THEATER

Comedy of Errors: Post5 reclaims the real Portlandia

With a contemporary Portland twist on Shakespeare's comedy of mistaken identities, Post5 creates a farce of a farce

By CHRISTA McINTYRE

A motley crew of shipwrecked Portlanders has descended upon the stage at Post5: Rude boys, a set of twins from Wes Anderson’s Team Zissou, an uplifting curvaceous woman who keeps her employment on 82nd Avenue alongside her fur-coated Iceberg Slim creditor, and the perhaps newly iconic lumbersexual transport Shakespeare’s most superficial of plays into an evening of laughter.

Director Ty Boice takes the flattest of characters in The Comedy of Errors and matches them with their modern descendants roaming our city blocks. A farce becomes a farce of a farce as the overgrown subcultures of the last 20 years mix and meet and mistake identities.

Twin terrors of Puddletown: double your pleasure, double your fun. Photo: Russell J Young

Twin terrors of Puddletown: double your pleasure, double your fun. Photo: Russell J Young

There’s never a dull moment at Post5: the troupe love what they’re doing, and their contagious energy embraces the audience. Surveys might suggest that Portlanders have had their fill of Byzantine-decorated donuts, birds on things, sock-collecting, and keeping it weird. Post5’s production of The Comedy of Errors refreshingly allows us to once again laugh at ourselves.

Comedy is a light-hearted and fantastical jab at the nature of human relations, with familiar Shakespearean themes aplenty: twins, mistaken identities, bawdy slights, a sea voyage, imaginary landscapes, and impossible names.

Post5’s actors exude a natural chemistry, transporting the audience with their comfortable camaraderie. Chip Sherman, who lit up the stage in the company’s recent Twelfth Night as an Eartha Kitt-ish Olivia, anchors the play once again with his brilliant slapstick. As one of the Antipholus twins, he acts with a similar gregarious coyness, this time around as a rakish male. The transformation speaks volumes about his talent: he makes both men and women characters sexy and aloof.

Stan Brown, who gives us Egeon and others, suggests Shaft and Kojak, alternating his lines with a hilarious staccato and lollipop. Boyce gives the lines an old commercial jingle interpretation, and Brown’s wittily caricatured presence hallmarks the inside joke.

Borrowing from cable television shows, internet and local memes, The Comedy of Errors has a jump rhythm, and just as you’re thinking, “I know, I know what comes next,” the one-wheeled man of all seasons, The Unipiper, breaks the final wall. The only missing Oregon elements to the play, it seems, are a cat and Steve Prefontaine.

There’s nothing like being in a room filled with people and regaining a healthy sense of the creativity that Portland has yet to untap. The Comedy of Errors has no life-changing emotional insight, but Post5 has a wonderful aesthetic for translating the biggest of English literary icons into a restless passion and making a room break into laughter. Take some time to see this comedy at Post5. They soon could be a citywide treasure, and may have to make a play about themselves.

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The Comedy of Errors runs through June 27 at Post5 Theatre. Ticket and schedule information are here.

No lie: Corneille’s crackling comedy

David Ives' contemporary "translaptation" of Corneille's 17th century French farce "The Liar" is a kick in the collective pants at Artists Rep

A good, gut-wrenching tragedy is part of the heart and soul of theater, of course, providing proof to those who need it that the theater is a “serious” art form. But there’s good reason the famous visual symbol of the stage includes two masks, one face in anguish and one in peals of laughter: as the great actor Edmund Kean is alleged to have said just before he slipped into eternity, “Dying’s easy. Comedy’s hard.”

Comedy is the head to tragedy’s heart. It can, and does, stir emotions, but it’s an analytical, exterior art form, moving through the brain first and the heart only afterwards. Farce in particular looks at human urges and activities from an analytical perspective, exposing patterns of behavior and often hiding a merciless bleakness behind a mirage of wit. The best farce balances restlessly between hopefulness and cynicism, and is seen these days as often on the TV screen (witness the late, great Frasier) as onstage. Screwball comedy, so old now that we think of it in black-and-white movie tones, was the classically upbeat populist American adaptation of the form.

