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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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›

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 ›