Black Lab Theatre's Tigers Be Still Is Houston Theater at Its Best

Categories: Stage

HOU_STAGE_20150122_TigersBeStillBlackLab_JordanJaffe.jpg
Photo by Jordan Jaffe.
Here, in the intimate downstairs space that is Wildfish Theatre on Post Oak and San Felipe, miracles occur.

Wonders don't often happen in the theater, not with regular occurrence. Only a few each season, and most of those come at you in bits and pieces: a revelatory performance among the ho-hum, an actor's throwaway piece of business that's just right for the character, a perfect bit of scenery you can't take your eyes off of, a detail of costuming that seems to have been sewn in heaven. This miracle at Wildfish, by way of the wizards at Black Lab Theatre and its amazing cast of four, happens to be the real thing -- a truly blessed event.

More »

Frost/Nixon Might Surprise in the Way You Feel About the Ex-President

Categories: Stage

HOU_ART_20150119_frostnixon_companyonstage.jpg.jpg
Photo courtesy of Company OnStage
Dano Colon as David Frost, Russell Snow as Richard Nixon

The set-up:
There's an emotion rushing through Company OnStage's bumpy production of Peter Morgan's quasi-historical Frost/Nixon that is, if not unintentional, quite unexpected - sympathy for Richard Milhous Nixon, our disgraced, Machiavellian 37th President.

High crimes and misdemeanors, including burglary, hush money for witnesses, suborning perjury, willfully disregarding subpoenas, wiretapping the press, and stonewalling the American public, occurred inside the oval office under his direct commands.

Facing the wrath of Congress and an outraged citizenry, Nixon, alone, miserable, and ofttimes drunk (so it's said) resigned his office in 1974 before imminent impeachment proceedings could be brought against him in Congress. He's the only President to walk out of his job. Only his most loyal staff members were sorry to see him board that helicopter that whisked him out of Washington. Later pardoned by Gerald Ford, Nixon never atoned nor stood trial.

Clouded forever by the Watergate scandal, "Tricky Dick," for all his historic international coups, remains our most divisive president, most loathed and least admired. Sympathy is not for him.

More »

Metamorphoses: A Smart Modern Tale Built Upon Classic Myths

Categories: Stage

Metamorphhoses560.jpg
Erica Bundy in Metamorphoses. Photo courtesy of Bayou City Theatrics Staff

The set up:

Who'd have thunk it? It's amusing to imagine this is what Ovid, the Roman poet best known for his mythological epic Metamorphoses, might say today if he learned that a play based on his work had become such a success. Okay, sure, Ovid's myths have themes that are fairly universal (wrath, insecurity, lust, despair) and feature such notable figures as Zeus, Aphrodite, Poseidon and Midas. But really, does rehashing old gods, kings and their human playthings still hold water for a modern audience? What if the water was in a giant pool in the middle of the stage for the actors to splash around in?

It's this text and this design that won writer/director Mary Zimmerman great praise for her reimaging of the Ovid myths in her production of Metamorphoses. First staged in 1996 at Northwestern University (where Zimmerman teaches), her production played two years later at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre, a stint off Broadway followed and then finally in 2002, the show opened on The Great White Way to critical acclaim. Metamorphoses garnered a boatload of prestigious nominations and awards, including the Tony nomination for Best Play and Tony Award for Best Director.

Since then, the show has become something of a regional theater darling, with many companies proving that splash zone enjoyment isn't simply the domain of Evil Dead The Musical.


More »

Waiting for Johnny Depp Explores the Chase of Celebrity and Following a Dream

Categories: Stage

HOU_ART_20150115brookewilson_tut.jpg.jpg
Photo courtesy of TUTS Underground
Brooke Wilson
She's an actress who's trying desperately to land what she sees as the role of a lifetime - to star in a film with a famous actor. Brooke Wilson stars as New York actress Rita Donatella in the world premiere of Waiting for Johnny Depp, a one-woman musical about someone who wants to be famous and will do almost anything to get there.

"She is just an actor who's just trying to live the dream like we all do," says Wilson who will undertake the production for TUTS Underground. "She's very eccentric and compulsive, but loveable."


More »

Cloud Tectonics Imagines Colliding Planes of Existence

Categories: Stage

HOU_ART_201515_cloudtectonics_rodtodd.jpg.jpg
Photo by Rod Todd
Patricia Duran and Greg Dean star in Cloud Tectonics

Anibal de la Luna is a regular kind of guy who's moved to Los Angeles in part to leave his Puerto Rican culture behind.

On a rainy night he meets up with a pregnant hitchhiker, Celestina del Sol, who claims to be 54 (but looks much younger) and who says she's been pregnant for two years. Her special ability? She can slow down time. He offers her refuge.

Cloud Tectonics, a love story in one act written by Obie-award winning playwright, José Rivera, is making its Houston premiere courtesy of Mildred's Umbrella. Artistic Director Jennifer Decker says she's been wanting to do this production for ten years, but only now have the right actors (Patricia Duran and Greg Dean, founding members of Mildred's Umbrella) returned to Houston.

