Mean Girls

Fans of the 2004 film Mean Girls will not be disappointed by the musical adaptation of the film that opens at Washington D.C.’s National Theater today.

Mean Girls begins with the homeschooled Cady Heron (Erika Henningsen) moving from Kenya to Illinois to begin her junior year of high school at North Shore High School. She meets two self-proclaimed “loners,” Janis (Barrett Weed) and Damian (Grey Henson), who decide to help Cady acclimate to the American high school environment. Cady also meets three popular girls who make up a clique called “the Plastics:” Gretchen Weiners (Ashley Park), Karen Smith (Kate Rockwell), and queen bee Regina George (Taylor Louderman). The Plastics invite Cady to join their lunch table, and Janis suggests that Cady use this opportunity to sabotage the evil Regina and her friends.

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The Band’s Visit

The Band’s Visit begins with the following words appearing on a scrim at the front of the stage: “Not long ago, a band came to Israel from Egypt. You probably never heard about it. It wasn’t very important.”

In contrast to that statement, what emerges is absolutely an important story. The Band’s Visit is a story about the good that can come from cultural exchange. The Egyptian police band from Alexandria revitalizes the Israeli desert town of Bet Hatikvah after the residents bemoan how boring the town is in the show’s opening number. Continue reading

After Anatevka

Anyone who has seen Fiddler on the Roof knows that Hodel, Tevye’s second daughter, gets on a train to Siberia early in the musical’s second act and is never heard from again. In her novel, After Anatevka, Alexandra Silber, imagines Hodel’s life in prison camps in Siberia with her Socialist husband, Perchik.

While After Anatevka features many characters and scenarios from Fiddler on the Roof, knowledge of the musical is not necessary to read and enjoy the novel. Silber introduces each of the characters and provides all necessary background information.

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Hello, Dolly! with Donna Murphy

There has been a lot of buzz surrounding the current revival of Hello, Dolly!, especially around its star, Bette Midler. Starting on June 13, Donna Murphy began playing Dolly Gallagher Levi on Tuesday evenings. It is absolutely worth seeing Hello, Dolly! twice because Donna Murphy is giving a sensational performance as the meddling matchmaker.

Hello, Dolly! chronicles the exploits of Dolly Levi (Donna Murphy) as she tries to convince a Yonkers businessman, Horace Vandergelder, to marry her. While their boss heads to NYC to march in a parade, Horace’s employees, Cornelius (Gavin Creel) and Barnaby (Taylor Trensch) head to NYC as well on a mission to find love. Also wrapped up in Dolly’s shenanigans are a widowed hat saleswoman, Irene Malloy (Kate Baldwin), and Horace’s niece, Ermengarde (Melanie Moore).

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Roman Holiday

Roman Holiday, a charming musical based on the 1953 film starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, is now playing at SHN’s Golden Gate Theatre through June 18th.

The musical follows Princess Anne (Stephanie Styles) of an unnamed European country who decides she needs a taste of how non-royals live as she ends her European tour in Rome. Anne runs away from her country’s embassy and happens upon a reporter for American News Service, Joe Bradley (Drew Gehling). Sensing a story, Joe takes Princess Anne on a tour of Rome. Joe also invites along his friend Irving (Jarrod Spector), a photographer, to take photos to accompany his news story. Continue reading

Miss Saigon

IMG_2799.jpgWhen Miss Saigon first appeared on Broadway in 1991, the Vietnam War would have been in the fairly recent memories of its audience members. In 2017, however, the musical is outdated.

Miss Saigon, based on Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, begins as the American troops are preparing to leave Saigon in 1975. At a dive bar known as Dreamland, an American GI named Chris (Alistair Brammer) meets the bar’s newest dancer, Kim (Eva Noblezada), and he immediately falls in love with her. He makes a deal with the bar’s sleazy owner, known as the Engineer (Jon Jon Briones), to allow him to spend the night with Kim. Kim and Chris immediately fall in love and begin to make plans to leave Saigon together to go to the United States.

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Bandstand

Once in a while, a show comes along in which actors, choreography, music, and set come together so beautifully that one can’t help but be moved. This is the case with Bandstand, which is currently in previews at the Jacobs Theatre.

Bandstand follows Donny Novistski (Corey Cott), a piano prodigy who has recently returned to Cleveland from serving in the South Pacific in World War II. He hears about a “Tribute to the Troops” music contest that could get him and his music into a movie. Donny sets out to put together a band of fellow veterans of the war. The band’s lead singer, Julia Trojan (Laura Osnes) is the widow of Donny’s best friend from his unit.  Continue reading