Dynamite “Murder Ballad” at Detroit Public Theatre (review) October 21, 2016Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Musicals, Theatre.
Tags: Murder Ballad
Four characters. One will be dead at the end of the show. Who is it, who did it, and why?
Detroit Public Theatre presents this terrific rock musical (by Julia Jordan and Juliana Nash) through this Sunday October 23rd. I saw it near the end of its run due to a little show I myself was rehearsing and opening the past month. I wish I had the chance to see it again. 80 minutes of love, passion, revenge, and a few surprises are in store at this intimate theater inside Orchestra Hall.
Arielle Crosby, Eric Gutman, Arianna Bergamaschi and Rusty Mewha (left to right in photo above) and a four piece onstage band under the excellent musical direction of Jamie Reed rock the heck out of the theater and leave the audience wanting more. Director Courtney Burkett’s beautiful direction leaves the audience in the midst of the action throughout, as our four characters tales interweave — and when you think you have it figured out, wait, you are in for another surprise.
Arielle Crosby has a superb voice and serves as the evening’s Narrator and her sly winks and nods bring an appropriate air of mystery to everything. Arianna Bergamaschi plays Sara – at first involved with hot and hunky bartender Tom (Rusty Mewha) and later the more stable and family-oriented Michael (Eric Gutman). Bergamaschi is simply superb as she weaves into, out of, and back into her men’s lives. Eric Gutman brings both strong vocals and acting to a demanding role that is at first very sweet – and later not so much. His ability to grow from one extreme to the other is remarkable. I’ve never seen Rusty Mewha rock-out the way he does here as Tom in an amazing acting turn – and it is so much fun to watch you almost forget who you are rooting for and who you are rooting against. What makes this piece so fun is that who you think does what changes with each subsequent scene. Remember — who gets killed, who did it, and why.
The entire show takes place in and around a downtown NYC bar, with hot stage design by Monika Essen. Costume designer Katherine Nelson has done a great job defining characters, not only by clothing style but by color. Choreographer Jill Dion provides some fun moves for the entire cast, and Cecilia Durbin’s lighting design is gorgeous.
If you get the chance this weekend get down to the DSO on Woodward and see Murder Ballad. You will kick yourself if you miss it. I am thrilled I got to see it, even if it was on its closing weekend. Professional musical theatre is alive and well in downtown Detroit. Bravo.
Very Highest Recommendation.
Murder Ballad continues in Detroit through Sunday Oct 23. Tickets at DetroitPublicTheatre.org
Bonnie & Clyde is a hit at Downriver Actors Guild (review) October 19, 2016Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Musicals.
Tags: Bonnie & Clyde the musical, Downriver Actors Guild
Reviewed by Patricia Mazzola.
Downriver Actors Guild has a true hit with Bonnie & Clyde A New Musical, performing at the intimate Catherine A. Daly Theatre on the Avenue in Wyandotte, MI, now through October 29th, 2016. Director Ron Baumanis, keeps the audience completely engaged with his expert staging, whether during a tender moment or a suspenseful shoot-out.
With book by Ivan Menchell, this thoroughly researched story of unfettered love during the desperate times of the 1930s takes the audience deep into the main characters’ hearts and minds more than the contrived Hollywood film with which we are all so familiar. The story centers on Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker who meet and decide to turn their backs on trying to do the right thing. They become notorious outlaws, seeking fame and fortune, as they rob and steal their way across the southern United States. The contemporary country and gospel score by Frank Wildhorn and lyrics by Don Black, perfectly expresses all the emotions of fear, love, compassion and glee these characters experience as they stumble through life during the Depression.
Though there were a few technical glitches the evening I went, the ensemble, led by the very talented Kimberly Elliott as Bonnie and Daniel Hazlett as Clyde, grew nicely into their parts as the show progressed. Nick Brown as the Minister showered us with spiritual joy during the Gospel (I’d go to any service he would lead), yet also showed genuine heartfelt love for the downtrodden when appropriate. Love-struck Ted Hinton doesn’t get the girl but Kevin Kaminski plays him so well and sings so beautifully, maybe he should have. Other standout performances were Elaina Primeau (keep an eye out for this little gem) as Young Bonnie, and the trio of salon ladies who also doubled in other parts, played by Amanda Aue, Paige Wisniewski and Ashley Gatesy. You will swoon and laugh and maybe even cry a bit. There is also a special feature in the second act that will surprise you.
