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Tag: TIP

Jesse R. Gephart Channels David Sedaris’ Snark, Wit, and Scathing Humor in The SantaLand Diaries at TIP

The SantaLand Diaries by David Sedaris is, perhaps, my favorite short story by a beloved North Carolina author. That’s why I was particularly excited to see Theatre in the Park’s holiday one-man-show The SantaLand Diaries, starring Jesse R. Gephart as David Sedaris and his elfin alter ego, Crumpet. The show, which concludes its two-week run… Read More ›

Hazel S. Edmond, Byron Jennings II, and Ira David Wood IV star in Theatre in the Park's world premiere of Adrienne Earle Pender's N

Adrienne Earle Pender’s N Is Tight and Electric, Another Must-See Production at TIP

Who owns the character — the actor or the playwright? Adrienne Earle Pender’s world premiere of N, now playing at Raleigh, NC’s Theatre in the Park, asks that very question. The play looks at the relationship between playwright Eugene O’Neill and actor Charles Sidney Gilpin in 1920, as they mount O’Neill’s first box office hit,… Read More ›

Hazel S. Edmond, Byron Jennings II, and Ira David Wood IV star in Theatre in the Park's world premiere of Adrienne Earle Pender's N

Art, Ego, and the Weight of a Word: N Is an Important Play at a Pivotal Time

Adrienne Earle Pender’s new play N, playing Feb. 10-26 at Raleigh’s Theatre in the Park, is powerful treatise on art, ego, and how the weight of a single word can crush the human soul. N is the story of Charles Sidney Gilpin, one of the most acclaimed black actors of the 1920’s and his volatile… Read More ›

Most of The SantaLand Diaries Is Engaging, Funny and, Eventually, Quite Moving

Beginning as an essay for NPR’s Morning Edition in 1992, David Sedaris’ The SantaLand Diaries has become a holiday classic in both book and audio formats. Sedaris, who was raised in Raleigh, has made a career of publicly sharing his most humiliating moments with a trademark dry wit. In 1996, a much longer version of… Read More ›

You Absolutely Must See Jesse R. Gephart in The SantaLand Diaries at Theatre in the Park

Even though many of the Triangle’s favorite holiday shows are currently in production, you absolutely must see Theatre in the Park’s The SantaLand Diaries, starring Jesse R. Gephart. The SantaLand Diaries is a stage adaptation by Joe Mantello of an autobiographical essay written by former Raleigh author and humorist David Sedaris, who initially read the… Read More ›

The outrageous antics of David Wood 9right) as Charles Dickens' misanthropic miser Ebenezer Scrooge have TIP audiences rolling inn the aisles

Ira David Wood III’s Christmas Carol Is the Gift That You Unwrap First

Theatre in the Park executive and artistic director Ira David Wood III delivers a sumptuous gift to Triangle theatergoers in this year’s presentation of A Christmas Carol, which runs Dec. 7-11 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and Dec. 15-18 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. Wood’s production is a feast for the senses. Mark Pirolo’s set,… Read More ›

Theatre in the Park will stage Del Shores' Southern Baptist Sissies Sept. 22-25 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre in Raleigh

TIP’s Southern Baptist Sissies Stimulates Plenty of Laughter, Thought, and Feeling

What’s it like to be part of a society that teaches you to hate and reject yourself? You don’t have to be gay to experience this kind of cognitive dissonance. Likewise, you don’t have to be part of a society that is Baptist or even “Southern.” We all experience conflicting pushes and pulls in our… Read More ›

Theatre in the Park's Sept. 22-25 presentation of Del Shores' Southern Baptist Sissies stars (from left) Benoit Sabourin, Thomas Porter, Edward Freeman, and Brent Blakesley (photo by Stephen J. Larson)

Southern Baptist Sissies Provides a Witty, Cathartic Ending for TIP’s Three-Week Run

A mere two weeks ago, Theatre in the Park began its presentation of a trio of plays: Sam Shepard’s True West, which ran Sept. 8-11; John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, which ran Sept. 15-18; and Del Shores’ Southern Baptist Sissies, which runs tonight through Sunday, Sept. 25th. (Please click here to read my reviews of True… Read More ›

