Matthew Gardiner: Celebs Rumors


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‘Private Jones’ is a Thrilling Musical Adventure (Review)
Private Jones poses a thrilling musical adventure in story and in form.The company’s first world-premiere musical since the pandemic, produced in association with Goodspeed Musicals, shrewdly deploys sign language, practical sound effects, and silence, along with Pailet’s compelling score, to shape the world of Private Gomer Jones, a deaf Welsh sniper in World War I.Inspired by a real-life WWI marksman who was deaf since infancy, Private Jones comes firing to life in Johnny Link’s feisty take on the role.Gomer, who loses his hearing as a child, is gutsy enough at 16 to fake his way past British Army recruitment officers so he can join up and fight alongside his fellow Borderers from Breconshire.Backed by the production’s robust ensemble, he sings, bursting with hope, in “The South Wales Borderers” of answering the nation’s call. Moments later, innocence still guides him, as Gomer and company march through “Part of the Sound,” his vow to not simply soldier in step, but truly prove his value in combat.Link ably captures Gomer’s boyish voice and outlook, and evolves the character in his dark, humbling descent into the trenches of war, though it’s not the performer’s singing that carries the characterization.Distinctly pleasing voices do surround him — notably, David Aron Damane, lending his deep baritone to Gomer’s father and other roles, and Leanne Antonio as Army nurse Gwenolyn, leading the transporting ballad “Every Soul’s a Soul.”Later reprised as “Every Soldier,” the intoxicating melody ripples like water, floating Gwenolyn’s simple wisdom, that every soul is a soul.
DC Theater Review: Signature’s “She Loves Me” is whiff of delight
She Loves Me (★★★★☆) is but one of many pleasures to behold in director Matthew Gardiner’s sprightly, delightful trip to that fabled shop around the corner.Miklós László’s 1937 play Parfumerie first established the venerable love story between contentious Hungarian shop clerks Georg and Amalia, spinning a romantic confection so sweet, it’s been revived, adapted, and reinvented in forms from film to this beloved musical-comedy, originally produced on Broadway in 1963.The snappy book by Joe Masteroff has held up well, and, while the waltzing score, with music by Jerry Bock and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, can seem a tad old-fashioned, the songs shine like gems when placed in their most advantageous setting.Gardiner and company have done plenty to create that proper atmosphere, starting with Lee Savage’s set, which opens like a music box to reveal the pristine, pastel-pretty shop floor of Maraczek’s Parfumerie.Reconfiguring like some happy-go-lucky Transformer around a centerstage turntable, the set impresses while offering Gardiner and choreographer Kelly Crandall D’Amboise myriad opportunities to keep the actors and decor moving in amusing directions.Adam Honoré’s lighting design doesn’t always add as helpfully to the scenery, but contributes beautifully to standout numbers like “A Romantic Atmosphere” and “Dear Friend.” It’s the performances, though, that light up every scene.Ali Ewoldt’s demure yet daring Amalia Balash bubbles with charm and nervous energy, unaware she’s engaged in a pen-pal romance with the one man she leasts gets along with in real life, fellow parfumerie clerk Georg Nowack, played a hint too gruffly by Deven Kolluri.The pair sing wonderfully, solo and in tandem, but the show’s most successful duet