Results tagged “new candlelight theatre” from Drama Queen

This week I'm macking on: Little musicals that could. Rocky Horror, Reefer Madness, Have a Nice Life, all musicals playing in and around Philadelphia recently or right now, all with a hand-stitched, bright-eyed, can-do appeal, all really unlikely candidates for success (Rocky Horror's obviously a proven entity, but it still plays like an underground hit). In any case, there's a mini-revolution happening in musical theater, led by the Off-Broadway crowd and filtering out into the provinces, of musicals that thrive on the small stage. 

I'm not talking about Songs for a New World-ish '70s throwback musicals, either. These are contemporary, fun shows that embrace camp, kitsch (yeah, I know, I was just ranting about kitsch yesterday, but this is different), and most of all, the idea that the fraught aughts are the best time to offer audiences a plain old good time. An indie theater company can't touch The Mikado, but give them A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant or Bat Boy, and you've got the makings of a great night out without bloat or baggage. Perfect for a regional theater scene like Philly's that has approximately a zillion nascent, ambitious young companies looking to make their mark in an increasingly competitive market.

This week I'm hating on: Twitter. But only because I love it so much. It's turned every moment into a meta-moment. Every Twitter tweaker sat by his/her computer Wednesday night, fingers poised and ready to rain down 140 characters of snark on anyone who'd listen... Online. 

I'm in bed with my husband watching the debate, we start riffing on Joe the Plumber and shazam, I've got the Crackberry shakes. Should I get out of bed and run downstairs to the computer to broadcast every comment that makes us chuckle (WWJTPD; Dow down, but sales of Joe the Plumber Halloween costumes up 1000%; Wonder if Joe Biden minds Joe the Plumber and Joe Sixpack joining him on the campaign), or should I make my husband get out of bed and find his Blackberry in the car so he can bring it upstairs and I can tweet our pillow talk from the lamest menage a trois ever recorded? 

I ran downstairs... But only four times. 

Below: The Brownie Song
October 17, 2008 9:30 AM | | Comments (2)
So you might think dinner theater Rocky horror would suck, wouldn't you? Well, it didn't. Last week in The Stranger, when Brendan Kiley mapped out his 10 fixes for theater, he dissed Rocky Horror, but simultaneously called for a "boor's night out." Rocky Horror is nothing if not the boors' Halloween--tricks, treats and all.

EdithMassey21.jpg
I'll admit leniency toward Frank and co. as my parents raised me on a steady diet of, and affection for, cult movies. Where other kids fondly recall helping mom chop apples for pie, or nailing wood to a treehouse with dad, I remember Edith Massey wearing her bra in a crib and feel warm all over. Think I'm exaggerating? We had bootlegged VHS copies of Rocky Horror and Pink Flamingos--both of which we watched until the images started getting grainy--and one of my fondest "family night" memories was when our dad somehow got hold of enough Odorama cards so we'd all have one while we watched Polyester in the living room. (For years, our brother followed my sisters and me yelling, "My name is Francine Fishpaw and I'm an alcoholic! I can eat an entire cake in one sitting!") Mind you, this was all before my Bat Mitzvah, after which, things only got worse. Or--depending on your artistic sensibilities--even better.

The point of all this is really that sometimes it's hard to be objective as a critic. A show yanks your love chain, and even if the effort's just half-decent, you give it a break because it made you feel, well, a little bit warm all over. Of course, that bias can also cut the other way. I reviewed a production of The Glass Menagerie--a personal favorite--that didn't deliver exactly the nostalgia trip I'd hoped for, and I pretty much went ballistic. But in this situation, the audience had as much to do with the production's success as the cast, and they delivered better than a mob of stinkards at The Globe.

Here's today's Rocky Horror review from the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Below: the theatrical trailer for Polyester.
October 14, 2008 8:38 AM | | Comments (2)
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