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.

Alhambra’s Willy Wonka

The Alhambra Theatre opened a special summertime treat for children of all ages (from 5 to 95!), the musical stage version of Willy Wonka. The play is based on the children’s book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by British author Roald Dahl, which was made into a very successful film in 1971, followed by a remake in 2005; the story has been a kid favorite for years. The Alhambra has been turned into a land of candy and fantasy, inside and out. As you approach the theatre you see giant lollipops along the way as well as in the lovely garden …

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Alhambra’s Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Review

The Alhambra Theatre opened the second show of the 2011 season, with the family friendly musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. It continues through May 22, with performances every evening except Monday, and matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Although this musical debuted on Broadway, this is the first North Florida production. Why? The musical features great dance numbers, requiring many dancers. Unless you live in a very large city, like New York or Chicago, there are just not enough dancers for Community Theater to mount a production. Director Tod Booth selected his dancing and singing talent from all over the …

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Alhambra Hairspray Lee Hamby as Edna

Alhambra’s Hot-Hot-Hot Hairspray

North Florida weather is warming up as spring approaches, but if you really want really hot, hot, hot, then plan on seeing Hairspray, the latest Alhambra production that opened last weekend. The Broadway musical Hairspray was inspired by the 1988 film by director John Waters, and opened on Broadway in 2002. It was hot from the start, at 99% capacity for the first year and 86% for the second. Hairspray was nominated for 12 Tony Awards and won 8, including Best Musical, which propelled the production to a six-year run and 2,642 performances. The Alhambra’s production will run through April …

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The King and I at The Alhambra by iamesphoto.com

Alhambra’s The King and I

The Alhambra Theatre opened Rodgers and Hammerstein’s wonderful musical, The King and I, which has won many Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and was later made into a film starring Yul Brynner which won several Academy Awards. The story is that of Anna, an English governess (Kelly Atkins) who is hired in the early 1860’s to educate the children of the King of Siam (Tony Romero) and prepare them for the modern world. This proves more of a job than she had expected, as she finds a domineering autocratic ruler whose intimidated and submissive subjects value tradition and fear change. …

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Alhambra's Pirates of Penzance

Alhambra’s The Pirates of Penzance

The fourth collaboration between the Alhambra and the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra delighted audiences for three performances on October 1,2,3 at the Robert E. Jacoby Symphony Hall with Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operetta The Pirates of Penzance. It’s a light and frothy show about a pirate apprentice named Frederic (Wonderfully done in excellent voice by New York tenor Matt Morgan, who had the best styled hair of any Pirate I have ever seen). Frederic who on his 21st birthday has completed his indentured servitude and is free to join civilization and free society. This upsets his mild manner pirate friends, led …

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Alhambra Amorous Crossing Loretta Swit

Alhambra’s Amorous Crossing starring Loretta Swit

Were you hoping to take a cruise this summer but for some reason just didn’t get around to booking it? No need for continued disappointment. You can take a three-hour “cruise” with the Alhambra Theatre, which we have officially dubbed the SS Alhambra for the next four weeks. You will be entertained by a top-notch cast led by actress Loretta Swit, who won two Emmy Awards for her role as the most famous nurse in television history: Major Margaret “Hot Lips” Houlihan in the long-running M*A*S*H series. This Mark Miller comedy/farce takes place on a cruise ship headed for the …

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Alhambra Cinderella Gala by Iamesphoto.com

Alhambra’s Cinderella

Summertime is fun time and last weekend The Alhambra Theatre & Dining opened the magic musical Cinderella by Rodgers and Hammerstein, a special treat for all ages. Summertime is also the time for temperatures in the nineties, but your family can enjoy two great hours of wonderful entertainment and dining in air-conditioned comfort while watching this ever-popular fairytale performed by an outstanding cast. The musical follows the traditional story of the lovely young lady who has been relegated to a life of unceasing toil as a household drudge by her cruel stepmother and her two vain and malicious stepsisters, until …

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Alhambra The Foreigner

Alhambra’s The Foreigner

The Alhambra Theatre & Dining celebrated spring by opening its first non-musical since new ownership took over the reins of this legendary dinner theater. Their choice of Larry Shue’s The Foreigner, a hysterical farce of grand proportions, could not have been better. The play ranks right up there as one of the best theatrical farces along with Noises Off, Rumors, Blithe Spirit and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. We liked it because it is one of the best and is truly a farce with a heart. The comedy is set in a fishing lodge in Georgia …

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Alhambra 42nd Street

42nd Street: A Song & Dance Extravaganza

The Alhambra Theatre and Dining welcomed spring by opening their second show of 2010 with the dance-happy Tony Award winning musical 42nd Street. This musical about musicals, based on a 1933 film of the same name, will grace the Alhambra stage at 12000 Beach Blvd in Jacksonville until April 25th. The plot is about the desire of Broadway Director Julian Marsh (Dan Schiff) for one more hit show so he can recoup his stock market losses and retire. Abner Dillon (Earyle Rhodes) is his wealthy financial backer, Dorothy Brock (Patti Eyler) his temperamental diva, Peggy Sawyer (Erin Dowling) a hopeful …

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High School Musical Alhambra

Disney’s High School Musical at The Alhambra

It’s a new year, it’s a new decade, and the still very new Alhambra Theatre opened 2010 with the North Florida premiere of Disney’s HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL. Originally, High School Musical was a made-for-TV movie that aired on the Disney Channel and became a big hit, followed by the fastest-selling DVD of all time (1.2 million copies were sold in its first six days). The stage version debuted in Chicago in 2007 with a fantastic opening that included Michelle Obama and her kids in the audience. From everything I have read, those who have seen the movie and the stage …

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