Maine and its people are often the butt of New England jokes, much as the U.P. and Yoopers are often viewed in a stereotypical light by those of us downstate. And yet for outsiders, there’s something terribly appealing about places far north and the requisite ways of being amid interminable winter set apart from the rest of civilization — at least to peer in at from afar.
During Act I of “On Your Feet!” there's a moment where Gloria (Christie Prades) and Emilio (Mauricio Martínez) are talking with Phil (Devon Goffman), a record label executive who won’t back their new hit because it isn’t in Spanish. An argument ensues — for a variety of reasons — but leads to the audience finding out more about Emilio’s background and how he came to America, how he’s been there for 15 years, and how he’s worked his butt off to get where he is. Suddenly he shouts, “Look at my face. Whether you know it or not, this is what an American looks like.” Cue one of the audience’s many thunderous applauses.
There is no art form more embodied by or tethered to the human form than dance, and classical ballet historically capitalizes on romantic ideals of gender binaries. George Balanchine, arguably the most influential 20th Century choreographer of ballet, famously declared, “Ballet is woman.” Woman as femme, woman on the excruciating yet ethereal pedestal of the pointe shoe, and woman as lifted and held by man. As dance critic Alistair Macaulay points out, Balanchine’s “kind of ballet was always a man’s view of woman, and a solely heterosexual one.”
Sometimes the most compelling thing about a performance is the connection the performers build with the audience. On Friday night, this is exactly what happened at the end of Actors’ Theatre’s fine production (and Michigan premiere) of Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s mediocre “If/Then,” the 2015 musical remembered largely as a vehicle for “Wicked” and “Frozen” star Idina Menzel about a newly divorced 30-something urban planner who returns to New York City to start again only to question and double back on all the possible directions she might turn in terms of love and/or career.
Western Michigan University Dance Department Chair Megan Slayter used pithy, yet powerful words to describe the 2018 Winter Dance Gala.
A few chosen actors in Grand Rapids will take part in a series of one-person performances of White Rabbit, Red Rabbit at Actors’ Theatre this month. The catch: They don’t get to see the script until opening night.
Whether it be the first time or a special occasion, the symphony and the cinema both make for excellent dates. And you can have it both ways when vocalists Diane Penning and Paul Langford join West Michigan Symphony for Hollywood’s Greatest Melodies, the weekend before Valentine’s Day.
Did any among us who lived through the 1980s ever think we’d long for them again? Who knew, thirty years later, the Reagan era would, indeed, appear to be a sexier time?
In Waitress, most of the show’s action takes place in Joe’s Diner, where three of the musical’s main characters — Jenna (Desi Oakley), Dawn (Lenne Klingaman) and Becky (Charity Angel Dawson) — are waitresses. But the diner does much more than just serve Jenna’s infamous pies to its customers. It’s where love is found, discoveries about the characters are made, fights are had, and yes, a lot of pies are baked.
“When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us,” is a bit of wisdom attributed to Alexander Graham Bell. “The Conviction of Lady Lorraine,” written and performed by Dwandra Nickole Lampkin, is evidence of what wonderful things can happen when a driven, curious and inventive artist, amid a dream project, gets told no.
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