Freeline Media Review: “The Toxic Avenger Musical”

This is the final weekend for “The Toxic Avenger Musical.”


ORLANDO — Watching the zany antics of the cast in “The Toxic Avenger Musical,” you might start thinking that the content of this nerdy-Jewish-boy-turned-green-slime-crusader show raises topical questions in your mind, like … do we tend to underrate toxic waste when it has the capability of transforming Melvin Ferd into a kind of Incredible Hulk in Woody Allen land?
Actually, I couldn’t help but think about something else. If he was sitting next to me in the Mandell Theater at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center, watching this play, what would Chris Christie think?
Sure, the outgoing governor might object to the play’s portrayal of his home state of Joi-see as a hotbed of corruption, crime, violence and peee-yew pollution, and maybe even jump on the stage to protest. Or maybe Christie would appreciate the fact that in our hero Melvin, there’s something more toxic than his approval ratings. Hard to say. Continue reading

Freeline Media Review: “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some)”

Christopher Patrick Mullen, Timothy Williams, and Michael Daly star in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of "Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)." (Photo by Tony Firriolo.)

Christopher Patrick Mullen, Timothy Williams, and Michael Daly star in Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!).” (Photo by Tony Firriolo.)


ORLANDO — If there’s one thing that the holiday production at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater amply proves, it’s that the Christmas season has, for centuries, inspired writers, filmmakers, animators and other storytellers to create their own holiday epic, aimed at happily entrancing audiences into the spirit of the season.
If there’s one thing that guides so many of these creative efforts — Charles Dickens’ short story “A Christmas Story,” Frank Capra’s 1946 movie “It’s A Wonderful Life,” or the 1964 children’s TV movie “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer,” among many others — it’s heavy doses of sentimentality and exquisitely warm and fuzzy happy endings. Put your troubles aside, these sagas seem to say, and revel in the joyous spirit of Christmas time.
Orlando Shakes has done its share of sentimental holiday productions in the past, from an elaborate version of “A Christmas Carol” to a radio version of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” where skillful dramatic actors did their best to wring a nostalgic and tender tear from the eyes of audience members. Continue reading

Orlando Philharmonic brings audiences Home for the Holidays

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra held their annual Home for the Holidays concert on Saturday.

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra held their annual Home for the Holidays concert on Saturday.


ORLANDO — Tradition is a key word this time of year, when late November is filled with events that have been held around this time for decades, meant to usher area residents and visitors into the Christmas spirit.
The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra did just that on Saturday, when they used the final weekend in November to bring audiences Home for the Holidays.
The OPO’s annual holiday concert, held at the Bob Carr Theater, attracted a large crowd, many of them festively dressed, for a concert that ranged from holiday favorites (“Jingle Bells,” “O, Holy Night”) to some new songs to the OPO’s holiday repertoire, including “Cradle Hymn” by Kim Andre Arneson.
Albert George Schram, the conductor of the program, said he thought this was a beautiful hymn that their audience would appreciate.
“Sit back,” he told the audience, “and let us touch your heart.” Continue reading

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