Director Craig Cohoon's production was such a ticklish and sustained creep-out that I chuckled and smiled in appreciation as much as amusement, even when I was silently begging one of our leads to not, not, open that scary-ass door.

Composer William Flynn's music and lyrics and Rachel Sheinkin's book (with additional material by Jay Reiss) are so full of wit, heart, and humor that I think even a “C”-average delivery would still please. Director Becca Johnson, however, has created a wonderfully paced and creatively performed production, featuring terrific talent that includes the five-member pit orchestra of Peter Letendre, Becky Holland, Sandra Blom, Kyle Jacklin, and music director Kyle Schneider. This show gets an A+ in my book, as there was hardly a moment in which I wasn’t under its, ahem, spell.

Despite its a cappella rendition of “The Yellow Rose of Texas” and repeated employment of the clever, catchy Unknown Hinson song “I Cleaned Out a Room (in My Trailer for You)” during scene changes, no one could mistake the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's season-ending presentation for a musical. But in director John VanDeWoestyne's Doublewide, Texas, the character attire designed and gathered by costumer Suzanne DeReu is so eye-catching, and so abundant, that it's almost as though this lightweight Southern comedy were instead a lavish Broadway spectacle boasting a cast of 90 and special appearance by the Rockettes. And the Rockettes wouldn't have been funny.

I’m no Brainiac, but I do know this about musicals: When you put together a group of 13 adorable and talented little girls led by a plucky redhead who can sing her heart out, add a rags-to-riches tale enhanced with memorable tunes and dance numbers, and then throw in a scruffy dog that takes stage direction, you’ve got a crowd-pleaser on your hands!

I love going to the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse – not just for the great shows, but for the memories that the old theatre brings. And on the day after Thanksgiving, I had the good fortune to take my eight year-old grandson John to the opening matinée of Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas, Circa '21's current children’s musical under the direction of Andrea Moore.

Written by Thomas Meehan and based on the 2003 film comedy, Elf: The Musical is filled with lively music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin, and director/choreographer Ann Nieman made great use of an exceptionally talented cast that didn't have a weak link in the bunch.

As I sat in the audience for the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's opening-night performance of Miracle on 34th Street, I had to constantly remind myself that I was watching a Christmas show. Not because the production wasn’t festive, but because I couldn’t believe the holiday season is already here!

Each of the collective 11 scenes lasts mere minutes and usually employs no more than two actors on-stage at a time, with no more than three actors in any given scene. But the beauty of the script is its poignant, witty, heartbreaking, and hopeful look at the one thing that bonds these characters under the Northern Lights on a bitter Maine night: love.

It's been said that laughter is the best medicine, and during the Circa '21 Speakeasy’s Friday-night production of The Rocky Horror Show, I got a really good dose of it. Bret and Erin Churchill, who co-directed and choreographed the show, have put together a fast-paced, high-energy production full of terrific singing and hilarious fun.

When director Catherine Bodenbender took center stage at the show's precise curtain time, she reminded the audience to silence their phones and provided a few additional tidbits of information. And then – like a stage manager would typically do behind the scenes – she yelled, “Actors: Places!”, and the cast marched out from their backstage dressing area and took their seats behind the audience. I thought: “This is gonna be cool.”

Pages