Back to Broadway – Third new play in two years from Tracy Letts premieres at Steppenwolf in November 2017

With current goings on in Washington, the theatre has been crying out for a big new play on politics.  And who better to do it than Tracy Letts.

THE MINUTES will open at Steppenwolf in November 2017 and then transfer to Broadway.

This is the third new play in two years for Letts.

Meanwhile his LINDA VISTA opens March 30, 2017 at Steppenwolf.

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

3-stars

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”

The show is always on with L.A. Theatre Works

If you like theatre, you should know about L.A. Theatre Works.  But I’m betting you don’t.  So here’s a heads up to get the new year rolling.

L.A Theatre Works has been producing plays for audio in front of a live audience for over 25 years. They started off with CD’s in the mail and now distribute via all the usual channels, including Audible.  Their catalogue has grown to over 400 titles.  And many of these are blindingly good, must-listen shows.

L.A. Theatre Works

Continue reading “The show is always on with L.A. Theatre Works”

Why you need a graphic designer

Most of the time, most days in every month, your audience is not in the theatre seeing shows.  They’re out there in the world, doing what they do: swimming at The Dock, fastening miniature horses to sidewalk rings, dodging below crane-a-palooza.  Maybe that’s only in Portland.

And when they’re not physically present in the theatre, which is most of the time, how do they experience your brand?  It happens internally.  Any time you come to mind, they replay a mental news reel that sums up all the various memories and associations they have.  And other than the quality of your shows, probably nothing influences what they think as much as your graphic design.

Continue reading “Why you need a graphic designer”

Liminal channels Fassbinder Dec 8-11 at Disjecta

The thing about interesting theatre activities in smaller markets is you have to be ready and watching ALL THE TIME or you might miss something good.

You can’t say, “I do not need to hear about any more remounts of ALMOST, MAINE in Estacada or Wagontire – so I’m going to tune out everything now.”

Guaranteed if you do that you’ll miss something you should have seen.

Here’s a tip. Liminal is back and planning a four day only blitzkrieg at Disjecta.

Only 40 people per show! Translation: This thing is going to sell out faster than Donald Trump’s transition team.

So get on it.  NOW.

How to not be bored

liminal-fassbinder-feat-top-to-bottom-l-to-r-danielle-ross-todd-van-voris-don-kern-wayne-haythorn-evan-corcoran-alex-reagan-carla-grant-manot-vonrocket-linda-austin-eleanor-johnson-photo-am
These people are hear to disrupt your programming.

CAREER SUICIDE by Chris Gethard at Culture Project

CAREER SUICIDE by Chris Gethard

Culture Project at Lynn Redgrave Theater

Thru Jan 8, 2017

3-stars

Stand up comedy seems to have its share of substance abuse and extreme emotions. From the smoking craters of several career directions, Gethard weaves a personal story about how he finally figured out the right dosage and made a life on stage and off. Now we know: NJ is crazy.

THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN… by Suzan-Lori Parks at Signature Theatre

THE DEATH OF THE LAST BLACK MAN IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD AKA THE NEGRO BOOK OF THE DEAD by Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by Lileana Blain-Cruz

Signature Theatre

Thru Dec 18

4-stars

When in the theatre – do what can only be done in the theatre.  Color, costume, words. The avant garde language of Parks is framed and filled out by masterful direction from Lileana Blain-Cruz. This talented new director keeps her streak of utterly theatrical experiences going strong.

THE PRIDE by Alexi Kaye Campbell at Theatre22

THE PRIDE by Alexi Kaye Campbell at Theatre 22

Thru Nov 19, 2016

2-stars

Rendering plausible British accents – so often a challenge for American actors – here turns into a minefield of problems with a near constant barrage of detonations. Potential melodrama of story not helped by excessive directorial pauses, teeth gnashing, tearful breast beating. Setting between two eras is not clear enough. Not authentic.

 

Behold the new: Liminal returns with “Marilyn Monroe contre les vampires”, an immersive video opera by Fassbinder

liminal

In the theatre world we have, a handful of franchised shows from New York play regional theatres struggling for relevance.  As the lights go down on that mass produced version of BAD DATES, VENUS IN FUR, etc., you could be anywhere.  Welcome to Olive Garden.

In the theatre world we need, instead of taking up the assignment as conveyor belts in a creaky colonial system, local companies instead create their own new work – stuff you can find nowhere else.  They engage with their community.  They make place and time specific art.  Their shows then travel the OPPOSITE direction –  from the hinterlands toward larger cultural centers, where audience members feel they have sampled something original.  Something authentic.  Welcome to Higgins, Pok Pok, Lincoln.

On that note, the noise in the underground laboratory of one of Portland’s unique theatre groups has been steadily increasing, and smoke and sparks have been seen shooting out of taped over windows late at night.  That’s because they’re working on a new show in there.  One that has never been seen.  And in a few short weeks – just in time for Christmas – you will have a chance to behold the new.  Bonus: it’s at one of the coolest venues in town.

That’s right – the next show from Liminal is coming down the tracks.

Continue reading “Behold the new: Liminal returns with “Marilyn Monroe contre les vampires”, an immersive video opera by Fassbinder”