Monday, December 8, 2014

Scrooge! The Musical at TLT

An upside down review
by Michael Dresdner

   The Scrooge! cast.                                photos by DK Photography

The set was amazing, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that.

See what I did there? I stole (and altered) the first two lines from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the endlessly performed and frequently re-imagined story that is the basis for Scrooge! The Musical now playing at Tacoma Little Theatre.

Granted, the first thing you see in any play when the lights go up is the set, but this time the set is so amazingly good that it set a high bar for the rest of the production. You know how some people go to see The Nutcracker each year in part because of the amazing Maurice Sendak sets and costumes? Well, I’d suggest that similarly, TLT keep this set. It’s that good.

I’ll get to the rest of the production, which, incidentally, was chock-a-block with talent, in a minute, but bear with me. This set, designed by Blake York and ably abetted with set dressing and props by Jeffery Weaver (who also did wigs) and painting by Jen Ankrum, was a marvel not only for how incredibly good it looked in every iteration, but also how cleverly it morphed. With actors very adroitly moving and rotating its various parts, it becomes about a dozen brilliantly convincing locations, some with wonderful special effects built in. 

I won’t say this is the first time I’ve seen a set outshine actors, but it is the first time a set was so good it gave really good actors a run for their money. In the past I’ve both praised and dinged Blake York for his varied sets, but this set a new high point for his talent. You really must see it.

Tight on its heels was the outstanding musical direction and keyboard work of Terry O’Hara and his quartet, filled out by Roxane Hreha, David Stedman, and Cal Neal. They did a superb job with the music, such as it is. More on that later as well.

And since we’re doing this review upside down, with production values lauded first, I’ll go on to say that the choreography (Alisa Merino with dance captain Julia Luna), lighting (Pavlina Morris), sound (Darren Hembd), and costumes (Michele Graves) were a worthy accompaniment to said set. Now, I could nit-pick and point out that Bob Cratchit’s costume – indeed his whole family’s garb – was way too new and flashy for one so poor, but that’s a minor point. 

And what of the cast? Quite good, as a matter of fact. The singing, dancing, and acting were all well above average, right across the board.

   L to R: Jeff Kingsbury, Chris Serface 

I could call out some of my favorites – Chris Serface, who was having way too much fun and was therefore quite enjoyable as Christmas Present; Derek Hall’s Bob Cratchit, shining both in song and acting; the charming and acrobatic Steven Walker – but that would detract from the rest of the cast. The truth is, from the lead, Jeff Kingsbury as Scrooge, down to the bit parts, this was an ensemble cast in the very best sense; they were all good enough to deserve mention, but blended so well as to not demand it. In short, it was a very good cast, top to bottom, individually and collectively.

   L to R: Audrey Montague, Derek Hall, Harrison Devlin 

Ok, so let’s recap; great set, great production values, wonderful actors, choreography, musicians. A perfect musical, right?

Not quite.

This is one case where the property itself pales in the face of so much talent both on and off stage, and no amount of effort can make up for a completely forgettable musical.

Act one, which is a grinding one and a half hours long, was often tedious (act two had much better pacing,) but that’s the least of the play’s problems. It’s a trite, gap-laden retelling of a story that, fortunately, everyone already knows (you’ll notice I did not even bother to give you a plot synopsis) with music that at best is uninspired and derivative. It’s songs sounded more alike than different, and none of them rose above the ranks of ‘failed show tune.’

Now, before you Scrooge! loyalists jump down my throat, stop and think about how easy it is to plant an earworm from any great musical. Why? Because the songs are inspired and divinely crafted. Here, I’ll prove it by planting a few earworms with just first lines. “All I want is a room somewhere,” “Maria; I just met a girl named Maria,” “Seventy six trombones led the big parade.”

See? Now try that with this musical.

I’m not saying the music isn’t pleasant. It is, but these musical offerings are to worthy composition what doggerel verse is to real poetry. I’m sorry, but that’s my call.

Nevertheless, there are people who love all iterations of A Christmas Carol, and for them, or anyone who appreciates the craft of theatre, this is worthy of its holiday time slot. Forget the lame music and go see this excellent production of an embarrassingly middling musical for its numerous merits. You’ll probably like it as much as the opening night audience, who gave it a standing ovation.

