Monday, March 28, 2016

reviews - GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS - Desert Stages Theatre

J. Kevin Tallent, Walt Pedano, and Jeff Carpenter
Photo by Heather and Dana Butcher / Desert Stages Theatre
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through May 15th.

"...Currently running at the smaller and more intimate Actor’s Café at Scottsdale Desert Stages Theatre until May 15 is a new and unexpected powerhouse production of Glengarry Glen Ross where the ensemble is everything. ..it doesn’t take long to appreciate how well director Virginia Olivieri has cast her production; each player is a precise representation of his character’s type.  Even if by default you’re drawn to Walt Pedano’s ruthless Ricky Roma or Kevin Tallent’s desperate Shelly ‘The Machine’ Levene, you’ll leave the theatre with the unmistakable impression that every performer, all seven of them, nailed those difficult targets in the way the play requires. And it’s not just the appearances, it’s how the players deliver Mamet’s demanding, profane laden dialog....It’s a unique style that’s never easy to achieve, but there’s good news from the Actor’s Café – Olivieri’s cast delivers.... " -David Appleford, Valley Screen and Stage (click here to read the complete review)

"David Mamet's Pulitzer Prize winning play Glengarry Glen Ross focuses on a series of unpleasant yet complex and intriguing characters...it details the highs and (mostly) lows of the ruthless world of high-pressure sales and cold calls...With a crackerjack cast who create realistic characters, and clearly polished direction, Desert Stages Theatre's stark production is a winner as it focused solidly on Mamet's characters and explosive dialogue. ...Smooth-talking Ricky Roma is at the top of the sales leader board while Shelley Levene, who has been experiencing a sales slump and is extremely agitated, isn't even on the chart. Hot-headed Moss and meek and nervous Aaronow don't like the way the office is run and Moss comes up with a plan to get back at the owners of the firm. All four are after the hot leads in order to sell real estate in Glengarry Highlands, Florida, ensuring their clients that this is a lucrative land deal....Director Virginia Olivieri has found a cast of actors who are more than capable of rising to the occasion required to bring Mamet's characters vibrantly to life. J. Kevin Tallent is superb as Shelly Levene, the older member of the sales force.... Walt Pedano is just as good as the slick, persuasive and persistent Richard Roma ...Olivieri's direction draws rich performances from her cast while also making sure the style of Mamet's writing rings true. The staccato delivery that Mamet's dialogue requires and the repetitive nature of many of the lines may come across as unnatural or farfetched to some. But this highly skilled ensemble, under Olivieri's astute direction, create fireworks from Mamet's succinct words which they deliver in a sure-footed natural cadence that makes this production crackle....While the play might be a hard sell to those looking for a show in which the characters actually grow by learning from their mistakes, are somewhat sympathetic, or at least have some humanity, it is Mamet's sharp dialogue and intriguing characters that have made this play one that will never go out of style. Desert Stages Theatre's production has a fantastic cast and smart direction, and the end result is a loving tribute to the style and substance of Mamet's masterful words."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

"...Scottsdale Desert Stages’ sharply acted production..does justice to (David Mamet's) signature style of anxious, start-and-stop dialogue...the story centers on a crew of fast-talking (and smack-talking) salesmen who specialize in offloading questionable investments on naïve buyers. ...Virginia Olivieri’s incisive direction brings to live this razor-sharp character study...this dark drama keeps your eyes riveted to the action." -Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic

"..In a day when lots of cheap talk is tossed around about winners and losers, David Mamet's 1984 Pulitzer Prize winning drama, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, still howls with relevance as it probes the actions of men in distress who revert to their baser instincts. The gates of Mamet's competitive hell are open anew on the stone cold set of Desert Stages Theatre, and, under the direction of Virginia Olivieri, the play storms into a riveting eruption of raw emotion and rage, driven by a palpable fear of failure. What her cast may lack in the nuances of Mametian rhythm they make up for with intensity, passion, and rapid-fire elocution. J. Kevin Tallent lives up to his surname with a riveting performance as Shelly "The Machine" Levene...Walt Pedano plays Richard Roma to the hilt as the smug and deceitful manipulator who lures the likes of a Walter Mitty-ish naif (Charles Sowder) into a very bad deal. ...Ms. Olivieri has done quite a credible job in ensuring that the beam retains its acuity. Certainly, her cast has measured up to her challenge. "-Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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