David is a Special Education teacher with a passion and love for the performing arts. He aspires to become a full time theatre critic and/or professor of Drama as Literature.
BWW Reviews: Country Playhouse's SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION is Wooden but Interesting
May 20, 2013
There is always a certain electric buzz that seems to surround any production of a show with a recognizable title. Some people will research the origin of the show, and with John Guare's SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, they'll find that Frigyes Karinthy, a Hungarian author, playwright, poet, journalist, and translator was the first proponent of the theory that everyone is connected to everyone else by six or fewer degrees of separation. He examined this in his 1929 short story, 'Chains' (Lancszemek). This very theory was popularized by the 1990 play and 1993 film adaption of SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION. People might remember that following the success of the play and the film, while watching FOOTLOOSE, students at Albright College created the game 'Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.' Those people will recall how everyone in the 90s was figuring out how every actor and actress was connected to Kevin Bacon through their work in film and commercials. Elements such as these build anticipation for productions of shows with mane recognition.
BWW Interviews: Deborah Boily Talks Cabaret, Career, and Concert
May 19, 2013
Deborah Boily is preparing for her cabaret performance of DEBORAH BOILY - ONE NIGHT ONLY.
BWW Reviews: Theatre Under the Stars' Rollicking SPAMALOT is Hilarious and a Ton of Fun
May 17, 2013
Having grown up on Monty Python reruns and films, it doesn't take a lot to get me excited about seeing a production of Monty Python's SPAMALOT. The hilarious hit musical is making a gloriously triumphant return to Houston in its first locally produced performance at Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS). The First National Tour enjoyed a four week run in the summer of 2007 that was co-produced by Broadway Across America - Houston and TUTS, and because of popular demand TUTS decided to produce the show again.
BWW Interviews: Kingsley Leggs Talks Career and Touring SISTER ACT
May 16, 2013
While SISTER ACT's First National Tour was playing in Durham, North Carolina, I got a chance to talk with Kingsley Leggs, who plays Curtis Jackson, Deloris Van Cartier's gangster boyfriend and the show's villain. Kingsley Legs, who originated the role of Curtis Jackson on Broadway, spoke with me about his career, SISTER ACT's rehearsal process, preparing the First National Tour, SISTER ACT itself, and life on the road.
BWW Reviews: The Ensemble Theatre's RACE is Timely, Relevant, and Poignant
May 13, 2013
The Ensemble Theatre has a reputation for producing thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating art. From this season alone, they have moved hearts and minds with their skillful productions of THE NACIREMA SOCIETY and KNOCK ME A KISS. Their current production of David Mamet's RACE masterfully written RACE beautifully continues that trend and gives audiences plenty to talk and think about.
BWW Reviews: Catastrophic Theatre's THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS is Fun, Stark, Strange, and Ridiculous
May 12, 2013
The Catastrophic Theatre is currently reviving Mickle Maher's THERE IS A HAPPINESS THAT MORNING IS by popular demand. The show originally had its Houston premiere in 2009, and apparently was quite a sensation. At Friday night's opening night performance of this run, I instantly saw why.
BWW Reviews: Black Lab Theatre's CHINGLISH is the Must-See Event of the Season!
May 10, 2013
Black Lab Theatre is closing their exciting 2012-2013 season with a provocative and hilarious Regional Premiere production of David Henry Hwang's 2011 play CHINGLISH. The fresh and poignant comedy is a timely exploration of the business and economic relationship between China and the United States. As this plot is so richly layered and absorbing, I'm reluctant to say much about it for fear of ruining the miraculous experience of watching the story unfold. At the opening of the show, Daniel Cavanaugh, owner of Ohio Signage, is making a presentation for the Commerce League of Ohio about doing business in China. The plot quickly flashes back three years and recounts his first trip to China as he hopes to score a contract to make the translated signs for a new Cultural Arts Center in Guiyang, China. Within a few scenes, the audience is mesmerized by the level of duplicitous intrigue and captured in the surreptitious game of trying to determine what team all the characters are playing for.
BWW Reviews: The Alley Theatre's WARRIOR CLASS is Edgy, Poignant, and Thrilling
May 9, 2013
As part of the Alley Theatre's New Play Initiative, where the Alley facilitates a creative collaboration between playwrights, directors, actors, and designers, the organization is producing Kenneth Lin's edgy and fresh drama WARRIOR CLASS. Kenneth Lin's INTELLIGENCE-SLAVE was previously produced in 2010 as part of this program as well. Kenneth Lin is also a staff writer for Netflix's HOUSE OF CARDS and the creator of USA Networks new limited series AMERICAN WAY.
