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Blackwell Playhouse1
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Average Rating Given : 5.00000
Reviews in Last 6 months :
REVIEWS

Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf, by Edward Albee
Show replaced with Lady From Dubuque
Friday, September 16, 2011
-1.0
The production rights to Virginia Woolf became unavailable due to a touring revival. Epidemic is presenting Edward Albee's The Lady From Dubuque in its place.

Parade, by Jason Robert Brown and Alfred Uhry
Hard to believe
Monday, January 18, 2010
5.0
It's hard to believe that this was a community theater production. I was blown away by this show in every regard. Other reviewers have already mentioned some of the spectacular individual performances - Jason Meinhardt was wonderful throughout, even when he was merely sitting silent in his cell in the background. Michelle Peck brought just the right mix of strident power and delicate emotion to a difficulty role. Patrick Hill was both as funny as I've ever seen him and far more human. I can't think of an individual in the show who added a weak moment. And I'm usually pretty good at that.

Guess I should have started by explaining that I don't generally do reviews because I usually know folks in the cast and crew; it doesn't make me give glowing praise, I just figure they also know me and I tend to be a bit blunt. And I'm not a big fan of musicals in general; although Rob Hardie, who is a personal friend, previously committed the cardinal sin of making me actually enjoy CATS. Now with that out of the way, along with the obligatory notes on individual performances, let me tell you what I found to be truly impressive about this production:

It was the seamless, complete, imaginative and very real vision executed with a precision and joy that all too rarely co-exist. Leo's home, his office, the factory, the town square, the jail cell, the chain gang, the prison farm - all those locations and not a single scene change bigger than moving a desk a few feet or swinging out a barred door. And yet every location, just by lighting and who was standing where, was completely believable and appropriate. It almost made me cry. The dance numbers where amazing, particularly the courtroom number Come Up To My Office (sorry, I don't know the exact name of the song.) The expressions on the factory girls' faces as they became puppets of not Leo, but the image of Leo the prosecuter was presenting, were just one tiny touch on a masterpiece of work. The torch and pitchfork townsfolks disappearing up the aisle with their ad-libbed shouts fading into the distance as they left the theater was a sublime little detail. The combination of lights with alternate movement and freezing of the players created a space far more vast than could ever fit on that stage - it was truly bigger on the inside than on the outside. So yes, the music was wonderful, the comedy hit when it needed, the emotions were genuine, the performers all deserve kudos - but it was the attention to detail and the inticate way everything was fit together that made this show what it was. The musical director, coreographer, set designers and especially Brian Clements' lighting design are due an awed silence. But in the end, it was obvious that such a consistent production and crystaline vision had to be the work of a single man. Ok, it could have been a woman. But in this case it was a specific man, Mr. Rob Roy Hardie. Bravo.

CLOSING SOON
Ada and the Memory Engine
by Lauren Gunderson
Essential Theatre
Another Mother
by G.M. Lupo
Essential Theatre
The Robber Bridegroom
by Alfred Uhry (words) and Robert Waldman (music)
Act 3 Productions
The Summer of Our Discontent
by various
Onion Man Productions
Uprooting
by Betty Chaney
Academy Theatre
NOW PLAYING
Ada and the Memory Engine
by Lauren Gunderson
Essential Theatre
Another Mother
by G.M. Lupo
Essential Theatre
The Robber Bridegroom
by Alfred Uhry (words) and Robert Waldman (music)
Act 3 Productions
The Spy Who Murdered Me
by Kevin Gillese
Agathas: A Taste of Mystery
The Summer of Our Discontent
by various
Onion Man Productions
Uprooting
by Betty Chaney
Academy Theatre

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