Brilliant Les Miserables As Good as It Gets at Marcus

The current production of “Les Miserable” running at the Marcus Center is making me do something as a theater critic that I never have done before.

I am going to recommend that everyone who loves great theater go go to the Marcus Center at 2 or 8 PM on Saturday or 1 or 6:30 PM on Sunday. Take a bunch of cash with you. Put a friendly look on your face.

And try like hell to find a ticket, even though all four shows are sold out.

Just hope against hope for an Easter weekend resurrection of an empty seat or two at this production, which is one of the greatest ever in the long run of Broadway touring shows to come to Milwaukee. It’s hard to explain how this show makes you feel. I was struck on opening night by how much this seems like a passionate love affair between the audience and the show.

Conductor Brian Eads lifted his baton and the first bar of music sounded only to be dwarfed by hoots, whistles, applause and shouts. It was like long-lost lovers reunited after a too-long separation.

And neither party in this affair disappointed.

The audience was overwhelmingly moved and thrilled by the production.

And the staging, music and cast were astoundingly good, putting on a show that was as good as any I’ve ever seen, and that includes on Broadway.

The story, based on the famed Victor Hugo novel. The musical opened in 1985 in London and has set records every since. It’s the story of two men, Jean Valjean, freed after two decades in prison and in search of redemption and Javert, the police officer searching relentlessly for Valjean. All of this is conducted against the backdrop of the French Revolution.

This large cast was spectacular from the first moment to the final stirring moments of the finale. The audience leapt to its feet as one, with a snap that crackled the atmosphere.

Steve Czarnecki, an understudy, took the role of Valjean with passion and enough musical angst to fill the offices of a dozen psychiatrists. His voice was full in the furthest reaches of Uihlein Hall.

Nick Cartell was a marvelous actor with a  voice to match. I have rarely felt the relentless passion that consumed Javert for the capture of Valjean.

This production proved, again, the value of having a full Equity show hit the boards at the Marcus. A powerhouse like Les Miz demands a powerhouse of a cast, and that’s just what’s running this weekend. Look for scalpers, call ticket brokers, stand on the street and beg. It will be worth it.

The musical is so spectacular and full of memorable moments, I want to run four of them here.

The first is Patti LuPone, who played Fantine in the original production, singing the famous “I Dreamed a Dream.,” and talking about her time in the show during a PBS telecast. That’s followed by Aretha Franklin singing the same song at the inauguration of Bill Clinton

That’s followed by Colm Wilkinson who created the role of Valjean, singing the touching “Bring Him Home.”

And finally, from a PBS telecast of an anniversary production comes 17 men from different companies, all of whom played Valjean, joining together to sing “The People’s Song,” an especially powerful performance.

Watch these You Tube moments. Enjoy. And go!

 

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The Magic of Patsy Cline Fills Stackner Cabaret at The Rep

Kelley Faulkner as Patsy Cline at The Rep

If heartaches brought fame in love’s crazy game,
I’d be a legend in my time.
If they gave gold statuettes for tears and regrets,
I’d be a legend in my time.
Don Gibson, 1960

We love our legends, always have and always will.

And perhaps the legends we love the most are those who left our lives well before their time.

Think Buddy Holly dying in a plane crash at 23. We missed him, but his music lives to this day.

So, too with Patsy Cline, the young woman who was a star in country music for six years before she died, also in a plane crash, at 30. Her music lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of fans.

And it is the heart and mind of Patsy Cline that is getting a brilliant treatment at the Stackner Cabaret at The Rep. Under the remarkable music direction of Dan Kazemi and with a pair of wonderful actors, Kelley Faulkner as Ms. Cline and Tami Workentin as her best fan and close friend, Louise Seger.

It may be left to Willie Nelson to best capture the one word that best describes this show.

When he was just writing songs in Nashville, he met Ms. Cline’s husband in a bar and pitched a song, “Crazy” to him for Ms. Cline. When she heard it, she hated it, primarily because of the way Nelson sang it, both before and after the beat.

But it was rearranged as a ballad and she recorded the song the way she sang everything, on the beat, and it went on to become a No. 1 hit on the country charts. Years later Nelson was asked about the songs he had written.

“My all-time favorite of any song I wrote that someone recorded is Crazy,” he said. “Patsy Cline singing “Crazy” is just plain magic.

Magic is what gets created by Director Laura Braza, Kazemi, a host of skilled designers and two actors at the top of their game.

The production is based on the story of Mrs. Seger who was the most devoted of fans and her chance encounter at one of her shows and the lifelong friendship that followed.

