More than 40 years after it landed on Broadway, there’s still a whole lot of magic left in The Wiz. Behold and believe: Director Jay Berkow’s buoyant, utterly delightful Western Michigan University Theatre production of this African-American revamp of The Wizard of Oz conclusively proves Wicked does not have the market cornered when it comes to Oz-centric musicals.
In the theater, timing is everything, and it’s difficult to imagine a better week than this one for the Kalamazoo Civic to open “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark,” Lynn Nottage’s bittersweet look at the so-called golden age of Hollywood, when African-American actors frequently found themselves with two kinds of parts to choose from.
“Golf is nothing but a good walk. Spoiled.” This paraphrased Mark Twainism opens “The Fox on the Fairway,” the most recent slamming doors farce from playwright Ken Ludwig, now playing at The New Vic Theatre in Kalamazoo.
The Spectrum Theater, located on Fountain Street in Grand Rapids Community College’s campus, houses four theater troupes and is always bustling with activity. Managing all that activity is Michelle Urbane, theater manager. On top of managing the box office, Urbane directs and performs in shows and can always be seen running from one place to the next, always with a big smile on her face.
Four years ago, when Edye Evans Hyde started the Ebony Road Players, she didn’t know it would turn into a catalyst for social justice.
Dann Sytsma’s fixation with the word “crawlspace” led to the birth of an improv group that has become a fixture in Kalamazoo’s entertainment scene.
When Fred Sebulske founded Actors’ Theatre Grand Rapids in 1981, his mission was to provoke conversation through theater.
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.
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