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The Matilda the Musical cast performs "Revolting Children" (photo by Joan Marcus)

Matilda the Musical at the Duke Energy Center Is Powerfully Designed But Weakly Written

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May 25, 2017

Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre‘s joint presentation of Matilda the Musical, playing tonight through Sunday evening in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, was originally commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Based on British author Roald Dahl’s popular 1988 children’s book, which Dennis Kelly adapted for the stage, Matilda features rousing music and witty lyrics… Read More ›

Christine Dwyer stars as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies in Finding Neverland (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

DPAC’s Finding Neverland Is Inspiring and Powerful

Finding Neverland, onstage now at DPAC under the direction of Diane Paulus, is a story about the power and beauty of the imagination. It’s also, of course, the life story of writer J.M. Barrie and the things that inspired his famous Peter Pan story. It’s fitting, then, that the show would open with all of… Read More ›

Christine Dwyer and Billy Harrigan Tighe star as Sylvia Llewelyn Davies and J.M. Barrie in Finding Neverland (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Peter Pan Flies High in Finding Neverland May 23-28 at the Durham Performing Arts Center

Few stories are more iconic in literature than Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie’s tales about Peter Pan, the boy who never grew up. And even less common are interesting tales about the inspiration behind the stories that become the archetypes that everyone recognizes. With Finding Neverland, now playing at the Durham Performing Arts Center, we are… Read More ›

On May 23-28 at DPAC, Finding Neverland will dramatize how J.M. Barrie (played by Billy Harrigan Tighe, center) came to write Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

On May 23-28, Finding Neverland Will Show DPAC Audiences How Peter Became the Pan

The penultimate show of the Durham Performing Arts Center’s critically acclaimed 2016-17 “Dream Big” SunTrust Broadway Series is the First National Tour of the crowd-pleasing 2015 Broadway and 2017 West End musical Finding Neverland, produced by Weinstein Live Entertainment and NETworks Presentations, directed by Diane Paulus, and choreographed by Mia Michaels. Finding Neverland, which won… Read More ›

Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre will present Matilda the Musical on May 23-28 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts (photo by Joan Marcus)

2013 Tony Award® Winner Matilda the Musical Dramatizes Roald Dahl’s 1988 Children’s Book

On May 23-28, Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre will jointly present eight performances of the four-time 2013 Tony Award® winner Matilda the Musical in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium in the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Matilda the Musical, which features music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and a book by Dennis… Read More ›

The Carolina Ballet will present Carmen, choreographed by Robert Weiss, with its score performed live by the Chamber Orchestra of the Triangle, on May 18-21 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium

Carolina Ballet’s Carmen Sizzles, Challenges, Romances, and Entertains

When planning a finale, drama and passion are your friends. You use one to balance the other, you up the ante by throwing everything dramatic into the plot, then you up it one more time by adding a healthy dollop of passion. The Carolina Ballet understands drama and passion. They have employed it during this… Read More ›

Sonorous Road Ends Its Oberlin Road Tenure with Young Jean Lee’s Straight White Men

Note: This script fits perfectly into Sonorous Road Productions’ mission of offering engaging, thought-provoking theater. Merry Christmas! And welcome to Ed’s place! Ed is a widower, Matt (his oldest adult son) has moved back in with him, and Matt’s two brothers (Jake and Drew) have come to visit. They’ll be having a Christmas Eve dinner… Read More ›

Flying Machine’s Curious Accidents & Unintended Consequences Is Improv with a Twist: Funny, Clever, and Heart-Touching

The art of improvisation in theater, while very old, really came to the fore in America with the TV show “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” The form goes back in the BCE period, and has roots in commedia dell’arte, and a nod to The Second City in Chicago. It has been widely seen in recent… Read More ›

DPAC’s Mamma Mia! Dazzles and Delights Audiences (Republished)

*NOTE: This review was republished on May 15, 2017 due to a failure with the Triangle Arts & Entertainment website. Since its premiere in 1999, Mamma Mia, a musical inspired by the music of ABBA, has been a fan favorite, and during its farewell tour at DPAC, under the direction of Phyllida Lloyd, it’s obvious… Read More ›

Eddie George is shown here with Angel Reda (left) and Jennifer Dunne (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Chicago Razzle-Dazzles DPAC Again May 12-14!

