Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 15:06:25 EST
Time is taking its toll, so I don't travel as much as in recent years. Most of my theater going is south of Boston, with a couple of exceptions.
I go to Providence Performing Arts Center [ PPAC ], to see the same shows that hit Boston, but at a reduced price. The shows that grabbed me at PPAC were Aida, Elton Johns music, Mamma Mia and The Music Man. The ones that left me cold were, West Side Story, Annie Get Your Gun, and Kiss Me Kate. If it weren't for Rachel York, KMK would have been a complete disaster.
Another bummer for me was one of the musicals I did go to see in Boston. The Best Little Whorehouse. I should have stayed home. Ann Margaret was a sexy and beautiful girl in her day, but not for this show. The music was as bland as the performances. The only good song was done late in the show by the ensemble, but it was too little, too late.
Company Theatre in Norwell had a good line up. Steel Magnolias and Cabaret were wonderful, as was Songs For A New World.
Fiddlehead Theatre Norwood did three shows that were tops. A Chorus Line, The Odd Couple, and Dial M For Murder.
Crimes of the Heart at The Footlighters in Walpole was over all, the best acted, best directed play I have seen in years. At the other end of the scale, Little Shop of Horrors was the worst thing I have seen in Years.
She Loves Me at the Community Players of Pawtucket was a surprise. A very pleasant surprise. It was very well done.
Both Turtle Lane Playhouse, Newton, and Bay Colony Productions at Foxborough Orpheum gave us Jekyll & Hyde the musical. Each, in their own ways were fine pieces of musical drama.
Actors Collaborative, at the Orpheum, did The Scarlet Pimpernel. It was a fun show to see and hear. I wish the director had allowed the actors to go a little more over the top. The play is a farce, it needs a light touch.
Rose, and Mark Twain, each a one actor show, were spell binding. Both held my attention. Broadway Lights gave me a delightful two hours of music.
Ragtime, North Shore Music Theater, rivaled anything you would see in Boston.
I went to see Linda Eder twice during the year, once at NSMT, then at PPAC. If you have never had the pleasure of seeing and hearing this beautiful lady, you are missing out. Her voice and stage presence are magnificent.
I have tried to single out people for praise. It took a whole lot of mind changing, but here is my list.
Male Singer John King, Cabaret, Company Theatre
Female Singer Sarah Turner, Into The Woods, Arlington Friends of the Drama, and Kathleen McCann, Jekyll & Hyde, Turtle Lane.
Male Actor Drama, Jeffery J. Harig, Dial M For Murder, Fiddlehead, and Wylie Allen, The Boys Next Door, North River Productions, Middleborough.
Female Actor Drama, Kris Connelly, Steel Magnolias, Company.
Male in a Comedy, Joe Siriani and Michael Kreutz, The Odd Couple, Fiddlehead. Female in a Comedy, although it was a musical, Shana Dirik had me in stitches as Miss Hannigan in Annie at Fiddlehead.
Best set design had to be Crimes of the Heart, Dan Sheehan. There were loads of small things about the set that were great. A working, running water sink, a refrigerator that held real ice cubes, and a coffee maker that made fresh coffee, leaves and twigs on the porch, so very realistic.
Over all I had a good time this past year, and I am looking forward to even a better time this year. I told Larry several months ago, that I get into a rut and don't go to the theater for a few weeks. Once I attend a show, I realize how much I miss it, and how much fun can be had. [ * Bob Guenthner ]