Barnstable High School theater returns with “Shrek”
Barnstable High Returns to Theater with “Shrek”
Cape Cod Times
Shows have opened on stages around Cape Cod and our reviewers have seen four of the shows currently playing in Wellfleet, Chatham, Brewster and Cotuit. Here’s what they thought about the productions and what you should know:
“Straight White Men”
By Sue Mellen
Written by: Young Jean Lee, directed by Sasha Bratt, presented by the Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater
What it’s about: It’s Christmas and middle-class, probably Midwestern, Ed (Mark Hofmaier) has managed to rope his three adult sons into staying with him for the holiday. When they gather for the reunion, there’s a lot of reminiscing and roughhousing; they are, after all, straight white men. But there’s something else going on. Matt (Mike Mihm), who has been staying with Dad for some time, is depressed. Life hasn’t turned out as expected for the high school valedictorian and Harvard graduate, and that’s especially hard considering the obvious success of brothers Jake (Andy McCain) and Drew (Carl Howell). How will the guys deal with this family crisis (if, indeed, it is a crisis)?
See it or not? See it for the sometimes moving, sometimes humorous look at what some consider the “endangered species” of the straight white male.
Highlight of the show: Clearly, this show is about relationships. Throughout, the four principles expertly play off one another, deftly expressing every emotion in the book. It would be all too easy for the actors to overplay their hands and ease into melodrama, but they and director Bratt resist the temptation and instead take the audience on an often-touching tour of that familiar and dangerous territory of a family reunion (shades of the old Holly Hunter flick “Home for the Holidays”).
Fun fact: The 2018 production of this show at the Hayes Theater on Broadway made the writer the first Asian-American woman to have a play produced on the Great White Way.
Worth noting: Not so far behind the scenes, this show is about white male privilege and how it thrives in capitalist society. Early on, the boys sing a number about the Ku Klux Klan to the tune of “Oklahoma,” then retrieve from the bookshelf a Monopoly-style game named Privilege and — just in case we had any doubt about underlying messaging — we learn that as an adolescent, Matt had a School for Young Revolutionaries.
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One more thing: Two Persons In Charge (Eleanor Philips and Freddy Biddle) introduce the show, and at each scene opening, guide the characters onstage and position them as if they are props. It’s a unique and particularly effective device.
If you go: 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday through June 24 at the Wellfleet Actors Theater, 2357 State Highway (Route 6), Wellfleet; $40 orchestra, $36 orchestra senior, $15 orchestra students, with additional $2.50 added to each ticket for fees; 508-349-9428, www.what.org.
By Carol Panasci
Written by: Robert Harling, presented by Chatham Drama Guild, directed by Anna Marie Johansen
What it’s about: Set in the sisterly sanctuary of a beauty shop in a fictional small Louisiana town, the play explores the strong bonds of female friendship. The five characters grapple with day-to-day life, problems small and overwhelming — and hairstyles, of course. They deal with it all with grace, strength and a generous dollop of humor.
See it or not: While there is less substance to the 1987 play than the 1989 film, the characters are realistically sketched with humor and pathos. Despite some glitchy production values (intermittent lighting and overly loud music drowning out dialogue), this is an entertaining evening.
Highlight of the show: The Chatham cast works well together under Nicholson’s direction: Nicole Gardner as Annelle, Sheila Jamieson as Clairee, Lee LaCroix as M’Lynn, Emily Nyerick as Shelby, Julia Randall as Ouiser and Kristen Winn as Truvy.
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Fun fact: The work has seen a number of iterations, including a 2012 TV film featuring an all African-American cast.
Worth noting: Harling based his play on his real-life family situation and circumstances. Conceived originally as a short story, it morphed into a play.
One more thing: The actresses who have played in this story in some form or another run the gamut from Julia Roberts to Marsha Mason to Queen Latifah.
