“Lyric Stage’s full-orchestra revival of Oliver! is glorious… Lyric Stage has uncorked a magnum of a production of Oliver!… Jack VanGorden, as Oliver, is a director’s dream… Jonathan Beck Reed (Fagin) is a delight… Catherine Carpenter Cox has pipes to die for as Nancy…”
Read Perry Stewart’s entire TheaterJones.com review
“Lyric Stage only runs a show for two weekends. Fortunate for those who are lucky enough to get a ticket, it’s worth the drive to Irving to catch Lyric Stage at its best… Jonathan Beck Reed’s performance was one for the books!… Cast as Nancy it would seem that the role was tailor-made for Catherine Carpenter Cox. Cox was riveting! … powerhouse performances …Jay Dias conducted a beautifully orchestrated team of musicians permitting Lyric Stage to boast as one of the only local theatres to host a full orchestra for productions…the set for Oliver! received its own applause when the curtain was drawn for Act I, Scene I.”
Read Bonnie K. Daman’s entire Pegasus News review for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN
FLORA, THE RED MENACE
Theater review: Lyric Stage shows off forgotten gem in ‘Flora, the Red Menace’
“Every so often, Lyric Stage digs up a show that even the most fervent fan of musical theater is unlikely to have seen – and it’s so good you wonder why it’s not a standard. Flora, the Red Menace is one of the most exciting.
It helps, of course, that the strong production the company opened on Saturday stars Kristin Dausch, a Dallas favorite since she appeared in Lyric’s Funny Girl. She sings like an angel. Or like that celestial trumpet that archangel Gabriel blows.
The first collaboration between John Kander and Fred Ebb, who went on to write Cabaret and Chicago, it introduced a 19-year-old Liza Minnelli to Broadway and won her a Tony Award. An off-Broadway revival cut the cast down to nine performers.
The title character graduates from high school in the first scene, then goes out to look for a job during the height of the Depression. Flora, the Red Menace definitely sports a social conscience. A revival in the current era of high unemployment makes as much sense as taking a new look at Chicago did right after the O.J. Simpson trial.
Flora spontaneously organizes a group of friends as an artists’ cooperative. She recruits a good-looking painter, Harry (Keith J. Warren), who in turn recruits her into the Communist party. The leader of the cell, Charlotte (Danielle Estes), is even more aggressive in her romantic pursuit of Harry than Flora is. Eventually, political differences make for a bittersweet ending to the love story – which may be one reason the show has never caught on.
Director-choreographer Ann Nieman and musical director Scott A. Eckert share credit for a gorgeously sung and sympathetically acted interpretation, all the way around. Every word of the unfamiliar lyrics proves immediately intelligible, too.
Dausch sets the standard. Judging from the original cast recording, she sings the role with as much power and much more finesse than Minnelli did. A natural comedienne, she can be goofy or sincere at will. She still lacks physical grace on stage – and a star in the making should insist on more flattering dresses, even when the costume is supposed to be unflattering.
Warren and Estes are fresh faces with enormous potential. So is Calvin Roberts as Willy, the friendly clarinet player. Thomas Christopher Renner and Katherine Gentsch hoof it charmingly as the aspiring dance team.”
Lawson Taitte, Dallas Morning News
Join the Party!
At Lyric Stage, Flora the Red Menace makes love and Communism fun.Oh, the things people do for love.
Support hobbies they have no interest in. Care for a significant other when they’re sick. Join the Communist party.
Wait! What? Sure, changing political affiliations, especially to communism, might seem absurdly extreme in the matters of love, but that’s just what one woman does in Irving Lyric Stage’s rambunctiously fun production of Flora the Red Menace.
Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Flora (Kristin Dausch) is introduced, innocently enough, as a fashion illustrator in search of a job. While on the hunt, she meets Harry (Keith J. Warren) and is instantly smitten.
As the two become better acquainted, Harry informs Flora he is a member of the Communist Party and would like her to join. Uneasy about the proposal, she hems and haws until Harry cements his feelings for her, prompting her to sign up.
However, before Flora can attend her first meeting, she’s hired by a department store to work as an illustrator. She arrives at the party meeting and tells Harry the news, which only ends up prompting him and the other members to urge Flora to covertly drum up interest for a union.
Charlotte (Danielle Estes), the group’s matriarch and fellow admirer of Harry, seeks to undercut Flora’s burgeoning momentum with the group and Harry by instead advocating a rally outside the department store.
Naturally, events and feelings come to a head as Flora haphazardly attempts to balance her love for Harry and being a communist with the good fortune of having a job in the terrible economy and helping out her friends, a collective of artists she shares studio space with.
And pleasantly, though the ending is undoubtedly a happy one, it takes a different route than one might expect, highlighting the personal growth of its lead character.
Staged as a presentation by the Federal Theatre Project, an actual branch of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, Flora is a brilliantly conceived comedy that takes a look at the Great Depression from an angle rarely examined through the lens of a dual-layered performance.
Belying the discouraging moniker with which that time in America’s history is saddled, David Thompson (book), John Kander (music) and Fred Ebb (lyrics) create a cast of uniquely self-aware characters who often exude a positive, almost tongue-in-cheek quality, reinforcing the meta nature of the show-within-a-show and themselves as employees of the WPA in the 1930s acting for a depression-era audience.
Joining Dausch, Warren and Estes is a versatile ensemble comprised of Calvin Roberts, Jeff McGee, Jaclyn Stapp, Katharine Gentsch, Thomas Christopher Renner and K. Doug Miller. Each plays numerous roles and do so with amusing aplomb, keeping in mind their performances should be somewhat transparent, given the layering of the roles.
Warren is endearing as the stammering Harry, and the passion with which he believes in his cause is admirable, if not misdirected. The fact that Warren can elicit any sympathy at all from the audience is a tribute to the depth he instills in his character.
Perhaps even a greater accomplishment is how Estes is able to make the ravenous Charlotte somewhat likeable. Playing her as a passionate woman rather than a villain proves a cunning choice by Estes that lends depth to an otherwise one-dimensional antagonist. Under Estes’ careful guidance, Charlotte becomes human. A violently passionate human, but human nonetheless.
And as the cherry on top of this delicious sundae, Dausch makes joining the Communist Party over a boy not only plausible, but acceptable. Charlotte and Flora are really two sides of the same coin. The passion and vigor with which both women pursue their goal is only differentiated by their dispositions. Dausch, as a result of her sunny disposition and formidable pluck, had the audience rooting for her. Even if that meant becoming a communist. And considering this country’s stance towards that particular political philosophy, the effectiveness of her performance is no small feat.
