Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Theater Review: The 12 -- Goodspeed Musicals, CT

 

The cast of Goodspeed's THE 12. Photo: Diane Sobolewski

The 12

Music and Lyrics by Neil Berg
Book and Lyrics by Robert Schenkkan
Directed by John Doyle
Goodspeed Musicals 
Through Oct. 29, 2023

By Lauren Yarger

A compelling story about religion without an agenda? In the theater world, 
this is nothing short of a miracle!

But with a book and lyrics by Robert Schenkkan, told to the beat of a pop-rock score
and lyrics from Neil Berg, that is exactly what Goodspeed Musical audiences witness
in The 12, a moving story of how Jesus’s disciples walk through a journey of sorrow
and faith following his death.

This tale, emotionally staged by Director John Doyle (who doubles as scenic designer), 
focuses on the disciples as they hide out in the upper room (an abandoned industrial
space covered in graffiti) after the crucifixion of Jesus (called Teacher, rather than by name).
They arrive devastated, angry, uncertain and scared about what will happen to them if they
are identified as being affiliated with Jesus. They have conflicts with each other, as well as
a crisis of faith over the loss of their leader. For those not up to speed on who the 12 were,
they are listed in a neat cheat sheet in the show program (which offers more details than here):

  • Andrew (Wonza Johnson), a fisherman
  •  “Bart” (Robert Morrison) a.k.a. Bartholomew
  •  James (Kelvin Moon Loh), brother of John
  •  “Jimmy” (Etai Benson) the other James, often called the brother of Jesus
  •  John (Kyle Scatliffe) brother of James
  • Matt (F. Michale Haynie) the tax collector Matthew
  • Pete (Akron Lanier Watson) Simon Peter, brother of Andrew
  • Phil (Brandon J. Ellis) Philip, friend of Bartholomew
  • Simon (Gregory Treco) the zealot
  •  “Tee” (Mel Johnson Jr.) a.k.a. Thaddeus
  •  “Tom” (Wesley Taylor) doubting Thomas
For those of you who are counting, Judas doesn’t make an appearance. The action takes
place after his death too – possibly at the hands of one of the group. The 12th disciple
completing a last-supper tableau, subtly created by Doyle, is Mary Magdalene (Adrienne
Walker), called “Mags” by Jimmy, who might be more than just a friend, and the rest.
In a nice choice, Mary, the mother of Jesus (Rema Webb), also gets some stage time and
the two women have some of the most moving and melodic songs of the production.

Mags sings:

So much pain

Heart so sore

Thoughts so bleak

Please, no more.

Neared his tomb

Lightening flashed;

Heard a savage roar.

The earth rose up!

An awful sound.

Choked by dust

Fell to the ground.

I heard the stones go crashing by;

Terrified that I would die.

The shaking stopped

Then broke the dawn

Revealed his grave -

The rock was gone.


Powerful stuff in there.

The storytelling, even with some more modern elements like guitars on stage and police
sirens blaring while the disciples wear more modern looking clothing in dark hues
(Ann Hould-Ward, costumes), never loses its way because it stays anchored in the scriptures
and pure human emotion to which everyone can relate. Who hasn’t suffered a devastating
loss? Who hasn’t felt betrayed? Who hasn’t felt terrified of what lies ahead? If you ever have
experienced a real-life nightmare from which you can’t awaken, you’ll relate to the emotions
being expressed by each character. Excellent storytelling by Schenkkan (who has a Pulitzer
for The Kentucky Cycle and a Tony for All the Way.)

This also isn’t a feel-good, just-have-faith tale either. There is no attempt to convert or
condemn. Much like God himself, the creators of this work give free choice. What you
believe is up to you (and this show will unlikely offend regardless of what religion you
follow). Instead, they offer a genuine story of human emotion and the search for something
in which to believe, then cling to, even when faith has been dashed. Despite their renewed
hope, the disciples are very much aware of the price they will pay for following their beliefs.
When they leave the safety of their hideout to go out into the world to share their faith, it’s an
inspiring moment, thanks to the direction of Doyle who brings his Tony-award-winning
experience -- and apparently some long-ago hopes of becoming a priest -- to this project.

