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REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
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Companies Reviewed#
Atlanta Lyric Theatre1
Button Theatre1
Broadway Across America1
Average Rating Given : 3.83333
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REVIEWS

Beauty and the Beast, by
Beauty on a Budget
Monday, December 15, 2008
2.5
"Beauty on a Budget"
Performance attended: Dec 13

There’s something to be said for opening in a brand new location with such a huge production…the word is ambitious. I commend the Atlanta Lyric Theatre for taking such a risk on a show that typically calls for a much larger venue, but the production still ended up suffering.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast has been a favorite film of my children and family for quite some time. The stage adaptation, with recent incarnates by the Theater of the Stars clan, has been brought to the Atlanta area with a bang in the past.

The Lyric’s production, though still charming at times, suffers in its confined space and with what at times seems like strange casting and directing choices.

As the Beast, Matthew Kacergis possesses a beautiful baritone voice. What he lacks in size (think Mini-Beast), he makes up in vocal dynamics. You do wish he was costumed to appear larger. More padding to his body would have made a large difference.

As our beauty, heroine Stephanie Dorfman makes a stunning Belle both physically and vocally. Her rendition of one of the “screen-to-stage” additions, “Home”, was simplistically beautiful.

Bradley Bergeron falls short of ever making the character of Gaston more than one dimensional. Though he had both the height and biceps (he flexes them to the point of distraction), he lacked the acting dynamics and comic chops to pull off the part. Some of the music sounded too low for him as well.

As for the Beast’s servants turned objects, Jeff McKerley’s Lumiere seems more like a standup comic routine than a tortured soul trapped within wax. His strange accent was a toss between southern, Minnesotan, and Mexican instead of that of a Frenchman.

Mrs. Potts (Mary Welch Rogers) continuously directed her lines directly to the audience, breaking the 4th wall. Whether this was a personal or directing choice, I don’t know. It became distracting and created a very amateur feel to the show.

Robert Wayne shines as Cogsworth with great comic timing and instincts.

The true “beast” of this show lies within the technical aspects. Mics seemed to distort from time to time, and with such little room, the cast members barely had space to move.

The set pieces looked like those that you would find in a community production. It makes you wish they had settled on a more minimalist approach with JUST drops, focusing on the story. Instead, you watch clunky, poorly painted pieces cram on and off stage, visible stage hands in the wings and long blackouts.

The saving grace of this production lies within a talented ensemble, a fantastic orchestra and the hope of new beginnings at the Strand Theatre.

Wicked, by Stephen Schwartz & Winnie Holzman
Wickedly Good
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
4.0
So, the Broadway smash WICKED has made it's appearance at the Fox Theatre, creating huge traffic jams of people scramming to catch a glimpse of the POPULAR musical. (Pun intended.)

AND, for the most part, the current Broadway tour lives up to the glorious spectacle on Broadway today.

With gutsy delivery and great comic timing, Carmen Cusack makes green look good. As Elphaba, Cusack sports a strong voice and great acting chops for what at times can seem like a very simplistic script.

With a gloriously beautiful voice, DeeDee Magno Hall (a once Kim in the Broadway hit "Miss Saigon"), sings like an angelic "witch-to-be." Her Nessarose is one of pain and confusion, and she does an brilliant job as the "normal" sister.

In contrast, Cliffton Hall's Fiyero never seems to ring true. His cartoon like characterization distracts in scenes where realism is key. Fiyero is, of course, carefree and "thoughtless"...however, when fighting for Elphaba's life, Hall makes a joke out of his scenes.

Now the star of the show. Katie Rose Clarke. An AMAZING combination of each great actress to play the role, yet with her own special twist, Clarke makes a wickedly wonderful Glinda. Her voice is pitch perfect and her comic chops unbeatable. She is the show's greatest asset.

The only gripe I've ever had of the show in general is its, at times, lack of "spectacle." This, I know, sounds RIDICULOUS...this show is BUILT on spectacle. However, have you ever wondered why Boq transforms behinds a wall into the Tin-Man...or why the would-be-Lion cub seems to be a puppet from your local toy store? With such AMAZING effects and production quality, it seems these things would have more of a WOW factor.

Regardless, WICKED is a hit. It is a wonderful, simple adaptation to Gregory Maguire's novel. Stephen Schwartz's music is worth the price alone.

Catch it before it flies off on it's broomstick.


The Fantasticks, by Book and Lyrics by Tom Jones, Music by Harvey Schmidt
Try To Remember...
Monday, October 27, 2008
5.0
The world's longest running musical? Check.
A top-notch cast? Check.
A "fantastick" evening of theatre? Check.

With one of the most beloved musicals of all time, Button Theatre is destined to make it's mark on the Atlanta area theatre scene.

From it's superb direction by Mary Carolyn Conti, to it's energetic choreography by Emily Roland, The Fantasticks zips...and skips...along with pure simplistic beauty.

Tracy Moore as Luisa and Mike Morin as Matt make an unbelievably precious couple, singing and portraying two young lovers blinded by fantasy and in love with "love." They take you on a wonderful journey from dreams to reality, and tug at your heart along the way.

In a wonderful casting choice, theatre vet Jennifer Hendrickson takes the stage as the girl's mother, Bellamy. Typically a male role, Hendrickson plays the role with feisty flare opposite the wonderful Brian Jones as the boy's father, Hucklebee. Both have a bosom buddy chemistry that keeps you smiling and tapping your toes during their wonderful duets.

Atlanta theatre has a new leading man on its hands with Matthew McClure. From the moment he enters the show, he demands attention and draws you into every move. His gorgeous voice flows with ease, while his comic instincts keep you holding your sides with laughter. With handsome looks and a stage presence to match, he completely encompasses the role of El Gallo and brings more to the table than simply "narrating" the story. He is the heart of the show.

Rounding out the cast are the hilarious John Stephen King as Mortimer and Ray Greene as Henry. Both roles are played with subtlety and comedy any sitcom would envy.

With such a wonderful cast, this theatre deserves a full house each night. Go catch an amazing show, try to remember...and follow.

CLOSING SOON
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