Entertainment Reviews

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Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky USA
HUMANA FESTIVAL of New American Plays. 43rd Season

"Everybody Black"
By Dave Harris 
Directed by Awoye Timpo

J. Cameron Barnett
Ashley  N. Children
Galen Ryan Kane
Sharon's Martin
Nsangou Njikam 
Christina Acosta Robinson

This is a fine modern satire of Black American life,  with fake and real history entwined with pokes at white people, 

It is very funny, yet makes good points about the positives and negatives in the lives of some black Americans.

This is the last opening show amongst the several in this 43rd season of HUMANA funded events.

My late moms' company, Brown Forman Distillers,  is a season sponsor too.

This opening night was well attended, and had a champagne toast with Korbel, from Brown Forman, and an after party with snacks.

The actors PR director dropped by to say hello, and suggested I see what other Humana productions I might like to review, that are also running.  I will look into that.

If you go, come see Everybody Black. It is politically incorrect, and, also very funny and moving.

Thus is a very different piece, and you don't want thinking. Also, the "N word" is used a lot.

Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ky.USA
By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Steve H. BROADNAX III

This play looks at a High School Teacher, also, her son that recently shoved another Teacher into a smart board in a classroom.

The school expelled the young man, and they likely, and properly want to press charges.  However, personal choice, and, bad choices in particular are what makes students act out in class.  There is the issue of the pre frontal cortex  not being developed until way after High School, around age 26.

No state recognises a magical hand that controls teens in how they interact in school, with parents, or the law.

Students, like older persons, are totally responsible for what they CHOOSE to do in their lives.

This play is rather thin in scope. It is a long one act, with loud talking between characters. If you are triggered by loud arguments, this might not be your entertainment option.

The general gist behind this work is that black students are targeted most for reprimanded.

I have spoken with a Police Officer that feels that there are some cultural differences between some black people, and some white people, especially in more rough neighborhoods.

I think people should be held accountable for WHAT THEY CHOOSE TO DO.  

We don't learn how this story plays out, as it ends in midstream. I hope the young man gets some jail time for the assault he chose to inflict on the innocent teacher.

As a counterpoint, yet another Teacher had to endure being cut by a students' knife, then, reconstructive surgery. Her classroom is a war zone.

I can't relate to that kind of place, or people. Regardless m, bad students SHOULD be punished. 

A thin script, but, still entertaining.

A Christmas Carol
Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky USA

By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Barbara Field
Directed by Drew Fracher

What a wonderfully paced version of this delightful chestnut.

John G. Preston was a thoughtful Scrooge. Not unbearably evil; just an 1840s version of a conservative businessman.

All of the touchstone moments were there with the ghosts, Tiny Tim, Mrs. Fezziwig and an ensemble of talented actors, singers and members of the Actors Apprentice Professional Training Program. 

Outstanding amongst the apprentices  was the multitasking actor, Julian Socha. I really enjoyed catching his reactions to the other performers, and his own infectious enthusiasm and smile.

This charming piece runs through December 23, 2018.

If you get a chance to catch this family friendly story of redemption, please do. 

There are familiar carols, original music, special effects and surprises.

It is lovely to see such a multicultural cast. The Bob Cratchit family is of many races and ethnic backgrounds.

Again, this year, Actors took up a collection for Actors Equity Cares about HIV/AIDS,  after the production.

There is a huge Xmas tree in the lobby, and after the show you can have $8.00 pictures taken in front of it along with some cast members. The fee goes to support the Apprentice program.

It is a two hour production with a 15 minute intermission.

If you or a friend is Autistic, Actors can provide you with a synopsis of the loud and emotional moments in this production.

They want everyone to feel welcome at Actors Theatre.

Fifth 3rd Bank is the production sponsor.

The Santaland Diaries 
Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ky. USA

by David Sedaris
Adaptation by Joe Mantello
Directed by Meredith McDonough

As Crumpet, the Elf, is Bear Brummel

Support Professional Union Theater

The Director is a member of the Society of Stage Managers and Choreographers, an independent national labor union.

The Actor and the Stage Manager are members of Actors Equity Association, the union of Professional actors and stage managers of the United States.

The designers are represented by United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829 of the IATSE.

This is a charming stage production of the famous radio reading by David Sedaris of his Elf experiences at Macy's, as a paid Santaland Elf in the 1980s.

Bear Brummel is way, way, too tall to play the part of a 5 foot 5 David Sedaris' elfin Crumpet. But, he is wonderfully miscast.

He is a delightful performer, and, even though he is taller than the Keebler Tree, he does recount the efforts of Crumpet, and, all of the various Santas and many of the other wacky elves.

The real star of the show is the compartmentalized set by William Boles the light effects by Paul Tobin, the cute Xmas costumes by Mike Floyd, and the music cues, and sound effects  designed by Paul Doyle. 

The audience had a fun time with Sedaris' mentioning his tv star, Amy Sedaris,  in the skit. We also laughed  hard about a  Santa that Sedaris thought was cute, but, who was really a tease with every gay co worker.

This delightful retelling of the David Sedaris original hit story will play till December 23, 2018.

This intimate production is performed in the intimate Victor Joey, black box space. It is a thrust stage, with audience on three sides, with three entrance areas for Crumpet, as imagined by the stunningly tall Bear Brummel.

There is no late seating, and, if you must exit during the play, you will not be readmitted.

This is a 90 minute one act, with no intermission.

Brummel had many asides with audience members, and he broke character and the 4th wall with abandon. It was very well done.

This piece is all in fun, from the days before cellphones, or picture taking smartphones.

There is nothing offensive in this show, and, anyone would enjoy this fun, dark, hilarious take on how the general public reacts when visiting a retail store Santa in the 1980s.

Play sponsor, BB&T Bank.

May your holidays be Spectacular.

Actors Theater Presents 
Brown  -  Forman Series

The Curious Incident of The Dog
In the Night Time

Play adapted by Simon Stephens
From a book by Mark Haddon

Directed by Meredith McDonough

With the exception of members of the Apprentice professional training company, the Actors and Stage managers are members of Actors Equity Association, the union of PROFESSIONAL actors and Stage managers of the United States.

My professional magician friend, Cody Clark, was an advisor about the Autism Spectrum for this production.

Alexander Stuart was delightful as Christopher, a 15 year old boy, on the Autism Spectrum.

Christopher is brilliant at "Maths", as they say in England. He is not good at recognising the intentions of other people, and he also never lied to his Father, and absent mother.

There are some great twists and turns in this dramedy. I will keep those to myself. 

The Father, Ed, played by Brian Slaten and the Mother, Judy, played by Jessica Wortham show how multifaceted an adult relationship can be with a child that is on the Autism Spectrum.

Christopher is mistakenly thought to have commuted a crime. He takes it upon himself to be brave, and strong, and resourceful. He wants to find out who actually did the crime.

All the while, audience members learn how some autistic persons react in certain social situations, and in respect to the unknown.

Alexander Stuart is very believable in his part, and is serious, funny and dramatic too.

I'm not going to give away any more than that. This is a well crafted two act piece that you will want to return from the intermission to see how it comes out for this cast.

Actors Theatre has made this production easy to be enjoyed by persons on the Autism Spectrum. 

I really enjoyed this very important, and, inclusive work.
It runs through October 10th. 2018

Actors Theatre of Louisville

A Dolls House Part 2.
Based on Characters by Henrik Ibsen

By Lucas Hnath
Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh

Torvald and Nora, from Henrik Ibsens'  A Dolls House, reappear on stage, 15 years later.

Poor Nora is a successful author, under a fake name, who has been found out. Worse yet, Torvald never gave her the divorce.

This 90 minute drama obviously made middle aged married people in the audience visibly shaken and uncomfortable.

Nora, the author, basically writes of the horror of being Torvalds wife. An invisible intellect hidden as a married piece of a mans'  unhappy chattel.

Torvalds' attempts to make this situation right, is a matter of artistic licence for the author of this work.

I didn't care for Noras'  blanket refusal of Torvalds' help, but, the author made that decision.

Ultimately, neither Zuleyma Guevara as Nora, nor Kim Sullivan as Torvald can scream their way to redemption.

Only a few couples walked out during this interesting educational piece. Every married couple dreads this kind of show. It runs too close to home. It was real, very loud, and had some genuine issues  to be made light of.

I enjoyed this, but, I am single, and could happily walk from the theater without real life concerns.

As an aside, sitting on the steps of the old Gideon Shryock, 1840s bank building that houses the Actors' lobby, was a young, white couple loudly airing their relationship realness. I laughed to myself and thought, such sheep, such suckers.

Do couples ever pay attention to Ibsen? No, likely not.

Great show, in the intimate Victor Joey theater. Through November 4, 2018

This is a 90 minute one act. Wear your adult diapers for this one.

Dracula 2018
24th consecutive year
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Kentucky, USA.

This year, a reimagining of the excellent William McNulty version of the silly Balderston and Deane Dracula stage production is a very kind interpretation of Renfield, as played by Neill Robertson.

In years past, Renfield was a funny side note. This year, he is ultimately treated with respect.

Also, this year, Lucy, as played by Rin Allen, is given the chance to thwart her Dracula, as a heroine, rather than as a weak victim.

A lot of the 24 years of Shtick has been done away with, and in its place are some faster group scenes with the apprentice company involved and some group fight scenes.

This cast is very mixed among racial and ethnic backgrounds. Dracula, as played by Santino Craven, is less Bela Lugosi, and more Jack Palance in approach.

Opening night had a large contingent of enthusiastic, young, theater fans. I have never seen so many young, bottle blond, gay, men, assembled in one place.

The tone of this Drew Fracher directed horror soap was much more serious. And, the fight scenes showed the interest in stage fighting this director himself  has for fight. He is a fight coordinator for various theater companies. This show had fight scenes set by Jake Guinn.

I really enjoyed this unusual, but entertaining piece. Every year, Actors changes direction for this long running Dracula. This year is likely the most different in 24 years.

From Sept., till Halloween, 2018

The Magic Play
Actors Theatre of Louisville,
Kentucky USA
Until February 11th, 2018

By Andrew Hinderaker 
Directed by Helena Kays
With magic created by
Brett Schneider

The Magic Play has been rewritten by Andrew Hinderaker for this engagement at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky USA.  This piece is a collaboration between Hinderaker and professional magician, Brett Scheider. Schneider plays the magician in the work.

Schneider plays a magician that is alternatively seen in his magic act, and also having a soliloquy in his mind with his ex boyfriend, The Diver,  Daniel, played by John Hudson Odom as a thoughtful Olympic Diver.

Schneider, in this part, is your typical, professional magician that pretends to make accidental magic unfold at the whim of his audience. His specialty is close up card magic.

His ex, Daniel, the Olympic Diver, is played as a flirty but uncooperative audience member that fell for the magician. Odoms' Diver is a one person Greek Chorus of Truth To Power in regards to the magic and dating acts of his ex.

Through various dating techniques, like trolling Facebook, The Magician and the Diver moved in with each other.

I won't tell you more about why they broke up, but, it is artfully, and movingly told in this piece.

There is also a delightfully uncomfortable and integral meeting with the Other Magician, the estranged Father of Our Magician.  The Father is a tolerable small casino magician that is short on stage presence, but long on explanations about his failed marriage.

Tying this play together, are magic card tricks done with real audience volunteers that suitably, and theatrically shudder at being asked to assist onstage.

These pieces become more moving over the two acts. The live aspect creates a sense of urgency for the performers and the audience. A feeling of a shared sense of man's inhumanity to man uplift these vignettes.

The whole work is card magic, interspersed with drama, real audience volunteers and really fine, but subtle special effects that you will need to experience  live.

This is a very thought provoking work on the nature of intimacy, and how this magician pre plans his act, and his dating to a denouement that is surprising.

Ducky and I really enjoyed this work.  It is brought to you by the support of Brown Forman Distillers, and runs through February 11th.

Skeleton Crew
By Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Steve H. Broadnax  III 

Actors Theatre of Louisville
November 14 - December 10, 2017

Ducky and I saw Skeleton Crew, in the round, with a responsive audience.  The setting is Detroit in the recession of 2008. The auto industry closed manufacturing facilities, including the fictionalized parts stamping plant in this play.

With only 4 characters and three  scene change dancers to entertain us, amazingly, the two hours flew by.

The major character in this slice of life work is the Union Steward, Faye, played by Madelyn Porter.

Her strength includes being a strong lesbian, in a  heterocentric male firm. We learn that some misfortunes have befallen her in her home life, whilst maintaining her job, and her  role in the United Auto Workers.

The scene is set in a break room, one of many in a company with at least 16 lines for stamping parts from shert metal, and interior sewing. 

While the setting never changed, we saw the passage of time inferred by dimming the stage lighting, and by playing a loud, bass heavy, rhythmic, uptempo audio without vocals accompanied by a three person modern dance troupe.

It does come out that the plant will close in the next year...., and a severance is offered to Faye.

This play was moving, well paced and was a good  representing of a line boss, a criminally minded coworker and a pregnant mother.

I had difficulty understanding the spoken Detroit accent, syntax and  idioms, as portrayed by the four actors.

The sound of the speech patterns was foreign to me, although I enjoyed the sound of the speech that  I could make out.

I enjoyed it. Ducky and I had a fun and lively conversation about the modern diminished value of union representation and the relaxed rules about notification of plant closure in the USS.

And what is theater, if not to spark a conversation about the issues presented in the piece.

I have been somewhat vague in this review in order to not kill the value of seeing it in person.

I encourage you to see it, and to ponder the realities of manufacturing plants in the USA of a decade ago during the worst recession in USA history.

Finding Neverland

PNC Broadway Louisville
Through October 29, 2017

By Graham, Barlow and Kennedy
Directed by Diane Paulus
Choreography by Mia Michaels

What a beautiful, fun production based on how and why J.M. Barrie wrote the stage play of Peter Pan.

This work us similar to the Dustin Hoffman and Johnny Depp movie version, but with lovely music that really evokes the Victorian/ Edwardian era in which this piece is set.

Billy Harrigan Tighe,  as Barrie,  has a delightful tenor voice, and his acting is playful and can be reserved as he evolved from a staid English playwright into an adult boy, the actual Peter Pan in his future play.

 This point is noted in the script by an actual boy that was named Peter Davies, and upon whom Peter Pan is based.

 This character is played by a revolving cast of 5 boys, depending on the performance.

All of the Davies kids are triple cast.

Lael Van  Keuren  as Sylvia Davies, mother of Peter, and the other children, has a light and airy Soprano voice and she alternates between fun loving and pathos considering Mrs. Davies had an unnamed terminal medical condition.

Her death is represented beautifully by stage craft, music, and special lighting, wind and large format glitter. It is charming, moving and served to present death in a very artistic way. Well done!

The music serves the story of Barrie and Davies being chance friends, and her children being a good foil for the playwright.

The wife of Barrie has an adultrous affair and leaves him.  Barries friendship with Davies leads to a joint custody of the children between Barrie and also the Mother of Davies, after her death.

This work is charming, fun and has enough of Peter Pan to appeal to children and the younger thespian in your life.

Adults are drawn to the lovely score, singing, and, the dichotomy between Edwardian emotional reserve and childhood play.

The Ensemble cast is  well suited to being the cast of Peter Pan, Edwardian English townspersons, and various other characters.

I was impressed with the enthusiasm and ensemble abilities of Thomas Miller as Elliot, the Stage Manager. His tenor voice is sweet, and his put upon character was fun, comedic and well played.

The sets and lighting and costuming worked well to evoke the time and nature of this production.

I am impressed at how fantasy and reality were interspersed and used equally in this piece.

Finding Neverland will be in Louisville at the Whitney Hall of the Kentucky Center for only 6 days.

I think you will enjoy this. Bring someone, young or old, that has never been to a musical before. This is a good first musical for a newby to see.


Actors Theatre of Louisville,
Kentucky.  USA

Adapted and Directed
By William McNulty

after the Balderston and Deane
original dramatization.

By Bram Stoker

Through November 2, 2017

After 22 consecutive years of Dracula at Actors Theatre, this edition does not disappoint. It is scary, funny and has surprised many new theater goers with the stagecraft and ingenuity of the Actors team.

This is professional Union theater at its best. Smaller roles are filled out by the non union Professional Training Company, formerly the Apprentice Intern Company.

Ducky and I were close enough to the action to be blessed by holy water, and to have an up close and personal interaction with Renfield, played this time by Louisville Actor Neill Robertson, who had shaved his mane of auburn hair for the part of the loony.

Robertson is over the top, funny, pathetic and all too human as Renfield, the mental asylum inmate who eats flies and does the bidding of Count Dracula, albeit with mounting regret.

Renfield moves this adaptation along, is the comic relief and his story is integral to the eventual outcome of the Dracula narrative.

Dracula is played by Randolph Curtis Rand as a mean, despicable,  bully that really enjoys creating the pain of others. 

He has his comedic moments, tempered with evil double entendre.

There is not a boring moment in this staging by McNulty. His adaptation has evolved over the years from the stuffy Balderston and Deane version that Bella Lugosi toured in from the 1920s to the 1950s, to this accessible and thoughtful version that brings Dracula out early to scare to crap out of audiences in the round in Louisville, Kentucky.

William McNulty has performed in productions of Dracula many times, but has also been involved with Actors Theatre since the 1970s when there used to be a repertory company there.

This production included a multi racial casting, which reminds me of the casting used in Operas of the 1980s. Very refreshing casting decisions.

Dr. Van Helsing was played by Greg Wood in a very workman style.

The Paul Owen set has held up well over all the incarnations. This includes a special fainting couch that was also used in a comedic production of Dracula at Actors in the early 1990s, staged in the Pamela Brown Theatre, which starred V. Craig Heidenreich. He also was the original serious Dracula at Actors as well.

This is a tight, well produced magic show, theater drama, comedy and gothic horror.

I think you will love it!

Angels in America

Part Two: Perestroika

by Tony Kushner
directed by Meredith McDonough

Through October 14, 2017

Part 2 of Angels ties together the storyline of Roy Cohn. The fantasy of being visited repeatedly by Ethel Rosenberg, played by Barbara Walsh, is very impressive in this production.

Cohn, as realised by Lou Liberatore, remains an asshole and  A Republican Jerk to the end. His social circle in real life extended to people like Trump, and other jerks.

In This show, Cohn gets his comeuppance by a terrible, painful death.  

The author tries to be the bigger man, by showing a bit of respect to the fictional Cohn that the real Cohn would never deserve, just as the real Cohn showed no respect to others. He was a terrible person in reality. 

On a lighter note, the retired drag queen character of Prior Walter, played by Mark June is a real inspiration. He goes from near death from AIDS, to perhaps a long life from better meds, and a better life with improved  choices. The character of Prior is indeed a  substitute for many real people who have lived for 20, 30 years now.

Rami Magron, as The Angel, is poingant, and also funny in this almost Stand A Lone production. I enjoyed her ability to perform seriously while floating from a Peter Pan flight rig. This rig was very You like in flight.

During the first of two intermissions, I listened in as persons who DID NOT see the first part asking ???????????. 

You really need to see the first part for this closing issue to make any sense. Both parts are delightful, and well worth the six hours one has to live or relive the 1980s.

I highly recommend that you bring tissues and snacks. I had an apple, and a banana, and chocolate! I had tea also.

I am so happy Actors Theatre took on this massive double production.

Next, may I suggest Nicholas Nickleby!

Angels in America

Part One: Millenium Approaches

by Tony Kushner
directed by Meredith McDonough

Brown - Forman Series
August 29 - October 10, 2017

This production of Millenium Approaches is a delight  in every  way.  The dilapidated set design is similar to a Victorian Ballroom that has had 75 years of water damage. It has a forboding of something once beautiful becoming decrepid, like a healthy gay man becoming increasingly ill as HIV progresses to AIDS.

The setting of 1985 was when Kaposis' Sarcoma was a norm before AZT came out. Two characters have AIDS in this three hour production. The evil lawyer, Roy Cohn, a man who has sex with men, and also Prior Walter, a 30 year old retired drag performer.

Cohn is played by Lou Liberatore, as the high powered friend of Reagan, the Trump family, McCarthy, and the individual that privately campaigned to execute the Rosenburgs. Liberatore is funny, tragic and realistic as Cohn.

The retired drag performer, Prior Walter is played by Mark Junek. He is alternately a caricature of an effeminate gay man, and also a tragic figure.

These two characters drive much of this production along towards an understanding of the hurdles persons with AIDS had in that period thirty years ago.

Outstanding is Theresa Barbato as a long suffering Mormon wife, and valium abuser, Harper Pitt. Her realisation that her husband is a homosexual is very realistic, and sadly still happens in our modern day world.

