THE UPS AND DOWNS OF ‘BRIGHTON’: Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs is a semi-autobiographical story of his growing up in New York in the shadows of the Depression. And as David Novinski says in his Front Row review, “In the hands of Contemporary Theatre of Dallas and director Michael Serrecchia, it’s also semi-funny, semi-serious, and only semi-effective.” Lawson Taitte had a few quibbles with some of the performances but calls it, “a perfect show about family.” And Carli Baylor pretty much loved the whole thing. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll understand why theater can be a great way to cope with your own life,” she says in her Theater Jones review.
‘WILD’ AND WILLING: The Orbans will play a party in their honor on Friday at Lola’s in Fort Worth. The occasion is the release of their new album, When We Were Wild. And the band members say capturing their live energy was a top priority. “The band plays well together live,” singer Peter Black tells Preston Jones of dfw.com, “and I think we just wanted to capture that the best we could.” Hunter Hauk also talked to the band for a story in this week’s Quick. Bassist Cliff Wright says part of making the album was a change of scenery. “We moved into a house down in Austin with a goal to get as creative an environment as we could, and I think it really shows. We took the same mind-set to Los Angeles as we finished the record. The album is a great representation of the band finding our sound.” Fort Worth Weekly also weighs in on the disc.
EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP: Laura Kostelny of Front Row touches on a topic that has always interested me: museum gift shops. It’s always fun to see how they try and serve both the serious visitor and the person who just has to buy some sort of knickknack at every place they go. Kostelny is a little annoyed with the gift shop at the Women’s Museum in Fair Park. Actually, make that a lot annoyed. “At what is possibly the most politically incorrect gift shop on record—a new record, go for it ladies!—you can celebrate your PhD with the purchase of a red straw cowboy hat adorned with a rhinestone tiara spelling out your alma mater,” she writes. This is a good post to read the comments on. What started out as a backlash against the writer has evened out some as more people have weighed in. Seems like a good conversation to have.