"The actors are quick, funny and talented. The comedic timing and repetition of the piece is incredibly charming and consistent...If the show has any faults they are in the second act. The second act is not at all consistent with the first act in terms of tone...It redeems itself in the scene between Da Ponte and Mozart...Da Ponte is stripped to his soul and Whitmore does an excellent job of really breaking him down to his core desire...'That True Phoenix' is witty and entertaining." Full Review
"The playwright, Kelley, and the director, Diercksen, report most of this story in a non-linear fashion, using many rapid-fire and humorous scenes and flashbacks...Through many of Mr. Kelley’s lines we get some glimpses of Da Ponte’s poetic use of language. The engaging Curry Whitmire comically plays Da Ponte. Isaiah Tanenbaum is gifted as the genius Mozart...Diercksen capably guides the remaining ensemble cast of four. They energetically play many different roles." Full Review
"For a while, it seemed like Kelley’s 'That True Phoenix' would be simply a delightful, freewheeling 18th-century romp...And yet about halfway through the first act, we discover Kelley and director Diercksen are up to something a lot more interesting. Da Ponte is not exactly who he has been telling us...In addition to maintaining a sense of unity among the many design and storytelling elements, Diercksen also draws stellar, energetic, and acrobatic performances out of all of his actors." Full Review
See it if You want to be entertained and you don't mind having to work a little for it. Fascinating story told irreverently but with heart.
Don't see it if You have sensitive ears, you get dizzy from breakneck action. You need sets, scenery and a linear narrative.
See it if avant garde bare stage techniques & blind multi-character casting amuse rather then confuse you. The love child of Candide & Hamilton!
Don't see it if you are looking for a true biography of Da Ponte whose embroidery on his complicated life has been further expanded for dramatic effect.
See it if You want a modern take on a lesser known historical figure. You want to support a young theatre company.
Don't see it if You value consistency: the writing & direction swing between sincere interest in DaPonte, & mocking, hipper than thou nonsense.
See it if you're up to learning about a real historical figure in musical history; enjoy "trunk" shows (minimal set/props/costumes).
Don't see it if you like your theater with all the bells and whistles; want to see something short and sweet.
Also Lots of laughs to be had here! The cast is very charming.
See it if This show was a bit longer than it should have been.
Don't see it if While learning about this unsung hero was interesting, the non-linear storytelling and over-the-top acting made it difficult to follow
See it if This play was an ambitious project for the team since it required a bigger budget. Although the storyline was good it was delivered by a ..
Don't see it if you do not like experimental theatre.
See it if high octane, non-stop laugh machine, that frappes DaPonte's epic story with story theatre technique & an uber talented company can thrill u
Don't see it if have pre-established rules what a "play" should be, if you can't see yourself in the con, can't appreciate a flight of fancy & new forms
See it if you like stories of little-known historical figures, self-aware plays that toy with timing/staging/characterization, spare but creative sets
Don't see it if you prefer linear/clear/more formal narratives that don't interrupt themselves, get confused by actors playing multiple characters
See it if You want to learn about a librettist that worked with Mozart, Salieri, among others.
Don't see it if You prefer more mature actors, and less of a farcical approach to the subject at hand.
See it if experimental over the top performance with fast paced and shouting dialog. Younger audience may appreciate the avant garde production.
Don't see it if inclined for more traditional presentation . Staging is minimalistic with silly costumed and portrayed Mozart. First act is 85+ minutes long
Also "Access" theatre is 4 floors high walk-up misnomer.
See it if you like witty, fast-paced and well-staged plays about historical figures, in this case Lorenzo Da Ponte, Mozart's librettist but much more.
Don't see it if you like straight-forward linear plays with a clear beginning, middle and end or dislike actors playing many roles
See it if you're interested in breakthrough theater about a complex, self-deluded yet culturally important character. Many contemporary parallels.
Don't see it if you think it's going to be about the opera, just because it's about Mozart's librettist. It's not.
See it if You would like to know more about the man we mostly know as Mozart's librettist. The show conveys to you what an interesting life he had.
Don't see it if You get irritated by too many moments played for laughs, especially long pauses made for you to start laughing even if not funny.
See it if You would like to see a hilarious, dynamic piece of new theater. Whether or not you know Lorenzo Da Ponte, you will love this.
Don't see it if You're afraid of new things. Because the piece is so new, it is a little long. It felt like it should be a one act. But it's worth your time
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