Scenic designer Jane Quetin’s set is simple and functional, a smart reinforcement of the depression era setting of the production. And director/choreographer Ann Nieman’s choice to make scene, and some costume, changes visible to the audience, carried out by the actors themselves, deftly communicates the show-within-a-show aspect, and strikes a crucial balance allowing the story to have maximum effect.
And that effect is telling a very human story. For in the end, Flora learns that true love isn’t always about one person. Sometimes, it’s been right in front of us the whole time.
And you don’t even have to join the Communist Party to find it
Kris Noteboom, TheaterJones
FLORA, THE RED MENACE – Theatre Review
Lyric Stage’s production of Flora the Red Menace is a show with enough love to be a Valentine’s date, and good music, comedy, hopes and dreams for everybody else. It’s the epitome of musical theatre, and yet, for a nice change, no one was singing along behind me.
Flora the Red Menace follows headstrong wannabe fashion illustrator Flora Mezaros, a member of an artists’ co-operative of bohemian types struggling to find work during the Depression. Hoping to find a job paying at least $15 a week, she is hired by a large department store for $30. Flora falls in love with Harry Toukarian, another struggling artist, who attempts to convert her to his Communist ideals. Even though it compromises her job at the department store, Flora seeks to hold down both job and relationship (taken from Lyric Stage’s website). It’s the age old problem – happiness vs. doing the right thing. It is based on the novel `Love is Just Around the Corner’ by Lester Atwell that was originally adapted by George Abbott. The book is by David Thompson, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb.
Irving Art Center’s Dupree Theatre is a large proscenium theatre that Jane Quetin’s set design transforms into various locations in New York, mainly the co-op the artists live in and the department store. Making use of large white arches that have street lamp posts on one side and are plain on the other, desks (which are rolled in and out), the set changes are quick and often to the music. It’s a realistic yet minimalistic set design, and it works very well. The costumes by David Blades are appropriate to 1935, well fit, and give us a glimpse into who the characters are. The spot on hairstyles (or wigs?) of each actor finish off these costumes with perfection. Lighting designer Julie N. Moroney utilizes lights to create mood and draw our attention to the real happenings of a scene (and hide various set transformations as needed).
Sound design by Bill Eickenloff was truly key, and it blended the miced actors perfectly with the live band that was placed upstage left (audience right) behind all the action. There were also some very nice sound effects added, such as the elevator ding. I did, however, crave a little music for intermission.
Director Ann Nieman, who also doubles as the choreographer, has assembled a fine cast of excellent singers. The dance numbers are on the slightly simplistic side, but they still entertain and keep the story moving. It was nice to finally see Kenny and Maggie dance together in an all out number that included both ballroom and tap dancing. The actors rarely stand still and the fast-paced blocking mixed with intricate set changes helps keep the energy of the show up. The scene in the elevator showcases each actor’s physical acting capability. They all make mime and unified timing for starts and stops look easy. The use of a cyc screen for the protest scene made 2 or 3 actors look like a lot more. Scott A. Eckert is the music director, and since more of the show is sung than spoken, he carries the weight of this production. Luckily, he has a great band and on-pitch singers to delegate this responsibility to, and they most definitely pull their fair share.
The storyline itself is a little predictable, but it has many heartwarming moments. From Flora and Harry’s innocent yet comical love that warms your heart here at Valentine’s Day to the song “All I Need is One Good Break” that has every artist in the audience nodding their head and saying, “ME TOO!,” it holds that magic of musical theatre. It’s not a complicated story, and it seemed to end rather abruptly.
I know, personally, I needed a more “happily ever after” ending, but perhaps there was some sort of message about the consequences of associating with evil Communists that resonated with the original audiences back in 1965 that somehow passed by me. The final song was very sad, then slightly hopeful, and then, it was suddenly over. I guess I wanted one more song. No doubt these singers would have done well in that number, too.
The story calls for 9 actors to play over 25 roles, and not a beat was missed in the creation of all these roles. Kristin Dausch returns to Lyric Stage in the title role of Flora. She is quirky, charming and allows her voice to bellow and sore with ease. In previous reviews for other roles, she has been compared to a young Barbara Streisand, and I think these comparisons are spot on and a compliment to Dausch’s talent. Yet, she brings her own sass and spunk to this role, too. She isn’t without her softer moments, such as in the song Quiet Thing.
Playing her love interest is Keith J. Warren as Harry. With a beautiful tenor voice and earnest puppy eyed love/communistic ideals, he seems to be the calm to her passion. Harry has a strong stammer and also works as an artist, painting murals in the subways. Warren handles the stammering well and seems to truly believe in the Communist party almost to the point of convincing the audience it’s the right choice, too. He doesn’t have your typical leading man physique, but in a way, this makes him endearing to the audience.
As the story progresses and Harry is pursued by Comrade Charlotte, played by Danielle Estes, one must wonder why all these women are so hot for a poor stammering artist who is a loud and proud Red. That’s where one must let “musical magic” take over. Estes has a very sultry voice and uses it well to convey her many meanings, though she could have been even more seductive towards Harry with her body. Calvin Roberts plays Willy, a clarinet player and other characters as needed, including at times the narrator. He has a beautiful speaking voice and a way of engaging the audience with even just a few words.
Mr. Weiss, the older jeweler of the group, is played by Jeff McGee and, like the others, plays many other characters as well. He makes the best use of various New York accents along with different physical manifestations of each character. Mr. Stanley is the staunch, strict department store boss of Flora, and K. Doug Miller brings all of this and more to the stage. Like the others, his acting muscles are flexed, allowing him to create one character after another.
Elsa is the fashion designer and is well played by Jaclyn Stapp. Maggie is the dancer, along with her love Kenny, and they are brought to life with innocence and spunk by Katharine Gentsch and Thomas Christopher Renner.
Lyric Stage’s Flora the Red Menace is a lesser known musical that follows the formula of a traditional American Musical. If you like this formula, you’ll love this show. If not, you’ll probably still find moments that reach out and touch you.
Laura L. Watson, Associate Theater Critic, for John Garcia’s THE COLUMN
MY FAIR LADY
“My Fair Lady proves its excellence at Lyric Stage in Irving… My Fair Lady is the greatest of all operettas. You’ll never see better proof than the version currently at Lyric Stage… Over the last three years, Lyric Stage has been giving the top musicals of this period the deluxe treatment. No one else anywhere is performing this kind of show with a full orchestra today. In Irving, however, Jay Dias’ pit band numbers 38 – more than the size of the original Broadway forces. Hearing the score this way makes all the difference…
All in all, My Fair Lady just doesn’t get any better than this.”