Ms. Faulkner captures everything that was great about Ms. Cline.

Ms. Cline was totally unlike most performers today. She stood on a stage, behind a microphone and sang her songs. No histrionics, no guitar.

As music promoter Dick Clark once said when Ms. Cline was on a stage, it was “just a girl and a song.”

Ms. Faulkner has all of the physical simplicity of Ms. Cline and, with the direction of Mr. Kazemi, shows the sophistication of not trying to imitate

Ms. Cline. Instead she uses her marvelous voice to take us up to the edge of the voice. She has that catch in her voice that gave so much emotional punch to everything Ms. Cline did.  She stands quietly while singing. Watching the people watching her. It was that simplicity that endeared Ms. Cline to her fans and Ms. Faulkner captures it perfectly.

Ms. Faulkner is a stunning woman and with her wig and simple costumes (except for the fringed cowboy dress), she captures the kind of understated beauty of Ms. Cline.

Tami Workentin as Louise Seger in “Always…Patsy Cline at The Rep

Ms. Workentin is, simply put, an absolute marvel as the hilarious Louise.

She has been wigged, padded with a butt that demands attention saddled with a personality somewhere between sassy and humble. She has the moments of fame, talking with the audience, dancing while allegedly leading the band, sitting in her kitchen with Ms. Cline in the wee hours of the morning.

There is obviously a charismatic affection these two actors have for each other and it shows on the stage. They play off each other with ease and comfort, creating an atmosphere in the Stackner that makes this show so easy to watch and makes you wish it would run for months and months.

Great music. Great acting. The rare combination of humor and memories trotted out for an adoring crowd.

One of the joys of this show is that so much of Ms. Cline’s music is part of it. Twenty seven songs get full treatment, not snippets like somany other jukebox shows.

To ad the cherry to this sweet concoction, this production also delivered tears at the end.

Starting with the beautiful son “Faded Love,” which takes on a new meaning when it’s sung while Louise is reading one of Ms. Cline’s letters. Tender doesn’t begin to describe the moment.

Production credits:  Director, Laura Braza; Music Director, Dan Kazemi; Scenic Designer, Emily Lotz; Costume Designer, Leslie Vaglica; Lighting Designer, Aimee Hanyzewski; Sound Design, Megan B. Henningear; Dialect Coach, Eva Breneman; Casting Director, Frank Honts; Stage Manager Rebekah, Heusel; Production Photographer, Michael Brosilow.

 

Inventive and romantic The Tales of Hoffmann at Skylight

TENOR JOHN KANEKLIDES IN THE TALES OF HOFFMANN

It’s a perfect storm.

A tortured artist. His muse. Three beautiful loves of his life, all gone bad. A murder. Bribery. Ghosts. Singing and dancing. And more things to hit with a stick than you ever see on a stage at one time.

Welcome to “The Tales of Hoffmann,” at Skylight Music Theatre.

What a night this Jacques Offenbach opera is as filtered through the creative and off-beat vision of Jill Anna Ponasik, the stage director who never met a chance to take the road not taken she didn’t love.

In her continuing quest to redefine what opera can mean to people who don’t already love opera, this is a show with a heightened sense of fun, a serious commitment to serious music and a story that captures everything that a great story should be.

The story opens with Hoffmann (tenor John Kaneklides) in the morass of a swamp keeping him from writing his poetry. His agony is painful to watch as he is clearly at the end of his creative rope.

Like all good romantic poets, Hoffmann is determined to write about the three women in his life whom he has loved and who have broken his heart.

His muse, Nicklausse (Diane Lane) bravely shoulders the task of helping Hoffmann shed his shroud of emptiness and convinces him to tell her the tale of each of the women, hoping that by clearing his chest and mind, he will once again be able to become the poet he knows he can be.

The first love he had was Olympia (Cicilia Davis), a beauty in the house of her father, Spalanzani (Nathan Wesselowski), an inventor. She enters, swathed in beauty but moving like a marionette without the strings. She is all jerks and jiggles and in the end it turns out she was merely a wooden mechanical doll and she is destroyed, broken apart, while breaking Hoffmann’s heart.

Next on his tour of love lost is Antonia (Susan Wiedmeyer), a sickly young woman who is forbade from singing in honor of the recent death of her mother, herself a singer of some note. Hoffmann falls hard and is full of sorrow that he can’t hear her voice. She is, eventually overwhelmed by the desire to sin, she does, and as a result, dies.

