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Run for Your Wife

Mayhem ensues in Ray Cooney’s well-crafted farce when a bigamist cabdriver gets into an accident, forcing him into an ever expanding web of lies to his wives, two police departments, and the press. The cast maintains the necessary breakneck pace and split-second timing; J. Ben Parker does a particularly hilarious job as the cabbie’s well-meaning […]

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Grace and Glorie

Tom Zeigler’s gentle, humorous play about an elderly Appalachian woman and a type A, urban-transplant hospice worker illustrates the range of American feminine experience. Esther McCormick gives the mischievous Grace an easy laugh, abundant common sense, and simple faith, exuding both lightness of spirit and the weightiness of Grace’s impending death. Her subtlety in the […]

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Accomplice

In Rupert Holmes’s comedy thriller two couples switch lovers, identities, and murder motives so often that we don’t know till the last minute who’s screwing whom (in every sense). The cast navigates the hairpin turns with nary a bump, enhancing Holmes’s wit with just enough ham–especially Laura T. Fisher, whose vocal swells and gestures say […]

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Barefoot in the Park

This is a sweet, solid retelling of Neil Simon’s story about an attorney and his free-spirited bride adjusting to marriage in a tiny Greenwich Village walk-up. Committing 100 percent to every wacky moment, each actor brings a distinctive energy to the mix. Rod Thomas as husband Paul plays dependable straight man to Elizabeth Ledo’s Corie, […]

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The Sound of Music

The Light Opera Works production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic has a fine orchestra and lavish sets, and the harmonies are sublime, especially when the nuns sing. But none of this compensates for the paper-thin characters offered by the cast, with the exception of Jamie Axtell as the talent scout/unapologetic mooch Max and, sometimes, Winifred […]

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The Second City’s Dysfunctional Holiday Revue

A six-person ensemble provides timely, belly-shaking laughs using both improvised material and bits from Second City’s archives. Festive sketches and songs cover tedious newsletters, romantic expectations of the holidays, an endless road trip to grandma’s, and a Ghost of Christmas Present with a liberal agenda. Musical director Stephanie McCullough’s tickling of the ivories is like […]

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Roasting Chestnuts: A Christmas (Carol) Gina!

Noble Fool Theatricals’ seventh Gina Oswald parody of Osmond-esque holiday specials falls a bit flat despite its witty original carols and Patricia Musker’s unfailing ability to work a room as diva Oswald–even a roomful of sleepy (turkey-bloated?) suburbanites. This year’s premise is admittedly tired: Gina gets Scrooged after announcing plans to leave her holiday show […]

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Top Shelf

When a feminist writer pursues an expose of a strip club also targeted by an evangelist who wants to replace it with a “GodMart,” the story’s pretty predictable. The dancers’ warmth is no shocker either, a slight variation on the “whore with a heart of gold” stereotype. But their character quirks–one’s a NASA PhD, another […]

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Greetings

In this Judeo-Christian/new age fantasy by Tom Dudzick, who also wrote the semiautobiographical Over the Tavern, an uptight New Yorker brings his Jewish atheist fiancee home to his devout Catholic parents for Christmas. It seems your typical holiday angst fest until the mentally challenged younger brother begins channeling a supernatural being (who’s apparently British), throwing […]

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Once Upon a Mattress

Paula Scrofano as a villainous queen bent on sabotaging her son’s marital chances by imposing impossible tests on his would-be brides brings a needed flourish to Ray Frewen’s colorful but spark-deprived production. We know it’s a lightweight musical comedy, but the characters shouldn’t. Too often the love stories here play out predictably, with little genuine […]

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Steel Magnolias

The essence of Robert Harling’s 1987 play comes through in this production despite some underdeveloped supporting characters and flaws in delivery, like wildly uneven dialects and muddy diction. Set entirely in a true-to-life salon, Steel Magnolias celebrates the deep bonds shared by six small-town women who sustain each other through joy and sorrow. Allison M. […]

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Footloose

David H. Bell’s exceptional cast finds all the brightness and humanity in this stage version of the 1984 film, about a troubled city boy stuck in a small town that’s outlawed dancing. The movie’s pop score mostly translates well in Walter Bobbie and Dean Pitchford’s 1998 adaptation of Pitchford’s screenplay. The high point is “Somebody’s […]

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Bikerman and the Jewish Avenger

Creating a sort of “Odd Couple Live” experience, unlikely best friends Scott Woldman, a Jewish preppy English teacher, and Jim Jarvis, a beer-swilling, knife-wielding south-sider, share tales from their lives, choosing from a repertoire that includes bear-hunting adventures, a doomed eighth-grade ski trip, and the treatise “Why I Don’t Date Chicks From the North Shore.” […]