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  • Clarence Brown’s "Oedipus the King" Leaves the Audience Out of the Action Published 2/10/2010 at 9:22 a.m. 0 comments

    What is theater? That’s a big question, possibly better suited for a graduate seminar than a newspaper review, but one brought up by Cal MacLean, the producing artistic director of the Clarence Brown Theatre, on the opening night of Oedipus ...

  • Theatre Knoxville's "Forbidden Knoxville" Leaves Nothing Sacred Published 1/19/2010 at 5:54 p.m. 0 comments

    In its second rendition, Forbidden Knoxville is a two-act roasting of everything K-town, cooked to perfection. With its original libretto sharply written by its director, Jayne Morgan, and its musical score set wonderfully to familiar Broadway tunes by its musical ...

  • Tennessee Stage Company Rescues a Bad Script with Care and Focus in New Production of "I Hate Hamlet" Published 12/2/2009 at 8:34 a.m. 2 comments

    There are rumors of a curse when it comes to Paul Rudnick’s I Hate Hamlet. As with all rumors and curses, truths tend to be overwhelmed by myth, but in previous productions of the play, I have seen where such ...

  • Actors Co-op Presents Sam Shepard’s Fool for Love Published 11/11/2009 at 3:34 p.m. 0 comments

    The challenge for a company attempting this precarious piece is that Shepard ruthlessly plops his hapless characters into a world that has no true history. Or if the truth ever did exist, it now hides in the folds of the ...

  • Hometown actress Dale Dickey skillfully inhabits Tennessee Williams’ Tortured Blanche Published 9/9/2009 at 1:07 p.m. 1 comment

    As Blanche descends into frailty and fantasy, the demands of the part escalate, and the final act is a responsibility harrowing enough to make even an exceptionally strong actor uneasy. Director Calvin MacLean’s wonderful production is lucky indeed to boast ...

  • Clarence Brown Ends on High Note with Tommy Published 4/22/2009 at 4:15 p.m. 0 comments

    Like all vital arts organizations, the Clarence Brown Theatre is, in equal parts, exhilarating and infuriating. This is as it should be; if a theater is to take risks then by definition it must occasionally misjudge, offend, and even fail, ...

  • Copenhagen Works Against Clarence Brown Theatre Published 4/1/2009 at 3:10 p.m. 0 comments

    I recall attending a play years ago when, just as the performance was about to start, the theater manager stormed in and accused a few innocent audience members of not having paid for their tickets. He may as well have ...

  • Clarence Brown Production a Master Work Published 3/4/2009 at 3:03 p.m. 0 comments

    A bad night at the cinema is 10 times better than a bad night at the theater, but a great night at the theater is 10 times better than a great night at the cinema. Why? Theater is risky. At ...

  • Triumph of Love nearly nails it Published 2/3/2009 at 10:27 a.m. 1 comment

    Director David Kennedy’s straightforward, plush realization of Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love is a commendable production, easier to admire than enjoy but offering nevertheless a worthwhile opportunity to see a significant play.

  • Dancing About Architecture Published 11/12/2008 at 5:00 p.m. 0 comments

    One of the lessons to be learned from the example of Pilobolus, the esteemed Connecticut-based dance company, might be to think long and hard about the possible consequences of your youthful larks and distractions. Four decades later you might find ...

  • Heaven on Stage Published 11/5/2008 at 5:00 p.m. 0 comments

    I often fantasize about a Knoxville in which theater and football have switched places. Leading up to game days we would see Phillip Fulmer—or whoever the head coach will be—frantically pleading with small businesses for a few dollars in sponsorship, ...

  • Dramatic Misbehavior Published 9/10/2008 at 5:00 p.m. 1 comment

    The Clarence Brown Theatre opens its new season with an odd choice, Ain’t Misbehavin’: The Fats Waller Musical Show. The final word in the subtitle was presumably inserted by the lawyers, since while the production is certainly a show—and unquestionably ...

  • Into Thin Air Published 7/23/2008 at 5:00 p.m. 0 comments

    Shakespeare on the Square dares to bring the Bard’s English into the humid arena of Market Square. Stratford-upon-Avon’s own Kieron Barry is there to catch all the action.

  • Theater of Cruelty Published 5/14/2008 at 5:00 p.m. 0 comments

    I have a recurring fear when at the cinema. On screen, the hero gives his “hoo-hah” turnaround speech in Act Three and the assembled athletes, factory workers, or grateful villagers that have thronged about him break into a riot of ...

  • The Neon Lights Are Bright Published 4/16/2008 at 6:00 p.m. 1 comment

    Theater: After seeing Philip Seymour Hoffmann’s stunning off-Broadway production of The Little Flower of East Orange last week, I thought it a safe bet I wouldn’t emerge so exhilarated from a theater for some time. But in Guys & Dolls, ...