Friday, February 20, 2009


  • Feb. 26-28: Music Theatre of Idaho presents Seussical, the Musical, which brings together such favorite Dr. Seuss characters as the Cat in the Hat, Horton the Elephant, the Grinch and Yertle the Turtle. The show runs Feb. 20-21 and 26-28 at 7:30 and Feb. 21 at 1:30.
  • Feb. 27: Stage Coach Theatre presents Brooklyn Boy, a witty drama about a writer whose novel has just hit the best-seller list while his wife is leaving and his father is in the hospital. The show runs Feb. 27-28 and Mar. 5-8 and 12-14 at 7:30 Thursday, 8:15 Friday-Saturday and 2:00 Sunday at the theater in the Hillcrest Shopping Center at Orchard and Overland in Boise.
  • Feb. 27: Boise Little Theater presents Foxfire, a musical about an Appalachian widow deciding whether to sell the farm and home she shared with her husband to a real-estate developer and live with her son in Florida. The show runs Feb. 27-28 and March 5-8 and 11-14 at 7:30 Wednesday, 8:00 Thursday-Saturday and 2:00 Sunday at the theater on Fort Street.
  • Feb. 28: The Boise Philharmonic presents Sounds Like Fun! concerts for woodwinds at 10:30 a.m. and noon at the Esther Simplot Performing Arts Academy at Ninth and Myrtle.
  • Feb. 28: Ballet Idaho presents A Midsummer Night's Dream, Mendelssohn's adaptation of Shakespeare's romantic comedy, at 2:00 and 8:00 at the Morrison Center on the BSU campus.
  • Feb. 28: The Boise Art Museum opens an exhibit of early works by photographer Ansel Adams.
  • Now through March 1, 2009: Boise Art Museum presents an exhibit of photos of Idaho Special Olympics athletes called Let Me Be Brave: Portraits in Courage by Idaho photographer Susan Valiquette.
  • Now through March 1, 2009: The Boise Art Museum presents Small Wars and 29 Palms, two documentary photo series by Vietnamese photographer An-My LĂȘ that explore the Vietnam War and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Now through March 8: Company of Fools presents Souvenir, a comedy about real-life musical laughingstock Florence Foster Jenkins, a wealthy, high-society woman who believed herself to be a great opera soprano even though she couldn't carry a tune. The show runs at 8:00 Feb. 20-21, 27-28 and March 6-7; 7:00 Feb. 25-26 and March 4-5; and 3:00 Feb. 22 and March 1 and 8 at The Liberty Theatre on Main Street in Hailey.
  • Now through March 20: Immigrant Shadows: Tracing The Herders' Legacy, an art installation by artists Amy Nack and Earle Swope recreating a grove of aspen trees from paper, is at Rosenthal Gallery at the College of Idaho in Caldwell.
  • Now through May 2009: The Boise Art Museum hosts a site-specific architectural structure called After, by Lead Pencil Studio architects and artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo.
  • March 1: Boise Baroque Orchestra performs Vivaldi and Rossini at 2:00 at the First United Methodist Church/Cathedral of the Rockies at 717 N. 11th St. in Boise.
  • March 1: The Treasure Valley Youth Symphony performs its spring concert at 7:00 at Borah High School at Curtis and Cassia in Boise.
  • March 3: Pianist Alexander Ghindin performs at 7:30 at Jewett Auditorium at College of Idaho in Caldwell.
  • March 5: The Boise State University Theater Arts Department opens Pippin, a musical set in France at the time of Charlemagne. The show runs at 7:30 March 5-7, 10 a.m. March 6, and 2:00 March 8 at the Morrison Center.
  • March 6: Harley's Angels, a spoof about the Angels and their attempts to prevent a sinister plot by the French to take over the world, opens at Prairie Dog Productions. The show runs March 6-8, 13-15, 20-22 and 27-28 at 7:15 Fridays and Saturdays and 2:00 Sundays at the playhouse at 3820 Cassia in Boise.
  • March 6: Starlight Mountain Theatre opens the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music. The show runs March 6-7, 13-14, 20-21 and April 3-4, 10-11 and 17-18 at 7:30 at the Star theater at 1851 Century Way in Boise.
  • March 6: The Illustrious Onion Skin Players present the melodrama Ruckus at Cowboy U, or Who's Hugh. The show runs March 6-7, 13-15, 17, and 20-21 at 7:30 at the Star Theater on State Street in Weiser.
  • March 7-8: Opera Idaho presents Cosi fan tutte by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at 8:00 March 7 and 3:00 March 8 at the Egyptian Theater at Capitol and Main.
  • March 14: Boise Art Museum opens Higher Ground, a juried art exhibit of works by Boise and Meridian high school students, and Bloated Floaters, Snouted Sappers and the Defense of Empire, a series of drawings of bloated, blimp-like figures by Idaho artist Garth Claassen.
  • March 15: The Langroise Trio -- violinist Geoffrey Trabichoff, cellist Samuel Smith and viola player David Johnson -- and guest artists Robyn Wells (piano) and Jack Koncel (double bass) perform works by Tovey, Gliere, Clarke and Vaughn Williams at 7:30 in the Langroise Recital Hall at College of Idaho.
  • March 16: Joan Didion, author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem, The Year of Magical Thinking, and the scripts for A Star is Born and Up Close and Personal, reads her work at 7:30 at the Egyptian Theatre at Capitol and Main.
  • March 16: Boise Contemporary Theater presents a reading of Beautiful American Soldier, a story about two sisters lost in war-torn Iraq who find a man peddling junk, and an Iraq war veteran who discovers how much he has in common with a homeless man. The reading is at 7:00 at the Fulton Street Theater on Fulton between 8th and 9th Streets.
  • March 20: Alley Repertory Theater and East Indian Follies present Love Person, an exploration of the role of language and love in various cultures, couples and communities, using English, Sanskrit and American Sign Language. The show runs through March 20-22 and 25-28 at 8:00 at the Visual Arts Collective behind the Woman of Steel Gallery on Chinden in Garden City.
  • March 20: Knock 'Em Dead Dinner Theatre opens Once on This Island, a musical featuring calypso music about a young peasant girl who is sent on a journey by the gods to test the strength of her love even in the face of death. The show runs March 20-21, 26-28, and April 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18 at 7:00 Thursdays and 8:00 Fridays and Saturdays, with dinner served at 7:00 Fridays and Saturdays. The theater is located on 9th Street between Myrtle and Front.
  • March 28 and 30: Starlight Mountain Theatre presents Alice in Wonderland, performed by students in grade school through high school, at 7:30 at Capital High School in Boise.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Much Ado About Nothing

