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Author: Jennifer Charron

“Paradise Square” Celebrates Song & Dance in Civil War Manhattan, at Berkeley Rep

“Paradise Square” Celebrates Song & Dance in Civil War Manhattan, at Berkeley Rep

World Class Musical Shows Black & Irish Lives Matter by Jennifer Ann Charron It’s rare to witness a momentous new musical.  My shoulders clench and my jaw drops, like a dumb-struck child. That’s me watching “Paradise Square: A New Musical” that tells the history of Black and Irish people living together in Manhattan—just before the Civil War. “Paradise Square” explores the little-known history of New York’s Five Points neighborhood through the eyes and music of Stephen Foster (touching Jacob Fishel),…

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“Great Expectations”: Frenetic Dickensian Coming of Age, at Town Hall, Lafayette

“Great Expectations”: Frenetic Dickensian Coming of Age, at Town Hall, Lafayette

Gale Childs Daly Delivers Hope of Resurrection from Chaos by Jennifer Ann Charron Most of us are familiar with Great Expectations─Charles Dickens’ Victorian novel about a boy who sells his soul to move up the social ladder. Gale Child Daly’s adaptation suffers, like Pip, the hero, from an off-kilter GPS and chaotic staging. Great Expectations (1861-62) was released in weekly serial segments, so it’s tricky to fit all that Dickensian satire onstage. But it’s clear that the source of British…

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“House of Yes”—A Kennedy Delusion, at Main Stage West, Sebastopol

“House of Yes”—A Kennedy Delusion, at Main Stage West, Sebastopol

Wendy MacLeod’s Black Comedy Stacks the Deck by Jennifer Ann Charron It’s Thanksgiving, a day for holding our tongues and biting our lips. But in Wendy MacLeod’s “The House of Yes,” at the Pascal family’s posh home, secrets and eccentricities are seeping out, helter-skelter. A tale of comic, catastrophic family dysfunction, “The House of Yes” serves up a banquet of madness, incest, alcoholism, and yes, murder. Director and Production Designer Elizabeth Craven sets the stage for absurd moral corruption. First,…

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“Men on Boats”─A Rollicking Pioneer Delusion, at ACT, S.F.

“Men on Boats”─A Rollicking Pioneer Delusion, at ACT, S.F.

Jaclyn Backhaus Spins Men, Gender, & Western Lore by Jennifer Ann Charron and Barry David Horwitz In “Men on Boats,” Jaclyn Backhaus transforms the deadpan journals of a 19th century explorer into a thrilling, hilarious play that ridicules masculine myths and U.S. “Manifest Destiny.” One-armed Major John Wesley Powell, (self-assured Liz Sklar) keeps meticulous journals of his death-defying expedition down the Colorado River, his personal record of this raucous voyage. Backhaus adds modern day lingo and casts ten manly-men explorers…

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