On “Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge”
“In Brooklyn, meanwhile, the Gallery Players are skewing Dickens’s story even more drastically with ‘Mrs. Bob Cratchit’s Wild Christmas Binge,’ a play by Christopher Durang that has all the Durangian insanity you’ve come to expect. For instance, Mr. Durang somehow works Kenneth Lay of Enron infamy into the tale, along with characters from other Dickens works and George Bailey of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life.’
The main attraction, though, is Joanna Parson’s very funny rendering of Mrs. Cratchit, whom Mr. Durang makes the central character. This Mrs. Cratchit isn’t quite the one you remember; she’s a suicidal, child-hating depressive who doesn’t seem bothered when, at the play’s end, Mr. Durang turns her son Tiny Tim into a dog”.
—Neil Genzingler, The New York Times
On “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (National Tour)”
“Joanna Parson is hilarious as the Iowa beauty queen who delivers a “Fargo”-esque “America the Beautiful” at Holly’s final concert.”—The Atlanta Journal Constitution
“Like all good comedies, A.R. Gurney’s Sylvia is more than just a ha-ha laugh riot.
The Human Race Theatre’s production, which opened to a full house Thursday night in a benefit performance for the company, is funny from the get-go. An actress playing a dog romps into the New York apartment of a man who has just “met” the fetching stray in Central Park.
Yet even as she wags her behind, skitters from one corner to the other and symbolically wets on the upper-class carpet, it’s almost more than that. The dog, played with irresistible abandon by Joanna Parson in sneakers, overalls, knee pads and a brown cardigan, is a young female…
Parson, whose features and lithe energy add to her stage presence, is multifaceted as the title creature. She doesn’t bark – shouting “Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey! when someone comes to the door, for example. She speakes English and is spoken to in the same language, but her delivery and body language burst with expressive dog personality. Sweet and loyal to a fault, she can tur homicidal (and profane) at the sight of a cat…
Sylvia is the hottest play on the regional professional theater circuit. There will be something like two dozen productions in the United States this season, second only to A Christmas Carol. There’s no need to go sniffing anywhere else for a better one.”—Terry Morris, DAYTON DAILY NEWS
On “Time of My Life”
“Depot Scores with ‘Time of My Life’.
‘Time of My Life’ is more than a well-written play. It is a work of art.
In their handling of this work, the director and cast at the Depot do it justice. The actors flesh out the roles well, catching subtleties in Ayckbourn’s script.
Joanna Parson is especially good in the role of Stephanie.
Stephanie left her husband, Glyn, because of his infidelity. Now, however, they are back together again. She clings to the hope that their marriage will work this time and that he will be faithful.
While she clings to the hope, her eyes tell another story. Deep down inside, she knows that these hopes are false. She can’t look directly at the truth, just as she cannot look directly into her husband’s eyes. This changes momentarily when he says he loves her. Briefly, her hopes don’t seem so false, and her smile deepens as she stares straight into his eyes, searching for the truth.
Michelle Oullette, Press Republican
On Die Like a Lady, or What Barbara Got, NYCFringe Festival
Joanna Parson knocks us out as Barbara’s treacherous Marilyn Monroe-ish prison paramour Candy Pants.—NYTheatre.com
On Reddy or Not
“Old pop icons don’t die, they just show up in New York theatrical productions… Hilarious!”—Stephen M. Silverman, People.com
“Do we really need a tribute to the songs of Helen Reddy? You bet your ‘Delta Dawn’ we do!”—LA Weekly
“Goofy tribute to Helen Reddy is outrageous and enchanting… You couldn’t accuse Lance Werth and Joanna Parson of taking themselves too seriously. In ‘Reddy or Not,’ both of them set out to perform their ‘fantasy one-person cabaret tribute to Helen Reddy.’ Problems—and bubbly comedy—arise when they end up trying to do their shows simultaneously… The show’s goofy charm comes from equal parts warm affection for Reddy’s songs and zany delight in their campy melodrama.”