Scrooge! The Musical
Dec. 5 to Dec. 28, 2014
Tacoma Little Theatre

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Little Women at Lakewood

The Alcott Family Pablum …oops, …Album.
by Michael Dresdner 

  Cassie Jo Fastabend, Marissa Tate (hidden in shadow)               all photos by Kate Paterno-Lick

There are two groups of people who will absolutely love Little Women, now playing at Lakewood Playhouse; those who revel in Louisa May Alcott and her ilk, (surely an acquired taste, at least for males,) and those who appreciate the craft of theatre. It’s a rather mundane slice-of-life script, delivered up by a near perfect cast, director, and technical crew. In other words, all the sizzle, not much steak.

   L to R: Cameron Waters, Laura Strong 

You’ve probably noticed that I’ve filled the blank space above, where I’d normally tell you the plot synopsis, with a nice photo, since there really isn’t a plot to speak of. Instead, Alcott gives us a mid-19th century marriage minuet; a partially autobiographical account of a fairly normal family successfully marrying off its surviving daughters. Yes, one of them dies, but you probably knew that already.  

Now, you don’t need to take my word for it that this is not Indiana Jones or Harry Potter. We can listen to Alcott herself, who said, while writing it, “I plod away, although I don't enjoy this sort of things." After sending the first 12 chapters to her publisher, they both agreed that they were dull.

That being the case, let’s spend our time on the cast and crew, beginning with the director, the redoubtable Suzy Willhoft, who provides a veritable case study of how to do a theater-in-the-round production correctly. After skillful casting, she added dynamic blocking to an open-feel set to create convincing, well-paced scenes with no blocked lines of sight. Trust me, that’s way harder than it sounds, and she’s a master at it.

   Ashley Mowreader 

Now the cast, beginning with the “little women.” Jo is played, appropriately enough, by the thoroughly delightful Cassie Jo Fastabend, who delivers her lines with the  crisp clarity and machine gun pace of The Gilmore Girls. She’s the spritely Tigger of the family, a bouncy tom-boy with enough boundless energy to drive both her family and this production.

Meg, the “mature” sister, was calmly and convincingly created by Laura Strong, and her stalwart, even-tempered suitor John Brooke, husband material if I ever saw any, was nicely executed by Cameron Waters. Ashley Mowreader was Amy, the artistic and socially mobile sister who added much of humor in scene one with her frequent (yes, intentional) malapropisms. Then there’s Beth, just too sweet for words, whose Pollyanna persona was left to Marissa Tate to craft. Each sister did a wonderful job of fabricating separate, endearing, and very identifiable personas.

   L to R:  Marissa Tate, Joe Grant 

Our own Beau Brummel of the South Sound, Joe Grant, did a flawless job, as always, of  bringing his character, Mr. Laurence, convincingly to life while simultaneously making the costumer look good. No one wears costumes so well, though his “son” Laurie, played by the ever appealing Coleman Hagerman, is starting to give him a run for his money. Hagerman is one of those actors who is so comfortable on stage that you barely believe he’s acting.

Mrs. March was Carol Richmond, one of the more than capable old hands of this and other local theatres, and she was as refined and realistic as we expected from this very talented actor. Ditto for Syra Beth Puett as Hannah Mullett, the housekeeper, whose role, while wonderful, was way too small for such a skilled actor. Darrel D. Shiley, Jr. was Mr. March, playing a character a good bit nicer than the real life one he was based on, and Virginia Yanoff did a very credible job as cranky Aunt March. And let’s not forget John Munn as Professor Frederich Bhaer, who, like Marley, seems to be visited nightly by the ghost of accents past.

A lovely and very workable set by Dylan Twiner, lighting by Niclas Olson, and delicious costuming by Kelli McGowan and Diane Runkel, aided by wigs and hair (as well as props) by Jeffrey Weaver all contributed to this extremely well crafted production.

In other words, everything about this play is right except possibly the property itself. It’s like eating a meringue; it’s delicious, but you walk away without having gotten any real sustenance. Still, it is lovely to eat, so if you are female, home and hearth inclined, or simply an aficionado of fine theatre craftsmanship, put this on your attendance list for the season.

