Review: “Beauty and the Beast Jr.” dazzles and delights beyond expectation

Written by James Sanford | Saturday, 25 March 2017 12:42 |

For artistic directors planning a theater’s season, there’s always a temptation to ride the coattails of an upcoming movie and schedule a stage version of the next potential blockbuster. But this can also be a trap.

“Sell” rhymes with “hell,” something David Mamet never lets us forget in his 1984 Pulitzer Prize winner Glengarry Glen Ross, set in a Chicago real estate office that’s about as cheery and chummy as a vipers’ nest. With apologies to Arthur Miller, death for these salesmen would be a relief; they are trapped in a torturous, endless purgatory of backstabbing, back-biting and brow-beatings.

Review: 'RENT' stands the test of time

Written by Kayla Tucker | Wednesday, 15 March 2017 10:12 |

Tuesday night, a standing ovation met the cast of RENT after they rocked a crowd of about 2,000 at Grand Rapids’ DeVos Performance Hall.

Review: ‘Buyer & Cellar’ sells the goods

Written by Paul Wozniak | Sunday, 12 March 2017 12:31 |

Imagine getting the opportunity to work for your favorite celebrity. Now imagine you and that celebrity becoming fast friends.

Just Kidding: Laughfest show puts a child’s wild imagination onstage

Written by Kayla Tucker | Wednesday, 01 March 2017 09:00 |

Adult comics will bring kids’ imaginations to life with a free show at this year’s Gilda’s Laughfest. This is the second annual show directed by local comedian Amy Gascon, who performs in various comedy and improv groups in Grand Rapids.

Jason Potgieter’s passion for puppeteering will come in handy for Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher.

Review: “Ragtime” expertly captures multifaceted, timely story

Written by James Sanford | Monday, 27 February 2017 10:59 |

E.L. Doctorow's 1975 best-seller, “Ragtime,” probably would not rank high on anyone’s list of books that cry out to be turned into musicals. A portrait of America in the early 20th century, it follows an anonymous, well-to-do family from New Rochelle, N.Y., as they make “Forrest Gump”-ian connections with some of the major figures of the day, brushing up against a few controversies along the way.

Review: "The Sound of Music" offers a solid adaptation of the famous classic

Written by Troy Reimink | Wednesday, 22 February 2017 17:03 |

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” is so stacked with classic songs that even seeing them all listed together dizzies the head — “My Favorite Things,” “Maria,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Sixteen Going On Seventeen,” “So Long, Farewell,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” the title piece about the hills being alive with … well, you know.

It’s slightly jarring to see the Kalamazoo Civic Theatre mainstage completely exposed as director Todd Espeland’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” begins: At first, there is nothing on the stage except a dozen or so empty chairs.

At first glance, you might wonder how the work of S.E. Hinton could possibly connect with today’s teens. Something of a trailblazer in the 1960s, Hinton was barely out of high school when she sold “The Outsiders,” a strikingly honest look at high school life and gang rivalries that her publishers feared would be overlooked if critics knew it was written by a woman (the initials stand for Susan Eloise).

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