Nica Burns and a Sheffield Theatres Production, music by Dan Gillespie Sells, book and lyrics by Tom McRae
Why would a teenager want to stand out from the crowd? For many teenagers, fitting in with your peers is hugely important so there must be a reason to be different.
This is the story of Jamie, someone who by force of personality stood out from the crowd. Perhaps he always knew he was different. Perhaps an extrovert personality made him a born performer, but why choose to be a drag queen? By any stretch of the imagination this is an unusual ambition, and this play is a recounting of a now well known story based on the real life experience of Jamie Campbell.
The action centres around the school environment of a year 11 class in the lead up to their end of school prom. It focuses on Jamie, who is coming to terms with himself, and explores his ambition to be a female impersonator. It seems he came out twice, once as gay and subsequently as an aspiring drag queen. As the school setting is a working class environment in Sheffield, these factors brought with them the scrutiny, must of it unwanted, from his peers and teachers.
The stand out performer was Ivano Turco as Jamie who started shy, and mixed up yet became increasingly feminine and confident. My problem was that in using a soft voice to accentuate his femininity, he became hard to hear. He was ably supported by Rebecca McKinnis as his mother, Darren Day as his mentor, Hugo/Loco Chanelle and Talia Palamathanan as Priti Pasha, whose songs were memorable.
The production was great although not without its problems. There was a 10 minute hiatus for a sound system failure near the start, yet the cast and crew addressed this and the musical continued without affecting the enjoyment of the audience. The set was varied, flexible and effective, switching seamlessly from school room to nightclub to kitchen. The choreography was energetic and balletic and the score varied in intensity from highly charged to being soulful and poignant.
In one sense, this play is mundane. The vast majority of 16 year olds go through struggles to assert their identity and individuality and many struggle with attendant mental health problems. In another sense this story is highly unusual and comes with layers of meaning and issues. Jamie knew from a young age that he was gay and had an attraction bordering on compulsion for dressing up in so called girls clothes. This made him out of step with society, such that his father thought him a disgrace and some of his peers poured scorn on him, even bullied him. As he explores his ambition to be a drag queen, he faces losing his best friend, and being excluded from the prom because he wants to wear a dress. Issues such as prejudice and discrimination and then human rights spring to mind but most importantly, it is clear from the play that one should stay true to yourself and then it is possible to fight through the barriers of social limitations and achieve success.
Even if a story of an aspiring drag queen is not your cup of tea, there is much in this play that makes it thoughtful, entertaining and uplifting theatre.
A turning point? Branwen: Dadeni certainly feels like it. This “epic new Welsh language musical” heralds a potentially exciting new era for the nation’s theatre. Why? Because it is by far the most ambitious, large-scale theatre production in the Welsh language yet. Testament to what can be achieved when the might of Wales Millennium Centremeets the creative ambition of Frân Wen. It is no understatement in describing the show as worthy of a West End run. The culmination of a long-held confidence by some that our culture is worth investing in.
Adapted from The Mabinogi, this new version exports the mythic weight of the original into a bold and contemporary style. The result is a classic piece of theatre, Shakespearean in size, but with a cutting edge that makes it feel fresh and new. The musical element is a key component to this: a combination of choral tradition, music hall operetta, Sondheim-influenced harmonies and Disney-inspired ballads. Seiriol Davies has not been afraid to draw from the wide pool of musical theatre history and infuse it with Welsh character to create a score brimming with personality. The result is a captivating story. An absorbing commentary on power, family and history that could have been heavy or dictatory but has, instead, been generously and lovingly portrayed.
The costumes fit nicely with each of the characters: from the flowing dresses of the idealist Branwen (Mared Williams) to the army-like uniform of her renegade half-sister Efnisien (Caitlin Drake). So too, the choreography captures beautifully their contrasting personalities: particularly the swish swooning of Matholwch (Rithvik Andugula) in the presence of a buttoned-up Bendigeidfran (Tomos Eames). It is in the songs though that this royal cast of kings, queens and consorts really comes to life. And when one hits the right note, the emotional affect can be overwhelming. Take the tale of the snowfall for instance. The way that Mared gently presses her vocal against the window through which her character witnesses such a scene. So poignant and hopeful, it brings a tear to the eye. Or Gillian Elisa’s vivacious solo, in which her character runs roughshod over the King to proclaim where true power lies. It is delivered with such abundant force as to raise a rapturous applause from the audience.
