Features

We all grew up with fascinating fairy tales to entertain us: “Cinderella,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and so much more. In local playwright Steph DeFerie’s “Nick Tickle, Fairy Tale Detective,” Old Granny Possum (Sage Barnes) can’t tell us her favorite stories because their most important objects have gone missing, including Cinderella’s glass slipper, the Three Bears’ porridge, and much more. ...

There’s nothing like watching a dysfunctional family in crisis to put one’s own problems into perspective. The Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theater lures the audience into a world of family secrets in their new musical “Unexpected Joy.” This world-premiere musical brings together some acclaimed talents, and the net result is impressive. The book and lyrics are by Tony Award-nominated playwright Bill Russell...

The aptly named song “Greased Lightnin’” captures the spirit of the Academy of Performing Arts’ production of “Grease,” with its enticing energy emanating from the stage and the natural chemistry apparent between cast members. From the start, “Grease” revved up its engine to break records. It was the longest-running Broadway show of its time, opening in 1971 and running for nine years. It was eve...

Children find magical worlds all the time in literature. Dorothy found hers over the rainbow, Alice fell down a rabbit hole and the Darling children literally flew there. In C.S. Lewis’s “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (and in the adapted play by Joseph Robinette), four siblings stumble upon the fantasy world of Narnia through the back of a wardrobe. Just as in Oz and Wonderland, there’s an evil queen, ani...

"Tomorrow we'll be going to work.  We got a future." Or so it seems for George Milton and Lennie Small while camping out in their field of dreams.  It's 1937, Salinas, Calif. during the Great Depression.  The sound of fresh water running downstream has led this unlikely pair of migratory workers to another ranch in a once prosperous farming community.  George is the thinker, planner, protector.  Lennie is t...

Andrew “Bob” Black spent one year as a student in Chatham in the eighth grade. And back in that 1958/1959 school year, when he studied at the Eldredge Public Library, it would no doubt have been impossible for Black to conceive that about 50 years later he would return to the same library to work on his book “ John Pendleton Kennedy: Early American Novelist, Whig Statesman and Ardent Nationalist.” “While we...

Puss In Boots Back For Another Adventure At WHAT For Kids

By: Ellen Petry Whalen

The classic story of “Puss in Boots” is filled with the adventures of a miller’s son and his cunning, talking cat. Having an affinity for the sword-wielding feline, local playwright Stephen Russell decided his creatively named “Puss” – or “Ocelot Ugg” – hadn’t hung up his sword for good. The amusing result is a new sequel — “Ocelot Unchained!, or the Further Adventures of Puss in Boots.” After a fas...

Readers often wonder how novelists find ideas for their tales—for one author, her plot came to her in nature. “I was on a walk on Wellfleet's Great Island, on a path out to where the Smith Tavern once stood,” Judith Manchester of Eastham, author of “Sisters of the Stone,” recalled in an email interview. “I started thinking, ‘imagine the history this path has seen. Imagine the people who have walked it. Imagine...

When Laura “Poppy Grace” Wanamaker’s films are shown at the Chatham Orpheum Theater next week, don’t expect to get a front row seat. Those seats will be taken up by “Laura’s Moms” – Ginny Nickerson, Karen McPherson, Nina Schuessler, Jennifer Sexton, Jamie Niethold Nash, Lynette Walker, Carrie Fahle, Erica DeZitter, Tamara Harper and myself. When Robin Goellner, Wanamaker’s mother, passed away from breast cance...

Spot on, Monomoy Theatre, for presenting George Bernard Shaw's fanciful story "Arms and the Man," distinctively set in the bedchamber of a beautiful young woman to the sounds of military soldiers exchanging gunfire, unlikely as that seems. First produced on Broadway in 1894, the play continues to invoke discussions on the cold-blooded wisdom of war, women's rights, defining the worth of an individual by their "pl...

Bestselling children’s book author and illustrator Brian Lies’s new book “Gator Dad” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) exudes charm from each of its scale-filled pages. “Gator Dad” tells the story of a stay-at-home alligator dad who has charge of three rambunctious young gators. Led by Dad, the group explores the world, then returns home safe and sound. Lies says “Gator Dad” reflects an era in his own life. When Lie...

Gilbert and Sullivan’s world-renowned comic operas were written in the late 1800s and are credited with influencing our modern-day musicals. The Chatham Drama Guild highlights five timeless works from this great Victorian-era theatrical partnership in the original production “Gilbert and Sullivan in Chatham.” Librettist W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911) and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) created 14 operettas toge...