BWW Reviews: Bayou City Concert Musicals' ALONE TOGETHER: THE MUSIC OF ARTHUR SCHWARTZ is a Magically Enchanting Cabaret
May 8, 2013
Paul Hope's Bayou City Concert Musicals (BCCM) is proudly continuing their mission of bringing to Houston the best of the best from show business' yesteryears. Sometimes it is in the form of a forgotten or neglected musical, like their concert stagings of ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, THE SECRET GARDEN, and FINNAN'S RAINBOW. At other events, Paul Hope stages a cabaret of a composer's hits and erstwhile gems. Last Monday, BCCM premiered their cabaret entitled ALONE TOGETHER: THE SONGS OF ARTHUR SCHWARTZ. Arthur Schwartz composed for the Broadway productions THE BAND WAGON, A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN, and others. He was also a celebrated Hollywood composer, writing music for THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS, the film adaptation of THE BAND WAGON, and others.
BWW Reviews: The Texas Repertory Theatre Company's TRIBUTE is Heart Warming Escapism
May 6, 2013
The Texas Repertory Theatre Company is continuing their 8th Season with Bernard Slade's TRIBUTE. The play was penned as a vehicle for Jack Lemmon, and earned him both a Tony Nomination and a Drama Desk Nomination for his performance. The engaging, 1978 piece introduces audiences to Scotty Templeton, who has just discovered he is terminally ill with Lukemia. As his time runs out, he spends his last summer trying to repair his estranged relationship with his son. Within this scenario, Bernard Slade crafts a heart achingly poignant comedy about the strength of familial bonds and the importance of human friendships.
BWW Interviews: Black Lab Theatre's Director and Cast of CHINGLISH Talks Abut the Show
May 6, 2013
Black Lab Theatre is hard at work preparing the Regional Premiere of David Henry Hwang's CHINGLISH for Houston audiences. Recently, I visited a rehearsal at Asia Society Texas to talk to director Troy Scheid and her cast, featuring Mike Yager, Vivian Chiu, John Dunn, Xin Jian, Janice Pai Martindale, William Wu, and Andrea Huang about the show.
BWW Reviews: Standing Room Only Production's FEELING ALRIGHT is Rollicking, Uplifting, and Feel Good Fun
May 5, 2013
As I stare down the barrel of my own 10-year anniversary from graduating high school, I found more than one of the characters in Standing Room Only Production's presentation of local award-winning playwright Michael Weem's FEELING ALRIGHT! honestly relevant and applicable to me and my life. And I'm certain I was not alone. Whether you're just out of high school or 50 years out of high school, the individual pressures and dilemmas of self-discovery of at least one of the characters will ring with the distinct air of truth for you.
BWW Reviews: Mildred's Umbrella Theater's RAVENSCROFT is A Genre-Bending, Gothic Mystery
May 4, 2013
Mildred's Umbrella is closing their 2012-2013 season with the Houston premiere of the moody and atmospheric formula bending genre play RAVENSCROFT by Don Nigro. The 1991 drama serves as the basis for THE MANOR, a 1999 film with Peter O'Toole, and introduces audiences to Inspector Ruffing, a man challenged with trying to decipher the truth through his interviews with five duplicitous women at Ravenscroft Manor. We watch as Ruffing tries to solve the possible murder of Patrick Roarke, who took an unfortunate headfirst dive down that main stairwell in the middle of the night.
BWW Reviews: Bayou City Theatrics' AIDA - An Entertaining Nile-Themed Gem in the Rough
May 4, 2013
Bayou City Theatrics is continuing their inaugural season with Houston's first locally produced professional staging of Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA. The musical, with a book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls, and David Henry Hwang, was originally produced on Broadway by Disney Theatrical Productions, and ran on there from March 23, 2000 to September 5, 2004 for a total of 1,852 performances. The successes of the Broadway production lead to two national tours. The 2002-2003 equity tour served as a duplicate of the Broadway staging; however, David Henry Hwang revised the book for the 2006-2007 non-equity second national tour, creating a show that was a bit darker by removing some of the campy comedy from the character of Amneris. Having seen both tours, it seems that the version licensed by Music Theatre International is the same book used by the Broadway version.
BWW Interviews: Brian Shepard Talks TUTS' SPAMALOT and His Career
May 1, 2013
Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) is bringing SPAMALOT back to Houston stages. This locally produced production of the smash hit comedic musical is being directed by Marc Robin. The cast features performers that have previously been in productions of SPAMALOT before and some new to the show altogether. During his Tuesday night dinner break, I got the opportunity to chat with Brian Shepard, who was a member of SPAMALOT's Original Broadway Company, about his career and his experiences with SPAMALOT in New York City and with TUTS.
BWW Reviews: A.D. Player's THE JUNGLE BOOK is Beautiful and Empowering
April 29, 2013
BWW Reviews: Houston Grand Opera's IL TROVATORE is Spellbinding and Spectacular
April 29, 2013
BWW Reviews: Houston Ballet's 2013 SPRING SHOWCASE Introduces Ballet's Next Superstars
April 27, 2013
This weekend, the Houston Ballet Academy and Houston Ballet II performed their 2013 Spring Showcase in the Cullen Theater at the Wortham Center, showcasing why this program is globally recognized as one of the preeminent dance training programs.
