Sunday, June 23, 2013

SHREK should please many at Mercury Summer Stock

SHREK has music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. It is based on the 1990 book SHREK! by William Steig, as well as the 2001 DreamWorks film.  The musical opened in New York in December of 2008, after much rewriting and many cast changes,  and ran for 441 performances.  The script was changed for the touring production, and has been altered more since it was released for nonprofessional productions.  There were additions and deletions of songs, for example, a new opening and I’m a Believer, one of the most endearing tunes, was changed from exit music for the audience to being the last song of the show.

The story concerns a swamp-dwelling ogre who, as a child, was sent away by his parents to find his own path.  Big, green and ugly, the belching, gas passer, goes on a life-changing adventure when his land is invaded by a slew of fairy tale characters (e.g., Pinocchio, Wicked Witch, Sugar Plum Fairy, the 3 Bears, Peter Pan, Ugly Ducking and Big Bad Wolf) and by the mean, vertically challenged Lord Farquaad.  In order to get his land back, Shrek must rescue Fiona, a cursed lovely princess, fight a dragon, and figure out what to do with a smart-mouthed talking donkey, who becomes his “best friend.”  Hey, this is a fairy tale, remember?  All in all, the ridiculousness in the script works, and works well.  And, yes, there is a happily ever after ending.

The music is infectious.  I defy anyone to sit through “I’m a Believer” and not rock and roll in your seat.  Other highlights include:  “I Know It’s Today,” “Who I’d Be,” and the very funny “Don’t Let Me Go.”

Several years ago, when I reviewed the Key Bank Broadway touring production of SHREK, The Musical, my capsule judgement was:  “I’m a sucker for a well staged, fun musical.   SHREK fits the bill.  I left humming the songs and smiling as many of the kids and adults walked out proudly stating that they had became believers!”

I wish I could say the same thing about Mercury Summer Theatre’s production of the script.  To be honest, I can’t, but that’s not to indicate that others might not be delighted by the production.

One of the things that many theatre-goers don’t take into account when they see a play is that there are different production levels of theatres, with resulting different levels for what happens on stages.   These differences affect how reviews of a show are written.

It’s my belief that when I see a show on Broadway, I should be expecting the best of the best.  Same goes for a Broadway touring production and to a somewhat lesser degree at the Cleveland Play House and Great Lakes Theatre.  These are all professional theatres who employ actors, directors, choreographers, costumers, and other technical people who are, are should be, at the top level of production skills.  Local theatres, such as Beck Center for the Arts and Dobama, who pay their casts and performers are doing so because they are trying to get the best  of the best of those who are available on the local scene.   Their cast lists are filled with names followed by a *, indicating that the actor is in Actors Equity.  They also employ paid production teams.

Community theatres, who usually depend on lots of volunteers who find theatre “fun,” or who are putting out effort to learn the craft of theatre, often don’t reach the level of the “pros.”  That’s not to say just because someone gets paid, or has a union card, that they are better than the volunteers, but the latter often don’t have the experience, training or time to be major participants in the theatre.

Mercury Summer Stock is a community theatre.  Though they have actors in their casts who are Equity, most of their performers are high school and college students who do theatre for the love of doing theatre.  The company also uses short rehearsal times.  They operate on a shoestring budget and have limited staffs.

Therefore, seeing a production at Mercury normally can’t be compared to the Broadway, touring or local professional theatres.  That’s not a knock on Mercury, just an explanation of why, in spite of saying their production, no matter if your child, grandchild or next door neighbor is in the cast, or your friends are an integral part of running the theatre, to say that their productions are “better than Broadway,” usually isn’t so.  The same can be said for Weathervane, Chagrin Valley Little Theatre or any of the other community theatres.   Again, it’s not a knock on them, just reality.

MSS’s SHREK will delight many.  Several members of the cast are outstanding for a production at this level.  Kudos to Sara Masterson, who makes for a beautiful Princess Fiona and makes such songs as Morning Person and Who I’d Be (sung with Patrick Ciamacco--Shrek, and Justin Woody--Donkey) show pleasers.

Justin Woody is generally joyful as Donkey, but needed a little more abandonment, especially in the first act.   By the second stanza, he was flying high.

