Monday, November 15, 2010

Review by Irv Rikon: Vices: A Love Story

I didn't see Vices: A Love Story in July 2009, when THE CALDWELL THEATRE in Boca Raton gave the musical its World Premiere production. Now it's back at the Caldwell through December 12, and this time I've seen it. Meanwhile, in 2009, the show garnered eight Carbonell Award nominations and actually received two awards. AC Ciulla won for his choreography, and Holly Shunkey won as Best Leading Actress in a Musical. Just for the record, music and lyrics were written by Susan Draus, Everett Bradley, Michael Heitzman and Ilene Reid. The latter two are credited with writing the story.

So -- how do I feel about it and, more importantly, do I think you will like it?

The show really breaks new ground. Clive Cholerton, who directed the Premiere and the current production, and choreographer AC Ciulla clearly were seeking something "different," and they found it. Ms. Shunkey is back and teamed with male dancer Albert Blaise Cattafi. Together, they are outstanding. The dances and the dancers are very much the show's highlights. This is a mixed media event, with large screens on both sides of the stage showing imaginative original film clips that enhance the onstage action. The technical staff of Tim Bennett, John D. Hall, Dustin Hamilton and Sean Lawson create technological wonders here, adding to the story line.

Yet there's no story line as such. This is a revue. The dancers fall in love. Four others: Carlos L. Encinias, Danielle Lee Greaves, Lara Janine and Will Lee-Williams sing about them accompanied by an onstage band (20 original songs,) or they perform their daily tasks, enjoy their various entertainments, fall out of love and carry on with others.

In short, the show is fresh, loud, sassy, bawdy, vulgar. It's not a show for those who were nurtured by and still treasure the Great American Songbook. It's for those who grew up with hard rock, acid rock, rap and all the assorted paraphernalia younger generations may know. Some older folks like to identify with whatever is "in." They will like this. -- I'll return to Ms. Shunkey. She's an excellent dancer, yet she has no spoken dialogue. The Carbonell she won was for being the "Best Leading Actress in a Musical." There were very good actresses who spoke and emoted in last season's musicals. What was the Awards Committee thinking?

Next up at the Caldwell is a "thought-provoking comedy," Clybourne Park, about white and black families in a middle-class Chicago neighborhood. Running dates are January 2 - February 6. The theater has readings and luncheons on various dates. More often than not, those events are enjoyable and worthwhile attending. For tickets and additional information, telephone 877-245-7432 or online: www.caldwelltheatre.com.)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Review by Irv Rikon: Twelve Angry Men

PLAY REVIEW: TWELVE ANGRY MEN AT THE MALTZ

Reginald Rose's courtroom drama Twelve Angry Men first entered Americans' conscience in 1954, when it was introduced on television. It later became a popular motion picture starring Henry Fonda, and now it's to be seen as a stage play at the MALTZ JUPITER THEATRE in Jupiter.

The script itself is a testimonial to American democracy. In this country an accused person standing trial is assumed to be innocent until proved guilty. That's in stark contrast to most other countries, where persons charged with a crime are compelled to prove their innocence. Twelve Angry Men further makes the bold assumption that one righteous man can change the opinion of eleven of his peers. The script begins when a dozen jurors are called into a small room to deliberate the fate of a young man accused of killing an elder. A preliminary vote is taken. All but one of the jurors finds the accused guilty. Even the twelfth man does not argue that he is innocent. But is the accused "guilty beyond a reasonable doubt"? which is another cornerstone of American jurisprudence. In other words, if there be any doubt whatsoever that the individual charged did not commit the crime in question, that individual must be judged "not guilty" and set free. One by one, as eleven men give their reasons for deciding against the accused, the twelfth man provides sufficient doubt to impel re-thinking of their arguments.

Mr. Rose's script itself is strong, and despite its "liberal" bias in a country that more than half a century later has largely become "conservative," it holds up very well. An American ideal is well served here. More useful perhaps is comparing the various media: television, motion picture and live theater in which the script takes life. On screen, the play is very much a star vehicle. Twelve Angry Men, the movie, not only starred Henry Fonda; he also produced it, and used it as a vehicle to display his own considerable talents. Film can focus on a star and only on a star when it needs to. On stage, this courtroom is "live,"and the twelve men in it are more of an ensemble. No one person dominates. It would be possible for one personality to dominate if a strong director would stage it to to favor one man, but Frank Galati, the director here, chooses not to go that route. In the film, Mr. Fonda, always soft-voiced, nonetheless prevails. On the Maltz stage, the actor playing the same role is also small-voiced, but at any given moment, louder voices compel the viewer in their direction and the star role, if there be one, is diminished.

One of the surprising things about the show at the Maltz is that it lacks intimacy as compared with the screen versions. A film can show men close-up: -- scorning, shouting, tormenting, laughing, weeping -- better than a stage play in which chairs are of necessity sometimes turned with their backs to the audience. Mr. Galati directs well, but at the very end, he misses a key visual element of the script by blocking one of the men. Mr. Galati also told The Palm Beach Post's Hap Erstein that he sees the play as a comedy, and a few people in the audience occasionally laughed at some of the lines. But this is a tense script that builds towards a riveting climax: laughter is something of a distraction in this setting.

You'll like Twelve Angry Men: It grabs at you, gives you pause, makes you ponder what it means to be an American. It's the sort of play, actually, that you wish everyone, including school children -- perhaps, especially, school children -- and persons new to America would/could see. It speaks to the values of our society.

The play runs through November 14. For reservations and additional information, telephone 575-2223 or online at www.jupitertheatre.org.) I've noted in the past that the Maltz has turned itself into a mini-Kravis Center, with many events scheduled during the season. Ask for the season's brochure. A new theatrical musical, Academy, arrives December 7, and in early 2011 the Maltz has three big musicals most Century Villagers would take to their hearts: The Sound of Music, Jolson at the Winter Garden and the Gershwin Brothers' Crazy for You.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

DTA INSTALLATION SCHEDULE PART 2

DTA ROLLOUT PART 1

Left click to enlarge.
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The long awaited Digital Terminal Adapter box will soon be distributed and installed by Comcast contract workers. On or about January 26, 2011, Cable channels from 2 - 99, except  2 - 22 and 97, 98 and 99 will be converted to digital format.
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A DTA box will be required to receive these digital channels. Up to two free DTA boxes will be installed
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So, please find your Association date in the schedule above and mark your calender!
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Dave Israel

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