What is so moving about this period piece is that along with the tragic pathos there is good comedic relief. One is on the verge of tears just as something funny interrupts the moment.

The stagecraft of lighting, darkness, curtains, moving panels and  of basement elevators moving set pieces up to stage level and a lovely soundtrack makes this a very enjoyable evening that won't waste any time between scenes.  At three hours with two intermissions, the time really does fly, and surprisingly so.

I was able to tell the Director, Meredith McDonough, how much I enjoyed this production. She was very gracious and wanted me to be sure to see the second half, Perestroika. It plays September 19 - October 14, 2017.

I highly recommend this production.

Actors Theatre
We're  Gonna Be Okay
by Basil Kreimendahl
directed by Lisa Peterson


PNC Broadway Louisville
The Illusionists

Both of these productions were magical. The fantastical The Illusionists had 7 wonderful performers. Outstanding was Andrew Basso, a Houdini style escapologist. He did the Houdini version of The Water Torture Act. It was stunning!

The variety in this show was from comedy to Archery to a Bird Act.  It was especially amazing at 11am on a Saturday. Brad and I had a great time watching these magic professionals.

The Inventor, Kevin James,  had an astounding water into snow effect.

Jeff Hobson, The Trickster, was the host and emcee. He had a great variation on the egg in a bag act.

Brad had a favorite, The Daredevil, Jonathan Goodwin  and his varation on the knife throwing act, this time done as an archer. Amazing. I so had fun observing  Brad as he enjoyed the Crossbow machinations.

My fave was The Anti Conjuror, Dan Sperry. He had a goth inspired act geared around a bird act and also a cool dental floss routine.

Kudos to PNC BROADWAY  LOUISVILLE for bringing in this fantastic production of magic!

This was knocked outta the park!

The Actors Theatre piece. We're  Gonna Be Olay ilaws one of several featured plays at the 41st Humana Festival of New American Plays.

The basic back story of the Cuban Missile Crisis. A couple neighbors decide to dig a bomb shelter to share between their two families.

This becomes a Taj Mahal  sized underground bunker for 6 people.

It is really funny, with the two male neighbors' interactions, and also that of their wives. The two kids have some surprising elements.

This, like most Humana Fest plays is a one act. Just long enough to get the points across, I enjoyed watching Brads' reactions to the conversations of the early 1960s.

Humana is very important to the arts in Louisville. As is Brown Forman. We are very lucky to still have local  corporate sponsors in our town.

Circle Mirror Transformatin
Actors Theater of Louisville
By Annie Baker

Directed  by Meredith McDonough

This wonderful ensemble one act is about the ice breaker games we play in acting classes and in human resources departments.

It is truly funny and moving.

Basically, a 6 or 7 week acting class focuses on ice breaker and team building exercises.

In the course of this play, we learn about the 5 characters. The friendship, short bits of amor and angst in this class is really fun.

The audience ate it up. 

 At this writing, my boyfriend Brad Rhyne and I reviewed this together. We have been a dating couple since the end of 2016.  He will be 23 in April, and I will be 56 in May. He is a charming man, with a gregarious nature. I am honored that he and I are together.

Brad and I enjoyed this upbeat play together. My late Mother, Judie Dewberry, worked for many years as an Executive at Brown Forman, which sponsored this production.

I highly recommend it. Brad loved it.

Lady Day at Emersons' 
Bar and Grill

Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ky.
by Lane Robertson
directed by Bill Fennel

Deidrie Henry opened this play with music vocally prepared to sing as Billie Holliday. Emotionally, she told me, her initial issue with playing Lady Day was that at the end of her life the singer didn't give a shit about anything.

By comparison, Ms. Henry is a giving person and a people pleaser. Her approach to Holiday was a slow build up to "Strange Fruit", which made my skin crawl as it was so moving the way it was performed by her.

Piano, Bass and Drums augmented Lady Day as she regaled this in the round production audience with her stories about touring around the South. Eating in the Kitchen of restaurants, not having restroom access, and being treated as sub human by venues and public accomidations.

I most enjoyed her singing in various locations around the theaterm with wireless mics, and various other microphones.

The dog used in one scene is adorable and was counterpoint to the divas' pills and heroin use. This dog looked as if complete understanding was going on with Lady Day.

The vocals by Ms. Henry were spot on, and moving.   The pathos in the spoken lines of this piece  was heartbreaking.

After the Opening Night show, there was a Korbel Champagne  toast, and a lovely spread of veggies and cheeses plus soft pretzels and cheese and a variety of horsd'oeuvres.

Ms. Henry said I looked familiar, and I assured her I was a reviewer and not a working performer. She liked my name, David Dewberry.

I hope you get to see this January 2017 offering!

Dracula and MacBeth

Actors Theatre of Louisville

Autumn 2016

Dracula, by Balderston and Dean from Bram Stoker. Adapted and Directed by William McNulty

MacBeth, by Shakespeare. Directed by Les Walters.

Dracula and MacBeth have been promoted together by Actors Theatres' PR machine. Well done promotions, guys!

Both oroductions have strong characters, Dracula, performed by Howard Kaye, and Lady MacBeth by Jessica Frances Dukes as a powerful Black Woman.

These works included lots of wild modern lighting and fake blood. Dracula has some, but MacBeth was full of blood. The modern setting for the Shakespeare piece was edited for somewhat modern speach. There was no Double, Double, Toil and Trouble in this piece.  It was colorblind casting, lots of latino, black and white performers.  Lady Macbeth was da bomb, yo.  Her end of the first act was wonderful.

This Dracula is one of many permutations since the 1990s. William McNulty has saved this piece from the inherant bordom of the awful 1920s and 1930s staging by Balderston and Dean. McNulty totally rewrote this several years ago and made it the magical work of art we have today.

MacBeth moved along so fast, even the Iambic Pentameter sounded normal.  

Waters has done an amazing job taking MacBeth from a museum piece from the 1600s, to a modern 2016 work.  The Lighting was all flourescent, it had an amazing modern score, and the blocking made sense, rather than being frozen in a 400 year old style. This work has more in common with an African American poetry slam. Excellent.

 Unlike the original, Lady MacBeth was played by a woman in this production. Ms. Dukes is the revelation in this fast paced version.  

MacBeth was supported by Briwn Forman, where my mom worked for decades.  This was the Bingham Signature Series.

Dracula was supported by Fifth Third Bank.

The 39 Steps
(a satirical parody version)
Actors Theatre of Louisville

Directed by Nathan Keepers
Adapted by Patrick Barlow

September 2016

This satire version of the 1930s Hitchcock movie, from a novel by John Buchan is hilarious.

This is performed by four actors doing many parts. All four were outstanding, Carter Gill, Jesse J. Perez, David Ryan Smith, and Zuzanna Szadkowski.

The storyline from the movie is there, but much of the thrust of this show is slapstick humor on a,scale with the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy  and to a degree, The Three Stooges.

My favorite moment was when David Ryan Smith accidentally lost his wig, and worked the rest of the show without it.  At the end he donned it again as a joke. I hope they keep that in the run of this production.

Zuzanna Szadkowski had many bits as a couple of female characters, especially fun was when she was handcuffed to David Ryan Smith.  

An especially funny bit had the entire cast pretending to be in a car, with a standard manual transmission. They would lurch forward at a stop, and fall back on accelleration.

The production had a set that looked like an old theater and most of the action takes place in our own mind  fantasy as we watch and laugh.

I really hope you get to see this fun show.  This is Actors 53rd season, and I have been coming since they were in the old Train Station location, as my late Mom worked at Brown Forman, also funded this production.

My friend McKory Lancaster joined me on watching this hilarious romp.

Troy and Chase

The Future of Youtube

Troy and Chase

I was watching my longtime Youtube fave, Gay God, Mathew Lush as he introduced his subscribers to Troy and Chase. I have been binge watching their videos from the last nine months, on my days off from working at my local Target. Their growth in ability, content variety and On Camera Comfort has improved markedly.

Troy and Chase are a real gay couple, that have been together since the end of 2014, when Troy was 18 and living in West Virginia and when Chase was 19 and living in Georgia. Chase will be 21 on September 6, and Troy will be 21 on March 6th.  Both happen to share the last name, Young, although they are not related nor are they married yet.

Yes, they actually met through the internet, but not in the way you might think of in regards to potential catfishing, but rather, they were introduced by a mutual gal pal. With that safety introduction, they talked through Instagram, Snapchat, text,  and the phone. For about six months they did that. They met on Valentines weekend in 2015, and  Troy has flown to Chase. Chase will not fly, he had driven to Troy. Subsequently they wanted to get an apartment in Georgia, but it worked out to be more cost effective for Troy to move in with Chase and his parents in Georgia. I salute Chase Youngs' parents for being such thoughtful and forward thinking parents.

After 8 or nine months in Georgia, Troy and Chase moved to West Virginia to live with Troys' parents, I salute the parents of Troy Young for also being so thoughtful.

These two young, gay men are a real couple. Their Youtube adventures are a mix of autobiography and a real documentary. The more naturally gregarious person in this team is Troy Young. He is able to summon out from Chase Young a social side that is best suited for small groups. However, on camera together, they both come alive. Troy tells the story of a party they went to where he found Chase hiding in the restroom as an example of his social dysphoria. Chase may not seek out public attention in the same way that Troy is able to do for this Youtube channel, but Chase is no wilting flower either.  He is admittedly very polite but very catty. He often pulls out of Troy a more real response than Troys' gregarious nature would do on his own.

On the very personal side, Troy has shared his high school battle with melanoma cancer on his leg. Chase has shared that of himself,  he has really terrible eyesight, and while he appears on camera with out glasses, he has shown us that he requires bright light and very thick glasses to be able to correct his sight. He said his prescription is in the hundreds!

In addition to the more documentary style of some of their videos, they also do Youtube style challenges like the Boyfriend Tag, and Yoga, Sex Positions, Ice Bucket challenges and many, many more. They also do short films, some specifically for the Mathew Lush contest, well written, conceived and would have never been done if Matthew Lush had not required that they do so. The  Matthew Lush process is an excellent way to push talented people, like Troy and Chase to be creative in ways they would not have expected.

A favorite series of mine is Q and Trase, when the lovers answear questions. This is an insiders view of the inner workings of a young gay couple; warts and all. Of their short films, my favorite is one where Chase plays a character that is addicted to Pokemon, and Troy is basically the Cuckolded lover: Cuckolded by a Pokemon named POO! This works on many levels, and is a good social commentary on mans' inhumanity to man. Much of their work is cogent and scintillating because of the real nature of their interaction as a couple.

A mixture of both of these guys would make a perfect potion to bottle for "Perfect, but Real Boyfriend". These are not The Stepford Husbands, these are real people. That is what makes them so appealing to their close to 15,000 followers on this date, August 4, 2016.  I bet within the next year they will hit a million subscribers.

Youtube offers ways to monetise your videos. If you want to be a Youtube star, they offer regional meetings for content providers, whether you show how to play bass guitar, parody videos, music videos or what have you.  Once you have around 10k in followers, you will see adverts appear before your videos, and you could arrange a deal to get a small percentage of the money for those. You can also make deals with video company products as a sponsor, condom manufacturers and most anybody with an affinity for your content. I always watch the commercials because I understand my faves, like Mathew Lush make some money off of those adverts.

I want to thank Troy and Chace for their content, and I hope to do a Q and A with them in the future.

Overview of March 2016 reviews:

Dear readers,

Here is a photo with me and Randy Harrison, Star of Cabaret, as The Emcee.  Randy is known to many as Justin, in Queer as Folk from Showtime.   I call this picture, Queer as Folk meets Queer as Fuck!  He enjoyed my tie, and I gave it to him. I mentioned the issue that some offended people would walk out of the show. He said that since he is on stage most of the time, he can see people leave, and he doesn't care.   He is a personable person, and a good hugger.

Kander, Ebb and Masteroff
PNC Broadway in Louisville

Randy Harrison as The Emcee
Roundabout Theatre Company

This delightful musical dramedy featured multi talented randy Harrison as The Emcee. His voice is very good, and his German accent is spot on.  He is on stage most of the whole show, and he is the moral compass of the proceedings. yes, there is Sally Bowles and her bisexual lover, and some sub stories, but the important part of this piece is Harrison.

In the opening of the second act, Harrison waves at the balconies and says Hello, Poor People!  He dances with a woman, then says he feels like a man, then points at one and says, you will do.

The moving end, with Gays and Jews being metaphorically killed by the Nazis, is especially heightened in this staging. Excellent.

Grand Opening of The Speed Museum

I went twice, first to the boring open house for members where the refreshments were popcorn and water.....Save your money, don't bother with the membership. You will likely come once in a year, and that will be enough.  When I walk many blocks as I did on this visit day, I use a walking stick that contains an umbrella. Half way through my visit, several volunteers descended upon me and told me to check my umbrella. I told them I need it to walk. They laughed and walked away.  Again, dont bother with a membership. If they treat you like they treated me, you wont ever want to come backI

I went on the public day where 6,000 people traipsed through. I enjoyed the people watching, and Lunares, the Flamenco Group. The art is placed nicely, and the snobs that operate the place kept their distance from the unwashed on this day.

It is nice, but nothing like the Art Institute of Chicage, a major Art Museum, that is not snobby in the least.

If you must go, go on a Sunday, it is free then. However, at that place, you tend to get what you pay for.

Actors Theatre Humana Festival

by Laura jacqmin
directed by Hal Brooks

Since Humana is being bought by Aetna, is unlikely that Aetna will be interested in this event in the future, sadly. The cost benefit analysis would show that they would get more bang by supporting NASCAR. Sad.

This two hour one act is about the personal choice of a Mother to  embrace a lifestyle of Post Partum Depression "Mental Illness",  I doubt that anything is beyond the choice of the lead character, Maggie, a high end sales person of medical devices. As played by Danielle Slavick, this is a person with bad choices and even worse communication skills. How this person was ever a sales person is beyond me.

Her motivating first personal choice in this slice of life was to attempt to drown her new baby. Subsequently she winds up in a mental hospital, discharged and back out on the road. The Father does not allow her near the baby.

This woman hits on hotel staff, is rude to clients, and has chosen to embrace the mythological idea of mental illness.

What is laughable, is that she is allowed to go back home. I take it the author believes in Mental Illness as a real thing. I dont, so the premise is a bit ridiculous. Well acted, paced, good humor and a great set.

For Peter Pan on her 70th Birthday

Actors Theatre Humana Festival
by Sarah Ruhl
directed by Les Waters

This is a fun dramedy, that gets the serious stuff out of the way quickly. Five adult siblings deal with the death of the Father, and then a Marching Band comes through and signals fantasy time, the best part of this is the last 25 minutes where Kathleen Chalfant plays an elderly Peter Pan, and her siblings are the other characters.  There is flying, and magic, and Tinker Belle. This was a delightful one act. I dont think it is a big enough, nor strong enough work to stand alone, but could do well in a variety setting or festival theater setting.

It is always fun to see where modern theater minds are going from year to year. Actors needs to prepare for a new funding source. Being underwritten by the same company for 40 years is a great accomplishment and should be a good memory in the near term. I hope a large money company steps up in the future.

The Kentucky Opera

Jerome Kern, Oscar Hammerstein II,

The version I saw was well sung, had minimal dance, good sets and costumes and was worthy of the best paid community theater work anywhere.  It needed more dance, and legit dancers. It was a fun production. and well worth seeing.

I hope the KY Opera continues to grow more towards being a musical theater company.

Alley Theater

William Shakespeares' Star Wars

by Ian Doescher

Directed by Joey Arena

You theater geeks and Star Wars fans and Shakespear lovers need to check out The Alley Theater production of William Shakespeares' Star Wars.   It is two hours of fun, merriment, Chewbacca, Darth Vader, Han Solo, Princess Leia,  R2D2, C3PO and legions of Storm Troopers. 

This is really a fun production. Adults and children in this audience really ate it up.

One Facebook friend of mine, in this production, got to die five times!  And I've typically died only once on stage, and never been asked back.

J. P. Lebangood has a rollicking good time in this piece, as Han Solo. He even gets to shoot up the place.  

As Luke Skywalker, Scott Goodman gets to play the Skull scene with the poor Star Trooper, rather than Yorrick, and gets some of the best laughs.

Joey Arena has his hands successfully full with this piece of irreverent humor. As Director, Set design, Construction and Costumes, he has devised a novel way to change scenes, and keep the action flowing. The way R2D2 is moved about the stage makes perfect sense.  

Outstanding as C3PO is Riker Hill, he is every bit the Android you would hope for. Susan Crockers' voice of R2D2 is quite creative, and her asides to the audience are quite salient as well.

I heartily recomment you put down the joy stick, turn off the monitor, turn off your smart phone and get thee to the Alley Theater before March 12.

633 West Main Street


Peter and the Starcatcher

Actors Theatre of Louisville

by Rick Elice; from the novel
by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Directed by Meredith McDonough
Choreography by Sam Pinkleton
Musical Direction by Nathan Dame

Starring tall and thin, Seth Clayton, as The Boy that becomes Peter Pan, his physical flexibility, vocal gyrations and obvious love for this piece make this a really fun evening of theater. It isnt just a good piece of theater, it is a fucking good piece of theater. This play provides a framework for fun, as directed by the charming Meredith McDonough. This work has stage craft including 1920s style ocean waves, rear screen shadow puppetry, musical theater comedic songs and dance and again, the fantastic Seth Clayton.

Tall, lanky and with a killer profile and movie star jaw line, Seth Clayton is cast against type as the 13 year old boy that never grew up. Claytons' training at the NYU Tisch School of the Arts is obviously well used in this two hour musical comedy piece. Therese Barbato, as Molly, or whom we would recognize as Wendy from Peter pan stories is a fun diversion as a feminist child of 13. She sees herself as a competitive leader, even though Peter takes charge when really needed.

The ensemble has an enticing assortment of mermen, pirates, boys and some engaging stagecraft that backs up the fun song and dance numbers.

This work revolves around Seth Clayton as Peter Pan, but the show belongs to Nathan Keepers as Black Stache, or Captain Hook. His vaudevillian style, and mugging make this a fantastic piece for child or adult! Highly recommended.

Supported by Brown Forman Distillers Corporation.

Performed from January 26th - February 21st, 2016

Beauty and the Beast

PNC Broadway in Louisville

Menken, Ashman, Rice and Woolverton

Director, Rob Roth, Choreographer, Matt West

    The voice of Brooke Quintana as Belle in this production, is lovely. Her character is a cookie cutter performance, as are all of the characters in this Disney piece. That is not an indictment, it is the norm that all Disney shows, attractions and performances are cookie cutter pieces that would work in New York, on an Ocean Voyage, on tour or at a Theme Park. Disney has done well with this style of puff piece and Beauty and the Beast is very well done, no doubt. It does feel like one has eaten cotton candy followed by a bourbon on the rocks. The kids enjoy it, and the more adult gags go right over the heads of the little ones. I enjoyed it, and suggest you may also, if you have an understanding of the Disney style of entertainment.

   Sam Hartley, as the Beast, is great while dressed as the Beast. Afterwards, when his old body is returned to him, he is dressed as Lil Abner, for no good reason. During the process of Beast reverting to human, Hartley temporarily wears a ridiculously amateurish plastic Beast mask. This is so in a moment of darkness the mask goes away and voila, Lil Abner. This was the one terribly staged moment of the show...an afterthought, an embarrassment in a show full of positives and good stagecraft, costumes and lighting, singing and mostly synthasized musical accompaniment.

  As happens, this programme does not include photographs, so it is impossible for me to point out individuals in the chorus that were outstanding, and several were. Im sorry that I cant figure out who you are, but the ensemble did a tight job supporting this fun, silly musical.

   Kids will dress up for this; little boys and girls dressed as royalty, and were a good part of the fun of this opening night,Tuesday show.  Cheers to Disney.

 4000 Miles
     Actors Theatre of Louisville

     by Amy Herzog
     Directed by Mike Donohue

     I really enioyed this two hour, one act dramedy. This is the story of a Grandmother, Vera Joseph, performed by the stunningly funny Dee Maaske. She gets a surprise visit from her bicycle enthusiast of a Grandson, Leo Joseph-Connell, performed by the believeably sensitive Michael Goldsmith. The young man has made it to Manhattan on a bike trip from the Pacific Northwest. His best male friend was killed in a biking accident while on this trip, and the play centers on Leos' alienation from his parents, friends and relations since the accident. Leo continued on his trip after this death, and made no attempt to contact family as he continued his long trek.