Honesty, I kept waiting for the story to veer off in the way most Christian-hostile theater
does: Jesus and Mary Magdalene were lovers and had a child; Jesus never claimed to be
the son of God or was illegitimate and it all was a ruse by Mary to avoid hide her
pre-wedding sexual activity; Jesus didn’t really rise from the dead and the disciples
carried out a hoax, etc. But it never did. And Thomas, with his many doubts and questions,
gives a voice to those watching who might be skeptical, whether or not they come from a
believing background:

·      “Where’s the proof?”

·      “Could have been a coincidence…”

·      “What if he made a mistake?"

  •  "Why did he have to die?"

The 12 is a Godspell/Jesus Christ Superstar for a new generation. It had a successful run
in Denver, where it won a Henry Award for Outstanding New Musical. You can catch it
at Goodspeed in East Haddam, CT through Oct. 29. Or, if prayers are answered, perhaps
someday on Broadway.

Additional credits: Greg Jarrett, Music Supervisor/Orchestrator; Adam Souza, Music
Director; Ben Covello, Associate Music Director; Japhy Weideman, Lighting Designer;
Jay Hilton, Sound Designer.


Friday, September 15, 2023

Off-Broadway Review: Out of the Apple Orchard

 


Out of the Apple Orchard

By Ellen W. Kaplan, based on the book by Yvonne David
Directed by Nicole Raphael
Actors Temple

By Lauren Yarger
A sweet tale of forgiveness offers a breath of fresh air for theater goers in the New York premiere of Ellen W. Kaplan's Out of the Apple Orchard which recently had an all-too-short run at the Actors Temple in New York.

Based on the first in a series of children's books written by Yvonne David, and themselves inspired by Joseph Stein's Fiddler on the Roof, Sholom Aleichem’s “Tevye the Dairyman," and Charles Dickens’ "A Christmas Carol," the stories follow the Jewish Bieman family which immigrates to the lower east side of Manhattan in 1910, then moves to the Catskills.

When Papa (Erik Endsley) is too sick to continue working on the fine suits he tailors, Mama (Lori Leifer), Bubbe (Alyssa Simon), Adam (Caleb Hafen) and Sarah (Emma Kantor) all offer to pitch in.  They offer the doctor (Gershon Tarabulus) a pair of trousers in payment, but how will they ever have money to buy ingredients for a holiday cake to bring in a sweet new year?

Adam decides that stealing apples from the orchard of Farmer Friedland (Ken Dillion) is the solution, but he soon finds that his actions have unexpected consequences. His guilt leads him to seek counsel from the family's rabbi (also played by Tarabulus), who tells him he must confess to Friedland and see what he can do to make up for his crime. But will the farmer forgive him?

Directed by Nicole Raphael of The Mesaper Theatre, the tale unfolds with music and puppetry (Victoria Chaieb, violinist, who also composes original music and arrangements; Rebecca Porticello, red bird -- puppets by Vandy Wood) set against paintings by Robert Sauber and lighting by Maarten Cornelis. Choreography is by Hafen and Kantor.

This charming tale, told in about 80 minutes without intermission, bakes a perfect pie by blending the ingredients of wholesome family values, vivid storytelling and lighthearted entertainment whose aroma will appeal to audiences of all ages. The run at the Actors Temple was just seven performances. Here's hoping it returns or has runs in other cities. And maybe the other books in the series will find their way t the stage as well. For info in the books click here.

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

2023 Outer Critics Circle Winners Announced: Some Like it Hot, Leopoldstadt Lead Honors


Joshua Satine in Leopoldstadt. Photo: Joan Marcus

The cast of Some Like it Hot. Photo: Marc J. Franklin

The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), the official organization of writers on New York theatre for out-of-town newspapers and national publications, is pleased to announce the winners of the 72nd Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards, honoring the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway season. Some Like it Hot and Leopoldstadt take top musical and play honors.

