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Ethan Steimel

No Strings

March 3, 2020

Following its opening production of Cy Coleman’s equally rarely seen "Seesaw," J2 Spotlight Musical Theater Company is presenting a fully staged version of "No Strings" as the second production of its inaugural season. While No Strings, set in the Paris world of high fashion and the French watering holes of the very rich, would need a much more lavish staging to do it justice, Deidre Goodwin’s production does have its charms though the show’s book by playwright Samuel Taylor seems particularly thin by today's standards. The songs are melodic and hummable though there is no breakout winner among the 14 musical numbers. [more]

Seesaw

February 18, 2020

Although J2 Spotlight’s artistic director Robert W. Schneider who staged this show has given it a vigorous production and cast a delightful Gittel in Stephanie Israelson, he is unable to disguise the show’s flaws. He is not helped by the trite, derivative choreography by Caitlin Belcik for a show that is mainly dance and has eight dancers out of a cast of nine. The many production numbers are both busy and familiar, and keep the ensemble composed of Kyle Caress, Chaz Alexander Coffin, Katie Griffith, Caleb Grochalski, Morgan Hecker and Halle Mastroberardino spinning throughout the show. [more]

The Boys from Syracuse

February 18, 2018

The cast seems to have been mostly chosen for their comic skills rather than their singing skills. Nevertheless, Josh Waldren and Matthew Fairless as the visiting travelers turn “Dear Old Syracuse” into a delightful soft shoe number complete with straw hats and canes, and Walden has a lovely duet with Darrell Morris, Jr. as Luciana to “This Can’t Be Love (Because I Feel So Well).” Shapiro's Luce  and Ian Fairlee as Dromio of Ephesus have a big success with the witty, “He and She,” a comic specialty number. However, much of the show has been eroticized and there is a “wink wink” feeling to the overall approach. [more]

Naked Brazilian (The New York International Fringe Festival 2016)

August 15, 2016

Writer Gustavo Pace is the handsome, youthful and animated performer of this autobiographical exploration. He loudly rattles on in Portuguese and English while adequately portraying himself and several characters. These include his father, brother, a female therapist working on turning him straight, and various others he encounters. It’s an amiable and passable performance that’s heavy on volume and shaky on intelligibility. [more]

Defendant Maurice Chevalier

February 11, 2016

His great grandnephew, the French-born and raised Alexis Chevalier has written this well researched play with music that is based in part on Maurice Chevalier’s memoirs. It is structurally problematic with fantasy episodes, extraneous musical and dance sequences, and numerous often-lengthy scenes that don’t cohere. The dialogue is straightforwardly purposeful imparting historical facts and details with occasional bursts of poetic qualities. [more]