Patrick Ciamacco is the vision of Shrek, though, at times, he needed to further texture his role and up-play some of the farcical scenes.   I Think I Got You Beat, his duet with Masterson, was delightful as was their burping and passing gas scene.  His strong voice soared in the reprise of Big Bright, Beautiful World.

Kelvette Beacham wailed as the Dragon in Forever, while Elise Pakiela was princess-cute as Young Fiona and Brian Marshall delights as the puppet garbed dwarfed Lord Farquaad.

Ed Carney’s orchestra was excellent, but there were vocal blend issues with some of the chorus segments.

Pierre-Jacques Brault’s choreography was enthusiastic and generally creative, but not always smoothly executed.  Some of the staging worked well, while straight lines, and people ducking behind others after speaking their lines created some distracting stage pictures.  Many individual characterizations were on target (e.g., Max Joseph as Peter Pan).  Others, especially the actors who attempted to “sound” like their fairy tale characters, squeaked and screeched to the detriment of clarity of characterization and being understood.

The puppet designs by PJ’s Puppets were delightful.  Falcon Stage Productions sets, especially the hand manipulated center stage turntable and the folding flats, distracted from the flow of the show.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT:  SHREK is a creative script.  The Mercury Summer Stock production will delight many.  This is a community theatre production, and, a fairly acceptable one.
SHREK runs through June 29 at Mercury Summer Stock.  Call 216-771-5862 or go to for tickets.

Mercury’s next show is RAGTIME, from July 5-20, in the company’s home at Notre Dame College in South Euclid.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ, a pleasant summer escape at Cain Park

A musical review, by the very nature of its structure, is usually not of great interest to those theatre-goers who want a story line or an over-riding theme.  Someone attends a musical review because there is a tuneful style or type of music that you like or there are some singers performing who you want to hear.  

SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ, now on stage at the Alma Theatre in Cain Park, showcases 39 rock and roll, and rhythm and blues songs that were composed by Tony Award winners Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller.    Its claim to fame is that it ran long enough after its 1995 Broadway opening to claim the title of the “longest-running musical review in Broadway history.”

The list of songs is impressive.  They include Falling, Trouble, Fools Fall in Love, Yakety Yak, Spanish Harlem, Loving You, Hound Dog, There Goes My Baby, Fools Fall in Love and Stand By Me.  Yes, there are novelty songs, romantic ballads, and the sounds of Elvis.  But, what there isn’t is a theme.  That means there is no story line or hooks to tie the songs together.

The lack of a story, makes it difficult for director Scott Plate and choreographer Gregory Daniels to create anything but a series of individual entities.  It’s like 39 one-act plays without any of them having anything to do with the other 38.

Plate and Daniels make every effort to devise concepts for each number.  They mostly succeed, but even these talented guys run out of ideas. 

Musical Director Nathan Motta stands stage right, in front of his great sounding  band, and dances and sways to the musical sounds.  It adds a nice feel, but his gyrations sometimes upstage the performers by drawing attention away from their dancing and movements.

There is a great sax solo by David Kasper during the rock and roll segment in Act 2.

The cast (Ellis Dawson, Eugene Sumlin, Malik Victorian, Darryl Lewis, Julia Rose Hines, Kelly Autry, Nyla Watson, Katherine Deboer and Nicole Sumlin) have good voices, move well, and generally sing meanings rather than words, thus creating sense out of most of the songs. 

Trad Burns’ set design is distracting.  Rather than setting a café in which the format would make sense, he places the production in what looks like a factory.  Performers duck under set levels and basically crawl out of a short uppermost doorway.  There is a grungy lack of intimacy, in spite of the performers being almost within touching distance of the audience. 

Words to the songs often get lost in the tent like Alma Theatre.  Soft walls, hard floors and outside noises makes sound designer Richard Ingraham’s task difficult.

Tesia Dugan Benson’s costume designs are often confusing.  Clothing sometimes doesn’t fit the mood of a song.   After a while the hodge-podge of colors and materials became a suffocating blur.