These are moments which are memorable not just in the context of the show. They make an indelible mark on the mind in the way that some of the best musical theatre productions do. Finding yourself driving home with lyrics still playing out in your head. Fingers tapping the melody on the steering wheel. Feelings still flowing through your body as you go to bed. This is a sure sign that Branwen: Dadeni has in some way been a success. It certainly lays down a marker for future work, which is as challenging as it is inspiring. At a time when investment in the arts is in danger of falling, may Branwen: Dadeni be the start and not the end of something.
Reviewed on the final night at Pontio Arts Centre in Bangor by Gareth Williams
This is the first time I have been to the theatre since lockdown and this was a most wonderful reintroduction. There is nothing that compares to live theatre and this opportunity did not disappoint and I would certainly recommend this musical to everyone.
When composer Richard Rodgers and lyricist-dramatist Oscar Hammerstein teamed up they became the greatest musical partnership of all time. Their influence and innovation to theatre musicals has been celebrated the globe over.
This production of The King and I comes to Cardiff following a critically-acclaimed season at The London Palladium where it was no surprise that it was a sell out!
From curtain up the audience was transported and transfixed to another world far from the mundane. For many the bench mark for this elaborate musical is the 1956 film with screen performances of Deborah Kerr (Anna) and Yul Brynner (King Mongkut).
The West End’s Annalene Beechey and Broadway’s Darren Lee did not disappoint with their interpretation and performances that transported us to the Siam of Margaret Landon’s novel Anna and the King of Siam on which the musical is based.
The story follows Anna, a widow, and her son as they travel to Bangkok, where Anna has been assigned as a tutor to the King’s children. Anna soon finds herself having cultural clashes and differences with the King whilst endearing herself to both the children and the king’s many wives.
The Royal children were a delight, completing the illusion of being in a far country at a different time.
There are also the side stories of star crossed lovers and references to slavery. These must be viewed in context but the female narrative cannot be ignored and gives additional depth to the story as a whole.
The stand out actor for me was Caleb Lagayan, who excelled as a truly believable Prince Chulalongkorn. His voice was powerful, captivating and commanded the stage.
From the golden age of musicals, The King and I is one of the greatest, with what many would consider one of the finest scores ever written.
Many in the audience seemed to genuinely find it difficult not to sing along to the familiar songs including Whistle a Happy Tune and Shall We Dance.
Tony Award-winning director Bartlett Sher and his internationally renowned creative team created the atmosphere of old Siam. The wonderful full-scale orchestra led by Christoper Munday, must be given credit for keeping us spell bound all evening, even before the curtain rose.
A truly memorable evening I would recommend to everyone.
In contrast to NTW, Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru goes from strength to strength. Rhinoceros is the latest in a series of shows and commissions to offer fresh, bold and imaginative theatre. In fact, Manon Steffan Ros’s adaptation of the classic text by Eugène Ionesco is the first Welsh-language production that feels not just national but international in scope. This, in spite of the fact that pop cultural references populate the dialogue.
I say this as a Welsh learner who had to sit and listen to the play without audio description or captions. A problem with the Sibrwd app meant that I was forced to engage with it on its own terms. It is testament to not only the actors but the whole creative team that I became immersed very quickly in this increasingly-apocalyptic world. Set in an unknown location in Wales, friends Bérenger (Rhodri Meilir) and Sian (Bethan Ellis Owen) are enjoying tea outside the local grocer’s shop when a rhinoceros runs in front of them across town. The small but effective skill of the actors to shake the furniture to create the vibrations of its movement is but one of several parts that make this a spellbinding watch. Everything from the placement and use of props to the physical manifestation of the creature within each of the characters makes Rhinoceros a captivating commentary on social conformity.
Bethan Ellis Owen perfectly embodies the absurdity that underscores the whole production. For in her transformation, we witness the destructive, dramatic and the ridiculous. Her hysterical movement and exaggerated speech causes laughter among the audience even as it contains a nervous quality that points to a more serious tone. For Meilir presents an increasingly distraught and tortured soul as he fights desperately against the change, from person to creature, that friends and colleagues succumb to. This is no linear tale however: horror is always punctuated with the comic; fairy dust is often laced with fatalism; and the funereal contains a certain cultural irony. It is a melting pot of genres and emotions, expertly crafted and directed by Steffan Donnelly and his team.
