Using the same theater on Broad Street in Providence where Trinity Rep began in the 1960s, the adventurous Wilbury Group is currently staging a work about the life and times, and death, of Walt Disney. Bill Gale has this review.
“A Public Reading of An Unproduced Screenplay About the Death of Walt Disney” continues at the Wilbury Group in Providence through November 22. Bill Gale reviews the performing arts for Rhode Island Public Radio.
Ah, yes, welcome back, “Cloud Nine.” Churchill’s play was a hit in certain quarters back there when the world as we knew it seemed to be tumbling onto a landscape that was unclear and wonderful and scary.
The play won an Obie, Off Broadway’s version of the Tony Awards. It was done around the country by risk-taking regional theaters including a crackerjack production in the 1983-84 season at what we then called the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence.
Some people, many actually, are enthralled by this musical taken almost completely from a poem by that Anglo-American literary icon, T.S. Eliot. “Cats” lovers adore the music by Andrew Lloyd-Webber and are happy to forget about the almost plotless story line that finds a beat-up old cat restored to vibrant life.
Others, myself included, enjoy much of the music but really find “Cats” to be a clawless work, more a stagnant showing off piece than anything else.
Going forward with a famous musical is generally a matter of copying. After all, if you are putting on “Annie” or “Nunsense” you aren’t going to change things—just try to do a crowd-pleasing show as well as you can.
But that’s not the case with Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s “Three Penny Opera.”