This was the first time I had seen anything by the Downriver Actors Guild. I went with no idea of what to expect and I left wanting more. I will be back! You won’t have to hold a gun to my back.
Bonnie & Clyde continues at DAG through October 29th. DownriverActorsGuild.net for tickets.
Fun and highly entertaining The Full Monty at Encore (Review) October 8, 2016Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Musicals.
Tags: Encore Musical Theater Company, The Full Monty musical
If you want to have a fantastic evening of laughs and great musical theater, grab your tickets now for the hilarious The Full Monty at Encore Musical Theatre Company and have a great time cheering on the guys as they work toward “the full monty” at an amateur men’s strip production. You probably already know the story (either from the movie or the musical – this is the third production I have seen in the past year) — down on his luck unemployed Jerry and his chubby buddy Dave see how much money there is to be made off of the sex-starved women of blue-collar Buffalo and plan their own strip show – along come depressed mama’s boy Malcom, middle-aged Harold, big black man Horse, and energetic Ethan. Will they or won’t they. That is the question that drives the entire musical, and you already know that it is really about the show’s last 5 minutes.
Getting there, though, is great fun in this production. Credit Matthew Brennan (choreographing and co-directing with Thalia Schramm) for bringing this show to lively life in its many dance and movement sequences and his wonderful from top down cast.
Eric Parker is outstanding as Jerry — his singing and dancing is top notch, and what a pleasure to see him on the Encore stage — he takes command each time he appears, and his scenes with his son are particularly affecting. Greg Bailey shows terrific range as his buddy Dave – and has some great stage moments. Thalia Schramm plays his wife Georgie with compassion. Luciana Piazza nicely plays Jerry’s ex- wife Pam, and Alejandro Cantu is terrific as their 12-year old son Nathan, wise beyond his years yet wanting all the things a normal kid wants. Brendan Bachman is hilarious as Teddy, Pam’s new nerdy boy friend.
Dan Morrison turns in a great performance as Harold, and his wife Nicki is played to the edge of hilarity by Sarah Briggs in a role that you will not be able to stop laughing at, even after the show.
Matthew Pecek, quickly becoming an Ann Arbor area favorite, is terrific as Ethan, and his moments with hugely entertaining Brendan Kelly are among the nicest in this production. Jordan Harris is wonderful as Horse. Gayle E Martin plays a show-stealing Jeanette (the piano player with the mouth of a sailor) and her deadpan delivery had me literally holding my stomach with laughter pains (“I can’t play any slower!”)
The rest of the ensemble is awesome in their roles – from Colby Orton as Keno, to the entire rest of the team: Tim Brayman, Kasey Donnelly, Bryanna Hall, Kristin McSweeney, and Bennett Waymann.
If you have never seen The Full Monty the musical onstage before get yourself to their website to buy tickets now. This is a fantastic production. Even those who have will be surprised by how much dancing and movement there is in this production, and how well it is executed throughout — from tangos in a ballroom dance class, to the final striptease number (lets face it, you come for those last five minutes and when it arrives, it is fabulous).
Very highly recommended. Not for younger audiences.
The Full Monty continues at Encore Musical Theatre Company in Dexter MI through October 22nd. Tickets at theEncoreTheatre.org or 734-268-6200
Stirring, tight, intimate “Cabaret” at The Dio (review) September 23, 2016Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Musicals.
Tags: cabaret, Dio Theatre, Kander and Ebb
Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret has always been a musical theater masterwork. You are in for a stirring and tightly produced production at The Dio. In this intimate setting, the show feels particularly touching.
Steve DeBruyne directs and plays a terrific Emcee and he keeps the energy high and always on the move. There is clever use of minimal furniture and Matt Tomich’s set and lighting design is great. There’s a particularly creative use of the set during the production’s excellent final moments (the production uses the revival version of the show). Michelle Marzejon provides top notch choreography — this show moves. Norma Polk’s costume design looks fantastic as does Christopher Kamm’s hair and makeup. Brian Rose’s musical direction and 5-piece band are terrific.
