Seats were filled at the opening night Wednesday of “The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington” - or “Miz Martha” for short - produced by Ebony Road Players, Grand Rapids’ self-proclaimed black theater company.
After nearly every song in a musical there’s a bit of an applause, normally a few seconds at most. At last night’s performance of Love Never Dies, its title song earned far more than just a few seconds, and rightfully so.
Before Broadway musicals were spectacles full of pyrotechnics or made meaningful critiques through a social justice lens or turned popular jukebox hits into extended dance parties, they were pretty, lovely, dreamy, funny escapes for a certain theater-going audience who wanted such things. They were full of big dance numbers and pretty costumes and silly characters who sang songs that made patrons leave the theater humming to themselves, maybe even a little lighter in step.
To be audience to “iLuminate: the most fun you’ll ever have in the dark” is to know you’re in the presence of a gimmick. But as far as gimmicks go, it is pretty fun.
In the opening scene of Farmer’s Alley’s “Beyond the Rainbow: The Judy Garland Musical,” a dead ringer for the icon — ostensibly backstage before her 1961 concert performance at Carnegie Hall — wrings her hands, powders her nose, and anxiously pops pills, washing them down with a martini.
Roger Burleigh has a leading role in every production staged at Farmer’s Alley Theatre, but audience members likely will never see him.
Satin pointe shoes, shimmering tiaras and embroidered tutus may seem like the most fundamental elements in ballet, but to the Grand Rapids Ballet, the art is not just its stereotypical image.
Ebony Road Players — Grand Rapids’ self proclaimed black theater — has two important, impactful shows for the community this month, Lines: The Lived Experience of Race and The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington.
With adult actors playing tweens, Holland Civic Theatre takes on the comedy, awkwardness and anxiety of adolescence in its delightful fall musical.
Be prepared for some face-melting before you go see School of Rock.
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