By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
Jersey Boys' book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice is one of the tightest of any contemporary Broadway show. The back stories are told efficiently, with a little cliffhanger in each section to build momentum. As the men get older, a few scenes feel forced (like the one where Frankie loses a daughter to drugs) but then another song starts up and all is forgiven. "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk like a Man," "Stay," "Can't Take My Eyes Off of You," "Who Loves You?" You don't know how many you know. But you know them all.
Play on, Jersey Boys, a love letter to American pop music and the best jukebox show ever devised.
Contemporary Theatre of Dallas' production of Beth Henley's tired 1981 Southern gothic comedy Crimes of the Heart commits so many directorial felonies, it's hard to know where to start. Bad accents (you're already in Texas, ladies, so just speak normally). Actors arranged like a police lineup. Pacing problems director Cynthia Hestand should've fixed at the second rehearsal.
The play's a lump of lard, repeated on local stages about as often as that other moldy praline, Steel Magnolias. One loony sister (Jenae Yerger-Glanton) shoots her no-good abusive husband. The other two sisters (Marianne Galloway, Diane Casey Box), both nuttier than Stuckey's pecan logs, come to her aid. They sit around a kitchen table for two hours, screeching like magpies about "Old Granddaddy," lemonade, birthday cake and their mama's suicide (she also hanged the family cat).
'Sdeath on a cracker. Every minute of it.