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.

“A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” at Players by the Sea

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW by Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom “Forum” is based on the comedies of long-ago Greek playwright Plautus (251-183 BC), with a modern-day book by Burt Shevelove and Larry Gelbart and music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. An interesting little-known fact about the show occurred during pre-Broadway tryouts when it wasn’t doing well. Jerome Robbins was consulted; he advised presenting the show as a wild, ribald comedy, and got the talented Sondheim to write “Comedy Tonight” for the opening number. That did it: after opening on Broadway in 1962, it remained for almost 1,000 performances, garnered six …

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"In the Heights" by Jacksonville University’s Department of Theatre is a Dancing Delight

“In the Heights” by Jacksonville University’s Department of Theatre is a Dancing Delight

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW Jacksonville University’s Department of Theatre has staged three performances of “In The Heights” at the during January 17 -19, 2020. The musical was a blockbuster, with book by Quiara Alegria Hudes and music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda. A Broadway opening in March 2008 garnered a Pulitzer prize nomination for Drama, thirteen Tony nominations and four awards: Best Musical, Best Original Score, Best Choreography, Best Orchestration. And as you probably know, Miranda didn’t stop there – he wrote and starred in “Hamilton,” which was nominated for sixteen Tonys in 2016, won eleven awards, and received the …

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The Immigrant: An Upbeat, Limited-Set Story at Players by the Sea's Studio Theatre

The Immigrant: An Upbeat, Limited-Set Story at Players by the Sea’s Studio Theatre

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW Jacksonville Beaches is always coming up with new ideas. Last year, they created a “Second Season” to expand their offerings. The plays, most with limited sets and costuming, are staged in the Studio Theatre, which has about eighty seats. The first play of this venture was “Memories of Ruby Mae” in September, 2019. Players did not sell tickets for the play but did accept donations. This year they staged “The Immigrant,” during January 9 – 11. “The Immigrant” was written in 1985 by multi-talented Mark Harelik, an American television, film, and stage actor, and playwright. The play …

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Love Letters: A Booth Family Affair at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining, Alhambra_Love Letters_Photography by Jamie Iames Repper_Tod Booth and Lisa Valdini Booth

Love Letters: A Booth Family Affair at the Alhambra Theatre & Dining

Love Letters: A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW  Jacksonville Florida’s opened “Love Letters” on January 9th, 2020, which remains on stage through February 9th, and is the first of nine golden oldies in the Alhambra’s 2020 season. The play, written by A.R. Gurney, premiered in New York in 1988 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  Casting is easy as the play has only two characters: Melissa Gardner and Andrew Makepeace Ladd III. Throughout the play, they sit at separate tables on opposite sides of the stage and read cards, notes and letters they have sent to each other over the …

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A New Story for our Local Stages: Shadowlands at Theatre Jacksonville

A New Story for our Local Stages: Shadowlands at Theatre Jacksonville

Shadowlands: A Dual Critics Review    opened the second play of its 100th season with Shadowlands by William Nicholson on January 10, 2019, which will remain on stage through January 26. This true story, new to our local stages, is both a romantic drama and an exploration of challenging theological issues.  The play opened in London in 1989, premiered on Broadway in 1990, and garnered a Tony nomination.  Shadowlands is set in the 1950’s in England, and begins with confirmed bachelor C. S. Lewis (known as “Jack”) carousing with his buddies, a scene meant to show his comfortable carefree life.  He …

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New Year's Eve Gala was a Roar at Alhambra Theatre & Dining

New Year’s Eve Gala was a Roar at Alhambra Theatre & Dining

Jacksonville’s fabulous closed out 2019, a year filled with many outstanding sold-out productions, which included their traditional New Year’s Eve Gala. Suggested attire included formal wear and 1920’s flapper era garb, and we saw many many ladies in beautiful dresses this year. The party began around 6:00 pm in the lobby and library with wait staff offering champagne flutes and fine appetizers (best-ever appetizer: Classic Oysters Rockefeller). Seating followed at 6:30. Dinner included Lobster Bisque or Caesar Salad and four entrée choices: the most popular was Filet & Maine Lobster with mashed potatoes and asparagus. Other choices included deviled crab, …

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A Delightful Production of "A Christmas Carol" at Players by the Sea Brings New Twists and an Incredible Set, Photos by Maya Adkins

A Delightful Production of “A Christmas Carol” at Players by the Sea Brings New Twists and an Incredible Set

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW: A CHRISTMAS CAROL  ‘Tis the Christmas Season and no Christmas – past, present, or future – would be complete without the staging of “A Christmas Carol,” a touching morality story based on the novella by Victorian author Charles Dickens. Publication in 1843 brought him enduring fame, and audiences return to the story again and again, bringing new generations of children with them.  Players’ production, directed by , opened on December 6 and will remain on stage through December 22, 2019. The script is an adaptation by playwright , and is as delightful as Dickens’ original story. Perhaps …

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Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: "Elf - The Musical" at the Alhambra

Song, Dance, Comedy, and a Holiday Feast: “Elf – The Musical” at the Alhambra

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW: Elf – The Musical The  opened its annual Christmas holiday show with the return of “Elf – The Musical” on November 29, which remains on stage through December 24, 2019. Last year’s production of this holiday classic filled with Christmas cheer was sold out in August, and played to full houses throughout the run.  Managing Partner, , decided to reschedule the play this year so theatergoers who were disappointed that they couldn’t get tickets last year could see it. The current production also sold out in August, and Craig says it’s their “fastest-selling show ever.” So …

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Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) at the Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some) at the Limelight Theatre in St. Augustine

A Dual Critics Review St. Augustine’s Limelight Theatre is staging the wildly entertaining “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some)” during November 22 – December 22, 2019 in the Koger-Gamache Black Box Theatre. The play, written by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald and John K. Alvarez, was initially staged in New Jersey in 2003 and has become a popular holiday choice for venues throughout the country.  Limelight’s version is directed by , and features , Cameron Hodges, and , who portray three actors planning a Christmas show. Craig is well known at Limelight for past roles which have included “Heathers: …

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Romeo and Juliet: An Immersive Experience with Jacksonville University’s Theatre Program

Romeo and Juliet: An Immersive Experience with Jacksonville University’s Theatre Program

Jacksonville University’s Theatre Program presented “Romeo and Juliet,” William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, during October 1 – November 3, 2019. The tragedy of the star-crossed lovers was staged in the Swisher Theatre and directed by Deborah Jordon. Scholars think The Bard wrote the play around 1594; a printed edition was released in 1597. And while we don’t know the date or location of the play’s debut, we do know that Renaissance plays were longer than those of today; productions could easily extend to three or four hours. From the director’s perspective, some editing was needed. She shortened the stage time to two …

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october, 2021

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