What ratchets up the drama and emotion of Rhinoceros is the absence of an interval. It allows the momentum to build to an epic proportion, making its conclusion all-the-more powerful and demanding. It is, at its best, a warning: do not allow the light to be infected by the dark. And this speaks not only to its distinctly Welsh culture but to a Western world in danger of doing just that.
In 2001, when British Army Major Charles Ingram won the top prize on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, he became the third person ever do so – and the first to be denied the winnings. After a lengthy trial he was found to have procured the money by deception, in conspiracy with his wife Diana and fellow contestant Tecwen Whittock. The prosecution’s case rested on the production company’s claim that Charles, who’d played erratically throughout his time in the hot seat, was guided to the correct answers through a series of coughs from Diana, Tecwen, and an underground ring of Britain’s top quizzers, who’d get a cut of the prize money.
Directed by Daniel Evans and Seán Linnen, and written by James Graham, Quiz takes its audience through the story through the lens of the trial that followed. In Act One, we hear the case for the Prosecution; in Act Two, the case for the Defence – all while using Millionaire’s infamously stress-inducing psychological tactics: the pulsing heartbeat, the gradually dimming lights, and the twisted spectacle of watching someone unravel before your very eyes. No wonder it quickly became the world’s most popular TV quiz show: you quite literally couldn’t look away.
Comedian and Britain’s top impressionist Rory Bremner stars as Chris Tarrant – and he’s utterly uncanny in the role, capturing every Tarrant-esque tic. His scenes with Lewis Reeves (I May Destroy You, The Midwich Cuckoos) as the unassuming Major Ingram in particular seem lifted exactly from the episode itself. This is in no small part thanks to the spot-on set, designed by Robert Jones and lit by Ryan Day, which brilliantly evokes the original game show and transitions spookily well into an imposing courtroom.
This is far from your typical courtroom drama. It is brimming with energy, poignancy and lots of laughs – not least from Mark Benton (Northern Lights, Shakespeare and Hathaway) as a series of hilarious characters, from the bum bag-toting top dog of ITV to the leather-coated leader of the quizzers’ secret circle. A brilliant ensemble features strong supporting performances from Charley Webb (Emmerdale) as Charles’ quiz-obsessive wife Diana, as well as Danielle Henry, Leo Wringer, Jay Taylor and Stefan Adegbola. And do look out for scene-stealing turns from Sukh Ojla and Marc Antolin.
Nominated for two Olivier Awards including Best New Comedy, the West End smash hit was adapted for TV in 2020, starring Michael Sheen, Matthew Macfadyen and Sian Clifford. But there’s something special about the theatrical production and how it poses the ultimate 50/50 question: Were the Ingrams guilty, or not guilty? You might want to phone a friend, or ask the audience – which Quiz does, by giving them the opportunity to vote, and not just as a contestant’s lifeline. Fresh from a smash-hit run on the West End, Quiz perfectly captures the heart-pumping tension of the world’s most popular TV quiz show. Catch it while you can – and that’s my final answer!
Quiz is performing at the New Theatre Cardiff from 18 – 21 October. More information on the show and how to book tickets can be found here.
Quiz is a fictional imagining based on real events which took place in 2001 following an episode of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? It is not in any way connected with the makers of the programme or any of the individuals portrayed. The television programme Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? is produced by 2waytraffic.
Move over Monica, Chandler, Rachel, Ross, Joey and Phoebe: there’s a new set of Housemates in town, and they’re here to change the world!
And that’s exactly what they did, when in 1974 a group of residents at the Ely Hospital went to live with Cardiff University students in a small house in Ruthin Gardens. Alan (Gareth John), a young man born with Down’s Syndrome, meets Jim (Peter Mooney), a rebellious student volunteer. The two become friends, and so begins an odyssey that – after two years, countless letters and submissions and hospital board rejections – culminated in the end of institutionalised ‘care’ and the dawn of supported living.
