Written by 11:13 pm Review, The Chance Theater, Theater, Uncategorized

Tiny Beautiful Things @ Chance Theater – Review

(Photo by Francis Gacad)

Written by Patrick Chavis

Tiny Beautiful Things is now playing at the Chance Theater from April 5 – 28, 2024.

Tiny Beautiful Things is a popular book by the same name adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos from her My Big Fat Greek Wedding fame. The play is about an anonymous advice columnist named Sugar, played by Aubrey Saverino (Multiple OCTG Nominations/OCR 2023 Best One Person Show/Orange County Original Show Matincus: The Story of Abigail Burgess, Cry it out!), a writer who recently took on the extra chore of running an online advice column. Sugar responds to the various e-mails throughout the play, delivering heartfelt and often passionate messages to her readers.

Jennifer Richardson, Jonathon Lamer, Aubrey Saverino, and Sam Mistry in “Tiny Beautiful Things” at Chance Theater. Playing April 5-28, 2024, at the Bette Aitken Theater Arts Center on the Cripe Stage. Based on the book by Cheryl Strayed, adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, co-conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail, and Nia Vardalos, and directed by Katie Chidester—photo by Francis Gacad.


The play focuses primarily, if not wholly, on the dialogue between Sugar and the advice column. At the beginning of the play, there’s a slight mention that she can’t do it because she doesn’t have time. Well, she abruptly changes her mind and finds the time. Issue? It’s barely an inconvenience and never mentioned again. The play continues with Sugar responding to various people’s responses as they say their issues with relationships and love. This felt so 90’s sitting in your car late at night listening to one of those late-night call-in shows with a shock jock, not afraid to be real–or real from their perspective, at the very least. And did I gain anything more watching this onstage instead of listening to this on a podcast, an audiobook, or possibly a film? I don’t think so.  It felt so formulaic and removed from the people and stories it was telling. A bunch of mouthpieces standing in someone’s kitchen and living room, occasionally smiling at each other. The lighting was well executed.

Set Design:

The set design from Kristin Campbell Coyne is a very nice-looking orange-colored house. The house is spacious and takes up the entire stage at Chance Theater. And on a writer and artist’s pay, this place looks extravagant. Sugar isn’t doing too bad for herself. A book on finances from Sugar might be more entertaining. Get that bag, Sugar.


I don’t think there is a better lead for this part. Saverino’s performance was pretty darn flawless. Saverino makes some of the repetitive, dare I say it, corny moments charming.

Saverino once again shows her range and presence on the stage. A true talent on the Chance Theater stages.

The show has no intermission and runs 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Fans of the book and other adaptations of the material will enjoy this well-acted production of Tiny Beautiful Things.

7.4 Overall
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Average Show! April 5 – 28, 2024.

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