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Here's what I've enjoyed seeing or reading so far...hope you enjoy them as well!

      

 

Entries in Mary Testa (3)

Friday
Aug182017

Adam's Call: The Government Inspector: Funniest Show Off-Broadway

There are just four chances left to see, Red Bull Theater's The Government Inspector, the funniest show Off-Broadway! I have seen this show twice and was doubled over in laughter both times. The Government Inspector is about the crooked leadership of a provincial village who discovers that an undercover inspector is coming to root out their commonplace corruption (where is this Government Inspector for you know who). When the town learns of his impending arrival, they weave together a web of bribery, lies, and utter madness.

While I'll highlight each person's brilliance below, this show is truly an ensemble production! Everyone is given their moment to take the lead, but it's their combined talents that really make the laughter ensue!

Mary Testa, Michael McGrath, Michael Urie, and Talene Monahon in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggMichael Urie and Arnie Burton in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggMichael Urie's physical comedy in this show reminds me of Chevy Chase in the heyday of Saturday Night Live. Michael is a comedic genius as is the rest of the cast, getting the laugh every time! Mary Testa ("Anna Andreyevna") takes the spotlight whenever she is on stage, with a delivery like no one else can do! Arnie Burton steals every scene he is in, jumping between his two roles effortlessly! Arnie gives such distinction to each character, that often times, I had to remind myself, that the same actor was playing both roles.

Ryan Garbayo, Michael Urie, and Ben Mehl in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggThe cast of "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggMichael McGrath kicks the laughter off from the minute the curtain rises. He is hilarious as "The Mayor." Ryan Garbayo and Ben Mehl are perfectly cast as twin brothers "Bobchinsky" & "Dobchinsky." They took me back to the 80s cartoon G.I. Joe when the "Crimson Guard Commanders ("Tomax" and "Xamot") were on the show...while each one posesses their own talents and traits, together, they are a winning team! Stephen DeRosa had me in stitches as the "Hospital Director" while Kelly Hutchinson had me peeing in my pants in the role of "Innkeeper's Wife." Her accents, facial expressions, all won me over. David Manis ("School Principal"), Luis Moreno ("Svetsunov"/"Imperial Messenger"), James Rana ("Doctor"), and Tom Alan Robbins ("The Judge") keep the laughter going, often in scenes together, they played off of each other very well.

Kelly Hutchinson, Stephen DeRosa, David Manis, Michael Urie, Tom Alan Robbins, and Mary Lou Rosato in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggMichael McGrath, Mary Testa, and Talene Monahon in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggLet's not forget Mary Lou Rosato ("Grusha"/"Locksmith's Wife"/"Waitress"). She killed each role she played! I thought I was going to have a permanent smile imprinted on my face from the amount of laughter she provided me. She really knows how to make each character their own landing the joke at just the right moment. Saving the best for last is Talene Monahon. She is great as "Marya," the daughter of "The Mayor" and "Anna Andreyevna." Her character's traits of defiance, yearning to get away from her family, and longing to win over the heart of Michael Urie's "Hlestakov" had all the ingredients of Winona Ryder's character in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice that I adored! Talene tackled each of these moments with raw emotion and ease. If Beetlejuice were to be re-done, she would be the ideal choice for "Lydia."

Talene Monahon and Michael Urie in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggArnie Burton, Mary Lou Rosato, Mary Testa in "The Government Inspector", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggFor a show written in the 1800s, it sure stands the test of time. I have been recommending this show to everyone I can. In these trying times, laughter is so important. The Government Inspector will make you laugh more than you know! So, treat yourself this weekend to the funniest show Off-Broadway!

The Government Inspector plays at New World Stages (340 West 50th Street) through August 20 only! Click here for tickets!

For more on Red Bull Theater be sure to visit http://www.redbulltheater.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

That's Adam's Call and I Stand For Entertainment!

Sunday
Oct302011

Queen of the Mist

On October 26, 2011, I saw the Transport Group's production of five-time Tony Award Nominee Michael John LaChiusa's "Queen of the Mist" starring two-time Tony Award Nominee Mary Testa and rising performer Andrew Samonsky along with Julia Murney, and Theresa McCarthy, Tally Sessions, Stanley Bahorek, and DC Anderson.

Based upon the true story of Anna Edison Taylor, who in 1901 at the age of 63, set out to be the first woman to shoot Niagara Falls in a barrel of her own design. Michael John LaChiusa wrote a very timely show about fame: the desire for it, the price of it, and the legacy of it.