San Nicolas (left) and Murray: comedy in true and false. Photo: Owen Carey

San Nicolas (left) and Murray: comedy in true and false. Photo: Owen Carey

Heading into summer, theatergoers might well be thirsting for something a little light and lively, but still with a punch. Portlanders going through Alan Ayckbourn or Michael Frayn withdrawal might want to hie themselves over to Artists Repertory Theatre, where the fiercely funny playwright David Ives is keeping the farcical flame alive with his “translaptation” of The Liar, French master Pierre Corneille’s 1644 comedy about an inveterate fibber whose elaborate fabrications get him into hot water, and barely out again before he’s boiled alive.

We’ve seen Ives’s contemporary wit and freewheeling way with iambic pentameter recently in Theatre Vertigo’s ribald, rowdy, and altogether amusing production of his School for Lies, an adaptation of Molière’s 1666 comedy The Misanthrope. Now comes Corneille, a little bit older and a little lesser-known, out to make the case after all these centuries that he’s still Molière than thou.

The Liar is about, well, a liar, a fellow so resolutely devoted to untruth that it’s almost like a religion to him: even when his aim is honorable (or some unreasonable facsimile thereof) he can only approach it through a series of ever more complex and roundabout inventions. At Artists Rep this young master of mendacity, Dorante, is played by babyfaced Chris Murray (adorned in straggly facial hair and a cascade of foppish curls), whose angelic exterior belies a devilish delight in stirring things up.

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PAMTA nominees: the musical-theater awards list

It's awards season in Portland theater, and the PAMTA nominees join the previously announced Drammy finalists in the spotlight

With the traditional season wrapping up (although theater’s become a whole-calendar sport in Portland) it’s coming up on award season in Portland theater.

Last week, the Drammy Awards announced nominees for this year’s 37th annual awards ceremony, which will be at the Newmark Theatre on Monday, June 29. You can recap the nominees here.

"Mary Poppins" scores 13 PAMTA nominations, including best production: Photo: Northwest Children's Theater

“Mary Poppins” scores 13 PAMTA nominations, including best production: Photo: Northwest Children’s Theater

Today, the city’s musical-theater awards group announced its nominees for the eighth annual PAMTAs, Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards, which will be Monday, June 15, in the Winningstad Theatre, downstairs from the Newmark. There’s some crossover in the listings (the Drammys consider musical-theater productions in addition to other kinds of theater, but the PAMTAs dig more deeply into the metropolitan area’s active musical-theater scene.

Here’s today’s release listing the PAMTA nominees:

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Tony Winning Producer Corey Brunish announces the 8th Annual Portland Area Musical Theatre Awards for the 2014-2015 season.

11267305_10152981423017123_1960198894_nThe ceremony will take place June 15 at 7pm at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts in the Winningstad Theatre. There will be 10 surprise musical performances. Open to the public. Free admission. No tickets required. Gold-plated trophies will be presented in 20 categories and all nominees will be presented with gold-plated medallions of recognition.

Outstanding Male Actor in a Lead Role:
John Ellingson, Mary Poppins
Drew Harper, tick, tick….BOOM!
Nartan Woods, The Rocky Horror Show
Joe Theissen, La Cage aux Folles
Evan Howells, Young Frankenstein

Outstanding Female Actor in a Lead Role:
Chrissy Kelly-Pettit, Mary Poppins
Nattalyee Randall, Dreamgirls
Monica Rodrigues, Soul Harmony
Dru Rutledge, She Loves Me
Cassi Q Kohl, She Loves Me

Outstanding Male Actor in a Supporting Role:
Burl Ross, Young Frankenstein
Eric Little, The Rocky Horror Show
Joe Theissen, It’s A Wonderful Life
Jonathan Quesenberry, Carousel
Collin Carver, Grease

Outstanding Female Actor in a Supporting Role:
Jennifer Goldsmith, WHODUNIT
Claire Rigsby, Grease
Lisa Knox, Young Frankenstein
Emily Sahler, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Annie Kaiser, The Music Man

Outstanding Ensemble:
Parade, Staged!
La Cage aux Folles, Pixie Dust
Dreamgirls, Portland Center Stage
tick, tick…BOOM!, Triangle
The Music Man, Broadway Rose

Outstanding Young Performer:
Kaylee Bair, Mary Poppins
Libby Rouffy, Mary Poppins
Austin Emmett, Mary Poppins
Kieran Gettel-Gilmartin, Mary Poppins
Josiah Bartell, The Music Man
Alexa Kelly Shaheen, Ruthless!

