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My 2018 Local Theatre Favorites

IN THE January 2 ISSUE

FROM THE 2019 Articles,
andTerrance V. Mc Arthur,
andTheatre
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by Terrance Mc Arthur

Like the actor said when he crashed through termite-damaged wood, “It’s just a stage I’m going through.”
I saw about forty productions in 2018, including more than a dozen shows at the Rogue Festival in the Tower District. Here’s my five (or more) favorites:

theatre

Mrs. Lovett (Emily Guyette) and Sweeney Todd (Chris Carsten)

Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (Selma Arts Center)—Chris Carsten gave a frighteningly good performance as the escaped transportee who shaves men closer than they’ve ever been shaved before. The biting satire of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics hit hard, and the music was clear and disturbing. Chase Stubblefield exuded a smooth evil that rivaled Carsten’s righteous anger—Which was really a villain? Joseph Ham directed with a vengeance.

A Good Company for Christmas (Good Company Players’ 2nd Space Theatre)—Seasoned veterans, cute kids, great songs, silly skits, and memories made for a holiday treat. Piona, Moore, Souza, Montelongo and Company brightened spirits, and the reminiscences of the cast and GCP alumni tugged at the heart.

theatre

Cast of “Good Company for Christmas” at 2nd Space

Into the Woods (GCP, Roger Rocka’s Dinner Theatre)—After all these years, this was the first live stage production I’d seen of this Sondheim classic. Multiple wolves, Three Little scene-changing Pigs, and a live-action cow made this a unique experience.

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Cast of GCP’s production of “Into the Woods”

The Heiress (GCP 2nd Space)—Shades of Olivia DeHaviland! The 1880 Henry James novel took lush life with Suzanne Grazyna as a spinster-in-training, pursued by an opportunist (Stubblefield) and derided by her father (Noel Adams). Costume heaven, and a seminar on effective acting technique.

theatre

Catherine (Suzanne Grazyna) and Morris Townsend (Chase Stubblefield)

The Fresno Rogue Festival—This annual event gives you an opportunity to sample dozens of plays, concerts, and performers in intimate surroundings. Two from 2018:

That Kidney Show—Tony and Aileen Imperatrice staged an art show inside a tell-all of how she lost a kidney and he received one. The saga of Tony’s kidney problems and the chain of donations that brought him a new lease on life is told with passion, humor, warmth, and love. Meatloaf will never seem the same.
Walking While Black in Moscow—Les Kurkendaal is a Tigger of comedy, bouncing with energy as he tells of traveling to Russia with his boyfriend (now husband) and being accosted repeatedly…by Muscovites who wanted to take selfies with him, to prove they had met an African-American. He experienced the underground life of Russian gays, and appreciated his life with all its problems.

Watch for KRL’s annual look back at theatre sometime later this month and be sure to keep coming back for 2019 theatre reviews and previews!

If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors. You can check the podcast out on iTunes and Google Play, and also on podbean.

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian in Fresno County, California. He is also a storyteller, puppeteer, magician, and maker of pine needle baskets. On top of that he writes stories that range from rhymed children’s tales to splatterpunk horror. He’s an odd bird, but he’s nice to have around.

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