Category Archives: Theater

VIRGINIA OPERA’S THE GIRL OF THE GOLDEN WEST: IMPORTANT OPERA, WONDERFUL REJUVENATION

The occasion of the Virginia Opera’s production of Puccini’s The Girl of the Golden West offers the opportunity to discuss a man whose name was once almost synonymous with the American theater – David Belasco. Belasco (1854-1931) was born in San Francisco, educated by Jesuits, and on the stage from childhood. Author or adaptor of […]

DYLAN IN RICHMOND

Bob Dylan’s concert in Richmond took place at the Richmond Coliseum, an edifice best described by the famous line, “What. A. Dump!” Nevertheless, the ageless Mavis Staples opened the three hour show with a feisty backup band as she reviewed some of her greatest hits and introduced a few of her new songs from her […]

Little Theatre of Norfolk’s ARSENIC AND OLD LACE: Classic Comedy

Question: Why is it called a “Little” Theatre? Answer: Because the first one, The Little Theatre of Chicago, had just 99 seats. A brief histoy lesson: At the turn of the twentieth century powerful monopolies and trusts controlled and regulated just about everything in America. Even theatrical production. Known as “The Syndicate,” a cabal of […]

Metropolitan Opera’s MAGIC FLUTE: Saved by the Singing

During the Civil War, President Lincoln was criticized for attending the opera so often. He replied, “I must have a change, or I will die.” No opera that he saw was as different from everyday life, even wartime life, than Mozart’s MAGIC FLUTE. Mozart scholar, and a former director of the Glyndebourne Festival, Myer Fredman […]

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, […]

A TALE OF TWO AIDAS

This past August witnessed the opening of two distinct productions of Verdi’s historic opera AIDA, one in Salzburg, Austria, and the other in Washington, DC. Each was directed by a woman. Shirin Neshat, a photographer and video artist directed her first opera, the Salzburg Festival version, under the watchful conducting of Riccardo Muti, the purist […]

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 […]

2017 EQUITY JEFF AWARDS

The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding Chicago theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. I was happy to have appreciated many of this year’s  Equity nominations: “Uncle Vanya” – Goodman Theater PRODUCTION – PLAY – LARGE SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY – Marton Csokas (Astrov) – Uncle Vanya – Goodman Theatre SUPPORTING […]

LA CENERENTOLA at 100: OPÉRA NATIONAL DE PARIS PRODUCES A LANDMARK

Napoleon is dead, but a new conqueror has already shown himself to the world; and from Moscow to Naples, from London to Vienna, from Paris to Calcutta, his name is constantly on every tongue. The fame of this hero knows no bounds save those of civilization itself; and he is not yet 32! The 1823 […]