First and foremost, I think it is important to remember that this article was written by a person offering his *opinion*. While this person gets paid to offer his opinion, and many readers put stock in it because of this, I think we can all agree that the arts are a VERY subjective field. What's sauce for the goose may be poison for the gander. Second, even if Mr. Templeton's voice were law--and I am sure that even he would agree it is not--I have not seen all ten shows on this list. And even if I had, I was also on stage as an 'intrepid member' of August: Osage County, and could not offer a truly objective opinion of the show. Regarding the craft itself, I would have to agree with theatrgoer37 re: DTA's opening comment. I don't think it is good form to down-talk my fellow storytellers. Our work is rewarding, certainly--but it is also difficult and challenging for all who aspire to it whole-heartedly. There is nothing more hurtful or infuriating than hearing an audience member--or, especially, a fellow artist--make a comment that trivializes that effort. In that vein, I will also respectfully disagree with the assessment of others on the comment thread that a show like BATB should be appreciated for its 'effort.' The idea that a show is good "especially when you consider [it was produced] primarily by students" is also, in my opinion, demeaning. I have met more than my fair share of people in theater who are union members and aren't worth the title, and those who have 'day jobs' who are the pinnacle of professionalism and hard work. But, ultimately, the work we do is for the audience's benefit, and if they leave the theater richer people, we have done our job. If we step onto that stage for anything less--especially something selfish like accolades or awards--we are doing a disservice to ourself, our production mates, and the audience.
The Beauty and the Beast cast did amazing! Not only is the music difficult to live up to but it has held an amazing record on Broadway, maybe I am biased by being a SRJC student but I also saw the original broadway cast of Beauty and the Beast. I know this show very well and I must remark I have never seen a performance of this musical by a non-professional production that put more energy and enjoyment into the play. Normally I bored with school Beauty and the Beast but thankfully this production team as well as the cast created something fresh not simply copy cating the original. The acting was not flat, in fact I felt it was rather strong. This production has been nominated for American Conseveratory Theatre Festival as well as being one of only ten plays or musicals nominated to perform a scene there. Simply put I think it is better to look at the positive rather than the negative, and there is tons. And I know that the set and costumes were all made by the SRJC students during the show. It's about time I think the bohemian recognize a musical and a SRJC production
I have seen every show on this list including Osage County, and speaking only as a patron I am disgusted with the comments I see here. Yes Osage County was a great performance, but BATB was hardly "amateur." The vocals were precise and the level of talent, not only from the leads but from the supportive cast was astounding (babette, wardrobe, lefu etc). That show is iconic and to attempt it is risky at best. The costumes were astounding especially when you consider the fact that they were made primarily by students. It was the only show last year I wanted to see twice. It was on par with most professional theater. The top comment from the "member of that intrepid cast" its distasteful at best. If you have a problem with this list perhaps you should question some of the other choices, not attack a show purely because it was performed by a college......don't be THAT actor, your audience doesn't appreciate it.
Totally agree with the Beauty & the Beast vs. Osage County review. Osage County was really well done, and Beauty & the Beast was rather flat in the acting category, though it was beautiful, (except for Belle's "yellow-peep's have exploded" dress.)
I am thrilled to see an SRJC on the list, but would argue that "Our Town" was significantly more compelling than "Beauty and the Beast". Technically smart and impeccably directed, there were outstanding performances throughout the cast, not only from George Gibbs and Emily Webb. The real connections I observed onstage, combined with genuine emotion, oozed charm and brought the old themes to life in our modern times.
Really? An amateur production of Beauty and Beast makes the grade but not the 6th Street Playhouse staging of August-Osage County? I may be biased, having been a member of that intrepid cast but I'm of the opinion our production easily deserves the top spot on that list.