Highlight numbers included Dance With Me and Searchin’, which were peppered with cute shticks, On Broadway, which had clever and enthusiastic choreography, Saved, which showcased unbridled enthusiasm, the smile-inducing Charlie Brown, and I Am Woman, probably the best sung song of the evening.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT:  If you are interested in an evening of pleasant singing and dancing SMOKEY JOE’S CAFÉ will be your thing.  Me?  I like musicals with a story line or at least an attempt to make the “pieces parts” fit together.
Tickets for SMOKEY JOE’S CAFE, which runs through June 30 at Cain Park’s Alma Theater, can be obtained by calling 216-371-3000 or going on line to

BOOK OF MORMON, is a must see delight at The Palace

“Hello, my name is Elder Price and I would like to share with you the most amazing book,” states the lead actor in THE BOOK OF MORMON, now on stage at the Palace Theatre.

“Hello, my name is Roy Berko and I would like to share with you my enthusiastic endorsement for a most amazing musical,” states the writer of this review!

Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the long-time writers of SOUTH PARK, are satirical comics extraordinaire.  Their writing marriage to Robert Lopez, the co-creator of the Tony Award winning AVENUE Q, is a union made in heaven (or at least in the Broadway version of heaven). 

THE BOOK OF MORMON is a satirical musical filled with lots of explicit language.  It lampoons organized religion and, in its own way, not only follows the format, but mocks traditional musical theatre. 

It tells the story of two naïve and optimistic Mormon missionaries who are sent to a remote village in northern Uganda.  A brutal warlord is threatening the locals.  While the duo is trying to sell the locals on Mormon scripture, the populations is more concerned with famine, poverty, female circumcision, war and AIDS.  Oh, what to do, what to do?

How did the duo get to Uganda or even get matched together?  Elder Price is the poster boy for the Ken doll, clean cut, striving for perfection Mormon missionary.  Elder Cunningham is a rotund, friendless nerd, who relies on half-truths and a vivid imagination to get by.  They were cast as a duo through total serendipity, an act of heaven, and some clever comic writers, to go out and ring the doorbells of the world.

Uganda?  Price prays to go to Orlando, a stand-in for Mormon heaven.  Sure, it’s immaculately clean, all things well planned, and the setting for a perfect life.    What can go wrong in a “Small, Small World,” where Dumbo really flies, and the future is ready for all who want to enter the Magic Kingdom?  Sending them to Orlando wouldn’t have been funny so to Uganda they go, to learn life altering lessons.

As Elder Cunningham, who admits never having read the mythical Book, makes up fantastic tales, which, in reality, aren’t far from the actual imaginative tales of Adam Smith, Brigham Young, the golden tablets, and the migration of the Mormons from upstate New York to Salt Lake City, he wins over converts. 

After he baptizes the entire town, the church’s elders come to witness the miraculous success.   The villagers share their understanding of the Cunningham version of their new religion in a reenactment, which parallels in form to The Small House of Uncle Thomas in the KING AND I, with illusions to Climb Ev’ry Mountain from THE SOUND OF MUSIC.  Of course chaos results, then everything turns out fine, and we leave the theatre singing, I Believe.

The touring show is spectacular.  It plays visually and emotionally on all the senses.  From its giddy opening number (think the Telephone Hour at the start of BYE, BYE, BIRDIE), to its mocking use of four letter words, to its bigger than life melodrama, to the over-the-top mythology (often paralleling the belief system to STAR WARS), we are sucked into the idea that , as one of the words to the many delightful songs states, “tomorrow is a doper, phatter latter day.”  (I won’t even go into the concept of the song MA HA NEI BU, EEBOWAI! [“F-You to Heavenly Father], you just have to experience it to experience it!)

The settings, music, costumes, lighting effects, perfect comic timing of the cast, and creative choreography all work.

Though Mark Evans (Elder Price) and Christopher John O’Neill (Elder Cunningham) aren’t as brilliant as Andre Rannells and Josh Gad, who were in the original cast of the 2011 Broadway cast, they are excellent, and quickly captivate the audience.  Samantha Marie Ware is enchanting as Nabulungi.  Derrick Williams, is both hysterically funny and evil incarnate, as General Butt-F**cking Naked, the war lord.  The rest of the cast also shines. 

Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker’s direction is spot on.  Farce, especially musical farce is hard to accomplish due to its required spoken and sung controlled abandonment, but these guys guide their cast with laser perfection.  Nicholaw’s  choreography is fun and well executed (ever thought you’d see a dancing kick line of Mormons?).

