Sunday, June 18, 2017


Director Susan Chebookjian’s charming JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT for Reagle Music Theatre (through June 18th) allows the Sunday school musical to be as simple and sweet as Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice intended it to beand she gets lovely resonance from the show’s (oft repeated) big message number, Any Dream Will Do: “The world is still waiting, hesitating…” (How’s that for topical!)

Any dream may do but just any old Joseph won’t. Donnie Osmond owned the role for decades. Luckily Reagle has the remarkable Peter Mill in the lead. He’s an innocent when the story needs him to be and he transforms himself into a majestic prophet when his gift takes over the plot. Mill’s Joseph is so beatific, he seems lit from within.

Andrew Giordano supplies the big laughs as Pharoah Presley, flirting shamelessly with the audience, gyrating those infamous hips. A great deal of the humor is embedded in the choreography (also Chebookjian): I think I spied an incongruous Gerry Garcia in the hilarious ‘60s go go number! Her clever tango enlivens “Those Canaan Days” and a charismatic Taavon Gamble makes short work of the calypso caper.

Pulling the whole shebang together and herding the wonderful children’s chorus is the character of the narrator, stylishly portrayed by Ayla Brown. My only quibble with the show is the redux… and I’m definitely in the minority. The children in the audience were whipped into a frenzy when it began to repeat. They were on their feet waving their programs and squealing at fever pitch.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

QUICK TAKE REVIEW By Beverly Creasey Slick Sailing for Titanic’s Spoof

Playwright Chris Weikel is extremely fortunate to have director Sarah Gazdowicz staging his wacky send-up of classic Dickensian melodrama. PENNY PENYWORTH (cavorting at the Central Sq. Theatre through June 25th) is at its best a mad Monty Pythonesque romp through the English novel (from Dickens to the Brontes)although at times it dips into choppy Benny Hill waters.

The Titanic Theatre Company’s cast is plenty seaworthy when it comes to comedy: the foursome inhabits dozens of characters with ease (or so it seems), from mustache twirling villains to spluttering, stuttering emissaries to rattling, raving recluses. Caroline Keeler is wonderful as the hapless, penniless child who must navigate a world of sleazy opportunists and ruthless predators. (And as is wont to happen when actors double and triple roles, Keeler has been assigned to play the very henchman sent to kidnap her!)

Isaiah Plovnick seems to be made of rubber as he contorts his body so that Mr. Pinch Nose’s upper half arrives before his extremities. He can chew the small amount of scenery on stage so thoroughly that you worry about his digestive system. Ashley Risteen gives Plovnick a run for his money in that department with her spectacular performance as the delirious, possibly dangerous Miss Havasnort but it’s Brooks Reeves’ smashing portrayal of a humble, unintelligible Scotsman that brings down the house.

Kudos to Erica Desautels for her inventive, evocative costume design and to Gazdowicz for her extravagantly dramatic sound design, expertly delivered by stage manager Sophia Girodano.