Category Archives: Actors' Theatre Reviews

“Grey Gardens” Review by Sue Merrell

Grey Gardens received 3.5 out of 4 stars from mlive.com. If you did not get a chance to see the review, check out the excerpt below – then head to www.mlive.com to read the full article.

Review: ‘Grey Gardens’ blurs barriers between fantasy and reality at Actors’ Theatre

The Actor's Theatre cast performs in the dress rehearsal of 'Grey Garden's The Musical' Wednesday evening at Spectrum Theatre. 'Grey Gardens' runs June 5th through June 14th. (Katy Batdorff | MLive.com)

The Actor’s Theatre cast performs in the dress rehearsal of ‘Grey Garden’s The Musical’ Wednesday evening at Spectrum Theatre. ‘Grey Gardens’ runs June 5th through June 14th. (Katy Batdorff | MLive.com)

By Sue Merrell | grentertainment@mlive.com

Fame and fortune are fleeting, but not as fragile as sanity.

“Grey Gardens,” the final show of the season at Actors’ Theatre, is an ominous tribute to our values, blurring the barriers between fantasy and reality, dependence and independence, beauty and ugliness. And it’s all based on a true story.

“Grey Gardens” pulls back the curtain on some of the more notorious relatives of First Lady Jackie Kennedy Onassis, including her aunt Edith Bouvier Beale, known as Big Edie, and Big Edie’s daughter of the same name, known as Little Edie.

The opening act depicts the ladies and their East Hampton mansion during its heyday in 1941. Little Edie is about to announce her engagement to Joseph Patrick Kennedy. She is the girl who’s got everything. And Big Edie is eager to use the social occasion to show off her operatic skill.

[Read full article on mlive.com]

Tickets are on sale now! Go to www.atgr.org to reserve yours today!

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“God of Carnage” Review – 3.5 of 4 Stars!

Did you see Sue Merrell’s review for God of Carnage? Here is a quick excerpt:

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Behaving badly never looked so good.

From left actors Carrie McNulty, Amy McFadden, Craig Hammerlind and Sammy A. Publes perform during a dress rehearsal of 'God of Carnage' at the Actors' Theatre in downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. The performance opens April 17 and goes through April 26. (Emily Rose Bennett | MLive.com)

From left actors Carrie McNulty, Amy McFadden, Craig Hammerlind and Sammy A. Publes perform during a dress rehearsal of ‘God of Carnage’ at the Actors’ Theatre in downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday, April 16, 2014. The performance opens April 17 and goes through April 26. (Emily Rose Bennett | MLive.com)

“God of Carnage,” which opened Thursday, April 17, at Actors’ Theatre, is a pithy little play that quickly strips away any sham of civility and exposes humanity’s baser instincts. But it is done so artfully, with such witty retorts and physical humor, that you don’t know what hit you.  […]

Head on over to mlive to read the complete review. If you have already seen the show – leave a comment on the article and let them know what you thought!

There is one more weekend left to see this fantastic show! Tickets can be purchased on the Actors’ Theatre website at atgr.org. Performances are April 24-26 at 8PM

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Everyone is Talking About “Love! Valour! Compassion!”

Jeffery Williams,left, and Dylan Harris perform as Buzz Hauser and James and John Jeckyll during dress rehearsal of Love! Valour! Compassion! at the Actors' Theater in downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. (Andrew Kuhn | MLive.com)

Jeffery Williams,left, and Dylan Harris perform as Buzz Hauser and James and John Jeckyll during dress rehearsal of “Love! Valour! Compassion!” at Actors’ Theater in downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. (Andrew Kuhn | MLive.com)

Our opening weekend of our 33rd season has been wonderful. Audiences love Love! Valour! Compassion!

The talent in this show is explosive and so endearing. I loved every moment, even the sad ones. Thank you and bravo!!!  – Malia H.

We’re also being noticed by the media. Sue Merrell gave Love! Valour! Compassion! three stars in a wonderful review on www.mlive.com and Todd Chance listed the production as one of his Top 5 Things to do in Grand Rapids.

