David Clarke has had a lifelong love and passion for the performing arts, and has been writing about theatre both locally and nationally for years. He joined BroadwayWorld.com running their Houston site in early 2012 and began writing as the site's official theatre recording critic in June of 2013.
BWW Reviews: Country Playhouse's SEUSSICAL is Jovially Enticing and Blissfully Gratifying
June 17, 2013
It is summer in Houston. The heat index is soaring more and more each day. Moreover, many of our local theatre companies are producing family friendly fare that allows each and every one of us to beat the heat for fun theatrical treats. Championing this campaign is Country Playhouse with their whimsical and captivating production of Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens' SUESSICAL. The Broadway incarnation tried out in Boston before moving into the Richard Rogers Theatre late in 2000. It was met with lukewarm reviews and closed on May 20, 2001 after 198 performances and 34 previews. Before hitting the road on its first of two national tours, the book underwent extensive revisions because of its marginal showing on Broadway.
BWW Reviews: Jaston William's BLAME IT ON VALENTINE, TEXAS is Hysterical and Poignantly Touching
June 16, 2013
The Grand 1894 Opera House in Galveston hosted Jaston Williams, of GREATER TUNA fame, on Saturday, June 15, 2013 for two command performances of BLAME IT ON VALENTINE, TEXAS. BLAME IT ON VALENTINE, TEXAS, one of four one-man shows crafted by Jaston Williams, had its World Premiere on February 14, 2009 at the Lubbock Civic Center Theater as a benefit for Lubbock Community Theater. To create the show, he pulled several of his autobiographical vignettes from I'M NOT LYING and COWBOY NOISES. He also wrote a new piece, "The Screaming Part of China."
Summer Stages: BWW's Top Summer Theatre Picks - Houston!
June 14, 2013
I've been writing about Houston's extremely varied theater scene for a little over a year now. One thing I quickly learned is that there is never a dearth of quality productions to look forward to in this city. As summer is finally beginning to take hold of Houston, I can't help but anticipate the many happenings this season brings. In order of opening nights, I have listed the six productions I am most excited to experience.
BWW Reviews: WMGE, LLC and LeighzaLand Productions' FADE TO BLACK is Exhilarating and Deeply Thought-Provoking
June 14, 2013
Last night was the premiere of FADE TO BLACK, an innovative 10 minute play festival promoting and supporting original works created by African-American artists. This showcase is the creative brainchild of Denise O'Neal of WMGE, LLC and Leighza Walker of LeighzaLand Productions, and it is a true first for the Houston theater community. Thankfully, these extraordinary women have already placed FADE TO BLACK on next year's calendar with the intentions of creating an annual event that centers around encouraging and producing new works written by African-American playwrights.
BWW Reviews: Lindsay Mendez and Marco Paguia's THIS TIME is Captivatingly Jazzy
June 12, 2013
In 2007, Lindsay Mendez made her Broadway Debut as Jan in a revival of GREASE. She has since returned to Broadway in Sherie Rene Scott's EVERYDAY RAPTURE in 2012, the GODSPELL's revival in 2011, and she is currently starring as Elphaba in WICKED. In addition to these Broadway roles, she got phenomenal reviews as Rose in Off-Broadway's DOGFIGHT at 2nd Stage Theatre Company in 2012. Furthermore, Lindsey Mendez is an accomplished jazz vocalist and has recorded the 13 track THIS TIME with pianist/band leader Marco Paguia. The album lavishly showcases their prowess as performers and their infectious musical chemistry.
BWW Reviews: Theatre Southwest's DRACULA is Resplendently Gothic and Inspired
June 10, 2013
Dracula is a name that invokes fear and terror in me. Not because it is a horror story, but because just about every adaptation of Bram Stoker's legendary Gothic novel gets it so wrong that I am left completely cold and empty. Astonishingly, this is not the case with Theatre Southwest's brilliant and opulent production of DRACULA, written by Steven Dietz and directed by Ananka Kohnitz.
