Thursday, September 21, 2023

Huey Thrills (Again!) with Help of Fab Hometown Ensemble!


Cassi Q Kohl, Diana Huey, and Shaunyce Omar (Photo: Tracy Martin)

The Little Mermaid
The 5th Avenue Theatre
Through October 8, 2023
As good as any Broadway NYC show, our area is blessed with a wealth of gorgeous performers who get to shine now in The Little Mermaid! We then are double-blessed to have Diana Huey return “home” to let us hear her crisp, clean, soaring voice – every bit as good as the first time she starred as Ariel on the 5th Ave stage in 2016. Maybe even better!
Huey broke the mold in 2016 to star in a national tour as the first Asian American performer to star in the show. Rumors had it that there were some ugly adventures in some parts of the country where people somehow could not fathom how a mermaid could be Asian. It was also her biggest role, at that point, carrying a huge Broadway hit show on her shoulders. Now, seasoned by a move to NYC and dozens of performing opportunities, she is sure-finned and in perfect voice to do it again.

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Expansive September List Provides Great Entertainment Options

I’m working on expanding this list to include nearby cities and towns and hamlets that are near enough to get to easily. But that means the list for September is pretty massive. It’s exciting because it truly seems “back to normal,” and is wonderful to see. Get outcher calendars!

Deep Purple Wiggle, Theatre Battery, 9/1-10/23 (opened last week) (world premiere)
Milo Cramer writes about Bro and Sibling who are twins in their thirties who, up until now, have self-identified as dudes. When one comes out to the other as non-binary (without either of them fully knowing what it means), a queer Pandora's box is opened. A new comedy (with music) about contemporary masculinity. Theatre Battery practices Radical Hospitality: No-Cost Admission for All!
Matt & Ben, Artswest, 9/7/23-10/1/23
From the mind of multi-award-winning writer and actress Mindy Kaling,Matt & Bendepicts its Hollywood golden boys – before J-Lo, before Gwyneth, before Project Greenlight, before Oscar… before anyone actually gave a damn. When the screenplay for Good Will Hunting drops mysteriously from the heavens, the boys realize they’re being tested by a Higher Power.A hilarious satire on the real and imagined difficulties of pursuing a dream.
Autocorrect Thinks I'm Dead, Sound Theatre Company, 9/7-30/23 (at 12th Ave Arts) (world premiere)
Local playwright Aimee Chou writes about three deaf friends moving into an old house during the centennial anniversary of Alexander Graham Bell's 1922 death, unaware that things go bump in the night. But when a vintage teletypewriter phone (TTY) becomes a landline to the afterlife, the trio finds themselves in a madcap caper of portals - between the hearing and deaf, and living and dead. Meshing historic and technological realities with the theatrical absurd, this tale is both a homage and a home to horror fans of all generations.
Dream Hou$e, Washington Ensemble Theatre, 9/8-25/23
Set in a rapidly changing neighborhood, two sisters sign up for a reality tv show to sell their childhood home after the passing of the family matriarch. As Julia and Patricia perform for the camera, they confront their own desires, aspirations, and the sacrifices they are willing to make to achieve them. What is the cultural cost of progress in America? Is cashing in always selling out?

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Go See Bethany Seeing the Stars - Copious Love at WOL

Bethany Sees the Stars
Through September 9, 2023

What if you got a letter telling you to apply to go to Mars, and then you get a letter saying you've won a spot, but you will have to leave Earth forever?

That's what happens to 15-year-old Bethany (Jade Guillory-Kaub), who dreams of escaping from her life and heading to the stars. She tells her momentous news to her best friend, Fay (Lauren Megan McCarthy), and eventually to a nerdy loaner, Atlas (Lola Rei Fukushima) who joins them to become the Heroic Trinity.

But how are the teens supposed to cope with their friend leaving them? 

This is the premise of a sweet and thoughtful script, a world premiere by Emily Golden. It's fanciful (constellations come to life and speak to Bethany), and manages to tackle a number of real-life conundrums while helping us explore our own reactions about wanting to escape our own realities.

Well-directed by Kathryn Stewart, the tiniest of quibbles is that it could have a slightly faster pace, but she brings out a great level of emotions from the cast without overwhelming our own, allowing us to feel our own feelings. Set design by Jordan Gerow is spare and quick to change, keeping the pace up. Lighting by Adem Hayyu and sound by Alison Kozar bring the atmospheres needed to life.

The cast is cohesive and engaging. The young people are real and relatable. Daniel Christensen as the father brings a leavening presence that is also very relatable to those of us who are parents. Similarly, Olivia Lee is a warm and funny mother. Lee and McCarthy get to play the constellations Cassiopeia and Andromeda, and become very different characters, and show their range to good effect.

There's only one more weekend to see this moving play. It's well worth your time, if you're a teen or a parent or someone who also has looked to the stars to wonder or escape.