Outstanding Director:
Sarah Jane Hardy, Mary Poppins
Chris Coleman, Dreamgirls
Greg Tamblyn, La Cage aux Folles
Paul Angelo, Parade
Tobias Andersen, She Loves Me

Outstanding Choreographer:
Sarha Jane Hardy, Mary Poppins
Peggy Taphorn, The Music Man
Anita Menon & Sarah Jane Hardy, The Jungle Book
Jacob Toth, Grease
Laura Hiszcynskiyj, She Loves Me

Outstanding Musical Director:
Cyndy Ramsey-Rier, Young Frankstein
Alan D. Lytle, The Music Man
Jeffrey Childs, The World Goes ‘Round
Rick Lewis, Dreamgirls
Darcy White, The Rocky Horror Show

Outstanding Costume Designer:
Sydney Roberts, Dreamgirls
Mary Rochon, Mary Poppins
Pat Rohrbach, She Loves Me
Shana Targosz, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Darrin J Pufall, The Rocky Horror Show

Outstanding Set Designer:
G. W. Mercier, Dreamgirls
John Ellingson, The Little Mermaid
John Ellingson, Mary Poppins
Owen Walz, Grease
John Gerth, She Loves Me

Outstanding Light Designer:
Jeff Woods, She Loves Me
Chris Whitten, Carousel
Carl Faber, Mary Poppins
Kurt Herman, Young Frankenstein
Robert M. Wierzel, Dreamgirls

Outstanding Sound Designer:
Rodolfo Ortega, Mary Poppins
Casi Pacilio, Dreamgirls
Duane Rodakowski, La Cage aux Folles
Gordon Romei, Parade
Rory Breshears, The Rocky Horror Show

Outstanding Production:
Young Frankenstein, Lakewood
Dreamgirls, Portland Center Stage
Parade, Staged!
La Cage aux Folles, Pixie Dust
Mary Poppins, Northwest Children’s Theater

Outstanding Playbill Cover Design:
110 in the Shade, Lisa Johnston-Smith/Artslandia
The Rocky Horror Show, Jim Parker
Grease, Emily Dew
WHODUNIT, Emily Dew
Iolanthe, Rachel Barry-Arquit, Joe Ercegg, Matt Erceg, Larry Larsen

 

Outstanding Original Orchestrations:
Soul Harmony, Michael Allen Harrison
The Jungle Book, Rodolfo Oretega and Archana Mungara
The Babes are Back!, Jonathan Quesenberry

Best Original Musical:
Soul Harmony, Michael Allen Harrison, Alan Berg, Janet Mouser
The Jungle Book, Anita Menon, Sarah Jane Hardy, Rodolfo Ortega, Archana Mungara
The Little Mermaid, Milo Mowery, Rodolfo Ortega
The Babes are Back!, Donald Horn, Teddy Deane

Best Original Song:
Soul Harmony, Michael Allen Harrison, Alan Berg, Janet Mouser
The Music Inside, Michael Allen Harrison, Alan Berg, Janet Mouser
Don’t Get In That Car, Teddy Deane
Sisters in the Ocean, Rodolfo Ortega

Best Original Score:
Soul Harmony, Michael Allen Harrison, Alan Berg, Janet Mouser
The Little Mermaid, Milo Mowery, Rodolfo Oretga
The Jungle Book, Rodolfo Ortega, Archana Mungara
The Babes are Back!, Teddy Deane

Special Awards:
De’Sean Dooley for Outstanding Debut
Kelly Jung for Breakthrough Performance
Portland Opera for Nurturing Musical Theatre
Benjamin Scheuer for Outstanding One-Man Show

A good rain on a Grimm parade

Misunderstandings, not monsters: Center Stage's "Three Days of Rain," with two stars of the hit television series "Grimm," is witty and elegant

No midnight maulings or supernatural terrors this time around. Richard Greenberg’s drama Three Days of Rain, which spotlights two stars of the made-in-Portland television hit Grimm, has its monsters, but they’re ordinary, human-sized monsters, vulnerable and malleable and made of misunderstandings.

And, yes, just to get That Question out of the way: Silas Weir Mitchell and Sasha Roiz are much better than all right onstage. They give nuanced, playful, assured performances, easily filling the main-stage space at Portland Center Stage, and work seamlessly with stage veteran Lisa Datz, who is quite brilliant in a pair of crucial and contrasting roles.