Liz Jaffe acts and sings a particularly strong Sally Bowles and Peter Crist is perfectly marvelous as Cliff Bradshaw. Jared Schneider is excellent as Ernst. Dale Dobson and Olive Hayden-Moore simply sizzle in the roles of Herr Schultz and Fraulein Schneider. Natalie Rose Sevick is a dynamic Fraulein Kost and doubles as a Kit Kat Girl. The entire supporting cast works as a tight ensemble and are all strong singer dancer actors.
If you’ve seen Cabaret before you’ll be truly surprised by what performing this show in a small intimate setting does for the piece. If you have never seen Cabaret you will be surprised by what a musical can say about the human need for connection even as your world is falling apart. Leave your kids at home, but don’t hesitate a moment to get your tickets before they are all gone.
Cabaret continues at The Dio through October 30th. 177 E Main Street, Pinckney MI (517) 672-6009 or http://www.diotheatre.com
Fantastic cast creates a hilarious Spelling Bee (A2CT Review) September 8, 2016Posted by ronannarbor in musical theater, Musicals.
Tags: Ann Arbor Civic Theater, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
I’ve made it a habit to see “25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” at least once a theater season — and you can’t ask for a better production than the one currently running at Ann Arbor Civic Theatre.
A hilarious (and pitch-perfect) cast creates a great evening of musical theater at the Lydia Mendelssohn that will have you howling with laughter one moment, and misting up a bit the next during this elementary school spelling bee (all the characters are played by adults) that is equal parts mockumentary and old-fashioned story-telling musical.
Director Wendy Sielaff and choreographer Reilly Conlon (with additional help from Sielaff) keep the musical moving swiftly through its 95 intermissionless minutes. Each of the (stereotyped) child spellers is beautifully crafted by this very funny and talented cast. Emily Fishman is an excellent Olive. Hallie Fox is all spunk as Marcy. Keshia Daisy Oliver lisps her way through a touching Loraine. Bob Cox is all gangly hijinx as Chip. Nathan King is a simply superb Coneybear (it takes special talent to instantly bring you from high to low in just two lines of song). Connor Rhoades is a “sure-footed” Barfee (see what I did there?). The “adults” here are equally strong — Allison Ackerman is a very good Rona, and Brandon Cave a side-splitting Panch (of course he does get to deliver the shows funniest lines). Nick Rapson is wonderful as “grief counselor” Mitch.
Production values here are strong – from the simple set design (Mike and Wendy Sielaff) to the clean lighting design (Brian Meyers), costume design (Nan Wirth), and sound design (Bob Skon). Debbie Nichols conducts and plays keyboard with the tight 5-piece onstage ensemble, and her vocal direction is excellent — the diction and harmonies here sound great.
I’ll be the first to admit that 25th Annual is one of those pieces that is so finely written that you already know its going to be hilarious. In the hands of an excellent cast such as this one, it makes it soar.
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre’s The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee continues at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, Michigan League Building, University of Michigan through Sunday September 11th. Tickets at the door, at a2ct.org, or by calling 734-971-2228.
Tags: The Drowsy Chaperone
Croswell Opera House opened its final musical of the summer season, The Drowsy Chaperone, last night in Adrian — and they have saved the best for last! Drowsy is a musical theater-lovers dream show, and it is hilarious and exceptionally well done at Croswell.
Man in Chair (gifted and very funny Patrick Toth) settles in to tell the audience the story of 1920’s musical theater “chestnut” The Drowsy Chaperone, complete with fond anecdotes about the cast, the show, and an equally catty look at musicals today. Toth is onstage the entire evening and the work that he does is remarkable. Never out of character, he guides, narrates, and even participates in some of the scenes. Great job. He does exactly what the opening monologue says he will do — transport you to another place, even if it is inside his apartment.
Equally wonderful are Erica Wyman as the chaperone, whose boozy “As We Stumble Along” equaled or maybe excelled over Beth Leavel’s tony-winning performance last night as she performed “the greatest anthem to alcoholism”; and Franny Kromminga as ingenue Janet — who clearly is having the time of her life “not showing off no more”. Matthew Pecek plays a spry bridegroom, Robert, and Joseph Ball a hilarious best man George. Suzanne Smith and Stephen Kiersey are delightful as Tottendale and Underling. Jared Hoffert is very funny as he chews the scenery as producer Feldzieg, and Jamie Lynn Buechele, as his girlfriend Kitty, shines in a hilarious vocal role. Throw in John Bacarella and Peter Stewart as dancing gangsters, a wonderful over the top performance by Bruce Hardcastle as Adolpho (whaaaat?), and fine Lori Macdonald as Trix the Aviatrix.
