Two Full A-Team Reviews: Matisse at the Blanton

* * * * (4  Stars) Out of the Shadow . . .

Henri Matisse, perhaps better known as a sculptor and an extraordinary artist, is revealed at the Blanton as a thoughtful, sometimes edgy printmaker, exploring such techniques and processes for more than 50 of his 85 years.

Unless you’re a serious art student, you don’t really have to know an etching from an aquatint; a monotype from a lithograph; a woodcut from a linoleum cut. Simply appreciate this exhibition of graphic virtuosity. There are 61 pieces of art, some as series, drawings of his children and even a self portrait. However Matisse’s narrow range focused on one of his favorite themes, nudes (mine, too), typically reclining or seated. Continue reading

Top Weekly Events: Did Yours Make the Cut?

For these events and other arts listings, or to post your reviews, visit NowPlayingAustin.com
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City Of Angels- Double Full Review!

* * * * (4 Stars)
Film Noir Goes Stage Glam

This musical is a complicated, sexy, interesting, clever poduction. Easy to understand why it is a Tony Award winner, but be forewarned: Read the playbill before the show begins. Otherwise, you may have a little difficulty understanding the plots interplay with stage reality and fictional action.

The music isn’t exactly something you will sing to yourself later, but the show is written by three highly acclaimed writers, and the lyrics are simply amazing. The musical number “The Tennis Song” alone is worth the price of admission. (At $20 a seat, still a bargain!)

The trio of equity actors — Sarah Gay, Jamie Goodwin, David Long — is superb, and most of the students do a fine job as well. Jacob Trussell is a spectacular standout as the movie mogul. Lots of physical and vocal energy. Continue reading

Keep Austin Artsy Podcast: Post Oedipus

Keep Austin Artsy Podcast was produced by Beth Cortez-Neavel and Susie Gidseg. Keep Austin Artsy Podcast is a project of the Greater Austin Creative Alliance, and Now Playing Austin.

Austin is an interconnected web of talent. Bring together friends from the past. Pair up a local theatre with a local indie theatre company. Mix in a playwright who is a personal friend of both the companies. Shake around.Perform. Continue reading

A-Team: 3 Full Rave Reviews for Phantom

A Golly-Gee-Wow-Oh my! ‘Phantom…’

* * * * *

Stop! Do not pass “Go.” Instead, break into your piggy bank. Liberate momma’s “egg money. Raid your stash of mad cash. Search the seat cushions for loose change if you have to, or hock Uncle Luther’s railroad watch.

Spring for the best seats you can afford and don’t, by any means, miss the “Texas Farewell Tour” performance of Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Phantom…” and Charles Hart’s wonderful lyrics at UT’s Bass Hall. This is as good as professional theatre gets. This long-running, proven, crowd- pleasing musical is not only a “spectacle,” but Friday’s opening performance was spectacular in all respects. Continue reading

Full A-Team review: Austin Symphony Orchestra

Confession time: I’m a lover of symphonic music…was even a spokesman for an 80-piece North Texas orchestra at one time. But I am no music critic. Try as I might to concentrate on the brilliant cellist Douglas Harvey at Friday night’s performance, I . . .well (gulp) got lost in the somewhat overwhelming spectacle of an evening with the entire ASO . . . in the fabulous Michael and Susan Dell Hall . . . from a fantastic orchestra seat . . . immersed in wonderful acoustics.

Oh, sure, I love the playfulness of Paul Dukas’ “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” and appreciate even more the non-splintered version. (Sorry, Walt. Sorry, Mickey.) However, the cartoon still running in my mind’s eye distracted me.

And as the symphony beautifully rendered the “Fantasy-Overture” from Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet, a radio-TV spokesman intoning, “You can own the world’s most beautiful music” – yeah, I bought the entire set – was stuck like a broken record in my head. The orchestra played with passion while my memory visually recounted all the plays and films or “R&J” I’d attended in the past 45 years. Continue reading

Full A-Team Review: Intimate & Insightful…”My Cup of Tea”

I might even quip “instant tea,” since this one-woman play and tour-de force Elaine Bromka immediately dialed me back 30 to-40 years or more to my UPI/Houston reporting days, when I actually encountered some of these First Ladies and their husbands.

First, this comment: This show deserves a full house, every performance. Performed without intermission with a running time of about 75-80 minutes, you can easily have dinner before or afterwards. And it’s a program that deserves post-show conversation.

Don’t expect Lady Bird, Pat and Betty to simultaneously sit for a hot cup of leafy brew. But do expect to laugh, even if it is sometimes sympathetic laughter. And do expect to learn, if you are of a younger generation, a bit of history about these women and the flawed leaders that they loved and (somehow) supported. Continue reading