Friday, June 22, 2012

City Theatre/Broward Center: Standing on Ceremony (reviews)

City Theatre's production of Standing On Ceremony opened at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on June 21, 2012.
Experience an exciting, provocative evening of new short plays read by a dynamic, celebrity cast, written by some of America’s most illustrious playwrights as they offer their unique takes on the moments before, during, and after “I do.” Celebrate post-show at a wedding reception complete with music and wedding cake!Dealing in a personal way with same-sex marriage and equality, these American writers have created an evening that is at once as insightful and stirring as it is funny and heartwarming. A portion of all proceeds will be donated to Equality Florida.
John Manzelli directed a cast that featured Bruce Vilanch, Bryan Batt, Elizabeth Dimon, Elena Garcia, Steve Trovillion, Christopher De Paola, and Elizabeth Price alternating with jazz diva Nicole Henry, who will be singing a couple of numbers after the show on Friday and Saturday.

Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
As the two men eloquently pledge their lives and their loves to each other in the moving vows that close Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, theater reasserts its power to underscore the common humanity that transcends differences even as we treasure and celebrate those differences.
This production is really just a staged reading, benefiting from a few more rehearsals than usual with actors frequently referring to scripts in loose-leaf notebooks. But most of the personnel here are skilled enough to produce a satisfying professional evening...
The more overtly political skits are preaching directly to the gay men’s choir such as Craig Wright’s (I Am My Own Wife) edited transcript of a virulent debate on gay marriage that he instigated On Facebook. Only some heavy lifting by comic actress Garcia softened the one-dimensional feel of the piece.
...Dimon’s hilarious depiction of a conservative Ohio housewife whose equilibrium is unhinged when she hears a caustic “gay” voice in her head as she interacts with a couple in The Gay Agenda by Paul Rudnick(Jeffrey, I Hate Hamlet, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told). She becomes increasingly upset by the “incursions” of gay life such as all the sassy wisecracking sidekicks to women characters on sitcoms being gay men. “It’s taking jobs from black women!” she wails.
The high point was Batt’s performance of Moises Kaufman’s (The Laramie Project) affecting London Mosquitos, a surprisingly uplifting eulogy by a man in his late 50s, memorializing the intelligence and courage of his beloved long-time companion who died of cancer.
The City Theatre production of Standing on Ceremony plays at the Broward Center through June 24, 2012.

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