Datz and Roiz: something's breaking up here. Photo: Patrick Weishampel/www.blankeye.tv

Datz and Roiz: something’s breaking up. Photo: Patrick Weishampel/www.blankeye.tv

The casting of Mitchell (the excitable, wolf-like Monroe on Grimm) and Roiz (the smoldering Captain Renard) is less stunt casting than just good casting. Yes, you can see hints of their television personalities. But they’re creating specific personalities based on the characters Greenberg wrote, and they’re doing it very well. The Grimm connection in a Grimm-crazy town gives the whole thing a little extra buzz. But if you’d never seen an episode, you’d still likely enjoy these performances.

I’m betting you’ll like the play, too, which premiered in 1997 and is witty and sad and star-crossed and elegant. It’s not a big play: this is not Greek tragedy, and it’s not Chekhovian, though that sort of blunted Russian domesticity comes a little closer to the mark. Smart and insightful and humane, it has a rueful American quality, hopeful in spite of itself. In the allusive way it deals with family relations it reminds me, a bit, of Richard Nelson’s cycle of Apple Family plays, which Third Rail Rep began to produce and unfortunately had to cut short halfway through the series.

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival expands its idea of ‘classic theater’

Stan Lai's comedy "Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land" spins storylines, romance and politics into a fine froth

By DMAE ROBERTS

Lingering scenes haunt me: The tears of a man who realizes he’s wasted time pining for an idealized woman while his wife waits for him to love her. A mythical fisherman once unhappy dances in delight catching butterflies as peach blossoms fall from above.

It would take little effort to heap praise on Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land. Written and directed by Stan Lai, hailed as the most produced Chinese language playwright in the world, the play at Oregon Shakespeare Festival has a strong multiracial cast and beautiful production values. Much like the complexity of Taiwan’s history, the play has many layers and splits into three overlapping storylines. The first is set in 1949 when Nationalist Chinese fled their civil war and escaped to Taiwan. The second takes place in the heart of the mythical land of Peach Blossom. A contemporary narrative pits two production companies trying to produce their shows in the same stage space at OSF in 2015.

Lai deftly handles all three stories while at the same time making references to OSF, multiracial casting, the history of Taiwan and himself as a writer and director. As the most popular contemporary play in China with more than a thousand unauthorized productions, it’s a rare opportunity to view this first professional production in America of Secret Love in Peach Blossom Land.

When I learned that OSF was bringing Lai to Ashland to direct his work, I was eager to talk with Lai about his experience adapting this much-loved work for American audiences.

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‘Mr. Burns: A Post -Electric Play’ review: A Canticle for Homer

Portland Playhouse's production offers clever ideas but diffuse drama.

This must happen all the time in Oregon: a group of friends gather around a campfire in the woods, reminiscing about their favorite Simpsons episodes. “Remember the one where Sideshow Bob chases Bart around the ship, and they sing HMS Pinafore songs and….”

That’s what happens in the first act of Anne Washburn’s  Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play, which runs through June 7 at Portland Playhouse. As the half dozen campers dimly try to recall the episode details, laughter and delight follow — until there’s a noise from the woods, and the guns come out.

Isaac Lamb, Brian Adrian Koch, Kemba Shannon, Cristi Miles in Portland Playhouse's "Mr. Burns." Photo:  Brud Giles.

Isaac Lamb, Brian Adrian Koch, Kemba Shannon, Cristi Miles in Portland Playhouse’s “Mr. Burns.” Photo: Brud Giles.

It’s something of a coup for Portland Playhouse to land a local production so soon after the show earned raves in New York. With its Oregon connections (Washburn is a Reed College alum, and of course Portland’s Matt Groening created the soon-to-be-mythical yellow family) and hip cultural references, Mr. Burns seems an ideal play (or as a program note terms it, a “thought experiment”) for here and now. The show’s sheer weirdness, gleeful eagerness to depart from theatrical convention, ingenious (if hardly original) concept and creative staging by director Brian Weaver do offer intermittent insights, chuckles and grins. And like another play currently running in Oregon, it’s also a testament to the social power of theater and storytelling. Ultimately, though, the story is too diffuse to achieve much more than cleverness.

