Review: ASTORIA at Portland Center Stage is a wooden, pre-modern melodrama about heroic white men battling the wilderness – minus Eugene Levy

ASTORIA Adapted by Chris Coleman at Portland Center Stage


Thru February 19, 2017

If you’re setting sail on the perilous journey of adapting a long historical drama for the stage, particularly one that tries to deal with the glorious (or not) story of America’s early days, you should be very familiar with two examples from the genre that define a spectrum of possible outcomes.

On one end, HAMILTON, the international juggernaut that breathes life into history by using forms and multi ethnic bodies of the present.  On the other, RED, WHITE AND BLAINE, the show staged inside of the film WAITING FOR GUFFMAN that has become a defining reference for amateur community theatre and (more subtly) oblivious historical white washing of what life on the merry frontier was like.

Astoria at Portland Center Stage
“How high a ridge I could not tell.” Eugene Levy could make ASTORIA really fun.
Continue reading “Review: ASTORIA at Portland Center Stage is a wooden, pre-modern melodrama about heroic white men battling the wilderness – minus Eugene Levy”

“mediocre adaptation… with uninspired direction” | The Oregonian slams CYRANO at Portland Center Stage

Well, it figures. Right after we shoot our mouth off about how the O is no longer capable of writing negative reviews – along comes a zinger. Just goes to show that hope springs eternal.

Carol Wells wades in old school style from word 1 on the wheel of cheese that is CYRANO at Portland Center Stage.

All we can say in response to a salty review from the paper of record of a fragrant-pile-of-cheese-of-a-show on the city’s largest (and most expensive and tax payer-subsidized) stage:


Can I get a witness?

“In the midst of a Portland theater renaissance rightfully giddy with its own vitality, it is especially disappointing to see a directorial vision as lacking in originality and excitement as the one Jane Jones brings to Portland Center Stage’s current production of CYRANO.”


Meanwhile, you know what WOULD be a truly enjoyable experience?

A standup routine by Lauren Weedman on how absurdly boring and old-fashioned this CYRANO is. Serious gold waiting to be prospected here, folks.

Lauren, this may be your next show. Just not one you can do at PCS…

Meanwhile, tired of the corn and cheese that passes for theatre at PCS, despite almost unlimited subsidies from Portland’s taxpayers?

Start speaking up: #PCSTimeForAChange

For the amount of money Portland has spent on this white elephant leviathan we should have a world class theatre that draws people from around the world.

Instead, we are served up CYRANO, SANTALAND DIARIES and TWIST YOUR DICKENS for the zillionth time in a row, TV stars, etc.

If artistic leadership at PCS doesn’t know how to create durable, original, important theatre that will bring in paying audiences, it’s time to hand the wheel to someone who does.


The sound of one hand clapping
The sound of one hand clapping.