The awards ceremony honoring the winners will take place on Thursday, May 25 at 3 pm in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts. Lauren Yarger serves as the ceremony's executive producer.

2023 OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD WINNERS

The Marjorie Gunner Award for Outstanding New Broadway Musical

& Juliet

A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical

New York, New York

Shucked

**Some Like It Hot**

Outstanding New Broadway Play

Good Night, Oscar

**Leopoldstadt**

Life of Pi

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Summer, 1976

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical

The Bedwetter

Between the Lines

**The Harder They Come**

Only Gold

Without You

Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play

Becomes a Woman

A Case for the Existence of God

Chester Bailey

**Downstate**

Letters from Max, a ritual

John Gassner Award for New American Play (Preferably by a New Playwright)

Dark Disabled Stories by Ryan J. Haddad

Epiphany by Brian Watkins

**Fat Ham by James Ijames**

Wolf Play by Hansol Jung

You Will Get Sick by Noah Diaz

Outstanding Revival of a Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Death of a Salesman

Endgame

Ohio State Murders

**Topdog/Underdog**

Wedding Band

Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

A Man of No Importance

Into the Woods

Merrily We Roll Along

**Parade**

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical

Micaela Diamond – Parade

**J. Harrison Ghee – Some Like It Hot**

Caroline Innerbichler – Shucked

Colton Ryan – New York, New York

Anna Uzele – New York, New York

Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical

Kevin Del Aguila – Some Like It Hot

Julia Lester – Into the Woods

**Alex Newell – Shucked**

NaTasha Yvette Williams – Some Like It Hot

Betsy Wolfe - & Juliet

Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play

Hiran Abeysekera – Life of Pi

Jessica Chastain – A Doll's House

Corey Hawkins – Topdog/Underdog

**Sean Hayes – Good Night, Oscar**

Audra McDonald – Ohio State Murders

Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play

Danielle Brooks – The Piano Lesson

Sharon D Clarke – Death of a Salesman

Michael Potts – The Piano Lesson

**Brandon Uranowitz – Leopoldstadt**

David Zayas – Cost of Living

Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play

Ephraim Birney – Chester Bailey

Brittany Bradford – Wedding Band

Marylouise Burke - Epiphany

**Bill Irwin – Endgame**

Emma Pfitzer Price – Becomes a Woman

Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play

Veanne Cox – Wedding Band

Glenn Davis – Downstate

**K. Todd Freeman – Downstate**

Francis Guinan - Downstate

Susanna Guzman - Downstate

Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical

Nicholas Barasch – The Butcher Boy

Callum Francis – Kinky Boots

**Jonathan Groff – Merrily We Roll Along**

Natey Jones – The Harder They Come

Marla Mindelle – Titanique

Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical

Vicki Lewis – Between the Lines

**Lindsay Mendez – Merrily We Roll Along**

Daniel Radcliffe – Merrily We Roll Along

A.J. Shively – A Man of No Importance

Mare Winningham – A Man of No Importance

Outstanding Solo Performance

Mike Birbiglia – The Old Man & the Pool

**Jodie Comer – Prima Facie**

Jefferson Mays – A Christmas Carol

Sam Morrison – Sugar Daddy

Anthony Rapp – Without You

Outstanding New Score

Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel – Between the Lines

Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally – Shucked

John Kander, Fred Ebb, and Lin-Manuel Miranda – New York, New York

Adam Schlesinger and Sarah Silverman – The Bedwetter

**Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman – Some Like It Hot**

Outstanding Book of a Musical

Tye Blue, Marla Mindelle, Constantine Rousouli - Titanique

**Robert Horn – Shucked**

Matthew López and Amber Ruffin – Some Like it Hot

Suzan-Lori Parks – The Harder They Come

David West Read - & Juliet

Outstanding Scenic Design (Play or Musical)

