Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 31, 2011

Superior Donuts

New Century Theatre, Smith College, Northampton, MA
through August 6th
by Jennifer Curran

About ten minutes into the play a distinct and not unwelcome feeling took over the room. It was almost as if the audience was watching a taping of a classic sitcom rather than a play. The structure of "Superior Donuts," a dark comedy, is in fact very similar to sitcoms of old and it is used brilliantly by playwright, Tracy Letts.

Elements of light-hearted joy, race relations, and the generational gap are all here for examination. The setting is a donut shop in Chicago's Uptown district. The shop has seen better days and as a sign of the times, is struggling to exist since Starbucks has opened across the street. The set design by Daniel Rist is authentic and simplistic.
"Donuts" is hysterically funny. Comedic timing here is pitch perfect. Barry M. Press' Max Tarasov is a constant comic relief, but behind the funny is something else entirely.

From the center of the story comes Arthur Przybyszewski, played with grace and gentleness by Rand Foerster. Foerster's detached and often befuddled Arthur is instantly likable and completely fallible. His low key approach could have easily been forgettable while contending with the high energy antics of Johnnie McQuarley's Franco Wicks. Foerster has the difficult job of grounding the play and giving McQuarley someone to spar with, which he did superbly. McQuarely bounds, jumps, jokes and laughs. Franco only sees the good and the possibilities in all things while his new boss is left desperately trying to bring his new hire back down to earth.

The two new friends are forced into a reversal of roles that has all the potential of becoming the stuff of greeting cards and after-school special sappiness. The deft direction by Steve Brady avoids that, and in the final moments of "Donuts" the audience is given an honest moment of great courage on the part of both characters. Courage is what this play is about. It's about having the courage to get back up no matter hard you've fallen. 

Vaughan Williams, Brahms, and Elgar

Berkshire Choral Festival
Berkshire School, Sheffield, MA
July 30, 2011
by Michael J. Moran

Two British rarities surrounded the more familiar Brahms Alto Rhapsody in a moving program dedicated to BCF founding executive director Mary Hunting Smith, who died just days after the 2010 season ended last August. It was fittingly led by the ever-youthful Robert Page, who conducted the very first BCF program thirty years ago and has since led more BCF concerts than any other conductor.  

Along with the 60 men and 100 women in the Chorus of the Berkshire Choral Festival, 57 members of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, and mezzo-soprano Phyllis Pancella, Page did stellar work throughout the evening. The pleasure of this program was enhanced not only by the excellent performances but by the opportunity to discover at least two little-known works by three major composers, all writing at the height of their powers.

While this radiant 1932 setting of the Magnificat for contralto (mezzo-soprano) soloist, female chorus, and orchestra could only have been written by Vaughan Williams, it also reflects, in the words of program annotator Laura Pritchard, "a modal flavor typical of the French music [he] had studied with Ravel." Through its mostly quiet 15-minute length, the piece featured a lovely repeated solo flute melody that represented the Holy Spirit and earned SSO principal flutist Albert Brouwer a well-deserved solo bow.      

In his 1869 Alto Rhapsody Brahms set a portion of Goethe's poem Winter Journey in the Harz Mountains which describes a young man who has withdrawn from the world after an unhappy love affair, and which may have reflected the composer's unrequited love for Julie Schumann, the daughter of his friends Robert and Clara. The tragic power of Brahms' music and Goethe's text was dramatically conveyed by Pancella and the male chorus members.

Elgar's 1912 setting of Arthur O'Shaughnessy's 1873 ode  The Music Makers expressed both the composer's and the poet's belief that music makers and dreamers of dreams are "the movers and shakers of the world." Quoting several of Elgar's earlier works, especially the Enigma Variations, and featuring contralto and full mixed chorus, the 35-minute piece brought this rewarding program to a poignant close.          

July 28, 2011

Show Boat

Goodspeed Opera House, East Haddam, CT
through September 17, 2011
by R.E Smith

Photo by Diane Sobolewski
Sometimes, smaller is definitely better. In the case of  “Show Boat”, at the Goodspeed Opera House, the intimate setting helps the audience connect to the characters, voices, and songs in new and exciting ways. The story spans 40 years in celebration of the joy, humor, pain and triumph of love. Like the mighty Mississippi River upon which the show is set, the production itself is beautiful, powerful, moving, and exciting.

