All articles by James MacKillop

Something for Everyone

Stage critic James MacKillop previews a season filled with new surprises and cherished favorites

Among the wide-open slate of local theater attractions, the holiday run of Peter Pan looms as the biggest box-office magnet, but now you can see the adult prequel Peter and the Starcatcher as a chaser. Usually we don’t see any Greek drama, but this year we’ll have Agamemnon, Medea and Eurydice, the latter two in modern dress. There will be three never-seen-before musicals, including Matilda, Big Fish and Triassic Parq, and an original opera, Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied, about the longest-held American prisoner in the Vietnam War. And one Syracuse Stage play comes with a title that will be published in the Syracuse New Times but probably nowhere else.

Show Stoppers

A can-do Candide highlights this summer’s Glimmerglass Festival in Cooperstown

The two more adventuresome productions at Cooperstown’s Glimmerglass Festival this summer are the North American premiere of Antonio Vivaldi’s Cato in Utica (1737) and Leonard Bernstein’s legendary flop Candide (1956).

Hip-Hip-Hooray for “Hair”’s Happy Hippies

Covey Theatre Company puts on “Hair” at the Mulroy Civic Center’s BeVard Studio

Of all the theatrical milestones of the last half-century, composer Galt MacDermot’s Hair (subtitled “the American Tribal Love-Rock Musical“) is the most malleable. It has to begin with the clarion “Age of Aquarius,” trumpeted here gloriously by Gabrielle Gorman, and it has to climax with the anthem-like “Let the Sunshine In.”

Ghastly Guffaws for a Ghoulish Good Time

Cortland repertory Theatre shows their spooky side with the production of “The Addams Family”

From its origin, The Addams Family was a sophisticated series of one-panel cartoons in The New Yorker magazine. Their subtlety and nuance flew over the heads of rubes who didn’t always get the jokes. The 1960s black-and-white TV sitcom, followed by two color movies during the 1990s, nearly drowned cartoonist Charles Addams’ mordant wit with treacle.

Flower Power

Stage critic James MacKillop profiles the Covey Theatre Company, which mounts the hippie musical “Hair” starting Friday, July 10

Twenty-three Syracuse New Times Syracuse Area Live Theater (SALT) Awards in five years. Sold-out houses at community theater’s priciest venue, the BeVard Studio of the Mulroy Civic Center. Turn-away crowds not only for hot musicals like Rent or Avenue Q but also for subtle, cerebral original dramas like Playing God and The Romanovs.

Sex, Deutsch and Rock ’n’ Roll

Ithaca’s Hangar Theatre puts on the controversial musical Spring Awakening

Keith Richards famously observed, “Rock is music for the neck down.” Imperial Germany in 1891 was a society rapidly moving ahead scientifically and, intellectually, a nation that exalted the cranium. What lay below the neck was best not discussed, and when it was, it should be obedient and disciplined, tightened up and straightened.

Italian Dressing Sparks Sentimental Musical

Merry-Go-Round Playhouse brings a taste of Italy to Auburn with The Light in the Piazza.

Monastery by palazzo by piazza, Florence, Italy, packs in more sublime works of art than any other two square miles on earth. At Auburn’s Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, scenic designer David Arsenault’s gleaming marble-like set for The Light in the Piazza, dominated by a replica of Michelangelo’s David, flanked by white columns, reminds us of this.

History Comes Alive in Cortland Rep’s ’1776′

Cortland Repertory Theatre’s production of “1776″

The musical blockbuster Les Misérables and the venerable Sherman Edwards-Peter Stone patriotic musical 1776 are not often spoken of the same voice. The current Cortland Repertory Theatre production of 1776 invites us to do just that.

Actress Tackles Roles of Her Lifetime

Kitchen Theatre Company’s production of “Thin Walls” gives one actress her dream roles

During Kitchen Theatre Company’s production of Thin Walls, one tenant describes the play’s location as “the only place in the world where everybody can fit in.”

Mendacity in Mississippi

The Central New York Playhouse presents “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”

While A Streetcar Named Desire might conventionally be pegged as Tennessee Williams’ top play, the playwright himself always ranked Cat on a Hot Tin Roof higher, and with good reason.