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Intimate Apparel stars Rasool Jahan and Myles Bullock as Esther and George (photo by Jon Gardiner)

Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel at PlayMakers Rep Is a Story About Intimacy, Not Lingerie — About Hopes, Longing, and Pain

As the name suggests, Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage is a very personal drama about love and relationships, hope, desire, and dreams. It follows the story of Esther, played by Rasool Jahan in the current PlayMakers Repertory Company production, directed by Raelle Myrick-Hodges. Esther is a hardworking yet plain African-American seamstress who creates fashionable lingerie… Read More ›

Jim O'Brien (on left in center photo) and Michael Dunavan star as Al Lewis and Willie Clark in The Towne Players' production of The Sunshine Boys (photos by Ken Hall)

Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys Shines Brightly at the Garner Performing Arts Center

The Towne Players of Garner’s production of Neil Simon’s 1972 Broadway hit The Sunshine Boys is a solid evening of entertainment, which will complete its all-too-brief two-week run on Feb. 3rd and 4th at the Garner Performing Arts Center. Simon’s script is rife with one-liners, witty exchanges, slapstick routines, and sight-gags. Towne Players artistic director… Read More ›

Tom McCleister and Sarah Hankins star as Alex and Georgie (photo by Right Image Photography, Inc.)

Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg at Burning Coal Is an Intelligent Antidote to Love Story Cliché

A monolithic black wall. In silver, a slender, curving integral sign (∫) reaches from floor to ceiling. Its twin is on the floor of the playing space. The integral sign is a calculus operation that determines the characteristics of a variable as it changes over time. It features heavily in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which… Read More ›

You’re Invited to the Immersive, Uproarious Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding at Cypress Manor

You are seated in Vinnie Black’s Chapel of Love. It is precisely as tacky as it sounds. The Wedding March begins, and you look over your shoulder. The wedding party is coming down the aisle: a sassy grandma, a flamboyant go-go boy, a slightly goofy Southern priest, a nerdy sci-fi/fantasy girl, a pissed-off pregnant bridesmaid,… Read More ›

Rasool Jahan (left) and Shanelle Nicole Leonard star as Esther and Mayme (photo by Jon Gardiner)

Intimate Apparel at PlayMakers Repertory Company Chronicles a Black Seamstress’ Quest for Love and Respect in New York in 1905

PlayMakers Repertory Company will present Intimate Apparel, Brooklyn, NY African-American playwright Lynn Nottage’s prize-winning 2004 Off-Broadway play about the life and loves of a middle-aged African-American seamstress named Esther Mills, who lives in New York City at the dawn of the 20th century, on Jan. 25-29 and Jan. 31-Feb. 5 and Feb. 7-12 in the… Read More ›

Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding Is a Marvelous, Interactive, Improvisational Entertainment at Cypress Manor at Cary

This weekend, we attended a wedding, mounted and staged by The Pirate Stage Company LLC, at the Cypress Manor at Cary. No indication was made, as we gathered in the rustic-appearing venue, that we were attending anything other than a regular old wedding between two young Italian-American lovebirds. The funniest thing about Tony n’ Tina’s… Read More ›

Sarah Hankins and Tom McCleister star as Georgie and Alex (photo by Right Image Photography, Inc.)

Burning Coal’s Heisenberg Has Promise but Lacks Passion

Simon Stephens’ Heisenberg, onstage now at Burning Coal Theatre Company under the direction of Emily Ranii, is a sort of poor man’s Harold and Maude. It is a story of what happens when a woman in her 40s, Georgie Burns (Sarah Hankins), forcefully wheedles herself into the life of a much older man, Alex Priest… Read More ›

Carter Calvert (left) and Sally Struthers will star at NCT as charttopper Patsy Cline and her number-one fan, Louise Seger (photo by Jay Goldsmith for the 2012 Ogunquit Playhouse production)

NCT’s Always… Patsy Cline Is Friendship Set to Music and a Fantastically Entertaining Show

Friday night, there were a lot of Patsy Cline fans enjoying award-winning actresses Sally Struthers and Carter Calvert in the North Carolina Theatre‘s production of Always… Patsy Cline, which opened on Jan. 20th in Raleigh’s A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater. It is not surprising that the show appeals to Cline’s loyal fans, but I urge you… Read More ›

Sarah Hankins and Tom McCleister star as Georgie and Alex (photo by Right Image Photography, Inc.)