Undoubtedly, many memories of “Show Boat” come from the film version or the 1990’s Broadway revival, both emphasizing big dance numbers, large casts and massive sets. The Goodspeed, of course, is a world class, but smaller venue, and the skillful adjustments made to fit the house make a great show even better.

Director Rob Ruggiero insightfully focuses on the personal relationships of the performing “family” on Captain Andy’s showboat, the Cotton Blossom. His decision streamlines the action so that the setting no longer distracts from the music and book. That said, the set, as is often the case at the Goodspeed, merited its own round of applause upon revelation.

The show is easily the starting point for the great American songbook with music by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Each number, from “You Are Love” to “Bill” to “Why Do I Love You?” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man” is moving, romantic and inspiring. The songs might be “classic” but they are far from “old” and the proximity to the performers helps to underscore their power.

By example,  “Ol Man River” may be a song that one has heard many times, but beyond the spoofs and “standard” renditions, one might be surprised by the anger and frustration it contains. The weight and tone of the song, and the whole book, is marvelously underscored when one can so clearly see the pain, intensity and longing in the faces of the actors.

Andrea Frierson & David Aron Damane
Photo by Diane Sobolewski
But every song is given its due by the remarkable, gifted cast, each of whom was at the top of their form. The constant comment of “what incredible voices!” can be heard throughout intermission. Each performer invests their character with passion; for the stage, for the laughs and for each other.

This wonderful show is “Only Make Believe” of the highest order.

July 23, 2011

Capitol Steps 2011

Cranwell Resort, Lenox, MA
through September 3, 2011
by Shera Cohen

It should be no surprise that In the Spotlight’s reviews of Capitol Steps tend to be repetitive. Year after year, it’s the same show, format, music, and usually the same ensemble. But, this is a good thing, a very good thing. Take a solid production template and tweak it with new material and Capitol Steps can be enjoyed again and again.

Past Spotlight reviews (written by this critic) included adjectives and accolades like: satirical, humorous, irreverent, lively, hilarious, energetic, and a treat. The quintet of comedians/singers (3 men, 2 women) and one pianist give a 90-minute, non-stop, laugh-a-thon on news headlines, primarily focusing on happenings in DC (thus, Capitol Steps). No one is safe from salacious lyrics set to familiar Broadway and pop music tunes. Donned in cheesy costumes and wigs, the actors do their best to look like Obama, Hillary, Bill, Joe, and Sarah. Immediately and “magically” they transpose into Quadafi, Charlie Sheen, Donald Trump, various Cabinet members, and all of the current Republican Party candidates. Yes, all…the actors take dual roles.

The topics are predictable in dozens of mini-scripts: the national debt, the Tea Party, airport pat downs, tree huggers, and homeland security. The troupe laughs at the audience and vice versa. There are just too many songs to remember, but “How Do You Solve a Problem Like Korea” (think “Sound of Music”) is an example. Every show ends with a hilariously long monologue by one of the quintet. He essentially speaks backwards, juxtaposing letters, in fast motion. With twisted malaprops (isn’t that redundant?), it takes a keen ear to catch every joke. Yet, when it seems nearly impossible to understand this speedy repartee, it’s ultimately clear and very, very funny.

Things are simple at a CS show: the set is a backdrop of the logo, the stage is an elevated platform, the room is a large windowless basement, the seats provide poor sight lines, but on a 90 degree day it’s pleasantly air-conditioned. Forgive and forget the amenities of which there are next to none. Just as the news changes daily, Capitol Steps is the show to see repeatedly.

The Hammersteins Lecture

The Mount, Lenox, MA
through August 29, 2011
by Shera Cohen

What’s there to do on Mondays in the Berkshires? As if walking the mountainous and gorgeous landscape, swimming in the lake, tasting fine or fun dining, and perusing the art of a museum were not enough, there’s The Mount Lecture Series. The eight-week series of lectures, running for nearly two decades, takes place in Edith Wharton’s renovated and air conditioned stable at 4pm. Authors speak about their recently penned books, followed by tea and book signing.

The subject was The Hammersteins: A Musical Theater Family non-fiction piece by Oscar Andrew Hammerstein III, son of Oscar II (“South Pacific,” “Carousel,” and “Oklahoma” fame). Not that the venue was hot, but the topic definitely was as the author quickly removed his suit jacket, then his tie, followed by pulling his shirt out. It was obvious that the more Oscar III became casual, the quicker he spoke, and the more excited he became. The excitement was contagious.

