Just Opened: 'Night, Mother

A review of CoHo Productions' season opener.

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Arts & Books
Do not enter Coho Theater for ‘Night, Mother expecting to be anything but emotionally wrecked. Marsha Norman’s Pulitzer-winning drama centers on the aging Thelma, content with watching TV for the rest of her days, and Jessie, the 30-something divorced daughter who cares meticulously for her, right down to filling her candy jar each night. The play opens with a sudden and shocking profession ...   More
 
Monday, October 20, 2014 KAITIE TODD

Just Opened: The Homecoming

A review of Imago Theatre's production of Harold Pinter's landmark 1964 play.

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Arts & Books
Harold Pinter never revealed what his plays were about. Indeed, the British dramatist would probably have chafed at the mere suggestion that his plays were “about” anything. For Pinter, the stage was a place for ambiguity—and for combat. His characters use words less to transmit meaning than to launch ammunition, which often renders them less-than-pleasant company. That’s the case in ...   More
 
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 REBECCA JACOBSON

Just Opened: In the Forest, She Grew Fangs

A review of Defunkt Theatre's season opener.

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Arts & Books
High school is a jungle—and in Defunkt Theatre's In the Forest, She Grew Fangs, sometimes literally so. Stephen Spotswood’s play follows two teenage girls, Lucy Maggard (Marisol Ceballos) and Jenny McConnick (Tabitha Trosen), both haunted by social media at a high school in an unnamed small town. For Jenny, a California transplant whose brain is overlooked for her body, it's a topless picture ...   More
 
Tuesday, October 14, 2014 JAMES HELMSWORTH

Just Opened: Exiles

A review of Artist Rep's production of Carlos Lacámara's play.

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Arts & Books
In 1980, Fidel Castro played something of a mean joke on the United States. He opened one of his country’s harbors for Cubans who wanted to emigrate—and then loaded up those Florida-bound boats with mental-health patients and criminals. In Exiles, Cuban-born playwright Carlos Lacámara dramatizes the Mariel boatlift by homing in on one ship, stranded in the Gulf of Mexico after a storm ...   More
 
Tuesday, October 7, 2014 REBECCA JACOBSON

Just Opened: Dreamgirls

A review of Portland Center Stage's season-opening musical.

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Arts & Books
Mirroring the meteoric rise and personal turmoil of the Supremes, the Tony Award-winning musical Dreamgirls is steeped in Motown rhythms, racial struggles and lots of sequins. Young Chicago trio the Dreamettes finds early success singing backup for Jimmy “Thunder” Early (played with fiery aplomb by David Jennings, he’s the show’s most interesting character). The power-hungry meddling ...   More
 
Tuesday, September 30, 2014 PENELOPE BASS

Just Opened: Work Schmerk

A review of Jay Flewelling's one-man show.

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Arts & Books
Until the socialist revolution comes or robots render human workers obsolete, crummy jobs are up there with death and taxes as one of life’s inevitabilities. In Work Schmerk, standup comic and improviser Jay Flewelling turns the drudgery of the 9-to-5 grind into a comedic, one-man performance. Directed and co-written by Caitlin Kunkel, this series of vignettes follows Flewelling through jobs ...   More
 
Monday, September 29, 2014 JAMES HELMSWORTH

Just Opened: La Cage Aux Folles

A review of Pixie Dust Productions' season opener.

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Arts & Books
We all know that still waters run deep, but what of those that strut, in thick layers of makeup and outfits made of feathers and sequins? According to 1983 Tony-winning musical La Cage Aux Folles, in which a campy exterior conceals underlying crisis, these have their share of sub-surface struggles as well.La Cage Aux Folles, by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman and staged by Pixie Dust Productions, ...   More
 
Tuesday, September 23, 2014 JAMES HELMSWORTH

Just Opened: Tick, Tick... Boom!

A review of Jonathan Larson's musical at Triangle Productions.

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Arts & Books
Jonathan Larson is feeling anxious. He’s about to turn 30 and is still waiting tables in New York while struggling to get his long-slaved-over rock musical produced. Of course, he did ultimately succeed in getting a rock show on Broadway, but not before his untimely death at age 35. You’ve probably heard of it. That show was Rent. But before his work became widely known, Larson wrote Tick, Tick… ...   More
 
Monday, September 8, 2014 PENELOPE BASS

Just Opened: The Sweatermakers

A review of a new play by Portlander Andrew Wardenaar.

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Arts & Books
On dark, cold days, a cozy sweater can make all the difference. That’s the general conceit behind Portlander Andrew Wardenaar’s new play, The Sweatermakers, which in some ways feels like an exploration of another world entirely. The protagonists, siblings Brin (Jen Rowe) and Henry (JR Wickman), knit sweaters for a mysterious organization that delivers the garments to those who’ve experienced ...   More
 
Monday, August 11, 2014 TREE PALMEDO

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