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Dan Norman

All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914

December 23, 2018

But these speeches are only a part of the soundscape. The production is suffused with music—all of it a cappella vocalizing by the cast. We hear barracks songs, patriotic songs, hymns and drinking songs—and, of course, Christmas carols. Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach’s arrangements are exceptionally rich and intricate. The singer-actors weave a choral spell that is not soon forgotten. One could try to single out certain cast members or singers as exceptional, but this is truly the quintessential ensemble show. That such fine singers could also take on multiple speaking roles—portraying Britons, Irishmen, Scots, Welshmen, Germans, and others so convincingly—is impressive indeed. [more]

Mrs. Smith’s Broadway Cat-tacular

July 27, 2015

Of course, Mrs. Smith is the marvelous creation of writer/actor/performance artist David Hanbury and director Andrew Rasmussen, based on a character created by Hanbury, who has played Mrs. Smith in four previous shows with a Broadway version promised for the near future. The evening is a show business parody with Mrs. Smith narrating the story of her life (childhood in upstate New York with Carlyle, talent show winner, Ziegfeld star, her 14 marriages, international touring artiste, Pat Nixon’s Birthday Bash, and retiring when Carlyle went missing.) Along with the video footage of Mrs. Smith’s life are Skype hook-ups with Sylvia Cleo, “Pet Psychic to the Stars” (played by Andre Shoals) and appearances of Carlyle as a puppet as well as on film. [more]