Rachel Lampert: The Way She Was

Autobiographical pearls for the stage

“All art is autobiographical,” said movie director Federico Fellini. “The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” Rachel Lampert, artistic director of Ithaca’s Kitchen Theatre Company, has been propagating autobiographical pearls for the stage for some time.

Opera Uproar in a Fun Farce: Lend Me a Tenor

Jim MacKillop reviews a 1930s-era screwball comedy

Dustin Czarny’s Central New York Playhouse, the company in a former retail space in Shoppingtown Mall, has spent much of the last two years busting out the walls. Several shows, including Spamalot, The Wild Party and The Laramie Project, had to be shoehorned onto the floorboards.

A Dozen Faces, Thousands of Personalities

Don’t Feed the Actors (DFtA), Central New York’s longest running improv troupe, creating fun is the name of the game.

Trying something new is all fun and games until this new hobby becomes a passion, but the fun and games never end. For Don't Feed the Actors (DFtA), Central New York's longest running improv troupe, creating fun is the name of the game, and the fun is a month-to-month party in The Central New York Playhouse.

Top 2014 highlights in local theater

Stage critic James MacKillop recalls the premieres, revivals and great performances that took place on local floorboards

Top among the 2014 highlights in local theater included: For the intensity of emotion, for the intrusion of laughter through tears, there is unlikely ever to be another evening like the “What I Did for Love” tribute to Talent Company founder Christine Lightcap, held Oct. 16 at the State Fairgrounds' Empire Theater. Moe Harrington’s “She’s the Greatest Star,” Susan Basile’s “As Long as He Needs Me” and Frank Fiumano losing it in “I Am What I Am” all shook the house. Lightcap’s longtime business partner Brenda Neuss said it had not been one of her better days up until then; the ageless trouper had just 10 days to live.

Visiting Bammy Lewis Revels in Holiday Sneer

A new comedy at Central New York Playhouse

Subtitled “A silly little Christmas story,” Visiting Bammy Lewis is an unpretentious, two-hour portrayal of massive family dysfunction, now playing at Shoppingtown’s Central New York Playhouse.

Boffo Bouffants Bring Holiday Cheer

Hairspray’s musical mix of rock innocence and racial harmony at Syracuse Stage

Filmmaker and satirist John Waters, the Baltimore bad boy, might be housebroken now, but he is never to be taken for granted. From two film versions of Waters‘ Hairspray, non-singing (1988) and singing (2007), as well as several previous local productions, most audiences are onto Hairspray’s thesis of racial integration, as well as many of its delirious comic devices.

Black Power Fuels Sunset Baby’s Drama

Sunset Baby at Kitchen Theatre Company

The 1950s had higher employment, and the 1970s had brighter colors and more hair, but the 1960s is the decade that keeps calling to us.

Purple Passion in Redhouse Smash

The Color Purple at Redhouse Arts Center

Among the many things Redhouse Arts Center audiences will like about the 2005 hit musical version of The Color Purple, composed by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray, is that it hews more closely to Alice Walker’s 1982 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel than did director Steven Spielberg’s much-admired but controversial 1985 movie. This starts with the epistolary structure, in which the much put-upon Celie (Joan Anderson) is always explaining what’s happening to her sister Nettie (Briana Maia) in Africa. Their reunion is the climax of the second act.

Wigged Out

Behind the scenes at Syracuse Stage

Syracuse Stage’s production of Hairspray is set in Baltimore in the 1960s. Reporter Blair Sylvester spoke with the costume designers and wig designer about the work that goes into setting the stage.

Comedian Finds Laughs in Her Syracuse Roots

Jessimae Peluso is home for the holidays

When comedian Jessimae Peluso is home for the holidays, she likes spending time with her family. It’s guaranteed to get her at least a couple minutes of material.