Jul 15

Gold, Acrylic, Altar Work, Prayer, Selena & Janelle Monáe: “HOOPS”

Presented by Company One Theatre in partnership with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the City of Boston’s Office of Arts and Culture
By Eliana Pipes
Adapted from The HOOPS Project by Nicole Acosta 
Directed by Tonasia Jones
Dramaturgy by afrikah selah
Compositions by Brandie Blaze
Choreography by Jenny Oliver 
Featuring: Brandie Blaze, Elijah Brown, Albamarina Nahar, Tiffany Santiago, Kaili Y Turner, Karimah Williams, Beyonce Martinez (swing)

July 12 – August 10, 2024
The Strand Theatre
543 Columbia Road
Dorchester, MA

Approximate run time: 1 hour 30 minutes.
This production includes explicit language.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

DORCHESTER, Mass. — Hoops is adapted from The HOOPS Project by Nicole Acosta in 2019. It was created when Acosta asked fellow members of the art collective LUNA, “What do hoop earrings mean to you?” Their answers were accompanied by photos of the members wearing their own hoop earrings. 

Playwright Eliana Pipes adapted stories from The HOOPS Project for the stage. Company One presents HOOPS at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester through August 10. It has also played in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Continue reading

Jul 02

Fear and Loneliness in El Serano: “Fade”

Photo via Teatro Chelsea Facebook page.

Presented by Teatro Chelsea
By Tanya Saracho
Directed by Armando Rivera
Movement direction by Audrey Johnson
Intimacy direction by Olivia Dumaine
Featuring: Luz Lopez & Cristhian Mancinas Garcia

June 19th – 30, 2024
Chelsea Theatre Works
181 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Teatro Chelsea in METRMAG

Critique by Kitty Drexel

The play is presented in English and some Spanish. Run time is approximately 106 minutes with no intermission.

CHELSEA, Mass. — Teatro Chelsea’s Fade at Chelsea Theatre Works was excellent. At 106 minutes in a wee black box, it was compact and intimate. Congratulations to the cast and crew on a successful run and a sold-out final performance! 

Mexican-born novelist Lucia (Luz Lopez) moves to El Sereno, Los Angeles to write for a copaganda TV series. She forges an unexpected friendship with the Mexican American custodian, Abel (Cristhian Mancinas Garcia), because she is homesick, and he speaks Spanish. As their friendship grows, Abel trusts Lucia with the details of his life. The boundaries between his stories and hers fade.  Continue reading

Jun 26

Critiques and Commentary: Moonbox’s 3rd Annual Boston New Works Festival

Presented by Moonbox Productions as part of the 3rd Annual
Boston New Works Festival
 Partnered with the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund

June 20-23, 2024
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St 
Boston, MA

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Moonbox had its 3rd annual Boston New Works Festival at the BCA. The three performances I attended on different two days were well attended. This is a hopeful sign that the Boston theatre ecology is healing from lockdown. We love to see it.

The festival hosted readings and staged performances of new works by living playwrights over four days. The BCA’s foyers were alive with visual art by local artists. Actors, crew, and designers bustled from show to show with audience members. Moonbox did a good job of telling attendees they were in the right place: brave, tireless volunteers handed out playbill inserts and directed attendees; free pins awaited pickup on tables with festival information.

The bathrooms were atrocious, but that’s a festival for you. Transfer times from show to show were rushed, but that should be expected, too.

The vibes were otherwise positive and the seats had butts in them. Theatre is a lifestyle choice, and it was a good weekend to choose the theatre.

Moonbox partnered with TCBF to produce the 2024 3rd Annual Boston New Works Festival. TCBF provides financial relief to its community members in times of need. It is a venerable organization. Please consider donating. No donation is too large.

Continue reading

Jun 23

Partying On with “Once Upon a Carnival” 

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Part of the 2024, third annual Boston New Works Festival
Directed by Regine Vitale
Written by Angele Maraj and Brianna Pierre
Music Directed by Harrison Acosta

June 22 – June 23, 2024
The Boston Center For The Arts
The Plaza Theatre
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Moonbox Productions on Facebook
Once Upon a Carnival on Instagram

Review by Gillian Daniels

Note: The reviewer is acquainted with one of the writers.