     Outstanding in this production is Ms. Maaske. HER DROLL DELIVERY ABOUT HER HEARING AID, and her delivery of lines about family,love, and her relationship with two husbands and her thoughtful and amusing depiction of the onset of mild dementia is hilarious and touching. The Grandson is a modern hippy, full of high ideals and youthful insecurity about love, and how to relate to his parents and his adopted Chinese sister.

     While some heavy subjects of attraction, lust and sexuality are addressed, any modern teen would be comfortable with this production.

     The main issue the Grandmother has is that she is losing her words in her command of speech. The Grandson has numerous deficits but does a bit of growing up in this piece. A meeting of the minds occurs between the two over some shared weed, and the relationship is improved. Author, Herzog and Director, Donohue have created a fun, yet moving slice of life.

     On opening night, the crowd was all ages, and seemed to enjoy this work.  Highly reccomended

    The 5th Third Bank sponsored this production.

Now for something a little odd: The Alley Theater
                                Agent 9 3/4
                                Neville Longbottom
                                The Other Boy Who Lived
                                An Original Musical Comedy

                                World Premiere January 2016
                                Music and Lyrics, Book and Direction by J. Gregory Sanders
                                additional Book by Scott Davis and Ensemble

      This this production is wildly uneven, and a crazy Musical Comedy is all part of the fun of this work. This is a Harry Potter parody, with a taped Spencer Korcz as H.P., and also live as a really fantastic Draco Malfoy.  His arch and maniacal Malfoy is one of two treats in this off the wall show. His singing and acting and dyed golden hair make this evil character come to a satirical reality.

      I was rooting for the evil Malfoy in this one. Spencer is also a Facebook friend of mine, where he finds satirical and silly things to share, which I sometimes appropriate.

      Also charming and nuts in this production, the other treat, is Jacob Hall as Neville Longbottom. Many sexual innuendos are made of his 9 3/4 endowment/agent number. His singing is similar to the talk singing in Rocky Horror. His nakedness, twice in this show, is perfectly welcome, to this reviewer. His style is Monty Pythonesque

     Overall this is an ensemble piece, with most performers singing at one time or another. The music is pre recorded, and the singing is live. At just under two hours, with a short intermission, this is a harmless diversion that is fun and does not take its
self seriously. If you like lively and amusing theater which at times can come off like a work in progress, on purpose or not, you will enjoy this piece of cotton candy.

    The current location of The Alley Theater is just west past The Kentucky Center of the Arts at 633 West Main Street.www.thealleytheater.org  Located on the 4th floor, there is an accessible elevator, and seating.  The concessions offers an unending bag of popcorn for three dollars, and various beers from 3 dollars to 7 dollars, and soft drinks and comic books!

    I plan to go back and see what other skewed version of Theater is on offer. They have a new show about every month.

HMS Pinafore
a satirical parody based on
Gilbert and Sullivan

Actors Theatre
and The Hypocrites

sponsored by Briwn Forman

    The Chicago Troupe, The Hypocrites is a mostly non union producing group that has once again taken over the Bingham at Actors Theatre in Louisville. Last year they did a satirical parody of The Pirates of Penzance. This time it is HMS Pinafore that goes through the Meat Grinder of Scripted Improvisation.

    The Hypocrites always do a 90 minute one act with a pretend one minute intermission. The audience participation onslaught hits you once the doors open. You might get hit with a small plush toy, while sitting on the stage area.

   The fun is more from interraction with performers than any particular schtick in the show.

   Most of the time, actors step around the audience to do a Bit. This works to good effect, especially during group pillow fights.

    It is very infectious AND extremely silly. This style of performing is meant to be fun and good natured. 

   This piece runs through December 13th. If you go, plan on doing something else after, as it will be an early evening.  

  Also, at Actors next week through the end of the year is A Christmas Carol!

Dirty Dancing
    This oddity is a jukebox musical piece of cotton candy that engages the heart but not the mind.

   Ahem, the leads don't sing in thus musical.

   The music in this musical us 96 per cent pre recorded  pop music hits from the 1960s. Literally, a juke box musical...

    The only song from the movie that was in this production that did not use the movie version of the song was " She is All That I Need, sung by Patrick Swayze. WTF?

    There are a couple singers on this show, but they are used as the frame of this picture, where the picture is the two lead dancers...

    Ahem. I enjoyed this much the way I enjoy a good porn video. Where I know what is coming, how it is coming and feel a bit spent afterwards.

  See the movie.

Actors Theatre

Luna Gale
by Rebecca Gilman
directed by Les Waters

Through October 25, 2015

reviewed by David Dewberry
on October 8th, 2015

     Luna Gale is the infant daughter of two young drug abusers.  This insightful play tells the story of the overworked Social Worker that has this case.  As a Social Worker, the character of Caroline has seen it all in 30 years of case management.  As performed by Wendy Rich Stetson, she comes to life as a woman who cares about her clients, but is frustrated by the lack of mental health and drug dependency resources in her community.  Stetson is wonderful as Caroline.

     Caroline does home inspections, case management, tons of paperwork, referrals to agencies and community resources and often works overtime just to see some clients at their homes when her case load is so full that she can't fit them all in her office hours.
There is pathos in what she is doing. There are breakdowns in her referral system as most resources have been trimmed by budgetary mismanagement by government bean counters.  Sometimes a mentally ill and or drug dependent client has to go to a support group that does not really fit the needs of the client, but she is required to send the client to something, anything to fulfill an order by a sitting Court Judge.

     As the main characters in this production, Karlie and Peter are totally whacked out on drugs.  As performed by Lexi Lapp and David McElwee, who are stunning in their portrayal of drug abusers, Peter follows the lead of Karlie, just to make her happy.  This kind of codependency fuels a cycle of abuse and neglect that ultimately leaves their baby daughter, Luna Gail with temporary custody and placement with the Grandmother, Cindy.  As performed by Rebecca Hart, we see an evangelical religious cult member who tries to do the best for her grand daughter. There is no redemption for her  past mistakes as the passable Mother of the druggie, Karlie.

    Various sad and perverse things come out about the childhood life of Karlie, which complicates the placement of Luna Gale with the Grandmother but for a short period of time. It becomes difficult to even place the infant with her Father, as long as he lives with the druggie mother.

    At intermission, audience members told me they really hoped for a positive outcome for the baby, Luna Gale. Even with this heavy material, patrons did not bolt the theater at intermission. This is a thought provoking piece, with humor, religious tolerance and intolerance, red tape of a governmental agency and an eventual redemption for the father of Luna Gale. There is hope.

   What an excellent slice of real life. If you like your drama real and unvarnished, you will certainly find Luna Gale to be a worthy performance, and a jumping off point to discuss issues around treatment of the mentally ill and drug dependent people in our community.


Actors Theatre of Louisville
Balderston, Dean, Stoker
as adapted and directed by
William McNulty

    This is the 24th production of Dracula since 1971. The last 20 years have been the version we would recognise as what Bella Lugosa toured with in 1927, and later in life. The first Dracula was a comedy version done 21 years ago.

    Mr. McNulty contines to add more slapstick to his version of Renfield. Marc Bovino as Renfield, again, is a good reason to change the name of this piece to Renfield.  He remains delighfully nutty, creepy and is a total Vaudevillian in his approach to a minion of Dracula.

    This year, Dracula is played by Dylan Chalfy, who has a  long blond wig, and long features that more resemble the historical Vlad Teppes, or Vlad The Impaler. He is scary, gentlemanly and domineering.

    Mr. McNulty as Van Helsing remains the vortex around which this piece swirls.  Between Dracula, Van Helsing, and Renfield, all the other parts could be played by hand puppets or vegetables and it would still be a great show.

   I still highly reccomend this piece to Louisvillians who want a family fright. It is running from early September through November first, in the round of the Bingham theater.

   I about jumped out of my shoes near the second act finale as a speaker behing me projected the voice of Dracula! Many others did as well. This audience was made up of many grey hairs and children. There were many stylish women. You may bring your alcoholic beverage into the theatre for the performance. This seems to guarantee a merry time for all.

Actors Theatre
Of Louisville, Ky.

Seven Guitars
By August Wilson
Directed by Coleman Domingo

    The late August Wilson hit a home run with Seven Guitars. As reimagined by Coleman Domingo and his cast, this slice of life play set in Pittsburgh in 1948, in the Hill district describes the come back attempt of a blues recording artist, Floyd Barton aka, Schoolboy, performed by J. Alphonse Nicholson.

    Barton had just gotten out of jail and he returns to the apartment house of his ex, Vera Dotson, performed by Joniece Abbott - Pratt. She is non too pleased to see Schoolboy, who had up and left her for another woman during his short rise to a level of fame through a single record produced in Chicago. She quickly gets over it, and sexual tension takes over. We all have had some level of this situation.

    The story of Schoolboy and the stories of other folks that live in the same apartment building as Ms. Dotson serve to explain the fine line that blacks and people of color had to balance on in 1948 in the USA. This was a time when a black man could be arrested for having no money, as a vagrant. Another person of color could be arrested for having too much money on him, or her. Therefore, that person was surely involved in illegal activities.

    One outstanding entertainer in this production includes Harold Surratt who performed Hedley, a mature man with some serious mental fixations on his late Father, and a form of magical thinking that can be sweet and terrifying too. Mr. Surratt cycled through so many "crazy" emotions for his character of King Hedley, that he is my favorite performance of the evening.

      Hedley seems like a mild mannered apartment resident who raises chickens and sells sandwiches and production sweets around Pittsburgh public events, but he considers himself to be royalty. He has an entire rapid cycling fantasy life to support his concern that he and his future son will lead Africans out of this Jim Crowe lifestyle in the USA. He is totally nuts of course, but that makes Hedley endearing and scary and one of the best of August Wilsons characters.

    The nature of this type of production is that the sadness is balanced with blessedness. For one individual, nothing goes right; as is needed in this type of fable. For others, life goes on...

    The magic of this piece is in the words, the humor and the sheer pathos
balanced by no amount of sociopathic hubris, but by endearing hope.

     I congratulated Director, Colman Domingo after the opening night performance. He is such a kind person.
You may have seen him in movies and television, like Fear The Walking Dead.

   This was a very gay, grey and mixed race crowd. During intermission, I enjoyed being a gay on the wall and just listening and watching the social juxtaposing going on.

   I had a wonderful time. Kudos  to my late mothers' employer, Brown Forman for their continued support. Through that support I started coming to Brown Foreman sponsored shows at Actors Theatre in the mid 1960s.

   This production runs through Sept. 20, 2015

David Dewberry with R5

I spent 8 hours with the tour staff of and the band R5. This was a happy day for me, besides getting to meet this cool musical family, on a day that was 108 degrees; but I also had put into motion getting an air conditioned job. My current three year gig had been in a hot, sweaty, parts warehouse.

Spending the day with the cast and crew at Iriquois Amphitheater had convinced me that I would sweltering for art, but no longer at my job. Thanks, R5.

I got to have a great photo with the band, which includes Riker Lynch on Bass and of Glee and Dancing with the Stars. His brother, Rocky on Lead Guitar  . Their sister Rydell, on Keyboard, their friend Ellington on Drums and most of you would know their brother Ross Lynch from his days with Walt Disney, in movies and a TV show. Ross plays some Lead and Rythym Guitar and keyboard.

They were delightful. It is cool that their parents, Mark and Stormie are also involved in the tour, hands on.

You can get a feel for their music on the CD Sometime Last Night, available at Target and for download at the usual Internet shops.

The live sound check was fun, and youngest brother Ryland was emcee. He is,also the opening act, as deejay. 

The next act was Jacob Whitesides, who has a sweet pop country sound. 

The main event was R5 for ninety sweat filled minutes. I was inundated by super soakers from Ross and Riker. 

Their pop rock  sound was good, musicianship was good, stage presence was great from Riker and Ross. The singing was just fine for a hot, sweaty show.

I saw this show one half way through the USA tour. I hope you get to catch the act. It really is a good, tight show!

Seen by David Dewberry, as with all reviews on our site.
JUNE 2nd 2015

Tonight, me and my friend Mary saw a fantastic reimagining of Pippin, starring the original Pippin, John Rubinstein as Charlemagne, and Sam Lips as Pippin, in a European Circus setting. 

Included in this is Adrienne Barbeau  as Berthe. She takes off her coverlet to reveal a physically fit 70 year young woman, who then does a real aerial act. Oh my goodness. And, she sings too! Fantastic performance by Ms. Barbeau!

Lisa Karlin as The Leading Player is great. She has a spot on voice, with a very arch style.

Mr. Lips, as Pippin is good and very tuneful and handsome too. It is great to see Mr. Rubinstein, whose Original Broadway Cast Album is a mainstay of many gay boy theater geeks.

Also outstanding are the many circus performers. From hand walkers to aerialists  and everything in between, this is a tight unit.

This is a thoughtful production, and a colorful one. This is easily the best thing I have seen since Billy Elliot a few years back.

I hope you get to see this. It runs through this Sunday, June 7th.

Dracula, and The Last Five Years; at Actors Theatre,
I Love Lucy at. PNC Broadway in Louisville


    This has been a busy October for live theater in Louisville, Kentucky. Love is in the air, the funny kind of Love of Lucy, as in I Love Lucy, at the Broadway Series, the evil kind of Lusty Love in Actors' Dracula and the very realistic variety of former love between a divorced couple in the musical, The Last Five Years; also at Actors.

    I Love Lucy is a fun, harmless bit of fluff that never addresses the real life of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. This bit of cotton candy is a two hour one act that includes two real episodes of the 1950's show, I love Lucy, as if they were being filmed in a three camera TV studio in Hollywood. There are some cute commercials, and some neat song and dance filler to stretch the thin book out to fill two hours. Outstanding is Euriamis Losada as Arnaz, he sings and acts much like we would expect. His character gets to be Desi Arnaz as the Producer and Boss once or twice, and everyone else is in character for the Lucy show tapings.

    This is a fun and thoroughly silly show. It has a warm up comedian, and an emcee, some dancing and singing chorus as filler and a really well paced fake tv show taping of two real episodes of I Love Lucy.

    Dracula, at Actors is excellent. Randolph Curtis Rand has returned as the undead Count Dracula, in this extremely reworked and rewritten piece by William McNulty, who also plays Van Helsing. The original 1920's productions were put together in London and the USA by Balderston and Deane. Of course, this is all based on the original book by Bram Stoker.

    I have seen most, if not all of the Actors productions of Dracula over the last 19 years, as well as a comedy version that was produced before that. This show is well worth seeing and plays yearly in September and October.

    The outstanding piece of live theater in October is The Last Five Years, by Jason Robert brown. It is a fully sung play with 14 songs that are like little one act plays in themselves. The two wonderful players are Autumn Hurlbert and Jed Resnick as a divorced couple. It starts with the break up and then works in reverse. I am no fan of non linear plays or anything, for that matter. However, this is a beautiful piece, with nothing but singing and no duets except for a note or two sung in harmony at the very end of this piece.

    One can care about both of these individual characters. Who knows whom is at fault, perhaps both to one degree or another?

    If you have the chance to get out and spend some money this Autumn in downtown Louisville, I hope that you will catch some live theater!

GBF, aka Gay Best Friend on Neflicks and DVD 

also, Kill Your Darlings on Cable and Satellite and DVD 

October 2014 
by David Dewberry 

These two gay themed movies could not be more different! GBF is a fun teen movie with Michael Willett and Paul Iacono as best friends in high school. Willett plays the gay ingenue that is outed and mayhem ensues. The 21st century lessons of being out, Gay and just a regular gay guy could not have been possible in the 1940's in Kill Your Darlings, based on the Beat Poet and memoir style writings of Mr. Ginsberg. 

Dan Radcliffe plays Ginsberg and his friend, Lucien Carr, is played by the FABULOUS Dane DeHann!!! Carr may or may not have been gay, Bi, or a stalked straight guy? Who knows? Carr's son, respected historian and Victorian age author, Caleb Carr, says the Ginsberg writings did not embrace that his father had been pursued by a gay stalker from his teen years, until the elder Carr killed his stalker. Who knows? 

For the purposes of this movie memoir through the lens of Ginsberg, Carr is shown to be a real handful of a pot stirrer and potential flirt that drives Ginsberg to distraction. Of course, such distraction with a potentially straight man would not have been necessary seventy years later. 

The movie GBF is a fun romp through high school tokenism of gays. Now gay guys are the playful darlings of some straight teen girls; the GBF, or Gay Best Friend is a point of pride to have as a friend, and as gay arm candy. 

For young gay writers like Ginsberg, the closet was the norm and embraced by many if not most gay men, and bi men. Kill Your Darlings is a wonderful movie, albeit as seen as a memoir, NOT and autobiography. It is perfectly fine in a memoir to see history as you remember it, and as you would prefer it to be known. I have no problem with this. 

Ginsberg remained a life long pal of Carr, who spent two years in jail for the murder of his stalker, perhaps his former lover? Carr went on to work for United Press International through his retirement. Carr died in 2006.

Ratcliffe and DeHann have a great kissing scene, however, the Carr in THIS movie is a total flirt and people user. Thebloom is off the rose before it began in this story. Watch out, the murder is very graphic in this excellent piece. 

GBF is a good antidote to the seriousness of Kill Your Darlings. Michael Willett is delightful as Tanner! Enjoy! 

The Addams Family 
The PNC Broadway in Louisville 

October 2013 

By Brickman, Elice and Lippa 

This is a fun and silly dark musical comedy. Charles Addams most popular New Yorker cartoons are the point of departure for this version of the well known TV show and movies. 

Gomez, by Jesse Sharp, is very similar to the John Austin version of TV and a bit of Raul Julia thrown in. 

Morticia, by Keleen Snowgren bears no resemblance to either Carolyn Jones or Angelica Huston in approach, but owes a lot to Vampira. 

All the singing voices were great. There were no memorable songs in the bent of Cole Porter, or Lerner and Lowe, but they did fit the show. 

Uncle Fester, by Shaun Rice, was a cookie cutter of Jackie Coogans' TV character. In appearance, Pugsley, by Connor Barth, was very funny, and he had a super soprano voice. 

Wednesday, by Jennifer Fogarty, was almost a dark version of ANNIE IN HER VOCALS. 

DAN OLSONS' LURCH stole the show with his surprise Basso Profundo. 

This show is fun, silly, harmless and just as you would expect. A surprise, Wednesday has a boyfriend named Lucas Beineke, by the comely Bryan Welnicki. He has a lovely Broadway Theatre singing voice, and pulled of the " normal" male ingenue very well. 

If silly is your style, you will enjoy this odd bit of fun. 

The Mountaintop 

Actors Theatre 
October 2013 
By Katori Hall 

Directed by 
Giovanni Sardelli 

Thus funny, serious and uplifting one act about the last night of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King is not to be missed, if you can make the time. 

This fantasy involves King, played by Larry Powell, ordering Room Service coffee. The server that arrives is Camae, played by Cyndi Johnson. 

She is a real wild card of a person. Her language is like a warehouse worker having fun. 

What transpires is a really cool and uplifting fiction that makes the end of Kings life understandable and educational to King and Camae. 

I would not even consider spelling this out for you, as it is well worth seeing for yourself. 

Both actors are fantastic, and I send kudis to them both. 

Noises Off

By Michael Frayn
Directed by Meredith McDonough

This is one of the silliest shows ever written or produced. It does have adorable moments in both acts, but the last third is interminably repetitive and not needed.

Outstanding is Dori Legg as Dotty Otley ...however, the rest of the ensemble was hot and cold because of the over zealous blocking of slapstick moments.

Edit, edit, edit. The word is important when it is Sondheim or Shakespeare, and this is neither.

I enjoyed this production, but I tend to be a bit over enthusiastic at times. If you like slapstick and pure unadulterated corn, this may be a good diversion for you.

Actors Theatre of Louisville 
Humana Festival of New American Plays 
By Will Eno 
Directed by Les Waters 

Gnit? Gnot. 

Existentialist theatre is historically hard to swallow. All that about a personal feeling and belief that if you feel something is so, or true, then...it follows it is so. Think in terms of a typical Republican or Tea Party believer. 

For the theatrically literate, think in terms of Camus, Sartre, Pirandello or Ionesco. 

Think of Rhinoceros, Waiting for Godot or No Exit, o even The Mad Woman of Chaillois. 

I am perhaps a bit of an existentialist. At least to the extent that if Ifeel I can do something, I generally can do it. Now this is not in a religious sense, but in a humanist sense. 

This play is amusing in fits and starts, but interminable in its existential angst. I won't kill the plot for you, however, anyone who has actually been with a person who is going to die and has cared and helped that person make it through the end of life will absolutely detest this show. 

