Monday, May 8, 2017

Come From Away, Oslo, Dolly, Little Foxes Among Winners of Outer Critics Circle Awards

The Musical revival Hello, Dolly!, starring Bette Midler and the feel-good musical Come From Away top the list of winners for the Outer Critics Circle with five awards each.

The Little Foxes, The Band’s Visit and Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 each received two awards.

Danny Burstein, Katie Finneran and Christopher Fitzgerald will serve as award presenters at the upcoming 67th annual Outer Critics Circle Awards ceremony May 25 at Sardi’s.

The Outer Critics Circle, is an association with members affiliated with more than 90 newspapers, magazines, web sites, radio and television stations and theater publications in America and abroad.

(Winners names are in bold preceded by an asterisk. *)

Outer Critics Circle
2016-2017 Awards

A Doll’s House, Part 2


A Bronx Tale
*Come From Away

Groundhog Day
Holiday Inn

*If I Forget

A Life
Love, Love, Love

*The Band’s Visit

Himself and Nora
Kid Victory

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Terrence McNally     AnastasiaI
tamar Moses     The Band’s Visit
Chazz Palminteri     A Bronx Tale
Danny Rubin     Groundhog Day
*Irene Sankoff and David Hein   Come From Away 

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Stephen Flaherty and  Lynn Ahrens     Anastasia
Alan Menken and Glenn Slater     A Bronx Tale
Tim Minchin     Groundhog Day
Irene Sankoff and; David Hein     Come From Away
*David Yazbek     The Band’s Visit

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

The Front Page

The Little Foxes
The Price

(Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Finian’s Rainbow
*Hello, Dolly!

Miss Saigon
Sunset Boulevard
Sweeney Todd

Lila Neugebauer     The Wolves
Jack O’Brien     The Front Page
Daniel Sullivan     The Little Foxes
*Rebecca Taichman     Indecent
Kate Whoriskey     Sweat

*Christopher Ashley     Come From Away

David Cromer     The Band’s Visit
Darko Tresnjak     Anastasia
Matthew Warchus     Groundhog Day
Jerry Zaks     Hello, Dolly!

Andy Blankenbuehler     Bandstand
*Warren Carlyle     Hello, Dolly!
Savion Glover     Shuffle Along
Kelly Devine     Come From Away
Denis Jones     Holiday Inn

(Play or Musical

)Alexander Dodge     Anastasia
Nigel Hook     The Play That Goes Wrong
*Mimi Lien     Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812
Scott Pask     The Little Foxes
Douglas W. Schmidt     The Front Page

(Play or Musical
)Linda Cho     Anastasia
Susan Hilferty     Present Laughter
Santo Loquasto     Hello, Dolly!
Ann Roth     Shuffle Along
*Catherine Zuber     War Paint

(Play or Musical)

Christopher Akerlind     Indecent
Donald Holder     Anastasia
Natasha Katz     Hello, Dolly!
*Bradley King     Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812
Kenneth Posner     War Paint

(Play or Musical
)Duncan McLean     Privacy
Jared Mezzocchi     Vietgone
Benjamin Pearcy for 59 Productions     Oslo
*Aaron Rhyne     Anastasia
Tal Yarden     Indecent

(Play or Musical)
Gareth Fry and  Pete Malkin     The Encounter
*Gareth Owen     Come From Away
Nicholas Pope     Natasha, Pierre and; The Great Comet of 1812
Matt Stine     Sweeney Todd
Nevin Steinberg     Bandstand

Doug Besterman     Anastasia
Larry Blank     Holiday Inn
Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen     Bandstand
*Larry Hochman     Hello, Dolly!
Jamshied Sharifi     The Band’s Visit

Daniel Craig     Othello
Michael Emerson     Wakey, Wakey
*Kevin Kline     Present Laughter
David Oyelowo     Othello
David Hyde Pierce     A Life

Janie Dee     Linda
Sally Field     The Glass Menagerie
Allison Janney     Six Degrees of Separation
*Laura Linney     The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf     A Doll’s House, Part 2

Christian Borle     Falsettos
Nick Cordero     A Bronx Tale
*Andy Karl     Groundhog Day
David Hyde Pierce     Hello, Dolly!
Tony Shalhoub     The Band’s Visit

Christy Altomare     Anastasia
Christine Ebersole     War Paint
Katrina Lenk     The Band’s Visit
Patti LuPone     War Paint
*Bette Midler     Hello, Dolly!