BWW Reviews: Stark Naked Theatre's MACBETH is Gloriously Breathtaking
June 8, 2013
Stark Naked Theatre Company's production of William Shakespeare's MACBETH has been on everybody's lips for weeks, even months, now. As soon as the show was announced a gentle hum of excitement began, and turned into a blistering roar by last night's opening night performance. Co-Executive Directors Philip Lehl and Kim Tobin set the bar high for intimate, independent theatre and consistently surpass audiences' expectations with their astounding productions. Their MACBETH is no different as it splendidly thrilled and delighted last night's eager audience with ease.
BWW Reviews: DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY is Sensationally Hilarious and Heartwarming
June 6, 2013
The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts has two stages, but most people are only familiar with Sarofim Hall. Nestled on the corner of Rusk and Bagby is the gorgeous and intimate Zilkha Hall, which seats 500. The space was originally planned as a black box theater, and Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) current Artistic Director, Bruce Lumpkin, has great plans for TUTS to utilize the space as such. For TUTS' first venture at Zilkha Hall, the company is presenting the hilarious and heartwarming Off-Broadway sensation DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY.
BWW Reviews: FLASHDANCE – THE MUSICAL is Lackluster Despite Abundant Dance Spectacles
June 5, 2013
The hugely popular 1983 film Flashdance, starring Jennifer Beals, received a musical facelift and had its world premiere in July 2008 at the Theatre Royal Plymouth. Following a UK Tour, FLASHDANCE THE MUSICAL opened on London's West End in late 2010. However, the show closed earlier than expected on January 15, 2011. By December 2011, the musical was slated for a Broadway opening in Fall 2012. Ambitiously, the creative teams also announced a second company that would tour the show starting in 2013. The First National Tour of FLASHDANCE THE MUSICAL kicked off in Pittsburgh on January 1, 2013, giving the show it's second World Premiere of sorts because the re-envisioned production of title features new songs, a new book, a new creative team, and a different physical production. The musical has been on a whirlwind tour and has dates booked through May 4, 2014. Yet, the Broadway opening has been postponed to an unspecified date later in the 2013-2014 Broadway season.
BWW Interviews: Jaston Williams Talks BLAME IT ON VALENTINE, TEXAS
June 4, 2013
One of the most exciting aspects of theatre in Texas is sitting in the audience while Jaston Williams, of GREATER TUNA fame, takes the stage. His charisma and charming personality completely mesmerize and enchant audiences. Recently, I had an opportunity to catch back up with Jaston Williams, and he toldme about his recent performance as Truman Capote in TRU at Austin's ZACH Theatre and his upcoming production of his solo show BLAME IT ON VALENTINE, TEXAS at Galveston's The Grand 1894 Opera House.
BWW Reviews: Houston Ballet's JOURNEY WITH THE MASTERS is Exhilarating, Extravagant & Immaculately Programmed
June 3, 2013
Houston Ballet is kicking off the summer with their resplendent production of JOURNEY WITH THE MASTERS. This amazing treat is made complete with thrilling dance compositions by three of the world's leading modern choreographers, George Balanchine, Ji?i Kylian, and Jerome Robbins. The three acts are vastly different from each other and superbly enchant audiences with their uniqueness.
BWW Reviews: The Eklektix Theatre Company's SPRING AWAKENING - IN CONCERT is Zesty and Raw
June 1, 2013
The Eklektix Theatre Company is celebrating a year of producing theatre in Houston with a concert production of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater's SPRING AWAKENING. A fully staged version of the musical was their inaugural venture in Houston, so this production which only runs for two performances is a big celebration of themselves and all forms of independent theatre in the greater Houston area. In fact, following the performance Executive Artistic Director, Bryan-Keyth Wilson made a curtain speech imploring the audience to support his colleagues and peers at Bayou City Theatrics, Stark Naked Theatre Company, and others.