The performances of the work was good with a small cast of professional Actors Equity actors. I applaud them gaining employment, and Humana for providing funding for new theatre works. 

Linda Kimbrough was excellent as The Mother. She was funny, touching and moving. I can see why she was chosen for this part. 

The son, Peter Gnit, as played by Dan Walls is a reprehensible individual. I give him props for passing me off completely by bringing to life a fictional character and suspending my disbelief forms couple hours. I, unlike many audience members at this performance did return for the second act. 

Theater performance going back to the Greeks exists to make one think. I definitely did not want to think about most of what I saw in this work. Author, Will Eno was successful in making me think. 

If you consider this kind of theatre for your entertainment, this is not entertaining. It is more of an endurance test. Theater can deliver that experience s well. 

If I was a drinker I would hit the Vodka after I finish this sentence. 

The Delling Shore. 
Humana Festival of New American Plays 
by Sam Marks 
directed by Meredith McDonough 

This intense "slice of life play" pits one of the most forcibly thoughtless men against one of the wimpiest men. Both are authors that used to be friends, and social friends at that. Both are authors. 

The intense man is Frank Bay played by Bruce McKenzie as an insufferable bore, womaniser, and a deeply troubled and pontificated psychic vampire. 

I wanted to throw my shoes at this production. 

The wimpy guy was Thomas Wright, played by a nuanced Jim Frangione. 

As authors both men have had a social affiliation since college. This one act revolves around a rare meeting of the former best friends. 

Wrights' daughter came along, and is likely to receive an internship with the predatory Mr. Bay. Things do not go well at this meeting and one has to ponder how these men ever communicated with each other over the last thirty years? 

There are amusing and moving moments, but there is an undercurrent of rudeness within a demeaning class structure between the men. 

Rousing performances come from the two men's daughters. As the overly gregarious Ellen Wright, as played by Meredith Forlenza, nothing would make her happier than to work with Mr. Bay as his assistant for an internship. 

Also exciting to watch is Adrianne Bay, played by a stunningly controlled Catherine Combs as Mr. Bays daughter. She ha had enough of her Father's crap; and his tacky house guests, the Wrights. 

This is the kind of show that fits well in a play festival. I think it shows just how much people can basically not give a damn about other people. Will there be any improvement in life for any of these four people; I really doubt it. These are all flawed people who want their way uninhibited by the desires of others. I was uncomfortable, and I imagine that was the playwrights intent. 

Actors Theatre 
Brown Foreman Series 

Book by Todd Almond 
Music and Lyrics by Mathew Sweet 
Directed by Les Waters 

Featuring Ryder Bach and Curt Hansen 
With an all female band: Direction, Guitar, Keyboard, Julie Wolf 
Bass: Sara Lee 
Guitar: Kelley Richey 
Drums: Jyn Yates 

This is a one act musical play. 
Set in Alliance, Nebraska in the Summer of 1993. 

Will and Mike have just finished high school and have a very sweet romance just before college. This piece is fun, moving, and thankfully has no dangerous and homophobic moments. I just was so glad to see a positive and uplifting work. A lot of this work could be just any boy and a girl dating. The pacing of some gay romances can be slower if one or both are closeted. 

Ryder Bach's Will is a somewhat more open gay guy. He is at least not pretending to be straight. Curt Hansen's closeted but charming and endearing Mike, over compensates. He is at once funny, and the next scared. 

Both actors pull off the "fish out of water act." Neither of them have had the dating experience with a guy. 

The character of Mike reminds me of the first guy that kissed me...also between high school and college. Ahhh.. but I digress... 

Bach and Hansen are both about 5 foot five to 5 foot eight in height. Bach plays a geeky and Nerdy gay guy. Hansen plays an athletic and gregarious personality that you would love to meet at a party. Some of his people pleaser personality is to hide his gayness. However, within the reality of his increasing interest in Will, it is only natural for him to let down his guard. 

I was really taken with the honesty of the interaction that Director Waters instilled in his actors. Both have great singing voices, and the all female band was excellent. 

I got to say hey to both actors and the director afterward. They all are delightful and sociable men. 

I think you will really enjoy this production. 

The audience was very enthusiastic and had a truly amazing after party with Sparkling Wine and Quesadias. The crowd was large and polite. I enjoyed people watching and the social interactions in this opening night event. 

I hope that you have the time to come see this lovely February production. 

Here is to a successful run for these two guys in this production. 

A Christmas Carol
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Presented by Fifth Third Band
by Charles Dickens
adapted by Barbara Field
directed by Drew Fracher

This is the thirty first production of A Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre of Louisville. This season, William McNulty was Scrooge and Craig V. Heidenreich was the Narrator. Both have been performing at this venue for many years. McNulty gave Scrooge a deep emotional subtext. It wasn't so much his line readings but how he went about not saying things that gave this performance depth. The redemption of his skinflint character to a more humane personna is believeable. Heidenreich, who has professionally dropped the name of Craig and just goes by "V" now (?!?), was the mellifluous verbal glue that held this production together; and bound the collective theatrical experience together and suspended disbelief for the audience during the many segues and scene changes. It was great to see him again.Hhe has been all over the USA doing theater in the many years he has been away from this venue where he was once a member of the Acting Company under Jon Jory.

Outstanding and amazing was Lindsey Noel Whiting as The Ghost of Christmas Past. Not only can she sing and act, but she is a silk aerealist. She spent much of her time above the set with her legs and arms bound precariously in long white silks. Beautifull and scary, her performance really made this production. This season I have had fun watching Ian Whit, an Acting Apprentice, as he was atmosphere in Romeo and Juliet, and a frenetic, set changing Elf in A Christmas Story. In this piece he was a townsperson and Caroler. He understands that no matter what the lead actors are doing, someone is always watching him. His stage presence is also helped by has curly hair and chiseled features. he always seems to be actually in the moment of the scene. Cheers to him and to this seasons A Christmas Carol. The sung music was lovely, the small children were suitably charming but not too much, and the yearly impassioned pleas for Actors Equity Cares fundraiser for HIV/AIDS research was also well done.

I recommend this work. It runs through the end of December.

Jersey Boys
Presented by PNC Broadway - Louisville
By Brickman/Elice and Bob Gaudio and Bob Crewe

This touring juke box musical has many of the hits of The Four Seasons and Frankie Valli. This production was vocally less about impersonation than of character development of the actors and good renditions of the songs. Keep in mind that the real Frankie Valli will be back at this venue in the Spring, so there is no need to do a true vocal impersonation of him. Brad Weinstock does a fantastic vocal interpretation of the Valli oevre, and he pulls off aging from 15 to 60 in the course of a few hours.

From the opening notes of Oh What A Night, this audience was really into the piece. As Juke Box musicals go, this one actually has a story line, and luckily the songs actually have a real association with the story. Outstanding in this production was Jason Kappus as the song writer, Valli partner, and member of The Four Season, Bob Gaudio. The real Gaudio had a hit at 15 when he wrote "Who wears Short Shorts?" he also wrote Big Girls Don't Cry, and all the other hits. He also wrote You're Just Too Good To Be True that had a circuitious route to the radio.

The show is so good that the real Four Seasons would have had dificulty maintaining the quality that this cast produces eight shows per week, six days per week. The live musicians are astounding and really add to the urgency built into the story line. Each of the Four Seasons has his take on the history of the goup. Those of you that have ever witnessed a trial by jury know that there is no one truth; just many versions of it. Part of the fun of this show is the differences of opinion in the accounts. You will have to see the show for those, however.

I have seen this work before, but this was a much tighter production, and did not suffer at all by not being an impersonation of the original group as my previous encounter with this piece had been.

Actors Theatre of Louisville 
A Christmas Story 
by Phillip Grecian 
Directed by Drew Fracher 

This is the fourth and final season of A Christmas Story, made famous by the 1980's movie with Darren McGavin as the Father. This year we had a boatload of adorable elves to change the scenery, especially notable in the Apprentice/Imterm company was Ian Whitt. He is a blond, curly headed dynamo that was really fun to watch. 

Of the core cast members, outstanding was Justin R.G. Holcomb as The Old Man, who has done this part all four seasons at Actors. His attentiveness to his northern Indiana family, reactions to everything from clinkers in the furnance, to his wife's daily cooking versus holiday fare is a riot. 

Jessica Wortham as the Mother is a picture of pretend 1950's wholesomeness. The only undertow of PG rated humor is when she and The Old Man get all hot and heavy just thinking about going down to the A&P to look at the holiday frozen turkeys! And they get really hot and bothered over that. 

In the childhood ingenue department, we have a gaggle of youngsters that reenact the scenes from the movie, a tongue frozen to the flag pole, a boy peeing in Santas lap, young Raphie Parker, played here by young Steele Whitney, praying for a BB Gun for Xmas. But, as I'm sure you have heard "you'll put your eye out!" 

This is a cute pastiche of scenes from the movie as based on the Book by Jean Shepherd, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash. There are a lot of laughs, and a fair number of so - so line readings by some of the youngest children. The best parts of this show are provided by the adults, the elves, and in the form of the hulking Scut Farkas, played by the tall, blonde Jack Lindsey. While he mostly growls and really only has a few intelligible lines, he is a laugh riot. I spoke to him afterwards in passing, and he is a really nice theatre student at YPAS in Louisville. 

Of the three usual Holiday offerings at Actors, this is very accessible, and family friendly. On opening night, It was attended by a wide age range of well behaved people. Not a mink coat was in evidence on that cold night. The theatre audience is indeed changing from the mature audience of yore, to a more mixed group. For live theatre to prosper, that is needed and a welcome sight to see. 

If you like family humor I think you may enjoy this more than a Sam Shephard play, or most Grand Opera...although I enjoy all three. 


Actors Theatre of Louisville 
By Bram Stoker 
Adapted by William McNulty 
after Hamilton Deane and 
John L. Balderston 

Directed by William McNulty 

Dracula is back, and he is not happy! Mere mortals are trying to thwart his plan of sucking every drop of blood out of the Northeastern United States. Yes, Dracula is back for the 18th time at Actors Theatre of Louisville. For the last several years, an adaptation by director WIlliam McNulty has been used which plays as if all the back story information on the lead characters have been revealed to McNulty, and, he has incorporated this into the enlarged and engorged bloodlines of these characters. Then, of Renfield, played to the hilt of humor and angst for a second year by Marc Bovino, he is the spine of this production. We could have called this show RENFIELD SCREAMS, with a cameo by Dracul Vlad Tepest. 

Bovino has developed such a mentally ill inmate that one will believe he is truly a clear and present danger to himself and others. He is utterly fantastick in this role. Funny, dramatic and in turn very believeable as the eyes and ears of the mysterious Count. All for a few delicious flies. Hey, T he Blood IS The Life. This feeling is intensified by the production being staged in the round, right up close and personal to the actors. At once Renfield is condescending, followed by mania, immediate depression and supplication to his master, Dracula. Dracula is played by Randolph Curtis Rand, who did the role three other times over the last decade. He is a real con artist and a cad of epic proportion. He spirits the living to give of their blood, and ultimatley allows his victims to become undead and assume the role of competition for the blood of the neighborhood.

Dracula, wouldn't it be smarter to make sure that you made no more Vampyres? It does tend to draw attention to you if lots of people start to die and to dissapear at the time of your arrival? And what about locating your lair right next door to a mental asylum, repleat with scientists who will not stop until they find you and kill you. Hmmmm. Hundreds of years of bloodsucking has clouded your undead mind. 

Rand is a lovely and entertaining Dracula. WIlliam McNulty as the stiff Dr. Van Helsing, was the picture of a Victorian student of the Occult trying to find the real Count Dracula of mythology. 

The score and lights are fantastic in this ever changing production. It never has failed to surprise as elements are changed each year. A big star of the show is the trap floor of the Bingham theatre, which is constantly in motion. I am sure the basement stage hands really sweat keeping the scene changes accurate and the various lifts loaded and unloaded. Amazing! 

This production is a true wonder; suitable for most anyone over 10 or twelve, depending on the kid. Adults will relish the homage to Bella Lugosi in a fast paced, love em and leave em dry performance by a Dracula that just wants to be undead and hunt free range mortals. This is a must see! 

Romeo and Juliet 
By WIlliam Shakespeare 
directed by Tony Speciale 
Actors Theatre of Louisville 

What a wonderfully inventive staging of the master's Romeo and Juliet. Like Grand Opera, this work had a multicultural casting with a black Romeo and a white Juliet. Also on stage was a fully realised in ground swimming pool. 

While this staging is set in the modern day, by and large the original lines were kept, with some fun exceptions referencing Justin Bieber and some colloquial slang. 

Grantham Coleman's Romeo was really well done. His verbal path to the role was done as if the poetry was common speech. By contrast, Elvy Yost's Juliet had the more classical style of a verbal approach verging on recitative. 

The most reciitative - ish performer was Brandon Averett as Friar Lawrence, almost to distraction. Especialy in the Friars last scene where he retells his experiences with the tragic lovers. I almost would have preferred him to either have cut the speech, or speak in a more modern conversational style, which might have meshed better with the set, staging and the musical accompaniment. But, that is a minor quibble. 

It is always fun with any stage production to take note of smaller parts and extras that have enthusiasm, interesting business and "it", what ever that may be. In this performance I enjoyed the time that Ian Whit was on stage as Peter, and as various non speaking background characters at a wild rave and pool party gone wrong. He is also a member of the Apprentice Intern company and artfully joined his bretheren in changing the set and cleaning up after the pool and blood were splashed about. As a fellow curly haired citizen of the world, it was fun to watch his lovely locks in motion when he danced.

This piece was paced well, and at two hours ...ish, was a good hour less than most productions I have seen. I really enjoyed this production. What a great season opener for new Artistic Director, Les Waters. Welcome to Louisville! 

Kylend Hetherington

Billy Elliot The Musical 
Music by Elton John 
Book and Lyrcs by Lee Hall 
Based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal Film 

PNC Broadway in Louisville 

I bumped into former Producing Director of the Kentucky Opera, Thomson Smillie, at this event. I was in a half dozen operas that he produced. I admire his taste in musical theater and it was on the basis of his blurb about Billy Elliot in Louisville Magazine, that I wanted to see this production. He loved it in Britain, and he mentioned that the sets and sound were larger in this USA touring production. He said he feels choked up about the show because of the aspirational aspects of the lives of the children in the show. 

Kylend Hetherington played Billy at this performance opener in June 2012. He is stunning! Two other boys alternate in this role. He is in his 15th year and is a remarkable young dancer, singer and actor. If you have seen the original film, you know this musical by Elton John is set in Scotland during the Coal Mine strike of the early 1980's. Like that film, this musical maintains the serious background and provides the impetus for the aspirational side of Billy that Thomson Smillie mentioned to me, and why he eventually is pushed to audition for the Ballet School. 

Billy is an 11 year old that has a natural inclination to dance. His teacher, Mrs. Wilkinson, played by Susan Haefner at this performance, not only sees the potential in Billy, but also sees that his family life and the business of the town are dead ends for this boy. She sees this as a chance for Billy to get out of town and make something of himself. 

This is a warm, generous and heart tugging production that focuses on the lives of Billy and his young gay friend, Michael, played at this performance by Cameron Clifford as a cross dressing, tutu wearing young gay man. His song about Expressing Yourself is a real show stopper, funny, over the top and all full of cross dressing fun. Clifford is also quite the little actor, singer and dancer. 

Thomson Smillies' favorite scene is when Billy has a fantasy sequence where he dances with his adult self. The child is in good form with an excellent adult ballet dancer, played by Maximilien A. Baud showing what dance is all about. They match each other and one can see Billy Elliot will be going places. Just like this show, which started in 2005, has done. Elton John arranged to adapt this movie source to a musical production along with his husband, David Furnish as Executive Producer. 

This is my new favorite musical. It is refreshing to realise that this show will never be seen in a high school. The performers must be so very young and professionally trained AND able to handle the raw language of the mine workers and citizenry. Im glad to see a show that only true professionals will ever be able to produce. 

You will love this show, and I am sure of that. I highly reccomend this production. 

Diana Ross

I went to see Diana Ross at The Louisville Palace. She was lovely. Her voice sounded better than her recordings and she had a hot eight piece band and three back up singers.

She worked for ninety minutes straight with several costume changes. The sixty eight year old Ross is at the top of her game with a tight concert vocally, musically and visually.

The fans of Miss Ross include many gay men..who were quite intense in their devotion. Ross opened with Im Coming Out, an anthem for many gay men. She progressed through her hits with The Supremes and also her solo albums and tunes from her movies Mohogany, Lady Sings The Blues and The Wiz.

There was never a dead moment and after several ovations she was gone for the evening. This was a lovely concert event. My companion an I had the good fortune to sit front row center in the orchestra pit. What Fun!

Directed by Scott Faris 
At Freedom Hall in Louisville 
Extended Engagement in May 2012 
www.apassionata.com for dates, times. 

Apassionata is a horse show more along the lines of Cirque Ingenue or Cirque de Soleil in style, lighting and pacing. The performers in this piece are many breeds of horses and human riders and trainers from all over the world. 

This two act features everything from trick riding to dressage. Popular in Europe for a decade, this North American tour is working the midwest and east coast of the United States. Directed by Scott Faris, the pacing is wonderful. Everything from costumes, lighting and even the illusion of free running horses makes this a very spectacular event. 

There are over 40 horses including Azteca, Appaloosa, Purebred Arab, Hispano Arab, Wesh Arab, Breton Draft, a Donkey, Fresian, Icelandic, Lusitano, Miniature, Pura Raza Espanola and Shetland Pony. 

Included in this world acclaimed show are Equipe Luis Valenca, Equipe, Sylvie Willms, Equipe Laurent Jahan, Equipe The Gudmar Petursson Show Team and the utterly exicing Equipe Daredevils with four French and three Ukranian stunt and trick riders. 

In Louisville, The engagement was extended past the 2012 kentucky Derby for another week. By all means contact Ticketmaster and plan for show you won't forget. I highly reccomend Apassionata. 

Michael Von Siebenburg Melts Through the Floorboards
Actors Theatre of Louisville
Humana Festival of New American Plays

by Greg Kotis; who also wrote the Book/Lyrics for Urinetown
Directed by Kip Fagan

This is a modern day Vampire story where the undead subsist on meat instead of blood. Back in the olden days, some Knights in the Middle Ages who were religious zealots learned that they could survive forever if they ate human flesh; cannabals!

As the Title character of Michael, Rufus Collins is funny, suave and slowly going mad. Well, as mad as the undead can be. He sees visions of his dead wife, and of a fellow Knight. The wife wants him to simply join the dead, the Knight wants him to go to Constantinopal to reclaim the city from the Turks.

Amid all this silliness, Michael needs to eat, as does his partner in eating human flesh, Sammy. Here, He is played by Micah Stock as a bisexual who insists that "Men can be easy". However, his job is to seduce men and women for Michael to get drunk and then kill. There has to be no fear, or else the meat will taste bad. This is sort of a twist on The Search for the Holy Grail mixed with Dracula and also a certain musical theatre piece about a barber that sends his victims to the kitchen to be made into meat pies.

This is a cute piece, a bit long as a two act. I think one act would have served just fine; but they didn't ask me.

Of course Michael gets redemption by allowing himself to not eat a lovely young woman that looks like his late wife, both played well by Caralyn Kozlowski. he eventually perished into the mist of time, and all is right with the world. There is a lot of funny humor about the Turkish, Christians and Jewish factions. Outstanding as Otto, the Knight, is John Ahlin, who has great comic timing. Also very funny is Rita Gardner as Mrs. Rosemary. Her character notices that Michael often has women to his rent controlled apartment, and the women never come out. Rita Gardner is of course the original Girl in the Fantasticks. You can still purchase the wonderful recording with Jerry Orbach as El Gallo! She has also performed in a one woman show about her experiences off broadway.

Eat Your Heart Out 
Actors Theatre of Louisville 
36th Annual Humana Festival of New American Plays 

Made possible by a generous grant from 
The Humana Foundation 

by Courtney Baron 
Directed by Adam Greenfield 

This slice of life piece shows the integration and compartmentalisation of the life of Nance, played with a mixture of humor and pathos by Kate Eastwood Norris. She is a mother and Adoption Agency Case Worker that has been divorced for years, has an obese teenaged daughter whom she has a volatile relationship with and she desires some companionship. 

Nance is conflicted about her daughter, because of her obesity. Her ex husband was obese; until he divorced her. The low self esteem of this obese person is compounded by her self realisation of complicitness in the obesity. It is a visious cycle for a fat person with low self exteem and no dating, few friends and a perception that her mother is not truly involved or supportive. 