Michael Aronov     Oslo
*Danny DeVito     The Price
Nathan Lane     The Front Page
Richard Thomas     The Little Foxes
Richard Topol     Indecent

Johanna Day     Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell     A Doll’s House, Part 2
Katrina Lenk     Indecent
Nana Mensah     Man From Nebraska
*Cynthia Nixon     The Little Foxes  

John Bolton     Anastasia
Jeffry Denman     Kid Victory
*Gavin Creel     Hello, Dolly!
Shuler Hensley     Sweet Charity
Andrew Rannells     Falsettos

LKate Baldwin     Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block     Falsettos*
Jenn Colella     Come From Away
Caroline O’Connor     Anastasia
Mary Beth Peil     Anastasia

Ed Dixon     Georgie: My Adventures with George Rose
Marin Ireland     On the Exhale
Sarah Jones     Sell / Buy / Date   
Judith Light     All the Ways to Say I Love You
*Simon McBurney     The Encounter

(Presented for an American play, preferably by a new playwright)
Jaclyn Backhaus     Men on Boats
Sarah DeLappe     The Wolves
Paola Lázaro     Tell Hector I Miss Him
Qui Nguyen     Vietgone
*Bess Wohl     Small Mouth Sounds

Friday, May 5, 2017

Broadway Theater Review: Bandstand

Music by Richard Oberacker
Book and Lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker
Directed and choreographed by Andy Blankenbuehler

By Lauren Yarger
What's It All About?
A new musical by Richard Oberacker (Broadway debut) set in 1945.  Donny Novitski (Corey Cott). still haunted by his experiences in battle and the death of his best friend arrives in Cleveland to check up on his pal's widow, Julia Trojan (the beautifully voiced Laura Osnes). When a national radio contest is announced to find America's next big swing band, Donny decides to gather some vet buddies and enter the contest for a chance to go to New York.  Julia turns out to be the perfect lead singer. The band works through some corruption in the radio program business, but the past and some of the secrets it holds might be too much to overcome when Julia and and Donny discover a chance at love.

What Are the Highlights?
Always a pleasure to hear Osnes sing. The ensemble is solid: Beth Leavel, Alex Bender, Joe Carroll, Brandon J. Ellis, James Nathan Hopkins, Geoff Packard.

What Are the Lowlights?The score, while containing some interesting combinations of notes, seems to lose its way. The band's big song is called "Love Will Come and Find Me Again." a rambling title that telegraphs the cut and polish needed to make this musical shine.

The opening scene is quite dramatic, though confusing as Director/Choreographer Andy Blankenbueler (of Hamilton fame) has battle scenes taking place on a domestic set designed by David Korins while Julia does about her daily business at home. It's hard to know how the woman on stage is connected to the action. The story is rather predictable and with little tension, it fails to capture out attention.

More Information:
Bandstand plays at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, 242 West 45th St., NYC.

Additional credits:
 Paloma Young (Costume Design), Jeff Croiter (Lighting Design), Nevin Steinberg (Sound Design), Greg Anthony Rassen (Co-Orchestrator, Music Supervisor and Music Arranger), Bill Elliott (Co-Orchestrator), Fred Lassen (Musical Director and Conductor), Mark Stuart (Associate Choreographer) and makeup, hair and wig design by J. Jared Janas and Dave Bova.

-- God's name taken in vain
-- Language

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Broadway Theater Review: Hello, Dolly! with Bette Midler TOP PICK

Bette Midler. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Hello, Dolly!

Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman
Book By Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s The Matchmaker
Choreography by Warren Carlyle, based on the original choreography by Gower Champion
Directed by Jerry Zaks
Shubert Theatre

By Lauren Yarger
Well, Hello, Dolly! It;s so nice to have you back where you belong!

This is going to be a very short review. Go see this show. That is all.

The first new production of the classic Jerry Herman musical (based on a Thornton Wilder play) to appear on Broadway since it opened more than 50 years ago is the sensation of the season.

It's star, Bette Midler as matchmaker Dolly Levi, leads a dream cast featuring the always delightful David Hyde Pierce as her intended, Horace Vandergelder, with Gavin Creel and the silvery voiced Kate Baldwin as romantic interests Cornelius and Irene. All are at the top of their game, no doubt fueled by the crazy energy in the house as people can barely contain themselves. The house lights come down and applause breaks out. The orchestra (led by the capable Music Direction of Andy Einhorn) hits familiar tunes in the overture and there is more enthusiastic applause.

When Midler finally makes her appearance on stage, the house (peppered with celebrities throughout) goes nuts! The show is the hottest ticket in town (well, if you don't count last year's sensation, Hamilton). In its first full week of regular performances, the show shattered box office records at the Shubert Theatre. It might be hard to find a ticket, but you really should try.

Everything is a delight. Santo Loquasto's lovey sets and period costumes give the production an old-fashioned charm. They are the perfect backdrop for the big dance numbers elegantly staged by Warren Carlyle. He recreates the feel of Gower Chapion's original choreography while putting his own clever and precise stamp on the work.

While some of the actual blocking had me wondering why people were walking around in circles on the stage, Director Jerry Zaks gets the matchmaker of the year award by putting just the right creatives and performers together. Bette as Dolly. What could be better than that? "Before the Parade Passes By" stops the show. Look for her and the musical to take home some Tony awards on June 11. 

The show is not just about Bette, though. The other principals all delightful as well. Rounding out the top-billed roles are Taylor Trensch, Beanie Feldstein, Will Burton, Melanie Moore, KevinLigon and Jennifer Simard.

It Only Takes a Moment -- get on down to the Box office at the Shubert, 225 West 44th St., NYC for two and a half hours of pure enjoyment.  

More information:
On Tuesdays beginning June 13 Tony-winner Donna Murphy will play the role of Dolly Levi as well as June 27 - July 2, July 5 - 9, Sunday evening July 30, Sept. 6 - 10, Sunday evening - Oct. 15, Monday evening - Oct. 30, Nov. 1 - 5, Friday - Nov. 24 at 2 pm, and Sunday evening - Jan. 7.

Bette Midler will perform the role of Dolly Levi on Tuesday - Nov. 21.


Additional casting:
The ensemble includes Cameron Adams, Phillip Attmore, Giuseppe Bausilio, Justin Bowen, Elizabeth Earley, Taeler Cyrus, Leslie Donna Flesner, Jenifer Foote, Jessica Lee Goldyn, Stephen Hanna, Michael Hartung, Robert Hartwell, Aaron Kaburick, Amanda LaMotte, Analisa Leaming, Jess LeProtto, Ian Liberto, Kevin Ligon, Nathan Madden, Michael McCormick, Linda Mugleston, Hayley Podschun, Jessica Sheridan, Michaeljon Slinger, Christian Dante White, Branch Woodman, Ryan Worsing, and Richard Riaz Yoder.
Additional credits:
Natasha Katz (Lighting Design), Tony Award® winner Scott Lehrer (Sound Design), Andy Einhorn (Music Direction), Tony Award® winner Larry Hochman (Orchestrations), Tony Award® winner Don Pippin (Vocal Arrangements), David Chase (Dance Arrangements)

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Broadway Theater Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman
Book by David Greig based on the novel by Roald Dahl
Choreography by Joshua Bergasse
Directed by Jack O’Brien
Lunt-Fontanne Theatre

By Lauren Yarger
You know how a chocolate candy can look tempting on the outside, but be a terrible disappointment when you bite into it? That morsel is Broadway's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Anticipation was high before the show opened at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. After all, who doesn't love the story about little Charlie Bucket who finds a golden ticket inside his Willy Wonka candy bar that opens the doors to the amazing, cavernous chocolate factory and a chance to meet the eccentric, reclusive candy maker himself? Well, me -- I never did care for the book, so perhaps I didn't view the show with an open mind -- but everyone else I knew couldn't wait to see one of their favorite stories by Roald Dahl come to life and the West End London production had received positive reviews.