No matter how many times you hear the familiar “Razzle Dazzle” or see the iconic Bob Fosse “jazz hands,” you can never get enough of Chicago, now playing at the Durham Performing Arts Center. There’s a reason why this 1920s jail-house musical is the #1 longest-running American musical in Broadway history. It’s delicious. It’s decadent…. Read More ›

Sonorous Road Examines the Privilege of Straight White Men

“I don’t think this is gonna be a good conversation.” Political debate around the dinner table is inadvisable. At best, it leads to indigestion. At worst, relationships are irreparably damaged.   Sonorous Road Productions’ final mainstage show at its Oberlin Road location (they move to Hillsborough street next month) is the regional premiere of Straight… Read More ›

Eddie George, shown here with the Ladies Ensemble, stars as Billy Flynn (photo by Jeremy Daniel)

Eddie George Will Star as Defense Attorney Billy Flynn in Chicago on May 12-14 at DPAC

Football great Eddie George will star as ultra-slick and completely unscrupulous criminal defense attorney Billy Flynn in the razzle-dazzling U.S. Tour of Chicago that will put the roar back in the Roaring Twenties for five divinely decadent performances on May 12-14 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. The 43-year-old Philadelphia, PA native previously played Flynn… Read More ›

Kings Raleigh Served CAKE on May 5th, and It Was Delicious, with Four Different Flavors

“Give me a C! Give me an A! Give me a K! Give me an E!” The CAKE Comedy Tour, which played Kings Raleigh on Friday, May 5th, started out in 2012 as “The Pink Collar Comedy Tour.” These are four upbeat, energetic, smart female comics who pull out all stops to make their audience… Read More ›

Jon (Michael Brocki) is lost in memories of his late wife Tess (Lenore Field) (photo by Alan Dehmer)

Rewriting the Future in Manbites Dog’s Marjorie Prime

“Why don’t you tell me a little more about myself?” When I was seven years old, my brother, a deaf child of three, ran off. The entire neighborhood jumped into action as sunset approached. Some local boys jumped on a muddy fourwheeler and began tearing around the neighborhood to find him as Mom cried and… Read More ›

The Characterizations in A Piece of My Heart at RLT Are Clear and Emotionally Stirring

Raleigh Little Theatre closes its Sutton Series with a subset series concerning “Women and War,” the first play of which, A Piece of My Heart by Shirley Lauro, based on the 1985 book by Keith Walker, opened Friday, May 5th, in RLT‘s Gaddy-Goodwin Teaching Theatre. This has been an infrequently treated aspect of war until… Read More ›

The farewell tour of Mamma Mia!, now playing at DPAC, stars (center, from left) Cashelle Butler as Tanya, Betsy Padamonsky as Donna, and Sarah Smith as Rosie (photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia)

Can’t Stand Another Day of the News? "Take a Chance" on Mamma Mia! at DPAC

Mamma Mia!, running May 5-7 at the Durham Performing Arts Center, might just be the antidote for the poison of our currently reality. Its earwig ABBA songbook harkens back to a time when ridiculous hair and neon orange were just harmless fashion trends; and if love wasn’t exactly free, it was still very reasonable. The… Read More ›

Triangle theatergoers will have the time of their lives at Mamma Mia! (photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia)

Here We Go Again … The Mamma Mia! Farewell Tour Will Play Five Shows at DPAC on May 5-7

“Mamma mia, here [we] go again/My my, how can [we] resist you?” The North American “farewell tour” of the global musical sensation Mamma Mia! is returning to the Durham Performing Arts Center for five high-octane performances on May 5-7. This 1999 West End and 2001 Broadway mega-hit, which features a book by Catherine Johnson and… Read More ›

The North American farewell tour of Mamma Mia! stars (from left) Cashelle Butler as Tanya, Betsy Padamonsky as Donna, and Sarah Smith as Rosie (photo by Kevin Thomas Garcia)

Mamma Mia! Hits the DPAC Stage on Friday, May 5th

  Mamma Mia!, the smash hit musical, opens Friday, May 5 at Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC). The musical, based on the songs of ABBA and followed by a hit film of the same name in 2008, is much-loved, making this event a super-exciting happening for fans of the franchise. We were lucky enough to… Read More ›

Meredith College’s DanceWorks 2017 and Its Effect(s) on Me

It could have been a success. Or a catastrophe. I could have left with white knuckles. Or crippling ennui. This is the way with any performance I attend. Of course, I hope every show will be perfect. For the artists’ sake as much as my own. But dance concerts are a real crap-shoot. Last weekend,… Read More ›

The N.C. Opera’s Production of The Pearl Fishers Features Divine Costumes and Stupendous Sets

Georges Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers premiered in Paris in 1863. The story is set in ancient Ceylon; and the action revolves around two fishermen, Nadir and Zurga, played by John Bellemer and Jarrett Ott in the current North Carolina Opera production. Zurga has just become the village chief, and Nadir has just come back to… Read More ›

