Category Archives: Men and Women

LADY BIRD: A TREE GROWS IN SACRAMENTO

The story was called the “best of the year” by the New York Times The author was hailed as a “fresh, original, finished talent” who tells a story about a young girl’s “coming of age”, “growing up and the beginning of wisdom,” “no unsavory detail” is omitted in a tale that has “light and air […]

The Metropolitan Opera presents A NORMA for the Ages

The term “Dream Team’ was first used in 1992 to describe the United States Olympic basketball team, comprised of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, Clyde Drexler, John Stockton, and Christian Laettner. “It was,” said Coach Chuck Daly, “like Elvis and the Beatles […]

VIRGINIA OPERA PRESENTS RARE SAMSON AND DALILAH

The occasion of the Virginia Opera’s production of Camille Saint-Saens’ 1877 SAMSON AND DALILAH underscores the fact Camille Saint-Saens’ work is one of only a handful of operas based on Biblical stories. Why is that? Many historical factors account for the phenomenon. First, during the late sixteenth century, when opera was being developed, the Pope, […]

Virginia Stage Company’s RING OF FIRE: Epic Entertainment

Reflecting on the Virginia Stage Company’s season opening production of RING OF FIRE, I couldn’t help recalling the first RING OF FIRE we saw, the thrilling Mercury Theater production in Chicago of May 2015. Much of what I wrote at that time applies to the Wells Theater offering: “When Richard Maltby, Jr. was ready to […]

MY FIRST TATTOO

No, not that kind of tattoo! I mean the kind of tattoo I didn’t even know existed until a few weeks ago. The tattoo I mean originated in the England of 1644 as the name for a signal made, by drum beat or bugle call, in the evening for soldiers to return to their quarters, […]

EUGENE ONEGIN at the Met: Netrebko Redefines Tatiana

Some fans of Alexander Pushkin’s great and iconic verse novel Eugene Onegin can’t stomach Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky’s operatic version. Too much of the master Russian author’s brilliance is lost, they say, in the opera’s simplified libretto, written in only nine days. Pushkin’s 1833 novel is a text that “divides Russian literature into a ‘before’ and […]

Little Theatre of Norfolk’s NOISES OFF: A Joyous Celebration of Theater

Throughout history audiences have enjoyed stories about putting on plays or making movies. The highlight of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is always the rude mechanicals’ presentation of “the most lamentable comedy and most cruel death of Pyramus and Thisbe.” (The more lamentable, the better. Audiences especially love badly done attempts to make theater and […]

ShawChicago’s HEARTBREAK HOUSE: Shaw’s Black Comedy

The Great War and its prelude flabbergasted Bernard Shaw more than any other event in his life. In addition, the end of his relationship with Stella Campbell left him as close to heartbroken emotionally as he ever would be. The sobbing, humiliated, protesting, exposed, and unprepossessing character of Heartbreak House’s Boss Mangan reflects Shaw’s emotional […]

Lyric Opera’s Eugene Onegin: Tatiana’s Triumph

Like Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Pytor Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is not eponymous. The play is named, not, as Dostoyevsky famously argued, for the play’s main character, but rather for the character who sets the main character in action. The main character in Tchaikovsky’s opera is, instead, the country girl, Tatiana Larina. And Tatiana might owe her […]

The Goodman Theatre: Uncle Vanya , Our Contemporary

Todd Rosenthal’s sublime setting which greeted the audience entering the Owen theater alerted us to what was to come. Among the period pieces of furniture sat a 1950s-style blond wood arm chair and a chrome dinette chair. A 1920s-radio rested upon the piano and a goose-neck electric light roosted nearby. Then came the note by […]