Oscar III traced his lineage from impresario grandfather Oscar I (a character whose commercial highs were as deep as his lows), to his uncle, and then dad. BTW, Hammerstein was the lyricist to Rodgers compositions, and the words came first. The author focused as much on his father’s failures as his successes, particularly because the former set in motion the path to greatness. A power point show included playbills of all 46 musicals penned, perhaps 10 of which most audience members have ever heard of. However, in addition to the three mentioned above, there’s “The King & I,” “Show Boat,” and “The Sound of Music.” He spoke of his father, not a genius, but a man with three qualities: talent, hard work, and good timing. Key to the lyricist’s uniqueness was another trio of rules to write by: start with a grabber song to instantly pull the audience in (“Oh What a Beautiful Morning”), write love songs with delayed gratification (“Some Enchanted Evening”), and make sure the song has a story (“Soliloquy”).

Oscar III had a great story to tell his full-house audience at The Mount.

A Doll’s House

Williamstown Theatre Festival, Williamstown. MA
through July 31, 2011
by Shera Cohen

“If it ain’t broke, etc.” is the dictate Sam Gold should have adhered to in his direction of “A Doll’s House.” Why take a classic (by Henrik Ibsen) and modernize it in look, language, and feel? It doesn’t work on many levels.

The story is Nora’s, a woman so influenced by her husband’s subtle yet strong hand of righteousness that she becomes childlike. She is his little squirrel as she crawls along the floor playing with her own children. Outside circumstances and people challenge her status. The audience waits for what should have been an extremely tense and dramatic outcome.

Photo by T. Charles Erickson
Lily Rabe (Nora) holds the entire play together, not only literally as she appears in every scene but one, but figuratively. She portrays a young woman whose nerves are raw, on the brink of becoming insane. Rabe’s Nora appears frivolousness, yet smolders underneath. The audience feels for her plight and her future. As excellent as Rabe is in the difficult role, one questions why this particular actress was cast. She is tall and has a deep voice – neither of which connotes a child, particularly when playing against a man of equal stature. Yet, thank goodness that Rabe was hired.

Actors appear primarily as sounding boards to Nora. Josh Hamilton (husband Torvald) needs an injection of meanness infused into his character; Lily Taylor (Nora’s friend) should reach her potential to make Kristine sympathetic; Adam Rothenberg (“threatening man”) is effective as a distraught man, yet the cadence of his speech is staccato; and Matthew Maher (Dr. Rank) is lost between humor and weirdness in Ibsen’s emotionally tortured character.

The fault, dear audience, lies in the direction. The set depicts an old, stylish apartment complete with library and beach-like furniture. The sex is too playful touch and tickle. The kids and dog scene can be cut. Most importantly is the ending. Nora’s sacrifice is paramount and succinct. The scene drags endlessly, tells the audience what we already know, and emphasizes Torvald instead of Nora. Not good.

This, being opening night, leaves time to make improvements. WTF is such a respected theatre venue, that the alterations are very possible.

July 22, 2011

Dinner with Friends

New Century Theatre, Northampton, MA
through July 23, 2011
by Jennifer Curran

"Dinner with Friends" was first presented won a Pulitzer Prize in 2000. The play focuses on two married couples who vacation together, dine together and raise their children together and what happens when one of the marriages ends seemingly abruptly.

The upper-class Gabe (Sam Rush) and Karen (Kathy McCafferty) is the couple trying to understand what happened to their friends' marriage and more importantly, what that says about their own lives and partnership. As Tom (David Mason) and Beth (Brianne Beatrice) let go of their union and reveal the truth about their lives to their friends, Gabe and Karen are left struggling to deal with possible weak spots in their own marriage.

With beautiful set design by Jacquelyn Marolt that puts the audience smack dab in the middle of Connecticut suburbia or the coast of Martha's Vineyard, gorgeous lighting by Daniel D. Rist and understated costume design by Emily Justice Dunn, everything is in place to create a perfect playground for willing and capable actors.

It's always surprising when a professional theatre fails to remember some of the basics. The director's hand is seen in awkward movements and blocking which gets in the way of the action. In moments that were clearly written to be light-hearted to reveal an unspoken intimacy or the closeness of the characters, the lines tend to fall flat or sound over-wrought.