And finally there is Giulietta (Ariana Douglas), a spellbinder and a woman of opulent cachet. She collects men the way a hoarder collects dolls or spoons. She lures Hoffmann into a fight with another lover (Doug Clemens), who loses the battle. Hoffmann rushes to her room, only to see her floating away on the side of a giant bass, on her way to another conquest.

The scenic design of this play is an absolute miracle of music, acting and dancing.

On the stage are two grand pianos, a harp and a stage-wide string of percussion instruments, courtesy of the brilliant Michael “Ding” Lorenz. From a well-tuned vibraphone to an array of cymbals, wood blocks and things that go buzz, gong, bang, whoop and other arcane noises.

Lorenz, who is a Milwaukee treazure, has taken the world of drumming to a level rarely seen or heard. His work, moving side to side on the stage, is mesmerizing.

DIANE LANE IN TALES OF HOFFMANN

Speaking of Milwaukee treasures, Ms. Lane, who can play everything from Kimberly Akimbo to being a part of the crazed Milwaukee Opera Theatre version of The Mikado.

She is one of the few operatic singers who brings equal acting chops to any production. She can mug with the best of them and her voice transcends any conceptions someone might have about opera. I could watch and listen to her forever.

As Hoffman, Mr. Kaneklides’ tenor rings true most of the time. He’s got an evocative style and captures the longing and sorrow befalling Hoffmann. Toward the end of the production I saw he swallowed some of the higher register on occasion, but it’s a demanding role and he could easily be forgiven. He’s also very handsome and wears his tortured soul on his sleeve.

A word must also be said about Barcarolle, a piece of music that I’d wager 90% of the audience (and these readers) have heard before. It’s a famous waltz and in this production is sung by Ms. Lane and Ms. Douglas. Here’s a video of the song from another production and, thankfully, while the Skylight production is in English, this song is sung in French. I’m including it in this review just so you have a chance to listen to it, again. 

You don’t have to be an opera lover to see and enjoy this production. All you have to be is a person who likes music, a great story and inventive staging.

My guess is that’s all of us.

Production credits; Stage Director, Jill Anna Ponasik; MUsic Director, Kerry Bieneman; Choreographer, James Zager; Scenic Designer, Lisa Anne Schlenker; Lighting Designer, Jason Fassl; Costume Designer, Sonya Berlovitz; Production Stage Manager, Daniel J. Hanson; Production photographer, Mark Frohna.

 

First Stage Young Company acts like veterans in staging Henry V

There are thousands of professional actors who spend a lifetime studying the intricacies and complexity of performing Shakespeare.

It’s hard to do and very hard to do well, which makes all the more remarkable the staging of “” by the young company at First Stage.

A dozen or so kids, high schoolers, take on a history play written over 400 years ago and did it much more than justice.

Henry is the final play in a three-part series that follows Prince Henry from a young man to a king who leads England to a victory over France in a battle during the hundred years war.

The most difficult part of doing Shakespeare is learning how to handle the language. Sophisticated and experienced actors understand that the playwright used language that told actors how to say each line. There is a rhythm and a well defined flow to the language. Careful reading of the text explains the emphasis and beat of each line.

Accomplished productions leave little room for the lengthy dramatic pause, the wildly shifting emotional moments or forcing a character on the audience.

Shakespeare takes discipline, experienced discipline and that only adds to the continued surprise at the way these young actors handle the most difficult task in the world of theater. Under the creative and amusing direction of Matt Daniels, this is a show that reinforces the faith that the future of the  Milwaukee world of theater is in good hands.

Given the age and experience of this cast of some of the actors are better with the text than others and some occasionally take liberties that made me wince.

But the overwhelming work was riveting and full of the kind of lusty humor and threatening danger than Shakespeare intended.

Leading the parade was Megan Wason who acted the part of the Chorus. It’s a single character chorus and she acts as the narrator, setting the scene as Shakespeare thought of this as a play within a play.  She was clear and without her explanations this play would have been much more difficult to follow. She was funny and serious and managed a difficult task with colorful aplomb.

There was a series of standout performances in this show, both large and small moments.

Jennie Babisch, forever one of my favorite Young Company actors, is in love with Shakespeare and it shows in her performance. She probably had the best and most facile ease with the text as both the Archbishop of Canterbury and as the colorful Pistol, the soldier of swagger with the heart of a cowardly lion. Pistol was an aide de camp to the recently dead Falstaff and he has many of the attributes of his noted former boss.