BWW Reviews: Tituss Burgess' Spellbinding COMFORTABLE is Mesmerizing
May 31, 2013
Tituss Burgess, best known for his recurring role as D'Fwan on NBC's 30 Rock, has been thrilling Broadway audiences with his unique and soulful voice for years. He made his Broadway debut in 2005 as Eddie in GOOD VIBRATIONS. He then went on to be Hal Miller in the original Broadway company of JERSEY BOYS in 2005. In 2007, he originated the role of Sebastian the Crab in Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID, and in 2009 he was Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the revival of GUYS AND DOLLS. Now, with the release of this incomparable and fantastic R&B singer-songwriter's 2012 studio album COMFORTABLE, audiences and fans can enjoy his captivating and rich voice wherever and whenever.
BWW Interviews: Dixie Longate Talks Tupperware, Touring, and DIXIE'S TUPPERWARE PARTY
May 31, 2013
Dixie Longate is fast-talking Tupperware Lady from Mobile, Alabama. She has packed up her catalogues, left her children in her trailer park and took Off-Broadway, London & Melbourne by storm! Starting June 4, 2013, Dixie Longate is throwing two-weeks worth of good ol'fashioned Tupperware Parties at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts' Zilka Hall.
BWW Reviews: The Alley's SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE ADVENTURE OF THE SUICIDE CLUB Disappoints With Bland, Underwhelming Writing
May 30, 2013
The Alley Theatre is currently presenting Jeffrey Hatcher's 2011 literary mash-up SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE ADVENTURE OF THE SUICIDE CLUB. The play had its world premiere at The Arizona Theatre Company, and garnered mixed to positive reviews. In the play Jeffrey Hatcher attempts the tall order of mixing the literary genius and worlds of Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert Louis Stevenson. The end result is a bland mystery with an entirely underwhelming climax.
BWW Reviews: SISTER ACT is Truly Fabulous, Baby!
May 29, 2013
In all honesty, I was dreading seeing Broadway Across America - Houston's presentation of SISTER ACT's First National Tour at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts last night. As a fan of Alan Menken, I was elated to get my hands on a copy of the Original London Cast Recording in 2009. After giving the disc a whirl, I was anything but impressed. The musical ran at the London Palladium from June 2, 2009 to October 30, 2010. As it journeyed across the pond, the book was significantly reworked by Douglas Carter Beane for its rather successful April 20, 2011 to August 26, 2012 Broadway run at the Broadway Theatre. Between London, New York, and Houston, magic has definitely happened. The show, as it stands now, is a divinely delightful comedy that will leave audiences pumped and gushing about how truly fabulous it is.
BWW Reviews: Ghostlight's GIANT (Original Cast Recording) is Majestic, Opulent, and Mesmerizing
May 28, 2013
Edna Ferber has been proven to be plumb inspiration for grandiose and sweeping musicals. 1927's SHOW BOAT was based on her 1926 novel Showboat. Recently, her novel Giant was musicalized by Michael John LaChiusa (SEE WHAT I WANNA SEE, FIRST LADY SUITE, THE WILD PARTY). The show features a book by Sybille Pearson, Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa, and luxuriant orchestrations by Bruce Coughlin with additional orchestrations by Larry Hochman. GIANT had its New York City premiere in a production that was co-produced by The Public Theater and Dallas Theater Center last fall. The acclaimed musical's rousing and extravagantly epic score has been resplendently captured by Ghostlight Records on their 2-disc GIANT (Original Cast Recording) album.
BWW Interviews: Cathal Gallagher Talks Career, Writing Process, and MALCOLM AND TERESA
May 26, 2013
A.D. Players is currently presenting the Regional Premiere of Cathal (pronounced Cal) Gallagher's riveting drama MALCOLM AND TERESA. The Play chronicles the life of Malcolm Gallagher and his BBC interviews of Mother Teresa, which helped make her a known and popular person worldwide. Before attending the show on Saturday, May 25, I got to chat with Cathal Gallagher, and he discussed his career, writing process, and MALCOLM AND TERESA.