The leads are supported by a strong ensemble (though at times there are too many of them on stage making some scenes feel like, well, there are too many people on stage). But they sing and dance well, and help with set changes as necessary. Everything moves non-stop, even acting scenes take on a musical tone and movement. Bravo.
Director Mark DiPietro has done a masterful job keeping everything barreling along, laugh after laugh, and choreographer Delle Clair has provided fun (and audience pleasing) choreography including a plentiful smattering of tap. Musical Director Jonathan Sills stellar vocal work shows throughout, and his wonderful orchestra does the Croswell proud yet again.
Doug Miller has created a gorgeous set, and it all works well and runs like clockwork. Pam Krage and Emily Gifford designed the many beautiful (and often large) costume pieces. Tiff Crutchfield has lit it all in colorful broadway shades and it works well on the stage.
It should be noted that this otherwise intermission-less musical has an intermission added at the Croswell — so that instead of being out the door on your way to after-show drinks at 9:50, you’ll be there a bit later.
I have now seen Drowsy many times — and it makes me laugh out loud every time. DiPietro has mined the show for even more laughs than I can recall — and it made me feel positively giddy at the end of the evening.
Very Highest Recommendation.
The Drowsy Chaperone continues at The Croswell Opera House through August 21st. Tickets at croswell.org or by calling 517-264-SHOW
Music and Lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison, Book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar.
Tags: Jessica Grove, My Fair Lady, Tony Walton
Photo courtesy Encore staff photographer, Michele Anliker
Lerner and Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY is probably the last musical you would expect to see at the Encore Musical Theatre Company – how do you make all those costumes and sets work in a space that small? Well let me tell you, the production that opened last night at the Encore is not only scrumptious, but it is the finest musical they have done to date. Consider yourself lucky if you have a ticket, because its entire run is sold out.
Jessica Grové is a remarkable Eliza Doolittle and this is her musical top to bottom, acting, singing, and having the time of her life. You can’t keep your eyes off of her and her powerhouse performance, whether that is singing her way through a lovely “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” (with some great vocal support by the male quartet) or tearing through the more dramatic “Show Me”, leaving suitor Freddy literally floored.
Daniel Gerroll plays a dynamic Henry Higgins and his interactions with Eliza have a particular poignancy. The wordplay and meaning are clear in this intimate setting. Their interactions in Act II brought an angle to the show I had not considered before, and it works well here. Eliza’s transformation is particularly compelling, while Higgins goes for a slightly different ride than the usual take on the part.
There’s a wonderful performance by UM Musical Theater senior Riley McFarland as Freddy whose vocal chops soar in “On the Street Where You Live”; Dale Dobson turns in a fun Colonel Pickering; and always one of my favorites Keith Kalinowski plays a boisterous and humor-laden Alfred Doolittle singing and dancing his merry way through “With a Little Bit of Luck” and later the very fun “Get Me To The Church on Time”.
The entire ensemble is terrific — and they sing, dance, and support the leads throughout. The work here is simply stellar from top to bottom. Great to see old favorites on stage, as well as a handful of newcomers who I hope stay here forever.
Director and Designer Tony Walton has created a sumptuous feast of a musical, and despite its long (three hour) length, it never feels too slow. The sets fit in a jigsaw puzzle fashion in the space, and everything looks open and airy. Projections by Mr Walton are gorgeous, at times black and white, at times spotted with color, and representational of the original Broadway sets. It works magnificently here, and with no surprise given Mr Walton’s Tony/Drama Desk/Academy Award background. He’s helped by some terrific lighting by Robert Perry, gorgeous costumes by Caitlin Graham and Yuka Silvera (Eliza’s costumes). Choreography by Matthew Brennan is appropriate to the space and never repetitive. Anne Donevan’s props looks terrific as does Andy Galicki’s projection work. Tyler Driskill has done his usual excellent vocal work as musical director, and his 6-piece backstage band sounds terrific throughout.
