Posts tagged maggie lawrence
[Culpeper Times] CURTAIN CALLS: Islands of delight dot 'South Pacific'

One enchanted evening many years ago (seventy, to be exact) Messrs. Rodgers and Hammerstein opened their mint new musical, “South Pacific”, for its New Haven and Boston previews. The response was immediate and enthusiastic… Riverside Center’s just-opened production scores where it counts most in this tale of two non-traditional love affairs and war in the Pacific. Central to the conflict are one middle-aged Frenchman with the mysterious past, Emile de Becque, and his much younger love interest, the Arkansas-bred nurse, Ensign Nellie Forbush. Around them swirl issues of Japanese invasion, high jinks among the sailors, and a separate, doomed love affair with further racial implications.

Read More
[Culpeper Times] CURTAINS: “Pirates…” The Very Model of a Modern Operetta

They fancy themselves a dangerous lot, but the grim list of killed and captured by the Pirates of Penzance is…nonexistent. Their job is to be fierce and take hostages, but somehow - dash it all! – the hostages always turn out to be orphans! And being orphans themselves, they just can’t take ungentlemanly advantage. That means our pirates are no more successful now in 2019 than they were back in 1879. That’s when this Gilbert and Sullivan jewel first held audiences captive with its rapier wit, and it’s been swashing its buckles ever since.

Three cannon shots of congratulation to Riverside for staging this gold nugget and doing it justice.  In a whimsical modification, director Catherine Flye has renamed this the “Rascals of the Rappahannock” and brought the pirates to Fredericksburg in the time of George III, as opposed to the Victorian era Cornwall coast.  

Read More
CURTAIN CALLS: 'The Color Purple' is the new gold

For some reason, stories about rape, incest, degradation, and spousal abuse don’t spring to mind when we think of plots for uplifting musicals. Nevertheless, such is the searing, epistolary story that forms the basis for “The Color Purple”, Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel of 1983 which was quickly followed by a film in 1985. A musical version had to happen.

That Broadway hit, which ran from ’05 to ’08, garnered eleven Tony nominations and a Tony-winning revival that ran from late 2015 to 2017. Dramatically speaking, “…Purple” is gold.

That musical revival in all its scorching, heart-breaking glory awaits patrons at the Riverside Center through May 5. If you pick and choose which shows to see, see this one. If you’ve never been, but always meant to go, go now.

Read More
Culpeper Times CURTAIN CALLS: ‘La Cage' releases Folles at Riverside

Pull out your feather boa, your sequined gown and gold lame cape. Squeeze into those impossible high heels and don’t forget the fire engine lipstick.

Oh, and tell your wife to dress up, too. The “folles” have arrived!

This is a first for our favorite dinner theater. The Riverside Center has made the creative decision to branch out a bit and bring something not seen on a mainstream stage in the Fredericksburg area. But “not seen” doesn’t mean “new.” For all its glitter and illusion, “La Cage Aux Folles” has a very respectable 46-year history.

Read More
Culpeper Times CURTAIN CALLS: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” Roars On

For many years of reviewing regional theatre, I have looked around the audience with growing concern at the many grey and balding heads. Where, I asked myself, in this age of Netflix, YouTube, video games, and movie theatres with reclining chairs will the next generation of live theatre patrons come from?

Now I have an answer.

Read More
(Culpeper Times) CURTAIN CALLS: Still crazy for ‘Patsy Cline’

One thing sets this production apart from countless other Patsy Cline tributes: the fortuitous pairing of Carter Calvert in the title role and Sally Struthers as Louise. What could be a pleasantly pastel evening of mildly amusing narrative and great songs is now a kick-to-the-head, thousand-watt star power night of music and comedy.

Read More
[Culpeper Times] CURTAIN CALLS: ‘Hunchback’ rings out 20th season

But what of Quasimodo himself?  There’s a fine balance that must be struck between strength and unconscious pathos. The physical deformity must be dominant, but not overworked; the voice struggling to be understood, but not too self-aware. A new face on Riverside’s stage, Justin Luciano, fulfills the most demanding expectation. His is a stand-out performance in a production filled with superlatives.

Read More