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Wednesday, September 21,2011

Musical Memoir: A New Jersey State of Mind

by Tom Helma
What is there about this small East Coast state that captivates the country? What makes people yearn for the seriously mean streets of this urban-industrial corridor that parallels the Hudson River? Is it that view from the city of West New York, N.J.
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Wednesday, September 14,2011

Riverwalk delivers a winning 'Annie'

by Tom Helma
One expects children in these roles to be cute and emotionally endearing, but director Jeff Croff (ably assisted by choreographer Elizabeth Todd) has additionally conjured up a high level of professionalism. Not to mention impressive stage Review presence on the part of two separate children’s ensembles.
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Wednesday, June 29,2011

Change of life

A macho man finds a softer side in Purple Rose’s amusing ’Oyster’

by Tom Helma
MacGregor uses humor to illustrate the challenges of a man learning how to be a woman. In Act Two, Gene reemerges as Jean, played now by Rhiannon Ragland.
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Wednesday, June 8,2011

Die laughing

A cast of crazed kooks energizes Riverwalk’s loony ’Musical Comedy Murders of 1940’

by Tom Helma
Riverwalk veteran Joe Dickson, as down-on-his luck stand-up comedian Eddie McCuen, ultimately wins the contest for most intensely agitated actor on stage, but Bob Murrell and Sarah Sonnenberg, as musical writers Roger Hopewell and BernIce Roth, run a close second and third.
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Wednesday, May 18,2011

These 'Guys' don’t pay off

Spotty musical comedy won't rock anyone's boat

by Tom Helma
It’s always just a little odd when people writing for Broadway transform gritty, venial life stories into happy-go-lucky, salt-of-the-earth, charmingas-all-get-out-musicals.
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Wednesday, May 18,2011

'Zoo' times two

Riverwalk’s excellent Albee double feature is splendidly played

by Tom Helma
A Here’s a challenging and convoluted notion: Write a one-act play, and then 45 years later write a prequel that helps explain the motivation of one of the central characters.
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Wednesday, April 27,2011

Great expectations

Purple Rose’s ’Some Couples May...’ takes on a touchy topic with sensitivity, humor and convincing performances

by Tom Helma
Now playing at the Purple Rose Theater, “Couples” takes the audience through the early moments of high expectations that couples have when first embracing the idea of pregnancy and parenthood, then through the heartbreak of hopelessness that ensues when nothing whatsoever happens.
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Tuesday, March 29,2011

Starlight shines

A success is announced: 'Murder' is fast-paced and enjoyably played

by Tom Helma
Return with us now to those thrilling moments of yesteryear — no, it is not the Green Hornet and not the Lone Ranger either, but rather Miss Marple of Agatha Christie fame, as presented in the Starlight Dinner Theater's production of “A Murder is Announced.” While ...
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Thursday, February 24,2011

'The Wizard of Oz': Ding! Dong! The show is dead

MSU musical has technological magic, but is sorely lacking in charm

by Tom Helma
While scenic designer G. Max Maxin has thrown tons of technological video graphic wizardry at the audience in the Michigan State University Theatre production — a spectacular unfolding of everything plus the kitchen sink that a scene designer can do...
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Tuesday, February 1,2011

The Case of the Redeemed Hitman

True love blooms between gun battles in Purple Rose's 'Corktown'

by Tom Helma
CHELSEA — At first squint and frown, “Corktown,” now playing at the Purple Rose Theater, appears to be nothing more than the latest incarnation of the hit-man-with-a-heart-of-gold genre popularized in crime novels by Elmore Leonard, on the big screen by “Pulp Fiction,” and on HBO by “The Sopranos.”
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