As mentioned earlier — the entire run, every single ticket is sold out. If you hold a ticket, consider yourself the bearer of treasure, because you will not want to miss this MY FAIR LADY. There is a cancellation list at the box office — which is several pages long. I suggest you join it if you are looking for tickets – any tickets – to this production.
Very Highest Recommendation.
Tags: Farmers Alley Theatre, Spamalot
Farmer’s Alley Theatre is currently presenting their largest show to date. Kalamazoo’s professional theater company has never mounted as large a Broadway musical production as Spamalot, and it is resounding success.
Hilarious from the get-go, it weaves together a fractured tale of King Arthur and his men seeking the Holy Grail. (The musical is primarily based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail, although it lifts some sequences from their other movies as well). When it opened in NYC, it brought in a whole new type of audience — one that wasn’t necessarily musical lovers, and it led to a whole new style of musical theater meant for broader audiences (and sometimes putting off seasoned musical theater lovers). Though what’s not to love about Spamalot as it makes its way through 2.5 hours of hilarity at WMU’s Little Theatre.
Director Choreographer Stephen Brotebeck has done an excellent job of keeping everything looking spiffy, moving quickly, and delivering big laughs. Music Director Kellee Love Hazleton’s work is outstanding — in fact, this ensemble cast sounds (and moves) terrifically. W. Douglas Blickle’s set design is outstanding, and it is lit well by Jason Frink. Sarah Mauer’s costumes fill the stage with color and flash.
Dirk Lumbard is an excellent King Arthur — his underplayed facial expressions had me laughing all night. Also outstanding is Zachary Joel Smits in his many roles, but none of them had me laughing harder than his French Taunter (you know, “your mother smells of elderberries….I’m going to fart in your general direction”). Jamila Sabares-Klemm is an exceptional Lady of the Lake and she blows the vocals out of the water during her Vegas sequence. The entire ensemble is excellent – not a week link in the bunch, and the non-stop choreography is funny, fast moving, and very well executed.
This production is also the very best I have seen locally. This is a show that almost every regional and community theatre has picked up by now. But Farmers Alley’s production is by far the best of any that I have seen locally. If you are a Monty Python fan, its well worth the drive to Kalamazoo to see the show. Its sold out this weekend, but there are tickets available for next weekends final shows.
HIGHEST Recommendation. You won’t see it done better anywhere.
Monty Pythons Spamalot continues at Farmers Alley Theatre, at WMU’s Little Theatre through July 31st. farmersalleytheatre.com or 269-343-2727
Daniel Clair and Kyrie Bristle shine in “Leap of Faith” – Croswell Opera House, review July 16, 2016Posted by ronannarbor in Croswell Opera House, musical theater, Musicals, Theatre.
Tags: Dan Clair, Kyrie Bristle, Leap of Faith the musical
Daniel Clair, playing a conniving traveling tent-show preacher, and Kyrie Bristle as a small-town sheriff are the reasons to see this shiny musical theater adaptation of “Leap of Faith” which opened last night at the Croswell Opera House. Your enjoyment will be enhanced if you like bible-belt hokum and are a fan of the film from which it is adapted. But…well… I’ll get to that momentarily…
Directed by Michael Yuen, the cast is strong, including the stellar Clair and Bristle, and also a fine performance by Anthony Isom in the role of sham-exposer which features soaring vocals and acting chops indeed. Also very good is Sarah Nowak as the preacher’s sister, whose sincerity shines through in one of the shows nicest most underplayed scenes, willing to take the blame when things go south fast. Cooper Adams is a fine young boy in the tear-jerker part (you can see what’s coming a mile away). The entire ensemble has plenty to do in multiple large musical numbers — even if they do all sound (and pretty much look) the same. Still there is no denying how good this ensemble is, and how much work has gone into making these three tent-revivals move on stage. From a blocking point of view, I thought the staging was somewhat flat, and most often played in two, rarely moving down toward the audience.
I saw “Leap of Faith” on Broadway and had the same reaction I had here — there is nothing wrong with this show. There also isn’t anything that makes it great. The show is bland and there isn’t much you can do about it. Most of the (music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater) songs feel like they are cut from other shows (and many likely were from “Sister Act” which Menken had written shortly before). The mini-dramas do not have enough sizzle to them to make things truly spark — and the “big moment” toward the end of the show is a direct rip-off from The Music Man. But it all clearly works, as the audience members around me were tearing up in the requisite places and were moved to a standing ovation, so it clearly connects to many. Although its Broadway run was very short, it did garner Tony nominations across the board, including a nomination for Best Musical, although you might wonder why after seeing it. I am probably not this show’s primary target market.
