REVIEW: “Some People Hear Thunder” @ Capital Rep [Berkshire on Stage]

May 11th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

(Photo by Douglas C. Liebig)

Review by Barbara Waldinger

Some People Hear Thunder, a musical set in the midst of the Armenian genocide, purports to be something else. The director and star, Kevin McGuire, characterizes it as a “powerful musical love story,” and his co-star Joan Hess, agrees that it is a “triumphant human story” that is decidedly not about the genocide. But this production contradicts their protests, and that is not a bad thing.

Currently on the boards at Albany’s Capital Repertory Theatre, the play was written by Gerson H. Smoger, a human rights lawyer, based on the 1916 recollections of Rev. Dikran Andreasian, an Armenian who managed to survive the massacre of up to 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman government starting in 1915. Tens of thousands were deported, driven hundreds of miles on forced death marches with no food or water. The Ottoman army used the occasion of World War I to decimate their civilian Armenian population, plundering their material wealth and expropriating all of their properties.

To this day, Turkey dismisses the charge of genocide and denies that the deportations and atrocities were part of a deliberate plan to exterminate the Armenians. The U.S. initially refused to get involved as part of our World War I neutrality and has still not referred to the episode as genocide, out of concern for alienating Turkey, a NATO ally and partner in fighting Middle East terrorism. For many years Turkey successfully waged a well-organized campaign to discredit any attempt to recognize the genocide in films, but recently “The Promise,” a film about these events, was able to secure financing outside of Hollywood.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Chattin’ with Ian Lowe from Cap Rep’s “Murder for Two” – A Zany Musical Mystery with Killer Laughs [Berkshire on Stage]

July 30th, 2015, 2:00 pm by Sara
Ian Lowe has a solo song, “Protocol Says” in his role as a detective in Murder for Two. Photo by Joan Marcus.

Ian Lowe has a solo song, “Protocol Says,” in his role as a detective in “Murder for Two.” Photo by Joan Marcus

Story by Larry Murray

Everyone can be a witness to the hilarity in Murder for Two, a witty musical murder mystery with a twist. One actor – Ian Lowe – investigates the crime, the other – Kyle Branzel – plays all of the suspects, and they both play the piano! This show is a zany blend of classic musical comedy and madcap mystery, a whodunit that just happens to be loaded with both great music and killer laughs. The show has been running at Albany’s Capital Repertory Theatre since July 10 and continues through Sunday, August 9.

We were able to catch up with the lead detective, Ian Lowe, who is familiar to theater-goers in the region for his appearances at the Adirondack and Dorset Theatre Festivals. He’s played the role before, and after completing the Albany engagement, will be on the road to New Haven’s Long Wharf Theater, New Jersey’s famed George Street Playhouse and Denver Center for the Performing Arts where Murder for Two plays next.

Ian and I chatted about what makes the show such fun. Lowe describes it as “90 minutes of madness,” which conflates the traditions of a good old-fashioned detective story “with the antics of Monty Python and the humor of ‘South Park.’ It requires your attention, but it is also just a lot of fun. Boiled down to its essence, I find it a very creative bit of musical comedy that also manages to be high style art.” That is due to the depth of its sources and references.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

LIVE: “To Kill a Mockingbird” @ Capital Repertory Theatre

March 5th, 2010, 9:55 am by Greg

Don Noble and Teigin Legault

Don Noble and Teigin Legault (photo by Laurin Trainer)

Like Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel and Richard Mulligan’s Academy Award winning film, Capital Rep’s production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” is a classic.

It’s a big-issue story of integrity in the face of injustice, and director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill backs it up an appropriately big production – featuring a sprawling cast of 26 actors. And yet there’s a profound intimacy to what goes on onstage.

With a huge cast like this, there are usually a few weak links, but the acting here is consistantly strong from Don Noble (as the righteous Atticus Finch) to Steven Patterson (as the despicable Bob Ewell) to Michael Anthony Williams (as the unjustly accused Tom Robinson, who is caught in the middle).

Noble has the most difficult and thankless mission – trying to create a character who has already been indelibly etched into our memories by Gregory Peck in the 1962 film – and yet he does just that with a quiet confidence and a sure-handed performance.

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