Monday, January 30, 2017

Sing Out Louise Theatricals presented "Mack and Mabel"

Mack and Mabel (Michael Brunk)
David-Edward Hughes love musicals and has for many years. 17 years ago, among other theatrical activities, he helped found Showtunes! Theatre Company. Their presentations are a model of concert stagings, with minimal sets and costumes, actors using scripts, and maximal singing talent. The opportunity afforded was also to present musicals that may well never be chosen to be fully staged, but still have an opportunity to experience them.

Hughes has now created a new company in a very similar model: Sing Out Louise Theatricals and produced his inaugural production. With the help of Secondstory Repertory in Redmond, they created a wonderful experience.

He chose Mack and Mabel, a lesser known musical by Jerry Herman of Hello Dolly fame. In his materials for the show, he detailed his years long desire to direct this musical and how unique it is: written in a happy musical style that turns darker in the second act, telling a true story of film producer Mack Sennet and his making a star out of Mabel Normand.

Friday, January 27, 2017

The Award Goes To....the 2016 Gypsy Rose Lee Award Winners

Sarah Rose Davis and Eric Ankrim in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Mark Kitaoka)
The "large theater" productions of ACT Theatre's The Royale and The 5th Avenue Theatre's How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying take top honors, and the "small theater" productions of ArtsWest's Death of a Salesman and Washington Ensemble Theatre's The Things Are Against Us take top honors for most category wins!

Seattle Theater Writers, Seattle's only critics’ circle, presents the 6th ​a​nnual Gypsy Rose Lee Awards, theater awards devoted to recognizing excellence across the economic spectrum of professional Seattle theaters. Our aim in developing the awards is to entice the general public ​to consider seeing excellent theatrical events at myriad venues they may never have entered before.

The 2016 Gypsy Rose Lee Award ​Winner​s are (​bolded ​by category, in alpha order by name):

Excellence in Production of a Play:

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Math, Genius and Trust on stage at Strawshop

Charles Leggett and Anastasia Higham in Proof (John Ulman)
Strawberry Theatre Workshop
Through February 18, 2017

David Auburn’s play, Proof, first produced in 2000 and turned into a movie with Gwyneth Paltrow in 2005, is a layered onion-like family drama that delves into mental illness, genius, love and family relations. Its current production at Strawberry Theatre Workshop includes four strong actors and some evocative scene-change effects that ultimately allow you plenty to think about after an enjoyable visit getting to know Robert and his two daughters Catherine and Claire.

The word “proof” is a brilliant choice for a title because the play revolves around mathematical proofs (the formulas that higher math creates to prove a theory is actually real), and there is also a mystery that needs proving true, and also Catherine fears that she will prove to be mentally ill, herself.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The 2016 Gypsy Rose Lee Award Nominees Are!

The Royale (Dawn Schaefer)
Seattle Theater Writers, Seattle’s only critics circle, announces the Sixth Annual Nominations of the 2016 Gypsy Rose Lee Awards!

Spanning 28 theater companies and 59 productions, from the largest and most prominent to small, humble and innovative, the Gypsy Rose Lee Awards honor as much professional theater as we reviewers can cram into our year. 

Well known large companies such as Seattle Repertory Theatre with 6 nominations and ACT Theatre with 15 nominations and Seattle Shakespeare Company with 8 nominations contrast favorably with small companies such as Sound Theatre Company with 14 nominations, ArtsWest with 14 nominations and Theatre22 with 13 nominations. Musical theater companies The 5th Avenue Theatre and Village Theatre inevitably share 15 and 12 nominations apiece as the top musical providers in our area. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The curious play at Ghost Light Theatricals

Beth Pollack and Kevin Lin (Joe Iano)
The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
Ghost Light Theatricals
Through February 4, 2017

To a large extent, Madeleine George’s Pulitzer finalist play, The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence, seems to suggest that artificial intelligence could be somewhat seductive as a partner, but it’s not as fulfilling as messy real life. To get around to that conclusion, you might have to mull it over for a few days after you see the production at Ghost Light Theatricals.

Let’s start by saying that Ghost Light’s production is nicely directed by Steven Sterne, who brings out sensitive portrayals by the two playing sensitive characters, Beth Pollack and Kevin Lin, and an appropriately off-putting one by Brent Griffith. This is a well-balanced trio of actors.