BOSTON, Mass. – Last year’s reading for the first half of Once Upon a Carnival was electric. In it, we watch New York teenager Bhavan (Marshall Romano) travel with his impulsive mother, Radhika (Shubhra Prakash), to Trinidad. With Bhavan, we learn the delights and perils of his new home and, once he meets fellow teenager Jada (Ekaterina Hicks-Magaña) and the eccentric Tantie (Nina Giselle, who approaches the part with charm and humor), they explore the magic of the island. The story’s initial joy and effervescence is largely untouched. It’s a bad sign, however, that the workshop I attended had more polish than the full production.  Continue reading

Jun 21

Tradition By the Book: “Fiddler On the Roof”

Jeremy Radin (Tevye) and the cast of “Fiddler on the Roof” at North Shore Music Theatre thru June 16. Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Based on Sholem Aleichem by special permission of Arnold Perl
Book by Joseph Stein
Music by Jerry Block
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Directed by Robert W. Schneider
Music Direction by Miles Plant
Choreography by Josh Assor
Lighting by Jack Melher
Scenic Design by Ryan Howell
Costume Coordination by Kelly Baker
Featuring Jeremy Radin, Alaina Mills, Kathy St. George, Sophie Aknin, Ari Axelrod, Jordan Matthew Brown, Ellie Fishman, Tyler Okunksi

June 4 – June 16, 2024
North Shore Music Theatre
54 Dunham Rd
Beverly, MA  01915

Review by Kate Lew Idlebrook

BEVERALY, Mass. — Fiddler on the Roof first opened on Broadway in 1964, and has been in regular rotation in regional theaters for decades. The musical is full of characters who are simultaneously larger than life yet utterly familiar to anyone with a loud and loving family. The songs are striking and memorable. The script offers audiences a timeless story of a resilient family navigating change and overcoming persecution. Continue reading

Jun 17

Take A Soul, Leave A Soul: “Guys & Dolls”

Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company
Book by Abe Burrows & Jo Swerling
Music & Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Choreographed and directed by Ceit Zweil
Music direction by Dan Rodriguez
Dramaturgy by Sydney Grant
Fight and Intimacy Direction by Angie Jepson
EDI Consultant: Kira Troilo, Art & Soul Consulting LLC

Online Playbill

June 7 – 30, 2024
Greater Boston Stage Company
395 Main Street
​Stoneham, MA 02180

Critique by Kitty Drexel

STONEHAM, Mass. — It’s a tale as old as time: A bookie attempts to set up a roving craps game to avoid the cops and, in doing so, arranges a love match between a perma-bachelor and a devote missionary. Guys and Dolls plays at Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham through June 30. 

Gambler, Nathan Detroit (Arthur Gomez), tries to find the cash to set up the biggest craps game in town while the authorities breathe down his neck; meanwhile, his girlfriend and nightclub performer, Adelaide (Sara Coombs), laments that they’ve been engaged for fourteen years. Nathan turns to fellow gambler, Sky Masterson (Jared Troilo), for the dough, and Sky ends up chasing the strait-laced missionary, Sarah Brown (Lisa Kate Joyce) Continue reading

Jun 14

Something Elegant and Threatening: “Gatsby: An American Myth”

Presented by American Repertory Theater
Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Music by Florence Welch and Thomas Bartlett
Lyrics by Florence Welch
Book by Martyna Majok
Music Directed by Wiley DeWeese
Choreographed by Sonya Tayeh
Directed by Rachel Chavkin
Dramaturgy by Nissy Aya
Fight and Intimacy Direction by Rocío Mendez

July 23 – August 3, 2024
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

This production contains depictions of suicide, violence, loud noises, gunshot sounds, bright and flashing lights, fog, and haze. Recommended for ninth grade and up.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Chavkin, Majok, and Welch’s Gatsby: An American Myth uplifts the plight of America’s laboring proletariat in ways F Scott Fitzgerald could never, would never imagine. It is a work of striking work of intersectional feminism that denudes the superficial morality of ultra-privileged one-percenters. It is sexy; it is rock n roll hot Jazz; it is a cautionary tale about the depravity of feral capitalism wrapped with a white bow.  

F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby was first published in 1926. This critique discusses important plot points of the ART’s musical inspired by the novel. Anyone wishing to avoid spoilers is 98 years too late. 

