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New This Week:
My take: I haven't seen Ms. Kuhn's work, but I'm putting her debut cabaret show in the list this week because, to begin with, I want to encourage local talent as much as possible, and also because her director, Ben Nordstrom, is a very talented local actor with solid credentials in both musical and non-musical theatre. And also because the Emerald Room is a very cool venue with a solid drinks list.
My take: It has been a while since Kevin has brough his engaging, cheerful presence to the Cabaret Project open mic nights, so it's good to see him back on stage again. Bacharach doesn't get nearly the respect he deserves as a songwriter, as I'm sure you'll agree when you attend.
|The 2015 cast of All is Calm|
Photo: John Lamb
My take: All is Calm has become an annual winter tradition at Mustard Seed. With a script by Peter Rothstein and musical arrangements by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach, this story of the remarkable Christmas truce of 1914—a spontaneous outbreak of peace that occurred at multiple points along the trenches in France—combines splendid and often quite complex a cappella singing with readings of letters from soldiers and other historical documents. At a time when opportunistic politicians are pushing an agenda of hate, fear, and eternal war, this is a play that everyone needs to see. As we used to ask back in the 1960s, "what if they gave a war and nobody came?
Photo: Joan Marcus
My take: Originally designed for a much smaller theatre, this small-cast show may not be an ideal match for the Fox's immensity, and the story is also somewhat out of the Fox's usual Broadway hit mainstream. Like Ms. Bechdel's original graphic novel, Fun Home leaps forward and backward in time to tell the story of how she and her two siblings helped out at the small town funeral home (the "fun home" of the title) run by her father, Bruce, who was also the local high school English teacher. Still, it’s exceptionally well done by a uniformly excellent ensemble cast. And in light of the dark strains of resentment let loose in the recent Presidential campaign. It reminds us that families can be difficult and that love is not always easy regardless of anyone's sexuality. Being human can just be hard sometimes, and we all need (as the old song goes) to "try a little tenderness."