Read Lawson Taitte’s Dallas Morning News review of MY FAIR LADY
“The Lady is a Champ… Lyric Stage’s production of My Fair Lady sets the new standard for revivals of classics… Lyric’s production is a breath of fresh air. Lyric’s staging of this classic is a heartfelt effort illuminated by excellent design and dedicated performances… Featuring more musicians than the original Broadway production, the orchestra adds a richness and texture to the proceedings that cannot be matched in other productions… Lyric Stage’s production of the ultimate classic, My Fair Lady, is a definite must-see.”
Read Kris Noteboom’s TheaterJones.com review of MY FAIR LADY
“My Fair Lady Lifts Lyric Stage To New Heights… They don’t make shows like My Fair Lady anymore and nobody does them with as much love, respect and enthusiasm for how they should be done as Lyric Stage. “
Read Elaine Liner’s Dallas Observer review of MY FAIR LADY
“Lush ‘My Fair Lady’ has stunning amount of talent on display… a musical lover’s dream come true.”
Read Mark Lowry’s Ft. Worth Star-Telegram review of MY FAIR LADY
BYE BYE BIRDIE
“Lyric Stage’s ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ captures retro essence perfectly… No cast has ever sung Charles Strouse and Lee Adam’s songs more confidently, and the 32-piece orchestra under musical director Jay Dias allows us to hear the snazzy orchestrations – something no other fully staged production has had since the original closed nearly 50 years ago.”
Read Lawson Taitte’s Dallas Morning News review of BYE BYE BIRDIE
“Lyric Stage in Irving knocks it out of the park with their current production of the 1960′s stage musical, “Bye Bye Birdie.” It’s a funny, refreshing, well-staged revival…”
Read Gary Cogill’s WFAA review of BYE BYE BIRDIE
“Lyric Stage ups the ante, again, for musical theater in North Texas… It’s becoming a little embarrassing to keep heaping such praise on Lyric Stage, but this production, directed by Cheryl Denson, is deserving of it. Every time Lyric puts something on stage, it is generally so above other local productions of musicals that going to the Irving Arts Center for a Lyric show is more than just a night at the theater, it’s an event. If you haven’t discovered Lyric yet—why the hell not?”
Read Mark Lowry’s TheaterJones.com review of BYE BYE BIRDIE
“Wonderful Cast, Retro Romance Boost Lyric Stage’s Bye Bye Birdie…Bye Bye Birdie was a huge hit when it came to Broadway in 1960, for its ability to combine searing social commentary and exhilarating fun. It still works. It’s still enjoyable, and Lyric Stage put on a flawless production.”
Read Will Arbery’s D Magazine review of BYE BYE BIRDIE
JULIE JOHNSON SINGS
“When Julie Johnson sings, you want to be listening… Julie Johnson is a force of nature. North Texas’ diva of divas is performing a weekend of concerts for Lyric Stage in place of its annual Dallas Divas! show. On Friday, she sang for a solid hour, took a short intermission, then sang for another 60 minutes. Whew!…”
Read Lawson Taitte’s Dallas Morning News review of JULIE JOHNSON SINGS
SHOW BOAT: IN CONCERT
“Audiences at Lyric Stage’s concert version of Show Boat have a glorious opportunity to hear the first – and in some ways still the greatest – American musical drama in a more complete form even than the 1927 Broadway premiere… Jay Dias’ research for Lyric Stage has produced the most definitive reconstruction yet. He conducts a 40-piece orchestra – and an onstage cast of more than 60 performers. They sound fabulous. Even without costumes, director-choreographer Ann Nieman has them acting their roles in a grand but natural style, too.”
Read Lawson Taitte’s Dallas Morning News review of SHOW BOAT
“A restored “Show Boat” sets sail at Lyric Stage. While there is no such thing as an official version of the landmark musical Show Boat, the Lyric Stage production comes close to the original intentions. First-rate cast, excellent chorus and full orchestra: 108 performers in all.”
Read the TheaterJones review of SHOW BOAT
THE ROAD TO QATAR
“Autobiographical ‘Road to Qatar’ proves a bubbly tour of creating a musical… In recent years, musicals about writing musicals have become a dime a dozen. But few are as funny, as much sheer fun, as The Road to Qatar.“
Read Lawson Taitte’s Dallas Morning News review of THE ROAD TO QATAR
“Sheik-down: It’s all true in Lyric Stage’s “The Road to Qatar,” a good show about a bad show.”
Read Elaine Liner’s Dallas Observer review of THE ROAD TO QATAR
“The grand oil opry: ‘Qatar’ makes the Middle East funny…
Composer David Krane’s bouncy score and librettist Stephen Cole’s clever lyrics (“Dubai Bye Birdie” — genius) is an effervescent delight. Watching it rattle-and-hummus along is a breezy joy.“
Read Arnold Wayne Jones’ Dallas Voice review of THE ROAD TO QATAR
“Singing, Dancing in the Desert.. Writer Stephen Cole and composer David Krane’s wacky re-telling of their most un-likely commissioning, The Road to Qatar, is an enchanting and hilarious piece of musical theater.“
Read Alexandra Bonifield’s Renegade Bus review of THE ROAD TO QATAR
“A wacky, pun-filled romp… For Lyric Stage, The Road to Qatar leads
to fun, frivolity, and the freedom to laugh out loud.“
Read Mary L. Clark’s Pegasus News review of THE ROAD TO QATAR
“Lyric Stage’s revival of “Funny Girl” is so good, audience members will think they’re the luckiest people in the world… This production is Lyric’s fourth revival in two years that breathes new life into a classic via a full orchestra (30-45 pieces), following Carousel, West Side Story and The King and I… It’s almost embarrassing how much we critics continue to gush over Lyric’s full-orchestra musical stagings, but honestly, no other musical theater company in North Texas is playing on this level.”
Read Mark Lowry’s TheaterJones.com review of FUNNY GIRL
“Another star is born in ‘Funny Girl’…. For its production that opened Saturday, Lyric Stage found 22-year-old Kristin Dausch. This newcomer has everything the role needs – first and foremost, a voice that could belt high notes to the far reaches of the new Cowboy Stadium if need be… Dausch can act, too, and she has a gift for comedy – which you’d better if you’re going to star in a show called Funny Girl…”
Read Lawson Taitte’s Dallas Morning News review of FUNNY GIRL
“People, people who see ‘Funny Girl,’ are the luckiest people in the world’…
Lyric Stage’s positively splendid, old-timey barnburner of a musical… soars.”