Actually, Nance is not supportive or involved in the life of her daughter Evie. Evie, played by Sarah Grodsky, is a petulant teen with eyes for her BFF, Colin. Colin is played by the comely Jordan Brodess as a preppy, cute and funny geek. He is at once oblivious and romantic. These two are together as friends because she is needy and he is nice. He pines for his old girlfriend left back home in the Eastern USA before his family moved to Pasadeena, California. 

A side story involves Nance's work through an adoption agency. She does the home interview that weighs heavily in any international adoption. The Couple From Hell is her last home visit, which may end her career. 

Gabe and Alice, played by Mike DiSalvo and Kate Arrington, are argumentative and entitled yuppies that can't get pregnant. They try everything to sanitise their lives for Nance and her interview procedure. This includes hiding that they are Jewish, that he has divorced parents and that she is a totally manipulative bitch. Happy Days! 

Nance has tried internet dating and has met up with a milque toast individual named Tom, played with comedic blundering by Alex Moggridge. Poor Nance, she tries to act normal for this little museum date but winds up inviting Tom home with her immediately! The hussy! She also has tried to get into the good graces of her daughter by buying the correct size of prom dress for her daughter. Evie plans to go out with the cartoonishly funny Colin. However, the dress winds up being too small and bad consequences happen for everybody. 

We don't know where this slice of life will take us. The curtain rings down just as everything hits the fan for all the characters. Colins' previous love is seeing someone else, Evie expresses her love for Colin; and to no responce. Nance loses it at the interview and ALice and Gabe go nuclear during the process. Poor Tom isn't going to get a piece tonight; that much I am sure of! 

This is a lovely and entertaining one act that is writtem well and performed beautifully. Even if you don't care for Dramedy, you may like this piece, which runs through March, 2012. Cheers! 

The Veri**on Play
written by Lisa Kron 
directed by Nicholas Martin 

Actors Theatre of Louisville, 
36th Humana Festival of New American Plays 

Lisa Kron stars in her own vehicle about the horrors of customer service at Verizon Wireless. Her motly band of support group members comiserate about bad customer service in Telecom, Banking, and any place that has a customer service department. 

This work is really funny. As this piece is performed in the round, it is easy to see and hear other audience members as they acknowledge having had similarly bad customer service. This is the kind of customer service that depends on a computer screen script read by a living person, or, even an automated computer that tries and fails to help you with bad voice recognition software. 

The author, Lisa Kron, plays Jenni. She has the normal problem of accidentally paying her landline bill rather than her cellphone bill...and mayhem ensues. Her wrongly placed payment stys with her accounts for months on end. many Verizon employees try to help, to no avial. She occassionally will get the automated dunning telephone notice. Jenni has several helpful Verizon employees but the matter never is resolved. 

After meeting with an underground support group, she is pulled into a customer service mess that is bigger than all of us. I could certainly relate to the customer service issues brought up in Krons' hilarious work. 

I hope that you get to see this piece, and the other Humana Festival offerings running through March 2012. You never know what you will see at the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Sometimes drama, or comedy or just a plain awful show on occassion. It is well worth it in any case. No where else can you sample such a wide variety of wonderfully produced new works. Humna has been involved with this festival for 36 years now. I salute them for their support, and the actors, directors, authors and design professionals involved in this vast undertaking this season. 


I got to meet and chat with Anthony Goicolea at 21c Hotel in Louisville. Anthony is cute, delightful and very good at explaining his works. He has a ten year retrospective of his work at 21c until July 15th. 

Some of his best known photographic work involves self portraits cloned into scenes of youthful rites of passage and scenes of futility. In his early works he played all the parts. He appeared to be much younger in his self portraits. He is a painter and sketch artist who works in many styles with a variety of subject matter. He also works in video and digital manipulation of landscapes. 

He is from Atlanta, and is of Cuban American heritage. He now lives in New York. 21 c has 67 works on display, and 37 of them are owned by Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson..co owners of 21 c. You'll never meet a nicer and more thoughtful person.

21c is at 700 w. Main in Louisville, Ky. 502.217.6300 The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Fiddler On The Roof
PNC Broadway - Louisville

By Stein, Bock and Harnick.
Choreography by Jerome Robbins

John Preece as Tevye, in this touring production of the 1960's musical, Fiddler on the Roof, is a lovely homage to the original stage production. It is hard to believe that in its day, Fiddler was considered quite shocking to some gentiles and especially Evangelical Christians and even members of the Mormon faith and Jehovahs Witnesses. Strange how times change. Now several Jehovahs Witnesses have been popular music stars and the Mormon faith is the subject of a popular musical on Broadway.

This Tevye is a great singer, he has a large embrace that he sends to the audience and he is believeable as a milkman with five daughters. ALL of the characters in this piece are Russians. WHether Jewish and Russian or Atheist and Russian or Greek/Russian Orthodox and Russian. However, the non Jews are generally referred to as Russians in reviews of Fiddler on the Roof. My favorite "Russian" in this piece is Fyedka, Tevyes daughter Chava's Russian boy toy. In this production he is played and sung by Michael Shultz. He has a lovely tenor, can dance his socks off, speaks well, and when he glues on a fake beard during the wedding scene, does a great version of the Jerome Robbins "Bottle Dance"....known to be the terror of all high school productions of this show. Some little known trivia: All licensed productions of Fiddler are required to follow Jerome Robbins outlines for the folk dances in the show.

Outstanding in this production were Pamela D.Chaboro as Golde, Tevyes long suffering wife of 25 years. She imbued her character with believeability and pathos. Yente, The Matchmaker was played by Barbi McGuire as a real con artist. A person who would do anything to make money and put food on her table.

As Lazar Wolf, The Butcher, David B. Springstead, SR. was a lot of fun. I can see why he has often been understudy for Tevye in various productions, including this one.

The various suitors of Motel and Perchik, Andrew Boza and Joshua Phan - Gruber were delightful.

This production of Fiddler had a lot of heart, three hours went by in a flash and it was great to see a show where I new all the songs! 

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity
By Kristoffer Diaz
Directed by KJ Snachez

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Sponsored by Brown Forman Distillers Corporation

This is an interesting slice of life dramedy. As The Mace, Alex Hernandez is a "professional wrestler" who is cast as the loser in these fake and choreographed bouts. He is the one the makes the STAR of the show, whomever that may be on a given night, look good. The winner and the loser have to work together to make the fake parts look real, and the more realistic falls and such less dangerous. This Mace is quite a character. he has an understanding of his role, and when he has the opportunity to groom a new star, it works for a bit, until we learn the new star, Vigneshwar Paduar, as played by Ramiz Monsef is not a professional and really does not get the rules of how to be a star. All stars lose eventually.

The main star of this piece is Chad Deity, a beutiful fake wrestler as played by Kamal Angelo Bolden. He is the kind of star that sells out arenas and pay per view events. He is a terrible technician, and guys like the Mace have to really compensate for his lack of abilities in the fake ring. Deity is also an entrepreneur, so his being the Star is very important to hin, the producers and also the mace. A problem arises when Vigneshwar Paduar does not respect this normal business arrangement.

I think most people who go to live theater would enjoy this piece. I certainly did. As audience members, some of us got to throw streamers and hold large signs. Literally, a fun time was had by all.

Actors Theatre of Louisville 
Sense & Sensibility 
After Jane Austen 
Edited and Directed by Jon Jory 

This was a charming ensemble piece for September 2011. Jon Jory, former Producing Director at Actors has edited and embellished the Austen piece with great result. This work by Jory has comedy, seriousness and surprises. 

Outstanding in this production were all of the women characters. Nancy Lemenager has the difficult task of playing earnest emotions while showing her character of Elinor Dashwood has the utmost propriety with her suitors, her mother and sister. Helen Sadler as Marianne Dashwood, the sister makes for a charming teenager, full of the angst and bravado of her age. Penny Slusher, as the mother, Mrs. Henry Dashwood, is excellent as a women who has to hold her family together after being supplanted in her own home by her late husbands first son from a previous marriage. She has to help find husbands for her daughters if she is to have any hope of keeping the family afloat. 

Jory has well paced the direction, floating easily from scene to scene, aided by Scenic Designer Thomas Burch and Lighting Designer, Brian J. Lilienthal. 

This was a lovely apertif of a performance reviewed at a Sunday matinee. This was part of the Brown Forman Series. 

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Sponsored by Fifth Third Bank
Directed by William McNulty

Orignally dramatized by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston
from Bram Stoker's Dracula. This production is adapted by
William McNulty

Speaking of the success of dracula, Director and adaptor, William McNulty said, "I've always loved the horror genre, so this is an opportunity for me to unleash my inner 12 year old...There is something about immersing yourself in that dark, spooky world that people love."

The McNulty adaptation has been used for several years now. However, the original version was presented each year close to 20 years ago. This version is fresher, bloodier and more dramatic. the more static Balderston and Deane version was what Bella Lagosi toured in during the 1930's, prior to his filmed version directed by Louisvillia, Todd Browning. That version is stale, musty and not very scary at all. This McNulty adaptation gets better every year.

It is as if the adaptor took all of the characters and came up with a back story for each of them, and then fleshed out the script with those internal thoughts that acting professionals use wo make excused for why they enter a scene a certain way. The different thing about this work is that normally a backstory is kept to ones self. McNulty has done a good job of bringing these characters to life, and the undead to a form of stasis.

All the usual characters are there, Dracula, Van Helsing, Renfield, et al,. The Undead Ensemble includes 5 people that scare the audience throughout blackouts and scene changes. Outstanding in this years production is Alex Morf as Renfield, Dracula's unwitting assistant. He added some very thoughtful moments in addition to his comedic turn as the mentally ill psychiatric patient at the Lunatic Asylum of Dr. Seward. All the usual women are bitten by Dracula, and either die or are saved by the wonderful William McNulty as Dr. Van Helsing.

We have a latin Dracula this year, embodied by Rufio Lerma. He is simply wondrful. Of the Dracula performances I have attended, this was the best vampyre ever. The best Dracula that I have yet seen and I highly reccomend this work.

Every year there are subtle changes to special effects and music and lighting for this production. Actors Theatre must have a small army of people planning for this each year. this production was especially scary and fun for me. And I am sure that you will enjoy it.

Glee Live in Indianapolis
June 2, 2011

By David Dewberry

Glee Live opened at 7:30 with a half hour opener with LXD, or The Legion of Excellent Dancers, a dance troupe out of Los Angeles that has an internet show. This group includes the amazing Harry Shum Jr, who is also in the cast of Glee. This pastiche of dance included tricks, ballet, and street style dance which was beautiful to watch. The croud of 20,000 GLEEKS really responded to it. This show was a great addition for this mixed age audience, and especially for the youngest ticket holders to have had exposure to so many styles of dance. This audience gave LXD a standing ovation.

At 8:30 we were treated to 90 minutes of the biggest hits from GLEE. GLEE has had more Billboard 100 top vocal singles than The Beatles or Elvis! Outstanding in the show were Harry Shum Jr and Heather Morris' dancing. Morris has a dead on version of I'm A Slave For You, by Bittany Spears. Both performers have incredible dance endurance. Like on the TV show, if there was dance on stage, Shum and Morris were involved. This live show also used many extra dancers to fill out the stage.

Among the most wonderfully best recieved performers were the delightful Chris Colfer singing I wanna Hold Your Hand, and lip synching to beyonce's Single Ladies while doing the famous dance moves along with Heather Morris (a former Beyonce dancer who was originally hired to teach Colfer this dance), and also Colfers' lovely duet with Lea Michelle on the Streisand/Garland version of Happy Days are Here Again and Forget Your Troubles; C'mon get Happy. I so enjoyed Colfer that I cried during the Beatles number. His stage presence is wonderful, and his facial expressions are priceless.

Absolutely stunning were the performences by Amber Riley. She deserves a recording contract, and to tour on her own. WOW, her pipes are unbelieveable. Her duet with Naya Rivera on River Deap; Mountain High was engaging and Riveras' solo on Valerie was really great. Rivera recently got a Columbia Records recording contract.

The Warblers with Darren Criss was explosively recieved with Teenage Dream, Raise Your Glass and more. Criss is an exciting performer with intense vocal skills and stage presence. he produces his own theater company, and was known before GLEE for his stage parodies of Harry Potter movies.

Sadly, Chord Overstreet was ill, and did not participate in group numbers, but he had a warmly recieved duet called Lucky, with the beautiful Diana Agron.

The technical scale of this production is impressive. After completing season number two, the cast is flying all over the USA along with a ground contingent of a dozen semi trucks to carry two stages, costumes, dancers, special effects: all for arena sized shows in around 16 cities in the USA and then followed by a European tour, then back to film season three. In fact, the production was in three states in one day, leaving Minneapolis to go to Indy, then out to Chicago. WHEW!!

My hat goes off to the staff of Conseco Fieldhouse. This wonderfully versatile booking house and basketball arena has a great layout, easily accessible seats, rest rooms and concessions. The Conseco staff are very helpful, and offer to help before you ask for help.

I found the residents of Indianapolis to be very pleasant, and the GLEEKS were fun and a totally wide range of ages was encouraging to see.

I encourage you to see the GLEE Live tour this Summer.

Mama Mia!
PNC Broadway Across America
Based on the Songs of ABBA
Book by Catherine Thompson
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd

February 2011

This was the third professional, Union production of ABBAs Mama MIA in the last decade that I have seen. This was a tight production with pleasant singing voices, cute costumes and fun choreography. The story is very, very, very slim...almost non existent. However, most of the story is told within the use of 35 and 40 year old songs from the Swedish singing group called ABBA. It is a fun show, in every version I have seen. I have not seen the movie, though.

Basically a single mother, Donna Sheridan, played by Kaye Tuckerman... owns a small hotel on an island. Her Daughter, Sophie Sheridan, played by Chloe Tucker, is going to be married, and in the course of events the daughter reads her mothers' diary. She thinks that any of three men may be her Father from the dates in this diary that are nine months before her own birth.

Within the context of this show, it seems normal to invite all three men to the wedding, pretending that the Mother has done so.

Mayhem ensues..

Two old singing bandmates of the mother arrive for the wedding, Rosie, played by Mary Callanan and Tanya, played by Alison Ewing in a pretty bad form fitting blond wig with a bit of a Wilma Flintstone look. 

These old friends rehash a bit of their singing days and basically try to deal with the male visitors to the wedding.

Outstanding in a support role was Ethen Le Phong as Pepper. His character is a comedic bartender that has the hots for the ladies, especially Tanya. Also delightful from the ensemble was Thomasina E Gross, and Christopher Sergeeff. Their enthusiasm on stage really lit up the Whitney Hall in Louisville, Kentucky.

Now. The disco songs by ABBA are what propels this piece of fluff into the hearts of audience members: Chiquitia, Dancing Queen, Does Your Mother Know, Gimme!, Honey, I Do, I have A Dream, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Lay all Your Love on me, mamma Mia, Money, one of Us, Our Last Summer, Slipping Through My Fingers, S.O.S., Super Trouper, take A Chance On Me, Thank You For The Music, The Name of The Game, The Winner Takes It All, Under Attack, and Voulez-Vous. This is basically a tour through the ABBA catalogue.

This is a fun piece for audiences that want pure escapist fluff.

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom 
Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky 
by August Wilson 
Directed by Ron OJ Parson 

Through February 13, 2011 

This is part of a ten play "Century Cycle", also called the Pittsburgh Cycle, although this is the only play set outside of Pittsburgh...in Chicago in the 1920's. All ten of these works are meant to fixate on one decade of the 20th century and illuminate what life was like for some black people during those decades. 

Ma Rainey was a real blues singer from the deep south, born in the 1880's, who made a lot of money for white record producers. She was known to be a lesbian and some of that is worked into the business and lines in "Black Bottom". The title refers to a song recorded by Rainey. This play focuses on one fictional and awful recording session where her band members fought over which version of Black Bottom to rehearse, and one band member tries to steal Rainey's lesbian girlfriend, and after a successful "take" on a recording, it is found that the machinery didn't record in the wax as planned. So, on and on it goes until Rainey threatens to leave the studio AND the state and go back on tour. 

This Rainey was played by Greta Oglesby. She has a great voice, but really only gets to sing one song in this non musical. That is a shame. This is a revered work by a great playwright. Basically, this work is good enough to stand a few jabs by the likes of me. The dark tone at the end is unsatifying to me. While the performances dealt with this well, I feel that the author could have done a better job wrapping this piece up. As a slice of life... it works, but if I had been the producer of this show, I would have had the author re write the ending to be a much happier situation; say...perhaps Ma Rainey gets more control of her recordings and she gets a better girlfriend and musicians that are completely professional and musiciana who can keep their personal amors out of the studio and off the stage. 

Aside from my desire to rewrite a classic, the actors were wonderful in this piece. Especially good were the non musicians who pretended to play their instruments in the setting of this play: Ernest Perry Jr., A.C. Smith, and Alfred H. Wilson. Also good was William McNulty as the recording engineer and owner of the record label, Sturdyvant. Kudos also to the set designer, Michael Ganio for a wonderful recording studio built from an abandoned church. 

This is a good production but the ending is a real downer, as written, mind you...but way too dark for my taste. The abuse of Black performers continued on throughout the 20th century in real life. Think in terms of Little Ritchard geting mere pennies per record, and little or nothing from other performers' covers of his songs by Pat Boone. So, historically this work is accurate and sound. 

Actors Theatre of Louisville
The Second City: It Takes a Ville!

Created by The Second City
Tim Baltz and Ed Furman
Directed by Mick Napier

Through February 6, 2011

This is a delightful Satire of life in Louisville, Kentucky. It was tailored by the Second City Comedy Troupe of Chicago. These are the folks that gave birth to the talents of many stars of Saturday Night Live, and many movies. This group has tailored this show to several other cities; certain elements are written specifically for Louisille, or Pittsburgh, etcetera...and are interspersed with boiler plate comedy elements performed by the cast from city to city.

The six guys and gals that did this production are Lauren Dowden, Jennifer Estlin, Mitchell Fain, John Hartman, Anthony Irons and Seven Waltien. This group is very talented and extremely capable of being funny.

Some of the best moments include a song about Rick Pitino, and another song about Building Bridges in Louisville...Also, outstanding was the way they could tailor a couple of songs to the names and occupations of audience members. This was very funny.

My favorite bit of schtick involved the funeral of a Mother Superior Nun, and the attempt by a priest to find the right vinyl record to play at the event. I won't give this one away!

Note: if you request to sit on stage level, you may be somewhat part of the show. I won't give that away either.

This show is a full two hours not including an intermission. It goes by at a breakneck speed. This piece is similar in comedic effect to The Thurber Carnival that was popular over 40 years ago, with black out gags, silly songs and just plain silliness.

Oh, By the way, if you are from Indiana, you need to have thick skin to watch this show!

The 5th Third Bank A Christmas Carol 
By Charles Dickens 
Adapted by Barbara Fields 
Directed by Sean Daniels 

This is the 12th season of support of A Christmas Carol by 5th Third Bank, and the 35th annual production at Actors Theatre of Louisville, the second longest running play adaptation of the work by Dickens. This year brought the return of the character of The Narrator, which by the way was the first part I played on a stage; back in the 4th grade. The person that played Bob Cratchit in our production grew up to be drag diva Margo Davis. In the Actors version, veteran ATL performer Fred Major added much to this performance, his 24th year in this work. 

As Scrooge, in his tenth year as Scrooge, and 24th year in the ATL production was the wonderful William McNulty. He plays a good grouch, and his change into redemption is quite believeable as well. 

Live music and Christmas Carols fill out the nicely edited production, this season. The first act is 50 minutes, the second was 45 minutes. The normal 15 minute intermission was closer to 25 on opening night. The weather was extremely cold on this night, as was the Pamela Brown Auditorium. 

David Ryan Smith was EXCELLENT as the Ghost of Christmas Present. He was bombastic and loud and altogether fun. Very interesting was Gymnastic Aerealist, Lindsey Noel Whiting, as The Ghost of Christmas Past. She floated above the stage as she twirled here way with two large white silks. 

Special note goes to former ATL veteran Paul Owen, he designed sets for most of the last 40 years and also did props and costumes on occassion. His turntable set with a variety of static elements that could be added to made for just the right setting for this expansive editing job. 

This was a light, funny and engaging proction of A Christmas Carol. I think that this is the best one yet at Actors Theatre. It runs through the 23rd of December. 

