Stage Notes is a weekly aggregate post about theater, classical music and stage news, events, reviews and other relevant information.
Opening this week:
Stage West: Poor Clare, today-Dec. 17, pictured.
Keyboard Conversations with Jeffrey Siegel: Chopin and Liszt, 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Eisemann Center.
Get a peek at Uptown Players’ season opener…
and then on Friday, read my interview with Lee Walter who plays the title character in Jada Bells – A Holiday Extravaganza.
REVIEW: T3’s Scrooge in Rouge flips the funny switch on Dickens
Down in Theatre Too, Theatre Three has already gotten into the holiday spirit. The company opened Scrooge in Rouge in the middle of November, but with Thanksgiving out of the way, the musical comedy was a hilarious, irreverent way to kick off the season.
The cast of three with a one-person band and an understudy all created a show that was a whole lot of WTF with satisfying laughs directed and choreographed by Danielle Georgiou.
Playing an eccentric troupe of actors about to perform A Christmas Carol, the cast of Micah Brooks, Leslie Marie Collins and Alejandro Saucedo all delivered over the top performances as the bumbling theater company, but anything less would have taken away from the show’s folly. Cherish Love Robinson wasn’t left out as the onstage music director and keyboardist often punctuating the action with her own tomfoolery.
The troupe is minus a few actors for its production so the remaining three have to perform all the parts. Collins ends up playing Scrooge while Brooks takes on a multitude of roles as Charlie and Saucedo in a highly-caffeinated performance as the falsetto-voiced Lottie is the show’s female touch.
The hijinks were nonstop with the cast perpetually breaking the fourth wall interacting with the audience and even employing to play Tiny Tim. From start to finish, the jokes and physical comedy were enjoyably relentless. Even the intermission break was a bit so no laugh was left unturned.
Technically, the show was a low-key marvel in the smaller space. Leah Mazur’s scene design was clever and charming. Lighting played a huge part in the show’s effect and Lori Honeycutt nailed every bit. The costumes team of Sarah Mosher, Lauren Brown and Danelle Morrow spared no detail in the Victorian lewks that had just a twist of novelty for added comedy.
To agree with Georgiou’s statement in the show’s announcement, Scrooge in Rouge is the Christmas show you never knew you needed.
The show runs through Dec. 17.
BJ Cleveland stars in Theatre Arlington’s season closer
Theatre Arlington’s final performance of its 50th anniversary season will star BJ Cleveland in A Christmas Carol: The Radio Show. Directed by TA Executive Producer Steven D. Morris, the holiday production opens Friday and runs through Dec. 17.
The play follows a 1940 radio production of Charles Dickens’s classic tale. When a snowstorm prevents the play’s cast from getting to the station, the sound effect technician Bob Bennett takes it upon himself to perform the entirety of A Christmas Carol all by himself.
Cleveland has played the role before in shows by 1:30 Productions, The Classics Theatre Project and twice with Theatre Three.
“Well, it’s an age old story… It’s not only wonderful to say the words again, but really just to hear the story again for audiences. And there’s always a generation that has never heard it before…I got into theater because my grandparents read to me at a very early age. Storytelling comes very naturally in my family. So, to now get to read this to other generations means a lot. It’s very full circle for me,” Cleveland said in the show’s press release.
He also has a long history with Theatre Arlington having served as Artistic Director for 15 years. While preparing for this show, he even wrote and directed Uptown Players’ Jada Bells which opens the same day and has the same run dates. Seriously, I’ll have what this guy’s having.
For tickets, click here.