A local comedy club is teaching people the skills of comedy writing, performance and improv, but not all of those people end up onstage. Many of them simply want to apply the skills in their everyday life, whether it’s as a writer, an actor or just in social settings.
It’s a very different world today than the one in which “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” burst onto the Off-Broadway scene in 1998. This critic was tits-deep in queer theory and Judith Butler’s ideas about gender identity formation as a wide-eyed undergraduate, and mainstream culture wasn’t in any way ready for a rock musical/cabaret featuring a heart-broken, foul-mouthed, East German, gender fluid rock star who suffered from botched sex reassignment surgery. But the theater world was — as it always is for a brilliant character with righteous dramatic flair.
One of the most beautiful aspects about live theater is its ability to take people back to a moment in their own lives, a memory that’s ingrained in their brain from long ago or an event that recently happened. With the Wharton Center’s season opener, Come From Away, most members of the audience will probably have at least one memory or two of the event at the center of the musical: 9/11.
The Barn Theatre has a way of playing to its strengths, which turns out to be all kinds of things, from big sweeping musicals to off-color farces to classic dramas to rock operas to family friendly comedies and beyond. They’ve offered much of that this year in their 73rd summer stock season, but to bring this excellent season to a close they’re offering something completely different—that yet also plays to their strengths as comedians, character actors, as well as phenomenal singers and dancers.
If you think there’s anything sexier and funnier than murder, you’ll think again after seeing the phenomenal musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” at Mason Street Warehouse.
On their own, Swedish disco-pop group ABBA’s insanely catchy hits are sexy, silly, and sometimes all but nonsensical; but strung together with a light-hearted storyline and a handful of lovable characters, they become better than they have any right to be.
“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.
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.
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