Emily Ranii’s Staging of Heisenberg at Burning Coal Couldn’t Be Better

Introduced first in 1927 by the German physicist Werner Heisenberg (1901-76), the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle states that the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be known, and vice versa. Or to put it another way, the more one focuses on an object, the less you know… Read More ›

Carter Calvert (left) and Sally Struthers will star at NCT as charttopper Patsy Cline and her number-one fan, Louise Seger (photo by Jay Goldsmith for the 2012 Ogunquit Playhouse production)

Sally Struthers and Carter Calvert Will Star in Ted Swindley’s 1997 Off-Broadway Hit, Always… Patsy Cline, on Jan. 20-29 at NCT

Broadway and national and international tour veteran Carter Calvert (It Ain’t Nothin’ But the Blues) and fellow Broadway veteran Sally Struthers, who won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy or Comedy-Variety or Music Series in 1972 and 1979 for playing Gloria Bunker Stivic in Norman Lear’s groundbreaking CBS television sitcom… Read More ›

Emily Anderson (left) and Skylar Gudasz star as Orlando and Sasha in Orlando by Sarah Ruhl

Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando at Manbites Dog Is Comedic, Queer, and Contemplative

In the Russian tradition of Stanislavski, the actor says, “I will tell you a story about me.” In the German tradition of Brecht, the actor says, “I will tell you a story about them.” In the Vietnamese tradition, the actor says, “You and I will tell each other a story about all of us.” From… Read More ›

Phillip Bernard Smith stars as Simon in RLT's production of The Whipping Man (photo by David Watts)

Raleigh Little Theatre’s Production of The Whipping Man Demands Witness

When Israel was in Egypt’s land: Let my people go, Oppress’d so hard they could not stand, Let my People go. Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt’s land, Tell old Pharaoh, Let my people go. Negro Spiritual It is April 10, 1865. Yesterday, in the Virginian village of Appomattox, Confederate Army Gen. Robert E…. Read More ›

RLT’s The Whipping Man is Gritty, Gripping, and Important

Set in April of 1865, Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man, onstage now at Raleigh Little Theatre under the direction of Patrick Torres, is a gritty and gripping emotional drama. The intimate show focuses on the intertwined lives of three Jewish men: Caleb (Ryan Ladue), a wounded southern soldier; sagacious Simon (Phillip Bernard Smith), a recently… Read More ›

Emily Anderson (left) and Skylar Gudasz star as Orlando and Sasha in Orlando by Sarah Ruhl

Orlando at Manbites Dog Bends Genders Like Gumby

One of the reasons classic literature and drama exists is because it works on a number of different levels; and each time you read/watch/visualize/experience that classic piece, you are able to see yet another aspect of it that you might have missed previously. Virginia Woolf is one of those masterful writers who not only writes… Read More ›

Nicole Villamil will star Brian Mertes and Jim Findlay's workshop production of De Profundis on Jan. 11-15

PlayMakers Rep’s De Profundis Is a Work-in-Progress That Might Just Be "Your Cup of Tea"

PlayMakers Repertory Company’s PRC2 series is hosting a new work this weekend: De Profundis, co-created by Brian Mertes and Jim Findlay, directed by Mertes, designed by Findlay, and performed by Nicole Villamil. This piece would be more aptly referred to as “performance art,” rather than a “play.” It chronicles a performer’s attempts to approach a… Read More ›

Nicole Villamil will star in Brian Mertes and Jim Findlay's workshop production of De Profundis Jan. 11-15 at PlayMakers Rep (photo by Ken Huth)

PlayMakers Repertory Company’s De Profundis Is Unquestionably a Work-in-Progress

1897. A Prison in Berkshire, England. Solitary Confinement. Oscar Wilde writes a letter — 80 pages over 80 days — to his lover, Lord Alfred Douglas. 1905. Oscar Wilde has been dead for five years. A former lover, Robbie Ross, has the letter published. He assigns it the title De Profundis (Latin for “From the… Read More ›

Nicole Villamil will star Brian Mertes and Jim Findlay's workshop production of De Profundis on Jan. 11-15

Brian Mertes and Jim Findlay Will Workshop De Profundis on Jan. 11-15 at PlayMakers Rep

On Jan. 11-15, PlayMakers Repertory Company will present a PRC2 workshop production of De Profundis, an original play co-conceived by director Brian Mertes and designer Jim Findlay and starring Nicole Villamil, in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre in the University of North Carolina’s Center for Dramatic Art. De Profundis, which is Latin for “from the… Read More ›

South Stream Productions’ Blackbird Takes Flight at Sonorous Road Theatre

South Stream Productions has another hit on its hands with Blackbird, a powerful examination of an inappropriate relationship between Ray, a 40-year-old man, and Una, a 12-year-old child, who was the daughter of a neighbor. From the first scene, the audience is uncomfortably riveted as these two characters navigate through an extremely awkward encounter many… Read More ›

John Honeycutt and Katie Barrett sparkle in Blackbird (photo by Jennifer Sanderson)

John Honeycutt and Katie Barrett Give Tour-de-Force Performances in Blackbird

South Stream Productions raises questions, questions, questions. Playwright David Harrower lives up to his name with a crushing journey through a scarily delicate topic. Blackbird is a play that premiered at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2005. (It is reported the play’s title comes from having the song “Bye Bye, Blackbird” playing as Harrower wrote… Read More ›

South Stream Productions’ Blackbird Is an Emotional Roller-Coaster

South Stream Productions’ Blackbird, a 2005 one-act drama by Scottish playwright and screenwriter David Harrower, is inspired by the 2002 abduction of a 12-year-old British girl by a former U.S. Marine. The subject of Harrower’s play is an intense reunion between a sex offender and his former victim. South Stream Productions’ director and scenic designer… Read More ›