Jason Ardizzone-West – Wedding Band

John Lee Beatty - Epiphany

**Beowulf Boritt – New York, New York**

Mimi Lien – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Simon Scullion – Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)

Dede Ayite – Topdog/Underdog

**Gregg Barnes – Some Like it Hot**

Brigitte Reiffenstuel – Leopoldstadt

Paloma Young - & Juliet

Donna Zakowska – New York, New York

Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)

Neil Austin – Leopoldstadt

Ken Billington – New York, New York

Ben Stanton – A Christmas Carol

Natasha Katz – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

**Tim Lutkin – Life of Pi**

Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical)

John Gromada - Jasper

Kai Harada – New York, New York

Daniel Kluger – Epiphany

André Pluess – Good Night, Oscar

**Joshua D. Reid – A Christmas Carol**

Outstanding Video or Projection Design (Play or Musical)

Christopher Ash and Beowulf Boritt – New York, New York

**Andrzej Goulding – Life of Pi**

Lucy Mackinnon – A Christmas Carol

Isaac Madge - Leopoldstadt

Sven Ortel – Parade

Outstanding Orchestrations

**Bryan Carter and Charlie Rosen – Some Like It Hot**

Sam Davis and Daryl Waters – New York, New York

Jason Howland – Shucked

Dominic Fallacaro and Bill Sherman - & Juliet

Jonathan Tunick – Merrily We Roll Along

Outstanding Director of a Musical

**Michael Arden – Parade**

Maria Friedman – Merrily We Roll Along

Casey Nicholaw – Some Like It Hot

Jack O'Brien – Shucked

Susan Stroman – New York, New York

Outstanding Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler – Only Gold

Edgar Godineaux – The Harder They Come

Casey Nicholaw – Some Like It Hot

**Susan Stroman – New York, New York**

Jennifer Weber - & Juliet

Outstanding Director of a Play

Kenny Leon – Topdog/Underdog

Pam MacKinnon – Downstate

**Patrick Marber – Leopoldstadt**

Adam Meggido – Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Max Webster – Life of Pi

Special Achievement Award

To B.H. Barry, one of the world's foremost fight directors, in recognition of a distinguished six-decade career capped off with Camelot at Lincoln Center Theater.

About the OCCs:

Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad.

As previously announced, this is the first season with newly reconstructed acting categories, which have removed gender specifications, and been expanded to separately include off-Broadway performers. In the previous configuration, actors in Broadway and off-Broadway productions had been nominated together in the same category.

Led by its current president David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Harry Haun, Cynthia Allen, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating).

Thursday, April 27, 2023

2023 Outer Critics Circle Nominations Announced

Broadway musical New York, New York leads the pack with twelve nominations, followed by Some Like It Hot with ten nods. Downstate and Leopoldstadt lead the plays, with six nominations each.


Distinguished fight director B.H. Barry will be presented with a Special Achievement Award, in recognition of a six-decade career


Nominees for the 2023 John Gassner Award for New American Play are

Noah Diaz, Ryan J. Haddad, James Ijames, Hansol Jung, and Brian Watkins


(NEW YORK, NY – Wednesday, April 26, 2022) The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), the official organization of writers on New York theatre for out-of-town newspapers and national publications, are pleased to announce the nominees for the 72nd Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards, honoring the 2022-2023 Broadway and Off-Broadway season.


Leading the pack with the most honors of the season is the Broadway musical New York, New York, with twelve nominations, followed by Some Like It Hot with ten nods, and Shucked with seven. The most recognized plays of the season are the Off-Broadway production of Downstate and the Broadway production of Leopoldstadt with six nominations each.


Nominees for the annual John Gassner Award — for a new American play, preferably by a new playwright — are Noah Diaz for You Will Get Sick, Ryan J. Haddad for Dark Disabled Stories, James Ijames for Fat Ham, Hansol Jung for Wolf Play, and Brian Watkins for Epiphany.


A Special Achievement Award will be presented to B.H. Barry, one of the world's foremost fight directors, in recognition of a distinguished six-decade career capped off with Camelot at Lincoln Center Theater.