Brown-Foreman Mainstage Series

Barefoot in The Park

Actors Theatre of Louisville

by Neil Simon

directed by Marc Masterson

November 16 - December 18, 2010

I had forgotten how much fun Neil Simon could be. This production of Barefoot in The Park has the delighful Craig Heidenreich as Victor Velasco, the quirky upstairs neighbor played in the film version by Charles Boyer. Heidenreich brought his own sense of fun and silliness to the part of a strange man that has to enter his own apartment from the window of the apartment below. Delightfully directed, and mischevously acted, he and Peggy Scott as Mrs. Banks, were the focal point of the evening for me. Of course, I am a big fan of Mr. Heidenreich. He was a member of the former Actors Theatre rep company. In the "old Days", most of the cast of the productions at Actors were played by Actors Equity Union actors that lived in Louisville. Now, most performers are cast out of New York City. Less fun, but well played were Lee Aaron Rosen as Paul Bratter, and Jane Pfitsch as the newlywed couple.

This show gives us an entire relationship arc in the course of two hours. They arrive from their Honeymoon at a New York City Hotel, to live in a tiny NYC apartment loft with little heat, a broken skylight and way too many flights of stairs. After the course of one evening of revelry, and having been married a couple weeks, they decide to get divorced. Well, mayhem continues.

The unusual neighbor, and the Mother In Law, hit it off, and more mayhem ensues. Very funny,

I am sure our readers are likely familiar with this story, and may have seen the movie and the play versions.

This production was done in the round with a slight "Thrust Stage" effect in the Bingham Theatre. A very intimate experience in a theater that holds around 600 patrons, I believe.

The show is of note to the Director, as Marc Masterson used to not think Simon was a worthy playwright, and as such he never produced and works of Simon. Masterson, in his playbill notes mentioned that he has grown to appreciate Simon, and especially Barefoot in The Park.

Without giving too much away, I think you will find this production to be very satifying. This is just fun theater, for the sake of being entertained, and there is nothing wrong with that.

with Chris Colfer
and Jane Lynch
Fox network; 2nd season

I have REALLY become impressed with Chris Colfer in the Fox show, "Glee", on Tuesdays at 8pm. He is an openly gay actor of 20 years who is playing an openly gay 16 year old named Kurt Hummel. The character has a quick tongue, he is a fashionista and has a wonderfal male soprano voice who can also sing down to the upper areas of a high baritone range. Colfer has a beautiful voice, and his rendition of the Beatles "I Wanna Hold Your Hand, brought me to tears. You have to see this guy. His abilities as a performer show that he has a big future in musical theater and in Civil Rights for GLBTQ people. Finally, a really positive portrayal of a gay guy on television. Cheers to the Glee production staff!

Colfer is a good actor too. On his talk show appearances in support of Glee he comes off as a normal person with a sense of humor. I look forward to seeing how Glee deals with the Kurt character and a new love interest on the show. I am told that this will be a gay love angle that is not hidden in the corners of high school life, but will be right up front and a positive situation within the storyline, and for the gay fans and all fans to watch.

Jane Lynch is a wonderful comedian who plays the snarky and sometimes underhanded Cheerleading coach, Sue Sylvester. OH MY! Her character flaws are legendary, however, Sue comes to the aid of Kurt Hummel, a fellow Athiest ( whom she calls "Lady"), and also has an older sister with Downs Syndrome whom she adores. She also has a cheerleader with Downs Syndrome on her squad. Lynch is the comic relief to much of the storline and is an out and proud Lesbian in the real world.

Sue Sylvester is a balance of intense negativity along with some very sincere moments of compassion. I imagine that most of us can see parts of ourselves in this character. The dichotomy of wanting to knock a person down a few notches, while still standing up for what is important makes for a really entertaining part for Jane Lynch.

Take my word for it, you need to catch Chris Colfer, Jane Lynch and the rest of the cast of Glee on Fox, Tuesdays for an hour at 8pm. Let Tivo be your friend!

With much Love to Chris and Jane from David Dewberry.

The Mystery of Irma Vep
A Penny Dreadful
by Charles Ludlam
directed by Sean Daniels
with Larry Bull & Blake DeLong

Oh my goodness, this 1970's farce is like all of the TUNA shows rolled together, but with gothic characters...Vampires and Werewolves and a lot of Kitch. Like the TUNA plays, this show involves two actors wearing the many, many characters of the show with lots of costume changes.

There is slapstick, special effects and a lot of twists and turns. At one point, male members of the Actors Apprentice program break out into an Egyptian Version of Michael Jacksons Thriller choreography. Hilarious.

This work is a silly fun romp playing in the Pamela Brown theatre in October. Compare and contrast this with the Dracula which is playing next door in the Bingham Theatre. Dracula is mostly a serious performance with a lot of laughs. Irma Vep is played strictly for laughs, and is very successful.

Larry Bull and Blake Delong play men, women and everything in between! The story line is really silly, and reflects the writing style ofthe late great gay performer and author, Charles Ludlam. While he lived to be only 44, his Irma Vep was written as a stage vehicle for him and his lover to perform.

There have been many productions of Irma Vep and this one has been updated to include modern references to people and places that a current audience would enjoy and relate to.

This production is made possible in part bt Brown - Forman, through their continued commitment to the Brown - Foreman Series.

reviewed 09.17.10

Actors Theatre of Louisville
Fifth Third Bank
Yum Family Series
>From Bram Stoker's Dracula
adapted by Willian McNulty

Originally Adapted by Hamilton Deane in Britain
and by John L. Balderston in the USA

Directed by William McNulty

September 17 - Halloween 2010

Bill McNulty has outdone himself with the third year of his own adaptation of Dracula, and the 16th production of the "serious" Dracula. There was a comedy version of Dracula a year before that which was well recieved and which stared Craig Heidenreich who also played the Count for several years in ensuing productions. This year, McNulty has added some "Bite" to the wonderful Renfield, as played by Marc Bovino. He is the real star of this production, both comic and deadly and sadly serious as the fall guy for Dracula. Yes, he still says he loves flies!!!

This year, the count is a very suave Vamp as performed by James Whalen. He is much more visibly threatening now, and a new death is perpetrated by him in this adaptation; which works really well. I won't tell you who is to die, bwa ha haaa! 

The pacing is excellent and the revised script makes much more sense now. A lot of this work could be considered an actors private backstory, or, what an actor might make up in his head while in a production of Dracula in order for it to make sense. All those questions about where i came from and where I am going and my inner dialogue has come into the new script in a very positive and creative way.

What I enjoyed most about this work was the way it flowed from scene to scenem how the stagecraft with multiple trap doors and illusions "sucked" one into Dracula's lair.

McNulty has played many characters in this production over the years, and he continued as Van Helsing this time. His exposition about the undead and his realisation that THE DRACULA is here, right now, is fun to watch. 

A great surprise is Joseph Midyett as Jonathan Harker. Some Harkers are rather wooden or cardboard cutouts of the movie version from the 1930's. Midyett was able to imbue his Harker with humanity and terror. This was helped by a scary flashback from Castle Dracula and several undead mistresses and Vlad Dracula seeking to have his way with Harker.

If you have not yet seen an Actors Theatre production of dracula, and it is the only continuously performed yearly Dracula anywhere, you really neeed to. it is fully, and scary and you will be shocked to see how stagecraft can be done in the round!

Actors Theatre of Louisville
by Lisa Dillman
Directed by Marc Masterson

reviewed by David Dewberry on March 5, 2010

This is a slice of life play with an ensemble cast set on the US - Mexico border. As Carlos, Dale Rivera has to balance being a Border Patrolman with being a person of mexican descent. His own Aunt has recently been deported. Times have changed in Southern New Mexico. As mentioned in this work, illegals used to come and tap on windows to get food, and no one was turned down. Now, dozens per day are returned to Mexico, and many others are found dead in the dessert. The wife of Carlos, Ines as played by Liza fernandez, is very pissed that her husband arrests illegals. Their bed is not used for anything but sleeping. Zelda Preston (Jennifer Engstrom) has just inherited the family pecan tree farm. She works out a deal with farm hand Chuy Gallegos (Ricardo Gutierrez) to give him a portion of the farm in return for him helping her to keep it operating. However cooper Daniels (Rob Riley) has his sights set on this piece of real estate. He has also the water rights to the farm, which puts Zelga in a bad position, trying to come up with past payments on the water facility she needs to survive. This is an enjoyable piece with the unenviable need to balance the rights of undocumented aliens with those of latins already in this country legally. This show is part of The 34th annual Humana festival of New American Plays. After being at dozens of these plays over the years, one has to think how much Humana has to charge its health insurance members in order to provide the funds for this play series each year. One wonders about the ethical considerations of that in this economy. Considering that single payor government health insurance will come sometime to the USA, I hope that Actors can find other revenue streams to mount such a large festival. Al my best to them in that regard.

Lookingglass Alice
Actors Theatre of Louisville

This charming prepackaged set piece production is based on the stories of Lewis Carroll, Written and Directed by David Catlin of the Lookingglass Theatre Company and The Actors Gymnasium. Actors who are also Circus Performers make this piece jump out at you

No matter what seat one had in the Pamela Brown Auditorium, there was something interesting to watch. What with Alice being an accomplished Aerealist and actress, we had a very unusual take on the Alice stories of Lewis Carroll.

Through September 2009, this piece with enthrall children and adults who will be taken by the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee, Cheshire Cat and the Red and White Queens.

This is an ensemble piece with Adeoye, Kevin Douglas, Mitchell Fain, Samuel Taylor, and Lindsay Whiting. While only a one act, it comes in at 90 minutes and it is essentially a Black Curtain show with various scaffolding and some fun gymnastics by Whiting.

I highly recommend this fun season opener.

Menopause, The Musical 
an outside booking 
at Actors Theatre 

By Jeanie Linders 

This was an excellent 90 minute one act about menopause. It used popular songs of the 1960's - 1980's with parody and satire lyrics by the author to make fun of the truth of hot flashes, evil thoughts, mood swings and 4 wonderful performers: Cynthia Jones, Stacy Schwartz, Margot Moreland and Marsha Waterbury to good results. The mood was light and funny, and it never let up for the entirety of the performance. The women sang to prerecorded backing instrumentals, much like a 1980's theme park show, but with a lot more fun, and three times as long as such shows. This was probably the most rollickingly amused audience I have ever been a member of. My favorite of many wonderful parody numbers was Cynthia Jones dressed and bewigged as Tina Turner a la 1980's doing a version of Whats Love Got to Do With It, with the emphasis being on manual masturbation. This work was scheduled to be on the boards till the 28th of June, unless they get extended. You really should go see this. If you are middle aged you will understand this, and if you are a male who has been around a middle aged woman you will understand this, and if you are a young woman...well, let this be a warning to you! 

Spring Awakening 
Broadway Series 
PNC Broadway Across America 
a Musical by 
Sater and Sheik 
based on the 1891 German 
banned Play by Frank Wedekind 

This work was well produced acted, had famous original stars in the production, had pretend sex and masturbation, 1890's clothing and modern rock music. It was not my cup of tea, but it is very popular with those that love the juxtaposition of the world of the 1890's youth with modern day rock music. I don't, but you must understand that the perfect musical for me is West Side Story. Duncan Sheik is no Leonard Bernstein, but he is producing a musical About The Cider House Rules. Go figure. Most anoying to me was the way in which the youthful actors sang in a contrived way to sound juvenile. They would use hard consonants and some vowel sounds to mess up the vocal line of a pitch, and I really thought my head would explode whenever I would hear the er on the ends of words sung.. Eek. Anyways, the cast was cute and well meaning and famous in their own right. This includedBlake Bashof as Moritz, from the original production, who was joined by another original castmate, Kyle Riabko as Melchior. I am consumed with the idea that the original source material was baned because it is a poor play, not because of the sexuality inherant in a teen themed sex play. 

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang 
Broadway Series 
PNC Broadway Across America 

What a delightful recreation of the 1968 Ian Fleming story, with music by the Disney team of the Sherman Brothers. This is a note for note and scene by scene approximation of the movie. There are hundreds fewer children, and an extra tune for the King and Queen and no nudity for the two lead children on the beach. I think this was a really nice version of the flying car myth, and it behaved like a robot on steroids, kinda like a Transformer with a 1905 Roadster! the voices were delightful, the childcatcher had way too small a part. Oliver Wadsworth is a great actor who I have seen in many shows over at Actors Theatre. He is based in New York, and was outstanding in this ensemble piece. 

In Memmorium, 

I included the late actor Ray Fry as one of my late night fixtures at the gay bars of Louisville Kentucky. He was known locally as Scrooge for many years, and had in fact worked in a number of other communities, like New York City and San Francisco before he came to Louisville as a resident member of the acting troupe of Actors Theatre in the 1960's. Ray was fond of somewhat rough trade, and once was beaten up by a trick just prior to a performance. He went on that night, bruises and all. Later in life, he would sit at the bar at a long gone gay establishment and I would come up and say hello, and do my impression of his voice as Shakespeares' Julius Caesar doing "E Tu Brute?" He tolerated my being a bitch very well, and was a class act on and off the stage. Ray will be missed by this queen. 

March 10, 2009 

Actors Theatre 
Humana Festival 2009 

This is a cool and socially redeeming look at horror movies; the kind where teens have sex and get killed and women are objectified! Objectified, I tell you! This new piece by Allison Moore and directed by Josh Hecht features A mother played by Lusia Strus as Frances McKinney, who is allegedly disabled and does not work or do much more than bitch, bitch, bitch...However, when Mom learns that her daughter, Sheena, played by Nicole Rodenburg has signed on to do a demeaning and sexually objectified "last girl killed" in a horror movie, she comes to the rescue.

Outstanding in a half dozen bit parts is Christy McIntosh. My fave of her multiple characters is as and Sarah Palin look-an-sound-a-like. This one is a religious fanatic that is involved in very polite bombings of abortion clinics. 

Sheena, a Hooters style waitress isaccidentally cast in the movie, and manages to negotiate $15, 000. for an independant movie production. She does NOT feel objectified. 

Surprisingly, Mom considers the movie director, Marc Hunter, played by Mark Setlock, to be her personal nemesis as many years ago she had mistakenly thought that a previous movie set was a rape and murder scene. She reported this to the police and was made an evening news laughing stock! 

Mayhem Ensues in this one act with movie cliches and sound effects. I really enjoyed this piece. yes, it is uneven in places, but satire does tend to ebb and flow. Some people in the reviewing work think that Satire is what closes on opening night. I hope that you catch this fun piece. 

March 6th 2009 

The Rat Pack 
Live at The Sands 
Kentucky Center/ Broadway Series 

This piece is an homage to the 1960 concerts the Frank, Sammy and Dean performed at night during the filming of Oceans Eleven in Vegas. the wonderful mimicry of Stephen Triffitt as Frank Sinatra, David Hayes as Sammy David Jr., and Mark Adams as Dean Martin was spot on with singing, speaking and stage business. 

We had two lovely hours of the big hits, the not politically correct humor about Italians, Blacks, Jews, and Homosexuals. Franks' toupe as well as Deans pretend drinking and Sammy's intense desire to be loved by an audience are all showcased in this fast moving and fun pastiche performed along with a 15 piece big band. Instead of live strings there was one string bass and a synthesizer. 

This work started in England back in the 1990's and all the performers are British, although the cast has changed many times. All of these guys have played their parts for many years in different shows and one man ghost shows. 

This is very neat and I highly recommend it if you get the chance to see it. 

Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy 

Broadway Series 

This is another work in the long line of Cirque productions. It is in the style of a European Circus without animals, featuring many Russian gymnasts and graduates of the Moscow circus school. 

There are around 20 - 25 cast members and many astounding male performers doing feats of strength, balance and contortion. This particular schtick is geared to children with the small conceit of animal costumes and broad humor to get the adults in with the yard apes in tow. What a well done show. 

An ensemble cast of performers built up a great bit of visual spectacle over the course of two hours. There was a live female singer and a live violinist, but, the backing music is all pre recorded. 

Neil Goldberg created and directed this piece, and he can always be counted on to deliver a tight, fun and visually stunning circus evening. 



Actors Theatre of Louisville 

33rd Humana Festival of new American Plays 

This is the first work in the Humana Festival this year. This piece is a pre-packaged show that came from Universes Group, performed by the authors: Gamal Abdel Chasten, Mildred Ruiz, William Ruiz and Steven Sapp. 

This production was so good, I wish I had the facility of many languages to say WOW in! Part political, part entertainment, part history of Hurricane Katrina and her effect on New Orleans and the black and brown community there. A lot of wonderful singing was included about a variety of subjects, all well done and all in the round with many audio visual elements included. 

A one act, very fast paced show, with great choral and individual singing, 4 top rate performers. What more could you want in a play festival? This group works so well together, I would love to see them in another production in the future. I think this particular work would look great on television. The anti Bush regieme comedy is especially biting. Some fun facts included are: for every 100 million Americans, one million are in prison. 47 million Americans have no access to health care, yet those same people pay 7 million in taxes ! 

Mildred Ruiz has one of the most flexible singing voices. Both Spanish and English are showcases in her powerful alto. ALl of the men a good singers and can do many American dialects, from many black styles of colloquial speech patterns to stereotipical white speech patters Very funny and dead on recreations of ways of talking. 

A good portion of the show is sung, and the spoken parts are incidental to the singing. You need to catch this piece! 

Match Games 
Actors Theatre 
of Louisville 

directed by Michael Bigelow Dixon 

Feb. 5, 2009

This full evening presentation is a compilation of ten 10 minute plays. All of them appeal because of the way Actors Theatre has found short plays that all deal with aspects of attraction, relationships and love. 

All of these pieces have been produced previously either in Louisville, or elsewhere, and there are ten different authors...The five cast members all play 10 parts, some are comedic, some are sly or more serious. Adinah Alexander, Sue Cremin, Brandon Morris, Douglas Rees, and Meredith Zinner all deserve kudos for pulling off so many varied characters in one evening. 

An Aside to my readers..."What is Plebian?" 
As sometimes happens, individuals sitting near me are interesting, to say the least. An intergenerational heterosexual couple, of the older man, and younger woman variety were experiencing their first live play together. The gentleman was inebrieted and his partner was stone cold sober. His right hand rested on her right leg, which was conveniently adjacent to my left leg. My field of vision had no trouble watching each sloppy grab and my ears could hear in full glorius stereo every ounce of his amorosity. 

He kept pointing to his right cheek , as to desire her to kiss him there, over and again. After a time, the coed would buss her geriatric benefactor. And, with each successful touch of her lips, she bacame more reticent. "No, kiss me like you love me!", "Do I have to?", "Yes!" At this moment, an elderly lady down in the front row took a missed step and fell all the way to the stage floor. Our Male suiter began to laugh uproareously. " You shouldn't have had that last drink, honey!" His young date was not happy with his sense of humor. 

When the mature lady was helped into her seat by the kind ushers and house management staff of the Bingham theater, our hot - to - trot suitor began to applaud loudly. "Why are you applauding?", "Well, they do that at football games. This is no different from a football game!" 

The show began. After a few moments of the fifth play, called The Processional, had gotten to the part where a pastor says "Biblical passages can be difficult for the Plebian", as she has just witnessed a wedding rehearsal where the chosen passages are all fire and brimstone and overly and needlessly sexual...My male seatmate asks of his youthful indiscretion, who no longer is sitting in her embrace, "What is Plebian?" 

First off is a DVD from 1995, produced in Sweden:
Written and Directed by Svend Wam
From Nordisk Films
We got it from: Water Bearer Films
Info at www.WaterBearerFilms.com

With Hampus Bjorck as Sebastian, he plays this young gay kid that is afraid his friends and parent won't like that he is gay. Well, in fact, most everybody knows, and when confronted with this information everybody is supportive.

The fun part of this movie is watching the machinations of Mr. Bjorck play off of Eml Lonnr as his best friend. Both actors are stunningly beautiful, gay icons of masculinity in this film.

A lot of the movie is a running narrative, in Swedish, by Sebastien. At times funy, at other times harmlessly disturbed. Some times the reddish colored subtitles are hard to keep up with, but the visuals are really very self explanatory. This work could be set in any western culture.

This is one of the very best coming of age movies in the gay genre that I have seen. Listening to the modern Swedish in this film is really fun, also.

Written by Suzan-Lori Parks

Directed by Will Macadams

This piece is about two mentally ill, inner city, young black men; brothers, who are temporarily sharing the same small apartment. The conceit in this play are that they are named Booth and Lincoln. Well, you can tell where this is gonna go before you even see the lights go down. In answear to your question, yeppers, Booth shoots Lincoln.