Read Arnold Wayne Jone’s Dallas Voice review of FUNNY GIRL
Martha Heimberg’s Turtle Creek News review:
“Belting, brash Funny Girl lights up Lyric Stage
Funny Girl, the musical based on the career of Ziegfeld Follies star Fanny Brice, made Barbra Streisand famous when it opened on Broadway in 1964. Now, Lyric Stage producer Steven Jones has mounted a production of the Jule Styne-Bob Merrill musical that gives its gifted, 22-year-old leading lady, Kristin Dausch, a terrific platform to strutt her stuff.
I love Lyric Stage performances, when Jay Dias’s huge orchestra breaks into the overture from the pit and the house lights start going down. In those opening moments I always feel the excitement of being in a Broadway theater at the Irving Arts Center’s Carpenter Performance Hall, with its huge red velvet curtain and deep proscenium stage. And director Cheryl Denson doesn’t disappoint us when that curtain rises.
Dausch stomps onto the stage insisting “I’m the Greatest Star!” and I believed her instantly. She doesn’t copy Streisand, but delivers her songs with a clear, vibrant style and a voice that projects right to the back row – and reverberates off the walls. She’s moving on “People” and commanding in “Don’t Rain on my Parade.” When she needs to deliver her funny Jewish girl lines, she’s right on the money. I loved her exuberant, comic rendition of “Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady” – one of several songs in the show that makes you want this girl to have it all!
The star stays in the spotlight in this show – and is present in almost every scene! But she also has great support from the 30-member ensemble of dancers, singers and actors. Christopher Pinnella is a handsome and masculine Nick Arnstein, the love of Fanny’s life, and Jeremy Dumont is a crackerjack tap dancer in the big supporting role of her rejected suitor. Connie Coit is a hoot as the gossipy Mrs. Strakosh who understands how tough it can be “If a Girl Isn’t Pretty.” Lois Sonnier Hart is both formidable and fetching as Fanny’s saloon-owner, poker-playing mother.
We know there are some wonderful songs in this show, but it was a treat for me to see the marvelously produced big Ziegfeld Follies numbers. The costumes and chorography are especially superb and hilarious in the comic piece “His Love Makes Me Beautiful.”
It’s hard to find anything bad to say about this production – it’s just another terrific night at Lyric Stage theater! Get your tickets right away.
THE KING AND I
“Quite a Night in Bangkok: Lyric Stage’s “The King and I” is a feast…. It seemed unimaginable that Lyric Stage could top its phenomenal 2007 full-orchestra production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, but its staging of the famous duo’s better-known musical The King and I has done just that….”
Read Mark Lowry’s TheaterJones.com review of THE KING AND I
“This is an unforgettable production, resplendent with a wide array of vocal power, imagination-sparking visual imagery, masterful choreography and the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization’s original Robert Russell Bennett’s orchestration for thirty-five-piece orchestra… We in the Dallas/Ft. Worth region are so lucky that the National Endowment for the Arts saw fit to award Lyric Stage with a grant to mount this magnificent production.
Please don’t miss The King and I. It’s no “puzzlement” that it’s a stunning success…..”
Read Alexandra Bonifield’s review of THE KING AND I
“This is eye-popping theater… Lyric’s massive production has everything… You don’t see locally-grown shows like this very often… A 35-piece ensemble performing the original orchestrations of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The King & I” with gigantic sets and costumes, including a custom-made scrim that soars above the stage of the Carpenter Hall proscenium? Good luck finding this big of a show on Broadway nowadays.”
Read Arnold Wayne Jones’ Dallas Voice review of THE KING AND I
“Strong performances anchor ‘King and I’ at Irving Arts Center… Lyric Stage has wisely chosen to go back to the musical’s roots… Most notably, this concern for the past means that the Irving company is the first anywhere to play the original Broadway score painstakingly restored by the Rodgers and Hammerstein organization…”
Read Lawson Taitte’s Dallas Morning News review of THE KING AND I
“At once subversive and precious, near-kitschy and vibrant, quaint and ironic, Lyric Stage’s revival of
The King and I, restoring the orchestrations from the original 1951 Broadway production,
is spectacular and, at its best moments, profoundly moving.”
Read Christopher Soden’s Examiner review of THE KING AND I
Martha Heimberg’s Turtle Creek News review:
“Nemmers and Aronson make The King and I something wonderful at Lyric Stage
The opulent costumes and lavish sets in the Lyric Stage production of The King and I are every bit as grand as a Broadway production. And the orchestration, the singing and the dramatic performances come together to create a huge and thrilling musical evening of Rodgers and Hammerstein at their most moving and melodic.
Lyric Stage founding producer Steven Jones has returned to the original Broadway score, not heard since the show was first produced – and the 35-member orchestra conducted by Jay Dias makes an exciting event of the show’s overture alone! Cheryl Denson directs a cast approaching 50 – including all the king’s children, the many wives and the dancers moving crisply to Jerome Robbins’ original choreography.
Joe Nemmers is a virile and entirely appealing King of Siam, eager to gain the respect of Western nations – especially England – and move his country into the “scientific” Victorian era. An accomplished actor on stage and in film, the King is Nemmers first musical role – and he delivers with verve and enormous presence. Nemmers’ King is fabulously fit, folding his legs into a yoga position on his throne or strutting about his palace with deliberate and weighty steps. It’s easy to see why his wives are so devoted to this smart and sexy man!
When the king hires an English schoolteacher Anna Leonowens (a lilting and lively Luann Aronson) to tutor his children, she ends up also teaching him a thing or two in the course of the evening. The sexual tension between the two – sometimes lost in less dramatically focused productions – crackles from their first encounter. Their chemistry reaches an especially provocative level in “Shall We Dance?” as the commanding king bounds barefoot around the floor, Anna in his arms, and hardly touching her enormous and luminous gown in Shall We Dance? Everyone applauded the delightful vigor and playfulness of the moment.
The King and I is a spectacular show – including the charming “March of the Siamese Children” and the lovely second-act ballet based on Uncle Tom’s Cabin – but I loved the solos and duets are the most moving numbers.
