Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Win Some, You Lose Some (twice)

Once again I'm behind on my theater reviews. As I said in a previous post, I went a little crazy with theater subscriptions and tickets this year and it seems I'm seeing a show every other week. I'm not complaining mind you, I just can't keep up - with blogging or with my schedule. My eyes were bigger than my stomach. Anyway I've seen two shows in the past couple of weeks - A Chorus Line and To Kill a Mockingbird. First, A Chorus Line...

Oops, I did it again! Some of you may remember that I saw A Chorus Line back in March when it played at the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC). And I didn't like it. At all. Even if it is the Best Musical Ever. Whatever. So when The Community Players announced their 2009-2010 season back in May, I wasn't thrilled to see that A Chorus Line was the first show in their line up. (Even if I had loved this show, it really doesn't make sense to me that a small community theater group would choose to do a show that was just in town as a Broadway tour. Does this make sense to any of you?) But, I digress. I decided to go see the show at The Community Players (TCP) anyway. And I still didn't like it. There were however a few bright spots. Albert Jennings who played Paul (the Puerto Rican who relives his drag act and his coming to terms with his homosexuality) was spectacular. A real triple threat. The boy can act and he can sing, but man can he dance. He was amazing. It was also fun to see Lia Del Sesto in the role of the saucy and streetwise Sheila. It looks like a fun role to play and Lia did a great job! Lia just happens to be a friend of Colleen - who is one of the friends with whom I attend TCP. As a matter of fact, it's because of Colleen's friendship with Lia that a group of us are now season ticket holders to TCP. So any show that has Lia in it, is especially exciting for us. But, exciting or not, I'm done with A Chorus Line. I won't be seeing any more productions of this longest running Broadway show - no matter who is in it or where it is playing.

This past Saturday night was the long awaited production of To Kill a Mockingbird at 2nd Story Theater in Warren. 2nd Story Theater is another local community group that gets rave reviews - and not just locally. Believe it or not, I had never seen a show there. Mostly because I like musicals a lot more than dramas (at least I thought I did) and until last year I wasn't seeing all that many shows. After last season when I had an opportunity to see a few different productions at different venues, I vowed to myself that I would make an effort to see more theater this season and at more venues. Since 2nd Story Theater is practically in my neighborhood, it made sense to see a show there. When I saw that To Kill a Mockingbird was in their lineup - it was a no brainer for me. I vaguely remember reading this book in HS, but I couldn't remember anything about it. Then about a year and a half ago, my book club read TKAM and everyone loved it. The book made such an impact on me I borrowed the movie from the library and watched it. And needless to say, I loved it as well. Four of us from book club attended the production and it was fabulous. The theater is quite small and very intimate. The acting was all very well done. Both Margaret Durning, who played Scout and Vince Petronio, who played Atticus were very good. But two of the actors really impressed me. The first is Evan Kinnane, who played Jem. I wish I knew more about Evan (there was no playbill for this show, just a half sheet of paper with the actor's names - no bios. That's a real shortcoming in my opinion). He looked to be about 11-13 years old and he was a real natural.** But the best characterization by far was F William Oakes portrayal of Bob Ewell. Oakes portrayal of Ewell was so realistic and creepy that I swear I thought they found some dirty scumbag from off the street (or in a prison) to play him. His body language, his appearance, his demeanor - everything - was so authentic. I've never seen F William Oakes in any other plays or in real life, but I'd love to see what he's like. He's either a scary individual or a great actor. My gut tells me he's a great actor. Kudos to Mr. Oakes! I will definitely try to fit more 2nd Story Theater productions into my theater schedule. Wish me luck!

**EDIT: I did a little research on Evan Kinnane and he is 13 years old and has already appeared in over 2 dozen shows. He is one of 9 home-schooled children. A recent article in the Providence Journal highlighted Evan's career. You can also watch video of Evan singing John Lennon's Imagine (which just happens to be my all time favorite song). And as the American Idol judges would say, "Evan, you really made that your own. Good job, Dawg!" Since I have no idea how to post a video here, I'll give you the url: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnVfB9hcPf8.


Anita said...

You were brave on A Chorus Line, I hope you won't try it again.
TKAM, is one of my favorite books and films, it was just so well portrayed on film, and you know I've seen interview with Gregory Peck and it left a lasting impression on him. I'd love to see it done well on stage, so glad to hear you had that chance.
I love your theater reviews.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Sounds like you chose plays I would enjoy. I've never seen a play adaption of TKAM. One of my favorite books and movies. I envy you having the theatre life. So long since I've to the theatre. Even a movie. Perhaps when tuition bills are all paid. Meanwhile, I'll live through you.

Tammy Howard said...

I would love to see TKAM. I tend to prefer musicals, as well, but then sometimes a drama will come along and just knock you for a loop. Glad you're enjoying those season tickets!

Sandy said...

Since I had the pleasure of seeing both of these productions with you, I can say your reviews were spot on. The only part of Chorus Line that I really enjoyed was a couple of the songs and most of the dance numbers. That said, we could have seen it in 30 minutes. I don't know what the big deal is about that musical, I found the whole story to be very ho-hum. But I do enjoy local theater and look forward to other plays there.

TKAM was another experience. I was so impressed by the production itself done in a very small venue but with some big talent. I got so caught up watching Atticus that a couple times when he turned around from having his back to me I was startled to see it wasn't Gregory Peck. And of course I thought Peck did a wonderful job in the movie. I look forward to seeing other productions staged by this local group as well.

And I think we will be seeing more of young Evan on a much larger stage. Thanks for the link, he did an awesome job of Imagine.

Pam said...
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Pam said...
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Confessions From A Working Mom said...

Those home-schooled kids-- they are ALWAYS the virtuosos! Makes me want to homeschool G.

Thanks for the link. This makes me more excited than ever to re-read TKAM. But why can't I remember who Ewell is in the novel??

Confessions From A Working Mom


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