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By George Basler Some sad news came in over the holidays: The Art Mission and Theater gave up the ghost after showing independent films in downtown Binghamton for the past 10 years. I can’t say I was totally surprised. Sometimes I wondered how the place hung on for so long as it had, given the movie market here in Binghamton. Nonetheless, it was disheartening for me as a movie buff. Some of my friends would put the theater down, comparing it unfavorably to Cinemapolis, an independent movie house...
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Reviewed by George Basler Watching a performance of A Christmas Carol at the Cider Mill Stage in Endicott is a little like sharing a bowl of Christmas punch with an old friend whom you haven’t seen in a while. First performed in 1979, John Bielenberg’s adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic is more than a stage production. It’s a holiday tradition that has played to thousands of patrons over the years. After a one-year absence, it’s back at the Cider Mill this year thanks to Brad Morgan,...
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By George Basler Seamus Lucason had never been in Binghamton before last weekend. What drew him here was the opportunity to see one of his plays performed for the first time. The Irish playwright, whose works have been produced in both Ireland and America, made the five-hour drive from Boston to be at KNOW Theatre’s Playwrights and Artists Festival for the play’s debut. “What it means for me is the chance to see what works, and what doesn’t work,” he said. Lucason is one of six playwrights featured...
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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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