Little Women
Nov. 7 to Nov. 30, 2014
Lakewood Playhouse

Friday, October 31, 2014

Tea at Dukesbay Theater

Shadows on the Rising Sun
by Michael Dresdner

    L to R: Kathy Hsieh, Susan Mayeno, Eloisa Cardone, Aya Hashiguchi, Joy Misako St. Germain         Photo by Jason Ganwich

 Dukesbay Productions opened its season last night with a flawless and gripping presentation of Velina Hasu Houston’s play Tea. With it, the fledgling company has definitively affirmed its credentials as a top notch theatre group, laying to rest any suspicion that last year’s Driving Miss Daisy was merely a fluke. Yes, they still dispense such candy floss as Java Tacoma, but clearly, they can deliver the goods as well.

The play opens as the lights go up on a beautiful, crisply serene teahouse with low table, sliding shoji screens, and a sweeping, sumi-e style backdrop. Foreshadowing the conflicts to come, Kate Smith sings “God Bless America,” followed by Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” which in turn gives way to a calming, traditional, Japanese samisen song. In spite of appearances, we are just outside Ft. Riley in Junction City, Kansas, and the year is 1968.

Himiko (Eloisa Cardone) steps out on stage, barefoot and bewigged, her forlornly slack kimono draped over her “American” dress. She launches into a powerfully heart-wrenching disgorgement of emotion, revealing years of pain, disappointment, and betrayal. Then, with dignity and hope both exhausted, she takes her own life.

From that moment on, the five women of Tea will hold you in thrall through an intimate, deeply evocative journey into the lives and travails of Japanese “war brides” striving  to survive in post-war America.

By the time the virtual curtain dropped some 90 minutes later, my stomach was clenched and my mouth parched. This play was that powerful.

While gathered to deal with the aftermath of Himiko’s suicide, four other brides, each with a decidedly different story and finely crafted characters to match, sip tea and recount the past so vividly it comes alive. All five, the living and dead, tell their stories through flashbacks, at times portraying their younger selves both here and in Japan, their very Americanized children, and even their occasionally boorish husbands.

All giddily in love at the time they wed, these five women had no idea what cultural bias and upheaval they’d face stateside once their military husbands brought them “home.” Aided by well-chosen costumes and props, they flesh out their stories.

There’s Himiko Hamilton, married to an abusive Southern redneck and trying to cling to her dignity in the face of egregious hurts, and magnificently brought alive in an absolutely stellar performance by Eloisa Cardone.

Like a still, deep lake, Teruko MacKenzie (Joy Misako St. Germain) is an anchor of serenity, so contentedly devoted to her husband that even her daughter feels some slight.

Setsuko Banks (Susan Mayeno ) copes surprisingly well, her Asian fortitude as her bulwark against the added disdain she had no idea would come from having married a “black” soldier.

Atsuko Yamamoto (Aya Hashiguchi) married a Japanese-American, and wears her haughty superiority proudly, seeing herself as therefore more Japanese than the others.

The most Americanized of all, Chizuye Juarez (Kathy Hsieh) wears slacks and has mastered not only English (replete with requisite nicknames,) but much of her accent as well, perhaps an overreaction to her Latino husband.

The entire ensemble cast is amazing, individually and together. These are all performances of the highest caliber, and every one of these women deserves the loftiest praise an actor can get.  

Technical support is no less. Adroitly directed by Randy Clark, the play unfolds on a wonderful set designed by Burton Yuen and built by Hector Juarez, with a divine bamboo and wood floor painted by Jen Ankrum and Blake York, and a sweeping sumi-e backdrop designed by Lois Yoshida and painted by Steve Chanfrau. Nicolas Olson and Bethany Bevier did the excellent sound and lighting design, and Jeffery Weaver assembled a flawless array of costumes and props. During one segue there’s a moving, period-evocative slide show by Mick Flaaen.

I really can’t say enough good things about this play, so I’ll stop here. Suffice it to say this is everything great theatre is meant to be; a gripping story, magnificent acting, and ideal technical support. In short, this is one production you really don’t want to miss. 
Oct. 30 to Nov. 16, 2014
Dukesbay Theater

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Dial M for Murder at TLT

Jolly good show, chaps.
by Michael Dresdner

    L to R: Jacob Tice, Deya Ozburn, Brent Griffith                  Photos by DK Photograpy 

Just in time for Halloween, Tacoma Little Theatre is presenting the classic, satisfying thriller Dial M for Murder with a very solid, very enjoyable ensemble cast.

I say thriller rather than mystery because you, the audience, get to know everything and see everything as it happens. The suspense comes from the various characters, including the police, trying to figure out what really happened while others are actively trying to hide the truth.

