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Category: My Reviews

Sometimes I review things!

REVIEW: Hairspray is a Timely Reminder that Tolerance Never Goes Out of Style! #Hairspray @attpac

Hairspray is a satisfying confection While waiting for the doors to open at the Winspear Opera House on Hairspray’s opening night in Dallas, Lyft offered theater goers complimentary Pop Rock macarons. Much to my delight, these hot pink confections were surprisingly satisfying rather than sickeningly sweet. Those pastries made the perfect pairing for Hairspray, because from the moment the curtain rose until the last curtain call, this musical blends fast-paced fun with a cast of quirky characters who, much like a hot pink Pop Rock macaron, create a surprisingly satisfying experience. What’s Hairspray about? Hairspray takes place in Baltimore, Maryland…

REVIEW: Bright Star Offers Twangy, Toe-Tapping Fun #BrightStar @attpac

Bright Star is a bluegrass musical that first opened on Broadway in 2016 as the result of a creative partnership between renowned comic, writer and banjo player, Steve Martin, and the talented songstress, Edie Brickell. Although set in the hills of North Carolina, it’s worth nothing that this creative duo has roots in the Lone Star State: Edie Brickell grew up in Dallas and Steve Martin hails from Waco. The storyline for Bright Star was inspired by the “Iron Mountain Baby” of 1902, but beyond the inciting incident, it’s pure fiction. I decided not to read anything about the show before seeing…

REVIEW: “Uncanny Valley” Asks Hard Questions about AI @BlackFlagTX #scifi #Visitplano

Thought provoking play by Thomas Gibbons What does it really mean to be sentient? If we create a convincing facsimile of a person and use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to reproduce a personality, does the end result truly replace the original person? Or is it a modern-day chimera? In any case, exactly what sort of legal rights would, or should, such an entity have? How should existing biological family members treat this new being? Questions such as these (and many more) have kept my husband, Larry, and I chatting for days after seeing Black Flag Theatre Company’s production of “Uncanny Valley,”…

REVIEW: Fun Home is Heart-wrenching, Poetic & Funny @attpac #FunHome

Fun Home: Opening Night Ovation in Dallas Fun Home, which won five Tony Awards (including Best Musical) is an engaging and unusual coming-of-age tale. The show is now playing in Dallas, Texas where it opened to a cheering crowd and standing ovation last night. Fun Home: A Cartoonist’s Life Story Fun Home is an original musical play based on the best-selling graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic  written and drawn by cartoonist, Alison Bechdel. The story is revealed through the eyes of Alison Bechdel during three pivotal stages in her life: as a 10-year-old girl, a college freshman, and…

REVIEW: Finding Neverland Reveals the Real Peter Pan @attpac #FNLtour

Opening night for Finding Neverland  in Dallas ended with a cheering crowd and a standing ovation. This whimsical musical runs through July 23 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in the downtown Dallas Arts District. These days, most of us know “adulting” is hard work and if you don’t believe it, we have the memes to prove it. After a long day on the job, we grown ups even have TV shows about time lords, zombies, and queens who give birth to dragons to make us forget our cares. In 1903, however, the fantasy genre…

REVIEW: Get Thee to a Ticket Vendor for Something Rotten! #SomethingRotten @attpac

I saw Something Rotten! last night and it was wonderful! Pardon the silly play on words, but if that ain’t your thing, read no further. However, if you’re looking for a fun night out, then read on: Opening night for Something Rotten!  in Dallas ended with a cheering crowd and a standing ovation. This much-lauded original comedy musical with book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell, and score by Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick plays through June 25 at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House in the downtown Dallas Arts District. The plot for Something Rotten! is…