Page Purgar and Brian Yandle star in Almost, Maine (photo by Stephen J. Larson)

Almost, Maine at Theatre in the Park Offers Wry Humor, Comedy, Pathos, Drama, and Love

Theatre in the Park is presenting three “plays in repertory,” which in fact is not what that term usually means; but three shows in a row during the month of September are True West by Sam Shepard, which ran Sept. 8-11, Almost, Maine by John Cariani, which is running Sept. 15th through the 18th, and… Read More ›

Brian Yandle (left) and Byron Jennings II star in Almost, Maine (photo by Stephen J. Larson)

Theatre in the Park’s Almost, Maine Is a Delightful Production of a Dreadful Play

Staging three fully-produced plays in three weeks in the same space is an impressive undertaking, especially if the plays are done well. Last week, Theatre in the Park of Raleigh, NC began its presentation of a trio of contemporary plays: Sam Shepard’s True West, which ran Sept. 8-11; John Cariani’s Almost, Maine, which will run… Read More ›

Theatre in the Park's presentation of Hair is completely sold out (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

Theatre in the Park’s Sold-Out Production of Hair Reaches Across Generations

A time of racial strife, a seemingly unending and unpopular war, a contentious political election, a general feeling of doom. Sound familiar? We could say those words described America last week or last month or 10 years ago. Those words also described an equally confused and divided America back in 1967, when Hair debuted Off-Broadway…. Read More ›

Lydia Kinton and TIP's cast for Hair let the sun shine in (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

Theatre in the Park’s Hair Lets All the Sunshine In

In the spring of 1968, on Manhattan’s West 47th Street, a musical opened on Broadway that would become legendary in the world of theater for decades afterwards. Hair (subtitled The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical) is an autobiographical musical with book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni and a score by Galt MacDermot. Hair… Read More ›

Zero Headspace at Theatre in the Park: The Writing Is Top-Notch, and the Actors Bring Their A-Games

One weekend. A dozen comedians. A dozen scripts. Kernels of brilliance. Belly laughs. Groans. Stand-up comedy. More, please! Last night, Theatre in the Park unveiled Zero Headspace, a brand-new sketch-comedy troupe, under the direction of Ira David Wood IV. Kevin Darbro, Preston Campbell, Kat Lanier Froehlich, Patrick Whalen, Philip Kruh, Shane Smith, Robert Angelo, Natalie… Read More ›

Diana Cameron McQueen (left) and Sandi Sullivan star as Louise Maske and Gertrude Deuter (photo by Stephen J. Larson)

The Underpants at Raleigh’s Theatre in the Park Is a Barrel of Laughs, from Beginning to End

According to one dictionary, a farce is: “a comic dramatic work using buffoonery and horseplay and typically including crude characterization and ludicrously improbable situations,” and the Theatre in the Park production of The Underpants, originally written in 1911 by Carl Sternheim and adapted in 2002 by Steve Martin, is certainly farcical. The premise — which… Read More ›

“Equivocation” Is a Riveting, Entertaining Lesson in History, Politics, Theater, Family … and Truth

Is art always political? Is it always didactic? Does it always hold the “mirror up to nature”? Bill Cain’s Equivocation explores multiple aspects of creating a timeless theatrical masterpiece (while becoming such a masterpiece itself). A brief Cliff’s Note of the play: “William Shagspeare” is commissioned by Sir Robert Cecil to write a play: The… Read More ›

“Regrets Only” Is Mildly Funny But Easily Forgettable

Paul Rudnick’s Regrets Only is set in high-powered Manhattan and focuses in on an array of shallowly developed characters. There’s Jack (Michael Brocki), a big-time attorney, his wife Tibby (Lynda Clark), and their soon-to-be-married daughter Spencer (Lori Ingle Taylor), as well as long-time friend and fashion designer Hank (Rick Meadows) and a saucy maid named… Read More ›

