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Not Your Normal Musical

Theater: ‘Next To Normal’

Mental illness may not seem like a ripe subject for a musical, but at least as far back as Sondheim’s “Anyone Can Whistle” in 1965, artists have found rich material and compelling stories about it to tell on stage. “Dear Evan Hansen” is a spectacular recent example, but one of the most successful and beloved musicals on this theme is 2009’s “Next to Normal,” the story of Diana Goodman, who lives with bipolar disorder, and the family living under the shadow of her illness.

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Sharon Playhouse Sets New Schedule

Theater

Quickly moving to reinvigorate Sharon Playhouse after last summer’s disappointing season, the new production team of Robert Levinstein and Alan M-L Wager have plans to make the theater a year round entertainment venue.
They will launch a continuing series of monthly “Cocktails and Cabaret” on Jan. 13, with a 5 to 7 p.m. show in the Bok Gallery of the playhouse. Guest headliners Kirby and Bev Ward will use “The Great American Songbook” as their inspiration for a late afternoon of singing and dancing.

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Kiss And Tell

Theater: ‘Stage Kiss’

So many choices.  Write about the cast or the direction.  Contemplate the script or the production.  Review the theater or comment about the audience.

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A Fun Holiday Whodunit

Theater: ‘Murder Takes A Holiday’

If you Google “Murder Takes a Holiday,” you’ll come across a couple of news articles with that headline from 2002, saying the murder rate in New York City declined in January of that year.
I mention that only because in “Murder Takes a Holiday,” the comedy-thriller by Tim Kelly showing at the Sherman Playhouse this month, the murder rate rises sharply. “Murder Comes Along for Some Fun” might have been a better title.

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William Kinsolving Performs New One-Man Play

Theater: ‘America and Me: Walt Whitman’s 67th Birthday’

To understand what William Kinsolving’s new play is about, one must first understand Walt Whitman’s historical context. 

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‘The Cocktail Hour’ Performed

Aglet Theatre Company performed A.R. Gurney’s “The Cocktail Hour”
at Dewey Memorial Hall in Sheffield, Mass., on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1:30 and 7 p.m. Above, Macey Levin (who also directed), Deann Halper, Alex Petrova and Dave Edson starred in the staged reading at the 1:30 performance. Go to www.aglettheatre.net
 or call 860-435-6928 for more on their upcoming schedule.

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New Production Team Comes To Sharon Playhouse

Theater

Separately, Robert Levinstein and Alan M-L Wager are, by their own assessment, “left brain” and “right brain.” Together, they are the new artistic producing team for the Sharon Playhouse.
Playhouse Board Chair Emily Soell introduced the duo in a press release on October 18. 

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Strong 16th-Century Women

Theater: ‘The Last Wife’

With revelations about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged bullying and sexual misconduct with women continuing to flood news media, how serendipitous that WAM Theatre is presenting a play about that most notorious sexual bully and abuser of women, Henry VIII, and his sixth wife, Katherine Parr. 
More importantly, Canadian playwright Kate Hennig’s finely crafted “The Last Wife” combines imagination with fact to position Katherine as a woman who clashed with an all-male Tudor power structure and often won.

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A Satisfying Mystery and Comedy

Theater: ‘Clue’

This is simply the perfect time of year to enjoy a production of “Clue” at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck: As Halloween approaches, I’m in the ideal mind frame to enjoy a tale of mystery, murder, and merry mania. Up In One Production has served up exactly that, much to my delight. 
While I am quite certain that a measure of my enjoyment hinged upon my warm nostalgia for the “Clue” board game and the 1985 film adaptation, the actors’ energy and enthusiasm made Friday night’s performance a winner in my book.

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Fly With Them To Neverland

Theater: ‘Peter Pan’

At one point in “Peter Pan,” the title character asks the audience to clap their hands if they believe in fairies.
During opening night at the Performing Arts Center at Taconic Hills, the crowd roared with applause, saving the life of Peter’s fairy friend, Tinker Bell.

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