February 19, 2009

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Curtain Calls
By Heidi Masek hmasek@hippopress.com

• Life lessons: I was hesitant about watching Tuesdays with Morrie at Yellow Taxi Productions. The last time I saw it, film, Broadway and TV actor James Whitmore played Morrie — the Brandeis professor imparting wisdom while dying from ALS -- and his son James Jr. played Mitch Albom — the sports journalist who wrote a memoir about his visits with his former teacher after a 16-year absence. It was at Peterborough Players.

That said, YTP, did a commendable job delivering Albom’s story. Albom broke his promise to keep in touch with his friend and favorite professor until he spotted Morrie discussing his ALS on Nightline.

David White gave a standout performance in Taking Sides for the Nashua professional company, and anchored this play as Morrie. White portrayed an aging man whose muscles are failing with studied depth. From a moment of seeming exhaustion, he would turn his head and deliver his answer with wit and authority — reminding Mitch that Morrie is still the teacher.

Playing Mitch required restraint and a more subtle range, which suited Doug Chilson better than some of the more overblown characters I’ve seen him play for YTP.

Simple staging and props have been effective for YTP before, and were here. YTP relied on lighting to direct focus and moods.

YTP finally has its own space. While the new black box is tiny, it allowed the audience to clearly see the changes on Morrie’s face as White portrayed his decline at the Sunday, Feb. 15 show. He’s introduced as a very warm, open and smiling gentleman with eyes that twinkle like Santa Claus’. As the ALS progressed, twinkling happened seldom.

At 90 minutes, Tuesdays with Morrie is packed with life lessons from a dying sociology professor — consider bringing tissues. Yellow Taxi Productions presents it Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. through Feb. 28, at 5 Pine St. Extension in Nashua. Call 791-4558 for tickets, which range in cost from $15 to $25.

• From Jason Robert Brown: Composer Jason Robert Brown has said of his Songs for a New World, “It’s about one moment. It’s about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back,” according to the Acting Loft. It opened off-Broadway in 1995. The Manchester community company presents Songs for a New World, in which songs are connected by theme instead of narrative, Friday, Feb. 20, and Saturday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m., at 516 Pine St. Call 666-5999 for tickets, which cost $10 and $15. 

 • Discounts at the Palace: Find $15 back balcony tickets for Little Shop of Horrors, next in the Citizens Bank Performing Arts Series of professional musicals at the Palace Theatre in Manchester. Students can try for $15 rush tickets. Otherwise, tickets cost between $25 and $40 to see Seymour battle a carnivorous plant. Buy two, and you are eligible to buy a gift certificate at half price for the Hanover Street Chophouse or Red Arrow Diner. The Palace is at 80 Hanover St. Call 668-5588 or see www.palacetheatre.org.

• Together again: Anselmian Abbey Players celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Saint Anselm College troupe with the review “Once a Player, Always a Player,” Saturday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. at the Dana Center,  100 Saint Anselm Drive, Manchester (641-7700). Tickets cost $10.


David White and Doug Chilson in Tuesdays with Morrie, at Yellow Taxi Productions. Ceaser Fine Photography.