I enjoyed Knock 'Em Dead's production of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing. But I was a little bit disappointed by how much of it seemed to borrow from the Kenneth Branagh version. I recognized the music immediately, and after that, even though I haven't seen the movie in a while, I was sure I recognized some of the blocking, particularly in the scenes with the watchmen. I even recognized the delivery of some of the lines. I could swear Matt Hansen's mocking "M'sieur Love" was an exact replica of Branagh's own delivery of the line -- and there were a few others that seemed familiar as well. Branagh's production is a fine production, but the very fact that the instantly recognizable music from his production was used invited comparison in all other aspects of the production -- and when other factors were similar, that invited further comparison. It got to the point that when I did see something that was obviously different from my memory of the movie, it really stood out. It's kind of a shame. You see, there are some extremely talented actors in Knock 'Em Dead's production, but it seems unfair to compare them to the likes of Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson and Denzel Washington. (Though Steve Martin might actually come out quite favorably compared to Keanu Reeves. :) I'm such a hater.) I wish the similarities hadn't been quite so ... obvious.

It was a good production all round, though. Director Kevin Kimsey has assembled a strong ensemble. In the major roles, Becky Kimsey and Matt Hansen were strong as the quick-witted, scornful Beatrice and Benedick. Steve Martin was deliciously evil as the villain Don John. Marc Militello (who I don't think I've seen before, but who I've been assured is a KED regular) was excellent as the lovelorn Claudio, and Maggie Sierra showed great emotion as Hero, Claudio's bride-to-be. Randy Webster had the audience laughing uproariously with one of the funniest running gags Shakespeare ever penned -- "masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass." Those are really the primary roles, but the rest of the 18-member cast did fine, fine work. There were a couple of nitpicky things with the acting -- for instance, Becky Kimsey tends to rush her monologues when they are angry, which definitely adds intensity but sometimes loses a little in making them easy to understand, and Andy Neill (Leonato) has a hard time seeming truly furious with Don Pedro (Jeff Thompson) and Claudio since he seems to have difficulty projecting. I reiterate -- these are nitpicky. Their performances were excellent overall.

There were a few innovative things in the production -- notably, the well-designed and versatile set pieces, which could be rearranged to form low walls, archways, and even sort of a chaise. (Kudos to set builder Tim Schmidt, who also played the friar.) Also, Kevin Kimsey had told me long ago about his plans to have the actors move throughout the audience, notably in the scenes where Beatrice and Benedick eavesdrop on their friends and relatives as they play matchmaker.
It was definitely a nice touch.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Joan of Arc (a secondhand review)

I haven't had the chance to see a lot of productions lately because my show, Any Body Home?, ran until last weekend. (Thanks to everyone who came to see it!) But my mom did get tickets to see the Boise Philharmonic and Boise Master Chorale perform a fairly recently composed score for the old silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc, and I thought I'd pass on her thoughts.

Mom was blown away by the intensity of the production. The film was absolutely haunting, she said. The experience was so intense that she and Dad were completely silent on the drive home -- they couldn't process into words what they had just seen. Mom couldn't get to sleep that night. All she could see were the eyes of the actress playing Joan of Arc. The girl's expressions in scenes like the one where Joan of Arc is shown the torture chamber, or when, resigned to her fate, she picks up a dropped rope and hands it to the man tying her to the stake, stayed with Mom.

Mom said the music was excellent -- at least what she could pay attention to. Sometimes everything going on in the production was a bit overwhelming. Between the film's visuals, its subscripts, the instrumental music and the choirs, it was a lot to take in and sometimes it was hard to absorb everything. She definitely wants to go back and see the Philharmonic when the only thing to pay attention to is the music.

Overall, the production was powerful and thought-provoking. It really made Mom ponder the idea of dying for a cause.