NEXT TO NORMAL; surprises, but no cliché Reply

Review by Tony Kilgannon

On arrival at the Citadel Theatre for the opening night of the rock musical Next to Normal, I noticed that the piped-in background music was interesting…Peter Gabriel, John Mayer, and a cover of a John Hiatt song, among other selections. I guess I found that surprising because I was attending a musical, and somewhere deep inside I expected some cliché Glee-ish hits. It was only the first of many pleasant surprises. The play won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2009 and a Pulitzer Prize the following year, and is anything but cliché.

Hammer Prod’s “NEXT TO NORMAL” family

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“Scotland Road”, a titanic-sized enigma Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin
It’s a century since the ‘unsinkable’ sank so naturally there’s much buzz about the anniversary and the ‘Monday morning quarterbacking’ questions still unanswered. Jeffrey Hatcher’s play about a tabloid article describing the amazing location of a young woman floating on an iceberg dressed in early 20thcentury attire who has uttered only one word – ‘Titanic’.

l-r: Maggie,Jared,Daniel,Sanja,Aaron & Julie

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An “ALL NIGHT STRUT” – back 7 decades Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
                The forties; a time when there WASN’T an automatic transmission;  or TV’s; jet planes; 33⅓rpm LP’s; six-figure homes; push –button phone dialing; single-pane windshields or sports bras. What there was WAS, radio; Big Bands, family dinners, dances and some memorable music.  “THE ALL NIGHT STRUT”is a trip back to the WWII years, and the ethos of a world emerging from Depression and into a conflict unique in history.  Music played a big role as a psychological counterpart to the emotional trepidation felt in most communities.

the quartet -“STRUTTING”

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“OLD LOVE”, been there, still doing it Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin

Prolific is certainly the right adjective to describe the literary output of Canadian author Norm Foster. For the second or maybe third time, this paper has had critiques of two different plays appear on our front page. This time, it’s ‘Looking’, and “OLD LOVE”. Authors are supposed to write about things they know or have experienced. Foster ain’t old; he’s barely sixty. That’s just upper middle age!

Varley and Carlin in OLD LOVE

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DIVORCE PARTY the MUSICAL; a great excuse for an evening out 1

Review by Danny Gaisin
                A sure way for a playwright to attract attention is to make his or her subject matter relevant. DIVORCE PARTY, The musical does so – in spades. Our family has experienced divorces, males leaving the marriage for a male partnership, and especially, realize the importance of true camaraderie and support.
Mark Schwartz is a Broadway luminary with multiple Tony’s™ to his credit. Amy Botwinick is renowned for her series of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul” books. Jay Falzone is a multi-faceted writer; lyricist & choreographer. This triumvirate have created a triumphant (sorry, couldn’t help myself) ode to indomitability and regeneration after a demoralizing and unexpected social upheaval.

the cast members being “BEST FRIENDS”

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Foster’s “LOOKING”; a new perspective by WEST 2

Review by Danny Gaisin
                Norm Foster’s comedy/drama about dating and singles’ existence for the over-forty crowd has the ability to touch its audiences; whether personally or through knowledge of ones’ contemporaries. Being Jewish, Terry & I have an ingrained urge to be matchmakers whenever we meet someone unattached. On rare occasions, we’re successful.
In “LOOKING”, four people; two of whom are interested in meeting a potential mate, drag along their best buds for moral support at their first ‘personal-ad’ blind-date

l-r: Lorraine & Michael Quast;Joe Balaz; Deb Dagenais ‘LOOKING’

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