Love runs rampant: How do you romance a diva like Maria?
Published 02/11/2013 at 7:23 a.m.
How do you define a romantic play? A romantic musical? Is it the subject matter? The music? How the show makes you feel? Turns out, nobody knows. But they've all got an opinion! "Oh, what a tough question," Rachel Applegate, ...
Preview: "Addams Family" composer: "I knew what to do."
Published 02/11/2013 at 7:17 a.m.
Composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa looked for a fun way to represent the characters of "The Addams Family" when he sat down to write songs for Gomez, Morticia, Uncle Fester, Wednesday, Pugsley and the gang. "You're trying to balance song, ...
Preview: "Pageant Play" takes kiddie high heel to comedy
Published 02/11/2013 at 7:05 a.m.
There's a Puddle in the middle of the stage at the Golden Gate Community Center. This particular Puddle is blue, with silver sequins. She's a little bedraggled and has toppled over, oblivious to the hive of activity around her. A ...
Review: "On Golden Pond" battles setbacks, finds touching moments
Published 02/11/2013 at 6:55 a.m.
"On Golden Pond," Ernest Thompson's syrupy, splendid look at old age, parenting and love, evokes a beautiful picture. Jane Fonda diving off the dock. Katharine Hepburn nestled with Henry Fonda watching loons on the lake. Stage productions fight those Oscar-winning ...
Review: Florida Rep whips ups a "Miracle on South Division Street"
Published 02/11/2013 at 6:46 a.m.
Tom Dudzick, the so-called "Catholic Neil Simon," writes small, intimate plays about the working class families that inhabit his hometown streets of Buffalo, New York. His plays are very Catholic, filled with love and sprinkled with families that put the ...
Preview: Catching up with "Late Nite Catechism" nun Kimberly Richards
Published 02/05/2013 at 11:31 p.m.
Kimberly Richards is a nun on the run. Literally. The first time I called, she was on an airport shuttle, headed out for a swing that would see her perform four of the six versions of "Late Nite Catechism" within ...
Review: Willey, Gravatt make sparks fly in "Love Letters"
Published 02/01/2013 at 2:22 a.m.
Before Thursday's performance of "Love Letters," Pat Berry mentioned "special moments" she witnessed on opening night. Couples held hands or strolled to the door talking about their own love letters. As I watched the show, I wondered if Gurney's masterpiece ...
Review: "Ghost-Writer" spins fantasy tale of romance, inspiration
Published 02/01/2013 at 2:09 a.m.
What is love? Is it correcting an errant semicolon? Is it teaching the foxtrot? Or is it days, weeks and years of slavish devotion over a typewriter while life passes by, beaus drift away and rains fall? The Naples Players ...
Review: "Desperately Seeking Susan" writer delights in tale of musical flop
Published 02/01/2013 at 1:58 a.m.
Once upon a time, in a decade gone by, a cheeky American with three names crossed the pond to London. His name was Peter Michael Marino. He was writing a musical. Not just any musical. One based on "Desperately Seeking ...
Review: Florida Rep examines couple at war in superb "Time Stands Still"
Published 01/30/2013 at 6:25 p.m.
Four characters revolve in unstable orbit around a rugged Brooklyn loft in Florida Rep's enthralling new production, "Time Stands Still." War correspondents Sarah and James stagger home, drop their bags and grab the Scotch. Bombs. Shrapnel. Balloons? What happened in ...
Review: Swim on down to "Dixie" for laughs in the Off-Broadway Palm
Published 01/20/2013 at 9:22 p.m.
"Fiddler on the Roof" is selling out on the main stage of the Broadway Palm. This review is not about that show. This review is about another show. The one about God's OTHER chosen people. Namely, Southerners. "Dixie Swim Club" ...
Review: Improv actors riff hard on the Bard in Improvised Shakespeare show
Published 01/20/2013 at 9:12 p.m.
I've long been blunt about the fact that I don't have much of a taste for improv. I don't like beer, bananas or iceberg lettuce either. It's just my preference. I can, however, recognize when it is done well. And ...
Review: Gulfshore Playhouse engaged to a hit with "I Am My Own Wife"
Published 01/19/2013 at 4:19 p.m.
There's not really any way around this. Pulitzer Prize-winning play "I Am My Own Wife" features one man in a dress performing 37 different roles. If you don't like that sort of thing, leave. Of course, that would be a ...
