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Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower Fights Injustice with Black Music and Sci-Fi in UNC’s Memorial Hall

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November 17, 2017

When you hear the phrase “science fiction,” what do you imagine? Artificial Intelligence gone berserk (as in the works of Isaac Asimov and Phillip K. Dick)? The alternate realities of Raymond Bradbury and Douglas Adams? You know, space stories by old white guys. You might have thought about Ursula Le Guin, Margaret Atwood, Mary Shelley,… Read More ›

The North Carolina Theatre's presentation of Gypsy, directed by Eric Woodall, stars (from left) Martin Moran as Herbie, Christine Sherrill as Rose, and Mary Mattison as Louise (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

The Actors, Set, and Music of NCT’s Gypsy Are Great; But Mama Rose’s Maniacal Drive for Fame Tired Us Out

When the curtain rises on the North Carolina Theatre‘s production of Gypsy: A Musical Fable, it’s 1940; and times are tough. We meet Mama Rose (played by Christine Sherrill) and her kids, Baby Louise and Baby June (played by North Carolina Conservatory students Ellen Mackenzie Pierce and Skyla l’Lece Woodard, respectively). Mama Rose is a… Read More ›

North Carolina Theatre's presentation of Gypsy, directed by Eric Woodall, stars (from left) Mary Mattison as Louise, Christine Sherrill as Rose, and Martin Moran as Herbie (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

North Carolina Theatre’s Gypsy Proves Its Themes Are Still Relevant Today

Ever since Gypsy first premiered in 1959, it has been lauded as a great stage musical, one that has important things to say about fame and desire. And, in a time when everyone seems to striving for his “fifteen minutes,” the musical, onstage now through North Carolina Theatre under the direction of Eric Woodall, is… Read More ›

Legend of Zelda Symphony Brings Gamers to DPAC

“Din… With her strong flaming arms, cultivated the land and created the red earth… Farore… With her rich soul, produced all life forms who would uphold the law… Nayru… Poured out her wisdom onto the land, and gave it the spirit of law… The Great Deku Tree, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Nintendo… Read More ›

Vanya (Thaddaeus Allen Edwards) causes concern among his friends (Rhetta Greene, Faye Goodwin, Lakeisha Coffey, and Jock Brocki) in Manbites Dog's production of Life Sucks (photo by Alan Dehmer)

The Audience Is the Thing in Life Sucks at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham

As part of its 31st and — sadly — final season, Durham, NC’s Manbites Dog Theater has selected a play by inventive American playwright Aaron Posner. Very loosely adapted from Russian dramatist Anton Chekov’s 1898 masterpiece Uncle Vanya, Life Sucks is a tragicomic view of an extended family and its search for meaning amidst a… Read More ›

Jen Kirkman will perform at The Carolina Theatre of Durham on Nov. 1st (photo by Robyn Von Swank)

Women’s Voices Won’t Be Silenced: Jen Kirkman Plays Whack-a-Troll on Nov. 1st at The Carolina Theatre of Durham

Editor’s Note: Click here to read Dustin K. Britt’s preview of Jen Kirkman: The “All New Material, Girl” Tour 2017. A man sits in the front row of The Carolina Theatre of Durham. His arms are folded, and he is displeased. Stand-up comic Jen Kirkman is shouting at him from the stage. “Why don’t you… Read More ›

Honest Pint’s The Mystery of Love and Sex at NRACT Is a Disappointing Maelstrom of Characters and Conflict

Honest Pint Theatre Company normally does a terrific job telling interesting stories to theatergoers across the Triangle. This troupe of talented actors and directors does not shy away from edgy stories with interesting morals or themes. For this reason, I look forward to their productions. Unfortunately, their current offering, The Mystery of Love & Sex… Read More ›

Perfect Arrangement at RLT stars (from left) Lauren Knott, Paul S. James, Benoit Sabourin, and Amelia Sciandra

Topher Payne’s Perfect Arrangement at RLT Is Thought Provoking, But with Loads of Laughs

For those who lived through the 1950s in America, few can forget the witch hunt that was Wisconsin Republican U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy’s search to uncover Communists in our midst. His position was that these “subversives” were a threat to our society who were determined to take over government and thereafter change our very way… Read More ›

Bathsheba Doran’s The Mystery of Love and Sex Is a Tender, Humorous, Surprisingly Deep Story

North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre is currently running The Mystery of Love & Sex by Bathsheba Doran, a writer with a hefty resumé. The play, produced by Honest Pint Theatre Company, doesn’t so much solve the mystery as expand its magnitude. It will always be an unsolvable mystery, we suspect. And probably that’s half… Read More ›

Garðar Thór Cortes and Meghan Picerno star as The Phantom and Christine Daaé in the U.S. Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, now playing at DPAC (photo by Joan Marcus)

On Opening Night at DPAC, Love Never Dies Started Late, But Proved Well Worth the Wait

