Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review by Irv Rikon - Sondheim at the Caldwell; Zero at the Maltz


Two "Special" theater events are taking place in our area that deserve attention:

For a very short run, actually just October 1 - 3, the CALDWELL THEATRE COMPANY in Boca Raton is presenting a concert staging of the Stephen Sondheim - James Goldman musical FOLLIES. This is the third in what has become a Sondheim retrospective. The theater began with SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE and followed with INTO THE WOODS. Both stagings proved such a hit with audiences that FOLLIES now takes its turn. The story is set in New York in the 1970s. A theater is about to be demolished. Before the wrecking ball does its work, cast members of the Weissmann Follies meet for a reunion. They share their past experiences and are not above a bit of dalliance tonight. This has always been one of Sondheim's most popular musicals. Since this is a reading, rather than a fully mounted show, prices are reduced. The cast, too numerous to name, is one you'll enjoy. For reservations and additional information, telephone 561-995-2327.

From October 14 - 17 and again from October 21 - 24 the MALTZ JUPITER THEATRE in Jupiter is offering ZERO HOUR. The man of the hour is Zero Mostel, the one actor I've seen in a half-century of theater-going that I thought was just inimitable. Now Jim Brochu, like Zero and me Brooklyn-born, has written a show about the magnetic star, and he's also appearing as the inimitable one. Zero Mostel, if you're unfamiliar with the name, was a Borscht Circuit fixture for some years prior to becoming an actor. He created the role of Tevye in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF and starred on stage and screen in A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM. He starred in Mel Brooks' 1968 movie THE PRODUCERS. He was a large man, tall and somewhat overweight, but he moved with the grace of a ballet dancer. And he could drive cast members nuts by ad-libbing lines not in their scripts. Then he appeared on a McCarthy-era blacklist and sustained a terrible leg injury when he was struck by a New York City bus. You'll find out more at the Maltz Theare. Mr. Brochu has numerous professional credits of his own; his Broadway debut was in Shakespeare's comedy THE TAMING OF THE SHREW. This holds promise of being a show really worth seeing. For reservations and additional information telephone 575-2223.

The regular theater season begins in West Palm Beach where PALM BEACH DRAMAWORKS plays host to George Bernard Shaw's CANDIDA. To quote the publicist, "In this brilliantly witty exploration of marriage by the Nobel Prize winning playwright, a beautiful Victorian woman finds herself caught in a romantic triangle between her pastor husband and a young poet." J. Barry Lewis directs. No less an authority than George Bernard Shaw once said that he was the best playwright since Shakespeare. And throughout his long life, many folks came close to agreeing with him. You can somewhat judge for yourself. The show runs October 8 - November 21. But there's more. As part of the theater's popular Master Playwright Series there will be a panel discussion, "George Bernard Shaw Overview," October 11 and 12. A play reading of MRS. WARREN'S PROFESSION will be given November 1 - 2. For tickets and additional information telephone 514-4042 or online

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