Tuesday, March 15, 2016

reviews - NOW. HERE. THIS. - A/C Theatre Company

Micah Jondel DeShazer, Brenda Jean Foley, Kevin Fenderson, and Tracy Payne Black
photo: Laura Durant
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 March 26th.

 "...A/C Theatre Company, is presenting their second show of their premiere season, Now. Here. This. in its Valley debut. Written by the talented team behind [title of show], Now. Here. This. unfortunately is a musical that doesn't quite know what it wants to be. While there are a few exceptional songs and moving stories, the musical overall is unfocused and plays more like an extended cabaret act of stories and songs that don't always tie together. A/C's production features a talented cast, smart direction, and a great sounding small band who try their best to make sense of the whole thing. The conceit of the show is that four close friends are visiting their local Natural History Museum and the exhibits at the museum and events that happen to them that day become the launch pad for the personal songs and stories they sing and tell. But, for the most part, these connections with the museum exhibits are extreme stretches...The title of the show comes from Thomas Merton's theory of living in the moment, at the intersection of the Now, the Here, and the This. However, almost all of the stories and songs in the show are about past experiences so, while they may form the makeup of who these four people are today, they don't exactly quite relate to living in the moment...
The A/C cast is quite skilled in making the stories and songs not only seem relatable but also inherent to themselves and personal as well...Tracy Payne Black gets the best material in the show, including moving stories about her character's father and growing up with a hoarder for a parent. Her vocals, like those of the rest of the cast, are impressive, delivering an emotional, almost introspective connection to the lyrics. While Brenda Jean Foley's character is mostly used as counterpoint to the others, her rendition of "This Time" is quite beautiful. Kevin Fenderson and Micah Jondel DeShazer deliver most of the comic moments and are good in their portrayals...director Thomas Strawser does an impressive job ...There are plenty of lush harmonies in Bowen's varied score, and Curtis Moeller's music direction ensures they sound lovely. Now. Here. This. is far from a perfect musical, but there are several moments where the material and characters come together to deliver emotionally relevant material. It is unfortunately only at those times that this A/C Theatre Company production truly soars."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

COMING SOON - Jennifer Haaland, Examiner.com (click here to read the complete review)

 - Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic (click here to read the complete review)

"If your tastes gravitate toward the philosophical and reflective, then NOW. HERE. THIS. may fit your preferred bill of fare. Be advised, however, that the play...is more of a light but flavorful appetizer, a mixed salad, let's say, of personal recollections and reflections, garnished with a mélange of witty and poignant songs, and not so filling that it will strain your digestive capabilities but perhaps juicy enough to whet your interest in savoring richer theatrical entrees about identity and purpose or perhaps inviting you to seek out the works of Thomas Merton, the Trappist monk, poet, and author of The Seven Storey Mountain, whose exhortation frames the title of the play and invokes the imperative of the contemplative life and the search for meaning.... delectable and spirited performances of Tracy Payne Black, Brenda Jean Foley, Kevin Fenderson, and Micah Jondel DeShazer...Gathered together for a special discount day at the natural history museum (where better to gain perspective on one's place in space and time!)...It is through remembering, reflecting, and sharing their stories that the truth of Merton's Zen-like promise is revealed ~ that by mindfully navigating the path from "Who I am" to "What I want to be" and then to an affirmation of "Who I'll be," that by embracing the moment, then will they be free to truly appreciate life."  -Herbert Paine, Broadway World (click here to read the complete review)

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