Sep 19

Pretty to Watch, Messy to Contemplate: FAR FROM HEAVEN

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Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Look at those costumes!

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by Richard Greenberg
Music by Scott Frankel
Lyrics by Michael Korie
Based on the Focus Features/Vulcan Production Motion Picture, Written & Directed by Todd Haynes

Directed by Scott Edmiston
Musical Direction by Steven Bergman
Choreography by David Connolly

Sept. 12 – Oct. 11, 2014
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) In 1957, Betty Friedan conducted a survey of Smith College graduates to celebrate their 15th anniversary. When she discovered that many of her contemporaries were deeply unhappy, she expanded her research to include other US suburban housewives. She continued her research into psychology and other social sciences. Her studies found a “problem that has no name,” a depression among women despite their ensured physical and emotional comforts. A life revolving around marriage and children was deeply unfulfilling.

This study and her corresponding writings were the basis for The Feminine Mystique, a book that sparked the second-wave of feminism. Published in 1963, it has played an influential part in assuring a modern woman’s right to equality. Women who work outside of the home owe a large part of their freedoms to Friedan and the women who worked with her. Friedan began her survey the same year that Far From Heaven begins. Continue reading

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Sep 16

All Cucumbers and Hooves: UNDER MILK WOOD

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Photo courtesy of Artsboston; a picture of the cast at the reading with Mr. Scanlan in the front.

Photo courtesy of Artsboston; photo was grabbed from the Poet’s Theatre FB page.  A picture of the cast at the reading with Mr. Scanlan in the front.

A celebration in honor of the revival of The Poet’s Theatre and the centennial of the Author’s birth.

Presented by The Poet’s Theatre
By Dylan Thomas
Directed by Bob Scanlan

Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall
Harvard University
Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 @ 7pm ONLY
Poet’s Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“…the idea that I write a piece, a play, an impression for voices, an entertainment out of the town I live in, and to write it simply and warmly and comically, with lots of movement and varieties of moods, so that, at many levels, through sight and speech, description and dialogue, evocation and parody, you come to know the town as an inhabitant of it.”
– Dylan Thomas – Collected Letters edited by Paul Ferris (London: Dent, 2000 (new edition)

(Cambridge, MA) Under Milk Wood is a radio drama by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. It was performed on the stage during Thomas’ lifetime (and by Thomas himself). It became a movie directed by Andrew Sinclair, and featured Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor and Peter O’Toole, in 1972. For his centennial, the BBC has a site devoted to a recent film production of Under Milk Wood. All of this is mentioned because not nearly enough Americans have an appreciation for Thomas’ work –  aside from his famous poem, “Do not go gentle into that good night.” His work is elegant, romantic, and, best yet, free to read on the internet or in a library. It is a worthwhile, mind-expanding endeavor to read as much of his collected works. If not for your own sake, then to woo a paramour or two. Continue reading

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Sep 12

Children Will Listen and Learn: GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER

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Photo: Paul Marotta; Meredith Forlenza and Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Photo: Paul Marotta; Meredith Forlenza and Malcolm-Jamal Warner – they make a stupidly beautiful couple.

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co
By Todd Kreidler
Based on the screenplay by William Rose
Directed by David Esbjornson

Sept. 5 – Oct. 5, 2014
BU Theatre
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) There are certain conservative republicans that like to argue that racism is finally dead. They are deeply incorrect. It’s 2014 and racism is thriving in the United States of America. It affects everyone and everything. To get into the nitty gritty, please see this Wikipedia article which is currently very good. Who knows how long the populace will let it stay that way.

Racism is so prevalent in everyday culture that bigotry tainted events occur and most people can’t even see it. Take for instance, the couple sitting in front of me last night at the Huntington theatre that was patiently waiting for the show to start. An usher asked to see their tickets as there seemed to be some seat mix up with a couple in the aisle. The usher had intended to interrogate the seated couple and move them… until the standing couple pointed out that the usher was attempting to seat them in the incorrect row. The usher responded, “my bad,” and moved the couple to their seats. The seated couple was Black. The usher and the standing couple were White. The appropriated idiom circa 2004 was horrifying. Continue reading

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Sep 09

It Might as Well Be 1963: “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline”

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Presented by the Peterborough Players
A musical about the legendary country singer by Dean Regan
Directed by Tom Frey
Music directed by Ellen Mandel

