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Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart Beats Strongly at Burning Coal

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January 23, 2018

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ In 1991, playwright Tony Kushner employed AIDS as an invisible force that sends his Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes characters pinballing around New York and into each other’s lives. In 1992, the disease’s effects put the bitter in the bittersweet second act of the musical… Read More ›

Trevor Johnson and Lakeisha Coffey star as Percy and Chloe (photo by Ed Hunt)

Howard L. Craft’s The Miraculous and the Mundane Opened to Cheers, Tears, and a Standing Ovation

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ If a play by an American black author has stood the test of time, it is almost certainly about domestic life — a palatable subject for white ticket-buyers. Durham, NC’s own Howard L. Craft reveals the lives of black workers in Orange Light and the Off-Broadway Freight: The Five… Read More ›

The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer Is a Hard and Honest Story of Panic, Resolve, Fear, and Genuine Love

“This production is part of a three-pronged effort to bring to public awareness the continuing health issues surrounding AIDS by Burning Coal Theatre Company, the United Arts Council of Wake County and Raleigh, and the Alliance of AIDS Services – Carolina…,” according to the program for Burning Coal Theatre Company’s production of The Normal Heart… Read More ›

Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart Indicts Individual and Institutional Hypocrisy During the Early Days of the AIDS Epidemic

Imagine that the people that you know and love are falling victim to a contagion that no one will acknowledge exists. You don’t know what is causing it, or how it is spread, or when or who it will strike next. But people keep getting diagnosed and are dying of this mysterious disease at an… Read More ›

Ward Theatre Company will stage The Mound Builders Jan. 12-14, 19-21, and 26-28 and Feb. 9-11 and 16-18

Ward Theatre Co. Seats Its Audience Inside the World of Lanford Wilson’s Mound Builders

RATING: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ The Durham Performing Arts Center has 55 rows of seating. From the back row, you can experience the audible and visible spectacle of most any production that comes through. But you can’t always feel it. But what if there were no one seated in front of you? Or behind… Read More ›

A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters Features Strong Characters and a Unique Delivery Method

Some friendships are lifelong. Some friendships are incredibly complicated. And, some rare friendships are both of these things. It is one of these rare types of friendships that is showcased in A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters, onstage now through North Carolina Theatre under the direction of Guy Stroman. Gurney’s show is a unique one. Instead of… Read More ›

Brian Westbrook, Samantha Corey, and Simon Kaplan play Ben, Eliza, and Stu in Raleigh Little Theatre's SOLD-OUT production of What We're Up Against (photo by Brenna Berry Photography)

RLT Gets Its "Ducts in a Row" with Theresa Rebeck’s What We’re Up Against

Who remembers that annoyingly patronizing advertising jingle for Virginia Slims cigarettes? “You’ve come a long way, baby/To get where you’ve got to today/You’ve got your own cigarette now, baby/You’ve come a long, long way.” As if having “your own cigarette” was an important accomplishment in the battle for gender equality! Was the illusion of “a… Read More ›

David Wood and Sandy Duncan and star in Love Letters at NCT (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

NCT’s Love Letters, Starring Sandy Duncan and David Wood, Is a Sensual and Literary Feast

North Carolina Theatre‘s production of A.R. Gurney’s Love Letters is a sensual and literary feast for anyone who has treasured a handwritten letter from a person whom they have admired. This two-character show, which stars Sandy Duncan and Ira David Wood III and runs Jan. 12-14 and 16-21 in Raleigh’s A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater, employs… Read More ›

Brian Westbrook, Samantha Corey, and Simon Kaplan play Ben, Eliza, and Stu in Raleigh Little Theatre's SOLD-OUT production of What We're Up Against (photo by Brenna Berry Photography)

A Battle of the Sexes Becomes a Melee in Theresa Rebeck’s What We’re Up Against at RLT

RATING:   ✭✭✭✭   (out of 5) Why do men in power still condescend, harass, ignore, interrupt, and sabotage women? Why do women sometimes undermine each other? It was 1992 when Emmy-nominated TV writer and playwright Theresa Rebeck asked these questions in the satirical workplace dramedy What We’re Up Against, presented by Raleigh Little Theatre at William… Read More ›

Sandy Duncan and David Wood Will Star in the NCT Production of Love Letters by A.R. Gurney

On Jan. 12-14 and 16-21, North Carolina Theatre will ring in the New Year, in grand style, with a megawatt production of Buffalo, NY-born playwright A.R. Gurney’s two-character 1988 New York Public Library, 1989 Off-Broadway, and 1989 Broadway play, Love Letters, starring 71-year-old Broadway and Off-Broadway, television, and motion-picture actress Sandy Duncan and 70-year-old Enfield,… Read More ›

Ward Theatre Company will stage The Mound Builders Jan. 12-14, 19-21, and 26-28 and Feb. 9-11 and 16-18

