DIRECTOR WRITER EDUCATOR
Directed by Julie Kramer and choreographed by Jessica Hartman, this show shines, with excellent pacing and ensemble dance numbers that remind us what real musical theater is all about. No part, whether front and center when Mary Poppins is instructing the children with her particular brand of child rearing wisdom, or Bert (Matt Loehr) painting in a park or chatting with Mary Poppins on the top of a building, is left to chance. They all intersect in a perfectly accessible and engaging puzzle. It is a polished production in every way— a spoonful of sugar with no distasteful medicine in the mix.
Theatre Under the Stars brings us the brightest present of the season, its production of Disney and Cameron Mackintosh's Mary Poppins (2004, West End world premiere; 2006 Broadway). She's been here before during national tours, but TUTS supplies a new shine to this glimmering musical bauble.
This ornament for Christmas season seems to glow brighter than ever. Using a raft of Broadway talent, numerous local theater vets, and sprightly new choreography and costumes, this old gal radiates showbiz allure and pure unadulterated entertainment. Julie Kramer's direction is storybook, swift and smooth...During “Let's Go Fly a Kite,” Mary alights by kite, and her final exit is the showstopper from heaven. Divine. I swear she smiled just at me as she flew over my head. Perfect...just like the show. This present is a keeper. Thank you TUTS and company.
Theatre Under the Stars has once again staged a double-back flip of a dance piece and stuck the landing. Directed by Julie Kramer, this ensemble is as good as any. Nowadays it is rare to find true “triple threats,” performers who can act, sing and dance to a high degree. TUTS’ “A Chorus Line” assembles nearly 20 multi-talented actors of such caliber. ..That the nearly 20 performers never lose energy throughout this breakneck, intermission-free show is even more impressive. ...And what a showstopper for the final number! TUTS has reached a pivot point in which the organization’s productions are as good if not better than the average Broadway Across America show. ...TUTS’ season delves into history with the keen eye of a single artistic director, reminding us why musicals like “A Chorus Line” remain an indelible part of American theater.
The cast performing on the TUTS stage is top-notch. Every single actor is leaving everything out there, and we feel their passion seep out into this production. The show has no set save for mirrors in the back, and it is costumed simply in 70s era dance wear. The dancers are the show, and there is nothing for them to fall back on. They are dazzling! Director Julie Kramer and choreographer Jessica Hartman have stayed true to the 1975 vision, but also managed to make it more energetic and faster paced. The dancers often seem to defy gravity and levitate during numbers, and it's all gorgeously staged and executed...Honestly I could zip down the cast list and praise each performance - they are all solid and wonderful as an ensemble....What struck me the most as I sat in the Hobby Center looking at A CHORUS LINE is how well it holds up today. This TUTS production is a love letter to the heritage of A CHORUS LINE, and it's a show that I can't recommend strongly enough. This is what the company does best - resurrect a classic and make it vibrant for audiences who either want to revisit or experience a show for the first time. This one is perfect - an amazing cast, outstanding design, and execution on every level that satisfies a love for this art.
One of Broadway's greatest musicals, expertly performed and produced by TUTS (another lodestar, after winning our 2018 Houston Theater Best Season award) – directed by Julie Kramer, choreographed after Michael Bennett by Jessica Hartman, minimally designed by Ryan McGettigan with Mylar mirrors and that final golden blast of sequined background, and costumed by Colleen Grady in appropriate disco mufti – A Chorus Line gives equal voice to winners and losers. All of them want the job. All of them need the job. Only eight, though, can get the job. The best don't always win. That's life, whether on Broadway or in our own less-starry existence. We're just like them, if we could only sing and dance.
NEW YORK TIMES CRITICS’ PICK! “To my surprised pleasure, The Best of Everything is neither a delirious sendup nor a mordant, finger-wagging deconstruction. It’s a respectful, hysteria-free, streamlined and appealingly modest effort that lets Jaffe’s working girls speak for themselves.... The whole show is refreshingly free of the 'aren’t-we-clever' self-consciousness that often accompanies such excursions into pop-culture past.... There is a welcome humility at work here, which in turn creates a feeling of unvarnished transparency. This approach gently and divertingly reminds us that Jaffe’s novel focused a clear and abidingly useful gaze on women caught in a moment in time that isn’t as distant as you might suppose.”
