Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.

FOOTLOOSE AT THE ALHAMBRA

“Footloose” opened at the Alhambra Dinner Theatre on October 22 and will remain on stage through November 22, 2020. The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville – Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom – did not review the opening of this production, which was sold out before it even opened! Looks like the “Grease” crowd wanted to see it and turned out in force. We’ve seen productions in other venues and loved them: the plot revolves around a teenager facing the challenge of life in a small town that has outlawed dancing. If you want to see it, you can try calling …

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LOVE, SEX AND THE I.R.S at the ALHAMBRA

ALHAMBRA THEATRE AND DINING REVIEW The Alhambra Dinner Theatre is staging “Love, Sex and the IRS,” a farce that plays out at whirlwind speed. It opened on September 30, 2020 and will remain through October 18, to be followed by “Footloose” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The play, written by Billy Van Zandt and Jane Milmore, debuted in 1979, delivers non-stop laughs for two hours, and remains one of the comic greats. The setting is a large two-story apartment in New York, which at today’s prices would probably cost at least $3,000 dollars a month to rent. Two struggling musicians …

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EXIT STRATEGY – A PHASE EIGHT THEATER COMPANY REVIEW

Phase Eight Theater Company Delivers Excellent Acting with Superb Direction and Performances Phase Eight brought the Jacksonville premiere of “Exit Strategy” to the stage on October 3, 2020 to an enthusiastic audience. The company, known for provocative productions, was founded several years ago by JaMario Stills, a Douglas Anderson School of the Arts graduate. He is currently pursuing an advanced degree in directorial studies at Brown University, and Kelby Siddons has agreed to accept the role of Managing Director during his absence. She is well known to theatre audiences as an actress, director, playwright, and teacher. And perhaps now, after …

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CINDERELLA at the ALHAMBRA

The Dual Critics review of “Cinderella” at Alhambra Theatre & Dining find it to be “A lively heartfelt charmer.” The Alhambra Theatre opened “Cinderella,” a long-awaited summer musical on June 11th, 2020, which remains on stage through July 26th. The music is by Richard Rogers, the lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, with an updated book by the talented Douglas Carter Beane, who also provided a new book for “Sister Act” and wrote the Tony-nominated “Nance.” The tale is an old one and well-known; the version we are most familiar with is based on “Cendrillon” a French story published in 1697. …

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: QUILTERS AT PLAYERS BY THE SEA IN 2002  

Reviewed by Dick Kerekes and originally published in EU JACKSONVILLE in 2002 As theatres are closed throughout the world because of the current pandemic crisis, the Dual Critics along with many others, are revisiting and republishing some of their previous work. The musical “Quilters,” was staged at Players By the Sea in 2002 and took home the trophy for best play of the year. Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek used the book “Quilters: Women and Domestic Art” (first published in 1977), as the basis for the production, which dramatized the history of the American frontier in a most unique way. …

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FROM THE ARCHIVES: SIDE MAN BY JACKSONVILLE STAGE COMPANY IN 2002   

Reviewed by Dick Kerekes and originally published in EU JACKSONVILLE in 2002  Theatres throughout the country are dark and shuttered. So what’s a reviewer to do?  Terry Teachout, a well-known New York Times reviewer, has an answer which the Dual Critics are adapting: republish older reviews and articles that will revive the past and bring back memories for theatre lovers. Our first selection, drawn from EU Jacksonville’s extensive collection, is “Side Man,” which was published in 2002. The 1999 Tony Award Winner, Warren Leight’s “Side Man” debuted last weekend at the Church of the Good Shepherd, currently the home of …

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“CHARLEY’S AUNT” BY ACT II PLAYERS   

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW BY DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM The Dual Critics traveled to Jacksonville’s Mandarin area on March 7 to see the first recent North Florida production of “Charley’s Aunt,” which was staged at the Mandarin United Methodist Church (11270 San Jose Blvd.) by the newly formed Act II Players. The group evolved as a theatre troupe of the Fine Arts Conservatory, and is filled with energetic talented members. This farce by British author Brandon Thomas was first performed on an English stage in 1882 and made it to Broadway in 1893; long runs followed.  The play still …

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ROMEO & JULIET Presented by an All-Female Cast at PLAYERS BY THE SEA

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW BY DICK KEREKES & LEISLA SANSOM On Saturday February 23, 2020, the Bard’s Romeo and Juliet was staged at Jacksonville Beach’s Players by the Sea Theatre, and played to an appreciative almost full house. The play, first mounted in the late 1500’s, is one of Shakespeare’s most well-known and most- produced plays. The production at Players included a twist: an all-female cast.  So how did they get to Players, and why an all-female cast? Tyler Lewis’s Self-Produced Theatre initially planned to stage the play in a venue in Springfield, but regrettably lost its space. Players by …

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LOVE QUEST at THEATRE JACKSONVILLE

A Romantic Comedy is part of the Historic Theatre’s 100th Season A Dual Critics Review by Dick Kerekes and Leisla Sansom Theatre Jacksonville opened “Love Quest,” the third show of its 100th Season, on February 21, and will remain through March 8, 2020. This contemporary romance, which brings new insights into today’s tactics for seeking a mate, was written by Mary Maguire and Steven McGraw; both were in the audience on opening night. Theatre Jacksonville is a city treasure founded in 1919. Afterward, Philanthropist Carl S. Swisher donated land and financing for the construction of the company’s historic San Marco …

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HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS AT ALHAMBRA THEATRE AND DINING

This show is filled with comedy and razzle dazzle numbers! A Dual Critics Review by Dick Kerekes and Leisla Sansom The Alhambra Theatre opened “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” on February 20th, 2020, which remains on stage through March 22nd.  This power house production, with songs and lyrics by Frank Loesser, debuted in 1961 and garnered seven Tony awards along with the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama; a film adaptation was released in 1967. Director and producer Tod Booth has done a marvelous casting job in his selection of the twenty actors who bring the frenzied world …

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april, 2022

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