The fact that the twosome are gifted comic writers doesn’t hurt: Parson cheerfully relates how the denizens of her hometown ritualistically stone a girl straight out of Reddy’s ‘Angie Baby’; Werth confesses that a friend called ‘Vance’—who came to New York to pursue ‘acting and homosexuality’—spontaneously broke out singing ‘Ain’t No Way to Treat a Lady’ when his closeted pro-football boyfriend slighted him. The duo are adorably silly and rarely less than hilarious, and the show is the most light-hearted frolic I can remember seeing in quite some time.”
—Jonathan Warman, HX Magazine
“I love good singing. I love good writing. I love cleverness combined with fun. I loved ‘Reddy or Not’… Imagine two young people, a guy and a gal, unknown to each other, who find in the music of Helen Reddy, comfort and strength in the time of stress. Each decides to write a cabaret show featuring Reddy songs, and through some quirk of fate, and a mistake in the booking calendar, discover, as the lights come on in the cabaret room, that they have been assigned the same cabaret room, on the same night, and at the same time. This is not the only off-the-wall coincidence that happens in this delightfully funny show, but it is the only one I’m going to reveal here. With more plot twists than a LAW & ORDER episode… Joanna and Lance present a funny and clever show that had me weeping from laughter. Even those lines that were perfectly predictable had me falling off my seat! Both performers are cute and talented – and just slightly quirky, which adds to the fun of the show.”—Stu Hamstra, Cabaret Hotline Online
“Imagine if Corky St. Clair and Libby Mae Brown (the characters played by Christopher Guest and Parker Posey in ‘Waiting for Guffman’) decided to put together a club act that was a loving homage to 70s feminist icon Helen Reddy. You don’t have to imagine it because they have and they’re doing it right here in Manhattan… Part musical revue, part therapy session, and part crazed obsession, ‘Reddy or Not’ is almost impossible to describe yet eminently watch-able… Parson and Werth are funny—really funny— with a twisted sense of humor and a keen eye for the kind of musical monologue that has been Sandra Bernhard’s stock-in-trade for years… Parson and Werth will keep you in stitches whether you’re a devotee of Helen’s or not.”—David Hurst, Show Business Weekly
On my original work:
“Sweet and filled with creative imagery.”—Backstage.
“ Feminist folk singer Joanna Parson was fantastic! I hate folk singers, but I love funny women, and Joanna Parson sings about the joys of getting with your cousin.”—The New York Waste
“CABARET PICK: This cabaret newcomer with the very-alive eyes is a most happy find. We enjoyed the way she got audience members talking about recent experiences. When one fellow complained of his unfaithful boyfriend named Duane, Parson playfully said Duane sounded like a perfect subject for her “Bitter Songwriting 101.” She shared her hard-won insights into writing/performing winningly bitter songs; repeating the subject’s name ten times with wondrously increasing anguish, letting one’s voice suddenly drop an octave to simulate being overwrought (a la Sinead O’Connor), and more. Then, getting the audience into hysterics, she improvised songs about Duane, before moving on to a comic, original folk song aimed at an ex-boyfriend she so desperately wants back: “I only date your brother because he looks like you…”—Chip DeFaa, The New York Post
“A few minutes later, at 9:00 PM, I was in the front cabaret room at Don’t Tell Mama to catch Joanna Parson’s new show. Joanna is a singer/songwriter in the tradition of Christine Lavin. Her story-songs take particular aim at the strange little alleyways of life- song titles like “When Cousins Marry” (written to reflect on the day she met an extremely handsome cousin on a visit h, “Casting Director” (a different twist on the overdone audition song), and an updated version of one of my favorites, “Johnny” (stalking a former boyfriend from a window ledge. Oh, such fun!”—Stu Hamstra, Cabaret Hotline.
On The Liar Show (storytelling):
“The parade of prurience continued with the adorable Joanna Parson, the only female storyteller of the show, who confessed to her youthful crush on a serial murderer/rapist she met while working on a chicken farm. Parson was also the only performer who dressed for her story, wearing a hot pink Tina Turner t-shirt evocative of her youth. Her dead-on impersonation of a chicken was easily worth the $5 admission price.”
Posted on February 21, 2017