BWW Reviews: Opera in the Height's FALSTAFF is a Delightful and Mirtful Comedy
April 26, 2013
Last night, Houston's Opera in the Heights opened their production of Giuseppe Verdi's FALSTAFF. The mirthful and comedic opera is the last production of their 2012-2013 season, but the most exhilarating aspect of the production is seeing an opera performed so intimately. This was my first time to visit Lambert Hall, and I was simply blown away by how close to the action I was, even in the last row of the Orchestra level. Opera in the Heights provides a novel and intriguing way to experience opera that I, and I'm sure many others, are simply unaccustomed to.
BWW Interviews: Landry Gideon Talks THE SHOW MUST GO ON, His Texas UIL One Act Play Documentary
April 25, 2013
All across the state of Texas, high school theatre students are gearing up for the annual UIL One Act Play State Championship competition, annually held at the University of Texas in Austin. Just as these students are indefatigably preparing, so is Landry Gideon and his documentary film crew. They have been tirelessly documenting the Texas One Act Play process. Despite the hectic and crazy schedule, Landry Gideon took some time to talk to me about THE SHOW MUST GO ON, his One Act Play documentary, and being a filmmaker.
BWW Reviews: HGO's TRISTAN AND ISOLDE is Immaculately Profound, Riveting, and Unforgettable
April 22, 2013
The 2012-2013 season at Houston Grand Opera (HGO) has been filled with stunning performances of astounding operatic talent; however, their current production of Richard Wagner's TRISTAN AND ISOLDE may be the sparkling gem of this fascinating season. Every aspect of the production gels with perfection, making this production remarkable and truly unforgettable.
BWW Reviews: TSW's THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA is Absorbing and Suspenseful
April 21, 2013
Theatre Southwest is currently producing a fascinating production of Tennessee William's thrilling and tense THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA. The 1961 drama is set at The Costa Verde Hotel in Puerto Barrio on the West Coast of Mexico in the summer of 1940. The Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon is leading a tour group of Baptist women from Texas through Mexico, but makes an unplanned stop at the hotel, which is owned and operated by his friend, Maxine Falk. Over the course of the afternoon and evening, Shannon slowly unravels, exposing his secrets and sins. An impoverished and entirely broke New England spinster, Hannah Jelkes, and her aging grandfather, a poet losing his mind, arrive at the hotel as well. Without any money, the duo hopes to lodge at the hotel with the promise to earn some money and pay upon checkout.
BWW Reviews: The Alley's THE ELEPHANT MAN is Powerfully Evocative and Emotionally Stirring
April 18, 2013
Last night, The Alley Theatre hosted the press opening night of Bernard Pomerance's well-known 1977 tragic drama THE ELEPHANT MAN. The nearly 100-minute one act production is a fascinating look at the life of Joseph 'John' Carey Merrick, who began developing severe bone and skin abnormalities by age two. The play takes place from 1884 to 1890, focusing primarily on the parts of Joseph Merrick's life when he was acquainted with and studied by Dr. Frederick Treves, a surgeon in London. Throughout Joseph Merrick's life these abnormalities worsened, significantly increasing the physical strain these deformities subjected his body to. Joseph Merrick passed on April 11, 1890, at the age of 27. The official cause of death is asphyxia.
Pearland High School Sweeps While Ryne Nardecchia and Allison Anderson Grab Top Honors at 2013 TOMMY TUNE AWARDS - All the Winners!
April 17, 2013
Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) celebrated the incredible and phenomenal high school talent in Houston last night with their 11th Annual TOMMY TUNE AWARDS. Walking into Sarofim Hall, the energy in the room was palpable. The electricity of excitement and sheer nerves ricocheted off the walls of the auditorium, and erupted into cheers as the lights dimmed and the TONY's-inspired awards show began.
BWW Reviews: Stage Door Inc.'s Campy LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is Endearing and Amusing
April 15, 2013
Pasadena's Stage Door Inc. continues their 2013 season of murder, madness, and mayhem with a fun and campy production of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman's LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, which was inspired by Roger Corman's cult 1960 film The Little Shop of Horrors. The musical is set in the late 1950s/early 1960s, and features music written to emulate the sounds of early 1960s rock and roll, doo-wop, and early Motown. It's also a Faustian tale, where a down-oh-his-luck guy finds fortune, fame, and love because of his strange and exotic plant. The only down side is that to keep the money and adoration rolling in, he has to find people to feed to the plant that only thrives from consuming human blood.
BWW Reviews: SPELLING BEE is Musical Theatre Candy at Its Absolute Best
April 14, 2013
After riveting audiences with an emotionally raw and intellectual inaugural production of Stephen Sondheim's ASSASSINS, MJR Theatricals/Music Box Musicals is serving up a wondrously side-splitting, laugh-a-minute presentation of the Tony-award winning musical THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. The clever and hilarious musical is based on Rebecca Feldman's C-R-E-P-U-S-C-U-L-E improvisation performed by The Farm, with music and lyrics by William Finn and a book by Rachel Sheinkin. It treats the audience as if they are really at the fictional spelling bee, and the cast gleefully breaks the fourth wall to interact with members of the audience. The musical follows six quirky kids (played by adults) through the spelling bee, and introduces the audience to three adults that are just as peculiar as the kids.