Harnett Regional Theatre Offers Up a Charming Version of Annie

Everyone knows the story of Annie, the optimistic orphan who finds a home all her own, as told by Thomas Meehan. However, Harnett Regional Theatre has breathed new and charming life into this well-loved tale under the fanciful direction of Leanne Bernard and Rachel Strickland. For those few not familiar with the story, it takes… Read More ›

Manbites Dog Theater's production of Marjorie Prime stars Marcia Edmundson as Marjorie and Derrick Ivey as Walter, an artificial intelligence modeled after her late husband (photo by Alan Dehmer)

Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime Is Both Entertaining and Thought-Provoking

There are several nagging questions that audiences will take away from the new offering at Manbites Dog Theater in Durham, Marjorie Prime. First, “How do we know another person?” Implicitly, “How do we know ourselves?” “How do we know when our life is over?” “How do we know our purpose in life?” “How reliable are… Read More ›

Sassy Alan Cumming Brings Sappy Tunes to Bull City

Read Dustin K. Britt’s preview of Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs. Backstage at Studio 54, after a performance of the 2014 revival of Cabaret (his second time in the role) lead actor Alan Cumming is hosting a miniature party. A neon sign identifies his dressing room as “Club Cumming.” Celebrities and close friends sneak backstage… Read More ›

The cast includes (from left) Page Purgar, Morrisa Nagel, Gilly Conklin, Alison Lawrence, and Kirsten Ehlert

Rod Rich Sets a Brisk Pace for the Tightly Focused Scenes of Love, Loss, and What I Wore

It has been said that “Clothes make the man.” But let’s be less gender-specific and theorize: “Clothes make the person.” Love, Loss, and What I Wore, the latest offering of Actors Comedy Lab and North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, solidly supports that theory. Written by sisters Nora Ephron and Delia Ephron, based on Ilene… Read More ›

The Towne Players will stage A.R Gurney's Sylvia, starring Maribeth McCarthy, at 8 p.m. April 28th and 2 p.m. April 29th in Garner Performing Arts Center

Come! Sit! Stay! for The Towne Players’ Production of Sylvia by A.R. Gurney

Even if you had no clue that A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia is about a dog, it would take roughly 15 seconds from lights-up to discern that Maribeth McCarthy’s character in the current Towne Players of Garner production is, indeed, a dog. Her high-energy portrayal is that accurate and that intense. You would also very quickly learn… Read More ›

The Towne Players will stage A.R Gurney's Sylvia, starring Maribeth McCarthy, at 8 p.m. April 28th and 2 p.m. April 29th in Garner Performing Arts Center

The Towne Players of Garner Hit A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia Out of the Park

The Towne Players of Garner have hit another one out of the park with their current production of Sylvia by A.R. Gurney, one the country’s more prolific playwrights. In this work, Gurney examines the relationship between pets and owners, with a farcically wry humor and discomforting psychology. Atbthe start of the play, Greg brings home… Read More ›

Alan Cumming Will Sing Sappy Songs at DPAC on Thursday, April 27

Did you ever ask a kid what they wanted to be when they grew up? You probably got one or two answers. A young Alan Cumming must have had about a dozen. You likely know him from one of two places: CBS’s The Good Wife or the 1998 Broadway revival of the musical sensation Cabaret…. Read More ›

Lean In and Brace Yourself for Ward Theatre Company’s Revival

Don’t think. What are you feeling right now? At this very moment and place. That feeling has more influence on your behavior than any conscious thought. Sanford Meisner would say that to be an effective actor, that premise must guide one’s every move. In 1935, Meisner introduced a set of exercises designed to bring an… Read More ›

The PRC production of My Fair Lady stars (from left) Ray Dooley as Colonel Pickering, PRC newcomer Mia Pinero as Eliza Doolittle, and Jeffrey Blair Cornell as Henry Higgins (photo by Jon Gardiner)

The Fairest of Ladies

PlayMakers Repertory Company once again has produced a spectacular performance in their rendition of the classic My Fair Lady. It is clear that the cast was chosen carefully not only to portray each character perfectly, but also to display a unique chemistry between themselves. Mia Pinero performed splendidly in her PlayMakers debut, her voice alone… Read More ›

Jesus (Aleks Pevec) shares the Last Supper with his disciples (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

NCT Masterfully Resurrects Jesus Christ Superstar

It is 1971 and we have a new Broadway musical in which Mary Magdalene lusts for Jesus, an African-American actor plays a sympathetic Judas Iscariot, there is no resurrection scene, and the score is full-on rock-and-roll. Jesus Christ Superstar earned more than its fair share of protesters from the Religious Right upon its opening. But… Read More ›