I am an actress and I have never been so moved by a piece of theater, ever! And David if you havent seen ruined read it that is way more tremendous and that didnt move a tear out of my eye. I was sobbing like a baby the whole show of Elephant man. And you have to take into consideration you saw it opening weekend and the space they were given! It was one of my favorite shows ever! Sure your a critic doesn't mean you have to be so horribly rude!!!!! Trust me I know I was a journalist and even shows I hated I said it with out being brash!
With all due respect to the Bohemian, I also had the absolute incredible fortune of attending The Elephant Man at Spreckles this Sunday afternoon and was nothing short of impressed. I found the performance excellent, and thought it honored John Merrick's legacy beautifully. Not an easy play to pull off, and not light fare, granted. Excellent acting, great scenery (no three or four minute scene changes, nor any actors who took an accidental misstep only to find it publicly written about(!)), took risks that paid off, and excellent costuming. BRAVO! Apparently my sentiments weren't alone given the standing ovation from every audience member. I'm kind of hard on plays too, admittedly. I have spent time onstage myself, teach children's theater, grew up attending theater (thanks, mom!!) and most likely have higher expectations than the average attendee. The play affected me emotionally afterwards, as this play should. I highly recommended it if you appreciated the film by the same name. The experimental side show at the beginning was the risk that paid off! We were instantly transformed into Merrick's world upon entering the space, and walked through an old fashioned carnival freak show just to get to our seats! I feel strongly about putting in a good word here after the obvious dedication of the cast, crew and director has largely gone unacknowledged, or worse, ruined. The one thing I do, however, agree on is David Templeton's take on Peter Warden's performance. ABSOLUTELY STELLAR! Really and truly. What talent! Everyone involved should be proud, proud, proud. All I can think is perhaps this review is strangely akin to Merrick's misunderstood life. Catch it while you can!!!
After reading (trusting?) David's reviews for some time now, I must say this scathing commentary shows little to do with reality. I saw this production this past weekend and found it to be totally wonderful. The Circus pre-show was totally unique (and fun) and I was fascinated to see this small 'experimental' theatrical space so easily transformed into many diverse locations - "three to four minute scene changes" is also fictitious. The characters were real and the acting was engaging and there wasn't one person in the audience with me that did not appear to be emotionally touched. My hat goes off to Mr. van der Horst and his marvelous cast for taking something cinematic and bringing it to life for a grateful audience. From now on I'll take David Templeton's reviews with a block of salt.
I'm the actor who spoke the line with which this review begins. It was a sell-out house the night David Templeton attended, and the second the show ended, the audience, after an hour of rapt attention and visible tears, was on their feet wildly applauding. For an hour the whole theater had felt like a troubled union hall, actors improvising as angry, hungry workers in and around the audience, as scenes unfolded before them. After the play there was a passionate discussion of current labor and immigration issues in Santa Rosa that felt like Act 2 of Odets' play. If you prefer rehashed Broadway comedies and musicals, God bless you. This is theater with cajones for people who have same (mutatis mutandis for gender.) PASSION, PULSE, AND POWER: that's my idea of theater, but, like I say, if you haven't got the ha'penny to feel it, God bless you. There's plenty of kultchural events around town (a few of which this reviewer lovingly describes) that will make you laugh and leave catchy melodies in your head without the bother of an opened heart or an exploded mind. On the other hand, if you want theater that will take your breath away--well, not my friend David's, apparently, but most of the rest of the audience--THIS IS IT.
It's a rare and wonderful romp of joy-suitable for all ages-in fact kids love it.
This is a great play! Corrections : The director is also the playwright, Thomas Patrick Devon Chapman, and the show time is just under 2 hours.
Delightful!!! Ms. Miller will be fun to watch as she refreshens Eleanor and brings her to life once again!
I thought the Spreckels Spring Awakening was one of the best musicals I've seen in Sonoma County, closely followed by the Raven production of Rent a a couple of summers ago. Both were relentlessly modern in music and style, with highly committed actors and great bands. Spring Awakening has better leads.
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