Review | Camelot
Whether you're a first-timer or have seen the musical Camelot a dozen times, the Richey Suncoast Theatre version playing weekends through March 23 holds surprises and delights.
Based on the legend of the fifth century Knights of the Round Table and its idealistic founder, King Arthur of England, it's a tale of love, betrayal and the eternal conflict between "might makes right" and "might for right," a philosophy as vexing today as it was 1,500 years ago. In Camelot, the starry-eyed Arthur hopes for a peaceful, loving world, but he's up against a society accustomed to crushing the perceived enemy to get its way. ...
The night the now-classic musical Camelot opened in Canada in 1960, it ran for 4 1/2 hours, creating what co-creator Alan Jay Lerner called a "bladder endurance contest."
Subsequently, Lerner and composer Frederick Loewe pared it down considerably, and that's the version opening March 6 at Richey Suncoast Theatre.
It's a romantic and tragic story based on the legend of fifth-century King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Arthur's love for his bride Guenevere, the betrayal of his favorite knight, Sir Lancelot de Lac, and his hope for a perfect, peaceful world....
There are reasons the 1944 comedy Harvey has become a classic. It's fun; playwright Mary Chase's script is tight, fast and well-constructed, and when an audience is lucky enough to get a cast as delightful as the one doing the show at the intimate Forum at Stage West Community Playhouse, it's something that brings a smile every time it's remembered.
Credit director Dalton Benson for fine casting that includes theater stalwarts like Allen Magnus and Patricia Villegas, showcases players such as Mickey Mandel who have previously done well in small roles, and introduces experienced actors such as Rich Fogg in their Stage West debuts. Kudos, too, to set designer Lynda Dilts-Benson, whose clever rolling set pieces quickly and unobtrusively change the complete location of the action in mere moments, with professional-level help from cast and crew....
Stage West Community Playhouse will take a flight of fancy — or is it reality? — beginning Thursday with the 1944 comedy classic Harvey, the story of a sweet and gentle older gentleman's imaginary — or is it? — friend, a 6-foot-tall rabbit.
Harvey won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize, beating out Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, for drama and was made into a much-beloved movie in 1950 starring James Stewart as the affable Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey's pal. It has had several adaptations for television and was made into a short-lived musical....
NEW PORT RICHEY — If the current offering at Richey Suncoast Theater seems a bit familiar, there's a reason. There's a Burglar in My Bed is the fifth sex farce by the same playwright — Michael Parker — that the theater has produced in the past couple of seasons.
But that's okay, especially if you like broad, easy-to-follow, laugh-filled comedy and appreciate a cast that delivers it well, as director Rich Aront's cast does....
If you love — and go to — Broadway musicals, you'll adore Forbidden Broadway's Greatest Hits, a razor-sharp spoof of musicals and the performers who do them, playing Friday through Sunday at Stage West Community Playhouse.
It's 100 minutes of send-ups of the Great White Way's most popular shows, with not-so-subtle pokes at the egos and eccentricities of luminaries like Carol Channing, Barbra Streisand, Mandy Patinkin and composer/writing darlings Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Stephen Sondheim....
For many, if not most people, going to see the 1950 musical fable Guys and Dolls is like visiting an old friend. It's familiar (if not from the stage show, from the 1955 movie), comfortable and loaded with lovable characters, hummable tunes, and, if done right, moments that stay in the mind forever.
The version playing through Feb. 23 at the Show Palace Dinner Theatre mostly does it right, with many delicious moments done by director Steven Flaa's sharp, well-chosen cast, framed by Tom Hansen's appropriately cartoonish backdrops and accompanied by music director Phyllis Gessler's spot-on tracks....
To turnabout an old adage, "If at first you wildly succeed, try, try again."
That may be the thought at Show Palace Dinner Theatre in Hudson as it launches its third take on the blockbuster Broadway musical Guys and Dolls, opening Thursday and continuing through Feb. 23.
The romantic comedy, first played in the summer of 1997, was the first Broadway show ever done at the Show Palace. It was such a hit with audiences (and so often requested) that the owners brought it back in October 2001, tripling the attendance from the first time around....
SPRING HILL — You might think the musical Forbidden Broadway got its name because it's risque and raunchy.
"It's called 'forbidden' because it makes fun of directors, actors, everyone," said Myndee Washington, who is directing the version opening Jan. 16 at Stage West Community Playhouse.
And, as we all know, stage divas (and divos) are famous for "forbidding" any denigration of their talent or performances....
NEW PORT RICHEY — If you enjoyed playwright Michael Parker's zany, over-the-top farces Hot Bed Hotel, Sensuous Senator, Sin, Sex and the C.I.A. and the Amorous Ambassador during the last few seasons at Richey Suncoast Theatre, you'll love his There's a Burglar in My Bed, playing Jan. 16 to Feb. 2.
The names have changed and the setting has changed, but the door-slamming, bed-hopping, misunderstandings, near-misses, madcap physical humor, over-sexed characters, philandering spouses and double entendres are all there, as dependable (and familiar) and funny as your favorite TV sitcom, only longer....
Back in the day, it was called a "double feature" — two movies for the price of one (plus cartoons and newsreels).
That's sort of what Stage West Community Playhouse is offering in its holiday show — a "twofer," namely The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, based on Barbara Robinson's 1972 book of the same name, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, based on Charles M. Schulz's comic strip, Peanuts. Both short plays are suitable for all ages....
A big challenge in doing a stage show based on the 1954 movie classic White Christmas — especially for a crowd of a certain age — is making it fresh and new. After all, most, if not all, of the people in the audience have seen the Bing Crosby/Danny Kaye film version at least once, if not a dozen times or more. Who could make them forget buh-buh-buh Bing singing what Guinness World Records says is the best-selling single of all time?...
Please don't fret if you fail to pick up every plot detail or character nuance in Stage West Community Playhouse's splendid production of Les Miserables, playing weekends through Nov. 24. After all, the musical has more than 40 characters and two (or more) major plot lines spread out over nearly two decades and told in three hours of non-stop songs of love, death, war, despair and redemption.
What has made this tale of political unrest, social inequality, and personal loves and struggles in early nineteenth-century France an award-winning, world-wide phenomenon for nearly 30 years are its universal and timeless themes, composer Claude-Michel Schonberg's haunting musical refrains, Herbert Kretzmer's touching (and sometimes comedic) lyrics and Alain Boublil's book, based on Victor Hugo's 1862 masterpiece of the same name, itself based on an actual event....
The audience was settling in for the second act of Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta The Mikado at Springstead High School that January night in 2002, when, suddenly, they all grew still and hushed, listening in awe to a clear, soaring, strong, soprano voice as beautiful as many had ever heard — "The sun whose rays are all ablaze …"
It was coming from a wisp of a 14-year-old girl, Gabrielle Mirabella, whose ambition at the time was to become a professional opera singer. In succeeding years, she seemed headed straight to that dream, first performing at arts-heavy Marymount Manhattan College, then at the prestigious Manhattan School of Music for a degree in classical music....
Stage West Community Playhouse has tackled some big, complicated and difficult shows — Chicago, Sweeney Todd, A Little Night Music and Into the Woods, to name a few — but now this ambitious theater company is taking on one of the biggest and most difficult ever, the majestic epic Les Misérables, opening Nov. 7 and continuing weekends through Nov. 24....