More »

Putting it Together by Main Street Theater Soars Even if the Plot's a Bit Thin

Categories: Stage

HOU_STAGE_20150115_PuttingItTogether_Cast_RicOrnelProductions.jpg
RicOrnel Productions
L-R: Christina Stroup, Justin White, David Wald, Terry Jones and Tamara Siler give audiences another chance to hear a little Sondheim.
In the second half of the 20th century, no one revived the Broadway musical with such verve and imagination as Stephen Sondheim.

When the pre-eminent collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein ended with Hammerstein's death after The Sound of Music, the fate of Broadway was up for grabs. It took only a decade until Sondheim, known at that time as one of musical theater's prime lyricists (Gypsy, West Side Story), grasped America's foremost musical genre and shook it awake. The tremors are still being felt.

The '70s cemented his reputation, and it's no exaggeration to say that if he had never written anything other than Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures and Sweeney Todd, he'd still be at the head of the class. Fortunately, he continued working.

More »

Theatre Under the Stars Unveils New Logo and Takes On a New Mission

Categories: Stage

HOU_ART_20150112560_tutsnewlogo_tuts.jpg
The new look for TUTS

Deciding that after six years, its logo could use a little dusting off, Theatre Under the Stars commissioned a redesign which is unveiled today for the first time. Along with it, there will be a new website in the spring and perhaps most importantly, there are plans to mount a national tour from Houston.

The new design which keeps the navy and gold colors of the old logo presents a much lighter, more streamlined look for the theater company.

HOU_ART_20150112_tutsoldlogo560_tuts.jpg
The old logo

More »

Broadway at the Hobby Center Goes for the Tried and True in Its 2015-16 Season

Categories: Stage

Hou_ARTS_20150109_BeautyBeast560_matthewmurphy.jpg
Photo by Matthew Murphy
It's Back! Jillian Butterfield as Belle and Everett Wood as the Beast in Beauty and the Beast
In what for the most part appears to be a fans' favorites kind of approach to musical theater, Broadway At The Hobby Center announced today that Pippin, Phantom of the Opera, The Sound of Music, Cabaret, Disney's Beauty and the Beast and yes, wait for it.....Wicked will be among its offerings this next season.

Although several of these have been seen at the Hobby in very recent years, Broadway apparently believes that the appetite for these shows hasn't dimmed and touts that several of these are new productions or revivals.

In addition, in late May 2016, the two-time Tony Award-winning Carole King story Beautiful will be presented. And before that, the show I Love Lucy Live on Stage.

Here's the full lineup from the Broadway press release with a few additions from us:

More »

A Walk Through the Alley Theatre Halfway to Its Future

Categories: Stage

HOU_ART_20150109560_alleyrenovation_downing.jpg
Photo by Margaret Downing
The stage and audience area gutted and ready for the Alley Theatre's new approach

Thursday was a bone-chilling walk-through day for the Houston media as the Alley Theatre showed off its progress on the first extended renovation of its building since it was built in 1968.

Turns out, when you renovate a building, at some point you turn off all or most of the electricity and all of the heating. Still, the hour-long trip that began in the lobby and made its way up to the fourth floor and down to the basement where actors will finally have immediate access to showers in their dressing rooms was worth it as journalists were able to see beyond architects' drawings to the start of actual changes.

The sure sign that major changes were under way was the constant refrain of "Okay, where are we now?" as people tried to orient themselves as to what they were standing upon had been and what it was going to be.

A cheer went up when the location of the women's restroom at double the present size was announced.

More »

My Name Is Asher Lev: When Talent and Faith Collide

Categories: Stage

AsherLev560.jpg
Photo courtesy of Theater LaB Houston
(l to r) Bradley Winkler, Kara Greenberg and Adam Gibbs in My Name is Asher Lev

The set up:

No art form more succinctly captures the pressure-filled expectations a Jewish parent has for their child than the tongue in cheek Jewish Haiku. For example:

Beyond Valium,
the peace of knowing one's child
is an internist.

While we can't know for sure if American author, artist and rabbi, Chaim Potok ever himself giggled over these 17 culturally veracious syllables, we do know that he understood the potential conflict over what a child dreams of becoming and what a Jewish parent sees as a desirable career for their offspring. Especially in the ultra-religious Hassidic Jewish community. In his 1972 semiautobiographical novel, My Name is Asher Lev, Potok juxtaposes a young Hassidic man's painterly artistic calling against his family's dismissal of the talent as an utter waste of time at best and heresy at worst. Adapted for the stage in 2009, Aaron Posner took Potok's beloved and acclaimed novel and himself made some artistic magic. Posner's adaptation was a hit Off Broadway where it won the Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding New Play as well as the prestigious John Gassner Playwriting Award. One can only hope that his parents are proud.



More »
Loading...