Triangle Arts and Entertainment – News and Reviews Theatre Dance Music Arts

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Guys and Dolls at the Cary Art Center Is a Classic Musical That’s Still Fresh and Fun

For all the best reasons, Guys and Dolls ranks right up there among America’s best-loved musicals. The music sparkles, the lyrics and dialogue are quintessentially American, the stories are just complex enough to pull our interest, and the characters are usually people that we can care deeply for. In this show, most of them are… Read More ›

Cary Players’ Rendition of Guys and Dolls Has All the Pieces, But Not Enough Glue

It is said that you cannot get service that is simultaneously good, fast, and cheap. You can have it good and fast, but it will not be cheap. You can have it fast and cheap, but it will not be good. You can have it good and cheap, but it will not be fast. During… Read More ›

Melinda Whittington and Edward Parks star as Ada and Inman in Cold Mountain (photo by Eric Waters)

Jennifer Higdon’s 2015 Opera, Cold Mountain, Surpasses the 1997 Novel and the 2003 Film

We love opera. The larger-than-life voices, the costumes, and the stories. When we go to the opera, we expect a certain amount of grandeur. Yet, even with these high expectations, when we walked into Memorial Hall at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and first laid eyes on the stage, we were both… Read More ›

Queenie and Peanut, two lifesize elephant puppets created by Significant Object, are a main attraction for Circus 1903

Ooh and Aah and Laugh Like You’re a Kid Again at Circus 1903 at DPAC Through Sunday

One of my favorite childhood memories is when the circus came to the small Kansas town where I grew up. They showed up out of nowhere; and within an hour, every kid in the neighborhood was transfixed, watching strangers create a colorful city on what had been an empty field. By sunset, the air was… Read More ›

Bert V. Royal’s Dog Sees God at NRACT Is Funny, Touching, and Thought-Provoking, a Bit Shocking, But Ultimately Uplifting

There comes a time in all of our lives when we encounter a profound and immutable truth: comic-strip characters simply never age! Indeed, Charlie Brown (and the rest of Charles M. Schultz’s Peanuts characters) appeared on the scene in the 1950s as elementary-school-aged children and remained in that age group for half a century. But… Read More ›

The Durham Performing Arts Center will kick off its 2017-18 SunTrust Broadway Series Circus 1903 on Sept. 26-Oct. 1

Circus 1903 Offers Fun for the Whole Family

Most people have been to the circus. But, no one alive today has been to the type of circuses held in 1903…until now. Onstage at Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), presented by MagicSpace Entertainment, is a new kind of show, one aptly called Circus 1903: The Golden Age of Circus. And, while Circus 1903 might not be… Read More ›

Raleigh Room Escapes Scares Up a Different Kind of Theatre

We are at a gas station near downtown Raleigh attempting to rehydrate. We’re sweaty, breathless, and debriefing on what the hell happened back there. Pressing an ice-cold gatorade to my neck, I ask, “you wanna go again?” “Only if it’s a different room,” my partner answers, unscrewing a bottle of water. “That was too stressful…. Read More ›

Circus 1903 features mother and baby elephant puppets, created by Significant Object (photo by Martin Olmann)

Circus 1903 Will Recreate Acts from the Golden Age of Circus on Sept. 26-Oct. 1 at DPAC

To kick off its stellar 2017-18 SunTrust Broadway Series, the Durham Performing Arts Center invites Triangle theatergoers to step right up and enjoy the thrills and chills — under the Big Top — of eight performances of Circus 1903: The Golden Age of Circus on Sept. 26-Oct. 1. This captivating recreation of an old-timey, turn-of-the-century… Read More ›

Sandi Toksvig’s Silver Lining Is a Fun Show

Peony Productions director Pam McClure hastens to inform us, both in her director’s notes and in her preshow remarks, that the decision to produce this show was taken before the spate of natural catastrophes that have been experienced of late. During those life-threatening (and deadly) events, the phenomenon of forgotten elderly people has been also… Read More ›

Barbara Field’s Playing with Fire (After Frankenstein) at TIP Is a Hot One

Barbara Field’s Playing with Fire (After Frankenstein) belongs to the literary category that I refer to as the “But What Happened Next?” genre. Many such works can be tedious and unsatisfying, but this one is very interesting. Indeed, it was quite fun to watch the Sept. 22nd opening-night performance of Theatre in the Park’s production,… Read More ›

Moonlight Stage Co.’s First Full-Length Play, Seascape with Sharks and Dancer, Is a Winner

One of the perks of attending a good performance of a good play is this: you leave the theater with this warm feeling that you have gotten to know some real people — you have had enough of a glimpse into their character that you feel that you know “what makes them tick.” This was… Read More ›

The "Visitor from Philadelphia" segment of the Forest Moon Theater's production of California Suite stars (from left) Danny Mullins, Ashley Jones, and Karen Marchuska (photo by David Leone)