The plot is simple and classic. Charming tennis star Tony (Brent Griffith) married Margot (Deya Ozburn) for her money, and now that he’s discovered she is having an affair with Max (Jacob Tice), he decides to kill her and inherit it. He maneuvers Captain Lesgate (Christopher Rocco), an old acquaintance with a shady past, to agree to do the deed through a combination of bribery and blackmail. Things go awry, but the resourceful Tony redirects things to his advantage. The fly in the ointment is police inspector Hubbard (Robert Geller) who isn’t content to accept the situation at face value.

    L to R: Deya Ozburn, Brent Griffith

Directed most capably by pug Bujeaud (yes, that’s lower case p and upper case B, and no, I don’t know why,)  Dial M for Murder was a solid, satisfying thriller. With crisp, realistic pacing and clever small room blocking, she even managed to prevent the front end of the play, overburdened as it is with exposition, from being dull or boring, and that’s no mean feat.

There were no poor actors in this production; it was a well-meshed and quite competent ensemble cast. In particular, I found myself rooting for Griffith’s very appealing Tony probably more than I should have, seeing as he is supposed to be a villain. Geller, as the somewhat Columbo-like inspector, also endeared himself, playing the crisp, quintessential British CID man with just the right balance.

There were, let’s say, choices (a nicer word than weaknesses) that I might have imagined a different way. Between scene changes were noticeably long, though the sound designer (Darren Hembd) managed to fill them with very pleasant and appropriate music. The killing scene (yes, there’s a killing – come on, people, the word murder is in the title) was more Capoeira than Terminator; more artistic dance than straight brutality. Captain Lesgate, almost excessively fidgety and on edge, never crossed into menacing, but was rather easily cowed into agreeing to Tony’s scheme.

Perhaps most surprising was the lack of romantic chemistry between illicit lovers Max and Margot. Granted, she’s British, but he’s American. I’d have expected something a lot closer to raw lust. Again, these are all choices, and everyone has his or her taste.

All this played out on a beautiful and perfectly appointed set by Blake York (who is also credited as the fight choreographer) with equally good props by Jeffery Weaver. Costumes by Michele Graves were unobtrusive but fitting. Lighting design by Pavlina Morris really shone (groan!) during the dusky death scene, with cleverly positioned flashes of illumination coming from an open bedroom door.  

The final analysis? As the Brits say, “Good show!”

Dial M for Murder
Oct. 24 to Nov. 9, 2014
Tacoma Little Theatre

Friday, August 1, 2014

Not theatre, but the art of real living

The Dulcitar project – Camp Goodtimes -- June and July, 2104
by Michael Dresdner

In a heartwarming scene worthy of a well-scripted movie, eager high school students plop down on the ground, matched up with much younger campers, with a kit of what looks like guitar parts in front of them. Then, with the patience and care of classic big brothers/big sisters, they adroitly guide the youngsters’ hands into building their own little musical classics.

It’s “build day” at Camp Goodtimes, a refuge for children affected by cancer, and the team of students from Rogers High School in Puyallup has already been at it since 6 am.

What is Camp Goodtimes? To quote The Goodtimes Project website, “Camp Goodtimes was established in 1984 to provide a no-cost camp environment for children affected by cancer where they can recapture the joys of childhood.” More accurately, it is a special haven, a hallowed ground that goes a long way toward helping the afflicted rebuild and restore what’s been lost. 

Once at the Vashon Island campground, eight or nine high school student volunteers pile out of a school-provided van loaded with instrument parts, and explode onto camp. They unload the van, set up all the tools and parts, stage the work area, and wait for the campers to arrive. It will be a long day; they’ll be hard at it for about 12 hours, but today is only the finale. For them, work started on this project many months earlier.

This is the the third straight year that a team of woodshop students from Rogers High School, working with a small cluster of like-minded adults, helped almost 100 youngsters per year at Camp Goodtimes build a musical instrument. This time it was a child-size travel dulcimer with a guitar-shaped body; a Dulcitar, if you would. The pictures should give you a good idea of what both the kit, and the finished instrument each one gets to take home, looks like.

