‘Last Five Years’ puts pair in a pop opera time warp

Reviewed by Nancy Oliveri

Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years opened last night (March 22) in Binghamton, a production of Half Light Theatre, one of the more recent entries into the theater community here. The show is not exactly a musical and is not exactly a play, but is more like an opera. I would call it a Pop Opera, but without any instantly sing-able melodies. I didn’t leave with any one song buffering in my head, just a sense of the work as a whole.

That’s OK, though, because it was good and, first and foremost, a love story — a story about the first and, no surprise here, what turn out to be the last five years of a couple’s angst-ridden, sometimes hopeful, but never really tender relationship. Performed in the intimate setting of the Roberson  Museum and Science Center’s third-floor ballroom, the show was accompanied only by Vicky Gordon, a fine pianist. Read the rest of this entry »

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‘Dracula’: Strong performances hampered by weak show

Reviewed by George Basler

Dracula has taken his lumps over the years since being created as a Victorian novel by Bram Stoker in 1897. Old snaggleltooth has taken on holy water, crucifixes, garlic and stakes and still managed to keep on ticking.

But Dracula: The Musical just might permanently kill him. Read the rest of this entry »

Half Light Theatre schedules ‘Master Class’ benefit; Binghamton mayor has role

By George Basler

Half Light Theatre, a new Binghamton-based theater company, is planning to mark its first anniversary with a special evening this coming weekend.

On Friday (July 27), the company will take over the grand mansion foyer of the Roberson Museum and Science Center for a gala fund-raising event that will begin with wine sampling and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30 p.m. followed by a performance of Terrence McNally’s play Master Class at 7:30 p.m. Read the rest of this entry »

Lesser-known works fare best in Elton John revue

Reviewed by George Basler

In his remarkable  40+-year career, nobody has ever accused Elton John of understatement.

To the contrary, John’s name conjures up a rock star image with over-the-top performances in large arenas and stadiums, outrageous costumes and driving rock bands. One image that doesn’t leap to mind is performing his songs in a intimate, cabaret setting, with only a keyboard accompanist.

That is the challenge being taken on this weekend by the Half Light Theatre, a new local theater group, which is peforming a wide-ranging concert of the composer’s work in the outdoor courtyard of the Roberson Museum and Science Center, 30 Front St., Binghamton. The revue, featuring eight singers backed by pianist Ken Martinak, opened Friday (July 13) and will continue at 7:30 p.m. today (Saturday, July 14) and at 3 p.m. Sunday (July 15). Read the rest of this entry »

Were the arts part of your weekend?

Did you find artful ways to begin the month of June? BAMirror’s Rebecca Sheriff was at Half Light Theatre’s production of No Exit (see review below). I caught the wonderful Downtown Singers concert on Saturday — kudos to Alan Crab and all the soloists, singers and orchestra members. How about you? Did you “art walk”? Were you at the final Madrigal Singers concert of the season? Please share.

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Half Light creates hell at Roberson

Reviewed by Rebecca Sheriff

I was very intrigued when I heard there was going to be a local production of the play No Exit by Jean-Paul Sartre. The work has been an absolute favorite of mine since studying existentialism as an undergraduate, and I find myself quoting the famous line “Hell is other people” on a weekly basis. I was hoping that this production by the Half Light Theatre would be traditional as the brilliance of this extraordinary play lies in its understated drama and the philosophical questions that arise from the profound dialogue. At Saturday evening’s performance (June 2), I was not disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

Half-Light’s ‘Barefoot’ is ‘must-see production’

Reviewed by Ralph Hall

The “watchers” battle the “doers” in Half-Light Theatre’s production of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park, which opened last night (March 23)  in the newly renovated ballroom of the Roberson Mansion in Binghamton. Director Tim Mollen established a pace and beat that nourished the humor and accented the dramatic, giving the full-house audience an excellent interpretation of this 1960s comedy.

Zachary Chastain (as a young newly-wed lawyer) and Kate Murray (as the mother of the new bride) interpreted their characters with a strength, consistency, humor and energy that made this production the success that it is. Both actors have been seen and enjoyed often on local stages; however, they both stepped up to new levels of artistic performance in Barefoot in the Park.

Chastain’s character maintains a constant rock of stability with a new wife, job and apartment until the pressure builds and the volcano erupts. Whether in the controlled stable state or lost in the eruption of frustration, Chastain’s performance was outstanding.

When the mother lets down her hair, it is the watcher becoming the doer. The shifting and altering of circumstances and timing demand an equal change in intensity and motivation. Murray very successfully rose to this demand. (Shown from left in the photo: Chastain, Wade, Murray and Yajko.) Read the rest of this entry »