Lanford Wilson’s The Mound Builders Serves Up a Juicy Slice of Life of a Team of Archeologists

EDITOR’S NOTE: Five of the seven roles in the current Ward Theatre Companyproduction of The Mound Builders have been double-cast. We, of course, are only able to review the work of the actors who participated on opening night on Saturday, Jan. 6th. Archeologists make it their mission to delve into past civilizations, continuing to dig… Read More ›

On Your Feet! stars Christie Prades, who is shown here with Adriel Flete (photo © by Matthew Murphy)

On Your Feet! at DPAC Combines Infectious Latin Rhythms with Hot-Hot-Hot-Dancing and a Heartwarming Story

On Your Feet! The Emilio and Gloria Estefan Musical opened last night at the Durham Performing Arts Center to frigid weather and an almost full house, and the show and performers did their best to keep the audience warm with infectious music and hot-hot-hot dancing, as well as the heartwarming story of Emilio Estefan Jr…. Read More ›

The Durham Performing Arts Center will present On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan on Jan. 2-7 as part of its SunTrust Broadway Series

“On Your Feet” Stands Out for its Ability to Inspire

Selling over 100 million records and winning 26 Grammy Awards alongside her husband Emilio, Gloria Estefan has had a very noteworthy musical career. However, her full and fully powerful story wasn’t quite as well known as her music…until now. On Your Feet! tells the complete story of Gloria Estefan’s life, never shying away from the… Read More ›

Jesse R. Gephart Channels David Sedaris’ Snark, Wit, and Scathing Humor in The SantaLand Diaries at TIP

The SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris is, perhaps, my favorite short story by a beloved North Carolina author. That’s why I was particularly excited to see Theatre in the Park’s holiday one-man-show The SantaLand Diaries, starring Jesse R. Gephart as David Sedaris and his elfin alter ego, Crumpet. The show, which concludes its two-week run… Read More ›

The Carolina Ballet will stage The Nutcracker on Dec. 15-17 and 19-24 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

The Nutcracker, Choreographed by Carolina Ballet’s Robert Weiss, Will Delight Young and Old Alike

When you enter Raleigh Memorial Auditorium for a performance of The Nutcracker by the Carolina Ballet, you are immediately surrounded by giggling children, dressed in their holiday finest, wide-eyed and excited. Each year, Carolina Ballet artistic director and choreographer Robert Weiss and his company deliver a delightful version of the magical story, highlighted by Pyotr… Read More ›

Ray Dooley stars in William Leach's adaption of A Christmas Carol (photo by HuthPhoto)

Ray Dooley Captures the Pure Spirit of Charles Dickens in A Christmas Carol at PlayMakers Rep

I’m in Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, watching PlayMakers Repertory Company’s production of A Christmas Carol:. It is the Fezziwig Christmas Party scene, and I’m seeing magic: Barrels of ale rolled in by galloping dancers in festival frocks, a rollicking… Read More ›

Carolina Rebellion 2018

Its coming! The 8th annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Charlotte, NC on Friday, May 4, Saturday, May 5 and Sunday, May 6, 2018. This will be my first time attending the event being I moved here last year. My tickets and campsite are all set. Now its just the… Read More ›

The Expressive and Talented Cast of The Gift of the Magi at Sonorous Road Is a Great Pleasure to Watch

The Gift of the Magi: A 1920s-Themed Holiday Show, adapted by Michelle Murray Wells and the Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio creative team from a 1905 short story by Greensboro, NC native O. Henry (nee William Sydney Porter, 1862-1910), is referred to by them as an immersive theater experience, such as Sonorous Road offered… Read More ›

Ray Dooley stars in William Leach's adaption of A Christmas Carol (photo by HuthPhoto)

Ray Dooley Brings Scrooge & Co. to Life in A Christmas Carol on Dec. 12-23 at PlayMakers Rep

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Dramatic Art faculty member and PlayMakers Repertory Company mainstay Ray Dooley will bring a host of unforgettable characters from Charles Dickens’ beloved 1843 novel, A Christmas Carol, to full, glorious life on Dec. 12-17 and 19-23 in the intimate 265-seat Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in UNC’s… Read More ›

Triangle Arts and Entertainment

Choose Which Character to Follow in The Gift of the Magi; Enjoy a Unique Theater Experience

When’s the last time you’ve made a choice when sitting in a theater audience? Other than deciding what snacks to buy or which show to see — chances are, the choices you make don’t impact the play you see. You get to see the same locations, the actors say the same lines, and you see… Read More ›

Dale Wolf and Caitlin Wells appear in the ensemble of "Orlando," a co-production of The Delta Boys and Manbites Dog.