Elliott Brotherhood plays Henry and manages to capture both the intensity and the underlying uncertainty of the king. On rare occasion he lost touch with the rhythm of the text but he is such a commanding presence of the stage that you could forgive him.

Mr. Daniels, who has lengthy experience with Shakespeare and is the Director of the Young Company, understands as well as anyone that a successful production is made up of a series of small moments.

An example was during the sword fight between Pistol and Nym (Mary Jensik), each armed with wooden posts. The third member of this battle was Bardolph (Sylvie Arnold). Each time she lifted or pointed her piece of wood in encouragement, the weapon mysteriously shook as if she had a palsy of sorts. The movement was a surprise to her and she proved to be a wonderful physical actor with her amazement at this phenomenon.

One of the hallmarks of the actors in this cast always act. Even though they are young, there is no gazing into the audience to see parents or family members or friends.

A perfect example, and I watched her carefully, was Kate Ketelhohn, a first year Young Company m ember, who played Gloucester.  It was a small part, but she never broke character. She was always attentive to her king, always engaged in the action. It’s one of the hardest things for an actor to learn and was a perfect example of disciplined acting.

The YOung Company a First Stage has built an outstanding reputation for consistently great performances. I humbly offer the suggestion that First Stage consider putting these Young Company plays in their main season at the Todd Wehr theater and moving them out of their home at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center.

Production credits:  Director, Matt Daniels; Scenic Designer, Brandon Kirkham; Costume Designer, Caitlyn De Araujo; Lighting Designer, Marisa Abbott; Sound Designer, Matt Whitmore; French Coach, Natalia DeLaat; Dialect Coaches, Matt Daniels, John Maclay; Stage Manager, Julia Xiong; Assistant Stage Manager, Robert Torres.

 

Moving and frightening “Until The Flood” at the Rep

Dael Orlandersmith in “Until The Flood” at The Rep

Dael Orlandersmith most likely didn’t set out to do it,  but she has written one scary play if you were a white person sitting at The Rep opening night when her “Until The Flood” opened in the Stiemke Studio.

Her one-woman play grasps the a four-year old tale of small Missouri town by the neck and shakes it until the fallout drapes like a shroud of memory.

Ferguson!

Who doesn’t remember the town where an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson. The exact facts of the encounter will forever remain clouded by uncertainty and unreliability of information. What we know for sure is that Wilson fired his gun eight times, Brown ended up dead in the middle of the street.

The shooting sparked protests the following day, days and days of protests that streamed into the living rooms of America. Violence, anger, looting fires, hand -eldrocks and bottles and thrown at police who took on the spectre of an occupying army. It was an unruly and frightening and reignited a national debate a quarter century after the beating by Los Angeles police of a black man Rodney King, made us begin to talk and think about how cops treated black men,

Playwright Anna Deavere Smith wrote a play about that incident using dialogue actually gleaned word for word from interviews with Angelinos, both white and black. David Cecsarini directed a searing and incandescent production of “Twilight: Los Angeles” two years ago.

“Until the Flood” is no less  incandescent and may well be even more searing.

Ms. Orlandersmith, who plays eight different characters, created composite characters, ranging from two 17-year old black boys to a 75-year old white retired cop.

There are no subtleties in this play, as quiet as it is. It hits you smack in the forehead, right from the get-go.

It opens with a 71-year old retired teacher named Louis Hemphill. She recounts some of the moments in here life when she came face-to-face with bigotry. And she explains the sundown laws in Ferguson.

“Those laws,” she says, “said that if you were a Jew or black you couldn’t be out after sundown. It was ‘Don’t let the sun go down on you nigger.’”

Ms. Orlandersmith, along with her long-time collaborator, director Neel Keller, keep the pressure on for just over an hour. One after another, the people of Ferguson take the stage with just a minor costume or prop switch.

From Louisa we move to Rusty, the retired cop who has justified the shooting, based on his experience. “When someone has nothing to lose, you’ve gotta use your gun,” he says.

And then comes Hassan, the 17-year old who is “fly” and “flows”through his street life. He tells the tale of being pulled over when the driver of the car he was in was going just a “little bit fast.” They were confronted by police.

“This motherfucker was hungry to shoot a nigger,” he said, sounding sad, angry and scared, all at once.

The genius and importance of this play sneaks up on you. At the start it seems almost polemic. But in truth it’s full of insight. Some of the racial stereotypes are striking, but there is some truth in why a stereotype becomes a stereotype.

There is wisdom as well, some we can all use. The wisdom of the barber, who is the subject of interviews by a couple of “green girls” from Northwestern who want to write a story exposing the exploitation of the black men.

