Orange County Theatre Reviews

Rockin’ Lizzie Borden : Lizzie The Musical @ Chance Theater – Review

Written by Patrick Chavis 

(All photos by Doug Catiller, True Image Studio)

“Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.”  -anonymous

I had heard of Lizzie Borden before this production, and I had previously heard the folk rhyme that I posted on the top of this article.  However, that was the extent of my Lizzie Borden knowledge.  While I can definitely say I know a little bit more now after watching the show, I wouldn’t say Lizzie the Musical is the place to satisfy your itch for accurate history.  What I would say is this: unlike Rent, which was a rock musical with lots of theatricality and some rock thrown in, the Lizzie production at the Chance Theater felt like a rock concert with a small dose of theatricality thrown in — but most importantly — it does ROCK!!!

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The Barber is In: Sweeney Todd is Back in Town @ South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa – Review

(photo by Jordan Kubat)

Written by Scotty Keister 

Chinese proverb: He who seeks revenge should remember to dig two graves.

The legend of Sweeney Todd is a long and storied one. Todd began life in the mid-19th century in a penny dreadful tale. In this original version Todd was a secondary character. He soon came to life in a stage version penned by George Dibdin Pitt. His legend continued throughout the 20th century in dozens of stage, film and television versions. Ultimately, when British playwright Christopher Bond created Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in 1973, new life was breathed into Sweeney’s aging, bloodthirsty barber. The tale was fleshed out, making the story into more of a revenge tragedy, and not simply a bloody horror tale. This is the version that first brought Sweeney to Stephen Sondheim’s attention and led to him creating  what might be considered the ultimate edition in 1979. Continue Reading

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Chess: the musical @ Irvine Barclay Theatre in Irvine – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

We’re in a politically charged climate and UCI has elected to put on Chess the musical.  While I have heard of Chess, before tonight I had not heard any of the score, nor had I read up on the synopsis–I walked in blind.  Believe it or not I kind of thought it might be in the same vein as the “Putnam Spelling Bee” musical–I was wrong.  So very wrong.  Chess could not be more dramatic if it tried, and it really really tries.  Continue Reading

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1776 @ Newport Theatre Arts Center in Newport Beach – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

As we approach our annual time of summer patriotism, I find myself hard pressed to name shows that are appropriate for the season.  American politics is often a heated subject and an exhausting constant in the United States. When it comes to arguing about it, the most enthusiastic debaters often resort to invoking the founding fathers.  “Our founding fathers fought for freedom, therefore…!”  Now with the 4th of July drawing nearer, it seems only fitting to watch a play featuring these historic men.   For anyone staying in the New York area sometime soon, I hear good things about Hamilton.  Although it’s currently easier to get into the Pearly Gates while still living than it is to get into that show.  For us west coasters there is a smaller, less lavish musical to attend about that time period– 1776, playing over at the Newport Theatre Arts Center. Continue Reading

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DCMS productions presents Urinetown @ The Gem Theatre in Garden Grove – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

It’s time to welcome a new theater company to the Orange County area.  DCMS (Don’t Cut My Song) Productions has come to town, and they’ve set up shop for their first show over at the Gem Theatre in Garden Grove.   Considering the fact that just last week I was writing about a company leaving Orange County, it’s comforting to see some new groups sidling in to keep our community’s theater culture up and running.  New companies bring new experiences, as DCMS’s production of Urinetown at the Gem Theater demonstrates.  It’s an eye catching show with beautiful costumes and appealing set pieces bountifully sliding across the floor, but some of the main characters needed a bit more polish and energy before going onto the stage. Continue Reading

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AMB Theatre Podcast #46 presented by OCR : Funny Girl @ The Gem Theater – Podcast

From “ugly duckling” to Vaudeville star, the career of Fanny Brice spanned from The Ziegfeld Follies, to Hollywood films to radio; making her one of the most celebrated entertainers of all time. But behind all the glitz and glamour was a woman searching for love and battling a stormy relationship. FUNNY GIRL is her story. Featuring the timeless hits I’m the Greatest Star, Don’t Rain On My Parade, People, The Music That Makes MeDance, and You Are Woman, I Am Man. FUNNY GIRL remains one of the greatest musicals ever written. Taken from the Website

Feb 12- Feb 21buy

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