Review: Shakespeare in Paradise tames "Shrew" in funny modern reinvention
Updated 01/19/2013 at 11:31 p.m.
Well, the third time was the charm. In their third year, their third show and their third performance space, Shakespeare in Paradise finally figured out where the Bard of Avon belongs. In the library, of course.
Review: Go on a quest to Sanibel, see superb "Spamalot" at BIG ARTS
Published 01/16/2013 at 5:50 p.m.
They came. They saw. They sang. They danced. "Become a knight and you'll go far / in suspenders and a bra!" "Spamalot," the Monty Python musical, clip-clopped into BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater on Sanibel this weekend. And it was ...
Review: "Mary Poppins" blows into Fort Myers with brilliant tunes
Published 01/16/2013 at 6:33 a.m.
"Mary Poppins" floated into Fort Myers Tuesday. Audiences get gorgeous sets, a trilling soprano and chimney sweeps on parade. The delightful show offers plenty of thrills, but a more adult storyline lacks some of the pure whimsy and charm of ...
Preview: Gulfshore Playhouse tackles drama "I Am My Own Wife"
Published 01/14/2013 at 9:13 a.m.
A large onion sits on a brightly colored paper plate at the rear of the Norris Center auditorium. Snacks, phones, scripts, coffee cups (and not just from Starbucks) cough drops, highlighters, pens, papers and cigarettes, two laptops and a few ...
Review: Marco Players dive into Hitchcock with silly "The 39 Steps"
Published 01/14/2013 at 9 a.m.
The Marco Players have built a reputation over the past few seasons as the scrappy little theater that could. The troupe attempts bold, ambitious projects that most folks wouldn't dare touch given the limited talent pool in community theater and ...
Review: Stroll through garden of English delights in "Intimate Exchanges"
Published 01/14/2013 at 8:50 a.m.
"Intimate Exchanges" begins in a garden and ends on a park bench. At least, one version does. There are 15 more. Theatre Conspiracy sticks with one - a very funny one that involves whisky bottles, Boudicea, a fistfight, randy housewives, ...
Review: Lab Theater casts Southern spell with "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof"
Published 01/12/2013 at 5:08 p.m.
Tennessee Williams writes about the fragile barrier between reality and make-believe. His greatest plays examine characters who can't - or won't - confront those walls. Deep in the heart of old Fort Myers the Lab Theater gives voice to a ...
Review: TheatreZone checks into a hit with fabulous "Grand Hotel"
Published 01/11/2013 at 12:21 a.m.
After several seasons of mediocre musicals, Mark Danni has finally found a formula that works at TheatreZone. "Grand Hotel," a celebration of life at Berlin's best boarding place, marks a second consecutive triumph for the group. Music, dance and creative ...
Show offers tell-all peek into "Desperately Seeking Susan" musical disaster
Published 01/10/2013 at 4:59 p.m.
Peter Michael Marino likes Blondie. Peter Michael Marino likes "Desperately Seeking Susan." Peter Michael Marino likes London. Peter Michael Marino got the best of all worlds in 2007. He got to live in London for two years writing a musical ...
Review: Naples Players capture cute couple in "Barefoot in the Park"
Published 01/10/2013 at 4:18 p.m.
The Naples Players opened 2013 with a solid, if unspectacular, production of winsome Neil Simon comedy "Barefoot in the Park" Wednesday. Michael Santos and Tiffany Clementi fought, giggled, threw shoes and more on the fifth floor of a crumbling brownstone ...
Review: "Forbidden Broadway" returns to skewer Broadway's behemoths
Updated 01/09/2013 at 10:50 p.m.
Is the New York Times Theater section your bible? Can you recall Tony winners at the drop of a tap shoe? Do you rate LaDucas higher than Louboutins? Do you argue over who was the best "Phantom?" Then "Forbidden Broadway" ...
Review: Florida Rep surveys Southern sibling squabbles in "Little Foxes"
Published 01/07/2013 at 2:34 a.m.
Two brothers. One sister. A fortune waiting for them. A family divided against itself. Southern gentlemen. Negro maids in smart white uniforms. Grits. Elderberry wine. Beautiful clothes. Beautiful people. Terrible deeds. Florida Rep explores all this - and more - ...