Written by Tim Green and co-directed by Joe Murphy and Ben Pettitt-Wade, Housemates is a fun and affectionate tale that is raucously brought to life by a hugely talented cast of neurodivergent and neurotypical actor-musicians. The show moves through its story like a song, underscored by an excellent sense of rhythm, movement, and momentum. There are brilliant performances by John and Mooney as the central duo, who lead a superb ensemble cast that includes Natasha Cottriall, Lindsay Foster, Matthew Mullins, Caitlin Lavagna, Richard Newnham, James Ifan and Eveangeleis Tudball. They make a (shockingly) little-known piece of Welsh history feel like an instant classic.
The show begins even before you take your seat, with the cast performing iconic 70s hits that transport you to this era of rockin’ rebellions – and keeps the party going well after the curtain falls. It is simply the most joyous show I can remember seeing in a long time. This vibrant co-production between the Sherman Theatre (the ‘engine room of Welsh theatre’) and Hijinx (one of Europe’s leading inclusive theatre companies) is further proof of the magic of contemporary Welsh theatre: a concert, a comedy, and a clarion call in one.
Housemates is performing at the Sherman Theatre until Saturday 14 October. More information and how to book tickets here. Performances are captioned (in English), audio described and BSL interpreted. Please note that the show contains use of outdated terms for disabled people, ableism, strong language and descriptions of abuse.
Below is a syndicated interview with Tracy-Ann Oberman for The Merchant of Venice 1936, which is performing at the New Theatre Cardiff from 31 October – 4 November. More information on the show and how to book tickets here.
“The women in my family were as tough as nails.”
Tracy-Ann Oberman is herself no stranger to tough cookies – she’s a formidable actor on stage and screen. But here she is speaking about her great-grandmother and aunts, women with nicknames like Machine-Gun Molly and Sarah Portugal. They came to London from antisemitic eastern Europe at the turn of the last century, and despite all odds managed to build a life and make a living.
Oberman’s family history helped unlock Shakespeare’s enduringly controversial play, The Merchant of Venice. Her relatives survived the Battle of Cable Street in 1936 – a little-known event in London’s East End, when the Jewish community was targeted by the British Union of Fascists, led by Oswald Mosely. Mosley’s blackshirts marched through the area, only to be confounded when the non-Jewish community stood by their Jewish neighbours.
In The Merchant of Venice 1936, Shakespeare’s harsh plot snaps brilliantly into place against this backdrop. Shylock, its anti-hero, is a Jewish moneylender who becomes entangled in the affairs of wealthy non-Jews and suffers terribly for it. In this new version, Oswald Mosely inspires Antonio, the merchant who takes a loan from Shylock and offers a seemingly fanciful penalty for defaulting: a pound of flesh. The heiress Portia becomes “a beautiful glacial Mitford type, awful” – her famous courtroom speech about “the quality of mercy” emerges as an act of hypocrisy rather than humanity. And Shylock changes sex, played by Oberman as a single mother, fiercely committed to her independence and her daughter. “I have one daughter,” she says – “it’s an intense relationship!”
Oberman is an impressively versatile actor – diamond sharp on stage at the RSC and National Theatre, in comedies like Friday Night Dinner and Toast of London, and as Dirty Den’s nemesis Chrissie Watts in EastEnders. Yet playing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice was never on her radar – growing up, she says, “the play always fascinated and repulsed me.”
Reclaiming the play from a Jewish perspective has proved a transformative experience. It is directed by Brigid Larmour, who recently stepped down as artistic director of Watford Palace Theatre: the pair of them have become, says Oberman, “walking encyclopaedias of this world.” They assembled a strong company of actors – “We call ourselves the Cable Street Collective!” says Oberman. Ray Coulthard’s sneering Antonio and Hannah Morrish’s icy Portia are chilly foils to this ardent Shylock. The result is painfully funny, genuinely upsetting – and unexpectedly moving as the events of the play meld with the heightened drama of the Battle of Cable Street.
Having sold out in Watford and Manchester, the production now embarks on an extended tour. “We’ve had lots of people crying and we get standing ovations,” says Oberman, reflecting on why the show has struck such a chord with spectators. “Whilst they might not have liked my Shylock, they certainly understood why she wants that pound of flesh. She stands in the courtroom with her handbag, with everything stacked against her. A lot of people know that feeling – believing the law is on their side, but discovering it’s only on the side of people that have power.”