That isn't to say that there isn't much to like about "Dinner." David Mason provides a man reborn in his flawed but lovable Tom. Sam Rush's Gabe offers a reaction to his friend's departure from assumed domestic bliss with just the right amount of horror and hurt. There a person in the room who wasn't silently cheering for Brianne Beatrice's Beth as she offers up some brutal honesty to her friend Karen.  And then in the center of it all is Karen herself.

Kathy McCafferty's performance is excellent. Her character's desperate need to hear the words, to feel the feelings, to be reminded that it is in fact all worth it in the end is as universal to marriage as car pools and dinners with friends.

July 20, 2011

In the Spotlight Reaches 400!

Barbara Stoup's review of Berkshire Theatre Festival's production of "Sylvia", found below, marks ITS' 400th on-line review!  Thank you for participating in our mission to support local arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond.


Berkshire Theatre Festival, Stockbridge, MA
through July 30, 2011
by Barbara Stroup

In a twist on the usual scenario --- "Please Mom, can we get a dog?" --- A. R. Gurney lets his mid-life protagonist propel the expansion of the family in this light-hearted play at Berkshire Theatre Festival. The real center of the play is Sylvia, the dog herself, played by (human) Rachel Bay Jones. Ms Jones captures the antics and habits of everyone's favorite pet with her large eyes and expressive face. If dogs make the best people, Ms. Jones definitely makes the best dog.

Greg's attachment to Sylvia is immediate and adoring - he is clearly a man in love. Sylvia adores him back. David Adkins plays Greg, and to his credit, is an unflinching recipient of licks and love attacks from Ms. Jones, the 'dog.' Dog lovers usually welcome these canine expressions of affection with joy, but it takes a real actor to welcome them from a human!
The conflict in the play arises from the reaction of Kate, Greg's wife, and her attempt to keep the couple on the path they had mapped out for this child-free stage of their lives. Kate is played sternly by Jurian Hughes. The director dresses her in neutral no-nonsense business wear, just in case we need reminding that this lady has a Plan.

Three supporting characters appear, and all three are played with comic excellence by Walter Hudson. Tom, a dog owner, counsels Greg about spaying. Phyllis, an old friend, gives up abstinence after an encounter with Sylvia. Leslie, a psychotherapist, hides all gender clues in his counseling practice, and then challenges Greg to 'guess.' These characters take the play out of the living room making them a welcome addition to the narrative, especially because of Mr. Hudson's talent for bringing them to life. The play becomes a musical at one point, with a trio of "Every Time We Say Good-bye I Die a Little" --- a seriously sad song given a comically bizarre twist.

The playwright resolves the conflict off-stage making the final epilogue seem a bit anti-climactic, but the play deals nicely with the pleasure and peril of canine companionship and its effect on a human relationship -  while dispensing nicely with cats !

July 14, 2011

BSO & Joshua Bell

Tanglewood, Lenox, MA
July 10, 2011
by Debra Tinkham

A beautiful Berkshire Sunday afternoon began as all orchestra members clad in white awaited conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya's first down beat of "Loco," written by Jennifer Higdon, a contemporary composer and flutist. Imagining the finish of the word "Loco" one gets the idea of this short, quick moving, temperamental movement, which in Higdon's words, "…is about locomotion as crazy movement." This was the first Boston Symphony Orchestra's performance of the piece.

Max Bruch's "Fantasia on Scottish folk melodies for violin, with orchestra and harp" featured renowned Joshua Bell on violin, and Jessica Zhou who is the Boston Symphony Orchestra's very own harpist. Bell and his Stradivarius were eerily dramatic and beautiful throughout the four movements. Zhou and Bell were harmoniously drawn together at times and then sweetly drifted apart. The Allegro guerriero was very war-like in melody, dynamics and sound, especially involving the percussion section.

Pyotr Tchaikovsky's "Symphony No. 6 in B minor," also known as "Pathetique," in four movements began in typical dark, low, slow Tchaikovsky style. The composer seemed to get a thrill out of forcing his musicians to work hard - very hard. The string bass had some particularly enjoyable passages as did the trombones, bass trombone and tuba. There was plenty of action, power, persistence and fortitude in this easily recognized work. Unfortunately, the only distraction from this talented conductor and orchestra were the birds - a loud, large chorus of birds, just outside, singing a different song in a different key with dissonant harmony.   

This was a wonderful program and a beautiful day.

