Posted by Bruce Miller
I saw Shining City tonight. I loved the way Henley Street (or whomever) has upgraded the space. I love the new risers and raked seating. I didn’t see True West last season (I heard it was great). But I’ve seen many other shows at Pine Camp. Shining City was by far the most satisfactorily produced play I’ve seen there. Sets, lights, sound and overall ambiance seemed indeed to have been kicked up a notch.
I loved James Ricks’s pre-show speech—very casual, friendly, confident, charming and short. Those speeches are tough and few people do them well. James's speech was great.
I can’t say enough about the talents of Joe Inscoe. He’s world class—as good as anyone you’ll see anywhere. What an amazing actor. He’s a Broadway star right here in Richmond. I’m being completely serious.
If I ever go to see a therapist, I hope he’s just like Larry Cook. Larry's was a very comforting presence. I thought he was great.
Same thing for Jacob Pennington, except different profession.
I think Lyddall Bugg is a talented actress, and I’m sorry I didn’t become more familiar with her work when she toured in Huck and Tom and the Mighty Mississippi for Theatre IV.
Bo Wilson is one of the smartest guys in Richmond theatre and an astute director. I need to ask him to direct something at B'dale someday.
Henley Street is growing impressively. New artistic director James Ricks has hit the ground running. I applaud his talent, vision and ambition.
PS Some anonymous commenters tell me I see plays at Virginia theatres other than Barksdale for terrible reasons. They say I'm trying to be like a plantation master proving that all the other theatres are beneath Barksdale and needy of my largesse. They say I write about the things I like at other theatres mostly to damn through omission those things I don't like. They say I want to make the other theatres look and feel small.
God help me if that is how this is coming off. None of that is my intention.
I go to other theatres to be supportive of other theatres. I think it's important for me to be supportive, and I take that responsibility seriously. I write about other theatres also to be supportive--of the theatres themselves and the artists who work there. If any artistic or managing director would prefer that I not come to their theatre and/or not write about their theatre on this blog, just let me know. You all know how to reach me. Thanks.
Some commenters still think I hate the Richmond critics; they believe I viewed the recent Artsie awards with derision and contempt. I don't and I didn't. If I come off that way, chalk it up to my being a horrible writer who can't make his opinions clear. I'm nothing but respectful of the critics, and actually quite fond of the several of them I know. I LOVED the Artsies. I've said it, I've written it, and I mean it.
Last but not least, when I recently wrote nice things about some Richmond theatre artists who didn't win Artsies, some commenters suggested I must really have it in for Joe Doran, Ron Keller, Audra Honaker, Ali Thibodeau, Marta Reiner and Jeff Cole (the Jeff part came from a response I wrote to a 'Rick Gray comment). You can believe me or not, but the truth is I actually care a lot about Joe, Ron, Audra, Ali, Marta and Jeff. I'm actually pretty crazy about them. I admire their talents. They are my friends.
That's all for now. Thanks.