It’s easy to enjoy the teenagers who take center stage in the latest production by Actors’ Theatre, “The Burnt Part Boys.” The family dynamics between older and younger teens, separated by just four years, is explored. The 14-year-olds are still in a bit of a make-believe world, while the older boys are taking on the realities of manhood. The conflict that ensues puts each on an adventure up a West Virginia mountainside, one group hot on the trail of the other. It’s within that concurrent journey their stories emerge.
Heritage Theatre Group doesn’t usually offer musicals as part of their season roster of classic plays, but that didn’t hinder director Krista Pennington’s ability to successfully fill the roles of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Assassins,” with book by John Weidman.
Love is powerful. Love can be tender and nourishing. It can provide those idealized feelings so often shown in Hallmark commercials and romantic films. Lest we forget that power can also be unleashed in destructive and irrational ways, well, American playwright Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love (1983) will remind us as much.
Fun Home, the Tony-award winning musical, gets its Michigan Community Theatre premiere this month at Circle Theatre. The autobiographical musical was adapted for the stage based on the graphic memoir by Alison Bechdel, an aspect that the scenic designer for this production, Don Wilson, expertly integrated into the set.
In the era of the smartphone, everyone gets to be editors. We listened, we learned. We have internalized the Hollywood process. Tell your story on Facebook, but keep it brief, boost the highs, dramatize the lows, and for God’s sake don’t try our patience and dare to be average.
Into the Woods, the popular musical with book by James Lapine and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, returns for a third time to the Circle Theatre stage.
I imagine, as with any effective parable that taps into universal themes, one does not require prior knowledge of Jonah and the Big Fish, nor of “Moby-Dick,” to connect with similar lessons brought forth in Samuel D. Hunter’s play “The Whale” — but a little context might enrich the experience.
“If/Then,” the latest offering by Actors’ Theatre, is a fast-paced and entertaining production loaded with talented singers and musicians.
Political fatigue may be setting in around the country as many tire of polarized conversations that seem to go nowhere but down. Social media allows people to be more ‘involved’ in politics than ever before, but without true access to the long-term, behind-the-scenes political processes most just get to argue about the remote tips of the icebergs, the end results that are simplified in message for public platforms.
Sometimes you are on the inside, sometimes on the outside; sometimes you are straddling the two. Sometimes you’re before, sometimes after, sometimes right there in the moment. Relatability comes from one side and perspective from the other; juxtaposition of the two creates meaning. Humor, too, and in this case, some really great music as well!