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Ed Shea

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Fools in love

Taking place on the hot Louisiana Gulf Coast, Tennessee Williams's The Rose Tattoo is steamy in more than one way, as human passions boil off repressed emotions.
Tennessee Williams's 'The Rose Tattoo' at 2nd Story
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  May 10, 2013
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Sabrina charms at 2nd Story

With their usual flair, 2nd Story Theatre is staging Sabrina Fair , the 1953 light romance by Samuel A. Taylor that provided the template for the film adaptation titled Sabrina .
Sophisticated lady
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 17, 2012
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2nd Story’s uproarious Sister act

Pity the poor nun. The hours are terrible, she's the butt of penguin jokes, and most people have gotten their impression of her from old movies.
Divine comedy
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  May 04, 2012
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2nd Story’s riveting August: Osage County

Considering that the play begins and ends with depressing quotes by T.S. Eliot, Tracy Letts's August: Osage County is remarkably fun-filled.
Truth and consequences
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  March 16, 2012
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2nd Story’s Take Me Out

Ironic, isn't it? To your ordinary man in the street or workplace, masculinity usually isn't an issue. Yet macho scale rankings readily come up in professional sports, where prowess should be enough evidence of testosterone levels.
A dramatic grand slam
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  January 27, 2012
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2nd Story’s communicating Doors

Slammed-door farces are delightful opportunities to unhinge us with laughter.
Ticklish time travel
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  October 07, 2011


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Crist shines in 2nd Story’s Master Class

Self-centeredness, tunnel vision, career obsession — these are not traits that endear us to a person. Yet without them, as Terrence McNally's absorbing Master Class makes clear, Maria Callas would not have attained her ranking as a renowned opera diva
All the right notes
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  September 02, 2011
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Review: 2nd Story's spirited Speech & Debate

Considering the dark core at the center of Speech & Debate — a sexual predator — it might seem incongruous that Steven Karam's celebrated play is hilarious. But at 2nd Story Theatre, that dark cloud doesn't inhibit the sunshine as three intrepid h
Class action
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 15, 2011
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Review: 2nd Story's uproarious The Good Doctor

Neil Simon may not be the most subtle of playwrights, too often tempted beyond endurance to go for the gag at the expense of motivation.
When Neil met Anton
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  April 01, 2011
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Review: 2nd Story's Beck Shaw is engaging

It's fascinating to watch what people put themselves through to insulate themselves from what they put themselves through through other people. Got that?
Emotional evolution
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  February 04, 2011
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Theatre that ran the emotional gamut in 2010

We laugh, we cry, we stifle annoyance and look at our watches. Theater performances vary widely in what they attempt and how well they accomplish it.
The human condition
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 24, 2010


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Review: 2nd Story's spirited School For Wives

With increasing delight, we knew what was ahead for us when Tom Roberts, in whiteface and rosy cheeks, gave the 2nd Story Theatre audience their customary instructions in verse: "If at intermission you phone, text or tweet/ please turn it off when you
The mating game
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 26, 2010
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Review: 2nd Story's darkly funny Kimberly Akimbo

Ironic, isn't it, how in the theater less can be so much more? Digital derring-do may have turned Brad Pitt into an aging Benjamin Button on film, but that's lazy trickery next to what's accomplished in David Lindsay-Adaire's Kimberly Akimbo , now ons
Quickly aging here
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  October 15, 2010
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Found in translation

The Foreigner , by Larry Shue, holds a special place in the muscle memory of my smiles and in my fond recollections of the early days of 2nd Story Theatre, which is staging it through September 5.
2nd Story's The Foreigner is delightful
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 20, 2010
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The Art of Greed

There’s nothing like a good swindle story, especially when you can trust that, in the end, the bad guys will be collared and the virtuous will be rewarded.
2nd Story's Late Christopher Bean
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 16, 2010

It’s good to be king

After being out of the local theater scene for a couple of decades, the Rhode Island Shakespeare Theater (TRIST) is back, staging an outdoor production of Henry VIII at the Roger Williams National Memorial Park, on North Main Street in Providence, thro
TRIST takes Henry VIII outdoors
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  June 18, 2010


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Hot and bothered

Shout “Fire!” in a crowded theater and you get one response. Shout “Die Hose!” (women’s undies) in a German theater back in 1911 and you got another kind of uproar.
2nd Story’s hilarious Underpants
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  May 14, 2010
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The con goes on

David Mamet has always had a professional fascination with confidence men who pretend to be businessmen.
2nd Story’s The Voysey Inheritance
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  April 02, 2010
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Earnestly funny

Considering that Alan Ayckbourn may be the most staged living English playwright besides Shakespeare, as some accounts declare, why isn't he produced more often in American theaters?
2nd Story fulfills its Comic Potential
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  February 05, 2010
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Hearts and souls (and laughs too)

It's been a good year for theater around here — an ingeniously roasted dramatic chestnut here, a new and safely landed flight of fancy there. Below are 10 productions that particularly stood out.
The 10 best theater productions of 2009
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  December 25, 2009
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I is another

Lothar Berfelde was born both a generation too late and a generation too early, growing up as he did in Berlin when the Nazis were coming to power in the '30s.
Ed Shea’s tour de force in 2nd Story’s Wife
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  October 09, 2009


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Imagine that

Mister Rogers is dead. Long live Elwood P. Dowd!
2nd Story's Harvey is simply delightful.
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 21, 2009
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Laugh to keep from crying

Rarely did a play arrive with better timing than You Can't Take It With You , the joyfully optimistic paean to the American spirit that earned its Pulitzer in 1936, when the country was licking the wounds of collective Depression.
Timeless optimism in You Can't Take It With You
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 17, 2009
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Derailed

If A Streetcar Named Desire were a person, it wouldn't be able to sleep at night, tossing and turning in a fever sweat, aching for basic human connection.
2nd Story strips Streetcar  of its angry soul
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  May 08, 2009
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Home unsweet home

European existentialist philosophers grandly designated fear and trembling — and subsets — as the default state of the human condition.
2nd Story's The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  March 18, 2009
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The Front Page

The Front Page 's timeless fun at 2nd Story
Breaking news: timeless fun at 2nd Story
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  January 28, 2009


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Triumph of the will

It's easy enough— unavoidable, actually — to admire and be amazed by the accomplishments of Helen Keller, but it took the account by playwright William Gibson for the remarkable work of her teacher, Annie Sullivan, to be so widely appreciated.
2nd Story's stirring Miracle Worker
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  November 26, 2008
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High society

The current 2nd Story Theatre production — with slit-eyed coaching from the playwright — manages to make the message as familiar as yesterday.  
2nd Story’s hilarious Belle’s Stratagem
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  August 13, 2008
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Summer stock

The 2nd Story troupe roasts all of the chestnuts here in fine style, clichéd characters deliciously recognizable.  
The pleasantly diverting Beaux’ Strategem
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  July 09, 2008
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The circle game

It’s a very funny reminder that laughter can make such absurdity almost worthwhile.
Befuddlement rules in Fuddy Meers
By BILL RODRIGUEZ  |  May 20, 2008