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Ralph B. Peña

Felix Starro

September 4, 2019

The score with Ms. Hagedorn’s sharp lyrics and composer Fabian Obispo’s pointed melodies in the manner of Stephen Sondheim and John Kander is quite accomplished with its rousing group numbers and rich solos. Highlights include an eerie sequence with one sick person after another seeking rejuvenation, a Billy Flynn "Chicago"-style bit documenting Felix’s past popularity and an acidic anthem by a mercenary San Francisco female florist who deals in black market identity papers for illegal immigrants. [more]

House Rules

April 10, 2016

Featuring a talented and engaging cast as well as an inventively designed set that adds tremendous production value, "House Rules" would seem to have all the necessary elements of a successful production. However, though the technical and theatrical aspects of this production are undoubtedly successful, the message of this story is somehow lost along the way. Somewhere down the line, this heartfelt family story devolves into a set of characters with clichéd motivations and almost no character growth; characters who are far too often put into storylines which never receive that oh-so-satisfying payoff that differentiates an exceptional theatrical experience from the ordinary. [more]

Livin’ La Vida Imelda

November 20, 2014

Mr. Celdran weaves these and many other tales and observations into an compelling event that alternates between inciting laughter and thoughtful silence. With his well-honed recitation, personal charm, fluid physicality, and native perspective, he is the perfect conduit for this material. Director Ralph B. Pena's staging, has Celdran purposefully all over the stage. Nick Francone's set design presents a detailed and whimsical space for the character giving the lecture. Becky Bodurtha's costumes simply and artfully convey the authentic look. [more]