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Seussical

ON THE TOWN WITH CHIP DEFFAA… for Aug 3rd, 2018

August 4, 2018

Thanks to the Internet, word tends to get around very quickly about what is being done in theatres everywhere-even in college theatres. Cohen told me, for example, that students at Towson University mounted a production of "Rent" with an unauthorized changed ending; in their revision of "Rent," the character of "Mimi" died at the end. Cohen reflected: "Theatre is sort of self-monitoring. Fans of musical theatre are so passionate that when they see that a show has been changed, they'll quickly say that something is not right here. They may comment in online blogs or on chat boards." And thus, the unauthorized changes to "Rent" very quickly came to the attention of MTI, which licenses "Rent." Cohen added that the director of the Towson University production of "Rent" seemed to imagine she had the right to change the ending of the show-but to him that simply indicated her naivete or ignorance of the law. [more]

Rocky from Chip Deffaa’s July 17, 2014 column

July 17, 2014

A boxing musical? I just couldn't see it. Nor could I imagine there'd be an audience for this on Broadway. Nor could I imagine that I–who's never seen a boxing match in my life or had any interest in doing so–would enjoy such a Broadway show. But I was wrong. Thomas Meehan and Sylvester Stallone, who wrote the script (based on Stallone's famed MGM/United Artists motion picture), have done a terrific job of good old-fashioned storytelling, making us care about the fate of an underdog, a down-on-his-luck boxer. And director Alex Timbers has staged this with enormous flair. [more]

Spotlight on Ahrens and Flaherty: Dessa Rose and a Merkin Hall Tribute Concert

March 28, 2005

The 12-person cast, as staged by longtime Ahrens & Flaherty director Daniele Graciele, presents a moving tale throughout the show. However, the material, especially in Ahren's dialogue scenes, can be very repetitive and can seem overly sentimental. This is often the case with Ahrens & Flaherty shows, which usually contain a batch of stunning musical numbers performed by excellent actors in shows that never seem to be perfected – say "My Favorite Year," "Ragtime," and "A Man of No Importance." Of course, one is glad that Ahrens & Flaherty's shows get regularly produced on Broadway, Off Broadway, and at Lincoln Center. [more]

The Look of Love

September 20, 2003

When polished and classy performers such as Broadway veteran Liz Callaway ("Merrily We Roll Along," "Baby," "Miss Saigon") and Capathia Jenkins ("Civil War"), as a Dionne Warwick substitute, attempt to provide some inner life to relatively uncomplicated songs, the effect is still-born. When the gentle and folksy "I'll Never Fall in Love Again" is sung in Spanish by Kevin Ceballo and danced in orgiastic spasms by Shannon Lewis, you'll see how desperate staging can get. [more]