As previously announced, this is the first season with newly reconstructed acting categories, which have removed gender specifications, and been expanded to separately include off-Broadway performers. In the previous configuration, actors in Broadway and off-Broadway productions had been nominated together in the same category.


Winners of the 72nd Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards will be announced on Tuesday, May 16, and the awards ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 25 in the Bruno Walter Auditorium at Lincoln Center’s New York Public Library for The Performing Arts (111 Amsterdam Avenue, NYC).


Founded during the 1949-50 Broadway season by respected theater journalist John Gassner, The Outer Critics Circle is an esteemed association with members affiliated with more than ninety newspapers, magazines, broadcast stations, and online news organizations, in America and abroad. Led by its current president David Gordon, the OCC Board of Directors also includes Vice President Richard Ridge, Recording Secretary Joseph Cervelli, Corresponding Secretary Patrick Hoffman, Treasurer David Roberts, Harry Haun, Cynthia Allen, Janice Simpson and Doug Strassler. Simon Saltzman is President Emeritus & Board Member (Non-nominating) and Stanley L. Cohen serves as Financial Consultant & Board Member (Non-nominating).


2023 OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD NOMINATIONS


Outstanding New Broadway Musical

& Juliet

A Beautiful Noise, The Neil Diamond Musical

New York, New York

Shucked

Some Like It Hot


Outstanding New Broadway Play

Good Night, Oscar

Leopoldstadt

Life of Pi

Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Summer, 1976


Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical

The Bedwetter

Between the Lines

The Harder They Come

Only Gold

Without You


Outstanding New Off-Broadway Play

Becomes a Woman

A Case for the Existence of God

Chester Bailey

Downstate

Letters from Max, a ritual


John Gassner Award for New American Play (Preferably by a New Playwright)

Dark Disabled Stories by Ryan J. Haddad

Epiphany by Brian Watkins

Fat Ham by James Ijames

Wolf Play by Hansol Jung

You Will Get Sick by Noah Diaz


Outstanding Revival of a Play (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

Death of a Salesman

Endgame

Ohio State Murders

Topdog/Underdog

Wedding Band


Outstanding Revival of a Musical (Broadway or Off-Broadway)

