‘Multiple Family Dwelling’ play about family secrets

Two couples are deep into the booze following a long afternoon at a birthday party for an 8-year-old girl. The light-hearted conversation, though, begins to veer off course. A slight insult here. A confusing comment there. Innuendo everywhere.

From left, Tia (Dana Brooke) plans to move to move into the second floor apartment in the home of James (Dustin Charles) and Kelly (Maria Couch), with her fiancé.

Then there’s awkwardness as one couple starts making out. That would be Tia (Dana Brooke) and her fiancee Stuart (Jared Michael Delaney) who plan to move into the second floor apartment in the home of Kelly (Maria Couch) and James (Dustin Charles), a married couple who bought the place hoping gentrification gets there soon, real soon. It was their daughter Olivia’s party.

It made me think a little about “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff,” another play with two drunk couples, an unseen child and toxic relationships that thrive on taunting, nefarious games and  emotional abuse.

Continue reading ‘Multiple Family Dwelling’ play about family secrets

Can’t stop watching 2013 Tony Awards opening

No doubt, at least in my mind, that this is the best Tony Award show opening number ever.  Even Broadway pros are looking around with their mouths hanging open in astonishment (look for Debra Messing’s swiveling head).  It’s not just the look, it’s the clever lyrics and jokes that bring the spectacle to a higher level.

But what else would you expect from the guys who wrote the specialty song “Bigger” — Tony Award winners Tom Kitt and the pre-“Hamilton” genius Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Continue reading Can’t stop watching 2013 Tony Awards opening

Hercule Poirot makes stage debut in McCarter’s ‘Orient Express’ premiere

Agatha Christie's "Murder On The Orient" was adapted by Ken Ludwig for a world premiere starting tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Directed by Emily Mann, it's the first stage appearance of Hercule Poirot. (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)
Agatha Christie’s “Murder On The Orient” was adapted by Ken Ludwig for a world premiere starting tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. Directed by Emily Mann, it’s the first stage appearance of Hercule Poirot. Is it Broadway bound? (PHOTO: T Charles Erickson)

Agatha Christie + Hercule Poirot + Ken Ludwig. That’s a theater trifecta. And that’s also before you know who makes up the creative dream team for the world premiere of the stage version of “Murder on the Orient Express,”  beginning  three weeks of performances tonight at McCarter Theatre in Princeton. (Two more performances already have been added.)

Emily Mann, McCarter’s artistic director, is at the helm. Her team includes Tony Award-winning designers: sets by Beowulf Boritt (Act OneOn the Town); costumes by William Ivey Long (15 Tony noms.; 6 wins); lighting by Ken Billington (Chicago), and sound by Darron L. West (Peter and the Starcatcher).

This is headed to Broadway, right?

Continue reading Hercule Poirot makes stage debut in McCarter’s ‘Orient Express’ premiere

Bedlam director delivers darker ‘Merry Wives’ at Two River Theater

Zuzanna Szadkowski, Jason O'Connell and Nicole Lewis in "The Merry Wives of Windsor" at the Two River Theater in Red Bank. (PHOTO: T. Charles Erickson)
Zuzanna Szadkowski, Jason O’Connell and Nicole Lewis in “The Merry Wives of Windsor” at the Two River Theater in Red Bank. (PHOTO: T. Charles Erickson)

The second the lights come up on the set of the Two River Theater’s  “The Merry Wives of Windsor” you know this production is not your grandmother’s Shakespeare.

Sir John Falstaff (Jason O’Connell) is handcuffed to a bed with a ball gag in his mouth and wearing very little else. Mistress Ford (Nicole Lewis), in black baby-doll lingerie, stands next to the bed holding a gun.

The location is a seedy motel room strewn with clothes, liquor bottles, and garbage. It’s decorated with bulls’ horns, paint-by-number art, and a multi-colored carpet that hides all stains. Projected on the wall are the words “Right Now.”

Continue reading Bedlam director delivers darker ‘Merry Wives’ at Two River Theater

TNT’s ‘Will’ looks at punk-rock theater scene in Elizabethan London

We  don’t know much about the personal life of William Shakespeare, but TNT is taking a fictionalized stab at it with a bare bodkin in a new series called “Will,”

The first 10 episodes “reveal” 16th century London as a seductive, violent world where Shakespeare’s raw talent faced rioting audiences, religious fanatics and raucous side-shows. The “wild life” of the most famous playwright in history, according to a Deadline.com post. It’s described as a “contemporary version of Shakespeare’s life played to a modern soundtrack that exposes all his recklessness, lustful temptations and brilliance.”

