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Jean Lowerison

Theater Review: “At This Evening’s Performance”

Katie MacNichol, Bruce Turk, Richard Baird, Paul Turbiak & Sierra Jolene.

Theater and politics mix, albeit uneasily in Nagle Jackson’s “At This Evening’s Performance,” onstage through Aug. 6 at North Coast Repertory Theatre.

A provincial theater troupe run by Gunther Posnik (Bruce Turk) struggles to find audiences for its slate of stale old classics.

Theater Review: “The Ballad of Emmett Till”

Emmett Till was a delightful, hopeful 14-year-old living on the South Side of Chicago in 1955 when he asked his mom if he could go visit relatives in Mississippi.

’Twas down in Mississippi not so long ago

When a young boy from Chicago town stepped through a Southern door

This boy’s dreadful tragedy I can still remember well

The color of his skin was black and his name was Emmett Till. 

-- Bob Dylan, “The Death of Emmett Till”

Theater Review: "Spring Awakening"

Teachers, parents and school officials are portrayed as human instruments of oppression. You may recognize a few from your own past.

Somewhere in those awkward teen years, touch takes on a meaning it never had before, awakening something deep inside – and you know your life is changed forever.

For boys like Melchior and Moritz of “Spring Awakening,” that something will inspire dreams – wet and otherwise – and unexplained stirrings they are not equipped to cope with.

Theater Review: “King Richard II”

he cast of King Richard II, by William Shakespeare, directed by Erica Schmidt

King Richard II didn’t say that, but his successor Henry IV did. Politics is and ever was a tough business, even back in the 14th century. Perhaps if he’d realized what he was in for, Henry Bolingbroke wouldn’t have plotted to usurp the throne from his cousin Richard II.

Theater Review: “Withering Heights”

Wednesday through Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7 pm; July 9 at 2 pm

Poor Emily Brontë.

She only wrote one book, and now look what’s happened to it.

Those two crazy guys, Phil Johnson and Omri Schein, have crammed one of the favorite novels of 19th-century English lit – “Wuthering Heights” – into a zany one-act play in which the two of them play all the parts.

Or at least all 14 listed in the program.

Huh? Yes, you read it right.

Theater Review: "Blacktop Sky"

“There is a wind blowing through you, a gust of truth. It won’t let you keep your troubles quiet.”

Ida, at 18, just wants out of the suffocating Chicago housing project in which she shares a place with her disabled mother. Surrounded by 7-story cookie-cutter designed apartments, she can hardly see the sun in the tiny central courtyard where the homeless Klass has taken up residence on the lone bench, surrounded by boxes and bags of his stuff.

Theater Review: "Aida"

Daebreon Poiema as Aida.

The last time I reviewed Elton John’s “Aida,” I closed with this line: “I’ll take my Verdi straight, please.”

That said, Moonlight Stage Productions offers (through July 1) a fine production of John’s pop version of the Aida story, which uses Leontyne Price’s children’s book as its text source.

Theater Review: “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story”

“Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story” plays through July 2, 2017 at the Horton Grand

If he’d believed what the “experts” told him, the world would never have had such classics as “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be The Day” and “Everyday.”

Theater Review: “Loves And Hours”

Jake Rosko (Dan Jr.), DeNae Steele (Sara) in "Love And Hours."

Love (desired, experienced and abandoned) is explored in many age and gender configurations in Stephen Metcalfe’s “Loves And Hours,” playing through July 2 at Scripps Ranch Theatre.

The 50ish Dan Tilney (Francis Gercke) serves as a sort of commentator/Greek chorus/narrator for this amatory roller-coaster. (Gercke is also the show’s director.)

Theater Review: "The Spitfire Grill: A Musical"

Aurora Florence, Devlin & Meghan Andrews in “The Spitfire Grill."

I love surprises. I thought “The Spitfire Grill” would be just another yee-haw country/western musicale about life in a small town. I’m happy to report that it’s a lot more than that.

Based on the 1996 film starring Alison Elliott, Ellen Burstyn and Marcia Gay Harden and set to music by James Valcq and Fred Alley, this is a show about life, love and second chances.