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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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!, 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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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 ›
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’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.
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.
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 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.
“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.
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.
“‘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.