As the curtain fell on the second night’s performance, my seventeen-year old grandson smiled at me and yelled, “That was a perfect musical.  It had a solid score, meaningful words, the story was not only fun-filled, but made its points well, the dancing was spectacular, the performances were great.” Why are his reactions important?   Readers often comment that reviewers don’t see shows through the eyes of the general audience member.  Alex has been accompanying me to musicals for many years as “the kid reviewer” and sees shows through fresh eyes.  And his eyes were beaming!

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT:  THE BOOK OF MORMON is an absolute go see production for anyone who is not a language prude or a religious fanatic.  It is filled with total delight, magical showmanship, a marvelous score, creative dancing and fine staging.  It’s everything a modern musical that is meant for pure entertainment, with a sip of philosophy, should be!
The few remaining tickets for THE BOOK OF MORMON, which runs through July 7, 2013 at the Palace Theatre, can be ordered by calling 216-241-6000 or going to

Sunday, June 16, 2013

SOUTH PACIFIC lights up Porthouse

Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein, Jr. are considered the fathers of modern American musical theatre.  Their OKLAHOMA opened the door to musicals with meaningful storylines, and the integration of lyrics, dancing and music to help move the plot along.

As with all of Rogers and Hammerstein’s musicals, there is a strong societal and moral base.  This aspect of their scripts is usually highlighted by a key song.  In SOUTH PACIFIC, which is the opening show of Porthouse Theatre’s 2013 season, it’s the poignant You Have to Be Carefully Taught which keys the concepts of racism and prejudice that underscores the story.

Premiering in 1949, the original Broadway production, which starred Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, became the second longest running musical of its time.  That production won ten Tony Awards.  A 1958 film and a 2008 revival were also critical and audience successes.

Based on James Michener’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, THE TALES OF THE SOUTH PACIFIC, the World War II story relates a tale of Nelly Forbush, an army nurse from Little Rock, Arkansas, who falls in love with Emile De Becque, a middle-aged French expatriate plantation owner who has two mixed-race children, and a parallel love story between Lt. Cable, also an American southerner, and Liat, a Tonkinese woman.  Because of  Forbush and Cable having been imbued with racial biases, both love affairs run into difficulties.

The show is imbedded with wonderful songs including Cockeyed Optimist, Some Enchanted Evening, Bali H’ai, Younger Than Springtime, Happy Talk, and Dites-Moi.

Artistic Director Terri Kent knows her Porthouse audience well, and SOUTH PACIFIC is definitely their kind of show.  She directs for audience enjoyment, creating a show filled with joy, sprinkled with pathos.  She succeeds well.

Mary Ann Black’s choreography is sprightly, Ben Needham’s set creates the right Pacific Island atmosphere, and musical director Jonathan Swoboda does a good job with the chorus and lead performers’ vocal sounds.  The dual pianos sound rather naked playing the lush score.  This was a production that could have been aided by a full orchestra.

Though her needed Southern accent came and went, pretty Kayce Cummings (Green) generates the right level of cutesiness to make for a charming Nellie.  Her I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Outa My Hair was delightful.

Cleveland area favorite Gregg Violand has advanced to the age level where he can use his powerful voice to aid in developing a convincing Emile.  His consistent French accent adds to the creation of a believable character.  His This Nearly was Mine was beautifully interpreted and sung. There is a nice connection between Cummings and Violand.

Tim Welsh delights as the scheming con-man Luther Billis.  Honey Bun, sung with the Cummings, was an audience favorite.

Kaishawn Thomas was lovely as Liat and, though she didn’t quite play enough for the requisite laughs, Coleen Longshaw was an acceptable Bloody Mary.

CAPSULE JUDGMENT: Under the directing abilities of Terri Kent, the Porthouse production of SOUTH PACIFIC makes for a fine evening of summer entertainment.
SOUTH PACIFIC runs until June 29 at Porthouse Theatre, on the grounds of Blossom Music Center.  For tickets call 330-672-3884 or go online to

NEXT UP AT PORTHOUSE:  WORKING, runs July 4-20, followed by FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, July 25-August 11.  Curtain time is 8 PM Tuesdays through Saturdays and 2 PM Sundays. The picnic grounds at Blossom open 90 minutes prior to curtain time.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Oft brilliant, but flawed MEDEA, introduces new professional theatre company

Mamaí,  Cleveland’s newest professional theatre, opened its summer season with a monumental undertaking, a staging of the U.S. premiere of Brendan Kennelly’s translation and script modification of Euripides’ classic tragedy, MEDEA. 

