Theater review: ‘Wicked’ at the Majestic Theatre

‘Wicked’ is now playing at the Majestic Theatre through Sunday October 14.

The 2018-2019 North Park Lexus Broadway in San Antonio season officially began on Wednesday with opening night of the return of ‘Wicked’ to the Majestic Theatre. This hugely popular musical has become a cultural phenomenon since its first performance in San Francisco in 2003 will run through Sunday October 14 with showtimes Friday at 8p.m., Saturday at 2p.m. and 8p.m., Sunday at 2p.m. and 7:30p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30p.m. Tickets start at $53.50 and are available through Ticketmaster online, by calling 800-982-2787, or by visiting the Majestic box office. ‘Wicked’ is based on the 1995 bestselling novel by Gregory Maguire and has music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and a book by Winnie Holzman. It is the story of Elphaba, the future Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda, the future Good Witch of the North, who meet in the Land of Oz before Dorothy drops in. Their friendship is put to the test through a series of events including their reaction to the Wizard’s corrupt government and Elphaba’s eventual fall from grace.

‘Wicked’ begins with Act I set in the Land of Oz where the Ozians are celebrating the death of Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West. Glinda the Good Witch confirms the death and starts to recount Elphaba’s past, including how her mother had an affair while her father was out of town and how she was the product of that affair. (“No One Mourns the Wicked”) When an Ozian asks Glinda if Elphaba and she were friends, she reluctantly agrees and proceeds to tell the story of how they became best friends. The flashbacks begin when Elphaba and her sister Nessarose arrive at Shiz University (“Dear Old Shiz”) where the beautiful and popular Galinda, who later changes her name to Glinda, is also a student. During a confrontation with the headmistress Madame Morrible, Elphaba displays her magic powers which eventually lead to her being summoned to work with the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, something she has always dreamed of. (“The Wizard and I”) When she finally meets him, she is disappointed to learn that he is a regular man with no magical powers and behind all the terrible things that have been going on in Oz, including the subjugation of the animals. Elphaba becomes a confident young woman and together with Glinda and Fiyero, a shared love interest, they fight to right the wrongs and bring peace to the Land of Oz, regardless of the consequences.

The complicated relationship between Elphaba and Glinda takes center stage but this multi-layered musical has something for everyone. There is enough humor, action and romance to keep audiences coming back every time it rolls into town. Considered a prequel of sorts, it gives numerous references to ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ namely the origins of Tin Man, Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Flying Monkeys and how she got the reputation as the bad witch. Ginna Claire Mason and Mary Kate Morrissey are excellent as Glinda and Elphaba and work together splendidly while the lighting and gorgeous costumes help transport the audience to the magical Land of Oz. Show highlights include “Popular” as Galinda tries to give Elphaba a make-over, “Defying Gravity” when Elphaba realizes that she must not let anyone hold her down and “No Good Deed” when Elphaba fails to protect Fiyero because of the limitations of her powers and vows to live up to her reputation as the “bad witch.” It is not necessary to be familiar with ‘The Wizard of Oz,’ but it helps because of the various refences throughout the story. With universal appeal, it is appropriate for all ages, but the appearance of the Flying Monkeys might make some people uncomfortable. There are still many chances to catch this must-see production.

“Are people born Wicked, or do they have Wickedness thrust upon them?” – Glinda the Good Witch


Movie adaptation: ‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’ by John Bellairs

housewithclockJohn Bellairs was an American author best known for his fantasy novel “The Face in the Frost” and many gothic mystery novels for young adults featuring the characters Lewis Barnavelt, Rose Rita Pottinger, Anthony Monday and Johnny Dixon. One of his biggest works, “The House with a Clock in Its Walls,” is a juvenile mystery novel illustrated by Edward Gorey and the first in the series of novels featuring the fictional American boy Lewis Barnavelt. It follows the adventures of a young boy who goes to live with his uncle in a creaky old house. The movie adaptation starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett and directed by Eli Roth is now in theaters everywhere.

According to Amazon, when Lewis Barnavelt, an orphan, goes to stay with his uncle Jonathan, he expects to meet an ordinary person. It turns out that his Uncle Jonathan and his next-door neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman, are both magicians. His uncle’s house was previously owned by Isaac and Selenna Izard, a sinister couple who practiced black magic and plotted to bring about the end of the world. Before he died, Isaac hid a clock inside the walls of the house; it was meant to eternally tick and as it pulled the world into the magical alignment and allow him to destroy it. When Lewis befriends a popular and athletic boy named Tarby Corrigan, he tries to impress him by raising the dead in the local cemetery on Halloween and ends up releasing Selenna from her tomb. Her ghost wreaks havoc in town and leads to a final confrontation in Jonathan’s basement where Lewis must stop her from finishing her husband’s work to destroy the world.