With Broadway funny man Christian Borle (Something Rotten, Peter and the Star Catcher) in the role of Willy Wonka and a score and lyrics by the Hairspray team of Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, well, as I said, the expectations were high for the Great White Way.

Sitting through this show, however, is a bit like ripping open a Wonka bar only to discover it doesn't contain a golden ticket. In fact, this show doesn't even have any chocolate bars for sale in the lobby or at the bar. How do you miss a marketing opportunity like that? Think of all the little kids attending who would have demanded a bar, especially if it might contain a golden ticket entitling the winner to a T-Shirt with the show's logo or something. But, I digress....

Borle does what he can with the material and is amusing at times. The score is not memorable, except, of course, for the Leslie Bricusse/Anthony Newley tune "The Candy Man" from the film version which is incorporated into the first pretty boring opening numbers. David Greig's book tries to update the original, but leaves us kind of confused at times an trying to remember if a plot point was in the book or not. Also failing to excite are the sets, designed by Marc Thompson, who also does the costumes. Some are virtually blank and ask us to use our imagination (the show's tag line is "Imagine," after all), but what works in a book doesn't work on stage. When watching a Broadway show with a cast of 35 performing Joshua Bergasse's choreography, it fair to assume that we should be seeing some amazing, larger-than-life scenery.

Basil Twist contributes some enjoyable puppet designs (the Oompa Loompas are a big hit) but some other effects fail like some giant squirrels doing ballet. Some special effects (design by Jeremy Chernick) go too far (I don't want to throw out any spoilers here, but the end of one of the kids with a winning ticket to visit the factory, is rather gruesome and brought gasps of alarm from the audience).

The kids making a visit to Willy Wonka's unimaginative factory are:
  • Veruca Salt (Emma Pfaeffle), whose father, Mr. Salt (Ben Crawford), allows to be a spoiled brat
  • Gum-chewing Violet Beauregard (Trista Dollison) and her father,Alan H. Green as Mr. Beauregard
  • Video gamer Mike Teavee (Michael Wartella) and his mom (Jackie Hoffman who gets a few laughs)
  • Gluttonous Augustus Gloop (F. Michael Haynie) and his sausage-weilding mother (Kathy Fitzgerald)
  • And of course, Charlie Bucket (the role is shared by Jake Ryan Flynn, Ryan Foust and Ryan Sell, all making their Broadway debuts).
OK, as I was just typing up those descriptions I was thinking, "Gosh, I hate this story...."  There's an undercurrent of the adults not watching out for the kids that I don't like.There is a creepiness to Willy Wonka and an unpleasant, adult tone in a show that should be fun for kids.

Here's some more storyline that doesn't sit well:  Charlie's four elderly grandparents are too old to do much of anything but huddle together against the cold in a single bed in the shabby home kept by Charlie's mother (Emily Padgett) who works hard to keep a rotten meal on the table. She doesn't appear to be too upset by this and is quite perky and neat while singing bright tunes. It is as though Director Jack O'Brien threw up his hands and took a break with his Kit-Kat bar . Oh, wait, there aren't any candy bars in the theater, remember, so that couldn't be it.

Grandpa Joe (John Rubenstein), who accompanies Charlie on his tour of the factory, Grandpa George (Paul Slade Smith), Grandma Josephine (Kristy Cates) and Grandma Georgina (Madeline Doherty) have some of the funniest lines and are a highlight of the show. 

Apparently I am not alone in my lackluster review. The show failed to receive one nomination for any of the major theater awards this season (Outer Critics, Drama Desk and Tony Awards). A national tour has been announced, however.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory offers a sweet and sour snack at the Lunt Fontaine, 205 West 46th St., NYC.