Aronson’s best turn is her rousing version of “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?” — an indictment of the “spoiled” king and his polygamous lifestyle – delivered in his absence and with increasing and hilarious fury. Ya Han Chang as Lady Thiang turns in an especially evocative performance, singing a touching and insightful “Something Wonderful.” Also excellent are Adrian Li Donna as Lun Tha and Jung Eun Kim as Tuptim singing “We Kiss in a Shadow.” Virtually all the performers handle the inherent weirdness of bursting from conversation into song with convincing style.”
AS THOUSANDS CHEER
“Merry mayhem: Lyric Stage’s AS THOUSANDS CHEER. It’s an evening of first class, high-energy high jinks and musical numbers… It’s smart witty, with a wealth of sophisticated double entendres and innuendos…”
Read the Examiner review of As Thousands Cheer
“As sharp as Lyric Stage’s founding producer Steven Jones has been in nabbing regional- and world-premiere musicals, not to mention gussying up well-known classics with full orchestras, he has outdone himself with the current staging of Fiorello! And it’s not just because he has unveiled an admirable (if occasionally flawed) staging of this criminally forgotten Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning gem.”
Read Mark Lowry’s full Pegasus News review of FIORELLO!
“Lyric Stage doesn’t just dust off 1950s musical; it gives it a high polish…Lyric Stage succeeds gloriously …with a glistening production that works the audience like a lobbyist buying senators.”
Read Punch Shaw’s full Star-Telegram review of FIORELLO!
“Fiorello! is funny and entertaining, with music by Jerry Bock and delicious rhymes by lyricist Sheldon Harnick. …a strong ensemble and several stand-out performances made the production an enjoyable winner.”
Read Chris Shull’s full Park Cities People review of FIORELLO!
Following is the entire Dallas Observer Review by Elaine Liner:
“Imagine a Republican candidate elected for standing up for working stiffs and sweeping money-grubbing crooks from office. A fairy tale? No, Fiorello! The 1959 musical recounts the rise of Fiorello H. LaGuardia, elected to Congress before World War I and then to the office of mayor of New York City, which he wrested from the control of the corrupt Tammany Hall Democratic political machine.
In the roisterous production directed by Cheryl Denson for Irving’s Lyric Stage, we see why this rarely revived show earned its Tony and Pulitzer (besting Gypsy and The Sound of Music). Here is a masculine musical about big men doing big things. And it needs a big talent to play its short, wide title character. Lyric has that in Brian Gonzales, who returns for this production after taking over a main role in the Broadway hit 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Gonzales plays Fiorello as a passionate firebrand full of good intentions and boundless energy. He has a magnificent singing voice and the presence of a bona fide star. Physically and vocally, Gonzales resembles Jason Alexander, especially in LaGuardia’s Costanza-like tantrums.
With similarities to a certain Runyon-esque musical, Fiorello! sets its idealized political biography against a bittersweet love story. One of LaGuardia’s loyal employees, Marie (Noelle Stanley), falls in love with her boss but keeps her feelings hidden until after the death of the mayor’s pretty wife, Thea (Connie Kegg). The secondary plot follows the sweatshop-to-penthouse journey of Dora (the delightful Megan Woodall), a garment worker who grows disgusted at the dirty dealings of her underworld-connected husband (Brian Patrick Hathaway). Singing “I Love a Cop”—”If I loved a dentist or a doctor, I’d be on top… but I looooove a cop”—Woodall affects a comic nasal squeak not unlike Miss Adelaide’s in Guys and Dolls.
Fiorello! boasts a tight, witty book by Jerome Weidman and George Abbott, and a score of good, loud tunes by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock. “Politics and Poker” and “Little Tin Box” haven’t become standards the way “Luck Be a Lady” has, but maybe that’s just a bad roll of the musical comedy dice.
Lyric has a winner with Fiorello!“
Following is the entire EDGE Review by Christopher Soden:
“In a time when political corruption seems more brazen and rampant than ever, when the presidential election is just over the horizon with all its mudslinging, how appropriate to stage a revival of Fiorello! a musical about the honest, altruistic, and dedicated attorney, Fiorello LaGuardia, who took on the corrupt Tammany Hall machine that had dominated New York City politics since before the Civil War. Who’d have thought that a show dealing with unions, the draft, Washington, cops, schmoozing, strikes, cronyism, influence pedaling and Mayoral campaigns could work so well? The music is bright (if a bit heavy on the trumpets) and varied, the lyrics clever, the story poignant and uplifting. There’s romance, chutzpah, tragedy, energetic dancing and evocative period costumes that run from blue collar to glamorous. As if all that weren’t enough, it’s exhilarating to see a believable show where valiant and decent people win.
“Fiorello!” (the name means “little flower” in Italian) opens in the 1930’s, as Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia is reading the Sunday funnies to the children over the radio, due to a newspaper strike. The rest of the musical is flashback to 1915 and Fiorello’s Law Office in Greenwich Village where most of the story takes place. We are introduced to Neil, Morris and Marie, LaGuardia’s diligent, energetic, persevering staff. LaGuardia, a champion to the underdog is this day meeting with Dora, a factory seamstress, who needs his help. The women are striking for better wages, and the cops have arrested Dora’s friend, Thea, on a baseless charge of solicitation. LaGuardia wastes no time in getting Thea released and organizing the ladies’ protest efforts in the bargain.
Brian Gonzales in the title role is inspired, full of moxie, bluster and brio. With his diminutive stature, enormous hat and smartly tailored dark suit he can seem pugnacious and a bit too close to megalomania but to quote the songbook, it’s all “on the side of the angels.” We follow LaGuardia’s career as he runs for Congress, goes to Washington, enlists in the war, and runs for mayor. Needless to say, he has his share of setbacks, from daunting to tragic, but he soldiers on, flawed, human, discouraged, and all the more moving for it.
Considering the time in which “Fiorello!” is set, the women’s roles are atypical. They are savvy if not necessarily educated, and the two main ladies in Fiorello’s life, Marie and Thea, are his intellectual peers. In the song, “Marie’s Law” she takes men to task for being so insensitive and unreliable when it comes to romance, and here in 2008 nothing has changed.
The milieu of “Fiorello!” is rich and detailed. A law office, a backroom poker party, a protest march, a penthouse, strike headquarters together with the panoply of blue-collar citizens create a vivid sense of New York working-class life at the turn of the 20th Century. The set design is vivid and the costume design by Drenda Lewis, natty and spectacular. Her evening gowns and dancers’ togs are sexy and vivacious. Standouts in the fabulous cast include: Noelle Stanley as Marie, Megan Woodall as Dora, Doug Jackson as Morris, Clayton Younkin as Neil and the light, chipper feet and comedic gifts of Brian Patrick Hathaway as Floyd. Mr. Hathaway, what DO you sprinkle on your cornflakes?”