July 12, 2011

The Who’s Tommy

Colonial Theatre, Pittsfield, MA
through July 16, 2011
by Dave Chivers

“The Who’s Tommy” opened with a solid performance by a very talented cast. But it leaves an audience wishing for a bit more gritty rock and roll.

The rock opera benefits greatly from a deep ensemble, simple but effective choreography, and a brilliant and artful use of the space venue. The set is simple but ingeniously conceived. A circular projection screen is used wisely to set up and augment the simple story line of the opera.

There is not a weak voice in the cast. All are strong, and the sometimes difficult melodies and lyrics are handled gracefully and with apparent ease by the singers in every role. The voices of the two leads, Randy Harrison (Tommy/Narrator) and Jenny Powers (Mrs. Walker) are especially good.

That simple story line is mainly a device to present the powerful music of the show. The strength of the show is in the music, and the music is professional and polished – often too polished, crying out for grit and guttural power. The music wants to be visceral, tense, teetering on the edge of maniacal. But despite the obvious skill of all the principal singers, most don’t go there. Angela Robinson (Acid Queen) is an example. She has a great voice, sings smoothly and strongly, but in her signature song she should seethe with pent up rage. It is the same with most of the principals.

The polish that limits the main roles conversely works marvelously for the ensemble. They are, as a group, strong, their numbers lively. The shining moment of choreography is the too brief sequence where the ensemble becomes the pinball machine Tommy is playing, complete with a cast member bouncing back and forth as the pinball.

The band reflects the overall production, accomplished and smooth, but wanting a little more pounding bass, edgy guitar soloing. All the elements are there for a powerful show if the actors lose themselves a little more in their roles, press it more to the edges and think less of the musicality itself, the show would take off. And it well may as the run goes on and they grow more confident in their parts.

July 11, 2011


Chester Theater, Chester, MA
through July 17, 2011
by Robbin M. Joyce

How great would it have been to have a Smartphone years ago when slogging through the dreaded list of required reading in high school? Writing essays, book reviews, reports and term papers would have been a breeze; perhaps even enjoyable.

Sitting in the audience of Chester Theater Company's presentation of pride@prejudice was almost like having that information available. Daniel Elihu Kramer delights the sold-out house with his adaptation of Jane Austin's novel, Pride and Prejudice. He carefully culls the important scenes from her storyline and cleverly interjects them with commentary, exposition, letters by Austin, questions from the audience and even some web-surfing and chat room conversations.

The five cast members -- Aubrey Saverino, Gisela Chipe, Jay Stratton, Michele Tauber and Colin Ryan -- all move among 30 characters with ease and aplomb. Despite the fact that Jay Stratton, for instance, plays both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Collins, the audience never for a moment is confused about which of Elizabeth's suitor is which. Indeed, we see all the major characters, several minor ones, the author herself and a plethora of frustrated high school and college students.

This is a delightful production and one not to be missed. It breathes new life into a beloved story, and very well could inspire a re-reading of the novel. The only question left unanswered is the nature and outcome of Austin's relationship with Tom Lefroy. Perhaps we should Google it.

July 8, 2011

Carte Blanche

Jacob's Pillow, Ted Shawn Theatre, Becket, MA
June 29, 2011
by Emily List

Love, the second offering in a two-part performance at Jacob's Pillow by Carte Blanche, Norway's national company of contemporary dance, is described by a critic from Ha'artz as "pure dance, singing the praise of the human body's gift of movement." The performance on Wednesday night in the Ted Shawn Theatre featuring two works by Batsheva Dance Company's Sharon Eyal, Killer Pig and Love, feels anything other than a celebration of the human body. Rather, the movement in both pieces appears distorted and constrained. Rarely does the choreography allow the dancers out of seemingly uncomfortable positions, their shoulders tensely set around their ears, their backs rounded, their bodies low to the ground in deep-set second-position grande plies.

Within Killer Pig and Love, virtually indistinguishable save for a lighting change (Avi Yona Bueno lights the floor red) and the addition in Love of a few male dancers, the company undulates listlessly around the stage to the grating beat of what sounds like a clock, menacingly ticking away. Just as there is a sense of relief when the relentlessly loud, pulsating music stops, there is a moment in Killer Pig when a dancer explores the full range of her extension, grande jeteing freely around the space, and it is a breath of fresh air.

