If I only review plays I have liked, why do I keep attacking reviewers I don't? I have mentioned in passing upon occasion that Geralyn Horton's critiques of plays teach me about theater, but up till now I've never trumpeted her excellence as loudly as I've squawked about others. Well, this is an attempt to accentuate the positive.
I haven't acted on a stage since 1958; I haven't handled a light-board since 1968; I haven't written a play since 1956; I've never had a play of mine produced, by anyone, ever. In every case the reverse is true of Ms. Horton, who was on the boards only a month ago, keeps flying off to festivals in England and Ireland to see her own plays, and who has been involved in the Playwrights' Platform seminars since the year before The Lyric Stage opened its doors.
And all of that theatrical experience shines through the critical pieces she has been writing for Aisle-Say. She takes the time to think about what she's seen, and what she says about any one play or production makes me think about what theater can be.
I don't ask you to believe that opinion. Her reviews are on file and you can go read them --- but of course you haven't. So what I'm going to do, for the next two weeks, is quote a different review of hers right here in The Theater Mirror. (No she hasn't given me permission to do so; if she objects, let her sue.) I'll only do reviews from the past year, that you might have seen and might remember, and I'll start with plays I too saw and reviewed, so you can compare my review with her critique should you care.
If you are as impressed as I am, I wish you'd dial up her website and read more. More importantly, I wish you'd punch in her address [ email@example.com ] and thank her, or agree with her, or fight with her. I'm told she's fleeing Winter doldrums and taking a short sabbatical as a stage-manager. I think theater lovers ought to keep reminding her how much what she writes adds to the experience of theater here in and around Boston.
The Reagle Players opened the second show of their 30th anniversary season, "Hello, Dolly!", starring Jo Anne Worley as the irrepressible Dolly Levi, and the star of Reagle's "42nd Street" as well as of many of the shows on 42nd Street, Jamie Ross, as Horace Vandergelder.. The Reagle re-creation is, as usual, decked in all the trappings of Broadway, impressively polished and filled with performers tickled pink to be in it. The audience was tickled pink to be seeing it, too, and a rousing good time was had by all.
I must admit that I'm ill qualified to judge the quality of the Reagle's Dolly on a comparison scale of Dollies professional and amateur. Except for the Barbra Streisand movie, I'd never seen the musical before. My impression of the oft told story was formed by Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker", a wise as well as charming play studded with verbal gems such as "Being employed is like being loved: you know that somebody's thinking about you the whole time". "The Matchmaker" is, I believe, about balance: between profit and pleasure; between empathy and objectivity; between stability and adventure. I've seen "The Matchmaker" whenever it is on offer at a price I can afford. Dolly Gallegher Levi Vandergelder is a character I love.