The two hours that lead up to this very obvious conclusion are filled with a very detailed character study of mental illness in poverty. Both brothers are so whacked out of their minds that they can't keep a job, a home, nor a relationship. They had both parents leave them, one at a time. Oscar Wilde could insert a quote from The Importance of Being Ernest about how unfortunate it is to loose one parent, but to misplace both is the height of clumsiness.

Well, these two cats inherited the instabilities of the parents. The father was a drunken adulterer. The Mother was an adulterer to get back at the husband. Neither had the wherewithal to continue raising their boys, named as a joke.

As if to drive the Booth - Lincoln conceit to the brink of lunacy, this Lincoln works temporarily in an arcade as a white faced Abraham Lincoln, available to be shot by cap guns. Sick, just sick.

Lincoln had previously been successful at minor league card sharking; just Three Card Monty, also used as a three shell game. The younger Booth wants to rip off folks with this same nasty con artists ruse. Well, he does not have the moves.

Lincoln looses his job, to a wax dummy and downsizing. So what to do, Oh yes, Three Card Monty.

Anyways, ultimately we are subjected to the sailor style language between these uncouth characters. Intimate details of their sex lives and those of the parents. All of this is under my personal heading of TOO MUCH INFORMATION.

Yes, things get angry and nasty and Booth Shoots Lincoln, all the while having a mental moment. This whole play is a mental illness warning. Whether in born or situational, these are the sort of people to be avoided at all costs.

Whether a potential lover or a new friend, do not pass go and collect 200 dollars unless your own personal Booth or Lincoln has a job, car and their own place to stay. 

While this play is alternately spooky and mean spirited, it does have some genuine laughs, but agin, humor is possible by the mentally ill. I liked this work, but it made me feel more uncomfortable than just about anything else I have seen.

The Tempest
By Shakespeare
Directed by Marc Masterson

What a stunning in-the-round production of my personal Shakespeare fave, The Tempest. This version has Ariel, the Airy Spirit as an aerialist. it was very powerful to have Ariel (Eric Bondoc), hovering over the action, and singing as well.

This Prospero was powerful, but not overly "old", As played by Henry Woronicz. He spent more time physically in the background, which is easier in a circle style performance.

Caliban, as played by the very heavyset Jeffery V. Thompson was fabulous. he is a black man who used white makeup over his body to appear as Prospero's slave. A very funny, and yet somewhat scary "monster' of a man.

Outstanding in featured parts were casey Grieg as Trinculo, and Aaron Munoz as Stephano...a couple drunken sailers...who loked a lot like Laurel and Hardy, the silent and early talkies comedy team. One is skinny and the other is heavy. both were very funny.

As Miranda, Virginia Kull was sufficiently alluring, and a bit off...and as ferdinand, Avery Glymph was rather nonexistent..

Overall, this was a charming production, with lovely original music by Christian Frederickson, Gregory King and Jason Noble.

At only two hours, this version had been trimmed. I have slept through three hour productions of The Tempest, but this was lively, and as much fun as the printed version. This live production was very understandable as no dialects were used. It was standard AMerican English all the way.

A tip of the hat to the audience. This one was heavily papered with high school students , and they were very well behaved and laughed at all the right parts too.

Hedwig and The Angry Inch
Actors Theater
By John Cameron Mitchell
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Trask

This wonderful cabaret style musical was staged in the intimate Victor Jory Theater at Actors Theater of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. David Hanbury was a delightfully campy Hedwig, the unlikely transy with the botched sexual reassignment surgury tobe able to leave East Germany and travel to the West.

Hanbury sings a variety of styles, from glam rock to ballads. Very impressive range of emotions too!

The music is fun, loud and very funny. The band plays well and gives good support to Hanbury's antics. I especially liked his schtick with the audience about locations that had been conveniently changed to Louisville, Kentucky for this production.

I highly reccomend this nearly one man show. Also fun was Jessica Lauren Howell and Bing Putney as Roadies that do finger /shadow puppets on Over Head Projectors. Hedwig calls them his "Over Head Projectionists...:)"

By all means, go see this production.

Friends Forever
from 1986
Waterbearer Films
Nordisk Films and The Danish Film Institute

Kristian is the new kid at school and he is attracted to Henrik, who kinda scares him with gay overtones. The Class bully, Patrick turns outto be openly gay, which really scares the crap out of Kristian.

Claus Bender Mortensenas Kristian and Thomas Sigsgaard as Patrick are really wonderful in this piece. I especially like the character of patrick; no nonsense, the most believeable characterization in this 20 year old gay flick.

This piece is well done as it shows Patricks growing into a relationship and able to come out at school. The character of Kristian is really more of a foil for Patrick to exist in this movie.

Available from Waterbearer Films

PNC Broadway Across America

This is the second time I have seen a Riverdance Production, and this wa just as good as the first one, several years ago.

These theatrical presentations of Irish history and dance are sugmented by lovely singing, a 5 piece combo and a full cast on stage of 43 people.

Included is a Flamenco Soloist, Drummers, a Russian Folk Ballet, and some African American Tap Dancers that basically have a "Dance Off" with some of the Irish Dancers. This is one of the most fun and comical portions of a Riverdance production, with the audience having the chance to compare and contrast the two styles of Tap.

There is also a featured Black man who is a bass/baritone. These parts rotate and cast members come and go from tour to tour. This production was inspired and very well done.

A note about the audience. For some reason, a number of individuals left at intermission. I overheard some negative comments about this show. All I can say is they is no accounting for their lackof taste. This was a very good show that entertwines a thinly veiled history of Ireland, the Slave Trade and dance.

I think that anyone that enjoys dance would enjoy this show.

Strike - Slip
by Naomi Lizuka
directed by CHay Yew
Humana Festival of new American Plays

This work had three story lines entertwined about an adulterous gay man and his wife, a cop that sells cocaine for his retirement fund, and a Latin guy that finds some cocaine and uses the cop to sell his stach to start a new business.

The thrust of this work is 2 or 3 degrees of seperation between each character. Although some audience members left the Pamela Brown Auditorium after a gay male couple's passionate kiss, most stayed and enjoyed the drama and slice of life story in this work.

I especially liked the character of Rafael Guttierez as performed by Justin Huen. He is the poor soul who borrows a car, and the owner never returns ( is shot and killed), his wife wrecks the car ( no insurence..and still on loan), and when he is trying to figure out how to fix this car, noticed 18 kilos of cocain.

Also outstanding is Nelson Mashita as Lee Sung Cho, a small store owner that shoots and kills the guy that owned the car. He is the Father of the gal that wrecks the car and is married to Guttierez. His scenes in prison are moving, and provide a bit of pathos to this production.

This work runs throughout March, and is one of around 5 mainstage plays in this Humana Festival of new Amarican Plays. This is the 31st year of support from Humana.

Dark Play or Stories for Boys 
by Carlos Murrillo 
directed by Michael John Garces 

31st annual Humana Festival of New American Plays Actors theatre of Louisville, Ketucky 

This Well plotted 2 hour one act play featured a story line about how young people use the internet today. All the trappings of boys saying they are girls, and pranks being played on unsuspecting net users is incorporated into a "drama-dy", or comic drama with the outstanding WIll Rodgers as Adam, the gullible one. 

Will plays the part of a modern day hayseed in Southern California that puts "I want to fall in Love" on his interntet profile. A somewhat sexually repressed bisexual named Nick, played by Matthew Stadelmann decides to prank someone playing the gal of that persons dreams.

What transpires is that eventually Nick gets Adam to come over to his house saying that Adam will be able finally met that gal, his sister that he has been jerking of on webcam for. Adam does not realise that he has been masturbating on camera for Nick.

Well, Nick gets Adam drunk, and they have sex. We also see two blow jobs, and one really hot kiss between the guys.

The point of all this is "do I tell the truth or do I make shit up.

This is the question many face on the internet.

I really enjoyed this work, and as a big fan of Will Rogers from "Mary's Wedding".I enjoyed seeing him kiss, and seem to suck off the character of Nick. It was funny, hot and totally unexpected.

The story moved along at a good pace and I reccommend this work for our queer readers that have not been to a new play festival.

Info about Adam Joseph

Adam is a wonderful Jazz/Neo Soul singer, in his mid twenties that has a new video playing on the LOGO cable channel.

Coincidentally, Mr. Joseph grew up in Northern Kentucky. Inmy three or four messages from him, he can be seen on The Click List and New Now Next on LOGO; a gay tv channel owned by Viacom, and programmed by the MTV/SHowtime divisions.

My fave song of his is available on his myspace listing called Faggoty Attention. The video is also available for his Go WIth My Soul recording, on Myspace, if you don't have LOGO in your home.

You can also visit AdamJosephMusic.com. Adam is a really cute gay white guy, that writes music with a black mans sensibilty. he does not sound black, but rather, a white guy that sings jazz and sould, kinda like a harry Connick Junior crossed with Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne with the sensuality of Miss Peggy Lee.

He is easy to say hey to at myspace.com/AdamJosephMusic

I encourage you to give his music a listen. iIwill say more about Mr. Joseph when I am able to get a copy of his album: What I seem to Be.

A DVD Movie:
Angora Ranch
Thomas Romano, Kyle Evans

The Characters of Justin and Jack meet by chance, through the intervention of an Angora Bunny named Benny. Yep, Rabbit intervention. This is one of the sweetest gay movies I have yet seen, and it is from that lovely company, Water Bearer Films of Virginia. They release new and old materials, and so much is good that one just has to look the other way when a release is a clunker.

However, this DVD is really delightful. I don' repeat story lines, so you WILL enjoy this one: take my at my word on this one.

You will really enjoy the characters of the fathers, played byPaul Bright and Tim Jones, who are also the writers, producers and the director of this sweet piece.

Contact sales@WaterBearerFilms.com

The Muhammad Ali Center

Mom and I visited this very interesting tribute to Ali and his civic projects. There is WAY too much to see and read and watch and experience here. As an athiest, this is a wonderful physical tribute to one member of the religion of Islam. Ali is many things to many people, and the Center represents this. The Boxer, the man, the civic organiser.

I highly reccomment if you visit Louisville, or if you live here, DO visit our Ali Center. Call (502) 584-9254

Actors theatre

The Chosen
Chaim Potok, adapted by aaron Posner & Chaim Potok

This most jewish of plays was very interesting in the way that is showed differences within the jewish religion, from ultra conservative to just average conservative.

I will reveal story highlights: Danny Saundersand Reuven Malter play baseball, and become friends when one is injured during a game. Their friendship is unusual becasue Saunders ( Peter Stadlen), is a very conservative Jew, whose father is a Rabbi. Reuven ( Adam Green), is a student and his father is a columnist in a Jewish paper.

The friendship gets sticky when Reuven meets the Rabbi, but passes inspection. The young characters are really well played and the surprise ending shows how friendship can take strange turns.

This was a very well done piece, and very education to this WASP ish aethiest.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
A touring production form the
PNC Bank Broadway in Louisville


Watch the non musical movie.

....Blech on this musical movie "adaptation"

Steve Martin and Michael Cain were the best. The music is not needed.

Actors Theatre,

A Xmas Tuna

By Jaston Williams and Joe Sears

While I love the work of the original authors and actors, Mssrs. WIlliams and Sear, this years cast had some very good work and some very good recoveris from mistakes and ad libs.

Bill McKinley and Sheffield Chastain were not only wonderful in this two person show with 22 characters, they were kind enough to meet and great each and evry audience member afterward, and to take up donations for Equity Cares..an AIDS funding organizations.

The show was good, better than most Actors theatre versions of this work. The socail abilities of these two actors really made for a nice evening.

West Side Story!
by Music Theatre Louisville!

Book and music by: Laurents, Bernstein and Sondheim!

Through June 25 2006 at Iriquois Amphetheatre Louisville, Kentucky!

Ladies and Gentlepersons, this is one of the best shows I have seen at Iriquios Amphetheatre. This productiuon of West Side Story has all the elements of great singing, dancing, sets and a wonderful orchestra.!

The sound amplification was fabulous. Even the Vioilins sounded great.!

Director, Mark Martino should be very proud indeed of this tight cast of young and mature performers. I was so very taken with the voice of Patrick Lane as Tony. Oh my, heart palpatations over the voice of this young man! His technique is superb. Kudos to his teachers and to the musical director, Craig Swatt.!

Lane's vocal interpretaion has nuance, style and not any part of over acting. Quite an accomplishment!!

This is another version of Romeo and Juliette, in this case, Tony and Maria. Beth Obregons' Maria was beautifully sung, and the Anita of Andrea Scheu was very intensely well acted and sung.!

Bernardo was performed by Tyler Bliss, and this caucasian young man pulled off a very believeable Puerto Rican national living in New York City.!

The ensemble cast of dancers and singers along with the very tight orchestra made for a memorable evening at the lovely Iriquois Amphetheatre. I suggest that this is the Louisville, Kentucky version of Wolf Trap Farm Park!!

I highly recommend this wonderful production. Kudos to The Music Theate Louisville staff for this excellent production

I also saw an amateur production of My Fair Lady at a Louisville Jewish Community Center.

A friend I did shows with years ago played Henry Higgins: Peter Holloway. A friend did lights: Tony Vincent. I am a big fan of Zachary Boone, a singer dancer, who I first saw in a High School production of Showboat.

Zhanna Goldentul had the best costume designs for an amateur production this side of Cecil Beaton, who designes the Broadway and Movie versions of this Chestnut.

Our ELiza Doolittle had a lovely voice, Colette delany-Barney.

Peter Holloway had a very believeable henry higgins, which is all the more amusing becaue he is really a very nice and affable guy, as compared to the stuffy and boorish Higgins. Very well done.

I couldn't take my eyes off of my friend Zach Boone, as he has great stage presence and his business is always appropriate and never stupid.

I was able to watch all this becasue my friend Tony vincent turned the lights on and off on cue. What more can you ask for in an amateur production.

The wireless microhones worked very well, and the pit band playe dwell,and the crowd was enthusiastic.

Natural Selection

by Eric Coble
directed by ATL Producing Director, Marc Masterson.

The second act of this piece does not work...at....all.


The first act is entertaining and about a future time museum/amusement park that captures REAL NATIVE people, and puts them on display. Well, there has been some future mega problem...whether war, or a bomb or global warming...who knows...

Ther eis a reason for this kind of amusement park, but we are not quite sure why...

This show has some humor over the taking of a native man, Javi Mulero...who turns out to be mostly latin, not Native American. I think this contrived show works on some levels in the first act becasue the character s are fresh, and live on the shoulders of Henry Carson, played by the very funny Jay Russell....

he does a very good job, but the second act is just a throwaway about a hurricane in Florida and some cataclysmic weather problem....

Fun, entertaining but not successful n the second act.

The Scene

by Theresa Rebeck
directed by Rebecca Bayla Taichman

Outstanding in this work is Anna Camp as Clea, an airhead person suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder...She is happy, and yet oblivious. She is quite funny in the way she understands nothing, reads into every nuance the wrong interpretatiosn..and yet comes off as a hyper sexual and using BPD sufferer.

She uses Charlie and breaks him up with his wife Stella, not knowing that Stella is the sole support of the alcoholic Charlie.

This is really quite funny, even though Clea can be quite scarry as well as funny in this piece.

I have known people like Clea... 

Hotel Cassiopeia
by Charles L. Mee
and directed by Anne Bogart
Created and Performed by the SITI Company

This work is about the rather hidden life of an artist, Joseph. he makes little shadow boxes and such ( we know of this but we never see them. Barney 0'Hanlon did a wonderfully schizophrenic study of a real person. Lots of silliness and seriousness transpire within this black box set...

Projections of Lauran Bacall and Bogart in a movie and lots of stage business involving unusual physical movement ( a directors trait of bogart), and one is left to enjoy the stage machinations as well as the witty and engaging script.

This is an odd piece, with unusual componets, but definately strangel entertaining.

In short, this artists makes a few visits to NYC, and lives with his controlling mother, takes care of his brother and never has a girlfriend due to maternal interfereance at home.

I am sure there are weird folks like this Joseph hiding in homes of the well to do all over the USA. No work, becasue of the family and yet artistry is possible from these strange familial settings.

Also, very well done. 

Act A Lady
By Jordan Harrison and directed by Anne Kauffman.

This funny two act was about a little known reality: men used to dress in drag for fundraisers in the USA from the 1920's - 1950's; in the midwest...and mostly happily married straight men appeared.

This work dissected the realities of drag, as camp and as parody. However, these men wanted to be pretty.

Outstanding in this work was Steven Boyer as Greta The Maid and Casper...he was a somwhat homosexual person that longed for another character, and is encouraged to move to a larger town.

The whole schtick in this piece is that the men and women exchange parts in the second act...and the real and fantasy characters all blend.

I enjoyed this for the comedy of manners as the men in dresses are far more interesting than the men dresed as men. it is as if the dressed free the men to be artisitc.

Very well done.

Actors Theatre 

This is the 10th anniversary of this production of Dracula, at Actors Theatre of Louisville. It has all the usual sounds, screams and effects...with much tweaking this season. Especialy interesting is this years Renfield. He is parts Underdog, part loonie. Renfield is very funny as played by Oliver Wadsworth. 

The Dracula, this year is an Eastern European actor named Misha Kuznetsov, who has a real accent. he has performed on Law And Order. Misha has a style that is right in the middle....not too comic...not too evil. 

"The Blod is de Life", and "I never drink....Vine" are heard in this fashionably scarrier version of the Deane and Balderston stage version made famous by the theater tours of the late Bela Lugosi.who had a real accent too. 

Excellent production, effects. Not for people under age 10, I would say. 

Twelfth Night 

Actors Theatre 

This modern staging of this Shakespeare chestnut is adorable. Modern dress, modern speech, and a modern 4 piece rock band made up of cast members. 

The story of sexual and other confusions is well known, but done with a multi racial cast, several comedians and a wink to the audience, this work was quite a taste treat. This was an ensemble cast. Outstanding as Sir Toby Belch was David Marks. At one point he transforms from a mousy upper crust boor into a yellow leotarde wearing loonie. Fabulous! 

Also outstanding as a stuffed shirt and upper crust snoot was Ian Merril Peakes as Orsino. he would go from cocky self assurance to crying in an instant. He reminds me of a former Louisville Executive who I will NOT name. 

A lovely romp through silliness at Actors Theatre. 

Too Much Light Makes the Baby go Blind 

The Neo- Futurists performing at Actors Theatre in the Victor Jory Theatre. 

This Chicago institution for many years has been wowing them with an hour of two minute plays, chosen by the audience by shouting out numbers oinned to a large clothes line across the stage. 

Many topics are chosen that are at once serious, comedic and silly. 

Several people performed on this night, and they did around 20 short pieces, some quite good, others just filler. They add short works each night, and have several book compiliations. 

I would see them in Chicago based on the Louisville event.

Quite good, and quite an unusual premise. 

The Three Musketeers

The Louisville Ballet

This large work was both beautiful and moving, in its own way. The ballet style sword dancing/fighting was very well done, as was the dancing of Joseph Nygren Cox as The Duke of Buckingham.

Nicholas Carter was fun as Cardinal Richlieu, in a comedic turn, Robert Dunbar as Athos was stunning, and funny. Mariano Albano has matured into quite a performer...as Porthos. Rounding out the Musketeers was Milan Valko as Aramis.

This full piece story ballet is a balance with the upcoming new work of our friend, Adam Hoaghland.

The sets and costumes were lovely. The Louisville Orchestra, under the direction of Jeff Holland Cook was quite well done. 

Lance Burton
The Louisville Magic Club

Louisville native, and Las Vegas magician, Lance Burton played emcee for a magic show...to a full house at the Iriquois Amphetheatre. A variety of acts performed, some good some...well, not so good, but Burton shined as emcee and he did really well with kids in the audience. He also performed his famous levitating board illusion. Quite a spectacle.

Lance Burton is a great performer, and it was nice of him to do a benefit for The Louisville Magic Club.

