The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams plays at the Lyric Theatre at the Plaza through April 13th. Set in the 1930s, the production begins with Tom (Alex J Enterine) giving us a rundown of each of the characters we’ll meet. His mother Amanda (Helen Hedman), his sister Laura (Lindsay Pittman), Jim (Dallas Lish), and the ghost of his absentee father, are all established by Tom’s opening monologue. Two other constructs inform the direction of the play: the Depression and its effects on those without means. Amanda struggles to secure a place for herself and her children in a world that has little sympathy for a woman abandoned by her husband. Tom is obliged to take his father’s place as the sole breadwinner in the family, but resents the burdens that keep him from his poetry and adventure. Laura is constantly badgered by her mother about business school, gentleman callers and the like, but is paralyzed by social anxiety and retreats to the safety of her glass menagerie at every opportunity. While the play is set in 1937, its themes are especially relevant today, and it’s to the Lyric’s credit that they choose to produce it now.
Michael Baron directs the production masterfully, and I cannot say enough about the cast. Hedman is the epitome of Amanda, her love for her children twisted by poverty into screeching rants and delusional remembrances of good times gone by. Enterine is fantastic as Tom, making clear his struggle between love for his family and the desire to get as far away from them as possible. Pittman shines as Laura, where her fewer speaking lines are more than made up by her presence on stage. Lish embodies the boisterous Jim, The Gentleman Caller, confident that he has all the answers despite not being as far along in life as so many expect of him.
This is such a great show! Set Designer Dawn Drake, with Lighting Designer John Fowler and Properties Designer Courtney Strong do a fantastic job, and evoke what can be both comforting and uncomfortable about such a small shared space. Costume Designer Jeffrey Meek furthers the characters’ social standings and personalities with their dress. Bleak realities are quietly emphasized by Sound Designer Michael Mosteller. Baron and Production Stage Manager Kerry Epstein have put together a great show. This is a retelling of a much lauded classic that is superbly directed, produced and acted, and will resonate with audiences without modernization. Go see The Glass Menagerie!
The Glass Menagerie is running at the Lyric Theatre at the Plaza, located at 1725 NW 16th St. The Glass Menagerie is playing now through April 13th, with shows Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 PM, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM and a Saturday matinee at 2:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased online here, or by calling 405.524.9312. Enjoy the show!
As always, Reduxion Theatre Company offers a little something for everyone with their newest production, “Love’s Labour’s Lost”! One of Shakespeare’s lesser known comedies, Erin Woods (Director, Managing Director) sets the production in 1953 Spain, drawing inspiration from the public’s fascination with royals and other celebrity figures. The live music directed by Kristin Marie Stang with dance scenes choreographed by Susan Riley and fight scenes choreographed by Tyler Woods keep the pace lively through what is one of Shakespeare’s longer comedies. Costume Designer Catherine Pitt and Assistant Sarah Larson help the audience identify a large cast of characters at a glance, with help from Lighting Designer Ciera Terry.
The story follows the naive King Ferdinand (Sam Bearer) as he tries to navigate his duties by eschewing distraction in the form of food, women and sleep from himself and his court. The foil comes in the form of the Princess of France (Claire Powers) and her attendants, who manage to divert the King and his court but also send everyone on their way in the end. While the romance between Ferdinand and the Princess is seems the most important, what goes on between Rosaline (Holly McNatt) and Berowne (Mitchell Reid) is much more interesting. Where the King is simply misguided, Berowne is dangerous– playing with Rosaline’s affections from the beginning. The other four principles (Longaville, Dumaine, Maria, and Katherine) are expertly matched and hilariously played by Ian S. Clinton, Jeffrey Burleson, Susan Riley, and Catherine Pitt respectively.
