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Reviewed by George Basler Tommy Iafrate said he wanted to take a non-traditional approach in his staging of The Wizard of Oz,which opened this past weekend (Nov. 10-11) at Binghamton University. And the university’s director of musical theater certainly did that. The Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow are played by female, instead of male, actors. The Wicked Witch of the West is played by a male actor in drag. The Wizard himself, or should I say herself, is played by a female actor. And don’t expect...
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Reviewed by George Basler The Glass Menagerie is a play bathed in melancholy and misconception. As one of the main characters tells the audience in the first scene, “I give you truth in the pleasant disguise of illusion.” But “the pleasant disguise” is left in pieces by the end of the heartbreaking play that is generally considered the first major work of the playwright Tennessee Williams. The play’s greatness is on full display in the Ti-Ahwaga Community Players’ production, which opened this past weekend (Oct. 6-8) and will run...
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Reviewed by George Basler The Nance, which opened this past weekend (Sept.  8-10) at KNOW Theatre in downtown Binghamton, is an extremely funny send-up of old-fashioned burlesque shows, filled with routines that were old when your grandfather was in knickers. The play is also a touchingly sad character study as the life of its main character crumbles through self-delusion and self-loathing. These two aspects may seem an odd combination -- like mixing cherry soda with vinegar -- but a superb cast pulls it off in a terrific production...
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Reviewed by George Basler Nobody ever accused Edward Albee of playing it safe. And that’s certainly not the case with The Goat or, Who is Sylvia, which opened this past weekend (June 9-11) at KNOW Theatre in downtown Binghamton. The play won the Tony Award for Best Play and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play, and it was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. A fine KNOW Theatre cast, well directed by James B. Nicola, makes it a compelling evening of theater. But the subject matter is about...
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Editor's note: This is a revised version of the original review. Reviewed by George Basler Audience members know they’re in for a funny evening when even the pre-show announcement about fire exits and cell phones draws laughs. That’s the case with SRO Underground’s production of Avenue Q, which opened last weekend (May 12-14) at the Schorr Family Firehouse Stage in Johnson City. The laughs continue throughout the two-hour and 15-minute show that is basically a spoof of the beloved children’s series Sesame Street, replete with fuzzy puppets and actors pulling the strings. The performance...
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Reviewed by George Basler A lot of words could describe Hydrogen Jukebox: experimental, anti-establishment, provocative and surreal. So Tri-Cities Opera deserves credit for taking on this challenging work in a production that opened April 21 and will continue with performances this weekend. The production is admirably directed by Alison Moritz and well sung by a cast of six young performers. The opera itself, however, is a mixed bag with moments of emotional intensity and beauty intermixed with stretches of hippie-dippy musings that a young Woody Allen would have had...
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