And now the but…Daniel Clair owns this show from the moment he appears. You’ll remember him as Huey Calhoun in last summer’s production of Memphis. Here he gets to expand his singing chops and wow, he presents a masterclass in musical theatrics. Its a shame that Cercone and Leight’s script lets him down (as it did the equally fine Raul Esparza on Broadway). His ability to sell a song be it a ballad or a rollicking spiritual-laced rock song is stellar. Throw in the equally vocally gifted Kyrie Bristle, and it is no surprise that their scenes alone and together are what make this musical truly slick.
Doug Miller’s set design is beautiful, and its cleanly lit by Tiff Crutchfield. Costumes, props and other technical values are up to Croswell’s usual best. Dave Rains musical direction is excellent — and his large orchestra sounds terrific. The sound design by Joe Gozdowski balances the (loud) orchestra with stage sound with a good mix.
Leap of Faith continues at Croswell Opera House through July 24th.Croswell.org or 517-264-SHOW for tickets.
Stratford Festival 2016 – A sampler (Reviews) June 18, 2016Posted by ronannarbor in A Little Night Music, All My Sons, As You Like It, Musicals, Plays, Shakespeare, Shakespeare in Love the play, Stratford Festival 2016, Theatre.
The Stratford Festival (Stratford, Ontario. Canada) has grown from a small theater-in-a-tent company to one that is the largest, longest, and most varied theater festival in North America. Every year, the company now produces 15 shows in repertory, 4 shows each day from May through October. Unless you are the heartiest of theater goers, one gets a sampling of shows during a typical 2 or three days visit. On my latest visit, I saw the following:
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE — is everything you would imagine. Very faithfully following the movie script, the production is the American premier of the West End play — in fact, it IS the West End play, complete with the same sets, costumes, and blocking. I’m going to guess that Stratford, in exchange for presenting the show at their festival, will be given the option to produce it on Broadway, where it should move. Its a fun near-three hour romp through Shakespearean London and a disguised love story. I had a great time, as did the audience from the comments after the show. I’m giving this one 4.5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend it. At the Avon Theatre.
ALL MY SONS — the searing drama by Arthur Miller is performed in the round at the Tom Patterson theatre. The production is, in a word, devastating. If you know the show, you’ll find some wonderful nuances here in a superb color-blind-casting production. If you don’t know the show, don’t read about it in advance. You’ll love the drama and by the end of the evening you will feel like you have been eaves-dropping on your neighbors. This is one of the strongest ensemble casts I have ever seen in a Stratford production. 5 Stars out of 5. Highest Recommendation.
A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC — is gorgeous. Leave it to Canada to produce the most beautiful productions of American musicals. (the Festivals A CHORUS LINE is also getting raves at the Festival Theater). Starting in a semi-steampunk type city sequence in Act One with its browns and blacks — the show opens up once they head to the Armfeldt manse in the country where colors switch to whites and creams. The cast is super, the music is wonderful, and I loved this production. At the Avon Theatre. 5 stars out of 5. Highest recommendation.
AS YOU LIKE IT — or, “You Won’t Like It” aka “As You Don’t Like It” at the Festival Theatre is terrible. It is presented as an “audience participation” show, complete with audience sometimes holding “tree branches” to create the Forest of Arden, for example — or stars in the balcony to create, well, stars. You get a nice canvas bag of “stuff” you are supposed to use but get to keep when you are done. Friends have already nicknamed it a “barf bag”. I did get to hold a sheep-sound-maker that I got to turn over every time they said “love” in one sequence with the shepherd, and it was at least funny. Then I left at intermission. If you are 13 years old, you might enjoy the antics which (for better or worse) do clearly help you understand what is going on — not usually a problem with As You Like It. If you are not 13, you will think the show is condescending and tries to make you have “fun” but you are not having “fun” and the participation becomes annoying. This production is the first time I have witnessed people walking out DURING the show. Many more left at intermission, including myself. 1 out of 5 stars. Not Recommended at all.
I’ll update this if I get out to the Festival to see some additional shows this summer.