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar kicks-off brunch on Sunday

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar will now offer brunch starting this Sunday September 30. Photo: Jackie Klusmeyer, used with permission. 

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar officially opened its doors last weekend and now will be launching brunch this Sunday, September 30. Brunch at Meadow will run every Sunday from 10a.m. to 2p.m. The menu stays true to the Seasonal Texas Southern concept, featuring items such as Texas Oats with Crispy Pork Belly, Bok Choy and Sweet Potato Syrup, the Wood Oven French Toast with Pear Butter Pecan Caramel and Salted Honey Cream and the Camping Doughnuts with Cinnamon Brown Sugar and Créme Anglaise. (Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar, 2018)

Meadow will also debut their signature Meadow Burger this Sunday. The burger will be a staple on their menu and served during both evening dinner and Sunday brunch. The regular menu features summer-to-fall transitional items, like the Late Season Tomato Toast. Dishes are curated with help from local farmers and ranchers and with an ample supply of farm fresh veggies, pickling is done in-house to preserve seasonality.

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar
The Alley on Bitters
555 W Bitters Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78216

National Coffee Day 2018

Celebrate National Coffee Day with new Café Zuca products from Twang. Photo: Sarah Cooper, used with permission. 

National Coffee Day is a special day that is used to promote and celebrate coffee as a beverage, to promote fair trade coffee and to raise awareness for the plight of coffee growers. It is observed every year on September 29 and this year it falls on a Saturday. Coffee lovers who would rather make their own cup of joe at home, there is a new product by the makers of Twang that will also allow them shop local. The San Antonio-based company introduces Café Zuca flavored sugar toppings, premium blends designed to help create that personal experience by customizing and adding a special touch to favorite food, drinks and tasty treats at home. It is the coffee shop experience without the high prices and hassle of waiting in long lines. (Twang, 2018)

Locals can purchase Cafe Zuca at H-E-B retailers and become their own barista; flavors range from basics like caramel and chocolate to fall craze Pumpkin Spice and Latin inspired Tres Leches. Each adds a special touch to coffee whether the preference is hot or iced. Cafe Zuca can also be used to top off popularly paired java treats like cinnamon buns.

Theater review: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at The Classic Theatre

John Stillwagon and Carolyn Dellinger in The Classic Theatre’s ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Photo: Siggi Ragnar, used with permission. 

September may be coming to an end, but there are still three more chances to catch one of William Shakespeare’s most famous comedy ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at The Classic Theatre of San Antonio. It consists of four interconnecting love stories, connected by a celebration of the wedding of Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen Hippolyta, which is set simultaneously in the woodland and in the realm of Fairyland, under the light of the moon. Sometimes while dreaming and desiring, a little magic is all it takes to set the course of love, comedy and reality in motion. Upcoming showtimes Friday and Saturday at 8p.m. and Sunday at 3p.m. Tickets are available online or by calling the box office at (210) 589-8450.

‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ opens with four characters who are wrapped up in a love quarrel: Hermia who is in love with Lysander but whose father has promised her to Demetrius and Helena, Hermia’s best friend who secretly pines for Demetrius who broke up with her to be with Hermia. There is also Peter Quince, who along with his friends Nick Bottom, Francis Flute, Robin Starveling, Tom Snout and Snug are preparing to put on a play for the wedding of the Duke Theseus of Athens and the Amazon queen Hippolyta, which is titled “Pyramus and Thisbe.” In the parallel realm of Fairyland, Oberon, king of the fairies and Titania, his queen are estranged because of her refusal to give him her changeling. He plans to shame her into changing her mind and instructs his faithful servant Puck to help him. With the help of a magical flower, Puck wreaks havoc in the forest by causing everyone to fall for the wrong person. Eventually everything returns to normal and the actors perform the play for Theseus, Hippolyta and the lovers but the actor’s performances are so bad that the guests laugh as if it were a comedy. When everyone goes to bed, Oberon, Titania, Puck and the other fairies bless the house and its occupants with good fortune.

The story and the subplots can get confusing but the cast does a splendid job of moving the action along under the expert direction of Joe Goscinski. The poetic dialogue flows effortlessly throughout the production and the lighting and staging create a magical environment. Compared to Shakespeare’s other works, this is a light-hearted comedy and had the audience laughing all night. Jordon Acker, Kacey Roye, Tyler Smith and Hunter Wulff are excellent as the quartet of lovers but Maggie Tonra steals the show as the fiendish Puck. For anyone who has ever wanted to see a Shakespearean play but found the material intimidating, The Classic Theatre’s performance of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ is the perfect way to dive right in. The combination of magic, action, love and humor along with the high-grade caliber performances from the entire cast makes this a show not to be missed. This is classic Shakespeare at its best.

