the ice. The refs explained that marking was done on the basis of undertaken difficulty; same thing happens with theatrical critiquing.
McMaster’s Musical Theatre decided to stage the Cole Porter durable creation
ANYTHING GOES deserves an unsharpened pencil; because putting on a demanding big cast; big crew, Broadway musical is daunting enough without having to face a tough reviewer.  The 1934 play is based on a Wodehouse & Bolton story with Porter writing both the music and the lyrics.

The passengers & crew of USS America, for whom “Anything Goes”

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“Kiss Me Kate”; Sheridan aces this Cole Porter standard Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
A year or so ago, while critiquing a Stratford presentation directed & choreographed by Donna Feore; we created our own descriptive adjective. The term we came up with was “Dancical “and it is the perfect qualifier to exposit our opinion of Theatre Sheridan’s take on the Cole Porter blockbuster – “KISS ME KATE“. Direction is faultless; costumes are impeccably detailed; the entire cast meet every professional standard. Lastly, choreography is superlative, creatively and performance.
This concept of a musical version of a Shakespeare play is not unique; ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona”;
The Boys From Syracuse and of course ‘West Side Story’ are all familiar.

Cast, crew, musicians & production team of “KISS ME KATE”

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Drury Lane’s “Music Hall”; ver. 38.1 Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
Wikipedia defines the term ‘Music Hall’ as a British format circa 1850 that paralleled the American Vaudeville genus. The UK.’s vaudeville sector was lower class and thus more in keeping with the burlesque shows on this side of the pond. The style(s) remained popular for a century. Why the history lesson? Just to introduce the oddity that is Drury Lane Theatre Productions who can continually fill a house for just short of four decades!
Directed & choreographed by Caroline Clarke & Shelley Rennick, audiences are the recipients of the requisite telegraphed one-liners; skits; chorus numbers and are essential participants in commentary and sing-alongs.

                                                                    A difficult photo-op situation, on stage

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“Joe Ben-Jacob & his designer outerwear”, Reply

Review by Terry & Danny Gaisin
The first collaboration of Rice & Webber – “JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT” started out as a 20-minute exercise in 1968. It also established their new formula & protocols for a Broadway-type musical. i.e. Compose 1 or 2 big hit numbers; mostly pedestrian melodies; & reprises of the former –ad infinitum (think ‘Phantom’ & ‘Evita’ etc.)
J&TATD‘ is an almost completely-sung comic-ish operetta with only the narrator/teacher utilizing dialogue. The play opens with a Sunday School teacher & her students studying the 1st book of the old Testament. Abraham begat Isaac; who begat Esau & Jacob…

Curtis, Cautillo, and the Canaanites/Egyptians of “JOSEPH & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

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