It may be that my expectations were too high, but I found The Pines Dinner Theatre’s musical comedy offering through May 13, “A Second Helping: The Church Basement Ladies Sequel,” to be a disappointment.
Despite moderately funny one-liners and a couple of beautifully poignant scenes, the new script by Greta Grosch is no match for the original.
The sequel, co-produced and directed by Oliver Blatt, finds the Minnesota Lutheran ladies still in the basement kitchen in 1969, four years since they first confronted their changes of life and the changes in life.
Q. My five-year-old niece lives in a chaotic household with extended family members. She has had a number of injuries in the last few months that I believe were caused by her seven-year-old cousin. I am concerned that the parent-caregivers in the home are not watching the children. How can I or other family members keep my niece safe?
“At the ages of five and seven, supervision is key,” panelist Erin Stalsitz said. “Supervision is the parents’ or caregivers’ job.
Q. Is it my imagination, or are children more out of control than ever before? In public, I see children misbehaving and parents either ignoring or unable to control their off-springs’ behavior. What is going on?
The team’s conversation began with the statement that “for better or worse, as a society we’ve gotten so much more casual.”
Touchstone Theatre is holding a “telethon” on stage through April 15 for a very unworthy cause, that is, celebrating political tyrants, and raising funds so that their children’s despotic dreams can come true.
The “Tyrants of Tomorrow Telethon” is the fictional setting for the musical satire, “Dictators 4 Dummies,” written and directed by Christopher Shorr, with input from his fellow Touchstone company members. The April 6 performance of the world premiere production was seen for this review.
I was reminded of just how superb Neil Simon is as a playwright when I attended Pennsylvania Playhouse’s impressive staging of “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” a semi-autobiographical comedy about a Jewish teenager growing up in the turmoil of a Great Depression-era Polish-American family.
“Brighton Beach Memoirs,” through April 22 at the Playhouse, is full of hilarious one-liners, as well as Simon’s unfailing insights into the human condition.
Q. I am a single mother of a four-month-old. I just got a job, but I am still living day-to-day, and I do not have money for child-care. I am relying on friends and acquaintances, which I know is not the safest thing for my baby, but I am not sure what else to do. I do not have family around to help. What can I do?
The panel agreed that the first message to the mother should be, “Good for you.” They praised her for getting a job, taking care of her child and being so aware that what she is doing is not the safest solution for the baby.
“They say that breaking up is hard to do,” but not when it’s done to music in the Pines Dinner Theater production of “Love is a Many Splintered Thing.”
Packed with four decades of Top-40 hit songs from Neil Diamond and Cher to Elton John and Gloria Estefan, not a word was spoken by the cast the entire evening. Instead, the story of six friends and their romantic relationships from high school to adulthood is told entirely through the lyrics they sing.
“The Second Coming” is the title of a poem written by William Butler Yeats in the aftermath of the carnage of World War I. Its allegorical reference is to the Christian belief that Jesus “will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.” After asserting that “the blood-dimmed tide is loosed,” Yeats’ poem concludes: “Surely some revelation is at hand; Surely the Second Coming is at hand.”
Q. My nine-year-old daughter often tells me that she is being picked on by other children. I made a point to observe her from a distance in social situations, and I see something different. She seems to be very sensitive, and she reacts strongly. For example, someone told her that her sneakers were “funny,” and she started to cry.
Panelist Pam Wallace pointed out that some children are more sensitive than others, and are going to react differently.
Q. My 10-year-old daughter came down for breakfast this morning, scared and not wanting to go to school. She had heard about the Parkland, Fla., school shootings, and is afraid that could happen at her school. I was able to calm her down and get her off to school this time, but what do I tell her that will reassure her that she is safe?
The first discussion centered around the parent’s question about reassuring her child.