“I own this shop,”  says Reuben Little. “I own this building. I know you want us to be victims. But I’m no victim.”

There is also one of the most frightening moments you’ll ever see on a stage, when white electrician Doug Smith shows up.

He explains his background in a drunken and abusive family, and how he has pulled himself up by his bootstraps. He’s a success, in his mind, with a wife, a house, and two boys, 4 and 5.

He is full of rage for the “niggers” and the “black bastards” and the “apes” and even “kikes.” He tells the story when he and his youngest son were coming out of a store, and the boy was pushed by a black youth.

He orders his son to go “hit that nigger back.” But the boy, shaking, tells his dad, “I don’t even know what a nigger is.”

Paul, a high school junior who lives in the same project as Michael Brown (“it looks like a prison) and who is going to college to study art history, talks eloquently of his struggle to resist the temptations and pressures of life on the streets of Ferguson.

“Please God,” he says. “Let me get out.”

He means physically, emotionally and, most of all, still alive.

PRODUCTION CREDITS: Director, Neel Keller; Scenic Designer, Takeshi Kata; Costume Designer, Kay Voyce; Lighting Designer, Mary Louise-Geiger; Sound Design/Original Music, Justin Ellington; Video/Projection Designer, Nicholas Hussong; Stage Manager, Sarah Deming-Henes; Production Photos, Michael Brosilow.

Second Act:Milwaukee Repertory Theater ignites positive change in the cultural, social, and economic vitality of its community by creating world-class theater experiences that entertain, provoke, and inspire meaningful dialogue among an audience representative of Milwaukee’s rich diversity.”

That’s the mission statement of The Rep, and this play fits into it like magic. The Rep takes this whole thing of helping a larger community very seriously.

They hold an Act II small group discussion session after the performance, designed to continue conversations stimulated by the play. It’s an admirable attempt.

However, most these discussion and research projects, like the city’s “Blueprint for Peace,” never get to the individuals responsible for the violence in our community. Until that happens, all the discussion groups and blueprints are likely doomed to have little impact.

 

Cooperative effort creates masterpiece of “One House Over” at The Rep

Mark Jacoby and Zoë Sophia Garcia in “One House Over at The Rep

At the earliest moments of “One House Over” it’s easy to get lulled into the expectations that this Catherine Trieschmann play is a dart in the air flying to the target of Donald Trump and his anti-immigration policies.

As this  Milwaukee Rep world premiere, may expand to a flock of darts aimed at America itself, and it’s conflicted steps to create some kind of coherent program for all immigrants to this country.

But in the end, what this wonderful play is about is very simple.

Fear.

And there is enough of it to infuse each character in this brilliant five-player cast.

Joanne (Elaine Rivkin) is a divorced 50-something violin teacher who lives in a nice neighborhood north of Chicago. Joanne is the caregiver for her 89-year old father, Milos (Mark Jacoby), who emigrated to America from Czechoslovakia just as Hitler was rising opower and  casting his evil eye to Milos’ homeland.

Into that life comes Camila Hernandez (Zoë Sophia Garcia), an experienced Mexican caregiver who is hired to take care of Milos and take some of the load off Joanne. Camila and her husband Rafael (Justin Huen) move into the apartment in Joanne’s home.

There is a combustion mix forming right before our eyes and it’s not long before what looks like the ignitor arrives in the person of next door neighbor Patty (Jeanne Paulsen).

Ms. Garcia, Mr. Jacoby and Elaine Rivkin
in “One House Over” at The Rep.

The whole tale written by Ms. Trieschmann starts off slow. Very, very funny, but at a pace that seems very patient.

At intermission, I spoke with Ms. Trieschmann and Brent Hazelton, the Rep’s Associate Art Director, who was the dramaturg on this production. I mentioned the pace and said it felt like a “slow burn” was coming.

Mr. Hazelton wouldn’t talk to me because, even though we are friends and he knows how much I admire his work, he is afraid I might quote him someday. But Ms. Trieschmann had no such fear.

“It is a slow burn,” she said conceded with a big smile, obviously pleased with the first act.

The five characters have been finely drawn by Ms. Trieschmann, director Mark Clements and the actors.

Joanne is your basic white liberal, thrilled to have attended the Barack Obama election night victory party in Grant Park in her, and his, hometown.  Her fears range from white privilege guilt to a breast cancer diagnosis and fear that her father may be losing her.

Milos is cantankerous and angry over the appearance into his life of a Mexican stranger. He is afraid of the growing ravages of age and his helplessness to care for his daughter when she needs caring for.

