Sunday, December 18, 2011


Tovah Feldshuh as Mama Rose

The Bristol Riverside Theatre, located at 120 Radcliffe Street in Bristol, is presenting Gypsy through January 15. With its 20 member cast, Gypsy is quite possibly the largest production ever undertaken by BRT but the company is certainly up to the task.  Mama Rose is a very demanding role and Ms. Feldshuh brings her heart and soul and her multiple-awarded talent to the part. Not only can she belt out a song, but she can also gently sing one in a harmonious duet or a mournful solo. She dances and cartwheels her way across the stage with verve and vitality.  The facial expressions Ms. Feldshuh brings to this domineering character are wide-ranging.  In short, “Everything’s Coming up Roses” for Tovah.  Local talent is being used for the parts of Baby June and Baby Louise. Both Gaby Bradbury, who portrays Baby June, and Claire O’Neill, who portrays Baby Louise are seasoned and poised young actors. Their dance routine is very well executed. Riley Katner is another local young actress who portrays Baby Louise. Although I didn't see her performance, I'm sure she equals Claire in talent. Lighting Designer Ryan O’Gara must be commended for his outstanding work.  Not only did he design Mama Rose’s lit backdrop and the brightly lit signs on each side of the stage which display the settings for all of Gypsy’s 17 scenes, but he  designed an extraordinary special effect with strobe lights as well.  Without giving too much away, let me merely say that Baby June and Baby Louse and Company age about ten years in a matter of ten seconds.  Brittney Lee Hamilton plays the older June and while her younger counterpart’s forte is tap, Brittney does a lovely en point in her ballet slippers.  She also sings a delightfully animated duet with Amanda Rose who plays the older Louise.  In  Act II, Amanda steals every scene that she is in. The audiences (both real and fictional) love her. This production is a great success because success is demanded of the people who are associated with it.  Some characters are playing as many as five roles and understudying for a sixth.  While this is not a new tale, the approach is fresh. Many performances are sold out.  If you don’t want to miss the buzz, call 215-785-0100 or visit online at

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Private Lives

Amanda and Victor meet 5 years after divorce

 The Lantern Theater Company, located at 10 and Ludlow Streets, is producing Noel Coward's Private Lives through December 31. The stage has been reconfigured for this particular set of performances so don’t wait until the last minute to order tickets since there is seating on only two sides of the stage. Tickets will certainly be selling like hotcakes because this show has all the earmarks of a smash hit. Genevieve Perrier,  who portrays the oh so sophisticated Amanda, belies her youth with her striking panache, her effortless grace and her not so subtle guile. Ben Dibble has the audience believing that he cares for nothing more than triviality as he smoothly portrays Elyot, Amanda’s ex-husband and the newly  married spouse of Sibyl.  K.O. DelMarcelle portrays Elyot’s new, simpering, insecure bride. Leonard C. Haas portrays stuffy, stodgy, Victor, Amanda's husband, thus rounding out the quartet of characters.  Amanda and Victor have booked their honeymoon suite with outdoor patio adjoining the honeymoon suite of Sibyl and Elyot.
When Amanda and Elyot set eyes on each other, they can’t imagine why they ever got divorced .The II Act play has more laughs than straight lines. It is impossible to sit in your seat for five minutes without laughing; the show is just that funny and that well presented. Scenic Designer Meghan Jones is known for her work throughout the region. Kudos must go to her for her foresight for this production. Act I takes place on two adjoining balconies, each equipped with their own flowers, tables, chairs, cocktails and entrances into their rooms The intermission begins  an impressive transformation. Walls  are moved, crown molding added, curtains hung, and the audience is treated to an inside view of an art deco apartment in Paris, fully equipped with a chaise, love seat,  two sets of French doors, paintings, sculptures, wind up gramophone and a piano. Recognition must also be given to J Alex Cordaro, the fight director who choreographed some exciting fight scenes. Fighting notwithstanding, the laughs keep coming and the plot keeps twisting. The more the characters change; the more they stay the same. The surprise is in the ending…What more could you possibly ask of a delightful theater experience?  For tickets call 215-829-0395 or visit online at