WEST SIDE STORY
Following is a review by Mark Lowry of Ft. Worth Star-Telegram:
“Lyric Stage brilliantly brings ‘West Side Story’ to life…
There is a stunning moment in Act I that encapsulates Lyric Stage’s glorious revival of West Side Story.
After Tony (Micah Shepard) has been smitten with Maria (Kimberly Whalen in a phenomenal performance) at the dance, he beautifully sings Maria. Shepard is downstage-left on the Irving Arts Center’s expansive and deep Carpenter Hall stage. He’s the only actor out there, but a short distance behind him is a 33-member orchestra and the spotlighted music director/conductor Jay Dias.
As the song shifts in intensity (“Say it loud and there’s music playing/Say it soft and it’s almost like praying”), so does Dias’ impassioned baton-wielding — and Leonard Bernstein’s legendary score. It’s simple but spectacular.
This is the second time that Lyric Stage — led by Steven Jones, who has to be one of the most astute, brave and visionary producers of musical theater in the country, including on Broadway — has staged a landmark musical with a full orchestra. Last year, it was Carousel with a 40-piece orchestra. In that show, the orchestra in the pit left room for a giant set.
But in director Grover Dale’s vision, West Side is spare, using mostly rolling industrial ladders and stand-alone doors (the set changes are surprisingly fluid) to represent the New York City locales, from fire escapes and fences to the stairs to the basement of Doc’s store. That leaves the spectacle where it rightly belongs: Bernstein’s music, Arthur Laurents’ book, Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics and Jerome Robbins’ iconic choreography (re-created here and ingeniously embellished a bit by Kate Swan and the athletic dancers).
None of the performances of the young characters, especially from the women (Whalen, Christie Peruso’s Anita and Lili Froehlich’s Anybodys) rely on previous versions or stereotypes. It’s saying a lot that Gordon Fox, in the show’s smallest part, Glad Hand, makes you care about a character to whom you had never paid attention.
One quibble is Shepard, who is not the most compelling Tony — but he has a terrific voice.
The spare set allows the audience more power of imagination. After Tony sings Maria, it’s as if he magically wishes himself outside her window. And the audience is transported as well.“
“Crazy Cool. The gang’s all here, dancing like dreams in Lyric Stage’s West Side Story…”
Read the full Dallas Observer review of WEST SIDE STORY
“Lyric Stage shakes up ‘West Side Story’ with punchy choreography and full orchestra…”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of WEST SIDE STORY
Following is a review by Martha Heimberg of Turtle Creek News:
“The Jets (and everybody!) are in gear in Lyric Stage’s West Side Story.
So much depends on the skill and energy of the dancers in West Side Story, the great American urban love story conceived by chorographer Jerome Robbins, and set to music by Leonard Bernstein, with Stephen Sondheim’s moving and witty lyrics. And in the big Lyric Stage production, directed by Grover Dale, the dancers deliver the moves that set the mood for the song, whether it’s about a gang rumble or the throbbing hope of young lovers. And, of course, these athletic guys and gals can sing and act, too!
Dale opens up the Carpenter Theater stage at the Irving Arts center and puts the 32-piece orchestra, expertly directed by Jay Dias, across the back. The minimal set is a collection of two-story staircases on wheels and battered wooden doors, all easily manipulated to form a minimalist backdrop for each scene — and leave plenty of room for the dancers. Kate Swan has recreated the original Robbins’ choreography with style and expert pacing. The Jets and their laid-back ladies are all cool and taunt, while the Sharks display their machismo and fiery sexuality.
Dias and the orchestra carry this unique musical/ballet forward from the finger-snapping opening number defining the style and history of the warring gangs to the finale when Maria holds Tony’s body on the midnight street. From start to finish, the 30 members of the cast sing their hearts out, leap effortlessly through the air and dance to the rhythms of their cultures. They make us feel once more both the thrilling exuberance – and relentless restlessness — of young men and women determined to survive – and even find love – in an inner-city world of violence and bigotry.
The Jets’ ensemble performance is a delight – the young guys actually look like teenagers! Philip Groft’s Riff is a tough, fast-moving gang leader. And Jeremy Dumont as Action delivers easy acrobatics and also shows engaging comic charm as the lead singer in the sharply satiric “Gee, Officer Krupke.” Antonio Jimenez is a handsome and macho Bernardo, the leader of the sharks. And Christie Peruso’s performance as Bernardo’s girl Anita heats the stage to a wildly raucous flame in “America”. Later, in a red dress with her dark hair flying about her on the top rung of a ladder at stage center, Peruso seduces the entire audience when she delivers her super-hot version of what “Tonight” is about to bring her!
Of course, this story based on Romeo and Juliet must have convincing star-crossed lovers at its center – to make us feel that “what was just a world is a star” when they meet. And the chemistry is there. Micah Shepherd’s Tony is a young man filled with longing and desire – a man who feels that “Something’s Coming.” When that “something good” turns out to be the beautiful and innocent young sister of the Sharks leader, Tony doesn’t care. All he sees at the dance is the girl’s face. Shepherd’s tenor voice is true and clear, if not huge. He’s especially moving on the soft, falsetto-like notes in “Maria” and “One Hand, One Heart.”
Kimberly Whalen is an exquisite and tender Maria – with a lovely, full soprano voice. When she sings “Tonight” with Tony, a thousand stars glimmer on the scrim and the gorgeous promise of young love rings out across time. Her touching and womanly delivery of “I Have a Love” is stronger and even more soaring, as she defends her love for Tony, even though she knows he has killed her brother in a sudden reaction to Bernardo killing his best friend. One of the most dramatic moments in the show is when the mourning Anita joins Maria in this powerful song about the fateful nature of love.
Lyric Stage’s production of West Side Story is so gorgeous and vibrant, you’ll want to tell everybody you know to see it. That’s what I’m doing. The production is onstage at Carpenter Performance Hall in the Irving Arts Center, 3333 North MacArthur Blvd., through September 14t. Tickets are $20 to $50; for reservations and information, call 972-252-2787, or check lyricstage.org.”