2/12/2009 On Golden Pond writer honored

2/5/2009 Divorce and death
1/29/2009 Red carpet?
1/22/2009 Curtain calls
1/15/2009 Money, powqer and family
1/8/2009 Offer your two cents
1/1/2009 Tapping into the spotlight
12/25/2008 Curtain calls
12/18/2008 BIg things that come in envelopes
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12/04/2008 Remains of an affair
11/27/2008 Ballet — not for the faint of heart
11/20/2008 Mary's new home
11/13/2008 Company, Secret garden and Doubt
11/6/2008 That Broadway sound
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10/23/2008 Busy theaters
10/16/2008 All in one weekend
10/9/2008 Merrimack Rep at 20
10/2/2008 Curtain calls
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9/18/2008 Stage sports
9/11/2008 Second Life to the rescue
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8/28/2008 Tennessee Williams at Weirs
8/21/2008 Change for the moment
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8/7/2008 Wicked experience
7/31/2008 Merry tales
7/24/2008 Review: the great outdoors
7/17/2008 Curtain calls
7/10/2008 Musical monsters
7/3/2008 Curtain calls
6/26/2008 Curtain calls
6/19/2008 Summer stock
6/12/2008 Curtain calls
6/5/2008 This one time, at drama camp...
5/29/2008 Curtain calls
5/22/2008 Making it big
5/15/2008 Curtain calls
5/8/2008 Curtain calls
5/1/2008 Forging ahead
4/24/2008 The Bard, condensed
4/17/2008 'Balance' in Bedford
4/10/2008 Curtain calls
4/3/2008 Singing for a cause
3/27/2008 These aren't recitals folks
3/20/2008 Albee at MRT
3/13/2008 Murder and rhinos
3/6/2008 Murder and rhinos
2/28/2008 The art of theater criticism
2/21/2008 Breaking the cycle
2/14/2008 Curtain Calls
2/7/2008 NH Theatre awards sixth year
1/31/2008 Elvis fans and ghost stories
1/24/2008 Building an audience
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1/10/2008 Fate of Annicchiarico
1/3/2008 A little confidence
12/27/2007 Stage notables in 2007
12/20/2007 If all they want for Christmas is two good seats ...
12/13/2007 Summer stock vs. southern NH
12/06/2007 Curtain Calls
11/29/2007 Curtain Calls
11/22/2007 Broadway composer and actress hit Granite State
11/15/2007 One-man play turns audience into students
11/8/2007 Curtain calls
11/1/2007 First times
10/25/2007 Curtain Calls
10/18/2007 Curtain Calls
10/11/2007 American History
10/04/2007 Active in the community
9/27/2007 Stringing single
9/20/2007 Curtain Calls
9/13/2007 Free range
9/6/2007 Curtain Calls
8/30/2007 Curtain Calls
8/23/2007 Curtain Calls
8/16/2007 Curtain Calls
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8/2/2007 That deaf, dumb and blind kid
7/26/2007 Potty humor
7/19/2007 Ease on down the road
7/12/2007 Jekyll vs. Hyde
7/5/2007 If it's free, it's for me
6/28/2007 Transformations
6/21/2007 Curtain calls
6/14/2007 No really, you'll get it
6/7/2007 Curtain calls
5/31/2007 Curtain calls
5/24/2007 Putting the camp in camp
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4/26/2007 Still going strong
4/19/2007 Vietnam the the Palace
4/12/2007 Confluence
4/5/2007 First look
3/29/2007 Reluctant star
3/15/2007 In a town far away
3/8/2007 Curtain calls
3/1/2007 Into the future
2/22/2007 But will it play in New Hampshire
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2/8/2007 Family affair
2/1/2007 Curtain calls
1/25/2007 Curtain calls
1/18/2007 Curtain calls
1/11/2007 Curtain calls
1/4/2007 Fork in the road
12/28/2006 Standout performances of '06
12/21/2006 Curtain Calls
12/14/2006 Players remember Peter Bridges
12/07/2006 Young talent
11/30/2006 Lighthearted farce for the holidays
11/23/2006 Curtain Calls
11/16/2006 Good theater
11/9/2006 Preview roundup
11/2/2006 Access to the ancients
10/26/2006 Aida on a Nashua stage
10/19/2006 Children of a Lesser God brilliantly played
10/12/2006 A true love triangle
10/05/2006 Curtain Calls
09/28/2006 Bringing people back to life
09/21/2006 Getting judged
09/14/2006 Long strange journey
09/07/2006 Curtain Calls
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08/24/2006 Putting kids in charge
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08/10/2006 All theater, all summer
08/03/2006 A Jesus musical, reworked
07/27/2006 A match made in Maine
07/20/2006 Variations on a theme
07/13/2006 I Hate Hamlet
07/06/2006 Serious theater
06/29/2006 L.A. in Peterborough
06/22/2006 Da Vinci to Rube Goldberg
06/15/2006 Peter Bridges remembered
06/08/2006 From Hairspray to monkeys
06/01/2006 Special Theatrics
05/25/2006 Live Brit-com
05/18/2006 Evil stepsisters earn the yuks
05/11/2006 A message to mom
05/04/2006 Meet the cast
04/27/2006 'I hope i get it'
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04/13/2006 Nashua rocks The Wiz
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03/30/2006 Cabaret is Mnchester bound
03/23/2006 A 42nd Street detour
03/16/2006 Actor-director wants your ideas
02/23/2006 Yellow Taxi's Theater Festival opens March 1
02/16/2006 Herding CATS
02/09/2006 An†actors' studio
02/02/2006 A thing about love
01/26/2006 Spring theater season warming up
01/19/2006 Gearing up for the big night
01/12/2006 This Phantom is not a menace
01/05/2006 Jim Kelly, sci-fi writer and alternate historian
10th anniversary at Capitol Center
10 Ways To Survive The Audition
A Chorus Line
A Figaro Worth Cheering
A 'Living Newspaper' on stage
A tale of two wives
A Tribute To Music
Actorsingers Deliver On Superstar
Beauty and the Beast
Bedford Off-Broadway Gets Spooky
Being The Beatles, 1964 The Tribute
Bringing NYC to Wilton
Creating the venue from antiques
Crimes Of The Heart
Curtain to rise on Dana Center
Dana Center Takes Center Stage
Ensemble elevates Palaceís Godspell
From stage to the silver screen
Great play, too bad itís over
Greater Tuna
Humble Boy
Itís cabaret, hear it sing, joke, tease
It's Child's Play
Jesus Christ Superstar
Kids Tackle Edgar Allan Poe
Local boy hits the big time, doesnít lose his head
Lowell theater opens with a winner of a satire
Madco welcomes Boston actor-director
Meet John Sefel, Director
Meet Suzanne Delle, Yellow Taxiís driver
Music Man to run three weekends
New Thalian Players
Palace announces 2005-06 season
Peterborough Playersí Solidarity is solid gold
Plaid
Plaid (II)
Playing with manís best friend
Proud of the Peacock
Racy, crazy blast at the Palace
Reviving His Passion
Robert Dionne, The man behind the Majestic
Rosemary Dann
Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Short-Attention Span Theater
Side Show
Sideshow slips sideways
Spending The Summer On Stage
Stages of learning
Steel Magnolias
Suessical: The Musical
Theater Of The Imagination
Theater Kids Without A School
Theater in the park draws big
The Drawer Boy
The Festival
The†Five best shows of 2005
The Prisoner Of Second Avenue
The Russian/American Kids Circus
The Senator Wore Pantyhose
The Tony Awards, they're grrrrreat
The Warmth Of The Cold
Three nights, three shows at the Palace
Tosca

Under the Caribbean with the little mermaid

Wake up to Ďnight Mother