BWW Reviews: A.D. Player's MALCOLM AND TERESA is Gripping and Absorbing
May 26, 2013
The A.D. Players is kicking off the summer with a vibrant and thrilling production of Cathal Gallagher's MALCOLM AND TERESA. The play is a fascinating biography of British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, who is credited for popularizing Mother Teresa. In 1932, he visited Moscow as a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian. He was one of the few journalists that looked into the reports of famine in the Ukraine, and he traveled there without the permission of the Soviet authorities. He sent his reports back to England in the diplomatic bag, to avoid censorship; however, he found that the British people and the journalism world in general were not ready or willing to accept that the new Socialist nation was not the utopian worker's paradise that the USSR claimed it was. Later, in 1968, with a reputation for being a tough interviewer for the BBC, he interviews Mother Teresa. She opens his eyes to the squalor and suffering in Calcutta, a city he had lived in the 1920s. After his initial interview with her, he re-examines his personal faith while championing Mother Teresa's charitable ministries.
BWW Interviews: TUTS' CEO John Breckenridge Talks Tony Voting
May 26, 2013
Summer in the theatre world is awards season. The king of all theatre awards is the annual Tony Awards Show. This year's Tony Awards Ceremony will be televised live on CBS on June 9, 2013 at 7:00pm Central Standard Time. To help Houston prepare for Broadway's big night, I had a chat with one of our local Tony voters, John Breckenridge, Theatre Under the Stars' CEO.
BWW Reviews: Stages' ROAD SHOW is Unfulfilling Despite Impressive Performances
May 26, 2013
Stages Repertory Theatre is hosting the American Regional Theatre Premiere of ROAD SHOW, a musical with Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and a Book by John Weidman. The musical premiered in 1999 under the title WISE GUYS at the New York Theatre Workshop, but a legal case held up further production. A significantly rewritten version of the musical, entitled BOUNCE, premiered in 2003 at the Goldman Theatre in Chicago. BOUNCE then ran at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the Chicago cast where mixed-to-negative reviews kept it from being produced in New York City. In 2008, another rewritten version of the show, now entitled ROAD SHOW, opened Off-Broadway at The Public Theater's Newman Theater. This new, streamlined version removed the lead female character of Nellie, who had been added for the 2003 incarnation, and took out the intermission. The title change also reflected John Weidman's desires and hopes to better hone the show's story and themes.
BWW Reviews: Main Street Theater's CLOSE UP SPACE is Fantastically Funny Farce
May 24, 2013
Main Street Theater is closing their excellent 38th season with the wildly entertaining, often hilarious, and deeply moving CLOSE UP SPACE by Molly Smith Metzler. The zany dramadey is a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize Finalist and had its world premiere in 2011 in a Manhattan Theatre Club staging at New York City Center Stage I. This premiere production received mixed reviews that all seemed to get too caught up on the idea that the premise isn't entirely original.
BWW Reviews: Yellow Sound Label's KERRIGAN-LOWDERMILK LIVE is an Exceedingly Fun and Charming Album
May 23, 2013
Magical things really can happen when Broadway talents converge, as is proven on Kait Kerrigan and Brian Lowdermilk's sophomore album KERRIGAN-LOWDERMILK LIVE. The album exists because the duo raised an impressive and record-breaking $35,000 in their debut album's Kickstarter campaign. With the extra $25,000 they funded a concert tour, 2011's 'You Made This Tour,' and a live album, KERRIGAN-LOWDERMILK LIVE. As a singer-songwriter duo that also writes for theatre, there is a prominent and fascinating indie vibe that inhabits every track. As Kait Kerrigan states on one of the tracks, there is simply no denying that this album fabulously showcases talents are the 'future of theater and music in general.'