“Strong woman” is more often than not a redundant phrase, but nowhere more so than in the South. And even amid the grand canon of 20th Century Southern literature, very few works honor and capture the realness, sharp wit, and fierce love of the strong Southern woman better than Robert Harling’s “Steel Magnolias.”
Whether or not you consider yourself a fan of farce hardly matters when you find yourself in the audience of a truly excellent production. The script will necessarily be formulaic and full of corny jokes — and yet what talented, imaginative, fully-committed actors can do with that set of characters and off-the-wall scenario, particularly with a director who has a gift for comedy, can make you marvel at their artistry and laugh so hard your belly hurts.
Thomas Pike and the Vintage Parlor Orchestra are working to bring orchestral music back to the mainstream. As the project gains momentum, expect to hear symphonic arrangements in unusual places — maybe even your favorite bar or art gallery.
The new executive director for the Grand Rapids Opera has always been a lover of music, philanthropy and business and it shows in every aspect of her life.
Lakeshore art galleries offer a little bit of everything when it comes to fine art gifts, home décor and original paintings and pottery.
When we see a show so amazing that it draws us in and makes us forget there are real people onstage, it’s so easy to not think about what performers like Isabella Abuan go through every single day to make that magical performance happen.
In a small doughnut shop in Uptown Chicago, two unlikely friends form a bond and find out not only what sets them apart, but more importantly, what they have in common.
Last year, we removed the whole Cultural Arts category with the idea of doing an extended Best of the West that was JUST for arts organizations. Only flaw in the plan: We never ended up doing that. Oops!
The turn of the 21st Century brought, among other things, a proliferation of stage adaptations from film, and the trend has continued, to varying degrees of success. “Shakespeare In Love,” the 2014 adaptation based on the Oscar-winning 1998 romantic comedy, is one of the rare examples of a movie-turned-play that actually works better on stage, and the current production directed by Cameron Knight at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre glorifies its many successes with a brilliant cast so good, they’re not even upstaged by their gorgeous period costumes and impressive set.
The wickedly funny and smart “R-rated puppet show” “Avenue Q” closed in New York last May after multiple runs off and on Broadway, delighting audiences and winning Best Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score Tony Awards in 2004. Considered by critics a “breakthrough musical” with long-term influence, the show remains shockingly fun, even for those among us who have seen it in various iterations over the years.
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