A Man of No Importance

Into the Woods

Merrily We Roll Along

Parade

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street


Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Musical

Micaela Diamond – Parade

J. Harrison Ghee – Some Like It Hot

Caroline Innerbichler – Shucked

Colton Ryan – New York, New York

Anna Uzele – New York, New York


Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Musical

Kevin Del Aguila – Some Like It Hot

Julia Lester – Into the Woods

Alex Newell – Shucked

NaTasha Yvette Williams – Some Like It Hot

Betsy Wolfe - & Juliet


Outstanding Lead Performer in a Broadway Play

Hiran Abeysekera – Life of Pi

Jessica Chastain – A Doll's House

Corey Hawkins – Topdog/Underdog

Sean Hayes – Good Night, Oscar

Audra McDonald – Ohio State Murders


Outstanding Featured Performer in a Broadway Play

Danielle Brooks – The Piano Lesson

Sharon D Clarke – Death of a Salesman

Michael Potts – The Piano Lesson

Brandon Uranowitz – Leopoldstadt

David Zayas – Cost of Living


Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Play

Ephraim Birney – Chester Bailey

Brittany Bradford – Wedding Band

Marylouise Burke - Epiphany

Bill Irwin – Endgame

Emma Pfitzer Price – Becomes a Woman


Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Play

Veanne Cox – Wedding Band

Glenn Davis – Downstate

K. Todd Freeman – Downstate

Francis Guinan - Downstate

Susanna Guzman - Downstate


Outstanding Lead Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical

Nicholas Barasch – The Butcher Boy

Callum Francis – Kinky Boots

Jonathan Groff – Merrily We Roll Along

Natey Jones – The Harder They Come

Marla Mindelle – Titanique


Outstanding Featured Performer in an Off-Broadway Musical

Vicki Lewis – Between the Lines

Lindsay Mendez – Merrily We Roll Along

Daniel Radcliffe – Merrily We Roll Along

A.J. Shively – A Man of No Importance

Mare Winningham – A Man of No Importance


Outstanding Solo Performance

Mike Birbiglia – The Old Man & the Pool

Jodie Comer – Prima Facie

Jefferson Mays – A Christmas Carol

Sam Morrison – Sugar Daddy

Anthony Rapp – Without You


Outstanding New Score

Kate Anderson and Elyssa Samsel – Between the Lines

Brandy Clark and Shane McAnally – Shucked

John Kander and Lin-Manuel Miranda – New York, New York

Adam Schlesinger and Sarah Silverman – The Bedwetter

Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman – Some Like It Hot


Outstanding Book of a Musical

Tye Blue, Marla Mindelle, Constantine Rousouli - Titanique

Robert Horn – Shucked

Matthew López and Amber Ruffin – Some Like it Hot

Suzan-Lori Parks – The Harder They Come

David West Read - & Juliet


Outstanding Scenic Design (Play or Musical)

Jason Ardizzone-West – Wedding Band

John Lee Beatty - Epiphany

Beowulf Boritt – New York, New York

Mimi Lien – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Simon Scullion – Peter Pan Goes Wrong


Outstanding Costume Design (Play or Musical)

Dede Ayite – Topdog/Underdog

Gregg Barnes – Some Like it Hot

Brigitte Reiffenstuel – Leopoldstadt

Paloma Young - & Juliet

Donna Zakowska – New York, New York


Outstanding Lighting Design (Play or Musical)

Neil Austin – Leopoldstadt

Ken Billington – New York, New York

Ken Elliott and Ben Stanton – A Christmas Carol

Natasha Katz – Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Tim Lutkin – Life of Pi


Outstanding Sound Design (Play or Musical)

John Gromada - Jasper

Kai Harada – New York, New York

Daniel Kluger – Epiphany

André Pluess – Good Night, Oscar

Joshua D. Reid – A Christmas Carol


Outstanding Video or Projection Design (Play or Musical)

Christopher Ash and Beowulf Boritt – New York, New York

Andrzej Goulding – Life of Pi

Lucy Mackinnon – A Christmas Carol

Isaac Madge - Leopoldstadt

Sven Ortel – Parade


Outstanding Orchestrations

Bryan Carter and Charlie Rosen – Some Like It Hot

Sam Davis and Daryl Waters – New York, New York

Jason Howland – Shucked

Bill Sherman - & Juliet

Jonathan Tunick – Merrily We Roll Along


Outstanding Director of a Musical

Michael Arden – Parade

Maria Friedman – Merrily We Roll Along

Casey Nicholaw – Some Like It Hot

Jack O'Brien – Shucked

Susan Stroman – New York, New York


Outstanding Choreography

Andy Blankenbuehler – Only Gold

Edgar Godineaux – The Harder They Come

Casey Nicholaw – Some Like It Hot

Susan Stroman – New York, New York

Jennifer Weber - & Juliet


Outstanding Director of a Play

Kenny Leon – Topdog/Underdog

Pam MacKinnon – Downstate

Patrick Marber - Leopoldstadt

Adam Meggido – Peter Pan Goes Wrong

Max Webster – Life of Pi


Special Achievement Award

To B.H. Barry, one of the world's foremost fight directors, in recognition of a distinguished six-decade career capped off with Camelot at Lincoln Center Theater.

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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 http://reflectionsinthelight.blogspot.com/.

She is editor of The Connecticut Arts Connection (http://ctarts.blogspot.com), an award-winning website featuring theater and arts news for the state. She was a contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com. She previously served as theater reviewer for the Manchester Journal-Inquirer, Connecticut theater editor for CurtainUp.com 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.

Copyright

All material is copyright 2008- 2022 by Lauren Yarger. Reviews and articles may not be reprinted without permission. Contact reflectionsinthelight@gmail.com

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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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