Weekend Theater Preview

GRR co-founder Lauren Smart’s take on this weekend’s openings.

BEST BET FOR A GOOD LAUGH:  “The Mystery of Irma Vep”

Ithaca’s Kitchen Theatre Company has become a regular in Green Room Review’s Central New York coverage. This weekend I will be making the trek out to this Ivy League town to see this comedic romp starring Jesse Bush and Tony Roach. I chose to review this one, because Charles Ludlam’s parody of the Gothic Horror genre is a two-hander and comparisons are often drawn between it and Jeffrey Hatcher’s “The Turn of the Screw,” recently produced at Syracuse Stage.

Two men play all the parts in this play – quick changes and cross-dressing galore. Critics of the original production said it was uproarious and The New York Times’ Mel Gussow said  “a bouquet of wolfsbane could not keep laughter from the door.”

 

BEST BET FOR CATCHY MUSIC: “The Wiz”

Syracuse’s The Red House Arts Center will produce this Tony-award-winning musical (the movie version starred Michael Jackson).  Kelundra Smith will see Friday night’s production for GRR.

Catchy songs like “Ease on Down the Road” and “Everybody Rejoice” populate this fun musical originally carrying the subtitle, “The Super Soul Musical: “Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” In this version, Dorothy and friends venture from Harlem to the commercialized world of Oz too see the great wizard.

This is a show the entire family will enjoy with a recognizable story and what we can predict will be upbeat singing and dancing.

 

 BEST BET FOR YOUR WALLET: “The Black Book”
Syracuse University students run a theater company all their own called The Black Box Players. “The Black Book” is an original production written and directed by senior acting major Phil Blechman – so I can’t make any predictions except that it is well worth the money it costs. I will be back after Friday’s performance with a full report.
Here is the description on the website: “The Black Book”  is a suspense thriller that is, at its heart, a story about love and reason. Propelling audiences from the real world into the mind of the characters wherein we are forced to continuously question who is who and what is true.

BEST BET FOR COOL COSTUMES: “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe”

For the newest show, Syracuse Stage collaborated with Syracuse University Drama to bring this classic Narnia story to life. GRR co-founder Leah Stacy  attends opening night Friday to experience the magic of a wardrobe that leads Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy to a magical world where they meet centaurs, witches and a lion named Aslan. C. S. Lewis’ beloved story comes to life with music by Shaun Davey.

This family friendly show has music, dancing, puppets and a generous dose of holiday magic.

 


BEST BET FOR NEXT WEEKEND: “Judy’s Scary Little Christmas”
Rarely Done Productions’ holiday show  is already sold out for this weekend. GRR’s Mary Gibble will be attending Friday’s opening night. This surprising play about a Judy Garland TV special filled with surprises and mystery premiered in Los Angeles in 2002 and has become a crowd favorite.
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