Sept. 3 – 14, 2014
55 Hadley Road
Peterborough, NH 03458
Peterborough Players on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings – vintage racism

(Peterborough, NH) The musical’s title, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline references her cover of the gospel song and last single, “Just A Closer Walk with Thee.” Just as Cline sings about her desire to walk with God, this musical expresses Dean Regan’s wish for just one more concert communion with Cline. To those who worship at the church of song, A Closer Walk was a spiritual experience of the musical variety. Bridget Beirne is so good in the title role that audiences might have gotten their wish. Continue reading

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Aug 29

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back: PYGMALION

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Photo credit: Flat Earth Theatre

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By George Bernard Shaw
Edited/directed by Devon Jones

August 22-30, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Sexism, Racism, Classism

(Watertown, MA) My Fair Lady is derived from Shaw’s Pygmalion. Pygmalion is derived from the Greek myth by the same name from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. It is the story of a sculptor, Pygmalion, who fell so hard in love with his sculpture that the goddess Aphrodite brought it to life. The sculpture isn’t given a name or granted personhood in the myth. Similarly, affluent Henry Higgins refuses to see impoverished Eliza Doolittle as more than a parroting animal until she provokes him into heated arguments. In addition to sexism and classism, the play’s dialogue also discusses racism. Flat Earth’s production includes actors of color. It takes a long, hard look at what it means to experience color, gender and educational privilege against the backdrop of London’s great equalizer: Tube delays. Continue reading

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Aug 26

Sweet and Playful Ladies: LITTLE WOMEN

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Presented by Peterborough Players: Second Company
Adapted by Gus Kaikkonen
from the novel by Louisa May Alcott
Directed by Charlie Morgan
Compositions by/adapted by Ellen Mandel

August 23, 26, 29, 30 at 2pm; August 25 at 7pm
55 Hadley Road
Peterborough, NH 03458
Peterborough Players on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Peterborough, NH) The adaptation of Little Women by Gus Kaikkonen for Peterborough’s summer stock is sweet and playful without being saccharine. Kaikkonen has concentrated the lengthy classic by Louisa May Alcott into five charming scenes. This play gives us the same adventures of the March family within a toddler-approved time frame of 90 minutes. The acting is strong from the Players’ Second Company. There is lovely entr’acte music by Ellen Mandel. Little Women is a healthy summer diversion in the forests of New Hampshire. Continue reading

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Aug 15

“God Hates Musicals” but Quite Clearly Loves Everyone

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Presented by Ministry of Theatre
Book by Joe Creedon
Lyrics by Emily Laverdiere
Composed by Bryan Dunn

Directed by Joe Creedon
Music direction by Steve Sarro
Choreography by Jackie Simon

August 13 – 24, 2014
TheatreLab@855
Boston University
GHM on Facebook

TriggersSlurs, emotional violence, speaking in tongues

Review by Kitty Drexel

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I did audition for this musical and was not cast. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow something like that to color their review.

(Boston) The men who wrote the Bible (believe what you may, it was Man that compiled and interpreted the word of God) made it pretty clear that God loves us all. Jesus tried his darnedest to teach the masses that God loves us equally. Yet, despite these truths, the Westboro Baptist Church (WBC) actively refutes this. In fact, they go out of their way to tell anyone who will listen that, unless you repent, they are damned to Hell. The WBC pickets funerals and other events to convey their message. They believe that they spread their core message,“God hates fags,” out of love. Pull the other one. Continue reading

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Aug 12

Here the Rodents Reign Supreme: “The Annotated History of the American Muskrat”

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Presented by The Circuit Theatre Company
Written by John Kuntz
Directed by Skylar Fox

August 2 – 16, 2014
The Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) My parents were in town this weekend and, in the interest of involving them in my life, I asked them to attend The Annotated History of the American Muskrat with me. My conservative Dad’s immediate response was to ask, “is it weird?” At the time he asked I couldn’t give a definitive answer but, after attending Sunday’s matinee performance,  I can honestly answer that, yes, this show is weird. Yet, “weird” doesn’t scratch the surface of what it is. It is also intensely powerful (reviewers use these words a lot. This show is actually powerful and intense versus a “powerful” and “intense” production of, say, The Cherry Orchard.) in ways that cause the viewer to question how Americans process the life we consume. It’s a bad trip on the best acid. It’s about everything and nothing. It is not for the weak. Continue reading

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