“Lyric Stage’s Julie Johnson breathes life back into ‘Hello, Dolly!’… How do I love Julie Johnson? Let me count the ways … First of all, she can make me like Hello, Dolly!, a musical I had hoped never to see again. Go crazy for it, actually… Director Cheryl Denson deserves the credit for putting all these performers together and convincing them that Hello, Dolly! deserves more care and respect than it has been given over the last 40 years of endless touring and stock versions… this is likely to beat any other performance you’ve seen, hands down. As long as Ms. Johnson cares to play her, we can all hope this Dolly will never go away again.”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of HELLO, DOLLY!
“From hello to goodbye, this ‘Dolly’ shines all show long… Irving Lyric Stage has Julie Johnson as the title character in its current production of Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart’s classic Hello, Dolly! and it is a match made in theater heaven… There may be a flaw in this production somewhere. But if there is, it sure got by me. If you have ever considered seeing Hello, Dolly!, you would be well served by saying, “Hello, Julie!”.”
Read the full Ft. Worth Star-Telegram review of HELLO, DOLLY!
LOOK HOMEWARD HONKY TONK ANGEL
“‘Look Homeward’ hits concert mark… Great voices sell country oldies, new tunes… Lyric Stage gave ‘Look Homeward Honky Tonk Angel’ its world premiere on Saturday with a performance that couldn’t get much better, especially in the vocal department… The new tunes are some of the best written for a musical in years.”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of LOOK HOMEWARD HONKY TONK ANGEL
“It’s Southern-fried, corny and delicious… It all equals plenty of chuckles… Larry Gatlin’s music and lyrics effortlessly fit into the story, both his old tunes and the new ones, a few of which have the potential to become as memorable as ‘Houston’ and ‘Sure Feels Like Love’.”
Read the full Ft. Worth Star-Telegram review of LOOK HOMEWARD HONKY TONK ANGEL
RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN’S CAROUSEL
“‘Carousel’ is big, bold, brilliant and not to miss… Every musical theater fan better get over to Irving this weekend, where the show has four performances left… Turns out, having a 40-piece orchestra in the pit not only enhances every nuance of Richard Rodgers’ lush score for Carousel but also brings out the best individual vocals and ensemble chorals from Lyric Stage’s cast… Not only does it sound unlike anything you’ve heard or will hear at the theater, but it’s also a good-looking, sprawling but tight production with nicely honed characterizations molded by director Cheryl Denson… You might not be transported like this at a musical again.”
Read Mark Lowry’s full Star-Telegram review of CAROUSEL
“A glorious spin on ‘Carousel’… Lyric Stage gives classic musical new flair… If you’ve never quite understood why Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical plays were the dominant American theater pieces of the mid-20th century, you need to see Lyric Stage’s Carousel. Those already in the know will want to see it twice… Kimberly Whalen and Christopher Pinnella could hardly be bettered as the faithful-hearted Julie Jordan and her ne’er-do-well Billy Bigelow… this Carousel is cast to strength, top to bottom. They don’t make musicals like this anymore – and, until Lyric Stage proved otherwise, you’d have thought they didn’t perform them like this anymore, either.”
Read Lawson Taitte’s full Dallas Morning News review of CAROUSEL
“Lyric Stage’s sparkling Carousel… Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous… This is Carousel as it was meant to be, fully choreographed and elaborately costumed for a wide proscenium stage. Nobody does musicals this way anymore… How fine, how satisfying to be thrilled through and through by a local production of one of the best shows in American musical theater. It’s not enough to say the singing, dancing and acting in Lyric’s Carousel are Broadway caliber. Broadway rarely casts anything this well anymore. Given the budget limits and space restrictions of regional theater, it’s unlikely that a Carousel this big and beautiful will come this way again.”
Read Elaine Liner’s full Dallas Observer review of CAROUSEL
Following is the entire Park Cities People Review by Glenn Arbery:
“A New Gold Standard. Lyric Stage’s Carousel changes the stakes for musicals in Dallas…
There’s one major problem with the otherwise superb production of Carousel at Lyric Stage in Irving. In all justice, it should run for a year or two, and it should make the work of Steven Jones and his collaborators, Cheryl Denson and Jay Dias, nationally famous.
But in fact, its last performance is this Sunday — after only two weekends. It’s a shame, a dark injustice, that work of this quality can’t go on indefinitely.
Using a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, Jones assembled a 40-piece orchestra for the first time since the show’s run on Broadway over 60 years ago. Musical director and conductor Jay Dias handles the complexities with consummate skill. The orchestra adds a depth and magnitude to the performance, but never once overpowers the singers.
True, it must be very expensive to put on this show. On the other hand, the audiences it’s sure to get after the first reviews could keep it going for a long time if this were a perfect world.
As the curtain rises and the orchestra plays, there’s a vivid pantomime — like a Breugel painting brought to life —at the seaside amusement park in the New England mill town where the action takes place. What’s interesting is how deeply American Carousel feels, despite being adapted from a 1909 Hungarian play by Ferenc Molnár.
In this production, it captures with light naturalness the regimented life of the girls in the mill, the paternalism of the mill owner, the excitement offered by the carousel world, and a Horatio Alger theme. Director Cheryl Denson lets the story unfold without heavy messages to distort it.
It’s a big production, full-bore, nothing held back, and there’s an electric excitement in the cast. You get the feeling that they know they’re in the middle of a production they’ll use from now on as the standard for whatever else they do, and the elation of it instantly conveys itself to the audience.
It had me at “Mr. Snow.” Dara Whitehead Allen as Carrie Pepperidge, the mill worker telling her friend Julie about the man she’s going to marry, sings with a joyous energy, and her acting perfectly complements what the song says. Kimberly Whalen as Julie Jordan matches her with a quieter, more melancholy charm combined with a superb voice.
Christopher Pinnella plays a forceful Billy Bigelow, Julie’s unlikely boyfriend, the barker at the carousel. Bigelow is so cocky and full of himself he can hardly stand it, a guy who’s never met anybody who really trusts him before he meets Julie. A proud man, full of self-doubt, explosive, he lacks Enoch Snow’s work ethic, but he’s driven by a fundamental attraction to goodness. Pinnella has a voice that does Bigelow’s big solos full credit, and the show rides on his talent.
In other words, a confident ease soon comes over the audience, and more pleasures keep coming, such as the strong, comic tenor of Jackson Ross Best Jr. as Enoch Snow, the fisherman Carrie’s going to marry.
