Thomas Jefferson’s skill with a quill is legendary. His skill with a straight razor is underrated. During his presidency, he sliced the logical verses out of the New Testament and glued them into his personal gospel, leaving the miraculous mumbo jumbo behind in his holey Bible. For this he was damned to hell. Sort of.
In this delightfully brain-tickling dramedy, playwright Scott Carter – producer of “Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher” – dooms Jefferson to a purgatorial room that resembles every writer’s hell: a blank page. Trapped with him are two gentlemen geniuses who also rewrote the gospel: Charles Dickens and Leo Tolstoy. To escape, they must reconcile their differences and jointly rewrite the Jesus story.
As anyone who’s spent countless hours perfecting a Match.com profile or braved a blind date that felt more like a job interview can attest, dating sucks. And what if you’re not the perfect blonde size-two? Prepare to receive more left swipes and painful jabs than a MMA rookie.
In a typical play it’s protocol
to safeguard the audience behind a fourth wall.
They’re impervious observers, aloof, apart.
Much like a lass named Prudencia Hart.
She’s old-fashioned, romantic,
Likes her Scots ballads folky.
Won’t sing karaoke.
But this play thrusts everyone into the melee
of a riotous, disorderly devil’s ceilidh –
unbuttoning, beguiling, emboldening Pru,
and along with the heroine... you.
Told largely in rhyming couplet, this touring National Theatre of Scotland production sloshes together soulful ballads, sing-a-longs, and the supernatural. It’s a full-bodied, whole-hearted, unforgettable experience.
John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men needs little introduction to many of us. The heartwarming yet emotionally devastating book was required reading at many schools, including my alma mater, Arcadia High School in Phoenix. Arizona Theatre Company brings the story to life through April 17 in a co-production with Milwaukee Repertory Theater. The play is aptly directed by Mark Clements.
If you’ve read the Diary of a Young Girl, written by Anne Frank while she and her family hid in an Amsterdam warehouse during the Holocaust, you know how profound her words were then and remain to this day. In 2005, British composer James Whitbourn set Frank’s poignant diary to music, and the 14-movement work will make its way to the Valley for two performances in April.
Some characters are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. So it is with Sir Andrew Aguecheek, a secondary character who’s red of face, dim of wit and lily of liver. But actor David Dickinson thrusts upon him such joyous jackassery he steals the show, and sets the tone for the production: gloriously over-the-top.
“Twelfth Night” – a Shakespearean “Yentl” that blurs the lines between feminine and masculine, friends and lovers, servitude and sex drive – is meant to be fun. It’s also one of the Bard’s most respected plays. And it treats us to some of his most famous lines: “If music be the food of love, play on,” “Some are born great...,” etc.
Even if you aren’t familiar with the tragedies in Billie Holiday’s life, you can hear them. They’re the dusky bass notes that haunt even her happy songs. They’re the sad cymbal beat behind her sassy flirting, her swearing, her minor key cackling. “I do the blues feelin’ with a jazz beat,” she says in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill. There’s a moment late in the play when, after staggering offstage, she walks back on with her white glove pulled down, revealing a telltale blue bruise down her arm. That’s essentially what this one-woman show does: It peels back the dressing – the upbeat jazz, the celebrity, the showiness – to reveal the blues and the bruises beneath.
Combining Hamlet, Doctor Faustus, and Martin Luther and creating a comedy is the equivalent of mixing lead, nickel and iron and making gold. Playwright David Davalos has indeed achieved theatrical alchemy in this über-literary romp packed with witticisms that fly as fast as Hamlet’s tennis balls (more on that later).
This time of year, many of us are busy decorating our homes, baking cookies and scurrying to find gifts for the December holidays. There are also opportunities galore to see some festive holiday entertainment. Here are the top five shows to see in December.
Space 55, the downtown Phoenix theatre known for offbeat original variety shows, isn’t afraid to tread on tradition. Their annual holiday show A Bloody Mary Christmas, for example, involves a trio of foul-mouthed retirees from Sun City who spend more time getting sloshed than wrapping gifts or hanging garlands.
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