Out on the Town: Summer Theater Recs

Rebecca Salzhauer, Opinions Editor

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Sweeney Todd 

This Off-Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim’s dark epic musical transferred from London last season is about what a barber loses in his spiral of revenge. This production of Sweeney Todd, which is set in a struggling pie shop, is staged in a functioning restaurant similar to the fictional one of the show. As you sit in your worn down, painted wooden booth, you’ll become fully immersed in the world of the story. Actors use all parts of the theater as performance space, creating an intimate and inventive experience. The score by (my fave) Sondheim is a complex and chilling masterpiece, and I couldn’t help but feel completely transported into the story when I saw it. 

Once on this Island 

This revival takes the musical Once on this Island, a retelling of the Little Mermaid story set on an unnamed island in the Antilles, and sets in in the wake of a natural disaster on an island. The show is at Circle in the Square, so it’s in the round, meaning that the seats are all around the stage situated on the floor in the middle of the room. The stage is a sandy beach and the actors, who initially portray a community of people cooking food and crowding around a fire after the storm, take on the roles of their characters as the begin to tell the story. Director Michael Arden’s staging is inventive and impressive. The cohesive company of actors make a hurricane, a speeding car, and more as they sing and dance through the exuberant and emotional score. Also the actors are INCREDIBLE! Hailey Kilgore, who plays Ti Moune, the female lead, was nominated for a Tony Award and she’s only 19. 

Angels in America

This play, which is presented in two parts, is 100% worth the nearly eight hours it runs. This incredible production of Tony Kushner’s play set at the height of the AIDS epidemic, in anticipation of the new millennium, is extremely current. It deals with issues of identity, acceptance (or lack thereof), loss, philosophy, politics, spirituality and pretty much anything else you can possibly imagine. Kushner’s incredibly human characters along with truly masterful acting and direction will have you laughing, crying, nodding in agreement, and challenging your own beliefs. The intricate rotating set trimmed with neon lights and the technical execution of the play’s supernatural elements add so much to the production. I really enjoyed this show, and I would highly recommend it.