The story is filled out by a cast of supporting characters who further demonstrate Shakespeare’s penchant for the ridiculous. Charlie Monnot’s Boyet, one of the Princess’s attendants, always has a cutting observation. The plot turns on a comedy of errors involving Berowne, photographer Costard (Burleson), aspiring model Jaquenetta (Riley), Don Adriano de Armado played by Timothy Berg, and Moth played by Jessa Schinske. A misdelivered letter and a wealth of hiding places show Ferdinand and his court the error of their ways and misadventures begin anew as the men attempt to court their chosen ladies.
The show is produced hilariously, though a little slow at times. Woods does justice to the full range of Shakespeare’s themes, portraying the respect for the good in human nature with the same eclat and enthusiasm as the dirty jokes. The ensemble cast has terrific chemistry, with some really outstanding comedic performances. It’s a great date night show (and they offer a cute couple’s package!) or an afternoon of family fun. It’s also worth noting that as the show’s run ends at the Broadway Theatre they take their show on the road, performing the full show during their Metropolitan Library System tour.
The show runs at the Broadway Theatre through March 2nd, with 8 PM shows Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights and 2 PM matinees on February 17th and 24th. More information about the Reduxion Theatre company’s current season and “Love’s Labour’s Lost” can be found here, and tickets can be purchased here. The Broadway Theater is at 1613 N Broadway Ave. and can be reached at 405.651.3191. Enjoy the show!
And I do mean latest. Just about everyone dies. Walking into the theater, the only thing I knew about Richard III was that it is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies. Tyler Woods directs, bringing the production from 15th century Wars of the Roses to the 20th century, between World Wars I and II, likening the rise of Richard III to Hitler’s. Woods further modernizes Shakespeare’s classic with intermittent musical numbers (closing with an a cappella version of Radiohead’s Paranoid Android!). Altogether, it is well paced and produced, though I feel a few of the more surreal touches may be a bit ambitious for an otherwise fairly straightforward adaptation.
Catherine Pitt (Production Stage Manager and Properties Design) and Hanna Matter (Assistant Stage Manager) manage to effectively portray every scene with minimal equipment, everything moved on and off stage by cast members between scenes. Lloyd Cracknell (Costume Design) and Amy Kercher (Costume Assistant) seem to have a lot of fun dressing the cast in everything from flapper-esque dresses to military uniforms, and the detachable Nazi armbands are an interesting touch. Music Directors Suzanne Stanley and Andrew Rathgeber definitely make some bold choices, not least being the French number that dances King Edward IV out of this life (choreographed by Jessa Schinske and Sam Bearer).
Rex Daugherty stars as Richard III, and does a great job. Daugherty is in nearly every scene, and his huge energy and obvious love for the theatre goes a long way toward making Shakespeare more accessible to the audience. Kris Schinske is Queen Elizabeth, and gives you a sense of what the emotional toll must have been for a woman whose ambition was rivaled only by her love for her family. Cristela Carrizales plays several characters (Queen Margaret, Lord Mayor of London, etc.) well, but truly shines when she leads the cast in song. Rathgeber (as Duke of Buckingham) and Stanley (Lady Anne, Duke of York, etc.) both exhibit similar strengths. Jennifer Casteel plays the Duchess of York, and though she’s given relatively few lines, she makes them count. Oliver Archibald is awesome as James Tyrell. Bearer plays King Edward IV and gives you the sense that he really wants the best for his family and England. Jeremy Lister plays several characters, definitely having the most fun as Cardinal Bourchier. Sue Ellen Reiman is great as Lady Hastings (though I was a bit confused by the character in general, as she wears a suit and both Lady and Lord Hastings are often referenced). Jessa Schinske plays several roles, but her Prince Edward is definitely my favorite.
Reduxion Theatre Company continues the work professed in their mission statement, “To professionally produce both classical and contemporary theatre, enriching Oklahoma’s cultural, educational and economic climate, attracting artists and audiences from around the world”. Their fifth season, “Reduxion Revolution,” works to stretch Oklahoma’s cultural imagination with offerings not typically accessible to local audiences. Richard III runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights through November 25th at the Broadway Theater at 8PM. Tickets and more information can be found online at Reduxion Theatre Company.