This production sat in Oberman’s head for years, as she researched and planned and waited for lockdowns to pass. But now that it has met an audience, what has surprised her? “The thing that surprised me most was the court case,” she considers. “Just how powerful it was to see this woman backed into a corner by all these men, with the palpable hatred and misogyny. It was electric – you could cut the atmosphere in the auditorium with a knife. That was a revelation.”
Playing Shylock as a woman, she insists, isn’t about softening the character – “I didn’t want to make her a victim or change her role in the story” – but, she adds, “maybe I underestimated the impact of a female Shylock. There are a couple of very shocking moments that really upset audiences. In an early scene Antonio comes to borrow money, and Shylock describes him spitting on her and kicking her like a dog – when that behaviour is directed at a woman, it heightens the antisemitism. I think people also see a woman with her rage and anger. She loses her daughter, her money – she loses everything. And when you tell somebody that they’re a monster for long enough, they become that monster.”
The production vividly summons a febrile moment in British history. “My dream is that the battle of Cable Street will be taught as part of the British civil rights movement,” Oberman says. “Mosley had been sending his blackshirts down into Cable Street smashing doors, breaking windows, attacking synagogues and people on the streets, putting up the most horrific leaflets straight out of Hitler’s playbook. But my great grandmother always reminded me that their neighbours – their Irish neighbours, the Afro-Caribbean community, the dockers, the working classes – all stood together. That was a beautiful moment.”
It is clearly immersed in history – but does this also feel like a show about the present? Absolutely, Oberman says. “At a time when we are looking at Britain’s involvement in colonialism and the slave trade, I think we also have to look at Britain’s flirtation with fascism. Oswald Mosley and King Edward VIII, both great friends of Hitler, came close to power – we dodged a bullet. The great message of the play is about the pulling together of all communities – we’re better together, we’re stronger together, especially at times of huge financial and political insecurity. The past shows us what happens when we look inwards: we become very nationalistic and try to pit minorities against each other. We have to be vigilant.”
Oberman doesn’t hide how much this project is personal to her – but it seems she’s not alone. “What has been very moving is how many people want to stay and talk at the end,” she says. That kind of conversations does the play provoke? “A lot of people talk about their own family’s immigrant experience. Young political people want to talk about the Battle of Cable Street, and people who’d never seen a Shakespeare about why they’d found it so accessible. One man came in with about 20 fascist newspapers from the 1930s that he’d found in his father’s loft, which we’ve used as part of our graphics.
There were big conversations: is the play antisemitic? Was Shakespeare? Lots of really interesting conversations.” Part of the impetus behind The Merchant of Venice 1936 was teachers telling Oberman they felt anxious about discussing this contentious play in their classrooms. So the production is accompanied by a prolific strand of education work, alongside the activist group Stand Up to Racism. The team have been into schools and created a pack to support teachers. “We’ve also created an online world which people can look at before or after seeing the play. It’s an incredible resource talking about the play, the 1930s, the history of antisemitism and racism, Oswald Mosley, everything you could want.”
It’s still rare to see a woman standing dead centre in a Shakespeare production – though Oberman tells me, “I can honestly say that when I went into this, it was never with an ego about playing Shylock, it was about wanting to tell the story. I just put my soul into it.” And has it been the experience she hoped? “Every single bit of it has been a complete joy. It’s been more than a piece of theatre – for me, it’s been a mission. And it lived up to all my expectations.”
The days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in and that means one thing: the New Theatre’s annual Christmas pantomime is coming, and this year’s is gonna be alriiiiiiiii. Jac and the Beanstalk is the New’s latest festive shindig to sprinkle a little Welsh magic over the Very British artform that is the panto, and Get the Chance’s Barbara Hughes-Moore sat down with the actor bringing the titular adventurer to life: Adam Bailey, fresh from London’s West End who’s starred in the likes of Jersey Boys and The Book of Mormon.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Thank you for speaking with me today, Adam. Tell us a little bit about Jac and the Beanstalk
What a brilliant panto – I can’t wait to get started. I grew up in Cardiff and it’s going to be a really special thing to be able to come back to the New Theatre.
Could you share some of your memories of the New Theatre?
I’ve been doing shows here since I was a teenager! I did 4 or 5 amateur productions here, so it’s lovely to come back as a professional: it’s a real full circle moment!