Natalie Arduilo plays Nettie Fowler who runs a boarding house for the girls who work in the town’s textile mills, with lots of sand, as Huck Finn might say, and Stacia Malone gives amusement park owner Mrs. Mullin, who also loves Billy Bigelow, a worldly knowingness that contrasts sharply with Julie Jordan’s passive trust.
And I’m not even mentioning the 12 other fine cast members, such as Joshua Doss and Francis Fusilier, and the ensemble of 29 singers and dancers.
It’s unquestionably the best musical (including the expensive touring productions) that I’ve seen since WaterTower’s Urinetown, which I liked because it made fun of musicals. This one succeeds without once puncturing its own conventions, and it even survives an overlong ballet scene in the second act.
It’s the kind of show you want everyone you know to see — if only they can get a seat. “
DALLAS DIVAS! 2007 in JERRY’S GIRLS
“‘Dallas Divas!’ delivers… Big sounds of Broadway ring out in Irving…”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of DALLAS DIVAS! 2007
“A Winning Formula… Irving theater’s political musical gets our vote… With so many new musicals these days, you’re lucky to get one of these elements: outstanding story, memorable music or a strongly acted production.
Joe Sutton and Lewis Flinn’s The Winner, having its world premiere at Lyric Stage, is three-for-three… GRADE: A”
Read the full Star-Telegram review of THE WINNER
“LBJ’s story, in song… He is larger than life in musical’s debut… The Winner treats its audience like grown-ups as it portrays the historical figure of the young Lyndon Baines Johnson in all his complexity. Few plays or movies give us this kind of searching look at our collective past…”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of THE WINNER
CABIN IN THE SKY
“What becomes a legend? The kind of mink-and-sable treatment that Lyric Stage is giving the fabled 1940 musical CABIN IN THE SKY… The whole evening flows along on a current of spirited and subtly balanced movement… Anybody with an interest in the history of the American musical has to make the pilgrimage to see
CABIN IN THE SKY.”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of CABIN IN THE SKY
“The ensemble for this production deserve a standing ovation for providing some of the most beautiful singing I have heard all year… If you want to hear some of the most exquisite singing being done on a metroplex stage today, then rush to Lyric Stage now!”
Read the full The Column review of CABIN IN THE SKY
in concert at the Meyerson
“Razor-sharp. ‘Sweeney Todd’ simply thrills. Lyric Stage, usually based in Irving, has invaded Dallas with a semi-staged concert version, which was reviewed at its Monday dress rehearsal. This one takes Sweeney Todd to the max. An orchestra of symphonic proportions and a huge cast fill up the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center with waves of enormous sound…”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of SWEENEY TODD
This is no plain ‘jane’
by Mark Lowry
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Published: Tuesday, May 2, 2006
“Will some wealthy reader out there please give about a bazillion bucks to Lyric Stage?
Even when the Irving-based musical company selects a good-but-not-great musical and gives it a slightly imperfect staging, as is the case with the current Jane Eyre, Lyric’s productions blow every other local groups’ musicals out of the water. Most certainly in the vocal department, but usually in acting and design as well.
Jane Eyre is Paul Gordon and John Caird’s overly earnest musical version of Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 proto-feminist novel about a plain governess who wins over a wealthy estate owner. It ran for six months in Broadway’s 2000-01 season, and was nominated for a Tony in the year of the biggest Tony-sweeping show ever, The Producers.
Jane is the kind of show Lyric founder and producer Steven Jones adores.
It’s almost entirely through-composed and features lots of sung dialogue and a sweeping, almost filmic, score. Some have compared Gordon’s music here to the work of Claude-Michel Schonberg, of Les Miserables. In Jane Eyre, the song Sirens is so reminiscent of Les Miz you’ll want to wave a giant French flag.
Directed by Candace Evans with musical direction by Scott A. Eckert, Jane includes many awe-inspiring moments, mostly in the ensemble musical numbers.
Julie Stirman, a former local now based in New York, plays the title role and exhibits all the resilience and passion Jane needs. She overrides vulnerability, even when the show’s creators give her something to be uncharacteristically vulnerable about.
Local leading man Greg Dulcie, stalwart of voice and build, is Rochester, the enigmatic man who falls for Jane but has a dark secret. He’s terrific in scenes with Jane and others, but his solo soul-searching songs lean to the bombastic side.
No doubt the audience favorite is Deborah Brown as Mrs. Fairfax. Brown, known to Casa audiences especially, does that Angela Lansbury-esque not-quite-there aging caretaker shtick like none other, with hysterical results.
Wade Giampa’s set consists of a main, raked platform with elevated walkways extending into the wings. There’s a Victorian elegance about it even in its simplicity.
Backdropping everything is a white scrim on which lighting designer Susan A. White casts mood-setting colors, making the actors and set pieces look almost like silhouettes. Think of the Vivien Leigh “I’ll never be hungry again” image from Gone With the Wind and you’ll get it.”
“Star-spangled show. Dallas Divas! join talents to salute Rodgers and Hammerstein. It would be positively un-American not to love this year’s Dallas Divas!…”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of DALLAS DIVAS!
“An ‘Evita’ so good, you’ll cry. Lyric Stage revives Lloyd Webber classic with stunning soprano.”
“‘A little touch of star quality,’ Eva Perón sings in Evita. When Catherine Carpenter Cox barrels through that line, she’s doing herself an injustice. The lady has a whole lot of star quality. Ms. Cox headlines the revival of the Andrew Lloyd Webber favorite in a Lyric Stage production that’s exciting from top to bottom…”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of EVITA
“Lyric gives extra attention to every last note from every person on stage.”
“Director and choreographer Len Pfluger has made dead-on casting choices
in Catherine Carpenter Cox, Blake Davidson and Brian Gonzales…”
“…fiery with dramatic passion.” GRADE: A-
Read the full Star Telegram review of EVITA (registration required)
110 In The Shade
“Lyric Stage’s spiffy production, perfect in almost every way, proved once again
the worth of this gentle masterpiece… The cast performs brilliantly from top to bottom.”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of 110 IN THE SHADE
“Lyric Stage’s musical ’110′ really cranks up the heat…
a staging that crackles like heat lightning… and touches the heart.”
Read the full Star Telegram review of 110 IN THE SHADE (registration required)
“Fantastickly funny… Lyric Stage’s show lives up to name with heart, humor.”
Read the full Dallas Morning News review of THE FANTASTICKS
“Exquisite, poetic, heartfelt… perfect-as-it-gets staging… GRADE: A”
Read the full Star Telegram review of THE FANTASTICKS (registration required)
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