--Ben Brantley, The New York Times
Why does it work as well as it does? Is it the pre-Mad Men retro effect—the up-to-the-moment typewriters and telephones of the “girls” at the publishing house, with their little hats and white gloves, their worries over their virginity? I don’t think so, although that’s all fun for those of us with long memories. It works because it’s yet another incarnation of a basic plot that never seems to fail: three, or four, or five very young women land up in New York, trying to find their way.
--Robert Gottlieb, The New Yorker
CRITICS' PICK! 4 STARS! “It’s Stage Door in a Mad Men world, with a jigger of Peyton Place, and Kramer treats its soapiness like a bubble bath whose froth conceals some pretty dirty water.”
--Adam Feldman, Time Out New York
TOP TEN SHOWS OF 2012! Intimate, educational and also hilarious... cleverly adapted by Julie Kramer... a thoroughly delightful character study of women who weren't afraid to follow their ambitions as well as their hearts.
--Cary Purcell, The Huffington Post
"The Best of Everything nimbly lives up to its title."
"The Best of Everything had me at hello... Everything about this show is impeccable.... the superb acting across the board brings out the humanity in every character... Not to be overlooked is some very precise direction that keeps the flow seamless.... The Best of Everything invites us into the world of typewriters and sexual harassment and by the end I’m left asking the same questions as our grandmothers: can anyone, man or woman, find both fulfillment and love?"
MISS BENNET CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY
If you only see one show this season, then let it be “Pemberley.” It’s a charming, perfectly paced two-hour play which will keep you laughing.
A joyous delight of a holiday offering, deepening the story of the characters we know and love while offering a new romance to root for.
Sparkling and witty.
Director Julie Kramer has created a piece that has the delicate touch of Austen’s era, but also gives the obviously modern writing a nod as well. This is a show that has strong female roles and Kramer keeps that focus with a deft hand.
But above all, what’s most remarkable about “Christmas at Pemberley” is not its well-timed humor or the familiar characters gracing the stage. Portraying the journey of a woman far ahead of her time, the comedy has a surprising amount of depth to it that audiences likely won't expect, making the events that unfold all the more worthwhile....Full of wit and charm — and don’t forget the tree — “Christmas at Pemberley” invites the audience to stay awhile at Mr. Darcy's estate. And with the delightful production PTC has put on, that invitation shouldn't be too hard to accept.
a charming and heartfelt production...Julie Kramer's quietly assured direction lets the moments accumulate and evolve in a natural rhythm...a deeply felt story about everyday people that can't fail to touch you.
In its Utah premiere, director Julie Kramer realizes Shanley’s limber script with a canny, rural dignity, brilliantly embodied by the cast’s four exceptional performances
Pioneer Theatre Company’s exceptional production of John Patrick Shanley’s Outside Mullingar featured superb performances by all four cast members. Max Robinson and Tom O’Keefe’s father-son relationship, full of nuance and depth, and the diffident chemistry between O’Keefe and Amy Bodnar was the best acting I saw on any Utah stage this year.
--UTBA REVIEWERS SOUND OFF: EXCELLENCE IN 2015
HILLARY: A MODERN GREEK TRAGEDY WITH A (SOMEWHAT) HAPPY ENDING
A screwball version of recent history. It works remarkably well. Ms. Weiner and the director, Julie Kramer, maintain a tone which lets them serve up a variety of effective set pieces...rather sweet...hilarious...The laughs come steadily!
Refreshingly funny and unexpected...without even an aftertaste of irony or cuteness...genuine sweetness...Julie Kramer directs for laughs and works well with those frequently funny representational effects that get the point across simply and well... After an hour-and-a-half of re-airing the dirty laundry of one of the most overanalyzed figures in politics, who'd have thought we'd be sorry to see the show end?
Cringingly, groaningly fantastic...Under Julie Kramer's sharp direction, Mia Barron and Darren Pettie give performances that are constantly funny and just sympathetic enough...there’s more than just laughs. To Weiner's credit, tragic flaws, an epic journey, and a kind of catharsis manage to come through.