And to be playing the titular character, too! Tell me about Jac: what makes him tick?
Well, I’m not sure because we don’t have a script yet! We start rehearsals end of November and that’s when we’ll start to explore all of that. It’s going to be such a fun light show. Panto is a total romp, so I can’t wait!
How did you get involved?
Just like any actor you audition, you sing and you act, and then you get the call.
There are some quite big names on the poster behind you, like Lesley Joseph and Mike Doyle. Have you met either of them yet?
I don’t think I have… although I’m terrible with names and faces!
Well, Mike is a master of disguise, so you could have met him and not known it!
What are your first memories of panto?
Although it wasn’t a family tradition, I’ve been to panto at the New Theatre as a child. My first proper memories were the first times I did panto when I was in training, during my econd and third year. it’s so much fun, and so important to the fibre of theatre in this country. It’s so many people’s first foray into theatre, so it’s a really wonderful thing.
You’ve performed both in pantomimes like Aladdin, and musical theatre like Jersey Boys in the West End. What are the differences between the two – or is it the same process?
It’s all theatre at the end of the day. It’s essentially your office job! But all the shows you do are slightly different and it’s the people who make it. There is something special about panto and how stylised it is, because there’s nothing else like it. It’s such a British staple and such a unique tradition.
What’s the secret to a good pantomime?
Good people. As long as you’ve got good people, then it’s gonna be brilliant and I’m excited to meet the cast.
Will it get Cardiff audiences on their feet?
Yes! Panto is a party at the end of the day and we want to get everyone up on their feet and feel good. We want to send everyone on their way singing.
How does the show incorporate Welsh references into Jac and the Beanstalk?
The clue is right here in the title: we’ve taken the ‘k’ out of ‘Jack’ for a start!
Will there be room to improv?
With certain characters, yes. Mike Doyle for example has done this over and over and there will be improv… but within reason! This isn’t a seven-hour-long panto: we’ve got to do two a day!
What about the costumes?
They’re nice and bright and colourful! What other shows let you get away with wearing things like this?
Do we have any special effects to look forward to?
I hear there’s a special effect with the giant, but it isn’t common knowledge so I can’t give anything away. You’ll just have to wait and see…
Anything else you can tease about the show?
The pantos here are always brilliant. So come along, enjoy yourself, sing along, have a dance: it’s gonna be great.
Heathers the Musical, based on the 1988 black comedy film of the same name, follows Westerberg High’s Veronica Sawyer as just another nobody dreaming of a better day. But when she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers and her dreams of popularity may finally come true, mysterious teen rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody.
The Sherman Theatre’s 50th year kicked off with an impressive triple bill of Ghost Cities, Romeo and Julie, and Imrie – but Love, Cardiff: 50 Years of Your Stories is truly the icing on this most stacked of birthday cakes.
Written by the cast in collaboration with Paul Jenkins, Love, Cardiff is indeed a love letter to the city and the people who call it home. The show is directed by Francesca Pickard, who joined the Sherman this summer as its new Creative Engagement Coordinator, and makes an impressive company debut. The production is a culmination of 15 weeks in which Pickard and producer Mehdi Razi worked with members of five community groups in Cardiff, supporting them in identifying and conveying the stories they wanted to tell.
Their stories are framed by a narrative featuring the Theatre’s namesakes: the Sherman brothers, played by actors Richard Emerson and Simon Howells. Harry and Abe Sherman, whose parents were Eastern European Jewish immigrants, were businessmen and philanthropists who helped to transform Cardiff into what it is today. The show’s framing device has the brothers learning about how the Sherman Theatre – which in 2019 became Wales’ first theatre of sanctuary – has continued their philanthropic work by cultivating a safe space for all, told by those who have now taken up the baton.
The cast includes members of Cardiff’s Deaf Community, Cathays Day Provision, Kurdish All Wales Association (KAWA), Waulah Cymru and the Welsh Ballroom Community. Their stories and performances, while at times tinged with tragedy, are authentic, joyous and fun – and resonate with the Sherman’s mission to tell local stories with global resonance.
Vibrant, diverse, and joyful, Love, Cardiff serves as a timely reminder of why, on its golden anniversary, the Sherman Theatre shines brighter than ever.