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Monday, April 22, 2013

"Clybourne Park" @ Portland Center Stage

"Clybourne Park" ties with "Venus in Fur" for my favorite production at PCS so far this season. Both have an edge, and both have biting wit.

"Clybourne Park" is a slight sequel to Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun". Act I tells the story of the white family who sells their house in the Clybourne Park neighborhood to the black Younger family, over the strenuous objections of their neighbors. Act II fast-forwards 50 years, the neighborhood is now predominately black, and tensions arise when a white couple wants to tear-down the house....

"Clybourne Park" is an exquisitely constructed piece, and therefore it is difficult to highlight the best moments without ruining the surprise. I must note however that Andy Lee Hillstrom as the smarmy preacher is hilarious, and there is a joke in Act II that is at once so funny, vulgar, and offensive that the actors had to maintain their shocked expressions and stunned silence for what must have been much longer than expected, in order for the uproarious audience laughter to die down....

Once again, I think "Clybourne" is among the best of the season, and I am not alone, it also won the Pulizer Prize for Best Play.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Jon Lovitz @ Helium Comedy Club

Jon Lovitz, frequent "Simpsons" guest star and protagonist of the criminally underrated "The Critic" is performing four shows at Portland's Helium Comedy Club. (Two last night and two more tonight at 7:30 & 10:00 PM.)

First things first, I must note that The Helium made sure I had a prime view of the stage, and I would say they are entirely wheelchair-friendly. Everything about the club is upscale, from the food to the ambiance.

For someone who I am familiar with from network television and relatively benign comedy films, Jon Lovitz's routine was much edgier than I was expecting. I can not think of a single joke I would feel comfortable reprinting here--that is not a criticism, in fact it is high praise. I imagine he gets away with a lot because of his wry smile.

It was a fantastic night, I cannot wait to return to Helium, and I highly recommend catching the final shows tonight.

Jon Lovitz

Helium Comedy Club 1510 SE 9th Ave

Tonight 7:30 & 10:00 PM