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Wednesday, June 6,2012

The show must go on?

Strong cast battles flimsy script in splashy 'Follies'

by Mary C. Cusack
Scaling down these humongous Stephen Sondheim musicals is like squeezing a Mini Cooper in the back of a Lincoln Navigator. Sure, it will fit, but it won't leave anyone much legroom. The production has a cast of 30 people, a grand staircase and big dance numbers, all of which overwhelm the performance space.
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Wednesday, April 4,2012

A musical with a kick

Love, liquor — and video games? — are blended in unusual 'Usual'

by Mary C. Cusack
The full title of the play is “The Usual: A Musical Love Story.” Williamston’s run of the show is the world premiere of the original work, with book and lyrics by Alan Gordon and music by Mark Sutton-Smith. If that last name sounds familiar, it is because he is the brother of “The Usual” cast member and Williamston Theatre Development Director Emily Sutton-Smith.
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Wednesday, March 21,2012

Even today, 'Cat' still has sharp claws

Adventurous director Deborah Keller heads up a crackling production

by Mary C. Cusack
Brick is a study in conflict, as he fights his wife, his father, and his own demons. He is deeply mired in guilt after the death of his best friend, and attempts to drown out the world by hiding in his bedroom, drowning his sorrows with liquor. Unfortunately, the room becomes Grand Central Station, where the tracks of all of the family train wrecks terminate.
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Wednesday, February 1,2012

'Fools' rush in at Stormfield

Romance is a laughing matter in 'vaudeville' show

by Mary C. Cusack
From the props to the physical farce, the show is a throwback to traditional vaudeville styles, spiced up with modern-day sexual politics.
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Wednesday, December 28,2011

Theater: 'Boys' bruised, while 'Blackbird' soared

by Mary C. Cusack
The City Pulse theater reviewers see upwards of 50 shows a year, which means that by the end of the year many of the productions are a blur. The standouts, the ones that eventually grab up fistfuls of Pulsar nominations and wins, are typically plays that have a lasting emotional impact.
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Wednesday, November 30,2011

Twenty1 is a lucky number for Griffin and McCallum

Filmmakers host a screening of their collaborations

by Mary C. Cusack
Filmmakers A.E. Griffin and Michael McCallum may be the hardest working men in Michigan show business. It s impossible to count how many productions they have worked on, both independently and collectively, because they don t stop working long enough to draft a proper curriculum vitae.
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Wednesday, November 16,2011

Comic candy

Sugar-sweet ‘Stratagem’ is zestfully played, but the fun goes on too long

by Mary C. Cusack
Michigan State University s Department of Theatre s production of The Beaux Stratagem is a sweet comedy of errors that reminds one of Brach s Neapolitan Sundaes candies found in the bulk  candy bins. Those colorful coconut-covered chewy candies look and taste good at first, but after a while your taste buds.
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Wednesday, November 9,2011

Strong start

Over The Ledge Theater debuts with a compelling production of ’The Guys’

by Mary C. Cusack
Those who saw Michigan State University Theatre Department s Two 9/11 Plays in September may find The Guys to be slow and sedate. In actuality the pieces complement each other well. The MSU plays were fast-paced, chaotic vignettes, which captured the immediate impact on a broad swath of people.
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Wednesday, October 26,2011

Meeting of the (evil) minds

Riverwalk’s ‘Conspiracy’ is a historical horror story

by Mary C. Cusack
As director James W. Houska said in his welcome last Saturday night, “Conspiracy” is not a show to be enjoyed. It is, however, an important event in history that people should experience and talk about, and Riverwalk Theatre’s production provides that opportunity.
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Wednesday, October 19,2011

Pure puffball

Lively actors can’t hide the fact that ‘Odd Couple’ is quaint and antiquated

by Mary C. Cusack
It is interesting that Dowd warms up to the role after doffing the iconic baseball cap, and really hits his stride as Oscar prepares for a double-date with neighbors Gwendolyn and Cecily Pigeon (Charlotte Ruppert and Angela Dill, respectively). As Dowd prances around, slapping on Old Spice and crooning classic love songs, he owns the stage.
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