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…’

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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

Full A-Team Review: A Brief Narrative of an Extraordinary Birth of Rabbits

Sitting through a production of A Brief Narrative of an Extraordinary Birth of Rabbits is much like strapping yourself into the Titan Roller Coaster at Six Flags; catch your breath before you sit down, because you may not have a chance to do so once the performance has begun. Set amidst a circus tent backdrop, this highly animated, quickly paced show was filled to the brim with action. Music filled the air, actors barked and meowed, birthed rabbits flew, 3 gynecological puppet commentators appeared between a 6 feet pair of female legs. Continue reading

A-Team Full Review: Mary Stuart

The production of “Mary Stuart,” now playing in the Rollins Theater at the Long Center, offers a passionate and beautifully acted Shakespearean style drama which explores the murderous relationship between Queen Elizabeth I of England and her cousin Mary Queen of Scots.

A close reading of history around Mary and Elizabeth will reveal a killing madness afoot in royal circles.  Friedrich Schiller’s play distills the history by keeping his focus on decisions circling around the issue of succession while the Queens seek or reject their courtier’s guidance on the matter of maintaining a strategic distance from one another or just saying, “off with her head!”

Both women were in the direct line of succession.  Elizabeth’s father was King Henry the Eighth but Mary was a direct descendant of King Henry the Seventh – should Elizabeth die Mary had a rightful claim on the throne of England.  Death lay at the center of any decision that could be made [excluding the kiss and make up choice] – and in Elizabethan England suicide, murder or execution often carried the day. Continue reading

Full A-Team Review: Flaming? Yes! Hot and Over the Top

For a pure taste of vaudeville and plain Monty Pythonesque silliness, treat yourself (and friends)  to an evening with The Flaming Idiots. No, “flaming” has nothing to do with GLBT. It has everything to do with “over-the-top” entertainment. Not only is the troupe’s famous logo that hangs from the rafters partially burned and singed, but there is a circle of flames prominently painted on the hardwood floor. Know what to expect. Continue reading

Full A Team Review: Capitol Steps

Targets Galore

The Capitol Steps, who have had me laughing for years through their musical skits and sketches on National Public Radio, are even more enjoyable in person.
These D.C. satirists did roast and lampoon,
Wits sharper than a whaler’s harpoon.
Their targets were of every scale.
They gave us laughs and gave ‘em hell.
They hurled their barbs and flung their jibes,
And the audience responded with jocular vibes. Continue reading

Full A-Team Review: Benoit ‘Brings It!” and One World Serves It Up!

by A-Team Member Preston Kirk

Ah, yes. That Benoit boy from Bakersfield (CA.) Only now, he’s that mature, suave-cum-hyperkinetic keyboard impresario who takes his fans on vibrant musical journeys that leave them laughing and cheering – a few in tears for having had the “live” experience, and none in disbelief of his prowess as a music-maker and entertainer.

Me? Just breathless and wanting more, and ready to swear that the man must have 12 fingers on each hand. I count myself among the more than a few attendees in the second show (1/23) who had that confirmed look: “I have been in the presence of jazz royalty.” Continue reading

ATeam Full Review: Rustic to Refined; Sensual & Dazzling

My first encounter with “Ballet Folklorico de Mexico” – up close and personal on Tuesday night on the Dell Stage of the Long Center — left me breathless, yet re-charged; a bit dazed and a lot awed. It also left me disappointed. Disappointed that it plays only one night, because Austin’s largely Hispanic population and this highly appreciative audience surely warrants additional performances.

The Mexico City-based dance company delivered a kaleidoscopic spectacle of costume, choreography, music and story-telling. Continue reading