After some design and prototyping, things take off at the school’s shop, where students under the guidance of Jon Cerio and his brother David use standard woodworking tools, specialized equipment, CNC tooling, and even lasers to make hundreds of parts. They do a production run to create enough pieces to form about 110 instruments, with the excess to allow for glitches during assembly. Operations that require equipment the school lacks are done outside, in my shop or that of Warmoth Guitars. Strings, tuners, wood, and other needed items are bought with money donated by soft-hearted locals, including my own local woodworking club, the Evergreen Woodworker’s Guild.

When it is over, a batch of delighted campers is “rocking out” on the instruments they themselves made, and a weary but elated gaggle of some of our finest high school students is heading home, replete with a handful of fond memories and well-deserved accolades.

All photos courtesy of The Goodtimes Project

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Spamalot at Lakewood Playhouse

The Tigger factor
by Michael Dresdner

    Steve Tarry, Gretchen Boyt, (foreground) and the Spamalot cast.  All photos by Kate Paterno-Lick

“They're bouncy, trouncy, flouncy, pouncy, fun, fun, fun, fun, fun!”

Tiggers? No, the energetic cast of Spamalot at Lakewood Playhouse.

Perhaps the biggest tipoff to how much you’ll enjoy this maelstrom of comedy is the fact that the cast seems to be having just as much fun creating it as the audience has trying to drink it all in.  

In case you weren’t aware, Spamalot is a stage musical adapted from the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and is pure Monty Python at its best. If you don’t know what that is, imagine a group of unrestrained, picaresque comics bedecked in a stream of ridiculous costumes and toting outrĂ© props launching pell-mell into irreverent and silly songs and dances while using the background of Arthurian legend to skewer every sacred cow they can find, all while dancing on the very precipice of political incorrectness. It’s what vaudeville wishes it could be.

I suppose at this point I could tell you the storyline, but to be honest, worrying about the somewhat elusive plot is like asking how many beans it took to make your morning latte. It just doesn’t matter.

For instance, the introduction has a narrator talking about England, after which the troupe, in Scandinavian garb, launches into a lively, comical song and dance about Finland while slapping one another with fish. This inanity is halted when the narrator clarifies “…England, not Finland” and they all slink away. See what I mean?

L to R: Coleman Hagerman as Patsy, Steve Tarry as Arthur
 What does matter is that a large and energetic cast under the obviously capable (and enthusiastic) direction of John Munn did an excellent job of bringing this joyful insanity to life. There are too many actors to mention, and most handled several roles very adroitly. I will call out Coleman Hagerman, the rubber-faced, Gumby-limbed, half human/half Muppet whose creation of the character Patsy was so spot-on and outstanding that I found myself always focused on him when he was onstage.

He was hardly the only shining light, though. Timothy McFarlan as Sir Robin (and others), Xander Layden as Sir Lancelot (and others), Gary J. Chambers as Sir Glalahad (and others), Steve Tarry’s King Arthur, Kyle Sinclair as the Historian, Gretchen Boyd, Brandon Ehrenheim, and the entire male and female ensemble all shone in their turns. And let’s not forget the tech support people, Dylan Twiner, Stephanie Huber, and Kara Zink, dressed in backstage black, who not only hustled a myriad of props and set pieces, but also controlled the obvious “special effects” and even joined in the ensemble for some of the bigger numbers.  

    L to R: Xander Layden, Tim McFarlan, Gary Chambers, Brandon Ehrenheim, Tarry, Hagerman  

With this sort of production, the unseen are as important as those on stage, and the support group was well worth a pile of kudos. Music director Deborah Lynn Armstrong and her excellent pit orchestra, choreographer Cassie Wilkerson, who managed to make the admittedly less than professional dancers look good, scenic designer Lex Gernon , and costume designer Diane Runkel, who, like Corky St. Clair of Waiting for Guffman, created miracles out of a non-existent budget, all deserve high praise.

There’s more. Let’s not forget lighting designer Amanda Sweger, sound designer Dylan Twiner, scenic artist Carrie Foster, and the ubiquitous and scandalously hard working stage manager Nena Curley who kept the whole madcap skirmish on course. Finally, a special nod to props manager Hally Phillips whose challenge was more than reasonable. You all did a great job.

I suppose I could whine about the few weaknesses, like singing that was just north of karaoke, but like the coffee beans, it just doesn’t matter. What does matter is that this cast and crew are offering you one thoroughly delightful and very funny evening of non-stop tomfoolery, and you’d be a fool not to take advantage of it.