Forest Moon Theater’s California Suite Is a "Sweet" Source of Laughs and Smiles

Picture this: In the distant future, archeologists unearth copies of Neil Simon’s work. With only these scripts as artifacts, future historians assume that ours was a society steeped in wit, that lightning-fast banter, seasoned with sarcasm, was the norm of our time. Understandable. But for all the fun and laughter contained in California Suite, that… Read More ›

Honest Pint Theatre Company and Sweet Tea Shakespeare Brew Up a Delightful King Lear

The grandeur of William Shakespeare’s King Lear is almost universally recognized. English Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley referred to it as “the most perfect specimen of dramatic poetry existing in the world.” Early 20th century English literary critic A.C. Bradley referred to it as “Shakespeare’s greatest achievement.” A play this great deserves a production of… Read More ›

Julia Gibson stars as Della in The Cake by UNC alumna Bekah Brunstetter (photo by HuthPhoto)

The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter Is Charming and Surprising, with a Superb Cast of Four

The Fall theater season has begun in earnest in the Triangle, and PlayMakers Repertory Company has started its mainstage season right with the regional premiere of Bekah Brunstetter’s new play, The Cake. Brunstetter, who is a writer and co-producer of NBC’s acclaimed This Is Us television series, is a University of North Carolina at Chapel… Read More ›

The Cake stars Christine Mirzayan (left) as Macy and Julia Gibson as Della (photo by HuthPhoto)

PlayMakers Repertory Company’s Production of The Cake Is a Sweet Slice of Life That Delicately Tackles Tough Issues

PlayMakers Repertory Company opened its newest season, a season it has dubbed as “on the edge,” with an appropriately edgy but surprisingly sweet new show, written by Bekah Brunstetter. The show, The Cake, opens on an adorable, detailed bakery set. The bakery is full of delightful cakes and has a checkered floor and splashes of… Read More ›

Old and New Carolina Ballet Stars Twinkle Brightly in The Ugly Duckling and Three Other Ballets in A.J. Fletcher Opera Theater

The 20th season of the Carolina Ballet of Raleigh, NC might prove to be its most interesting one yet, artistic director Robert Weiss told the audience on opening night of The Ugly Duckling. “We have a mix of new and old,” he reported. Ballets in the 2017-18 season include the gorgeous Weiss-choreographed Messiah; the Valentine’s… Read More ›

The Cake stars Christine Mirzayan (left) as Macy and Julia Gibson as Della (photo by HuthPhoto)

Faith and Family Collide in Bekah Brunstetter’s Ripped-from-the-Headlines Drama The Cake

PlayMakers Repertory Company will kick off its 2017-18 mainstage season with the regional premiere of The Cake, written by Los Angeles, CA playwright Bekah Brunstetter and directed by Minneapolis, MN director Jeffrey Meanza, on Sept. 13-17, 19-22, and 24 and Sept. 26-Oct. 1 on the thrust stage of the Paul Green Theatre in the University… Read More ›

Nine-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis earned an Oscar® nomination for playing Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild

Lost Bayou Ramblers and N.C. Symphony Spiced Up Beasts of the Southern Wild at Duke

A conductor stands at attention. Before him are 25 of the North Carolina Symphony’s finest. To his right sits a row of six musicians that look more like Mumford & Sons than Stravinsky. Silence. On the film screen behind the orchestra bursts a cityscape, with a golden beam of light streaking across it. Duke Performances… Read More ›

Shakespeare’s Epic Tragedy King Lear Gets a Tour-de-Force Performance in Raleigh

Honest Pint Theatre Company (Raleigh) and Sweet Tea Shakespeare (Fayetteville) have combined forces and talents to produce King Lear, tragic dysfunctional-family story of father and daughters, mendacity, betrayal, greed, along with loyalty and love. Leggett Theater at William Peace University hosts this long dramatic presentation of The Bard’s saga of an old man’s insanity. The… Read More ›

Honest Pint and Sweet Tea Shakespeare Get to the Heart of The Bard’s King Lear

The word heart appears in William Shakespeare’s canon around 1,400 times. A record-breaking 58 instances occur in King Lear. That’s more than either Romeo and Juliet or all 154 of Shakespeare’s sonnets. King Lear rarely references the organ literally. Characters are empty-hearted, true-hearted, honest-hearted, marble-hearted, dog-hearted, heart-struck, or even a sweet-heart. Director Jeremy Fiebig is… Read More ›

Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite at Holly Springs Is a Fine Show That Deserves a Longer Run

Neil Simon’s God’s Favorite, presented Sept. 7-9 by Stageworks Theatre of Holly Springs and MyComputerCareer.edu at the Holly Springs Cultural Center, opened for a one-weekend stint this Thursday, and will close at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday. God’s Favorite is a quirky play, even for Simon; and it has been updated from its 1974 Broadway version… Read More ›