Review: RENT 20th Anniversary Tour @ATTPAC @RentOnTour #Rent20

Opening Night Ovation for RENT: Feels like a Party! Opening night for RENT 20th Anniversary Tour in Dallas ended with a cheering crowd and a standing ovation. This much-lauded and multi-award-winning show with book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson plays through October 2nd at the AT&T Performing Arts Center as part of its 2016 – 2017 Broadway Series. It was obvious by the crowd’s cheers and anticipatory applause throughout the show that a good portion of the opening night crowd had not only seen RENT before, but they were very familiar with it. It felt like a party!   RENT’s Storyline: Making…

Review: A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder @ATTPAC in Dallas

Opening Night Ovation   The national tour of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder received a well-deserved standing ovation last night in Dallas, Texas at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. It was easy to see why this Tony Award winning musical received so many accolades – including winning Best Musical and Best Book – when it debuted in 2014! Lighthearted Black Humor While the story revolves around a series of murders conducted by a ruthless serial killer, it’s actually a comical show that keeps you smiling and laughing from start to finish. Fans of “Arsenic & Old Lace,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Clue” will instantly connect with…

My Kickstarter Campaign for a Book, Photo Show & Music CD

2016 Writer in Residence I haven’t mentioned it in a while, but I was chosen to be the 2016 Writer in Residence for Tarleton State University’s Langdon Review Weekend – and it’s coming right up! (Click here to read a blog post about last year’s Langdon Review Weekend.) The Langdon Review Weekend is an amazing annual literary conference, and I am super thrilled and honored to be their resident writer! My residency starts on August 27th. I’ll be staying in the gorgeous historic town of Granbury, Texas for two whole weeks with the sole purpose of creating and reaching out to the community. Brainstorm I’ve been brainstorming recently about what…

Disney’s Beauty & the Beast @ATTPAC in Dallas

Disney’s Beauty & the Beast If you have any little princesses or princes in your immediate family, you absolutely must head over to the AT&T Performing Arts Center before Disney’s Beauty & the Beast leaves town! This entertaining musical, based on the animated 1991 Disney movie, portrays the classic fairy tale in a lush and lively style that will keep viewers of all ages highly entertained. A Tale as Old as Time… Disney’s Beauty and the Beast tells the story of Belle, a young woman who lives in a small town where her love of reading makes her a nerdy oddball. Every other…

Review: Beautiful, The Carole King Musical in Dallas #BeautifulOnTour

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical on Broadway   When a major recording artist is featured in a jukebox musical, you can pretty much guess which songs will be recorded – or so I thought before attending Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. The national tour of this Tony Award winning show opened in Dallas, Texas last night to a packed house at the AT&T Performing Arts Center. Not just Carole King songs Beautiful includes plenty of Carole King songs, but what surprised me was how many other familiar tunes came along for the ride. For instance, I didn’t know Carole King and her…

Review: Cabaret Musical in Dallas @ATTPAC #CabaretTour

Cabaret – surprisingly timely What could possibly be timely about a 50-year-old musical set in Berlin during Hitler’s rise to power? What, indeed. Had I seen Cabaret a year ago, I would have enjoyed it, but seeing it during the 2016 election cycle as we argue over transgender bathroom rights, immigration and religious freedom made this musical even more powerful, and rather unsettling! (In retrospect, I shouldn’t be surprised. John Kander and Fred Ebb, the same songwriting duo responsible for Chicago, another musical set in a different time period that also has uncanny modern day parallels, wrote the songs in Cabaret.) Set during the Weimar…

Review: IF/THEN A New Musical in Dallas @ATTPAC #IFTHENtour

Opening night ovation in Dallas, Texas Opening night of IF/THEN at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in Dallas ended with a cheering crowd and a standing ovation. This new musical by the Pulitzer Prize Winning duo, Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt, is a 2 and a 1/2 hour riff on the decisions we make in life and the consequences (both expected and unforeseen) these choices create.   IF/THEN vs Sliding Doors At first blush, the plot of IF/THEN sounds similar to “Sliding Doors,” a 1998 movie starring Gwyneth Paltrow. “Sliding Doors” shows the myriad ways a simple event – in this case, either catching or…

