CBT Saves Folk Musical 'Black Pearl Sings!' From Sanctimony
Published 2/29/2012 at 11:22 a.m. 0 comments
Directed by Kate Buckley, Black Pearl Sings! turns out to be better than you expect it to be. The premise—a naïve white folklorist interviewing a black convict for the “authentic” songs she knows—seems a recipe for sanctimony, and an after-school ...
Clarence Brown Theatre's 'Fuddy Meers': A Minor Riot of Absurdist Modern Comedy
Published 2/22/2012 at 11:56 a.m. 0 comments
Fuddy Meers is a comedy about cognitive dysfunction, but don’t go with a grim sense of duty and a checkbook. It is not an appeal for greater awareness for dementia or posttraumatic stress disorder, with a website that shows how ...
Theatre Knoxville Uncovers Existential Absurdity in Tom Stoppard's 'Heroes'
Published 1/18/2012 at 11:32 a.m. 0 comments
Heroes isn’t as bleak or, probably, as provocative as Beckett, but like that crypto-existentialist’s work, occasionally breaks through the mundane reality of mere sadness to absurdity, which can make the human condition seem pretty hilarious.
CBT Takes on Award-Winning Musical 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'
Published 11/2/2011 at 11:13 a.m. 0 comments
This is a modern-style Broadway musical, not much like Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, maybe, but not so different from, say, Rent.
CBT Takes on the Old Chestnut 'The Music Man'
Published 4/27/2011 at 10:35 a.m. 2 comments
I wish I could square my regular dismay at being obliged to review another all-too-familiar musical with the fact—hard to confess to my intellectual pals—that I enjoy them, usually more than the fresher plays that seem serious and important.
Clarence Brown Theatre Updates Racine's Update of the Phaedra Myth
Published 4/6/2011 at 9:58 a.m. 0 comments
What do you do when you come home and find out your wife and stepson are, as the gossips say, an item? That’s the domestic dilemma of the Greek hero-king Theseus, who’s been gone so long everybody thinks he’s dead.
CBT Refreshes Shakespeare's Classic Comedy 'The Merry Wives of Windsor'
Published 3/2/2011 at 11:57 a.m. 1 comment
Last month PBS ran a solemn documentary about TV comedies, and the announcer gravely intoned that Jackie Gleason “invented a new art form: the situation comedy.” That claim is most credible, of course, when you find some way to discredit ...
Clarence Brown Stages a Live Performance of a Fictional Radio Broadcast of 'It's a Wonderful Life'
Published 12/8/2010 at 10:43 a.m. 0 comments
Maybe the most-watched black-and-white movie today, It’s a Wonderful Life was the first movie ever available on home video, and still gets shown on network TV. If you don’t get enough of it at home, the original movie was shown ...
At Clarence Brown, an Unnerving 'Woyzeck'
Published 10/13/2010 at 9:38 a.m. 0 comments
"Woyzeck" arrives at the University of Tennessee’s Carousel Theatre with a strange pedigree. Georg Buchner, a political writer and ineffectual revolutionary in 1830s Germany, died of typhus at age 23, leaving unfinished this peculiar drama about a paranoid wife-killer. Something ...
Two Local Productions Explore Sisterhood and Solidarity
Published 9/21/2010 at 4:47 p.m. 0 comments
The Woman-Power play in America dates from the 1980s, when Crimes of the Heart and Steel Magnolias were being performed in every little theater across the country. The Hallelujah Girls is definitely in the same gene pool.
CBT Cast Breathes Life Into Uninspired Material in "Amadeus"
Published 9/13/2010 at 5:21 p.m. 0 comments
With a central premise recycled from his earlier hit Equus, Amadeus has always felt to me like second-hand goods. With so little dramatic material to work from, most of the artistic heavy lifting falls to the actor playing Salieri, and ...
'Sherlock’s Last Case' Fulfills All the Requirements of Summer Theater
Published 8/11/2010 at 8:52 a.m. 0 comments
Theater companies reserve the summer for their frothiest, most lightweight entertainments. Theatre Knoxville Downtown opens its sixth season with Sherlock’s Last Case, a play so unencumbered by meaning that it practically evaporates before your eyes. And if the company puts ...
Oak Ridge Playhouse Dusts Off Rice/Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Published 5/12/2010 at 11:23 a.m. 0 comments
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, that staple of middle schools and church groups (and Donny Osmond’s personal cash cow for a decade), closes the 67th season at the Oak Ridge Playhouse this weekend. People feel passionately about Tim Rice ...
Clarence Brown Theatre Takes on '60s Icon Man of La Mancha
Published 4/21/2010 at 9:17 a.m. 0 comments
The story has some existential heft, and quips worthy of Oscar Wilde—“I don’t have the courage to believe in nothing,” says the main character, as he bemoans “the melancholy burden of sanity.” And it opens with a twist.
Two Romantic Comedies, Written a Century Apart, Share a Single Truth
Published 2/24/2010 at 9:35 a.m. 0 comments
Regardless of the play’s strengths or weaknesses, Frankie and Johnny will be spoken of for the rest of this year, and maybe for years to come, as the nude play. Stage nudity is not a regular thing hereabouts.