Category: Musical Theatre

Through 4/21: Midsummer magic – mostly: Burning Coal Theatre’s A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC

The romantic conceit dates back before Ingmar Bergman’s 1955 classic, Smiles of a Summer Night, and well before Shakespeare: when humans have gotten themselves stuck in the worst partnerships possible (or, even worse, in abject celibacy), the magic of a midsummer’s night can sort everything out, bring the right pairs together in spite of themselves and restore harmonic community, dyad by dyad.

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Triangle Theatre and Dance 2023: The Best of What We Saw

Since end-of-year wrap-ups inevitably use a lot of figures, let’s start with the most improbable one of all: 338, for the number of theater and dance productions staged in North Carolina’s Triangle region during 2023. For those counting, it was an all-time high in terms of yearly output for the area, a remarkable comeback for the two art forms that had been most threatened during the first three years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No, we couldn’t see them all. The curated lists here of superlatives come from the one-hundred shows we did view from the region’s major companies and selected up-and-comers through the year.

The only way a region produces 338 different shows is with a large pool of artists and an even more extensive community of support. Those whose job it is to fret over even good news wondered at year’s-end how sustainable such a level of output could be. We’ll get an answer to that question in the coming year.

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Hit the Wall Reminds Us of the Continuing Relevance of the Stonewall Riots

On the eve of the annual Charlotte Pride Festival & Parade, a series of LGBTQ+ events spread across the city in the coming week, Queen City Concerts has chosen a perfect moment to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969, a watershed moment for gay liberation and empowerment. Best known for their resourceful reductions of big musicals to a more bare-bones concert format, Queen City has previously shattered their own template with a fine script-in-hand production of Tony Kushner‘s Angels in America, Parts 1 and 2. Three months later, after a return to form with Diana: The Musical late last month, the company has shown us that Angels wasn’t a fluke, staging the local premiere of Ike Holter‘s Hit the Wall, a 2012 play with music that premiered in Holter’s hometown of Chicago before director Eric Hoff restaged his original Steppenwolf Garage production with a New York cast. That Off-Broadway production opened in the spring of 2013 at the Barrow Street Theater, not far from Christopher Park in Greenwich Village, where much of the original action went down.

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A Testament to Young Artistry: BMC’s Into the Woods

Stephen Sondheim is regaled as one of, if not the, greatest musical theatre composer of the past century. His work spanned a career of over 60 years, including staples of the American theatrical genre such as Sweeney Todd, Company, and of course, Into the Woods. Sondheim’s passing in 2021 was a deep wound for the musical theatre community at large, with many considering it the end of an era for the genre. However, with great loss comes great change. Sondheim’s shoes cannot be filled, but his legacy can continue to inspire and raise artists to new heights. Last night’s production of Into the Woods at the Brevard Music Center confirmed that the future of musical theatre is as bright as the young artists who took the stage with the discipline, passion, and commitment of true professionals.

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A Musical Take on a Christmas Classic: Scrooge at Matthews Playhouse

It can be difficult to make such a traditional Christmas story fresh for audiences. However, Matthews Playhouse has managed to create both a sense of tradition and wonder in their production of Scrooge. The added musical elements only serve to brighten this tale, making it suitable for younger audience members who will surely enjoy the colorful costumes and lively dancing. With the added vigor of dance and harmonies, adults and children alike will enjoy the warmth of this reinvigorated classic. Matthews Playhouse has succeeded in bringing a much-needed piece of holiday joy to its community.

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