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Theater and Dance

12 Feb 2020
An orange door, gold lettering, glistening white brick and tastefully tall hedges that divide the home from the rest of the world; the owner may very well be outside with a glass of champagne in hand, wearing a caftan, dripping in equal parts jewels and sass. She lifts her head with a laugh that is musical yet mischievous—is she telling an inappropriate joke or regaling you with a tale of her latest European trip? Or both? Her name is D’Re Stergios, and she is bringing modern art and dance into her living room—quite literally—as part of Modernism Week, on Saturday, Feb. 22. The home is called The Gala House, and the event, “The Gala House—Modern Home for Modern Dance,” is a partnership with the International Dance Festival in Palm Springs/Nickerson-Rossi Dance. Expect an evening of choreographed dance and champagne, as well as a celebration of the fully restored and re-envisioned…
08 Feb 2020
Coyote StageWorks is starting its 11th season with a terrific production of Lucas Hnath’s A Doll’s House, Part 2. Founding artistic director Chuck Yates and his production team are thrilled to have found a new home at the Palm Springs Cultural Center (formerly the Camelot Theatres). The venue is a great fit, providing a cozier, more-intimate experience for the audience, as well as a lovely upstairs bar and lounge for after-show relaxation. Yates’ choice of A Doll’s House, Part 2, as the season opener was a wise move. The story is set 15 years after Norwegian wife Nora Helmer walks out of her stifling marriage in Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 drama A Doll’s House. She has now returned, perhaps partly to soothe old emotional wounds, but she’s also on a personal mission: Now a successful writer of books urging other women to liberate themselves, Nora (Robin McAlpine) needs the help of…
02 Feb 2020
Coachella Valley Repertory has chosen a re-imagined version of Jerome Kass’ Ballroom as its second production this season. Originally based on Kass’ Emmy Award-winning teleplay Queen of the Stardust Ballroom starring Maureen Stapleton, the show morphed into the 1978 Broadway musical Ballroom, which was nominated for eight Tony Awards, winning the Tony for Best Choreography. This is the most ambitious production the Small Professional Theatre with Equity status has ever pulled off: CVRep’s version includes all the musical numbers from the Broadway production, plus several restored songs—and three brand-new numbers, written by Marilyn and Alan Bergman, and Billy Goldenberg, who also wrote the music and lyrics for the original. This production boasts a cast of 24, an onstage eight-piece orchestra and impressive sets by Jimmy Cuomo. There are some lovely moments, along with strong singing, and often-entertaining dancing. Unfortunately, despite the grandness of the production, and all of the great…
02 Feb 2020
Creating suspense has to be one of the most difficult effects for a play to achieve. In movies, the complex use of sound effects, special lighting and music can all heighten that tension, along with some camera-lens trickery and a lot of cleverly timed editing. Yet at the Pearl McManus Theater in Palm Springs, the Desert Ensemble Theatre Company has produced one of the most jaw-dropping, edge-of-seat, suspenseful live plays you will ever see—with absolutely none of those fancy assists. Adoption Roulette uses only three actors and a black-box theater setting … literally: There are four black wooden boxes that get shuffled around the stage to be used as imaginary chairs, a desk, or a seat on an airplane, against the black-curtained background. There is no scenery except a minimalist white-pipe impression of a couple of rooftops to imply an urban setting. The show uses the most basic lighting, zero…
20 Jan 2020
Yee haw, little dogies! If’n you’re hankering for a Western-flavored good time, slap on yer best bib and tucker, and mosey on down to the Desert Rose Playhouse! Those Musclebound Cowboys From Snake Pit Gulch are a-waitin’ on you, buckaroos! The sold-out house of patrons for the opening weekend of this world premiere sashayed into the theater in high-falutin’ denim, Stetsons and boots. The mood is immediately set by the piped-in sounds of great country Western music from stars like Johnny Cash, Tammy Wynette, Hank Williams and Patsy Cline. Interestingly, the stage and house at DRP have been completely reimagined for this production. The now-sprawling stage area features different levels that include a saloon, a set of stairs and even a hoosegow. (That’s “jail” to you whippersnappers.) A dividing curtain, which can be drawn across the stage at an angle, creates a backdrop that hosts small scenes. The reason for…
11 Jan 2020
Any professional critic worth his or her salt strives to be fair, tactful, entertaining and, most of all, honest. To regularly gush or fawn over productions would cause us to lose our credibility. But every now and then, a play comes along that leaves us no choice but to gush. Such is the case with Dezart Performs’ current production of Michael McKeever’s Daniel’s Husband. The story is riveting, and the acting is some of the best I have seen on a local stage in the past 20 years. Though centered around the 2015 Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage nationwide, the play is about so much more than that. It hits a whole lot of hot-button issues—commitment-phobic mates, overbearing mothers, age-inappropriate dating, dashed career dreams and navigating the legal system as common-law partners. The play opens on a dinner party at the home of Daniel (Michael Shaw), a successful architect,…

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