"Queen of the Mist" really showcases the talents of the whole cast as everyone has embodied their character, but this is a truly great vehicle for Mary Testa ("Anna Edison Taylor") and Andrew Samonsky ("Mr. Frank Russell, Anna's Manager"). Their voices are splendid and they really get some great songs to show it off! Mary's vocals soar on "There Is Greatness In Me," "The Barrel/Cradle or Coffin," "Types Like You," (along with Andrew) "The Quintessential Hero," and "The Green." Andrew's voice radiates on "On The Other Side," "Million Dolla' Momma," and "Expectations." Julia Murney has such a terrific voice that I do wish she was given more than one solo song ("Break Down The Door"), but at least she got to really shine with what she was given. "Break Down The Door" also demonstrated Julia's wonderful comedic acting. Theresa McCarthy also had some wonderful moments in the show as "Jane," "Anna's" sister. Tally Sessions, Stanley Bahorek, and DC Anderson were all enjoyable and were given their moment in the spotlight as well.

In this day and age where so many people are on the fast track towards fame and notoriety, "Queen of the Mist" does a nice job in showing the many aspects of how this path can seem glamorously desirable, but in reality, it can also be a costly affair! "Queen of the Mist" plays at The Gym at Judson (243 Thompson Street, @ Washington Square South) through November 20. Click here for tickets!

Friday
Aug052011

Tricks The Devil Taught Me

Peter Bradbury and Beth Grant in "Tricks The Devil Taught Me", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggOn Thursday, August 4, 2011, I was transported down south when I went to see "Tricks The Devil Taught Me" written and directed by Tony Georges at the Minetta Lane Theatre in NYC! Between the set and the terrific cast,  At only 26 years old, Tony is making his Off-Broadway directorial and writing debut with this smart, suspenseful, and complicated show (yes, I need to go back for second viewing). With heart and humor dispersed throughout, Tony is making his mark!

There are some shows you can guess as to what is going to happen, but with "Tricks The Devil Taught Me," that is not the case. Tony keeps you guessing throughout the whole show and really makes you pay attention to everything that is happening whether it's the action on stage or something in the background.

Beth Grant, Julie Jesnick, Mary Testa, and Jodie Lynne McClintock in "Tricks The Devil Taught Me", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggTJ Linnard, Desiree Rodriguez, and Julie Resneck in "Tricks The Devil Taught Me", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggHelping to bring Tony's words to life is an amazing cast led by the wonderful Beth Grant ("Sordid Lives," "Sordid Lives: The Series," "Pushing Daisies," "Little Miss Sunshine") and Peter Bradbury ("That Championship Season," "Mrs. Warren's Profession," HBO's "Boardwalk Empire"). Beth gave a powerfully mindblowing performance as "Betty." I really only knew Beth from watching her in "Sordid Lives" and "Sordid Lives: The Series," so I knew she was a great comedic actress. To get to see her in dramatic role such as this, is superior. Beth really caputred and emodied the character of "Betty" and brought me on "Betty's" journey. Beth has such stage presence that even if she wasn't speaking, she was still a central part of the action. Peter complimented Beth's performance wonderfully. He made me dislike his character "Don," but at the same time, kept me intrigued. Another central character was "Lorraine," played by Jodie Lynne McClintock ("United 93," "30 Rock"). With a beautiful singing voice and even greater acting skills, Jodie added much heart and humor to this show. Her presence is known. Rounding out the cast are two-time Tony Award Nominee and fellow "Adaumbelle's Quest" participant Mary Testa as "Renee," Julie Jesneck as "Young Betty/Kim," TJ Linnard as "Jeremy/Young Don," and Desiree Rodriguez as "Elizabeth." Each one of these performers brought their own unique style to the role. Mary shined as she used her brilliant comedic characterization to bring "Renee" to life.

Beth Grant and TJ Linnard in "Tricks The Devil Taught Me", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggPeter Bradbury and TJ Linnard in "Tricks The Devil Taught Me", Photo Credit: Carol RoseggOne of my favorite scenes in the play is when "Betty" and "Lorraine" are talking about the name "Nick" because there is a whole dialogue about the spelling of the name, which perfectly aligns with the meaning and creation behind the name of "Adaumbelle's Quest." In the show "Betty" is talking about spelling "Nick" N I C K, while "Lorraine" talks about spelling "Nick" K N I C K. It made me laugh so much because of the personal affiliation I have with situations like that. So, Thank You Tony for writing that moment into your show.

Beth Grant and Peter Bradbury in "Tricks The Devil Taught Me", Photo Credit: Carol Rosegg"Tricks The Devil Taught Me" is a show to see because of its brilliant cast and in depth script that reels you in and makes you focus throughout the whole show! I hope everyone will come see "Tricks The Devil Taught Me" because Tony is a new playwright who deserves the chance to have his work shown. If his debut is any indication, I think Tony is one playwright to keep your eye on!

"Tricks The Devil Taught Me" plays at the Minetta Lane Theatre in NYC (18 Minetta Lane in the West Village). Click here for tickets!