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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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Reviewed by George Basler The latest KNOW Theatre production is entitled Provocative, Pointed and Purely Funny: An Evening with Edward Allan Baker, and that pretty much sums up what audiences will experience. Black humor, social commentary and heartache are on full display in Baker’s three one-act plays , which opened this past weekend (April 7-9) and will run for two more weekends. While the plays are uneven, powerful performances by a first-rate cast make for a compelling evening. Baker, whose lengthy resume includes 14 one-act plays, is currently chair of...
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Reviewed by George Basler Put simply, Thorton Wilder’s The Skin of Our Teeth is a play you’ll either love or hate. Written in 1939, and first performed in 1942, the tragicomedy totally rejects naturalism (some would say logic) for abstraction, allegory and absurdity. In short, it’s one of the most bizarre, and polarizing, mainstream dramas ever produced on the American stage. The play was a hit when it first opened on Broadway and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. But time has not been kind. The Skin of...
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Reviewed by George Basler Over the past 24 years, Binghamton’s KNOW Theatre has established a solid reputation for presenting provocative and/or less well-known plays. Its latest production, Of the Fields, Lately, which opened this past weekend (Feb. 10-12), certainly fits that bill. The slice-of-life family drama, set in 1961, was written by Canadian playwright David French, who, I acknowledge, I had never heard of before. It’s one in a cycle of five, semi-autobiographical plays about the Mercer family, a solidly working-class family from Newfoundland, now living in Toronto. As...
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Reviewed by George Basler The musical 1776 originally opened on Broadway in the midst of the Vietnam War and the hippie era exemplified by Hair, which was running just down the block. The timing meant the show got labeled as a square peg in the round hole of a turbulent era. But while other artifacts of the era -- such as love beads, Nehru jackets and even Hair itself -- now seem comically dated, 1776 retains its freshness and relevancy. S.R.O Productions III’s crisp, well-acted production, which opened Jan....
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Reviewed by George Basler Hold on to your hats: a human tornado in the form of Mama Rose is anchoring an outstanding new production of Gypsy by the Endicott Performing Arts Center Repertory Company. Mama Rose is the centerpiece of the show, and Terri-Jo Ramia gives a blistering performance as the classic stage mother who plays out her own frustrated dreams of fame through the lives of her two children. The rest of the cast is equally good, from the leads to the supporting players to those filling smaller...
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