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  • Topdog/Underdog by Susan-Lori Parks

    Riveting Pulitzer Prize Drama at Shakespeare & Company

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 22nd, 2019

    Directed by Regge Life Shakespeare & Company is presenting a riveting, superbly acted production of Topdog/Underdog by Susan-Lori Parks In 2002, Parks received the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Outer Critics Circle Award for the play. The actors Booth (Deaon Griffin-Pressley), and Lincoln (Bryce Michael-Wood) give astonishing performances. This is on the short list of best dramas of the 2019 Berkshire season.

  • The Thirteenth Child at Opera Santa Fe

    By Poul Ruders with Libretto by Becky and David Starobin

    By: Victor Cordell - Aug 21st, 2019

    In an age of sweeping movement toward gender equity, Danish composer Poul Ruders has surprisingly drawn on a Grimm fairytale as a source for female heroics and female enabling. The result is a fable for adults – a taut and riveting opera, yet one that begs for more. Santa Fe Opera’s world premiere of The Thirteenth Child offers stunning production values that enhance the score and yield an engaging musical drama.

  • Romeo and Juliet

    At San Diego's Old Gold Theatre

    By: Jack Lyons - Aug 21st, 2019

    Barry Edelstein, the Old Globe Theatre’s Erna Finci Viterbi Artistic Director, is not only a recognized scholar of the Shakespearean canon, He’s also the author of “Thinking Shakespeare” a book that has become the standard text on American Shakespeare Acting in universities and academies across America. Who better, then, than Edelstein to direct the Bard’s famous and tragic story of star crossed lovers, “Romeo and Juliet,.”

  • All Quiet on the Western Front in Chicago

    At the Red Tape Theatre

    By: Nancy Bishop - Aug 20th, 2019

    The Erich Maria Remarque novel All Quiet on the Western Front is a literary masterpiece. Perhaps yuu have read it or seen the classic 1930 film. One likely comes to this stunning stage production with many preconceptions. This galvanic production at Red Tape Theatre more than adequately meets out expectations.

  • Shakepeare's Macbeth

    A Production by Ft. Lauderdale's New City Players

    By: Aaron Krause - Aug 19th, 2019

    New City Players' dark and creepy Macbeth taps into the zeitgeist. This production in South Florida isn't perfect, but features admirable acting and vivid, foreboding sound effects. Ft. Lauderdale-based company's mounting runs through Sept. 1 in that city's downtown. For the most part, darkness shrouds the extremely intimate playing space, which offers a visceral theatrical experience.

  • The Pearl Fishers at Santa Fe Opera

    Georges Bizet with Libretto by Eugène Carmon and Michel Carré

    By: Victor Cordell - Aug 20th, 2019

    Many operas have suffered a rocky road to recognition and appreciation, The Pearl Fishers, among them. Yet when one considers its virtues, it is hard to understand why. Santa Fe Opera presented a rare and much appreciated production.

  • TIME:Spans Festival at DiMenna Center

    Nikel with Tscherkassky's CinemaScope Trilogy

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 17th, 2019

    TIME:SPANS is a Contemporary Music Festival presented by the Earle Brown Music Foundation Charitable Trust at the DiMenna Center in New York. The Nikel Ensemble was featured in the first half of the Festival. Nothing daunts them. Wearing long extensions on their fingers, they kept the beat to Simon Løffler's music which accompanied a Peter Tscherkassky adaptation of The Entity, a classic psychological horror film.

  • Bill Riley at Real Eyes Gallery in Adams

    Interrupted Landscapes

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 18th, 2019

    Bill Riley wears a number of hats. He is showing this month at Real Eyes the top notch gallery he runs in Adams. Mass, Now retired his day gig for many years was as a scene painter for the Metrpolitan Opera. Recently he has been free lancing for the hit Amazon comedy series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. He has the skill set to be a master forger to create works and sets in any medium or style. Many of these technical skills are applied to the works in the exhibition Interrupted Landscapes.

  • Dell Arte Opera's La Liberazione di Ruggiero

    Brilliant Baroque Presentation of the First Opera by a Woman

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 17th, 2019

    In their summer home at La Mama in New York, dell'Arte Opera is presenting the first opera composed by a woman, Francesca Caccini. The composer understands the power of women well. She also portrays the power of evil in women. An exciting performance by a stellar cast of young artists accompanied by a small ensemble featuring lutes was conducted by Charles Weaver.

  • Jenufa by Leoš Janácek

    Produced by Santa Fe Opera

    By: Victor Cordell - Aug 19th, 2019

    With the exception of a little light relief in the wedding preparation, Jenufa is tense and emotionally charged from beginning to end. Janácek endows his lead characters with complexity and with demanding vocals. In keeping with the tone of the action, much of the vocalization is harsh, yet particularly in the orchestra, appealing passages emerge. Overall, the score fulfills many demands with great success.

  • What We May Be By Kathleen Clark

    World Premiere Comedy at Berkshire Theatre Group

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 17th, 2019

    The structure of Kathleen Clark's world premiere comedy What We May Be, at Berkshire Theatre Group, is a play within a play. Actually, four plays within a play. That makes for a hard to follow , count them, five plays. It's confusing and not particularly funny. The writing of Clark and misdirection of Gregg Edelman squander generally fine performances by a terrific cast.

  • Martha Graham Company Returns to Jacob's Pillow

    Program Combines Old and New Works

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 16th, 2019

    The greatest modernist dancer and choreographer of her generation, Martha Graham (1894-1991), had a long and unique connection to Jacob’s Pillow. This week the company she founded in 1926 is making its fifth posthumous appearance in the Berkshires. The program combines old and new, her own work and that of other women choreographers.