-- I would recommend this for 13 and up.
-- God's name taken in vain

Additional casting:
Yesenia Ayala, Darius Barnes, Colin Bradbury, Jared Bradshaw, Ryan Breslin, Paloma Garcia-Lee, Stephanie Gibson, Talya Groves, Cory Lingner, Elliott Mattox, Monette McKay, Kyle Taylor Parker, Katie Webber, Stephen Carrasco, Robin Masella, Kristin Piro, Amy Quanbeck, Michael Williams, and Mikey Winslow.

Additional credits:
Lighting Design by Japhy Weideman, Sound Design by Andrew Keister, Projection Design by Jeff Sugg, Special effects design by Jeremy Chernick, orchestrations by Doug Besterman and music direction and supervision by Nicholas Skilbeck.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY opens on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre (205 W. 46 St).

Comet, Hello, Dolly!, Doll's House Lead Tony Nominations

Josh Groban and Denee Benton in Natasha, Pierre
and the Great Comet of 1812. Photo: Chad Batka
Nominations for the 2017 American Theatre Wing’s Tony Awards®
Presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing

Best Play
A Doll's House, Part 2
Author: Lucas Hnath
Author: Paula Vogel
Author: J.T. Rogers
SweatAuthor: Lynn Nottage 
Best Musical
Come From Away
Dear Evan Hansen
Groundhog Day The Musical
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Best Book of a Musical
Come From Away
Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dear Evan Hansen
Steven Levenson
Groundhog Day The Musical
Danny Rubin
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Dave Malloy

Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre
Come From Away
Music and Lyrics: Irene Sankoff and David Hein
Dear Evan Hansen
Music and Lyrics: Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Groundhog Day The Musical
Music and Lyrics: Tim Minchin
Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Music and Lyrics: Dave Malloy

Best Revival of a Play
August Wilson's Jitney
Lillian Hellman's The Little FoxesPresent LaughterSix Degrees of Separation
Best Revival of a Musical
Hello, Dolly!
Miss Saigon

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
Denis Arndt, Heisenberg
Chris Cooper, A Doll's House, Part 2
Corey Hawkins, Six Degrees of Separation
Kevin Kline, Present Laughter
Jefferson Mays, Oslo

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
Cate Blanchett, The Present
Jennifer Ehle, Oslo
Sally Field, The Glass Menagerie
Laura Linney, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Laurie Metcalf, A Doll's House, Part 2

Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
Christian Borle, Falsettos
Josh Groban, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Andy Karl, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Hyde Pierce, Hello, Dolly!
Ben Platt, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
Denée Benton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Christine Ebersole, War Paint
Patti LuPone, War Paint
Bette Midler, Hello, Dolly!
Eva Noblezada, Miss Saigon

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
Michael Aronov, Oslo
Danny DeVito, Arthur Miller's The Price
Nathan Lane, The Front Page
Richard Thomas, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
John Douglas Thompson, August Wilson's Jitney

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
Johanna Day, Sweat
Jayne Houdyshell, A Doll's House, Part 2
Cynthia Nixon, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Condola Rashad, A Doll's House, Part 2
Michelle Wilson, Sweat

Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
Gavin Creel, Hello, Dolly!
Mike Faist, Dear Evan Hansen
Andrew Rannells, Falsettos
Lucas Steele, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Brandon Uranowitz, Falsettos

Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
Kate Baldwin, Hello, Dolly!
Stephanie J. Block, Falsettos
Jenn Colella, Come From Away
Rachel Bay Jones, Dear Evan Hansen
Mary Beth Peil, Anastasia

Best Scenic Design of a Play
David Gallo, August Wilson's Jitney
Nigel Hook, The Play That Goes Wrong
Douglas W. Schmidt, The Front Page
Michael Yeargan, Oslo

Best Scenic Design of a Musical
Rob Howell, Groundhog Day The Musical
David Korins, War Paint
Mimi Lien, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!