Preview: Fantastic, magical "Mary Poppins" blows into Fort Myers
Published 01/06/2013 at 6 a.m.
Hands up if you can spell "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" without resorting to the Internet. Didn't everyone wish for a nanny like Mary Poppins to blow in with the wind, pull a host of miracles out of her bag and introduce untold adventures? ...
Review: "Catch Me If You Can" soars with high-flying chorus, fab story
Published 01/03/2013 at 5:51 a.m.
Fact: If you put enough leggy chorines in barely there costumes on stage, anything looks good. "Catch Me If You Can" tosses stewardesses, oh-so-naughty nurses and girls in pinstripes. It doesn't need them. The show makes you want to race ...
Review: "Sister Act" prays for applause, worships fun nuns at Philharmonic
Published 01/02/2013 at 12:47 a.m.
Nuns. Tons of nuns. In acres of Swarovski crystals and layers of MAC makeup. A glittering twenty-foot statue of the Blessed Virgin that both pulses and rocks on cue. I can't decide whether "Sister Act" is deliciously fun or delightfully ...
Review: Fresh, imaginative "Fiddler" say l'chaim to life at Broadway Palm
Published 12/30/2012 at 4:37 a.m.
Best. "Fiddler." Ever. I've seen "Fiddler on the Roof" four times in four years. Trust me when I tell you not to miss the production now playing at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Fresh direction opens new dimensions in the show. ...
Mother Superior blesses "Sister Act" as "joyful," "feel-good" musical
Published 12/29/2012 at 5:14 p.m.
Hollis Resnik describes "Sister Act" as "a feel-good musical." She avoids any obvious nun puns in our interview, but then adds to her comments on the show, "It makes a joyful noise." See, she's a "habit-ual" offender after all…
"Catch Me If You Can" FBI agent says show "will knock your socks off"
Published 12/27/2012 at 6:03 p.m.
Merritt David Janes had one question when he approached "Catch Me If You Can," the musical version of the 2002 Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks film about a con man who posed as a pilot, lawyer and doctor - all ...
Review: Florida Rep's "Santaland Diaries" - the re-gift that keeps on giving
Published 12/22/2012 at 4:22 p.m.
After four years, I may know "The Santaland Diaries" as well as anyone in Southwest Florida except for erstwhile Crumpet the Elf himself, Jason Parrish. So, I tell you, don't miss year four. And request seats on the West Wall.
Review: "Plaid" is rad; BIG ARTS serves up fun holiday revue
Published 12/19/2012 at 3:41 p.m.
Over the river and across the bridge, past a forest of twinkling Christmas lights and inside a cozy little theatre on Sanibel, four guys are singing Christmas tunes. Tinsel is hung, snowflakes are in the air and dreams of sugarplums ...
Review: Miriam Margolyes brings "Dickens' Women" to Sanibel
Published 12/05/2012 at 7:22 p.m.
I'll be honest. I did not enjoy the deep dive through Charles Dickens and the portraits of women in his literature offered by acclaimed British actress Miriam Margolyes on Sanibel. I love literature. I adore Professor Sprout and her magnificent ...
Preview: Lab Theater locks the doors, turns up pressure on playwrights
Published 12/02/2012 at 11:15 p.m.
Would you spend 24 hours locked in a building in downtown Fort Myers? Would you spend 16 hours trying to write a play? And would you then spend eight hours casting, rehearsing, gathering props, costumes and a set? And put ...
Review: Even a jagged "Chorus Line" delivers Broadway dreams at the Phil
Published 12/02/2012 at 10:58 p.m.
Since its inception in 1975, "A Chorus Line" has stood as one of Broadway's most spectacular, beautiful and heartfelt productions. The show about dancers fighting for spots in a Broadway chorus can survive any pounding, any iffy casting, any mishap. ...
Review: Theatre Conspiracy drives audiences wild with hilarious "The Nerd"
Published 12/02/2012 at 10:43 p.m.
Sweep out the throne room, polish the crown. There's a new king of comedy, right here in town. Jordan Wilson delivers an electric performance in Theatre Conspiracy's outrageous, over-the-top "The Nerd." Backed by a sure ensemble and a sharp script, ...
Review: Florida Rep offers great performances in charming "Talley's Folly"
Published 12/01/2012 at 12:07 p.m.
