Theater Talk: 'IN THE HEIGHTS' sets the bar high for the season
This week Peter and Anthony look at some of the first offerings of the 2015/2016 season, including IN THE HEIGHTS at MusicalFare Theatre, GRANNY BIRD at the Alleyway Theatre, and SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE (OR THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE) at the Manny Fried Playhouse.
Winner of four 2008 Tony Awards, IN THE HEIGHTS is set in New York City's Dominican-American Washington Heights neighborhood. MusicalFare has added authenticity by mounting a co-production with Raíces Theatre Company resulting in the following cast: Marta Aracelis, Cecelia Barron, Taylor Carlson, Arin Lee Dandes, Arianne Davidow, Elena Victoria Feliz, Alejandro Gabriel Gómez, Rolando Martín Gómez, Adam Hayes, Dudney Joseph, Jr., Ricky Marchese, Bob Mazierski, Smirna Mercedes-Pérez, Victoria Pérez, and Jon Yepez. With direction by Randall Kramer and choreography by Michael Walline, it's up through October 11.
GRANNYBIRD, not to be confused with Big Bird's grandmother, is a play at the Alleyway Theatre which tells the story of a grandmother who does not want to be put in a home, and so, with her great-grand-daughter, escapes to live in a tree house. This charming play is up through October 4.
SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE (OR THE CHILDREN'S CRUSADE) at the Manny Fried Playhouse is a play based on the novel by Kurt Vonnegut. The story is told in a nonlinear order and events become clear through flashbacks (or time travel experiences) regarding the central character Billy Pilgrim.
At the Stratford Festival in Ontario, besides great Shakespeare, you get period dramas, including Oliver Goldsmith's SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER which is very well presented and very similar in cast and set to Oscar Wilde's THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST. Even though the two plays are well over 100 years apart in their creation, they are both written with an Irish bemusement at English manners, so if you like EARNEST, you will like STOOPS, in which the estate lord's daughter, Kate Hardcastle, must pretend to be a barmaid, since her intended freezes up whenever he is in the presence of a lady. You won't be disappointed.