From the Director, Jolene Frankey: 

How do we navigate life’s biggest milestones? Do we hold our heads high and bravely march into the face of adversity?  Or do we throw an applause-worthy temper tantrum until our struggle has passed? Over the course of three summer holidays, the eight friends in this piece will turn to each other for love and support (and the occasional emotional outburst). Of course, their playful banter and deep affections are not unique to their story. Each of us can easily recognize a piece of ourselves in the funny and fascinating characters that Terrence McNally has written. Though their specific journeys may come from a different perspective, we all eventually experience the challenges of relationships, aging, sickness, loyalty, and obligation…just probably not with such witty words or fancy lighting. I am honored to present this work to the West Michigan community. May our experience with this production help us all find a little more love, valour, and compassion for each other.

Love! Valour! Compassion! has just three more performances, September 26-28 at 8:00PM at Spectrum Theatre. To reserve your seats, please go to www.atgr.org.

Love! Valour! Compassion!

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Review and Video of “Looking for Normal”

 

Did you know there is just one more weekend left to catch Looking for Normal, Actors’ final show of the 2012-2013 season! Last week reviewer Sue Merrell saw the show. She gave Looking for Normal 3 out 4 star review on www.mlive.com. From her article:

Although the central issue is one most families will never face, you don’t have to look too far to find lots of “normal” folks with responses that are far too familiar.

You can also preview a trailer of the show, here:

Performances this week are Thursday, Friday and Saturday night at 8:00 PM. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure and reserve yours today by going to http://www.atgr.org and clicking the big green BUY TICKETS NOW button!

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“A Steady Rain” Receives 3 1/2 Stars Out of 4!

Wow!  Did you see the review for A Steady Rain? Check out this excerpt, and then head on over to http://www.mlive.com to read the rest and check out the wonderful photos of the show by Sally Finneran!

Review: ‘A Steady Rain’ at Actors’ Theatre soaks audience in story of intense brotherhood

Lorilee Craker | grentertainment@mlive.comBy Lorilee Craker | grentertainment@mlive.com 
on January 25, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Jim Cantrell, left, as “Joey” and Todd Lewis as “Denny” rehearse “A Steady Rain” Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 at Spectrum Theatre at Grand Rapids Community College. The play with run Jan. 24- Feb. 2. (Photo credit: Sally Finneran | MLive) THEATER REVIEW: 3 1/2 OUT OF 4 STARS

THEATER REVIEW: 3 1/2 OUT OF 4 STARS
‘A Steady Rain’

Highlight: The parting shot of Denny and Joey, coming to terms with their future.
Low point: Heinous descriptions and word pictures of a serial killer (based on Jeffrey Dahmer) and his unspeakable acts.
Length: 1 hour and 30 minutes, no intermission.
See it: Through Feb. 2 at Spectrum Theater, 160 Fountain St. NE, $20-$24, Spectrum Theater box office, (234-3946), atgr.org.

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Deeply flawed and even disturbed, childhood friends Joey (Jim Cantrell) and Denny (Todd Lewis) always have each others’ backs, whether it be in life and domestic issues or on the mean streets of Chicago as cops and partners.

Their friendship, closer than most brothers, is tested to the snapping point in this taut, terrifying hour-and-a-half melodrama that pummels theatergoers with its intensity. Presented by Actors’ Theatre, “A Steady Rain” poured down like acid drops at times on patrons at Thursday’s opening-night performance, a raw deluge of depravity that left no doubt as to mankind’s need for redemption.

Denny is the top dog, a blustery cauldron of justifications and defensiveness. For him, everyone else is the bad guy and he’s to blame for very little. He constantly brags about his “good life,” in a decent house with an attractive wife and two little boys, and generously invites his lonely best friend over almost every night.

Lewis’s Denny is totally full of crap, but one can spot glimmers of his good heart from time to time, saving him from being utterly deplorable. For as the story unfolds, theatergoers learn that Denny isn’t nearly the upstanding family man he presents himself to be and deep down knows he’s not. He’s racist, impulsive, hot tempered and hypocritical — and that’s just for starters.

Joey is easier to like, an alcoholic nebbish who has no life outside of a low-man-on-the-totem-pole beat cop job and a fifth-wheel spot in Denny’s family. Still, he’s moral and reliable, two things the pair become desperately needful of when everything unravels horribly.

A pimp Denny has busted a few times shoots a bullet through his family’s home, injuring his toddler son. Frenzied with revenge, Denny goes on a rampage that further tears his life apart. ()

Read the rest of the review on www.mlive.com.

There is still on more weekend to check out this amazing show!

A Steady Rain
By Keith Huff

Jan. 31 – Feb 2, 2013 All shows at 8PM. Go to www.atgr.org for more information and to reserve your seats online.

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