Beauty & The Beast (The Disney Version) 

By Alan Menken and Howard Ashman 
also Tim Rice and Linda Wolverton 
This first Summer outing by Music Theatre Louisville, for the 2005 season was well clothed, set and lit and amplified. The music was well played and sung and the credit goes to Director, Mirla Criste, Scenic designer, Lee Buckholz of ABC Productions, and Costume Designer, Guy Tedesco. 
Outstanding in this live action version of the computer aided cartoon from a number of years ago was: as The Narrator and as Maurice, Matt Orme, whom I worked with in a show once. Also outstanding was; as The Beast, Ross Lekites, as Belle, Marissa Ghavami, as Gaston, Gordon L. Crawford, as Babette, Andrea Scheu, and as Mrs. Potts, Tracy Zavadil. 
In addition to the leads mentioned were a huge chorus of young adults and children that filled out the many scenes of singing utensils and the mechanicals that moved the set pieces. 
Worth noting was the obvious support of The Louisville Theartrical Association, and folks involved with PNC Bank Broadway in Louisville...in a nice printed programme, ....volunteers for the box office and traffic control/parking and...... in the PR and Marketing of this production through the office staff of Broadway In Louisville; which is a nice bit of synergy since Iriquois Park was the begginings of the modern Louisville Broadway Series, This goes back to when the WPA built the original Amphetheatre in the 1930's. The current facility, with a roof and modern backsatge areas were completed a couple years ago. 
The musical backing of this show was good and as conducted by Craig Swatt, was well done, and amplified well. The many wireless microphones performed well also. Lighting worked well, even long before sunset, due to the large roof and stage draping.
A lot of children attended, but i think a lot of adults would enjoy this show. There are some nice special effects throughout this piece that worked surprisingly well, considering how exposed the stage contraptions are in this production. 
The large chorus wore intricate costumes, and it is almost impossible to highlight whom the performers are, as the headshots in the programme bear little resemblance to the characters on stage, while in costume and makeup. The large group worked well together. The choral elements were obviously well rehearsed. 
If you can, get a hance to catch this show by the 26th of June, 2005. 
the rest of the MTL Summer Season will include; Seussical, the Musical...July 6th - 10th, and finally, J. C. Superstar August 5th - 14th. 
You may also want to cath the PNC Bank Broadway In Louisville production of, Little Shop Of Horrors, July 26th -31st. One can call the Whitney Hall Box office for "Horrors" tickets at: (502) 584-7777. 

Louisville Appeareance of: 
Stars of The Moscow State Circus

Reviewed Friday, June 10th, Louisville International Convention Center.

What a wonder ful achievement this modern day Russian Circus was to watch in person. This is a major production, in the round, with no animals. Even the most famous name in circus. The Wallendas, were involved. Rietta and Lyric Wallenda performed the Aerial Perch. This is where the daughter and granddaughter of Karl Wallenda perform without a net, and one lady hangs suspended by her head, and the other lady spins her while holding on to a leather teather. This is quite spectacular, and happend 150 feet above the floor. Whew. I saw this performed by the Wallendas in the 1960's in the Ringling Bros Circus. 
A wonderful comedy magician couple appeared,The Koremas, where the woman makes amazing quick changes from gown to gown, in the blink of an eye, with only a minimal covering of glitter, or a dressing cabinet , or through a quick toss of a hoop. It was hilarious, and quite efective as she changed through dresses of all colors of the rainbow...each more spectacular than the last. I have never seen such a quick change magicians act. 
Simon Aristoff performed in the first act, balancing on a table with various objects under him, as he never fell, or slipped while precariously perched upon many round and metalic objects. 
In the Second Act he twirled huge metalic mathematical shaoed objects...with the aid of a strobe light to a quite fantastic effect. he was really easy on the eyes too. 
Also outstanding were The Moldavian Troupe, who did the tettrboard routine where a couple guys jump on one end of a teeter board, in turn sending another guy way up on top of several other guys. Quite fun and dangerous looking. This same troupe performed a comedy routine that defies description that inluded acrobatics and ...DRAG! 
Oh, My. 
The Amazig Arcadie Andronache was a gentleman that juggled while balancing on...a....ladder.. Good heavens. Quite spectacular. 
More, more. 
Eliana was a 14 year old contortionist who had a quite artistic way of performeing her bodily manneuvers. Goodness gracious. OUCH! 
Rah, Rah, Rah!! 
The Golden Girls of Belarus performed gymnastics and also were twirled around a bit on long ropes. Their costumes were really great too. 

Encore, Encore! 

We really enjoyed this two hour show. Sometimes this Circus does up to three performances per day, from 1pm - 10 or 11pm. 
I was really impressed by the professionalism of the cast, and the honet and straightforward presentation of the various performing groups. 
Visit www.moscowcircusstars.com for their tour info. Generally speaking, adults are 23.
And three children under 12 are free with each paid adult ticket. The free tickets are often available all over the place, wherever they perform. 
They went from louisville, to Cincinnatti, to INdianapolis. They play all over the country. Don't miss this Circus!!! 
Highly recommended.!!! 

2005 End of Theatre Season Roundup By Davy Dear readers, As we prepare to wind down until the Fall of 2005, I wanted to share with you some entertainment that I found particularly enjoyable this Spring. In Louisville, Kentucky we have a variety of pro and amateur theatre companies. One good amateur company is Pandora Productions. Their Spring production of Gross Indecency; The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, by Moises Kaufman was very good, albeit some sections dragged on...but that was the authors difficulty, finding ways to be concise when Oscar Wilde tended to be verbose in life as well as on the page. Kaufman did a good job of anotating the quotations in his work...to help create a feeling of reality. It apears quite silly today to be convicted of having consentual sex with cute young men, but this happened to WIlde, even though he had many opportunities to run off to france, like hundreds of his fellow men who loved sex with men, albeit as public heterosexuals. Michael Drury was appropriately arch as WIlde, and the tight ensemble cast rose to the occassion throughout this nearly three hour performance, including and intermission. The last scene was unnecessary and dragged forever. certain other areas of the script were unnecessarily burdened by too much detail, when brevity would have been fine, and my ass cheeks would have suffered from less blood deprivation. The problem with this work is it attempts to be a period piece, but it is constantly marred with The Present. there is even a mock interview with a "professor" who tries to verbally masturbate about how to treat Wilde on his own terms, rather than by modern standards. Poppycock. This was a good production of a critically flawed work of entertainment masquerading as "history". The PNC Bank Broadway in Louisville touring production of Oklahoma! was very good in the chorus and supporting roles. The best performers in this production were Pat Sibley as Aunt Eller, Andrew Libron as Jud Fry and Gordon Gray as Andrew Carnes. Outstanding as Ali Hakim was Sorab Wadia, played as a Persian. In most productions this character is represented as a fake Persian peddlerman. Jeremiah James voice as Curly was oddly devoid of character. he hit all the notes, in a sleep waling tone. Larey, as sung by Julie Burdick was good, but not outstanding. It was fucking strange having Laurey clothed in coveralls for most of the show. There is nothing on the work to insist that laurey is in any way a Tom Boy. Peculiar. I didn't realise Laurey was a butch lesbian. The side characters had real facial hair, were actually obese and one could sense these employed actors really immersed themselves in the roles. What was crappy: The surrey with the fringe on top was an electric car. There was a stupid toy train running on the apron of the stage...for no aparent reason. The sound was gawd awful. At least the worst, most tin sounding amplification I have ever heard in a professional production. I mean at least since 1975. The Louisville Balletproduction of bruce Simpson's Swan Lake was a lovely tip of the hat to the Russian masters. Bettina Sarmiento's Odette/Odielle were danced most enthusiastically and her physical abilities and endurence on the big stage were quite phenominal. I especially enjoyed Mariano Albano's jester...so masculine, so empowered of musculature and control. One always felt as if he had so much power in reserve that he could have lept off the stage and kept flying. TheVon Rothbart was danced by Joseph Nygrn Cox, a fine example of old style classical partnering. Whenever Cox takes the stage he is elegant, not sweating and amazes me each time I see him This final production of the season allowed for the un p.cp ending to be "happy". I prefer when the bird dies and that is that, but here the bird stays a real woman and all is well, tra la... The best fucking show at The Actors Theatre festival of new American Plays, Sponsored again by Humana, was Pure Confidence. We had unpaid black jockeys until after the civil war. When one had to pay the "darkeys" , one found whites instead. This very moving piece featured Gavin Lawrence as Simon Cato, a black slave who buys his fredom, mostly...and is injued just as slaves were "emancipated". the great jockey had somewhat of a relationship with his owners that bordered on respect, but the racial ivide certainly was never breached. This show seems to humanise the evil slave owners, but even the actors have to hold back n that premise and let the empty words of respect and love for slaves to role off their salty lips. The jockey goes back to work for his Colonel Johnson, as played by the slippery William McNulty...sporting a fine toupee in this period piece. Outstanding was Jane Welch as the Colonels long suffering wife, Mattie. One made an attempt to hope that some of the sentiment offered in this fictional slave world may have been somewhat real, but I really doubt that slaves held any respect for their masters, even if some masters had a modicum of respect for the people that worked for them for free. I had a lovely discussion with a black actor who is descended from slaves about various racial topics, and the fact that my anscestors owned slaves. True Love, a DVD compliation of several short films by Michael Saul. These gay flicks are indeed short, sweet, and colored by a variety of emotions from a long term relationship, to a potential underage rape, to love at first sight. Waterbearer films has a whole bucnch of these kinds of disks available now. This compilation was lovely, well edited and cast and I especially liked the last piece, a silent wonder called A Little Drama. I hope you have a great Summer and we wil see you agin in the Fall of 2005. Hugs, Davy

Louisville Ballet reviewed March 4, 2005 Kentucky Center This three piece evening of ballet featured the world premiere of Devolve by Adam Hougland. Music was by Bach, Heath and Cage. This modern piece began en pointe and "devolved" to loving male female partners hugging and moving about on the floor. In between these extremes, most of the company of 8 men and 8 women showed extremes of physical emotionality....a specialty of Hoagland's style. Hoagland has a style that is developing his own variety of genre; emotions and peeling away layers to get to his version of reality with multiple dance abilities. Hoagland is someone to watch for in the world of dance in the next decade. Variations Serieuses By Choo-San Goh Music by Mendelssohn. This was performed to solo piano (Brenda Kee), with 12 dancers in a variety of formations. This is a tight and lights piece in a black curtain stage setting. This was a lovely curtain opener as the bun on the sandwich of the Hoagland meat of this evening. Choo-San Goh is a modern style choreographer that is big on formation and couplings. Company B Songs from 1940's recording by The Andrews Sisters. By Paul Taylor This was a fun and moving pastiche of 1940's songs. Outstanding was Robert Dunbar dancing "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company "B" . Most of this curtain closer involved Taylors choreography of male female couplings. However, I detected a very slight homoerotic coupling of two males in the background shadows. The war years is suggested by an occasional stance in the background as if holding a gun,,,, This was moving, yet dignified and it was fun to see women dance in skirts.

A Nervous Smile reviewed 3-5-05 Actors Theatre of Louisville, Kentucky Humana festival of New American Plays. About 200 people saw the opening of this moving and hard to review play. This one act is about the struggle of caregivers to take care of extremely disabled children. If I give you the story secrets, it would kill the play for you. So. let me be coy about the specifics to preotect it for those of you that see the show through April 2, 2005. Brian and Eileen live on the tony west side of NYC and care for their disabled child. Sean Haberle as Brian and Maureen Mueller as Eileen are a perfect dysfunctional couple. Brians' mistress, Nic, is very earnest as performed by Mhari Sandoval. Nic also has a disabled child. Brian has a caregiver names Blanka, a Russian Jew, played by Dale Soules. The problem is that all of the parents decide to do something to take the burden of caregiving out of their lives. I won't reveal what this complicated thing is, but in the end we are left to ponder our view of the humanity of the chronically disabled and their relationship to modern technolgy that may aid in their education and in their communication with us. This was a ninety minute one act that was well performed, moving and outstanding was Dale Soules as the caregiver who understands the humanity of her charge. I encourage you to visit www.ActorsTheatre.org to find out more about the 2005 Humana Festival of New American Plays.

The Gin game has returned to Actors Theatre, where it premiered in 1977. Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn were in the audience along with Mike Nichols, and they went on to win the Tony award for The Gin Game. Now, I hate cards. I despise cards and card players. The mentality, the sport and the enthusiasm make me bristle. I hate cards. but, I love this show. This production featured Elizabeth Shepherd and Bingo O'Malleyas the Ggin players at a nursing home, who find an outlet for their sunset years energy in gin. My fave is the first act with its unending winning streak by the female in this blood sport called gin. You will have to buy a ticket to see what happens in this moving show, with a fully realised nursing home, from the outside.....I really suggest you see this one. It has become a timeless gem, up there with The Glass Menagerie as a paradigm of American Theatre. For more information, visit our friends at Actors Theatre of Louisville at ActorsTheatre.org 

  • The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told by Paul Rudnick (wrote Jeffrey) 

    Pandora Productions
    University of Louisville Thrust Stage

    Straight Play, reviewed 1-1-05

    The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told is a funny and irreverent look at the issues of religion and non religion.

    Pandora Productions desires to produce theater of interest to the queer community of Louisville, Kentucky. This was an excellent production that was scheduled from December 30, 2004 through January 8, 2005.

    Director Michael J. Drury paced his production very well. Even a brief bit of fake audience participation was not disruptive and managed to continue the flow. The full male nudity of Adam and Steve seemed to be really appreciated by the teenage gay members of the audience.

    I really enjoyed Rudnick's ability to make fun of religionists and atheists alike, and yet not truly be offensive, just gentle poking.

    Outstanding in this cast was the ensemble element. Everyone had their moment to shine in this production. It is hard for me to determine from the programme, just who played what supporting roles, due to role names like Actor 1 and Actress 2. 

    Each member beyond Adam and Steve and Jane and Mabell played multiple parts.

    I especially liked one performer who played the boi-toi of an Egyptian ruler, and also a stripping Xmas Elf. This flaming and afectionate elf ( whether Actor 1 or Actor 2?), is welcome under my....... Xmas tree anytime.

    Here is the wonderful cast list:

    Stage Manager ( a performer, not a real stage manager): Erin crites

    Adam, Tom Trudgeon
    Steve, Tim Kitchen

    Jane, Jennifer Poliskie
    Mabel, Sara Vize

    Actor 1, Jason Cooper
    Actress1, Carol Williams

    Actor 2, JC Nixon
    Actress 2, Julie Zielinski

    Again, I have no idea which ensemble member played whom, but there was one hillarious Morman lady, a delighfully daffy wheelchair bound televangelist lesbian, and many various funny bits.

    I wish I could tell you who did what, but I believe the producers didn't want to list all the parts so as to keep everything in the play a surprise.

    Michael Drury, how will I ever get a date with a nice actor, if I can't give his name in print?

    Well, Mr. Elf, my phone number is (502) 930-4662 and I want to get some coffee with you.

    Adam and Steve and Jane and Mabel had some great schtick, that you will have to buy a ticket to see.

    I wish that the programme had a phone number that I could give you, but there also wasn't any subscription info in the programme.

    I wish there had been a listing of upcoming productions and their dates in the programme.

    When I can get this info, I'll put it up on here. One of my clients is on the board of Pandora, and I have the directors' e-mail addy too.

    The Thrust theatre is located on Warnock and Floyd, on the U of L campus. 

    I will steal the info I found in The Louisville Eccentric Observor about times and a phone number, which I think belongs to Michael Drury, the director.

    From "LEO": 
    Phone: (812) 288-7686

    2134 Floyd Street

    Dates; January 2, 3, 7, 8th at 8 pm. tickets; $13. and $15.

    In any case, a fun satire with moving moments, well acted by a strong ensemble cast.

  • Kinsey 

    Movie review 
    reviewed 1-1-05 

    As a fan of Alfred Kinsey, and Bloomington, Indiana and of The Kinsey Institute that interviewed me about my own sexual history, I watched with great interest as Bill Condon (Gods and Monsters), brought us a difinitive film about my fave person, Alfred "Prok", Kinsey. 

    The very first serious book I read as a child was Kinsey's sex book about males. I was 12 and enjoyed it totally. 

    The movie version featured Liam Neeson (Schindler's List) as Kinsey. He grows from an unknowing sexual rube to an Indiana University Professor, under the protective watch of Chancellor Herman Wells, whom I met several times as an undergrad student, to an investigator of the Gall Wasp, to teaching a marriage course to starting The Kinsey Institute for sexual research. 

    Neeson's Kinsey is repressed but not puritanical. His wife is played by Laura Linney (Tales of the City). Her character is understanding but human, when it comes to the movie versions of "Prok" Kinsey and his workaholic ways. 

    I highly reccommend that you see this movie, as history is repeating itself with conservative pressures again against sexual education; this now becomes the modern scouge as it was in the 1940's. 

    This drama is not without comedy, and touching moments as well. 

    Absolutely terrific.

  • Travels With My Aunt
    by Graham Greene 

    The Brandywine Ensemble 
    The Bach Hause 
    to benefit The Bach Society 

    My friend Roger Fristoe was fabulous in his production of Travels WIth my Aunt as Henry, a wilting violet of an Englishman in retirement from a banking job, until Aunt Augusta, played to great effect by Mary Anne Rickert, involves him in her travails and travesties. 

    This is a serio comic work, with the kindly befuddled Henry growing to become a major figure in the new life of Aunt Augusta and her Mr. Visconti (Marvin Perryman), an escaped Nazi colaborator living in South America. 

    Over the course of a two hours with no intermission, Henry grows from the oblivious retired and retiring personality of a former bank brach manager to the head of a growing business concern in South America. The changes are subtle, but sufficient and believeable in the context. 

    We learn many interesting things about Henry and his Auntie, and as a former stage manager of a magic show and a drag show, I won't reveal any of the secrets...but I hope you get to see one of the fundraising performances of this troup. Cheers Roger! 

    Very Well Done, and an excellent venue, at the Bachhaus on Melvin Dickinson's property. 

  • Chicago
    PNC Bank Broadway in Louisville 
    Kander/Ebb Fosse 

    This Chicago was a multi faceted attack on the senses with great vocalists, a large live stage band, special effects, the handsome Gregory Harrison and choreography by Ann Reinking in the style of Bob Fosse. 

    Thanks to the movie version with Queen Latifah and Richard Gere, the story needs no explaining. Outstanding in this cast was Carol Woods as Mama Morton. Bianca Morroquin was sufficiently ditsy as Roxie Hart and Brenda Braxton was really good as Velma Kelly. 

    Gregory Harrison has a sweet voice and good stage prescence and has a way with comedy. His Billy Flynn is sufficiently cardboard for comedic effect. 

    Fabulous as Amos Hart, the Mr. Cellophane, was Ray Bokhour. Really special. 

    In a drag role, Mary Sunshine, R. Bean was a riot, both physically and vocally, in falsetto! 

    A great production of a modern classic of American Musical Theater. 

  • Burlesque Show Live 2004 

  • theAIDSproject, Vox Vodka 
    HIV/AIDS Benefit at Jillians' on Baxter Avenue, Louisville Kentucky 

    This was a well rehearsed event featuring choreography by Joshua Clauser. I'll describe what I saw, and there are great performance fotos by Stephen A. Lutz at http://StevenLutzPhoto.SmugMug.com/Gallery/302168 and rehearsal fotos at the same web addy but exchange the number at the end with 1254025. 

    A LARGE CROWD attended, YAY! This event was in the basement of Jillians and before and after the show, the deejays were Triad, composed of DJ-Shahn, Reverend Spook, and DJ Sorrow-Vomit. The sound system at Jillians was really bad, no fault of the deejays. The show went on visually with out a hitch. 

    First on the bill was some choroegraphed lip synching and a strip tease by Erin Jewell and Greg Schneider. Then, my friend Toxic Eternal performed as Jessica Rabbit in Why Don't you Do Right? 

    Outstanding was Kate Morgan and Camille Cothron doing the Pink Panther and then, with a Goth twist, my friend Invidia did a pantomime to Every Day is Halloween. 

    A most interesting addition was Belly Dancing by Ruric Amari, fun, beautiful and the audience really ate up her several performances this evening. 

    Vox Vodka provided two free drinks to everyone who desired to imbibe, and my friend, Tatoo Artist Matt Porter donated some gift certificates for his parlour known as Streamline Tattoo. www.StreamlineTatoo.com currently located at 1228 Highland Avenue, (502) 561-8638. 

    Some other fun numbers included my friend Toxic and her b.f. Spaceman doing Santa Baby, my friend and very Goth mistress of the night, Invidia performed to I Touch Myself. 

    The evening was brought to an end with Erotica, with most of the cast and the choreographer, Joshua Clauser. Josh teaches dance and can be reached for lessons at (502) 649-7437. 

    Ruric Amari teaches Belly Dancing through Ruric-Amari@att.net. 

    Toxic, aka Kimberly arranges for Ladies Night, Bachelorette parties through For Your Pleasure at (502) 291-5017 

    This evening was composed of three acts, documented well on the aforementioned foto site by Stephen A. Lutz 

    My friend, a geat goth guy, Kent Cothron was involved in promoting this well done AIDS benefit. So, a salute is in order to the very beautiful Kent, a Goth guy who appears to be very petite, but, in MY mind he is about seven feet tall, for his community involvement, professionalism and just being a great friend.