There is little range of movement, the company mostly contorting their bodies and rising up and down in unison on the balls of their feet. The choreography is largely a corruption of classical ballet movements, the dancers pirouetting with feet flexed and legs turned in, or performing grande batmas with rounded backs, flexed feet and hands.

The company maintains a connection with the audience but it is a hostile one. At one point in Love, the dancers cease all movement and stare out at the viewers with arms crossed as if offering up a challenge. Inexplicably at the end of the piece, the dancers abandon the audience, leaving the stage several minutes before the music ends. The greatest challenge is finding meaning within this performance that is executed with technical precision but no apparent joy or appreciation for the love of dance.

July 6, 2011

Theatre: from New England to England and Back

by Shera Cohen

My eyes see the eye of horse staring back at me. The animal's face is depicted on a small button with safety pin attached to the back. The words: War Horse, New London Theatre. I will save this pin…probably forever. It will constantly remind me of my theatre trip to London, highlighted by experiencing the outstanding drama "War Horse." More on this later.

From L to R
Lauren Grossman & Shera Cohen
Our journey lasted 10 days, and I was determined to see at least five plays in the eight "real days" we were there - omitting day #1 for jet lag and day #10 for the three hour wait at the airport. "We" includes my friend of 30 years and former Bravo Newspaper partner Lauren, who lives in Arizona and loves theatre as much as I do.

To read the full article, follow THIS LINK


New Century Theatre
Smith College, Northampton, MA
through July 9, 201
by Emily List

New Century Theatre presents "Distracted," a superbly acted play written by Lisa Loomis and directed by Sam Rush that follows a mother's struggle to cope with life after her son is diagnosed with Attention-Deficit-Hyper-Activity-Disorder. "Mama," played by Cate Damon, develops an immediate intimacy with the audience, breaking the fourth wall and confiding honestly with the spectators about a day in the life with her behaviorally challenging son Jesse, a character who is heard but not seen until the play's final moments.

Almost all of the characters within the play acknowledge the audience members as confidantes, a device that allows them to say what should never be said within the world of the play. The hilarious Jeannine Haas as the persnickety Dr. Waller confides to the audience what she is thinking about Mama but cannot say to her; "You're a horrible mother."

Moments of humor like this punctuate the extremely dialogue-heavy script. Humorous one-liners are delivered with expertly deadpan expressions and inflection. At one point, a struggling and distracted Mama answers the telephone. "I'd love to give to the alumni association, but I haven't lived up to my potential and I can't afford it right now," she says matter-of-factly. The actors also infuse the play with moments of striking vulnerability. The excellent Brian Joseph Smith as Dad, spends much of the play violently, yet with strength and humor, opposing the decision to medicate Jesse for ADHD. He ultimately breaks down in his bedroom, crying, "I just want our son to be normal."

The moments of raw truth, tenderness, tension and frustration in an everyday setting are shared between actors and audience, and with Mama's decision that the best gift she can give her ADHD son is her attention, actor and audience momentarily share a sigh of relief.


Berkshire Theatre Festival, Stockbridge, MA
through July 16
by Jennifer Curran

Michael Weller’s moonchildren opened on Broadway in 1972 to small audiences and rave reviews.  There have been scores of plays written about the 1960's, but precious few that get it right. Moonchildren isn’t about tie dyed shirts or love beads; it is as rich and complicated as the time.  Weller’s decision to choose a tiny slice of an era allows his audience to go beyond picket and peace signs.

With scenic design by John Traub and costumes by George Veale, the mid 1960’s are brought to life in the most real way possible. The play itself is complex and its characters can feel just out of reach. Viewers go home without learning who everyone truly is or where they come from. The direction by the very talented Karen Allen bridges those gaps and allows the characters to take on lives on their own.

The impeccable comedic timing of Joe Paulik (Mike) and Matt R. Harrington (Cootie) drive the show. In a master’s class of one-upmanship and rapid fire one-liners, Paulik and Harrington are brilliant. The two actors play so well together they could easily steal every scene, that they don’t is mostly due to Hale Appleman.

Appleman’s Bob, the center of the story, is played with an understated grace and powerhouse of emotional reserve. The audience can see the rising frustration and fear and anger at the changing tides in Bob’s world. We watch as Bob struggles to find his way through death, both figuratively and literally.

As a story about growing up, generational gaps and the certainty of change, moonchildren is a rarity. It defies its time and is as relevant today as it was in 1972. The casting is spot on and nary a weak spot to be found.