Garen Scribner and Sara Esty star as American painter Jerry Mulligan and French ballerina Lise Dassin in the U.S. tour of An American in Paris, which opens Jan. 3rd at DPAC (photo by Matthew Murphy)

An American in Paris ‘S Wonderful at DPAC Through Jan. 8th

It’s easy to see why An American in Paris was the most-awarded musical of 2015 and the winner of four Tony Awards®. The Durham Performing Arts Center’s presentation of this musical, as part of the current SunTrust Broadway Series, is spectacular, with songs by the indomitable Gershwin Brothers (George and Ira, who won the Oscar®… Read More ›

Sara Esty and Garen Scribner star as French ballerina Lise Dassin and American painter Jerry Mulligan in the touring company of An American in Paris, which opens Jan. 3rd at DPAC (photo by Matthew Murphy)

Dreamy and Wistful, An American in Paris Charms Viewers at DPAC

An American in Paris, onstage now at DPAC under the direction and meticulous choreography of Christopher Wheeldon, seems like it was made for the stage. It features one beautiful song-and-dance number after the next, not to mention wonderfully vibrant characters. Amazingly enough, though, the play is based on the 1951 film of the same name…. Read More ›

Emily Ferranti and Garen Scribner star as wealthy heiress and art connoisseur Milo Davenport and aspiring artist Jerry Mulligan in the U.S. tour of An American in Paris, playing Jan. 3-8 at DPAC (photo by Matthew Murphy)

An American in Paris at DPAC Is a Delightful, Dance-Heavy Musical, "Inspired by" the Film

On Jan. 3-8, the Durham Performing Arts Center will present eight performances of the 2016-17 U.S. Tour of the multiple 2015 Tony Award®-winning musical An American in Paris as part of its current SunTrust Broadway Series. Inspired by the multiple Oscar®-winning 1951 MGM musical An American in Paris, directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Gene… Read More ›

Hayden Stanes and Tatyana Lubov star as Prince Topher and Cinderella (photo © Carol Rosegg)

Tony®-Winning Rodger + Hammerstein’s Cinderella Works Its Magic at DPAC

Last night, both tiny and tall princesses waited patiently in the Durham Performing Arts Center’s lobby to file in for the much-anticipated show of the holiday season: Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, and they were not disappointed. Indeed, they were dazzled by the costumes and sets, delighted by the well-loved characters, charmed by the magical moments,… Read More ›

Final Details Announced for First Night Raleigh 2017

In preparation of New Year’s Eve, Artsplosure announces final preparations for First Night Raleigh 2017, including park-and-ride system and mobile app to help festivalgoers plan RALEIGH, N.C. – Artsplosure, the presenter of First Night Raleigh, today released final details to help festivalgoers plan their evening with ease. With a park-and-ride system supported by the GoRaleigh… Read More ›

Tatyana Lubov and Hayden Stanes star as Ella and Prince Topher (photo © Carol Rosegg)

Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella at DPAC Features a New Book, New Songs, and Beaucoup Magic

This weekend, Summit, NJ-based Work Light Productions’ Second National Tour of the award-winning 2013 Broadway production of Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella will play the five enchanted evening and matinee performances on Dec. 30-Jan. 1 at the Durham Performing Arts Center, in the American Tobacco Historic District of downtown Durham. Originally written as a television special… Read More ›

The Justice Theater Project’s Production of Black Nativity Will Take You to Church

Written by Harlem Renaissance author Langston Hughes, Black Nativity premiered Off Broadway in December of 1961. It has since become a holiday staple of schools, churches, and community theaters in countries around the world. The Justice Theatre Project has just mounted its sixth annual production of Black Nativity on Dec. 17-19 in Stewart Theatre in… Read More ›

WTF’s Cozy New Adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Beloved 1868 Novel Little Women Is “Sensory Friendly”

We assumed that we would have to wait until Summer 2017 for any more work from the Women’s Theatre Festival, founded earlier this year by Ashley Popio. Surprisingly, and thankfully, that proved not to be the case. WTF is staging Little Women: A Holiday Performance and Tea on Dec. 8-11 and 15-18 in Sonorous Road… Read More ›

The outrageous antics of David Wood (right) as Charles Dickens' misanthropic old miser Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol have Theatre in the Park audiences rolling in the aisles

Dustin vs. Dustin on A Christmas Carol at TIP: "We Need to Talk …"

There are two people writing this review. First there is Dustin Britt — the guy who has gone to Theatre in the Park’s musical-comedy version of A Christmas Carol, with his family, every December for the last 27 years. This Dustin values dearly the contribution that writer-actor-director Ira David Wood III’s annual production has made… Read More ›

Carolina Ballet's 15th anniversary production of The Nutcracker is a real crowd-pleaser

The Carolina Ballet’s 15th Anniversary Edition of The Nutcracker Is a Must-See Show

Everyone who makes Carolina Ballet’s annual presentation of The Nutcracker a staple of their holiday festivities comes to the ballet with visions of cupcakes and candy canes dancing in their heads. They were not disappointed by the Carolina Ballet’s 15th anniversary production of their delectable version of the Christmas delight last week at the Durham… Read More ›