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Bringing back the Babes, and other memories

The lore and legend of Storefront Theatre live on in Portland's theatrical genetic pool – and in a new show at Triangle

By virtue (if that’s the right word) of being old and here for a long time, I’ve come to be considered something of an expert on the storied Storefront Theatre, which shut its doors for good in 1991. In truth, the world’s filled with people who know the Storefront story far better than I do, because they helped create it. I saw it only from the outside, as a spectator and a journalist. The real experts – people like Henk Pander, Wendy Westerwelle, Teddy and Alice Deane, Izetta Smith, Polly and John Zagone, Leigh Clarkgranville (now Aza Cody), Victoria Mercer, Wrick Jones, Rosalie Brandon, Sharon Knorr and a revolt of fellow Angry Housewives, Ross Huffman-Kerr, Susan Stelljes, David Chelsea, Marychris Mass, and a host of others – lived it.

Storefront shut down 24 years ago, longer than the 21 years it existed, and still it’s something of a legend in Portland. That’s the way legends work: one brief string of shining moments, and a long afterlife.

"Babes" at Triangle: a little cheese, a little sleaze. Photo: Triangle Productions

“Babes” at Triangle: a little cheese, a little sleaze. Photo: Triangle Productions

Storefront sprang to life in 1970 as a direct response to the Kent State killings that shocked the nation and kicked fresh life into America’s antiwar movement. Through the years it leaped and sometimes lurched from being a theater company that was also an alternative community (or maybe an alternative community that also did theater) through various phases that reflected its shifting people and accelerating times. It was hip and bawdy and visually robust, an experiment in romantic-utopian anarchy that went through a crisis when its founders split off, and gradually became more conventional as new people moved in, old people moved on, and the lure of moving mainstream in the brand-new Portland Center for the Performing Arts proved irresistible. In a weird way, Storefront got swallowed by its own success – which, ironically, also left the former shoestring operation with a mountain of bills.

Triangle Productions’ Storefront Revue: The Babes Are Back, which runs through May 31, brings back some of the theater’s glory days, in a format loosely based on the old Babes on Burnside burlesques that Storefront produced after abandoning its original space on industrial North Russell Street and moving into a former porno movie house just off of West Burnside Street in Old Town. Assembled by Triangle’s Don Horn after a prodigious amount of research, it’s the latest in his series of shows based on historical adventures and adventurers in Portland, from the flashy night-club impresario Gracie Hansen to Native American jazz legend Jim Pepper, figure-skating melodramatist Tonya Harding, and a reworking of Westerwelle’s Sophie Tucker show, Soph: An Evening with the Last of the Red Hot Mamas, which was originally developed and produced at Storefront. Horn has a lasting affection for Portland’s historical demimonde, the subterranean old creatives who spiced up the good gray river city before the young creatives came to town and put a tattoo on it.

David Swadis and Lisamarie Harrison: two tokes over the line. Photo: Triangle Productions

David Swadis, Lisamarie Harrison: two tokes over the line. Photo: Triangle Productions

I never saw a show on Russell Street, where the legend began. Storefront hit the boards in 1970, and I hit town in 1974, and for my first few years in Portland I was otherwise engaged. Besides, co-founders Tom Hill and Anne Gerety didn’t much cotton to the mainstream press: The Babes Are Back includes the infamous (at least, in journalistic circles) tale of Hill threatening to punch my former colleague Ted Mahar in the nose if he ever stepped inside the theater’s door. Mahar once told me he’d also received a pages-long, angry letter from Gerety. It was handwritten, and as she composed she pressed so hard and furiously on the paper that the back of each sheet looked as if it had been embossed. I did, curiously, see Storefront’s original show, its bawdy, largely nude adaptation of Aristophanes’ antiwar satire Lysistrata, a production celebrated and reviled for the large prosthetic decorated penises that the men in the cast waved around. I was living in Bellingham at the time, finishing my studies at Western Washington State College (now WWU), and was part of a small group trying to come up with ways to respond to the Kent State shootings. One of Gerety’s sons, Chris Condon, was there, too, and told the group his mother had started a theater company in Portland that was doing a radical nude Lysistrata, and he was pretty sure he could get her to bring it north. Great, we said, and up they came. The show was a rousing (and, as longtime Portland actor/teacher/director Ed Collier, who happened to be there, too, reminded me, a rather drunken) success: It caught the spirit of the times.