Continue reading

Jun 11

Imperfect Healing: “next to normal”

Next to Normal – Highlights from Central Square Theater on Vimeo.

Presented by Central Square Theatre and The Front Porch Arts Collective
Music by Tom Kitt
Book and Lyrics by Brian Yorkey
Direction and Choreography by Pascale Florestal
Voice and Music Direction by Katie Bickford
Intimacy Direction by Sean Patrick Gibbons
Featuring Cortlandt Barrett, Diego Cintrón, Ricardo “Ricky” Holguin, Sherée Marcelle, Dashawn McClinton, Anthony Pires, Jr.

May 30 – June 30, 20024
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Review by Kate Lew Idlebrook

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Central Square Theater’s next to normal is a mother struggling with the daily grind of managing her family’s busy lives. A father worried he isn’t doing enough to support his wife and children. A teenage daughter who wants her parents to truly see her. A son who is fighting not to be left behind. The whole Goodman family insisting that it’s all “gonna be good.” It’s all just so relatable. Continue reading

Jun 05

Life Is Noisy: “The Dybbuk; Between Two Worlds”

Andrey Burkovskiy & Yana Gladkikh. Photo by Irina Danilova

Presented by Arlekin Players
Written by Roy Chen based on the original play by S. Ansky
Adapted by Igor Golyak with Dr. Rachel Merrill Moss
With additional material from the translation by Joachim Neugroschel
Directed by Igor Golya 
Jewish Music Consultant: Anthony Russell 
Compositions and Sound Design by Fedor Zhuravlev
Dramaturgy by Dr. Rachel Merrill Moss
Featuring: Andrey Burkovskiy, Yana Gladkikh, Olga Aronova, Jenya Brodskaia, Polina Dubovikova, Anna Furman, Boris Furman, Rimma Gluzman, Gene Ravvin, Juliya Shikh, Olga Sokolova, Irina Vilenchik, with Deb Martin, Robert Walsh

May 30 – June 23, 2024
The Vilna Shul 
Boston’s Center for Jewish Culture
18 Phillips St. 
Boston, MA 02114

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — The 2024 performance of The Dybbuk; Between Two Worlds occurs in Beacon Hill’s Vilna Shul, a century-old synagogue. A 20th century Polish ensemble called the Vilna Troupe premiered playwright and activist S. Ansky’s play, The Dybbuk; Between Two Worlds in Warsaw after observing 30 days of traditional mourning for Ansky’s death in 1920. The troupe split into smaller groups, toured the play through Europe, and it became famous.  

The Vilna Shul was built in 1919 near the time of the premier but the Vilna Trouple did not perform The Dybbuk in Boston’s Vilna Shul. The Vilna Troupe originally performed Ansky’s play and now Arlekin Players are performing it in the Vilna Shul. Igor Golyak said through a press rep that the concurrence of these events has invited the spirits of the original troupe to live in the walls of this historic synagogue. 

Arlekin Player’s production is based on Ansky’s play of the same name. Both are about a tragic love story in a turn-of-the-century shtetl about a young woman possessed by a dybuk, a restless, disembodied human spirit from Jewish folklore that wanders the earth because of past sins. 

Continue reading

Jun 03

Nothing Human is Pure: “Yellow Face”

Presented by Lyric Stage Boston
By David Henry Hwang 
Directed by Ted Hewlett
Intimacy direction by Angie Jepson
Dramaturgy by Hailey Madison Sebastian
Featuring: JB Barricklo, Michael Hisamoto, Alexander Holden, Jupiter Le, Jenny S Lee, Mei MacQuarrie

May 31 – June 23, 2024
Asian Joy Night on June 7 @ 8PM
140 Clarendon St, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — David Henry Hwang’s Yellow Face was first published in 2008. It is 16 years later, and the play remains relevant enough not to be a period piece. Yellow Face plays at the Lyric Stage through June 23.

History will remember Jonathan Pryce for being on the wrong side of the 1990s Broadway Miss Saigon scandal. Pryce blamed everyone except himself for playing the Engineer in Cameron Mackintosh’s West End production of Schonberg and Boublil’s musical. Pryce could have said no to the role. He didn’t. The Lyric’s dramaturg Hailey Madison Sebastian has an article about the scandal HERE Continue reading