Theater review: ‘Disney’s Newsies’ at The Public Theater of San Antonio

‘Disney’s Newsies’ now playing at The Public Theater of San Antonio.

After a successful opening weekend, ‘Disney’s Newsies’ continues at The Public Theater of San Antonio’s Russell Hill Rogers Theater and runs through Sunday October 14. It was adapted from the 1992 Disney film Newsies which in turn was inspired by the real-life Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City.  A co-presentation with Ballet San Antonio, this musical tells the story of the New York City newsboys who seize the day when they strike against unfair working conditions put in place by the publishing giant Joseph Pulitzer.  Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7:30p.m. and Sunday at 2p.m. Tickets are available online and at the box office but they are going fast. It has music by Alan Merken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein.

‘Disney’s Newsies’ is set in New York City in 1899 and begins as newspaper delivery boys Jack Kelly and his disabled friend Crutchie wake up early in the morning and Jack tells him of his dream to one day leave New York to live in Santa Fe. “Santa Fe (Prologue).” All the newsies then report to work “Carrying the Banner” where Jack meets Davey and his little brother Les, who unlike the others, have a home and family but must now get jobs to help the family after their father lost his job. There, they find out that the publisher of the New York World, Joseph Pulitzer, has increased the cost of the newspapers to the delivery boys so in retaliation, Jack organizes the city’s newsies to fight back by organizing a strike. When Jack meets a young female reporter named Katherine Plummer, she joins their cause because she sees it as an opportunity to be noticed as a serious reporter “Watch What Happens” but ends up falling for Jack.

To pull off a demanding show like ‘Disney’s Newsies,’ The Public Theater collaborated with Ballet San Antonio and the hard work has paid off. Under the direction of George Green with choreography by Courtnie Mercer, this immensely talented cast shines throughout the show, especially during the group dance numbers; those alone are worth the price of admission. Chaz Ingraham as Jack and Chelsea Levalley as Katherine have the excellent onstage chemistry needed to bring this inspiring and poignant story to life. Throughout the performance, real newspaper accounts of the strike are projected onto the background, including the group picture of the real newsies. Show highlights include “Carrying the Banner,” when the newsies make their stage debut and “Seize the Day” when they decide they have had enough and make the strike official. These high-energy dance numbers are amazing and understandably receive much love from the audience. ‘Disney’s Newsies’ is both educational and entertaining and makes for a must-see show the entire family can enjoy together.

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar opens at Alley on Bitters

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar is now open to the public. Photo: Jackie Klusmeyer, used with permission. 

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar announces their official opening to the public as of Saturday September 22. This new Northside restaurant with a seasonal Texas Southern concept is now open with brunch beginning Sunday September 30. The concept comes from Chef Patrick “PJ” Edwards, who was previously the Culinary Director for Contigo Restaurant group in Austin, and wife, Lindsey Edwards, who was formerly the General Manager for the Jason Dady Restaurant Group. (Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar, 2018)

Locals can now support the San Antonio natives’ culinary dream to return and open their restaurant here. Neighbors, friends and families are welcome to get a taste of the Alley on Bitters’ latest restaurant concept, which promises Seasonal Texas Southern fare.

Meadow marks Chef Edwards’ first restaurant concept and the Texas Southern menu changes seasonally. The opening menu features summer-to-fall transitional items, like the Late Season Tomato Toast. Dishes are curated with help from local farmers and ranchers and with an ample supply of farm fresh veggies, pickling is done in-house to preserve seasonality.

Dinner options include freshly ground burgers, gulf shrimp, fried chicken and charcoal grilled ribeye alongside vegan/vegetarian dishes like fresh grilled okra and wood oven roasted acorn squash. Unique desserts feature the Lemon Ice Box Pavlova while the children’s menu contains a mix of comfort foods. Sunday brunch hosts a mix of classics and inventive dishes such as poached eggs with grits and camping donuts.

Evening dinner begins at 5p.m. and is served until 10p.m. Dinner is available Tuesday through Saturday and Sunday brunch will be offered starting Sunday, September 30 from 10a.m. until 2p.m.

Meadow Neighborhood Eatery and Bar
555 W Bitters Rd.
San Antonio, TX 78216

Southerleigh announces new oyster bar

Southerleigh’s new oyster bar is open daily during regular restaurant hours. Photo: Giant Noise, used with permission. 

Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery at the Pearl is excited to announce the official opening of its first ever outdoor, walk-up oyster bar. As a modern coastal classics cuisine restaurant, Southerleigh’s new oyster bar is an addition to its popular seafood and Southern cuisine. (Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery, 2018)

Southerleigh began construction of its outdoor oyster bar in July. The inviting walk-up bar features six Southerleigh beers on tap, plus several varieties of fresh seafood, including oysters, gulf shrimp, crab, caviar and more. The bar overlooks Pearl Park where guests can enjoy live music and activities from the park throughout the year. The 100-square-foot space includes bar and patio seating. Along with oysters and selected fresh seafood items, the bar also features a drink menu of Southerleigh beer, house punch and wine including rosé, sparking and more. It will be open daily during normal restaurant hours and is located next to the restaurant in the patio of the historic Pearl brewhouse.

“We pride ourselves in providing fresh seafood, so it’s only natural to bring an oyster bar. Guests can feel as though they are having food right off the coast, while enjoying the view of Pearl’s campus.”- Jeff Balfour, Chef and owner of Southerleigh.

Southerleigh Fine Food and Brewery
136 E Grayson St.
San Antonio, TX 78215

Tickets to ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ go on sale Friday September 21

Quentin Oliver Lee as ‘The Phantom’ and Eva Tavares as ‘Christine Daae’ in ‘The Phantom of the Opera.’  Photo: Matthew Murphy, used with permission. 

Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is coming to the Majestic Theatre in December and tickets go on sale this Friday September 21 at 10a.m. A part of the 2018-2019 North Park Lexus Broadway in San Antonio season, it will run from Thursday December 6 through Sunday December 16. Showtimes are 7:30p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 8p.m. on Friday, 2p.m. and 8p.m.,Saturday, 2p.m. and 7:30p.m. on Sunday and a special 2p.m. performance on December 6. (North Park Lexus Broadway in San Antonio, 2018)

Tickets start at $45 and are available online, by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 982-2787 or by visiting the Majestic Box Office. The Majestic Box Office does not accept single ticket orders over the phone; all ticket sales must be made in person. Majestic Box Office hours are 10a.m. to 5p.m. Monday through Friday. Orders for groups of 15 or more may be placed by calling (210) 226-5967.

Based on the classic novel ‘Le Fantôme de L’Opéra’ by Gaston Leroux, ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ tells the story of a masked figure who lurks beneath the catacombs of the Paris Opera House, exercising a reign of terror over all who inhabit it. He falls madly in love with an innocent young soprano, Christine and devotes himself to creating a new star by nurturing her extraordinary talents and employing all devious methods at his command. With newly reinvented staging and stunning scenic design, this new version of is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making it one of the largest productions on tour in North America.

‘The Phantom of the Opera’ is presented by Cameron Mackintosh, The Really Useful Group and NETworks Presentations. It is directed by Laurence Connor and features choreography by Scott Ambler, set design by Paul Brown, Tony Award®-winning original costume design by Maria Björnson, lighting design by Tony Award®-winner Paule Constable, sound design by Mick Potter and musical supervision by John Rigby. The production is overseen by Matthew Bourne and Cameron Mackintosh and has music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart, book by Richard Stilgoe and Andrew Lloyd Webber and orchestrations by David Cullen and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Majestic Theatre
224 E Houston St
San Antonio, TX 78205
(210) 226-5700

Celebrate National Pepperoni Pizza Day at Russo’s New York Pizzeria

Celebrate National Pepperoni Pizza Day with $10 pepperoni pizzas from Russo’s New York Pizzeria. Photo: Russo’s New York Pizzeria, used with permission. 

Pepperoni pizza lovers unite. On Thursday September 20, Russo’s New York Pizzeria celebrates National Pepperoni Pizza Day with a special pizza offer. The only authentic New York-style Italian restaurant and pizzeria franchise concept is offering $10 large pepperoni pizzas to celebrate the popular food holiday. Limit one per customer, dine-in and take out only, additional toppings extra. (Russo’s New York Pizzeria, 2018)

Following the family mantra “If it isn’t fresh, don’t serve it” Russo’s only uses the finest and freshest ingredients and authentic Italian imports like Pecorino Romano cheeses from Emilia Romagna, Italy; aged-balsamic vinegar from a centuries-old vineyard in Italy; and extra virgin olive oil from Partanna, Italy. Russo’s pizzas are baked to perfection in impressive brick ovens that deliver a perfect and flavorful crust every time.

Russo’s New York Pizzeria at The Rim
17631 La Cantera Pkwy, #102
San Antonio, TX 78257
(210) 561-7616