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  • Article

    Frenchman's Creak - Exhumed Jacques Brel loses sense of composer

    Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris is a musical revue that became an off-Broadway staple nearly 30 years ago. Truth be told, Jacques Brel is quite dead. If he weren't, Todd James Smeltzer Productions' current version of this tired hom...

    by Robrt L. Pela on October 24, 1996
  • Article

    Rootin' Teuton - German choreographer to unleash white mice and plastic whale in $2 million Deutsch dance extravaganza

    German choreographer Pina Bausch came to our own Arizona desert several times looking for material for her latest work, Nur Du, whose Arizona premiere is Thursday night at Gammage Auditorium in Tempe. Translated into German from the 1955 Platters hit...

    by Merilyn Jackson on October 17, 1996
  • Article

    Sketch Marks - All in the Timing knows its pace

    All in the Timing, a collection of six short one-acts now being staged by Actors Theatre of Phoenix, exploded off-Broadway a couple of seasons ago. It snagged a spot on Time magazine's 1995 "Ten Best" list and made an overnight star of its author, Da...

    by Robrt L. Pela on October 17, 1996
  • Article

    Hello Dolly, Goodbye Risk - Fresh theatre chokes in the dust as war-horses storm Valley stages

    It's becoming more difficult to crow about live theatre in Phoenix. For a couple of years, it looked like the local theatre scene was evolving away from the sort of mask-and-wig clubs that trotted out another production of Blithe Spirit every season....

    by Robrt L. Pela on October 17, 1996
  • Article

    Much Skidoo About Nothing - Shakespeare's Gentlemen time-trip into the Roaring Twenties

    The Two Gentlemen of Verona is not the most amusing of William Shakespeare's comedies. It's clumsily constructed and makes an awkward shift into melodrama toward the end of the first act. All that makes Arizona Theatre Company's colossal production o...

    by Robrt L. Pela on October 17, 1996
  • Article

    Gruel and Unusual Punishment - Southwest Shakespeare Company's Oliver! stoned

    It's no mystery why Lionel Bart's Oliver! is occasionally trotted out for another go-around. This classic British musical, adapted from Charles Dickens' 1838 novel Oliver Twist, features some wonderfully bent characters and a magnificent score. The r...

    by Robrt L. Pela on October 10, 1996
  • Article

    Sexual Tension - Les Liaisons Dangereuses: Actors struggle under weighty dialogue

    There are better reasons to strap on a bustle than Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Something, perhaps the popularity of the film versions, has convinced theatre producers that people want to see this play. But while both the 1988 movi...

    by Robrt L. Pela on October 3, 1996
  • Article

    Seaworthy Dames

    Nowadays, send-ups of old movie musicals tend to play about as well as the films they spoof. There are enough such satires that they've become a subgenre themselves; we've seen so many stage, film and television takeoffs on Busby Berkeley, et al., th...

    by Robrt L. Pela on September 26, 1996
  • Article

    Silkworms and Science - Guerrilla-art assaults ain't what they used to be

    In the bumpy 1960s, a number of irascible artists reached the neo-Dada conclusion that an "installation" could be something other than a military depot with radar, missiles and rusting weapons from earlier wars. It could be a room filled with unlikel...

    by Edward Lebow on September 19, 1996
  • Article

    The Stormin' Conquest - Planet Earth gales up for The Tempest

    Immediately before the opening-night performance of Planet Earth Multi-Cultural Theatre's production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, downtown was appropriately drenched by one of Phoenix's surprise monsoon thunderstorms. Through much of the first act, ...

    by Robrt L. Pela on September 19, 1996
  • Article

    Emperor Strikes Out - Guv sequel is a sorry state of affairs

    Opening night of Guv: The Emperor Strikes Back, the New Scottsdale Playhouse was half empty when the curtain rose on this much-anticipated sequel to 1990's Guv: The Musical. Perhaps all the local Democrats had headed for Sun City to witness President...

    by Robrt L. Pela on September 19, 1996
  • Article

    Creme Dement - Lunacy reigns supreme in Laughing Wild.

    About two thirds of the way into Christopher Durang's 1987 comedy Laughing Wild, the Infant of Prague appears. He comes not as a miraculous apparition or an ornate symbol of retribution, but as a guest on a daytime talk show. While He is grilled by a...

    by Robrt L. Pela on August 29, 1996
  • Article

    Shadowlands - Al Price's light works blow up real good

    "When the Unabomber's in his cabin, he's thinking about blowing people up, not about making the bomb," says Al Price. Four of Price's kinetic sculptures--which he calls "Traps"--are on display at Scottsdale Center for the Arts until September 1....

    by Michael Kiefer on August 22, 1996
  • Article

    Period Peace

    If you love to be enraged by art like Phoenix Art Museum's recent exhibit about the American flag or the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, you really should head over to Mercury Theater in Mesa to catch the granddaddy of all in-your-face concupiscence, Ar...

    by Marshall W. Mason on July 11, 1996
  • Article

    Brute Farce

    The classic French bedroom farce was invented almost a hundred years ago by Georges Feydeau. The form features a complicated plot that unfolds at breakneck speed, punctuated with quick exits through slamming doors. The subject is invariably sex or, m...

    by Marshall W. Mason on July 11, 1996
  • Article

    Sojourn Exposure

    In the 20 years that Mark Klett has been making pictures of the American West, his photographs have come to symbolize its ongoing revision in the American mind. No longer an eternal paradise of opportunity and natural splendor, it has become a lesson...

    by Edward Lebow on June 27, 1996
  • Article

    Bridesmaids Revisited

    When Five Women Wearing the Same Dress played earlier this season at In Mixed Company, it was greeted with such hosannas that it now has been transferred to the relatively bigtime venue of Stage West at Herberger Theater Center. Mercifully, I was awa...

    by Marshall W. Mason on June 27, 1996
  • Article

    The Joy of Sacks

    Diane Upchurch sees considerably more in shopping bags than "paper or plastic." Just how much more is apparent in the 80 or so examples dating from 1985 that she has assembled into "Portable Design: A Selection of Shopping Bags," an ASU College of Ar...

    by Edward Lebow on June 20, 1996
  • Article

    The Pater Principle

    June is the month Hallmark has told us we should wax sentimental over Dad. In reality, the towering figure of a father can be a forbidding presence from a child's perspective. Men are traditionally reticent about revealing their feelings, so a child ...

    by Marshall W. Mason on June 20, 1996
  • Article

    Queue Tip

    It is a joy to report the birth of a new theatre in Phoenix, especially one that shows such promise in its pedigree. The group is called The Ensemble Theatre, founded by "actors and artists who have all returned to Arizona and our artistic roots." Th...

    by Marshall W. Mason on June 20, 1996
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