Continue reading TNT’s ‘Will’ looks at punk-rock theater scene in Elizabethan London

Paper Mill Playhouse reveals next season has 2 world premiere musicals

Paper Mill Playhouse announces 2017-18 season, which includes two potential Broadway transfers.
Paper Mill Playhouse announces 2017-18 season,  including two potential Broadway transfers.

Give a playhouse the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2016 and watch it turn its 2017-2018 season into one featuring two world premieres — which have all the earmarks of potential Broadway transfers — and two East Coast premieres.

Announced today, the season includes: the world-premiere musical “The Honeymooners” (Sept. 28-Oct. 29), ” Annie” (Nov. 22-Dec. 31),  East Coast premiere of “The Outsider” (Jan. 24-Feb. 18), the world premiere of “The Sting” (March 29-April 29) in a new musical stage adaptation,  and the East Coast premiere of the comedy “Half Time” (May 31-July 1). Continue reading Paper Mill Playhouse reveals next season has 2 world premiere musicals

‘The Jag’ a sweet ride at NJRep; Estelle Bajou gives incredible performance

Dan Grimaldi is the 70-year-old father Chick and Estelle Bajou is Carla, a genius car mechanic in "The Jag." (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)
Dan Grimaldi is the 70-year-old father Chick and Estelle Bajou is Carla, a genius car mechanic in “The Jag.” (PHOTO: SuzAnne Barabas)

“The Jag” is a play about a broken man, his broken son, their broken 1967 Jaguar, and the socially challenged young woman who helps to fix all three.

Written by award-winning playwright Gino DiIorio, the world premiere of this 90-minute drama with lots of laughs continues at New Jersey Repertory Company in Long Branch through Feb. 12. (Other plays of his that premiered here include “Release Point,” “Apostasy,” “Winterizing the Summer House” and “Dead Ringer.”)

Continue reading ‘The Jag’ a sweet ride at NJRep; Estelle Bajou gives incredible performance

Theater geek alert! ‘All About Eve’ tonight on TCM

“La La Land” joined “Titanic” and “All About Eve” last week as the latest movie to earn the most Oscar nominations ever. If you haven’t seen the latter lately, tune in to TCM 8 tonight to re-watch one of the best classic films about the theater ev-uh.

It stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing as an aging Broadway star.  Anne Baxter is Eve Harrington, who is young and hungry and wants  Margo’s life — all of it. She attached herself to the star like a leach.

The principal cast of "All About Eve", from left Gary Merrill, Bette Davis, George Sanders, Anne Baxter, Hugh Marlowe and Celeste Holm. (PHOTO: Wikipedia)
The principal cast of “All About Eve”, from left Gary Merrill, Bette Davis, George Sanders, Anne Baxter, Hugh Marlowe and Celeste Holm. (PHOTO: Wikipedia)

Continue reading Theater geek alert! ‘All About Eve’ tonight on TCM

‘La La Land’ movie references revealed

Side by side image of a scene from La La Land and  Shall We DanceThis will be short and sweet and fun, if you are a fan of musicals — movie musicals, that is, especially “La La Land.” Sara Preciado of the /Film blog definitely knows her MM stuff. She posted a short video on Vimeo that took a lot of time, pointing out “La La Land” movie references .

The video is available at: https://vimeo.com/200550228

‘Shakespeare in Love’ joins Moliere, Joe Orton on NJ Festival stage 2017 season

The stage version of the 1998 Oscar-winning (7) film “Shakespeare in Love” will be staged for the first time in the northeast region of the USA this fall as part of the 55th season of the New Jersey Shakespeare Theatre. Zounds!

Longtime artistic director Bonnie Monte will direct. The NJST plans to  transform its 308-seat theater into an Elizabethan playhouse.  Sounds good to me. A non-profit NJ regional theater with a small house gets dibs on what I think is a “get.” Only two other American theaters so far have it booked this year. Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall and based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard,  productions are being done in repertory at the Utah Shakespeare Festival (June 30 – Sept. 8) and Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Feb. 18 – Oct. 29). The show begins previews Oct. 11 in New Jersey. Continue reading ‘Shakespeare in Love’ joins Moliere, Joe Orton on NJ Festival stage 2017 season

News and views of New Jersey's regional theaters, and bits about Broadway.

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