Orange County Theatre Reviews

DCMS Productions, Laguna Niguel, Uncategorized Comments Off on DCMS Productions presents: Next to Normal @ The Ovation Theatre in Laguna Niguel – Review |

DCMS Productions presents: Next to Normal @ The Ovation Theatre in Laguna Niguel – Review

(photos by Jason Jones)

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Considering how common mental illness is and how many problems are attributed to it, I find it interesting how rarely this subject is dealt with in theater, interesting but not wholly surprising.  You see while mental illnesses, symptoms, and treatments are documented (in varying degrees of  accuracy and rationality) throughout the world’s history, it is neither beautiful nor glamorous.  And since I would imagine a great many individuals would rather watch things that are a bit more enjoyable, musical theater has not really presented mental illness as something to partake in on  a Friday night –until now.  Next to Normal is a Tony award winning rock musical that deals with all aspects of mental illness, and it does it while having actors belt out some fantastic tunes.  Next to Normal is currently being performed at Ovations Performing Arts Center by DCMS Productions, and the stirring plot combined with the gorgeous voices makes this show worth every cent of the admission fee. Continue Reading

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OCcentric New Play Festival, Review, Theater, Uncategorized Comments Off on License to Ill – OCcentric New Play Festival Presents : Grace Note @ Chapman University – Review |

License to Ill – OCcentric New Play Festival Presents : Grace Note @ Chapman University – Review

Written by Alina Mae Wilson 

Stories with mentally ill people have a good track record with me.  Let me be clearer –I have yet to come across a story featuring a (potentially) mentally ill person failing to capture my undivided attention before the show is over.  Robert Riemer’s Grace Note is no different.  What starts out as a somewhat bland family narrative successfully becomes a dark comedy about life, death, and reality as we know it.

Our family is made up of Mama, Dad, Chris, and Michael.  Mom is sweet but a bit dippy. Dad is gruff but a bit loopy. Chris is seemingly

Family reunion: Christopher (Tyler Koster) is back in town, off the streets, escaped from ... Abyssinia? ... and home with Mom (Jennifer Novak Chun) and Dad (Paul Thomas Arnold) in Grace Note. | Photo by Stephen Rack

Family reunion: Christopher (Tyler Koster) is back in town, off the streets, escaped from … Abyssinia? … and home with Mom (Jennifer Novak Chun) and Dad (Paul Thomas Arnold) in Grace Note. | Photo by Stephen Rack

damaged beyond repair.  Meanwhile Michael is nice, friendly, helpful, and everything a loving son should be.  Chris arrives home after taking a long period of absence with his brother Michael’s girlfriend Lauren.  Dad’s drinking buddy Norman stops by, and despite their alleged friendship, takes continual pleasure in making Dad feel like crap.  As the night wears on we find ourselves on an assortment of twisted paths made up of truth, lies, and that mysterious gray area, which is neither lunacy nor sanity. Continue Reading

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