If you go: 7:30 p.m. June 9, 11 and 23-25, 4 p.m. June 5 and 12, and 2 p.m. June 25 at Chatham Drama Guild, 134 Crowell Road; $25 cabaret seating, $22 general seating, $12 students; 508-945-0510, www.chatdramaguild.org
‘Silver Threads: A Musical Tribute to Linda Ronstadt”
Sue Mellen’s review from the 2021 production at Cape Cod Theatre Company/Harwich JuniorTheatre that has been revived at Cotuit Center for the Arts
Conceived by: Sonia Schonning and Marcia Wytrwal
What it’s about: This is a musical tour de force through the long — and surprisingly diverse — career of one of the all-time greats of rock music. Cape-based female vocalists Wytrwal, Sonia Schonning and Sara Bleything take turns as lead singer backed by a four-piece band led by musica director Robert Wilder.
Highlight of the show: Bleything flawlessly performs “Poor Wandering One” from Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance.” Ronstadt played Mabel in the classic operetta, in 1980 on Broadway (earning a Tony Award nomination) and in the 1983 film version.
Fun fact: Ronstadt was born in Tucson, which explains the country/western feel to some of her songs.
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Worth noting: The long list of songs includes familiar and not-so-familiar Ronstadt numbers, including “When Will I Be Loved,” “Different Drum,” “Hurt So Bad,” and of course “Desperado.”
One more thing: Ronstadt’s father’s background was Mexican, likely contributing to some of her beautifully plaintive Spanish songs. This show includes “Tu Solo Tu” and “Por Un Amor.”
If you go: 7:30 p.m. June 1-4, 9-11, 16-27 and 4 p.m. June 5, 12 and 19 at Cotuit Center for the Arts, 4404 Falmouth Road (Route 28); $35 with discounts available; https://artsonthecape.org/
By Sue Mellen
Written by: Ethan Lipton, directed by Maura Hanlon, musical direction by Nick Nudler, presented by Cape Rep Theatre
What it’s about: The few remaining inhabitants of an almost-ghost-town are being terrorized by the villainous gunslinger Big Bill Yardley (Ari Lew), who picks off the few hearty souls who haven’t abandoned ship. Bearded old Sam (Ian Ryder) predicts that “when the streets run red with blood, the clouds are upside down and a three-legged coyote roams the streets,” the powerful spirit Tumacho will inhabit a human body and save them. When all of those things come to pass, Tumacho enters the scene, but who is hosting the visitor and who will save the townspeople from this new tormentor?
See it or not: Go for 90 minutes of joyfully wacky comedy. The first hint of just how wacky this show is going to be is the title — “Tumacho,” pronounced “too macho.” Then there’s the line in the program describing the setting as “a lousy little town.” And of course, there’s the opening number, which features singing cacti, as the whole company prepares the audience for a trip into a dusty western town that might well be called Goofytown.
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Highlight of the show: The cast works together throughout like a well-oiled machine, through such comedic bits as the “doo doo” discussion between Yardley and Dr. Alonzo (Robert Tucker) and a wonderful scene where Clement Graham Sr. (Nick Nudler) grows an extra pair of arms for the amusement of local sweetheart Catalina (Holly Erin McCarthy). Thanks to musical direction by Nudler, this perfect symmetry is particularly evident during ensemble song-and-dance numbers like the opening “One Horse Town,” “We Need a Break” and the closing “Oh, the Saguaro.”
Fun fact: Trips across the neighboring mountains are represented by simple horse-and-rider puppets cast members bounce behind a mini mountain range. (Sounds a little too basic, but it works!)
Worth noting: The rest of the set is appealingly simple, with the monotone feel you’d expect in a small desert town, until a brightly colored poster entitled “Hacienda” denotes Catalina’s move to a vibrant new life.
One more thing: The hilarious nuggets throughout are just priceless, such as resident Chappy (Jared Hagan) being a gourmet chef who dreams of starting a hostage negotiation company.
If you go: 7 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through June 12 at Cape Rep Indoor Theater, 3299 Route 6A, Brewster. $35, with group rates and student rush tickets available; 508-896-1888 or www.caperep.org. Masks required.
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