Review: Excelsior House Hotel in Jefferson, Texas

Stepping into History The Excelsior House Hotel in the historic district of Jefferson, Texas has quite a pedigree: Not only has this Texas State Landmark been in continuous operation since the 1850’s, but it’s also listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. If you are a history buff, you do not want to miss the Excelsior House Hotel. Sure, just like any accommodation these days, every room has a private bath, a television, and WIFI, but there’s something *special* about this east Texas venue, something I’ve never quite experienced at any other historic hotel: I truly felt transported while staying…

Review: Black Swan B&B in Jefferson, Texas

Relaxing Getaway If you’re looking for a relaxing getaway in east Texas, consider booking a room at the Black Swan B&B. So many of Jefferson’s restaurants, museums, parks, and stores are within easy walking distance of this charming inn that you could simply park your car when you arrive and leave it in the same spot until you’re ready to drive home! Perfectly located in the heart of Jefferson, TX My husband, Larry, and I recently stayed at the Black Swan B&B in historic Jefferson, Texas. What a treat! We were in town so I could give my Historic Cemetery Symbols talk…

J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan 360 in Dallas, Texas – An Exciting Blend of CGI, Cirque & Live Theater

Peter Pan 360 Lands in Dallas In association with AT&T Performing Arts Center, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan 360 has landed in Dallas for an extended stay from now through December 6, 2016. Through high-flying aerial routines and CGI projections, Wendy, Peter, Tinkerbell and The Lost Boys come to life in a thrilling production that is fun for the whole family. What is the Threesixty Theatre Tent? If you’ve driven through the Dallas Arts District recently you may be wondering why a 100-foot high white circus tent suddenly appeared at 2450 San Jacinto. Well, not only did Peter Pan 360 come to…

My Coast to Coast AM Interview from Miss Molly’s Hotel in Fort Worth, Texas

A wonderful surprise! Last week, I answered the phone, fully expecting yet another telemarketer, only to find the producer from Coast to Coast AM on the other end of the line. Wowza! What a wonderful surprise! She peppered me with questions about all three of my books, Unexpected Texas, Paranormal Texas, and The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber) and then asked if I’d like to be a guest on the show. Would I ever! Quest for a Landline Since my husband and I no longer have a landline at our home, she suggested we stay at a hotel for…

Review: Motown the Musical in Dallas, Texas

Crowd Pleasing Motown Hits in Dallas, Texas There was no second guessing needed to tell if the Dallas, Texas audience enjoyed Motown the Musical. From the moment the curtain lifted, people were clapping, whooping, and dancing in their seats. Based on a 1994 autobiography by Motown founder, Berry Gordy, this jukebox musical is chock full of toe-tapping nostalgia. With everything from “Baby Love” and “My Girl,” to “Brick House” and “Super Freak,” Motown the Musical packs in well over 50 major hits from the past 50 years. The show includes all the songs you remember, plus a few you may…

How to Visit the Munster Mansion Replica in Waxahachie, Texas

The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas – my best-selling travel guide to quirky, offbeat and overlooked places near Dallas and Fort Worth. Check it out if you enjoy learning quirky facts, or are looking for offbeat road trip ideas in north Texas. Munster Mansion Replica While there is no official address for, “1313 Mockingbird Lane,” in north Texas, there is an excellent replica of the Munster family home over in the town of Waxahachie where, in 2001, Sandra and Charles McKee built a replica of the house depicted in the classic TV sitcom. Since it’s a fictional house, the pair watched and…

Review: Pegasus Theatre’s Living Black and White™ Play

Living Black and White™ Every January, Pegasus Theatre presents a unique production at the Eisemann Center in Richardson, Texas: a play that looks and feels like an old black and white movie. Through special trademarked make-up techniques, carefully chosen costuming, clever lighting and stylized acting, the experience is so good that when a woman in a bright red dress steps onto the stage after the curtain call, it’s jarring to the eyes. (Even my camera struggled to make sense of that moment; she came out looking splotchy and yellow in a few shots.) A Parody of Film Noir & Crime…