Best of stage 2011

This year we introduce a best of stage category running down some of our favs in theater, dance, drag and performance art. […]

Portland Playhouse’s ‘Angels in America: Millennium Approaches’ – a live review

Wade McCollum as Prior Walter (L) with Noah Jordan as Louis Ironson in the Portland Playhouse's 'Angels in America.' Photo by Owen Carey.

Tony Kushner’s epic play about the AIDS crisis in the 80s, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, is all about juxtapositions, and the Portland Playhouse does this expertly. We wonder if the tropes presented in this production remain relevant and Director Brian Weaver’s 8 person cast proves that it is. You can hear what Weaver and principal actor Wade McCollum have to say on the continued relevancy of the Angels, as well as AIDS in the 21st century, in an interview from last week.

On one side is the closeted and vicious Ray Cohn, played by Ebbe Roe Smith, lawyer for all the big names on the right, and on the other, Prior Walter (McCollum), an eloquent gay man whose partner, Louis (Noah Jordan), leaves him. Both are Cohn and Walter are dying of AIDS. But though Cohn is a classic villain and Walter a relatable (if not wholly classic) hero, both script and performances provide the nuance so imperative in this story. Ultimately, Cohn seems pitiable and Walter powerful.

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Interview with ‘Angels in America’ Director Brian Weaver and Actor Wade McCollum

As I watched some early rehearsals of the Portland Playhouse’s upcoming production of Angels in America: Part 1, Millennium Approaches, the excitement was palpable. An epic play, Angels seems to be one of the most sought after for actors and directors alike to be a part of. The Playhouse was especially excited to be able to put it on this year, which is its 20th anniversary. I found myself easily swept up in the excitement, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting opening ever since.

The Portland Playhouse cast of 'Angels in America.' Photo by Laura Domela

If your not familiar with Tony Kushner’s 6 hour play, it follows the interwoven lives of several individuals in and around New York, most of whom are gay, during the early days of the AIDS crisis. Though the Playhouse is only putting on Part 1 (for now) there is plenty of drama to fill the 3 hours. The Pulitzer Prize winning script delves into the broader themes of the AIDS crisis, politics, religion, hypocrisy and more through the eyes of a WASPy gay man afflicted with the disease, Prior Walter, and his Jewish partner, Louis Ironson. Ironson struggles with this reality and eventually leaves Walter for an affair with a closeted Mormon, Joe Pitt. The other principal character is Ray Cohn, a deeply closeted gay man, who is also dying of AIDS, even as he actively espouses anti-gay and McCarthyist Regan-era politics, and serves as the play’s biggest villain. Through it all an angel watches over, and other characters, alive and dead, weave in and out of surreal scenes, memories, hallucinations.

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‘Blow Pony,’ Fat Fancy’s anniversary partyand Dana Goldberg get you ‘Feelin’ Alright’ this weekend

Comedian Dana Goldberg performs Saturday


Triskaidekaphilia (Just My Luck) – In case you missed the opening last week you have another shot at Jimmy Radosta‘s new play about comedic misfortune.


Street Corner A staged Reading – Already another theatrical piece f the weekend, this time a bit earlier in the process. One of several bits in a series of short plays, It Takes All Shorts, Street Corner stars Kevin Cook aka Poison Waters.

Glass Candy, Chromatics and Rude DudesSomething of a straight hipster bastion, a Glass Candy/Chromatics show still produces great music and a great time. Rude Dudes have incredible dynamic duo superpowers on the decks, smashing genres together in a way that will make you want to dance, but be too enthralled to remember the moves.

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The Manor of Art


uNumbered by TJ Norris

Milepost 5 (900 NE 81st Ave), an “intentional community centered around creative individuals” is already a striking art projects in Portland’s Montavila neighborhood. One building, the Lofts, is already finished and another, the Studios, is in the works. The 51,000 square foot Studios building is phase 2 of Milepost 5; formerly the Baptist Manor Retirement Home, which was built in stages between 1928 and 1956.

Beginning today a 10 day art and music extravaganza will introduce the burgeoning building a help bring Milepost 5 to the forefront of Portland’s creative consciousness. Over 100 artists have been invited to turn the yet-to-be-renovated rooms of The Studios building into three floors of installations and exhibits. The fest includes live music by local bands, theater and performance art, artist round tables, and daily guided tours of the 100+ exhibits.

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You may not want to pay it, but you should go see ‘Rent’

rentSet in New York City in the ’90s, the smash Broadway musical Rent, is relevant to Portland audiences in almost any decade. And it has returned to the stage with original cast members Anthony Rapp and Adam Pascal.

The opening night party was last night, but there’s still plenty of time to catch the show. Check out my write-up from Just Out:

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Gay and grownup theater: ‘Glory Hole-llelujah!’

glory-holeNavigating the singles scene is a complicated affair for anyone. In a brave new world of internet dating juxtaposed with the traditions surrounding gay male courtship, sex and dating can be a scary, lonely and confusing world of inconsistencies wherein emotions and physical needs battle it out in the playing field of your inner psyche. Exploring these opposing forces is just what Glory Hole-llelujah! At Brody Theater June 12 and 13 aims to do.

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‘She Had Wept’ experimental theater

Tonight Q Center (4115 NE Mississippi) hosts a night of experimental lesbo theater when they put on She Had Wept.  A series of vignettes inspired by the poems of Michelle Le Blau (the writer/director) is an experimental piece that tells a remarkable coming of age story of one young lesbian, and imparts the many struggles that all women face in society today.

A collection of poems and monologues that […]