Cessy Newmon

Waitress serves delicious dish at the Times Union

The only thing half-baked about WAITRESS is that it was only in Jacksonville one night!  Based on the movie written by Adrienne Shelly, the stage book was written by Jessie Nelson and features original music and lyrics by Grammy Award winner Sara Bareilles.  The whole mixture is to a delicious treat. The cast opens with, “What’s Inside,” a number to truly open a show.  Everything — lead performers, strong ensemble, sets, choreography, and practical effects — was heartwarming and hilarious.  The audience was applauding loudly after every song and laughing so loudly the cast had to pause numerous times.  Thank goodness I was …

Read More »

Regally ANASTASIA at the Times Union

Anastasia is based on the long-held myth that Grand Duchess Anastasia and her younger brother, Tsarevich Alexei, escaped the family’s assassination in 1918.  In the mass grave that held the parents, only three of the four sisters were found.  Spoilers!  The fourth sister and Alexei were found in 2007, ten years after the animated movie release.  Although the mystic Rasputin (in the movie, but not the play) makes for a great bad guy, he was actually assassinated two years before the Romanovs.  Last, but not least, the Dowager Empress never lived in Paris.  She traveled to England to live with …

Read More »

Words and Dishes fly in August: Osage County

The Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine has staged Tracy Letts’ dark comedy (a Pulitzer and Tony-winner), a portrait of Americana that captures the quarrelsome Weston clan who have gathered to pay their last respects to one of their own—and disrespects to each other.  According to Mr. Letts, it is based on family history.  His grandfather committed suicide when Letts was 10 years old. August: Osage County begins with a scene that almost seems out of context with the rest of the show:  Alcoholic patriarch Beverly (Rich Nowell) quotes T.S. Eliot in the opening segment ae he is hiring a caretaker, …

Read More »

CATS Frolic at the Times Union

Cats coming together for a Jellicle Ball to sing, dance and wonder who will be the one chosen to ascend to the Heaviside layer. CATS first opened in London, with Broadway following a year later.  Awards for both productions followed, and they even vied for the Best Musical Theater Album Grammy.  The show is one of the most internationally produced of all time and has been considered the gateway to the modern blockbuster musical and musicals becoming a global commodity. The show is comprised of songs that derived mostly from TS Eliot’s 1939 poetry book, originally written for his godchildren, …

Read More »
Scotty Briggs Art, mural

Keeping Company at Orange Park Community Theater

Company, a 1970 musical comedy with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by George Furth, was among the first musicals to deal with adult themes and relationships and is not for young audiences (cautions on language and subject matter).  To quote Sondheim, “Broadway theater has been for many years supported by upper-middle-class people with upper-middle-class problems.  These people really want to escape that world when they go to the theatre, and then here we are with Company talking about how we’re going to bring it right back in their faces.”  The original production was nominated for a record-setting fourteen Tony Awards and won six. Returning to …

Read More »
Bewitchingly 'Bell, Book and Candle' at Orange Park Community Theatre

Bewitchingly ‘Bell, Book and Candle’ at Orange Park Community Theatre

For the second show of its 50th Anniversary season, (OPCT) took on the 1950 classic, Bell, Book and Candle. In a bewitchingly fun version, the audience, to paraphrase Aunt Queenie, was giggling and giggling (and laughing) pretty consistently throughout. Considering this script is almost 70 years old and has spawned two well-known movies (its namesake and Spellbound) and a TV series (Bewitched), there is a large shadow from which they have admirably stepped. It is unusual to critique two consecutive shows by the same director. has cast this impeccably, each character bringing their own distinct personality to the stage. This …

Read More »

A Beauty of a Start to a 50th Season at Orange Park Community Theatre

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast With a rendition of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast that had everyone laughing, clapping, ooh-ing and aah-ing, kicks off its 50th Anniversary season. For a small stage, this theatre touts big talent. Director brings to life a show that delights the senses of young and old alike, and I say that because the entire audience, with a fairly full house, was clearly enjoying themselves throughout. The characters are well-cast, the vocals (Jeremy McKinnies) and choreography (Javi Fernandez) are wonderful, and there are audible gasps and claps from the audience with the myriad of reveals from …

Read More »
Pride & Prejudice, Northeast Florida Conservatory

No Prejudice for this Pride-Worthy Performance by Northeast Florida Conservatory

With performances at Mandarin Presbyterian Church before moving to Atlantic Blvd., the presents the classic Pride and Prejudice, running through July 21. Based on the novel by Jane Austen, it is set in the early 1800’s England and is a romantic sparring match touching on manners and morals. It is time when women were expected to marry, because bloodlines – and money – passed only from father to son. An ever-harried Mr. Bennet and Mrs. Bennet, whose life revolves around marrying off her daughters, are hilariously portrayed by  and . The daughters number five: Jane (Madeline Crawchuk), who is heartbroken …

Read More »
Mamma Mia, Peach State Summer Theatre

Mamma Mia, Valdosta State University’s Peach State Summer Theatre Has a Crazy Line-Up!

Peach State Summer Theatre is a professional summer stock theatre located on the lovely University campus in Valdosta, GA. Each summer, some 60 talents gather for ten-weeks to rehearse, build and present three musicals in repertoire. has produced professional summer musical theatre since 1990. Just two hours from Jacksonville, Valdosta is a thriving community with much to offer. If three musicals in a weekend aren’t your cup of tea, take in a theme park, golf course, museums, historic areas, or just relax in the lovely surroundings. For their 30th season, which includes Mamma Mia!, Little Women, and Crazy for You …

Read More »

The Music Man: 76 Trombones are on Parade at Orange Park Community Theatre

The last show of ’s season is The Music Man. This classic musical with book, music, and lyrics by Meredith Willson, was not only based on Willson’s boyhood in Mason City, Iowa, but the role of Marian was based on a real person, Marian Seeley of Provo, UT, a medical records librarian whom Willson met in WWII. There were over 40 drafts and 20 cut songs before the show finally made it to Broadway in 1957, where it has been so successful, it garnered five Tony awards (over West Side Story) in its first year, spawned TV and Film adaptations, …

Read More »
X
X