“Black Pearl Sings!” Deftly Explores Origins of Song and Self

Black Pearl Sings!, onstage now at Theatre in the Park, is a heavily fictionalized account of the work of ethnomusicologists John and Alan Lomax, who worked tirelessly to collect songs from the past for the Library of Congress. Representing the Lomaxes in female form is the beautifully developed character of Susannah, portrayed by Lynda Clark,… Read More ›

Theatre in the Park’s “The SantaLand Diaries” Offers Holiday Fun for the Grown-Ups

This time of year, Theatre in the Park is pretty busy (and pretty popular), thanks to its annual production of Ira David Wood III’s A Christmas Carol. What a lot of people don’t know, however, is that the theatre also puts on another Christmas themed show of the one-man variety, and it’s just as hilarious… Read More ›

Chris Milner, Page Purgar, and Brenda Lo star in "Somewhere In Between"

Strong Cast Can’t Save Pender’s Non-Compelling Script

What, exactly, is love? How do the ways in which we perceive others interact with our definitions of love? These are questions explored by Adrienne Earle Pender’s “Somewhere in Between,” onstage now at Theatre in the Park. Pender’s story, directed by Maggie Rasnick, attempts to answer these queries through a close examination of McKenna Hahn… Read More ›

Theatre in the Park of Raleigh will present "The Coarse Acting Show" on July 17-20 and 25-27 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre

TIP’s “The Coarse Acting Show” Is a Little Too Heavy on the Coarse

Michael Green’s “The Coarse Acting Show,” onstage now at Theatre in the Park, invites viewers to sit back and watch a collection of four one act plays, all performed by the fictional “South Hampton Institute of Theatre.” The catch is that this theatre troupe isn’t exactly as…gifted…as one would hope. Not only is the acting… Read More ›

Theatre in the Park’s “Pageant” Is Positively Perfect

Anyone who has sat through an actual beauty pageant knows that they can be long, arduous, and just not very interesting. The complete opposite is true of Theatre in the Park’s production of Pageant, directed by Ira David Wood IV. This pageant is everything you always wanted a pageant to be, plus “that something extra.”… Read More ›

The Theatre in the Park cast for "Psycho Beach Party," directed by Ira David Wood IV, includes (from left) Preston Campbell, Katie Bottomley, and Joe Kessler (photo by Stephen J. Larson)

Theatre in the Park Serves Up the Perfect Summer Show

Theatre in the Park’s “Psycho Beach Party” is set on a beach in Malibu in the early 60s, but viewers expecting a sweet little love story or something equally tame are in for a surprise. While “Psycho Beach Party” plays off of retro beach-blanket movies, it puts a whole new spin on the genre by… Read More ›

Theatre in the Park executive and artistic director Ira David Wood III stars as Atticus Finch and directs Christopher Sergel's stirring 1988 stage adaptation of Harper Lee's Pultizer Prize-winning 1960 novel "To Kill a Mockingbird"

Theatre in the Park’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” Is a Transcendent Experience

Theatre in the Park’s production of the beloved classic “ To Kill a Mockingbird,” directed by Ira David Wood III, opens with a full-dark pause, followed by all of the characters standing in silhouette. This opener effectively immerses viewers in the 1930s Alabama inhabited by young Scout Finch (Marleigh Purgar-McDonald), a spunky and somewhat-precocious little… Read More ›

Jesse R. Gephart Returns as David/Crumpet in “The SantaLand Diaries” Dec. 12-16 at Theatre in the Park

Automatic Vaudeville and Theatre in the Park will reprise their hilarious joint presentation of David Sedaris’ sardonic PG-13-rated Christmas story, “The SantaLand Diaries,” starring local comic actor extraordinaire Jesse R. Gephart, on Dec. 8-11 and 16-18 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre in Raleigh, NC. Gephart’s sidesplitting performance previously brought local audiences to their feet in December 2008, 2010, and 2011.

