All articles by James MacKillop

Music, Magic and Matilda

The touring family show “Matilda: The Musical” makes a Salt City stop

Despite its quirky surrealism and origin with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s hit show Matilda: The Musical is aimed squarely at a wide audience niche: hip families. If your favorite recent shows were The Lion King and Wicked, this one’s for you.

Steve Martin’s Briefs Encounter

Syracuse Stage unleashes Steve Martin’s comedy “The Underpants”

Keen audience members really do have some idea of what to expect when entering The Underpants at Syracuse Stage, even though many people have never heard of it. Steve Martin’s farce ran in New York City for only a month 12 years ago and has appeared fleetingly at colleges and regional theaters in the interim.

More Fun From Lesser Bard

“Pericles, Prince of Tyre” serves as Boot and Buskin Theatre Club’s season opener

“A gloriously messy shipwreck of play.” Those are director Matt Chiorini’s words to describe William Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre, an ironic defense for the Boot and Buskin Theatre Club's season opener at Le Moyne College, which runs through Saturday, Oct. 31.

Browsing Barbra’s Basement

‘Buyer and Cellar’ boasts a delightfully unusual premise

Jonathan Tolins’ off-Broadway comedy smash Buyer & Cellar is one of those only-in-America plays. No, not because it’s about the ambiguities of diva-dom or the manic obsession of conspicuous consumption. Those themes exist elsewhere.

9 to 5’s Bosom Buddies

CNY Playhouse’s rendition of ’9 to 5′ appeals to more than just feminists

Just like the 1980 movie on which it is based, 9 to 5: The Musical, a harmless little feminist fable, is a better show than it sounds.

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.