Two-person shows allow actors to showcase their skills and often engage in an epic tug-of-war with their on-stage partner. "Talley's Folly," playing now at Florida Rep, sets a lovesick Chris Clavelli against a stony Rachel Burttram. The result is as ...
Review: TheatreZone delivers outstanding "comedy tonight" with glorious, fun-filled "Forum"
Published 11/30/2012 at 9:42 a.m.
Folks, trust me on this one. Don't miss "Forum" at TheatreZone. TheatreZone has tossed up some dreadful air balls over the years ("High Spirits," "Man of La Mancha"). "Forum" is not one of them. "Forum" is one of the best ...
Review: Sparkly, jolly, excitable "Elf" spreads Christmas cheer in Fort Myers
Published 11/28/2012 at 6:08 a.m.
Banish the cotton-headed ninny-muggins among you! "Elf the Musical" hits Fort Myers. Christmas is in the air, snowflakes are falling and Santas are scarfing Chinese food. This might not be the perfect show, but it entertains on a grand scale ...
Review: Broadway Palm charms with delightful, heartwarming "Miracle on 34th Street"
Updated 11/28/2012 at 5:30 a.m.
It's a "Miracle." It's a sight to see. Oh, the way Broadway Palm makes Christmas sing. Even on Black Friday, with its tales of rampant consumerism and greed run amuck, the simple story of "Miracle on 34th Street" put me ...
Review: Naples Players get laughs with "Leading Ladies"
Published 11/23/2012 at 3:40 p.m.
The Naples Players know their audience. Sometimes, you just want a laugh. Ken Ludwig's "Leading Ladies" promises boys in dresses, girls on roller skates, stray letters, galloping grannies and more. Opening night saw titters and giggles aplenty from a pre-Thanksgiving ...
Review: Improv group spins musical out of half-hearted Neapolitan suggestions
Published 11/19/2012 at 2:35 a.m.
Good improvisational comedy (improv) resembles cooking in that the end result is only as good as the ingredients. "Broadway's Next H!T Musical," which played two nights at the Naples Philharmonic, put that concept to the test.
Review: "Becky's New Car" revs engine in BIG ARTS encore
Published 11/15/2012 at 7:12 p.m.
Would you, if you could, just get into your car and drive off into the night? Toward a new life? Would you, could you, leave that old life behind? Let the troubles, problems, bills and bad decisions flow away into ...
"Elf" choreographer describes style as "MGM meets MTV," says tour will be "fun, fresh & young"
Published 11/15/2012 at noon
Connor Gallagher was listening to Christmas music in August on the New York subway. Temperatures hit the 90-degree mark. Folks were staring at him sideways. Don't chalk this one up to Christmas creep though. Gallagher put together the choreography for ...
Review: Broadway Palm tackles mating, dating, relating in "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change"
Published 11/12/2012 at 11:30 p.m.
Playing now in the Off-Broadway Palm, a matchbox-sized space with mismatched seating and cozily intimate views is one of the best productions of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" you're liable to see. I'm not a fan of the ...
Review: "Tap Dogs" show thrills Phil crowd with fancy footwork
Published 11/12/2012 at 10:42 p.m.
Six guys. Twelve boots. Twenty-four metal taps. Eighty minutes of astounding, mind-blowing, kick up your heels, throw your hands in the air and dance in the aisles tap-dancing joy that borders on exuberant ecstasy. These are the "Tap Dogs." They ...
Review: Edison students conjure up smart, witty "Blithe Spirit"
Published 11/09/2012 at 2:20 a.m.
I've only seen one college production since starting my job as the Daily News theater critic. After taking in the Edison State College production of Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit" Thursday, I know I'll be seeing more. These young people impressed ...
Review: Marco Players check into Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite" for laughs
Published 11/08/2012 at 3:10 a.m.
"Welcome to the Plaza." A uniformed doorman greets patrons outside the Marco Players Theatre where Neil Simon's "Plaza Suite" is on offer. Smart suit, gloves and shiny brass buttons whisk audiences into another world - one with bickering couples, smart ...
Former Met singer hopes to introduce Neapolitans to the lust, curses and scandals of "Rigoletto"
Published 11/06/2012 at 6:55 a.m.
Does your knowledge of opera start — and end — with Bugs Bunny pranking a divo tenor, causing poor Giovanni to hold that high G note forever as the Hollywood Bowl crumbles? It really shouldn't. Let's change that, shall we? ...