Bartlett, Manbites Dog, and Ward Theatre Companies Top Dustin K. Britt’s “Best Of 2017” List

Now in its second year, Dustin K. Britt’s “Britt Picks Live” is an overview of the best in triangle theatre. Presented via Facebook Live, Britt announced his picks on Sunday night after nearly 60 published reviews in 2017. A recording of the broadcast can be found HERE. The discussion will continue alongside other triangle arts… Read More ›

Lauren Bamford plays the title role in Cinderella (photo by Elspeth McClanahan)

Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cinderella Is a Must-See Triangle Christmas Tradition

As a transplant to the Triangle area, all I knew about Raleigh Little Theatre’s 34th annual production of Cinderella is that it is a must-see Triangle Christmas tradition. I first caught the show last year; and since then, I have learned much about the show’s rich, decades-long history, and about RLT‘s wonderful theater community in… Read More ›

Burning Coal’s Devised Peter Pan & Wendy Is Beautiful, But Lacks Cohesion

“Devised Theatre” is, simply, the process by which a group of collaborators build a work from the ground up without script-in-hand. As improvisations and conversations progress, a script and concept are formed, with input from the entire company during the rehearsal process. In the case of Burning Coal Theatre Company’s devised adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s… Read More ›

Lillian White’s New Play Peter Pan & Wendy Is a Captivating Show for Children of All Ages

J.M. Barrie’s classic story of Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up, began life as a play in 1904, went under several different names, and has morphed into a novel and a Broadway stage musical and a few movies. Peter Pan & Wendy, a world premiere adapted by Lillian White and Burning Coal Theatre… Read More ›

The First National Tour of School of Rock: The Musical, playing now through Sunday at DPAC, stars Rob Colletti (center) as overweight, immature, wannabe rock star Dewey Finn (photo © Matthew Murphy)

School of Rock: The Musical Serves Up Songs and Laughter at DPAC

Popular movies being turned into musicals is all the rage in the theatre world these days. It seems no film is “safe” from being adapted into a musical. In fact, adaptation is exactly what happened with School of Rock The Musical, onstage now at Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) under the direction of Laurence Connor…. Read More ›

Rob Colletti (left) and Phoenix Schuman star in School of Rock (photo © Matthew Murphy)

The Kids Are the Stars in the School of Rock at DPAC

When the voice of legendary British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber tells the audience at the Durham Performing Arts Center that, “Yes, the kids definitely do play their own instruments,” people laugh appreciatively; but the last laugh is on them. Webber’s comment is the most understated moment of the evening; and by the end of the… Read More ›

Dot stars Rishan Dhamija as Fidel and Kathryn Hunter-Williams as Dotty (photo by HuthPhoto)

PlayMakers Rep Eschews Holiday Schmaltz in Favor of Colman Domingo’s Tragicomic Dot

I have stood in this kitchen. I have had these conversations. I have experienced these fears and joys. You might have, too. Philadelphia, PA-born African-American playwright and screenwriter Colman Domingo’s realistic tragicomedy Dot is running at PlayMakers Repertory Company through Dec. 10th. Domingo, a Tony Award®-nominated actor, dancer, director, and playwright, has crafted characters that,… Read More ›

The Women’s Theatre Festival presents LITTLE WOMEN: A Holiday Performance and Tea through December 3.

Women’s Theatre Festival Presents a Much-Improved Little Women at Sonorous Road

Click here to read Dustin K. Britt’s review of the 2016 production. After a well-received run last December, the Women’s Theatre Festival has decided to make a second go of adapting and staging Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, which runs through December 3 at Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio. Like its first incarnation, the production… Read More ›

Carolina Ballet will stage Handel's Messiah, choreographed by Robert Weiss, on Nov. 24-26 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

The Carolina Ballet’s Messiah Is Stunning

The Carolina Ballet’s version of Handel’s Messiah, which opened on Nov. 22nd and runs for four more performances on Nov. 24-26 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium is a brilliant representation of the arts of dance, music, art, literature. This holiday tour de force, directed and choreographed by Robert Weiss, with assistance from choreographers Timour Bourtasenkov, Amy… Read More ›

Dot stars at PlayMakers (from left) Samuel Ray Gates, Adam Pool, Kathryn Hunter-Williams (seated), Shanelle Leonard, and Rasool Jahan (photo by HuthPhoto)

Colman Domingo’s Dot at PlayMakers Rep Is "A Dizzy, Dysfunctional Family Reunion to Remember"

PlayMakers Repertory Company will present the regional premiere of Philadelphia, PA-born African-American playwright and screenwriter Coleman Domingo’s 2017 adult comedy, Dot, which PRC dubs “A dizzy, dysfunctional family reunion to remember,” on Nov. 22 and 24-26, Nov. 28-Dec. 3, and Dec. 5-10 in the Paul Green Theatre in the University of North Carolina at Chapel… Read More ›