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Maia Nolan-Partnow

Anchorage Community Theatre offers an alternative to conventional holiday fare with "The Last Night of Ballyhoo," which opened Friday. There are no magical spirits or gift-bearing magi to be seen; rather Alfred Uhry's comedy uses the Christmas season to deal with the issue of Jewish identity in 1939 Atlanta...

Maia Nolan-Partnow

"The Boy Friend" opened Friday night at Cyrano's, and while the premiere had its weak moments, the show appears likely to settle nicely into a fun holiday outing the whole family can enjoy.

Opening night started, as opening nights are wont to do, with a few technical snags; first there were some moments of awkward silence punctuated by audible shouts from backstage, and then there was the electric piano that wouldn't play.

After a minute or two of fiddling with sound, the cast started to enter sans accompaniment, and even after the piano started working, the lights didn't come up, and the first verse of the opening number was sung more or less in the dark...

Maia Nolan-Partnow

The holidays are just around the corner, but let's postpone "Good Christian Men Rejoice" in favor of something more immediate: Good musical theater fans rejoice for the singing, dancing gospel has come to the Anchorage stage. And no I'm not talking about "Jesus Christ Superstar."

The University of Alaska Anchorage's production of John-Michael Tebelak and Stephen Schwartz's "Godspell" opened Friday night, and it's a firecracker of a show, funny and touching and earnest, with all the spirit of a Sunday gospel brunch.

Even the nonbelievers in Friday night's crowd were clapping along with the reprise of "Day By Day" and lining up to share "wine" with the cast onstage...

Maia Nolan-Partnow

Several times a year Kamala Derry, a nurse in real life, takes the stage as "Lola Pistola," madam of VivaVoom Brr-lesque, Anchorage's only burlesque troupe.

On this particular September day, in an unassuming Anchorage house, Derry and lead dancer "La La La'mour" worked several performers through the number that would open the troupe's first show of the season.

Dancers dressed in sweaters, jeans and sweat pants posed on chairs holding invisible lipsticks and adjusting imaginary girdles, preening for an audience of one.

"It's supposed to be, like, a little glimpse into the dressing room while we're getting ready" La La explained.

"Like, not what really happens," Derry broke in. What really happens backstage borders on chaos...

Maia Nolan-Partnow