Best Costume Design of a Play
Jane Greenwood, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Susan Hilferty, Present Laughter
Toni-Leslie James, August Wilson's Jitney
David Zinn, A Doll's House, Part 2

Best Costume Design of a Musical
Linda Cho, Anastasia
Santo Loquasto, Hello, Dolly!
Paloma Young, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Catherine Zuber, War Paint

Best Lighting Design of a Play
Christopher Akerlind, Indecent
Jane Cox, August Wilson's Jitney
Donald Holder, Oslo
Jennifer Tipton, A Doll's House, Part 2

Best Lighting Design of a Musical
Howell Binkley, Come From Away
Natasha Katz, Hello, Dolly!
Bradley King, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Japhy Weideman, Dear Evan Hansen

Best Direction of a Play
Sam Gold, A Doll's House, Part 2
Ruben Santiago-Hudson, August Wilson's Jitney
Bartlett Sher, Oslo
Daniel Sullivan, Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes
Rebecca Taichman, Indecent

Best Direction of a Musical
Christopher Ashley, Come From Away
Rachel Chavkin, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812
Michael Greif, Dear Evan Hansen
Matthew Warchus, Groundhog Day The Musical
Jerry Zaks, Hello, Dolly!

Best Choreography
Andy Blankenbuehler, Bandstand
Peter Darling and Ellen Kane, Groundhog Day The Musical
Kelly Devine, Come From Away
Denis Jones, Holiday Inn, The New Irving Berlin Musical
Sam Pinkleton, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

Best Orchestrations
Bill Elliott and Greg Anthony Rassen, Bandstand
Larry Hochman, Hello, Dolly!
Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen
Dave Malloy, Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812

* * *

Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
James Earl Jones

Special Tony Award
Gareth Fry & Pete Malkin, Sound Designers for The Encounter

Regional Theatre Tony Award
Dallas Theater Center
Dallas, TX

Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

Baayork Lee

Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre
Nina Lannan
Alan Wasser

Monday, May 1, 2017

Dallas Theatre Center Wins Regional Tony

Nominations for other awards will be announced tomorrow. 

The Tony Awards® Administration Committee has announced that based on the recommendation by the American Theatre Critics Association, that the Dallas Theater Center in Dallas, TX, will be the recipient of the 2017 Regional Theatre Tony Award.

For close to 60 years, DTC’s innovative, dynamic programming has made a significant mark on the Dallas community as well as the American theater at large, highlighted by its sustained focus on producing new works, supporting a resident acting company, utilizing theatrical space in surprising ways and engaging deeply with the diverse Dallas community. Under the direction of Artistic Director Kevin Moriarty and Managing Director Jeff Woodward, Dallas Theater Center currently produces a vibrant season of new plays, classics, and musicals. The Diane and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company demonstrates DTC’s abiding commitment to supporting a core group of resident artists. DTC annually serves an audience of more than 100,000 North Texas residents.

This season Dallas Theater Center launched Public Works Dallas, a groundbreaking community engagement and participatory theater project designed to deliberately blur the line between professional artists and community members, culminating in an annual production featuring over 200 Dallas citizens performing a Shakespeare play.

DTC’s National Arts and Humanities Youth Program, Project Discovery, provides in-depth theater experiences for thousands of teens from 30 North Texas high schools. Since 1986, Project Discovery has allowed over 265,000 students and teachers to experience and study the finest in live, professional theater. With equity, diversity and inclusion as a core value, DTC is dedicated to expanding access and breaking down barriers for all people in its diverse North Texas community.

The American Theatre Wing’s 71st Annual Tony Awards, hosted by Tony and Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Spacey, will air live from Radio City Music Hall on the CBS Television Network on Sunday, June 11, 2017 (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/delayed PT). The Tony Awards, which honors theater professionals for distinguished achievement on Broadway, has been broadcast on CBS since 1978. The Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing.

For more information on the Tony Awards, visit

Gracewell Prodiuctions

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Our reviews are professional reviews written without a religious bias. At the end of them, you can find a listing of language, content or theological issues that Christians might want to know about when deciding which shows to see.