Camila is capable and devoted to her Mexican heritage and her “Papi” who was deported after a car accident in Chicago.her driving fear is that she will be deported and that morphs into a fear that she can’t stay in America and she longs for a return to her homeland.  

Rafa has never been to Mexico, having lived almost all his life in America and he is driven to making a life as an Italian food chef and is desperate for a break. His hides his fear of failure under a facade of machismo sensitivity,

And Patty is the typical nosy neighbor, concerned about this young couple living in the basement “even though it has nothing to do with them being Mexican.” She has been left alone and is hides her loneliness with a judgmental  certitude.

While the various ethnicities are the integral part of this play, the overwhelming response is laughter. The last time I hear a Rep audience laugh this often and this hard may well have been the memorable production of “Noises Off” five years ago.

Ms. Trieschmann shows off her sophistication and maturity as a playwright by giving each of her five characters a dose of laugh lines. So many playwrights who try to write comedies lodge the humor in just a couple of characters and adds a few straight men to be part of the show.

The path of this play takes us through the way increasing intimacy can have such a profound impact on established boundaries.

At the heart of the matter is the move by Milos to a high level affection for Camila, so deep that he tries to make her his girlfriend. Joanne find herself jealous of this emerging depth of affection. Rafe latches on to Joanne as both a caregiver after her mastectomy, and finds she may well be the open door to his climb up the Italian chef ladder.

The humor, both biting and sweet, carries us along as we head for what must be  the anticipated explosion. And there is no disappointment in this play. The explosion, born out of ever-increasing uncertainty over all of the jealousy and fear that has led to those crossed boundaries, would be a riot of laughter if we were still not tasting the bitterness of the cruel moments leading to the all gloves-off battle.

Mr. Clements, who has been Artistic Director at The Rep since 23010, continues his commitment to new play development and it pays off with the kind of production you get with “One House Over.” He also shows his chops as an experienced and creative director.In this one, with this play, and with these actors, it’s best to create the freedom for these wonderfully experienced hands to take charge of the whole thing.

Production credits: Director, Mark Clements; Scenic Designer, Kevin Depinet; Costume Designer, Rachel Laritz; Lighting Designer, Jesse Klug; Sound Design/Original Composition, Joe Cerqua;  Production Dramaturg, Brent Hazelton; Dramaturg; Abigail Gonda; Dialect Coach, Clare Arena Haden; Fight Director, Jamie Cheatham; Casting Director, Frank Honts; Casting Associate, Karie Koppel; Stage Manager, Kimberly Carolus.; Production Photographer Michael Brosilow. 

Act II – ACTORS

Talking with NMs, Trieschmann during the intermission she couldn’t restrain herself when talking about the cast of five actors who were bringing her words to life, “They are fantastic,” she said. “It’s is amazing to watch them work.”  Nobody would disagree with her. This cast was up to the task facing them. The range of emotions faced by each was filled with potential potholes. Ms. Rivkin was alternately grateful, guilty, exasperated, fearful, jealous, lonely, afraid and angry. Ms. Garcia was plucky, in love, passionate, encouraging, angry and fearful. Mr. Jacoby is angry, helpless, hopeless, encouraged and determined, Mr. Hernandez is cocky, discouraged, full of bravado  and resigned, And MNs., Paulsen is both arrogant and lonely. All of them are also faced with lots of funny lines and the timing in this group is perfect.

Act III – DIRECTOR

A big part of that timing is a credit to Mr. Clements, who guides this production with a fine and loving hand. Experienced theater goes will understand the concept of loving direction. You can see it in the obvious freedom for actors to dig down on their own to flush out their characters. You can see it in the pace of a production, in this case a pace that allows for the laughs that are sure to come and a story that is told with growing suspense. Mr. Clements has an impressive array of credits for directing productions all over the world and The Rep benefits having him at the helm of several productions each season.

 

PLaywright Ms. Trieschmann and Dramaturg Mr. Hazelton

AC T IV – DRAMATURG

Frequently you hear the term “dramaturg” thrown around, but not many people understand the role. It’s a difficult role to define, but in general a dramaturg works to assist the playwright in the development of the play, especially during rehearsals. Frequently a script may change once rehearsals are underway. What works on a piece of paper may need adjustment once you hear and see it with live people. In the case of “One House Over”, Mr. Hazelton acted was the dramaturg and he and Mrs. Trieschmann both said that the final little change in the script took place on the Wednesday before opening night and that the last substantive change took place on Sunday.