Last night was opening night for Love Never Dies: The Phantom Returns, which will run for seven more performances at the Durham Performing Arts Center before closing Sunday evening. There was a full house at DPAC for this sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera; but the inaugural performance of Love Never… Read More ›

Meghan Picerno and Garðar Thór Cortes star as Christine Daaé and The Phantom in the U.S. Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies, now playing at DPAC (photo by Joan Marcus)

The Phantom Returns in Love Never Dies at DPAC, Just in Time for Halloween

The inaugural U.S. Tour of Love Never Dies: The Phantom Returns, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s thrilling 2010 non-sequel sequel to his humongous 1986 West End and 1988 Broadway mega-hit musical The Phantom of the Opera, will arrive at the Durham Performing Arts Center just in time for Halloween — and run for eight performances through Nov…. Read More ›

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America’s preeminent humorists. At 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 23rd, he shared stories and highlight the release of his newest book, Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002) at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts.

"Live Reading David Sedaris" Is Much Funnier and Filthier Than "NPR David Sedaris"

New York-born, Raleigh-raised humorist David Sedaris strode onto the stage at Raleigh Memorial Auditorium on Monday, Oct. 23rd, for An Evening with David Sedaris, presented by (Broadway Series South. After a brief introduction by WUNC’s Eric Hodge and some not-so-brief comments by artist Jeffrey Jenkins, Sedaris launched into an evening of essays, diary entries, and random… Read More ›

Jen Kirkman will perform at The Carolina Theatre of Durham on Nov. 1st (photo by Robyn Von Swank)

Jen Kirkman Will Perform All-New Material on Nov. 1st at The Carolina Theatre of Durham

Motorco Music Hall of Durham, NC, NS2 of Nashville, TN, and The Carolina Theatre of Durham will jointly present Jen Kirkman: The “All New Material, Girl” Tour 2017 at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 1st, in Fletcher Hall at The Carolina Theatre. A long-time writer/guest on E!’s Chelsea Lately, Jen Kirkman is known for regular… Read More ›

House of the Fury Is an Up-Close-and-Personal Foray into Dark, Edgy Themes and Characters

It’s that time of year again. When kids dream of knocking on strangers’ doors to collect candy. When a cavalcade of slutty mushrooms and ax-murderers with open head wounds roam the streets. When abandoned fields and houses become killing fields. It’s time to be afraid. Very afraid. So, I was not surprised to find a… Read More ›

Is Sonorous Road’s House of the Fury Scary? Not Very

Is the Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio’s House of the Fury: An Immersive, Interactive Theatrical Experience scary? Not very. That is our assessment of the 45 minutes that the trek through this house of horror performance takes. The advertising for this show hypes an experience so severe it even includes requiring the audience members… Read More ›

Clockwise from left, PlayMakers Rep's cast for Sense and Sensibility includes April Mae Davis as Anne Steele, Sarah Keyes as Lucy Steele, and Emily Bosco as Marianne Dashwood (photo by HuthPhoto)

Taibi Magar’s Captivating Staging Makes Kate Hamill’s Refreshing, Funny New Version of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility a Must-See Show

PlayMakers Repertory Company continues its “Season on the Edge” on Oct. 18-Nov. 5 with the regional premiere of American playwright Kate Hamill’s 2014 adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, the 1811 English novel by Jane Austen. Dramatist Kate Hamill amplifies the desires of novelist Jane Austen’s iconic characters through razor-sharp dialogue, trimming away some of the… Read More ›

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Is High-Energy, Fast-Paced, and Uplifting

It was my pleasure to attend Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat on its opening weekend at Raleigh, NC’s Sonorous Road Theatre & Film Studio. Directed by artistic director Michelle Murray Wells, this is the biggest show so far in their new space at 3801 Hillsborough St. And it certainly did not disappoint! The show… Read More ›

JTP’s Entire Ensemble for A Soldier’s Play Gives a Well-Knit, Balanced Performance

The Justice Theater Project’s current production of Charles Fuller’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, A Soldier’s Play, re-titled A Soldier’s Story as a movie, ends with the words “You’ll have to get used to black people being in charge,” which became fulfilled in 2008. It also kept the play from being produced on Broadway, according to… Read More ›

Chris McBennett and McKenna Waldron star as Romeo and Juliet (photo by Yorgason Photography)

Bare Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet Imagines a City on Fire

If any of William Shakespeare’s plays do not warrant restaging, Romeo and Juliet is #1 with a bullet. Unless a unique perspective can be taken and executed well. Many directors have sought to keep this story alive for new audiences. We have seen a martial arts film starring Jet Li, a Broadway musical about gangs… Read More ›

Diana Huey will play the title role of Ariel the mermaid Disney's The Little Mermaid on Oct. 17-22 at the Durham Performing Arts Center (photo by Mark & Tracy Photography)