Rock of Ages at Koka Booth in Cary Is Caught in Between Musical Theater and Rock Concert

It was a comfortable 72 degrees last evening in North Carolina, and I’m sliding my way to my second-row seat — Mountain Dew in one hand, funnel cake in the other. The sun set as both lawn chairs and beer cans are popped open in anticipation of a raucous night of rock music. From the… Read More ›

Glam Metal Hits from the 1980s Propel Rock of Ages into the Jukebox-Musical Stratosphere

For four high-octane outdoor performances on Sept. 7-10, Glam metal hits from the 1980s will propel Theatre Raleigh and the Koka Booth Amphitheatre’s joint presentation of the blockbuster 2005 Los Angeles, 2006 Las Vegas, 2008 Off-Broadway, 2009 Broadway, and 2011 West End jukebox musical Rock of Ages into musical stratosphere. This local production of Rock… Read More ›

The Bare Theatre cast for ShakesBEER (from left: Tara Nicole Williams, Kyle Mears, Natalie Sherwood, and J. Robert Raines) sail to Illyria to visit characters from Twelfth Night (photo by Robert Davezac)

Bare Theatre’s Peripatetic ShakesBEER Is an Hour or So of Nonstop Laughter

It has been said that William Shakespeare wrote for every “level” in his audience, that he “aimed” certain elements to the “upper-crust” and certain elements to “the masses.” I believe the same thing can be said for Shakespeare’s modern-day “collaborator Chuck Keith. Who says you can’t update Shakespeare? ShakesBEER, produced by Bare Theatre at “various… Read More ›

ShakesBEER Is a Great Time, with Singing, Fights, "Yo Momma" Battles, and Comedy Galore

Have you ever wanted to hang out with Falstaff and the gang, whenever they performed skits in Boar’s Head Inn? With Bare Theatre’s ShakesBEER by William Shakespeare and Chuck Keith that’s just what you get to see. At the performance that I saw at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, the audience got to watch as a… Read More ›

Lynnette Barber stars as Mother Shaw in Raleigh Little Theatre's production of Crowns (photo by Brenna Lila Jane Berry-Stewart)

Regina Taylor’s Crowns at RLT Is the Best Musical That I’ve Seen in Years

When I went to see Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of Crowns by Regina Taylor, I didn’t know quite what to expect; but what I found was that it was the best musical I’d seen in years. When I think about musical theater, I usually think about sadness. I think about ballads about death, about fighting… Read More ›

Raleigh Little Theatre will present Regina Taylor's gospel musical Crowns on Aug. 31-Sept. 3 and Sept 7-10 in RLT's Cantey V. Sutton Theatre (photo by Areon Mobasher Photography)

We Tip Our Hats to Everyone Involved with Crowns at Raleigh Little Theatre

There’s generally a whole lot of spirit to be found on the stages of Raleigh Little Theatre. At the moment, however, there’s a literal revelation, as director Terra Hodge takes us to church by way of Regina Taylor’s 2002 gospel musical Crowns. The story centers on a young African-American girl, Yolanda, who has lost her… Read More ›

Edward O'Blenis (right) stars as Richmond in Count (photo by HuthPhoto)

Count’s Six Highly Skilled Actors Create a Chillingly Real Death-Row Pod at PRC

A couple of interesting statistics before we get started: there are about 2,843 people on death rows in the United States, including 154 of them in North Carolina and 63 of them in Federal prisons. In 2016, according to a May 2017 article published by The Sentencing Project of Washington, DC, there were 162,000 people… Read More ›

PlayMakers Rep mainstay Jeffrey Blair Cornell (left) stars as Maine in Count (photo by HuthPhoto)

Lynden Harris’ Count Is an Engaging New Play, Set on a Maximum-Security Prison’s Death Row

Last night, PlayMakers Repertory Company opened its 2017-18 season with Count: Stories from America’s Death Rows, an engaging new play written by Lynden Harris and directed by Kathryn Hunter-Williams. This world premiere is a PRC2 second-stage production in the Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre on University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus. Count, which is… Read More ›

The cast of Count by Lynden Harris includes (from left) Chris Berry as Kansas City, Richard McDonald as Whitehouse, Gil Faison as Brownsville, and Brian D. Coates as Long Beach (photo by HuthPhoto)

On Aug. 23-27, Lynden Harris’ Count Will Depict a Day in the Life of Six Men on Death Row

PlayMakers Repertory Company will kick off its 2017-18 season on Aug. 23-27 with a world-premiere PRC2 second-stage production of Count: Stories from America’s Death Rows, written by Hidden Voices founder Lynden Harris, directed by PlayMakers Rep veteran Kathryn Hunter-Williams, and co-produced with Hidden Voices, which describes itself on its website as “a radically inclusive, participatory,… Read More ›