Orange County Theatre Reviews

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Life in Small Doses : Avenue Q @ The Maverick in Fullerton – Review

Photo Courtesy : AUSTIN BAUMAN

Written by Erin Tobin

School may be out, but there are still a lot of life lessons to be learned at the Maverick Theater in Fullerton. That’s where you’ll find Avenue Q, the Sesame Street parody that won Tony-Awards on Broadway for dealing out the harsh truths of the real world via whimsical songs, colorful puppets and an unapologetic lack of political correctness.

Told in a series of vignettes and performed mostly by actors using hand puppets, this musical follows a young college graduate named Princeton, puppeted and performed by Tyler McGraw, who has no idea what to do with his life now that he has his BA in English. A lack of funds leads him to Avenue Q (he started at Avenue A, but nothing was in his price range) a dingy and worn down collection of buildings in New York City, home to an eclectic group of characters as well as the building’s super, Gary Colman, played by Adair Gilliam and one of three non-puppet characters. Princeton’s new neighbors all agree it sucks being them, but they happily accept it as they figure out what to do with their lives. As Princeton tries to find his purpose, Kate Monster, puppeted by Rachel McLaughlan, tries to get a boyfriend. Nicky, puppeted by both Kevin Garcia and Jilly Pretzel at the same time like a conjoined twin duet, wants to help his roommate and best friend Rod, puppeted by Michael Rodriguez, feel comfortable enough to come out of the closet and Christmas Eve and her fiance Brian, played with brilliant vocal talent by Bachi Dillague and funny man Curtis Anderson, are both struggling to move past their young adult lifestyles and into more mature careers. Along the way, other puppeted characters both help and hinder the residents, such as the sultry Lucy the Slut, puppeted by a sultry Tara Alkazian, and the juvenile Bad Idea Bears. Continue Reading

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A Tribute to Our Friend, the Amazing Curtis Jerome

Written by Scott Keister 

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photo courtesy: Curtis Jerome Facebook

 

When it comes to theater, there wasn’t much Curtis Jerome couldn’t do. He thought of himself as a dancer, but he was also a director, choreographer, set designer, builder and painter, costumer who both designed and created costumes, actor, singer, and even a playwright. Jerome did all of these things with imagination, consummate skill and an immense passion for the craft. He directed musicals at the Maverick Theater over the past five years; large scale, complicated musicals like Chicago, Rent, The Producers, Spamalot, Legally Blonde, and Les Miserables. He was a shrewd judge of talent, casting people in roles they weren’t necessarily comfortable with until he drew out of them talents they didn’t know they possessed. He made better everyone he worked with. It’s a sad, tragic loss for the local OC theater community that Curtis was killed this week in a car accident. It’s a loss that has touched an incredible number of lives.  The outpouring of love and respect for Curtis on Facebook has been overwhelming. What better tribute to Curtis than the words of those he worked with in the theater community. Here are some comments posted about Curtis: his talents, his humor, his compassion, his intelligence, and how he made us all better performers.

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Les Miserables @ The Maverick Theatre in Fullerton – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Les Miserables.  Just writing the words I feel myself begin to shudder in awe and expectation.  As a story telling device the play itself is admittedly rushed (have you read the book it’s adapted from?  Its a wonder they made it fit in the space it does) but the music is historically beautiful.  The latest attempt to master this gargantuan peice has been made by the Maverick Theater, and the result is what I would call a choral success.

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