The Most Happy Fella -Florida Review

While "The Most Happy Fella" has been called "the most operatic of classic American Musicals," Loesser cleverly interweaves down-to-earth subjects. Cleo soaks her tired feet in a basin of water while singing about how painful they are, farm hands stand on a corner singing "Watching All the Girls Go By, " Rosebella and Tony perform a hilarious duet in "Happy to Make your Acquaintance," and Herman is dazzled when he learns how to make a fist and sings a tribute to his hand. Read more

Sweet Charity

How interesting it would be to discover how many enjoy Sweet Charity as a light, fluffy, escapist musical, while still others may be struck by a culminating moral message of independence. While this is not as unique now as it might have been when the play first opened, it has a special significance today -- following the shocking election upset.. At the risk of creating a spoiler, there was something quite provocative and pertinent about Charity, standing on her own, not needing a man to provide her happiness at play's end. It is certainly a feminist affirmation. Read more

Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding

Under the fine direction of Paul Stroili, the large Chicago cast of 23 is terrific -- capturing all the nuances of a family gathering, complete with vulgarities and squabbles. Stroili was a member of the Original Chicago Company. Vinnie (Brian Noonan) is a very believable restaurateur, hosting the gathering, touting its virtues as he tries to promote future business, and emceeing the various entertainers. A good time was had by all. Read more

Scarcity

The solid cast handles all the complications brilliantly. Special kudos to Grant and young Grey in portraying the volatile mother/daughter complexities. Throughout, the family members come together and separate in violent, angry combinations, achieving a certain amount of sympathy as well as dismay. Sometimes close to being two-dimensional, they manage to avoid becoming mere caricatures. The whole, compelling experience is heightened by the physical arrangements of a stage which intersects the audience. Twenty-four seats in tiered rows flank either side of the set. This combination of dining room, living room, and kitchen is merely a handbreadth away, drawing the audience into the action. Read more

FUNNY GIRL

The star, Sally Staats, is not Fanny Brice. Neither is she Barbara Streisand. It doesn't matter because Staats has made this stage her own with a winsome, touching performance. She and Rob Ibanez, as the gorgeous, gambler Nick Arnstein share a magical chemistry. Even those who may think the 1968 movie version with Streisand and Omar Sharif can't be topped will be surprised by what the immediacy of a well-done stage production can achieve. Staats and Ibanez are surrounded by a talented ensemble of actors, singers and dancers. Fanny's long suffering mother is played with verve by Meagan Piccochi, who is especially delightful in interactions with her comedic poker-playing girlfriends. Jessica Noelle Evans nearly steals the show as noisy neighbor Mrs. Strakosh, and stately Bob Sanders is perfect as the often-thwarted showman, Florenz Ziegfield. Read more

My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy

Last February, as I sat reviewing a one-man play in a Florida theater, an immediate thought hit me: "This is a perfect show for Skokie!" I was right! Brad Zimmerman's My Son the Waiter: A Jewish Tragedy just opened at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts for a 4- week run, and it is a perfect match -- just as funny and delightful the second time around as it was originally. Read more