Friday, June 17, 2016

Live Theatre Review: Evening Star Production's Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (Revised)

Evening Star Productions presents The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised], directed by Savannah Rootes (a "Solster" in her directorial debut).

Edward Scott, Seth Trucks, and Alex Weiss take on the ambitious task of presenting all 37 of the Bard's plays in under 2 hours - and they succeed with gusto! Granted, some of the plays are seriously abridged, but the manner in which this is accomplished will have you gasping for breath! Skip the abs workout and see this show with the same results!

The trio makes the most out of the small space of the theatre and some limited props to represent over 1000 characters in 97 minutes. The presentation of the tragedies is as funny as that of the comedies, and the histories are presented in a fresh, clever, and surprisingly apt way.

Expect to participate, but no prior knowledge of Shakespeare is necessary to enjoy the show (although during the presentation of the comedies, a little familiarity with the works is helpful - the more knowledge of the comedies you have, the more you'll get the subtle jokes, but the obvious ones are plentiful enough for someone with even zero knowledge of the plays.)

Complete Works sets out to demonstrate that Shakespeare is not just for the mature and the literati - everyone at every level and every age can enjoy Shakespeare. And anyone who attends this riotous play is sure to walk away with a fresh appreciation of the Bard.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)[revised] will run from June 17 – 26 at Sol Theatre in Boca Raton, FL. Tickets are $15 and $10 for students. Group rates are also available. Tickets are on sale now, and can be purchased by calling 561-447-8829 or online at Evening Star Productions.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

New Music Review: Alex Cuba - Healer

Even the most monolingual of listeners will understand two things from Alex Cuba’s Healer: joy and love.

Healer is Alex’s 5th studio album, removed from his first by three Latin Grammys, two Junos, and a 2011 Grammy nomination for Best Latin Pop Album.

The album clearly states its theme with the opening track, “Vale Todo” (“Anything Goes”) – differences are to be celebrated, especially in love. The song title can be translated more literally to mean “everything is worthy,” and it is this mindset that charges the songs on this aptly named album.

In contrast to his last album, Ruido En El Sistema, which was uncharacteristically mellow-towards-melancholy, Healer remains upbeat and toe-tappingly quick throughout 10 of its 12 tracks. “Ni Forma Ni Colores,” arguably one of the best tracks on the album, is impossible to sit still through, with both the sound and the sentiment ample reason to dance in joy.

One of the remainder songs is possibly the best showcase of Alex’s vocal strength – the beautiful confessional ballad “Contigo” features very subdued instruments and is carried entirely by his powerful croon.

The crown jewel, though, has to be “Sarah,” the lovely ode to Alex’s wife which contains one of the loveliest ideas: “in you, I found everything, and nothing is lost / missing.”

The album is populated with 5 bilingual tracks, each featuring one of 5 talents: David Myles, Alejandra Ribera, Kuba Oms, Ron Sexsmith, and Anya Marina (all but the latter of whom are fellow Canadians). Ron Sexsmith appears on Alex’s first album on “Lo Mismo Que Yo (If Only).”

Healer was crowd-funded on PledgeMusic beginning in November of 2014, and released on March 31, 2015, with a general release one week later. Alex, who was born in Artemisa, Cuba, but makes his home in Smithers, British Columbia, used the crowd-sourcing platform to simultaneously raise funds for SkeenaWild Conservation Trust, an organization which is focused on sustainability of the wild salmon ecosystem in BC, Canada.

Healer won a Latin Grammy for Best Singer-Songwriter Album in 2015, and was nominated for a 2016 Grammy Award in the Best Latin Pop Album category.

Alex’s well-received message is that in love, everything is important and anything goes.

Alex is currently working on a documentary called The Cuban Bus, to be released at a soon-to-be announced future date.

The music video for “Sarah” is available here.

Healer is available from:
Alex Cuba's Official Website
Amazon (stream with Prime)

Listen to Alex Cuba on Spotify and Pandora.

Follow Alex Cuba on:
iamalexcuba on Snapchat