  • Love, Noël: The Songs and Letters of Noël Coward

    In NY at The Irish Repertory Theatre

    By: Edward Rubin - Aug 17th, 2019

    Alone and in duo, Ross and KT perform some two dozen Noel Coward songs, read a number of letters and first night theater opening telegrams (remember those days) both written by and received from his fans, famous friends, and yes, you might have guessed it, letters both to and from his mother.

  • Fall Springs at Barrington Stage Company

    Fracking a World Premiere Musical

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 15th, 2019

    Juke box musicals with butkis for plots have become the norm. Kudos to Barrington Stage for its world premiere Fall Springs which actually has a compelling book. But fracking, the musical, oh my goodness! While it has entertaining moments this creation by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Niko Tsakalakos is a whacky long shot. It's more than just a town that sinks in the sludge.

  • Two Great Sustainable Wines From Chile

    The Vineyard Is Next To The Pacific Ocean

    By: Philip S. Kampe - Aug 15th, 2019

    Five years ago I had my first meeting with winemaker Alejandro Galaz, who produces dozens of wines from Chile. We focused on a couple of wines that he brought to lunch, a Pinot Noir and a Sauvignon Blanc. Both wines were special in 2014, as well, as in 2019. Galaz is known as a cold climate winemaker. The proof is the Kalfu 2017 Pinot Noir, as well as the 2018 Sauvignon Blanc.

  • More on National Black Theatre Festival

    Biennial Event Seeks to Inspire All

    By: Aaron Krause - Aug 14th, 2019

    American Theatre Critics Association members hold their annual conference to coincide with the National Black Theatre Festival. 'Black theater is for everyone,' a panelist tells critics during one of several discussions. This year's festival line-up ranged from well-known works to new plays. The event attracts black theater companies worldwide to perform productions from an African American perspective.

  • Steve Martin's Comedy The Underpants

    Extended Again at Old Globe

    By: Jack Lyons - Aug 14th, 2019

    Silly is, as silly does, could easily be the subtitle following the name of the current comedy/farce romp “The Underpants,” now on stage at the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White stage. The Steve Martin comedy has been extended twice now through September 8/

  • National Black Theatre Festival, 2019

    Winston-Salem, North Carolina,7/29-8/3

    By: Astrid Hiemer - Aug 12th, 2019

    It was our first visit and participation at the National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. During the four days we experienced eight performances. The Festival attracts thousands of visitors every other year. It was a complex production, where a series of buses would transport audiences to a many theater and auditoriums all over two towns. The Marriott Hotel in downtown Winston served as the focal point and it was buzzing!

  • National Black Theatre Festival

    Biannual Event in Winston-Salem, NC

    By: Nancy Bishop - Aug 09th, 2019

    Some thirty members of American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) attended the Winston-Salem, NC National Black Theatre Festival. Here is the first report from our Chicago correspondent Nancy Bishop. More coverage will follow.

  • Before the Meeting By Adam Bock

    Astonishing World Premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 11th, 2019

    Last night, attending the world premiere of Before the Meeting by Adam Bock at Williamstown Thatre Festival, felt like an historic occasion in contemporary American theatre. This new play will surely make the rounds of regional theatres after a likely New York run. The success of future productions will entail finding a greal actress like Deidre O'Connell to perform the soon to be classic monlogue of Gail a recovering alcoholic.

  • National Black Theatre Festival

    Audience as Congregation in Winston-Salem

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 10th, 2019

    Thirty years ago the late Larry Leon Hamlin founded National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The biannual event, July 29 to August 3, featured 30 productions on stages in and around the city, They ranged from intensive dramas to entertaining musicals. A great part of the experience was being part of audiences that might better be described as congregations. People assemble from all over American for this unique celebration of African American history, theatre and culture.

  • Oliver Beer's Vessel Orchestra at the MET Breuer

    Nico Muhly and John Zorn compose for the Vessels

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 13th, 2019

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art has mounted its first sound-based installation. British artist Oliver Beer selected 32 vessels from the Museum's vast collection. They form a 32 note chromatic scale which can performed on an electronic keyboard. The exhibit was a feast for eyes and ears.

  • Yang Liping's Under Seige at Mostly Mozart

    Stunning Dance at the David Koch Theater

    By: Susan Hall - Aug 11th, 2019

    Yang Liping has created a dance drama in such startling colors and designs that the audience is swept into the single Ancient Pipa melody of the same title. The tapping of swords, soldiers cries and horses whinnying and snorting are all suggested as the song portrays the end battle of the war for control of China in 205 B.C. The armies of the Chu and the Han face off in dance. Blood has never been so beautifully suggested, as a mass of red feathers fly through the air, some streaking the bodies of soldiers.

  • Sustaining Regional Black Theatre

    Harlem, Houston,Winston-Salem, Chicago, Sarasota

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 12th, 2019

    In a conference organized by Florida critic, Jay Handelman, 30 members and guests of American Theatre Critics Association attended the biennial of the 30-year-old National Black Theatre Festival. In and around Winston-Salem, North Carolina there were 30 productions. During two insightful panel discussions we met artistic directors from Winston-Salem, Sarasota, Chicago and Houston. It provided a compelling overview of black theatre in America.

  • Uma Thurman Stars in Ibsen's Ghosts

    Wrapping Another Diva Season for Williamstown Theatre Festival

    By: Charles Giuliano - Aug 09th, 2019

    Another diva season wraps on the main stage of Williamstown Theatre Festival through August 18. A new translation of Henrick Ibsen’s Ghosts by Paul Walsh features Uma Thurman as Mrs. Helene Alving. In 2018 there were mixed reviews for her Broadway debut in Parisian Woman. It was a Beau Willimon rewrite of an 1888 play by Henri Becque.

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