I started following Storefront closely after the company moved to Burnside in 1980. The burlesques were often brilliant: blends of standup, vaudeville, carnival-style burlycue served with a nostalgic wink, topical satire, and terrific songs, mostly written by the talented Teddy Deane, who had come to Portland with the psychedelic folk band Holy Modal Rounders and just stuck around. That’s the format that Horn’s musical at Triangle follows, although not completely: he adds a lot of history, which gives a sense of how the company lived and died but also makes the evening episodic and a bit disjointed. Adding a cabaret-style emcee as a narrator/performer (R. Dee and Huffman-Kerr were naturals in similar roles for Storefront) could help synthesize the history and the show; moving some of the history off the stage and into the program could also tighten things and help the show just be the show. Horn’s cast – led by the sultry earth mama-ish Lisamarie Harrison, whose sass and brass set just the right Storefront tone – sings and performs with verve, and the onstage band, led from the keyboard by John Quesenberry, is a constant and creative presence, underscoring how important Deane was to the success of the original shows.

My memories of Storefront include watching a mouse scamper across the stage during August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (that was nothing compared to the mouse Deane recalls falling out of the ceiling and onto his piano keyboard at Russell Street before skittering away), and the legendary designer/director Ric Young, dressed all in black with silver-white hair and beard, lean and swashbuckling like a pirate of Penzance, strolling through downtown with his retinue of the moment, and a lot of serious plays, like Miguel Piñero’s Short Eyes and Steven Berkoff’s Greek and Romulus Linney’s Holy Ghosts and W.B. Yeats’s astounding Cuchulain Cycle and Young’s A Passion for Fresh Flowers and a gobsmacking version of Sam Shepard’s The Unseen Hand directed by Kelly Brooks. Shepard had played drums briefly with the Holy Modal Rounders in New York, and for a while, when he was working out of San Francisco, his shows would open at the Magic Theatre there and head up the coast shortly after to Storefront. The Burnside Street space was a step up from Russell, but it could still be sketchy. One afternoon, after I’d been sitting in on a rehearsal for a show starring the late, great Peter Fornara – it was Billy Bishop Goes to War, as I recall – I walked outside and straight into a brawl on the sidewalk. Two guys were going at it, with a crowd around them, urging them on. Then one pulled out a knife. I ducked back into the theater, grabbed the house telephone (this was before cell phones) and called 911. By the time I got back outside, both the crowd and the man with the knife were gone, and the other guy was lying on the sidewalk, bleeding from a wound in his thigh as the cops pulled up. Storefront came by its grit honestly.

Poster for Storefront's original burlesque. Courtesy Don Horn

Poster for Storefront’s original burlesque. Courtesy Don Horn

A friend who saw Triangle’s The Babes Are Back sent me a note afterwards. It’s good to keep the cultural memory of Storefront alive, she wrote. But “it’s equally true that edgy, humorous, original theater ‘like they did in the old days’ is being created anew right now in other theaters — constantly at Action/Adventure, and frequently enough at Post5 (through Cassandra Boice’s Sound & Fury and clown shows).”

Fair enough. Except for Imago and some puppet or dance companies like Tears of Joy and BodyVox, I can’t think of anyone in town who’s doing the astonishing sort of visual theater that Storefront did under the influence of Young and Pander and others. And the stylish, often topical wit of the burlesques, which were closer in spirit to old Saturday Night Live and new The Daily Show than to standard American stage drama, is tough to find in town today. But that old rebellious Storefront spirit has atomized and spread all over town, mutating to fit the changing times. When Storefront finally gave up the ghost in 1991, I wrote that “in today’s theater there are no young radicals. It’s a dutiful, well-trained, may-I-have-a-job-please? generation.” I was wrong. Through exasperation or dismay or a temporary dip in the quality of shows or – who knows? – just a case of the snits, I failed to notice that it was only the tactics, not the core resolve, that had shifted. From Defunkt to Shaking the Tree to Vertigo to PETE and many others, little Storefronts are all over town now, rethinking theater and American culture in their own, contemporary ways. And in another quarter-century, someone will be carrying the torch for them.

In the meantime, all hail the good old days. In their messy, sprawling, abrasive, pretentious, gorgeous, inventive, utopian, flamboyant way, they really were.

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Storefront Revue: The Babes Are Back continues through May 31 at Triangle Productions; ticket information is here. At 7 p.m. on Friday, May 22, a half-hour before curtain, Bob Hicks will lead an audience talk on Storefront and its history.

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Read more from Bob Hicks >>

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