The company’s mission is “to create intelligent, relevant classical theatre that offers an artistic home for Cleveland’s theatre artists, and equal opportunity for women in the professional theatre community.”

MEDEA, considered by many theatre aficionados as one of the greatest plays every written, relates the tale of revenge by Medea, the wife of Jason (of the Argonauts).  Medea, noted as a sorceress, was the daughter of Acetes, king of Colchis, who aided Jason to accomplish his quest for the Golden Fleece.  Medea fell in love with Jason, killed or assisted in killing her brother, and betrayed her father, in order to assist the handsome and manipulative Jason.  They flee to Corinth, where they live for about ten years, rearing two children in relative peace, until Jason, an opportunist, leaves Medea and marries Glauce, the King of Creon’s daughter, with his eye on the throne. 

Medea’s reaction is one of a scorned woman.  Jason’s betrayal turns her into a vindictive psychopath intent on getting revenge at all costs.  She writhes in agony, rants with rage, plots destruction, and acts with no conscience.  Asking “Why must a man always be seeking something?” she contends she “will not be a woman civilized by men,” and rages against Jayson’s infidelity and lack loyalty.  The result is fiery death for Glauce and her father, the infanticide of her children, and Jayson losing love, political position, and his heirs. 

Euripides leaves the viewer aware that Medea has wreaked her revenge, but, he asks, “At what cost?”

MEDEA holds great importance in my theatrical training.  While attending the University of Michigan I had the astonishing experience of working on a production of the script with Dame Judith Anderson portraying Medea, and Jason Robards, Jr, as Jason.  That script was the traditional translation by poet Robinson Jeffers, who was also on the Wolverine campus to share his views regarding the play.

Though the basic story is the same, Brendan Kennelly’s translation and enhancement makes changes in the plot and its development.   The chorus is mainly fragmented into individual characters (a newscaster, several attorneys, a neighbor and a barista).   The children are girls rather than boys who would have been Jason’s heirs, carrying on his sperm and name.   Medea no longer flees in a dragon-pulled chariot provided by her grandfather, the Sun-God.  Jason does not collapse in defeat as his dreams of power disappear, realizing his wrongs—a component of classical tragedy.

Kennelly and/or the director, Bernadette Clemens, have added modern touches to the traditional aspects of the story.  Present are cell phones, i-pads, lawyers, picket fences, and current language being overlaid over traditional rhyme patterns.  Ancient staging devices, such as speaking directly to the audience, are accompanied by interactive spoken lines.

Mamaí’s production is filled with brilliance and frustrations. 

Tracee Patterson’s emotional-breakdown performance is amazing.  She grabs and holds every scene in which she appears.  Her only flaw, which is minor compared to the outstanding level of her acting, is the difficulty in understanding some of her lines.  This was caused by her bending heavily at the waist to illustrate angst, and the director’s pattern of having performers speak to the back wall, cutting off understandable sound.  Yes, Ensemble’s Theatre’s stage, on which the play is being performed, is a small space, but the hard walls and high ceilings causes sound problems even when the actors are facing the audience, but when they don’t, the words get totally lost.

Also strong is Anne McEvoy’s presence as Medea’s lawyer.  Mary Jane Nottage’s opening monologue was well presented, but much too long.  Robert Hawkes was excellent as Creon, but one might question why the role had overtones of comedy in both costume and tone.

In fact, the whole presence of farcical shticks, whether during the scene changes, the song selections, the constant primping by Natalie Green, as the newscaster, or the shenanigans of Jean Cummins as the drunk neighbor, is open to debate.  These actions often upstaged, drew attention away, from important speeches and characters.  Inciting audience laughter during high dramas scenes seemed inappropriate.  Was this done to relieve the angst or was this attempts at humor.  If the latter, why was this done in a tragedy?  Only the director knows.

Jason Kaufman, though displaying the sensual presence of Jason, seemed divorced from performance involvement.  Even in the wrenching scene in which the dead bloodied bodies of his children were brought on stage for his viewing and touching, there appeared to be only surface level reaction.  (Why the bodies were brought out at all is another of those directorial decisions that begs for explanation, especially with the audience only a few feet from their overwhelming presence.)

