Hamlet at the Capital Rep

A Singer’s Notes 108: To be or not to be, that is the question

This most famous quote, precariously balanced, elevates the word question to existential status. Hamlet is a play of questions. Could Gertrude following hard after, have saved Ophelia from drowning? Did Hamlet ever love Ophelia? Is the ghost real? There is a glimmer of hope—Hamlet lets us know very clearly that if he had more time, being blessed finally with the proximity of death and its widening of perception, he could tell us more. Perhaps he could answer some of these questions.

A Singer’s Notes 41: To Dream the Impossible Dream: Man of La Mancha at Capital Rep

Man of La Mancha is manifestly a show which tries to convert. It is not a simple narrative, though its main functional device is story-telling. It seeks to do no less than convince.  It is as close to polemic as musical theatre gets.  It must succeed in doing this, or it has not worked. Capital Rep’s new production of this classic musical is fully professional. It is well-cast, musically inventive, and consistently well-paced. Kevin McGuire in the title role has more than a touch of Falstaff in his portrayal. He seemed almost bewildered as Cervantes in prison, and then by turns, tired, rueful, and very human, portraying Don Quixote. He did not hog the stage; often he was the quietest presence on the stage. His singing did not set out to command, but to move. I could imagine a more bravura performance, but Mr. McGuire’s was direct and convincing.

A Singer’s Notes 32: Two in Hubbard – Menotti’s The Medium and Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along

Hubbard Hall is a space which seems to fit its performers ideally. No pretension, no million dollar sets, and a willingness to use local actors if they are good enough. Every show I have seen there has gained a directness and an honesty from this space. Director Kevin McGuire’s Merrily We Roll Along, performed by the Theatre Company at Hubbard Hall, was clearly articulated. The artificiality of the musical itself was not entirely overcome, but there was a clear way through the episodic book. I can’t say it seemed like great Sondheim. It sounded like Sondheim, but it lurched and iterated its fundamental points all too often.

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