** Mature indicates that the show has posted an advisory because of content. Usually this means I would recommend no one under the age of 16 attend.

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

Theater Critic Lauren Yarger

My Bio

Lauren Yarger has written, directed and produced numerous shows and special events for both secular and Christian audiences. She co-wrote a Christian musical version of “A Christmas Carol” which played to sold-out audiences of over 3,000 in Vermont and was awarded the Vermont Bessie (theater and film awards) for “People’s Choice for Theatre.” She also has written two other dinner theaters, sketches for church services and devotions for Christian artists. Her play concept, "From Reel to Real: The Jennifer O'Neill Story" was presented as part of the League of professional Theatre Women's Julia's reading Room Series in New York. Shifting from reviewing to producing, Yarger owns Gracewell Productions, which produced the Table Reading Series at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, CT. She trained for three years in the Broadway League’s Producer Development Program, completed the Commercial Theater Institute's Producing Intensive and other training and produced a one-woman musical about Mary Magdalene that toured nationally and closed with an off-Broadway run. She was a Fellow at the National Critics Institute at the O'Neill Theater Center in Waterford, CT. She wrote reviews of Broadway and Off-Broadway theater (the only ones you can find in the US with an added Christian perspective) at

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (, an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for and as Connecticut and New York reviewer for American Theater Web.

She is a Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter of the League of Professional Theatre Women. She is a former vice president and voting member of The Drama Desk.

She is a freelance writer and playwright (member Dramatists Guild of America). She is a member if the The Outer Critics Circle (producer of the annual awards ceremony) and a member of The League of Professional Theatre Women, serving as Co-Founder of the Connecticut Chapter. Yarger was a book reviewer for Publishers Weekly A former newspaper editor and graduate of the University of Missouri’s School of Journalism, Yarger also worked in arts management for the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and served for nine years as the Executive Director of Masterwork Productions, Inc. She lives with her husband in West Granby, CT. They have two adult children.


All material is copyright 2008- 2024 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact


Key to Content Notes:

God's name taken in vain -- means God or Jesus is used in dialogue without speaking directly to or about them.

Language -- means some curse words are used. "Minor" usually means the words are not too strong or that it only occurs once or twice throughout the show.

Strong Language -- means some of the more heavy duty curse words are used.

Nudity -- means a man or woman's backside, a man's lower front or a woman's front are revealed.

Scantily clad -- means actors' private areas are technically covered, but I can see a lot of them.

Sexual Language -- means the dialogue contains sexually explicit language but there's no action.

Sexual Activity -- means a man and woman are performing sexual acts.

Adultery -- Means a married man or woman is involved sexually with someone besides their spouse. If this is depicted with sexual acts on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Sex Outside of Marriage -- means a man and woman are involved sexually without being married. If this is depicted sexually on stage, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Homosexuality -- means this is in the show, but not physically depicted.

Homosexual activity -- means two persons of the same sex are embracing/kissing. If they do more than that, the list would include "sexual activity" as well.

Cross Dresser -- Means someone is dressing as the opposite sex. If they do more than that on stage the listing would include the corresponding "sexual activity" and/or "homosexual activity" as well.

Cross Gender -- A man is playing a female part or a woman is playing a man's part.

Suggestive Dancing -- means dancing contains sexually suggestive moves.

Derogatory (category added Fall 2012) Language or circumstances where women or people of a certain race are referred to or treated in a negative and demeaning manner.

Other content matters such as torture, suicide, or rape will be noted, with details revealed only as necessary in the review itself.

The term "throughout" added to any of the above means it happens many times throughout the show.

Reviewing Policy

I receive free seats to Broadway and Off-Broadway shows made available to all voting members of the Outer Critics Circle. Journalistically, I provide an unbiased review and am under no obligation to make positive statements. Sometimes shows do not make tickets available to reviewers. If these are shows my readers want to know about I will purchase a ticket. If a personal friend is involved in a production, I'll let you know, but it won't influence a review. If I feel there is a conflict, I won't review their portion of the production.

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