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT:  MEDEA, a masterpiece example of classical tragedy, is one of the Western world’s greatest plays. It is a daunting undertaking.  Some directorial decisions and story interpretation in this staging seem questionable, but the production is blessed with a brilliant performance by Tracee Patterson.  It’s worth going just to see this amazing actress spin her maniacal magic.

Mamaí’s MEDEA runs through June 30 at the Ensemble Theatre, housed in Coventry School, 2843 Washington Blvd, Cleveland Heights.  For tickets go to:

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Beck’s THE PITMEN PAINTERS:  truth is often more meaningful then fiction

Have you looked at a painting and asked, “What does that mean?” What would the world be like without the arts?  Does art have to have meaning?  Does the learning of artistic technique thwart a painter’s discovery and creativity?  What happens when a group of uneducated, unsophisticated men are encouraged to let their emotions create their world?  These and many more questions are confronted in Lee Hall’s THE PITMEN PAINTERS, now on stage at Beck Center.

The play is loosely based on William Feaver’s book THE PITMEN PAINTERS:  THE ASHINGTON GROUP 1934-84, the tale of a group of miners in Northern England who in 1934 took an art appreciation class at the Workers Education Hall offered by Robert Lyon, an esoteric college professor, start experimenting with painting as they tried to figure out the “meaning” of art, and eventually became the darlings of the British art world.

The story showcases the power of individual expression, self respect, community pride, and collective spirit, while examining art, class and politics.

The play, which is written by the author of BILLY ELLIOT, ran to sellout audiences in London, before it was transferred to Broadway in 2010, with the original cast, for a very successful limited run.

The first act of the play sizzles with clowning, laughter, exposition, and growing artistic and personal awareness.  The well-developed individual personalities of the five miners, an amalgamation of the hundreds of workers who actually participated in the classes, was clearly spotlighted.  The insights and expansion of the world view of those who participated was clear. 

Unfortunately, the second act was flat, filled with debates, political flag-waving and an ending that may have worked in England as the population embraced socialism, but seemed corny, almost television sitcom.

One of the script’s highlights was a discussion of Van Gogh by the miners, as they grasp the influence of a person’s life, sufferings and joys, as a basis for expression.  The profound conclusion reached, “If art was easy it wouldn’t mean anything.”

The Beck production, under the focused eye of Sarah May, works as well as the script will allow.  Each of the individual cast members completely embraces his/her role, and the pacing of the overlong script, was fine.

Dana Hart is excellent as Robert Lyon, the art professor who grows from a befuddled frustrated purveyor of art theory, into a proud inspirer of emerging artists.  Pride spontaneously shows on his face as the students question, find answers, and grow.

Christopher Bohan, as the most artistically talented of the group, develops Oliver into an inspired man who is not only aware, but gifted in his creativity.  The scene where he explains why he can’t become a recipient of the offer of art patronage is a well developed speech that shows the community loyalty of the group.

Bob Boddard, as George, the union leader, Patrick Carroll, as the naïve Jimmy Floyd, Brett Radke, as the Young Lad who goes off to war, John Busser, as Harry the dentist, Mary Alice Beck as Helen, the wealthy art collector, Katie Nabors as Susan who is brought in by Lyon to be a nude model so the painters can expand their subject matter, and James Alexander Rankin, as a successful painter, each are excellent.

The projection designs by Ian Hinz enhance the visual allusions by displaying both the actual art work and the ever-changing settings.

Dialect coach Matthew Wright did an excellent job of modifying the heavy pronunciation of the Northumberland accent of the miners so there was little difficulty in understanding the dialogue.

CAPSULE JUDGEMENT:  The first act of THE PITMEN PAINTERS was filled with laughter and a marvelous series of lessons of art appreciation.  Unfortunately, the second act was flat, losing much of the awe of the subject matter.  The direction, acting, and technical aspects of the production make the staging worth seeing, in spite of the author losing his writing focus.

THE PITMEN PAINTERS is scheduled to run through JULY 7, 2013 at Beck Center for the Arts.  For tickets and information call 216-521-2540 or go on line to