Family-Friendly Fun and Magic Abound at DPAC’s Production of The Little Mermaid

Ever since the 1989 Disney film The Little Mermaid debuted, Ariel and Prince Eric have been household names. Now, at the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), under the majestic direction of Glenn Casale, these instantly-recognizable characters are coming to life on the theatrical stage in a beautiful musical by the same name. And, while the… Read More ›

Diana Huey and Melvin Abston star as Ariel and Sebastian the crab (photo by Mark & Tracy Photography)

The Little Mermaid at DPAC Is Fun, Silly, Action-Packed, and Special Effects-Driven, But Shallow

The Pittsburgh CLO and Kansas City Starlight co-production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, now playing at the Durham Performing Arts Center, is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s beloved story, “The Little Mermaid,” which was published in 1837. That fairytale/morality tale is as dark and damp as a Copenhagen winter: eternal damnation, unyielding pain, betrayal, blood,… Read More ›

Diana Huey stars as Ariel the mermaid in Disney's The Little Mermaid (photo by Mark & Tracy Photography)

Revamped Disney’s The Little Mermaid Will Make a Big Splash on Oct. 17-22 at DPAC

To kick off its spectacular 2017-18 “Ten Great Years” SunTrust Broadway Series, the Durham Performing Arts Center will present nine performances of the sensational national tour of the revamped 2012 version of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, co-produced by Pittsburgh CLO and Kansas City Starlight and directed by Glenn Casale, who revamped the 2008 Broadway musical… Read More ›

Davitta Singletary and Cody Hill (left) star in Burning Coal Theatre Company's production of Darkside (photo by Mina von Feilitzsch Photography)

Burning Coal Stages Tom Stoppard & Pink Floyd’s Challenging, Stimulating Darkside

In 2013, to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Pink Floyd’s 1973 progressive rock album The Dark Side of the Moon, the BBC enlisted British playwright Tom Stoppard to adapt the work for radio. Pink Floyd gave Tom Stoppard, known for philosophical plays such as Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Arcadia, and the mind-bending 1985… Read More ›

Tom Stoppard & Pink Floyd’s Darkside Is Thought-Provoking Entertainment

“What’s the good?” asks Czech-born British playwright and screenwriter Tom Stoppard in his play, Darkside, inspired by the rock group Pink Floyd, who in turn may well have been offering the same huge question in their album The Dark Side of the Moon. In America, the idiom is more often “What’s the use?” Burning Coal… Read More ›

AEG Presents brought the Jim Jefferies Live: The Unusual Punishment Tour to DPAC at 8 p.m. Oct. 14th

On His New Tour, Jim Jefferies Gave America Some Tough Love on Oct. 14th at DPAC

Jim Jefferies Live: The Unusual Punishment Tour, which played the Durham Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 14th, showcases the comedy of Australian stand-up comic Jim Jefferies, who created and stars in the FX sitcom Legit and the new Jim Jefferies Show on Comedy Central. Comic Forrest Shaw was also on board… Read More ›

Durham Savoyards’ Version of G&S’s Thespis and Trial by Jury Provide a Sweet Escape

Founded in 1963 and named for London’s Savoy Theatre, the Durham Savoyards, Ltd. have achieved the commendable task of staging the entirety of Gilbert & Sullivan’s canon, except the apocryphal Thespis, or the Gods Grown Old, whose score had been long lost. A new score, 12 years in the making, has been delivered by Triangle… Read More ›

Celebrate Halloween with Carolina Ballet’s Spooky Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Other Haunted Tales in Fletcher Opera Theater

The Carolina Ballet is officially my favorite destination in the Triangle for a classy, artistic, gorgeous version of the usually icky, spooky, gross Halloween festivities. This year’s choice to celebrate their 20th anniversary season with three appropriate yet not-the-usual-Dracula ballets is a great one, and the nearly full house for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow… Read More ›

Sarah Vowell is an author, historian, and social commentator (photo by Owen Brooker)

Sarah Vowell Discussed the Constitution, Hate Speech, and That Guy in Charge on Oct. 9th

I check my Twitter app one last time before the lights dim. Just to be sure that my internal political rage is operating on the most recent information. A new insane tweet just came from the “adult day care center” on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. But I can’t think about that right now. I’m here to… Read More ›

The Civilians’ Revised Charter-School Play, A Course of Adventure, Ignores Important Voices

EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here to read Dustin K. Britt’s review of part one (the workshop reading) of this new play last Jan. 28th at Duke University in Durham, NC. The Civilians team, led by director Steve Cosson and playwright Ethan Lipton, has returned to the Triangle for a second two-week residency at Duke in the… Read More ›

Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway at The Halle in Apex Is a Frantically Fast Fun Farce

Apex, NC’s Halle Cultural Arts Center hosts a theater company called The Peak Ensemble Players, and they have produced another winner with Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway, a frantic farce directed by Kathleen Rudolph. But we expected no less. Ludwig’s work has recently graced the Triangle Area with plenty of grins and giggles… Read More ›