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TheatreFEST 2017’s Hay Fever at N.C. State Is a 1920’s British Version of "The Bickersons"

N.C. University Theatre’s production of Noël Coward’s Hay Fever, presented as part of TheatreFEST 2017, under the direction of John C. McIlwee, is a fast-paced laugh-fest. Imagine you have made plans to spend a relaxed weekend at your country estate and have invited one or two guests to join you in this pleasant, quiet endeavor…. Read More ›

Lynda Clark as Diana Vreeland Takes Audiences on a Roller-Coaster Ride of Emotions in Full Gallop

Lynda Clark as Diana Vreeland Takes TheatreFEST 2017 Audiences on a Roller-Coaster Ride of Emotions in Full Gallop

N.C. University Theatre’s TheatreFEST 2017 production of Full Gallop, written by Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson, is a one-woman show about the life of the iconic Diana Vreeland (1903-89). She was born Diana Dalziel in Paris, France, circa 1903; and she later became the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine. The play takes place in New… Read More ›

Ian L. Finley’s The Greeks Explores the Oedipus Trilogy on June 9-25 at CAM Raleigh

You might already know how Oedipus Rex is going to end. If you do not, but you know what the Freud’s “Oedipus complex” is, you can likely predict the play’s climactic realization. In the mid-Fifth Century BCE, Sophocles — arguably the most celebrated Greek tragedian in history — wrote a trilogy collectively known as the… Read More ›

McQueen & Company’s First-Rate Cast and Crew for Fool for Love Really Deliver

McQueen & Company Theatre might be a new entity in the Triangle theater scene, but their initial show is quite obviously a collaboration of seasoned veterans. Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love calls for raw, gritty characters who interact in a seedy, run-down motel, and this production delivers on both — in spades! Director Andy Hayworth… Read More ›

McQueen & Company’s Inaugural Production, Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, Shows Promise

The newly minted McQueen & Company Theatre has launched its inaugural production, Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love, finalist for the 1984 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. With a flair for social media marketing, a borrowed theater space (Research Triangle High School in Research Triangle Park), and a $3,000 Kickstarter cache, founder-producer Diana Cameron McQueen seems to… Read More ›

Jose Llana and Laura Michelle Kelly star as The King and Anna Leonowens (photo by Matthew Murphy)

DPAC’s The King and I Is a True Classic

Set in the 1860s in Siam, the classic Rogers and Hammerstein’s musical  The King and I recently hit the stage  at DPAC under the direction of Bartlett Sher. The musical, based on the novel Anna and the King of Siam, tells the story of Anna (Laura Michelle Kelly), a widowed woman who has been brought… Read More ›

Anna Leonowenss (Laura Michelle Kelly) teaches the Royal Children (photo by Matthew Murphy)

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I at DPAC Looks and Sounds Gorgeous, But Its Racial Stereotypes Are Troubling in 2017

In April 2017, the Twitterverse exploded with outrage when Pepsi® created a socially tone-deaf TV ad in which Kendall Jenner seemingly solved the pandemic of police brutality by handing a police officer a soda. People cried “Wasn’t there a meeting? Did no one suggest that this might be offensive? Am I the only one paying… Read More ›

Bare Theatre’s EverScape Respawns at the New Sonorous Road Studio

respawn (v.): to re-enter gameplay after being killed. EverScape, by triangle native Allan Maule, made its regional premiere last October, having been a smash hit at the New York Fringe Festival. Bare Theatre co-produced a remounted EverScape as the inaugural production in the new Sonorous Theatre and Film Studio location on Hillsborough Street. The crew… Read More ›

RLT Ends its Season with the Crowd-Pleasing Avenue Q

Opening on Broadway in 2003, Avenue Q features a book by Jeff Whitty (Bring it On: The Musical) and score by Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx (The Book of Mormon, Disney’s Frozen). The sleeper hit surprised Tony® viewers by beating out mega-musical Wicked for Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Score. Given its puppeteering demands,… Read More ›

Refreshing, Pleasant, and Utterly Enjoyable, Theatre Raleigh’s Smokey Joe’s Café Is a Nice Change of Pace

Smokey Joe’s Café, onstage now through Theatre Raleigh and directed by Julia Murney, is a true musical revue- meaning it features short vignettes, none of them related to one another, that go along with songs. In this case, the songs in question are 39 hits from Leiber and Stoller. And, while the songs are somewhat… Read More ›

Theatre Raleigh’s Rendition of Smokey Joe’s Café Is a Spectacular Toe-Tapping, Rib-Tickling, Wow-Wasn’t-That-Great Kinda Show

Picture this: You are looking back at the 1950s, a time when doo-wop had taken the world by storm. It was a time when the girls wore tailored dresses and the men wore belts and jackets. (Belts!) You are looking at the cement stoops of some brownstones, lights on in some of the windows. On… Read More ›

Bartlett Theater will perform a site-specific production of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull May 20-June 4

Bartlett Theater’s Outdoor Staging of The Seagull Is Inventive, Funny, Moving, and Thoroughly Entertaining — a Must See

I am walking up a gravel driveway, a playbill and a church-style hand fan in tow. To my left is an elegant home with a front porch running the length of the house front and a perfectly manicured lawn. To my right is a sprawling green meadow with a tree line in the distance. I… Read More ›

Ghost: The Musical at NRACT Blooms Gloriously in Performance

Ghost: The Musical, with music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard and book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin, opened Friday night at the North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre (NRACT). This musical, which came out in 2011, is, of course, based on the Paramount Pictures 1990 movie, Ghost, starring Whoopi Goldberg, Demi… Read More ›

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

Matilda the Musical Has Lots to Love

Onstage now through Broadway Series South and the North Carolina Theatre, under the direction of Matthew Warchus, Matilda, based on the book of the same name by Roald Dahl, is just as fabulous as ever. And, while diehard fans of the original story might be surprised to learn that some features of the original story- such… Read More ›

Ghost: The Musical at NRACT Is Haunting

If you have not yet ventured up to the North Raleigh Arts and Creative Theatre, what are you waiting for? You are truly missing out on some amazing theater. Friday’s opening-night performance of Ghost: The Musical was my third visit to NRACT, and each visit is more impressive than the last. I will admit I… Read More ›

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

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›