Ira David Wood III (center) will reprise his role as the misanthropic old Ebenezer Scrooge in TIP's madcap musical version of "A Christmas Carol," which has become an annual Christmas tradition for Triangle children of all ages

David Wood Will Play Scrooge for the 37th Time in TIP’s Madcap Version of “A Christmas Carol”

Theatre in the Park‘s gala 38th-annual production of TIP executive and artistic director Ira David Wood III’s zany musical-comedy version of “A Christmas Carol,” which will run Dec. 6-9, 11, and 12 in Raleigh Memorial Auditorium and Dec. 15 and 16 in the Durham Performing Arts Center, will include timely topical references and the same old theatrical hocus-pocus and hilariously hokey vaudeville touches — not to mention a virtuoso performance by Wood as Ebenezer Scrooge.

The Goodman family -- Aaron Miller as Gabe, Ken Griggs as Dan, Jessika Brust as Diana, and Kelsey Walston as Natalie -- in TIP's production of "Next to Normal" (photo by Curtis Brown Photography)

TIP’s Triangle Premiere of “Next to Normal” Is Far from Perfect Due to Serious Sound Issues

Theatre in the Park’s production of Next to Normal has a lot of promise. It bursts immediately to life with a fabulous musical number, showing what looks like a typical family going about its daily life. The audience will soon see, however, that the family is far from normal. The mother, Diana, powerfully portrayed by… Read More ›

Theatre in the Park will present "Next to Normal," with music and lyrics by Tom Kitt and a book by Brian Yorkey, on Sept. 7-9, 13-16, and 21-23 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre in west Raleigh, NC.

TIP Presents the 2009 Tony Award®- and 2010 Pulitzer Prize-Winning Musical “Next to Normal”

Theatre in the Park will kick off its 2012-13 season on Sept. 7th with the Triangle premiere of the 2009 Tony Award®- and 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama-winning rock musical “Next to Normal” on Sept. 7-9, 13-16, and 21-23 in the Ira David Wood III Pullen Park Theatre in west Raleigh, NC. This community-theater presentation will be directed by Cody Cunningham, with music direction by Nancy Whelan.

Rob Rainbolt and Sarah Bousquet star as Brick and Maggie in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" at Theatre in the Park (photo by Stephen J. Larson)

Sarah Bousquet, Rob Rainbolt, and Jack Hall Star in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at Theatre in the Park

“With the cast we have,” claims director Ira David Wood IV, ‘[Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’] promises to be a powerhouse of a production. Once the play begins, a metaphorical steel cage drops; and we get to see sparks fly between individually dynamic characters” — especially Sarah Bousquet and Rob Rainbolt as Maggie and Brick and Jack Hall as Big Daddy.

The Browning family of "Leaving Iowa" is on the road again. They include (from left) Ann Davis (front), Kelly McConkey (rear), Mark Olexik, and Timothy Corbett (photo by Ira David Wood III)

TIP’s Zany Family-Vacation Comedy, “Leaving Iowa,” Is a Five-Diamond Jaunt Through the Heartland

If it were a hotel, Theatre in the Park‘s pixilated production of Tim Clue and Spike Manton’s family-vacation comedy, “Leaving Iowa,” would easily earn the American Automobile Association’s coveted five-diamond rating. Under the sure-handed direction of TIP’s founder, executive and artistic director, and resident zany Ira David Wood III, “Leaving Iowa” nimbly navigates its way through a comic minefield, and gins up gales of laughter in the process — to mix metaphors.

The Browning family of "Leaving Iowa" is on the road again. They include (from left) Ann Davis (front), Kelly McConkey (rear), Mark Olexic, and Timothy Corbett (photo by Ira David Wood III)

“Leaving Iowa” at Theatre in the Park Is a Hilarious — and Touching — Comedy About Family Vacations

“‘Leaving Iowa’ … is the story of Don Browning, a middle-aged writer, who returns home and decides to finally take his father’s ashes to his childhood home, as requested,” says director David Wood. “But when Don discovers Grandma’s house is now a grocery store, he begins traveling across Iowa searching for a proper resting place. This road trip shifts smoothly from the present to Don’s memories of the annual, torturous vacations of his childhood. Don’s existential journey finally leads him to reconcile his past and present at the center of the United States.