June 13 to July 13, 2014
Lakewood Playhouse

Friday, June 13, 2014

Moonlight and Magnolias at TLT

Sturm und Drang
by Michael Dresdner

  L to R: Jacob Tice, Katelyn Hoffman, Tedd Saint-James, Blake R. York      photo by: DK Photography

Moonlight and Magnolias is considered a second stage production at Tacoma Little Theatre, which means that it opens tonight and closes in only nine days. That’s a shame, since there’s obviously been a whole lot of love, talent, energy, and creativity poured into it, and the result is well worth your time. To get a jump on things, I went to the preview last night.

The conceit of the play, supposedly based on a real event, is that producer David O. Selznick, in the midst of making the film Gone With the Wind, has fired his writer and director and instead brought screenwriter Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming to his office. He bullies them into being locked in his office for five days with nothing but bananas and peanuts to eat in order to, in that short time, write a credible screen play for the stalled movie.

To make matters worse, Hecht has not even read the book, so the other two men decide to act it out for him, scene by scene, while he types up dialog. Their intentionally cheesy acting, especially when the two men play the roles of Scarlett and her maid Prissy, creates easily the funniest scenes in the play.

As they get more exhausted and tense from endless coddling, arguing, bombast, sniping, and yes, bouts of humor, they eventually emerge with a script, and the rest is history. All in all, the direction by Pavlina Morris is well-paced and realistic, and the acting very solid.

At the low end of the office food chain is Selznick’s secretary, Miss Poppenghul, played to a fare-thee-well by Katelyn Hoffman. Her costume, posture, demeanor, and responses are all spot on and perfectly create the iconic 1930s secretary, from the top of her disciplined red hair to her appropriate stacked-heel shoes. I can’t imagine anyone doing it better.

Tedd Saint-James ably plays the put-upon playwright Ben Hecht as skeptical, largely unconvinced, and torn between the words of the book, about which he seems to care little, and his own ethical imperatives. One can almost imagine a voice from beyond chiding “silly rabbit; you want movies to be ethical teaching tools?”

Jacob Tice covers the role of director Victor Fleming with his usual energy, style, humor, and hair-trigger emotional responses. Tice is an excellent actor who routinely makes the most of whatever the script has to offer him, as he does here.

Doing the bulk of the heavy lifting as David O. Selznick is Blake R. York. The past few years have seen him mostly designing and creating sets for the theatre, but in this play he emerges onstage to remind us that, though we may think of him as a behind-the-scenes artist, he is first and foremost an absolutely terrific actor. York inhabits his character convincingly. No, I don’t know what the real Selznick was like, but it hardly matters; this one is certainly real enough.

Speaking of sets, this same Blake R. York designed and built the set as well, and it’s amazing. It boasts a completely convincing, high-end Hollywood office of the period, replete with grand symmetry, Art Deco styling, shiny leather diamond-tufted couch and matching chair, and the obligatory commanding desk and window. Amplified by Jen Ankrum’s very capable painting skills, the set alone is worth going to see.

The play is further amplified by spot-on costumes (Michele Graves), especially Hoffman’s, unobtrusively correct lighting (director Morris), sound (Darren Hembd), props (Katelyn Simpson) and a very hard working backstage crew (Briana Osborne, RuthAnn Saunders) who “age” the set between scenes to reflect its descent from order to chaos.

However, in spite of grand acting and directing, a flawless set and costumes, and all the rest, the property itself gets in its own way. While this is not what you would call a fluff piece, it is nevertheless a light, or less than significant, work. To quote the Scottish play, it is “…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Granted, the play raises high emotions with repeated cycles of angst-ridden philosophical arguments about “the Jewish question,” the reason for movies to exist, and the opinion that the ultimate control is in the hands of hoi polloi who buy tickets. However, none of these high-minded discussions are resolved; there’s no grand conclusion or moment of discovery. By the end, you may emerge a bit worn out from the emotions, but you won’t have gone through any significant catharsis that changes your views on life, the universe, or anything.

Fortunately, none of that is required for a night of good theatre. Come see it for what it does offer; an interesting insight into the movie making process, a fine cast and crew, and a compelling swirl of drama and comedy. But remember, Moonlight and Magnolias runs only this week and next, so don’t wait or you’ll miss it all.

Moonlight and Magnolias
June 13 to June 22, 2014
Tacoma Little Theatre