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Tony Speciale

The Gentleman Caller

May 20, 2018

Every once in a while the exactly right actor is matched with the right role and magic occurs. Such is the case with Juan Francisco Villa as the 34-year-old Tennessee Williams (before he became famous) in Philip Dawkins’ "The Gentleman Caller." Looking exactly like the playwright did at that age and sporting Williams’ well-known Southern accent, Villa is so ebullient, irrepressible and high-spirited that one has the feeling one has met the playwright himself. With perfect timing for Williams’ verbal comeback, many of which are taken from his own letters, quotes and diaries, Villa gives an extraordinarily three-dimensional performance in a role that has been depicted in other recent plays and one-man shows about the author. Some of the credit must go to director Tony Speciale for helping to craft this remarkable portrayal. [more]

The Mother of Invention

February 10, 2017

Playwright James Lecesne has been acclaimed for his solo performance works, most recently "The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey." Here, he has written a traditional play employing theatrical devices that’s a mélange of David Sedaris, Charles Busch and Modern Family. There are one-liners galore, wacky situations and a decidedly campy sensibility. It’s a bunch of superficial antics that never really meaningfully connect. [more]

The Dork Knight

January 18, 2017

O'Connell’s script is a well-structured series of confessional anecdotes interwoven with the lore of the movies. His performance is a riveting blend of stand-up comedy and grand stage acting with Shakespearean flourishes. The audience is on three sides of the very small theater. This intimate space at times feels too constrained for the unbridled emotionalism on display. [more]

STET

June 28, 2016

Rolling Stone magazine’s 2014 controversial article "A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA" about an alleged rape at a University of Virginia fraternity house seemingly has inspired the author of this play, Kim Davies. Ms. Davies has taken many of the facts of that story and woven them into this fictionalized narrative that falls short of being compelling. [more]

The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey

February 23, 2015

The fabric of the community of a small Jersey shore town is torn apart in the wake of the mysterious disappearance of young Leonard Pelkey. At first this one-man show, written and performed by James Lecesne, follows the lines of every crime drama you have seen. Yet, "The Absolute Brightness of Leonard Pelkey" proves to be much more than superficial intrigue and ends up challenging the very conscience of society. The standing ovation and second curtain calls this show has been receiving in previews are already setting this piece of theater apart. [more]