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 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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Sep 08

“Sweeney Todd” Delights in Dire Tragedy

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Christopher Chew, Paul C. Soper. Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard. Christopher Chew, Paul C. Soper.

Presented by the Lyric Stage of Boston
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed & Staged by Spiro Veloudos
Music Director, Jonathan Goldberg

Sept. 5 – Oct. 11, 2014
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
Lyric on Facebook

Review Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) In today’s entertainment landscape, probably the most surprising thing about The Lyric Stage’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is how un-sexy it makes murder. No, grisly death probably shouldn’t be attractive as a rule, but television shows like Hannibal and Dexter and even some thriller novels give serial killers a stylized warmth. Blood is splashed artfully over plastic tarps and cannibalized flesh is prepared with exquisite attention to detail for unsuspecting dinner guests. Stephen Sondheim’s infamous musical gives us only Sweeney Todd’s icy vengeance, spinning more out of control with every throat he slits in his barber’s chair, and Mrs. Lovett’s questionable baking skills. Continue reading

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Aug 18

Needs Oil, But Still Burns Rubber: GREASE

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Photo © Paul Lyden

Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book, music, lyrics by Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs
Directed by Mark Martino
Music directed by Craig Barna
Choreographed by Mark Stuart

August 12th – August 24th, 2014
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) The backstory behind the script for the musical “Grease” is that writers Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey locked themselves away to write a bunch of 50’s era songs, and then tried to piece together a plot to fit the songs together. This sounds like a recipe for a disaster of a script, and for a long time I personally thought the plot flimsy and vacant. 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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Jul 29

Still Enjoyable ‘At the End of the Day': LES MISERABLES

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Presented by The Company Theatre Center for the Arts
based on the novel by Victor Hugo
Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg
Lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer
Original French text by Alain Boubil and Jean-Marc Natel
Additional material by James Fenton
Orchestrations by James Cameron
Directed by Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman
Staging and choreography by Sally Ashton Forrest
Music direction by Michael V. Joseph

July 24 – August 17, 2014
30 Accord Park Dr.
Norwell, MA 02061
Company Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Norwell, MA) Les Mis is an overwhelming show; its complications can make preparation for performance seem insurmountable. Yet, it is beloved to its devoted fans who care more that its being performed and less about the intricacies of the performance. Such people will highly enjoy the Company Theatre’s production running through August 17. Theatre geeks, such as me, may still enjoy themselves but will likely get hung up on artistic details. Continue reading

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Jul 24

Change takes one step at a time, one person at a time: “The Walk Across America for Mother Earth”

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Photo credit: Julie Fox

Presented by Circuit Theatre Co
Written by Taylor Mac
Directed by Christopher Annas-Lee
Music by Ellen Maddow

July 9-July 27
Club Oberon
2 Arrow St
Cambridge, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Cambridge) If you’ve never been part of a political action, this show will be eye-opening and uncomfortable. Its both of those things in many other ways, and I recommend leaving the little ones at home due to violence, sexuality, sexual violence and nudity. Taylor Mac’s ode to the political march and the people who do them gets a spirited revival at Club Oberon. Continue reading

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Jul 15

A Sinking Feeling: DISNEY’S A LITTLE MERMAID

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Adrienne Eller as Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre's Production of Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID running July 8 - 27, 2014. Photo©Paul Lyden

Adrienne Eller as Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre’s Production of Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID running July 8 – 27, 2014. Photo©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen Story and the Disney Film produced by Howard Ashman & John Musker and written & directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
Direction by Michael Heitzman
Music directed by Bruce Barnes
Choreography by AC Ciulla

July 8th – July 27th, 2014
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Whenever you are suspending disbelief, there are rules that must be followed to create a new reality. It doesn’t matter if you are writing Game of Thrones or playing make-believe with a 2-year-old, the ground rules, once established, have to be enforced or the whole thing falls apart.

That is perhaps the main reason why the musical version of Disney’s A Little Mermaid, playing at the North Shore Music Theatre, couldn’t hook either me or for my 8-year-old daughter. This show is largely aquatic, but director Michael Heitzman fails to create a sea for our imagination. Sometimes, the merpeople and fish hobble awkwardly in tight fin-like gear; other times, they use the same wires and pulleys to occupy the same air as the seagull. Merpeople aren’t allowed on land, until they are at the end of the play. Too often, they crossed the streams. Continue reading

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Jun 30

Revamped *Cough* Vampire Comedy for Modernity: DER VAMPYR

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Photo © OperaHub

Presented by OperaHub
1828 music by Heinrich Marschner
1828 German libretto by Wilhelm August Wohlbrück
1828 libretto based on the play Der Vampir oder die Totenbraut by Heinrich Ludwig Ritter
2014 arrangement by Moshe Shulman
2014 libretto by John J King
Music direction by Lina Marcel Gonzalez
Stage direction by Christie Lee Gibson

June 19 – 28, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Light smut, Feminism

(Boston) Der Vampyr is a decadently feminist adaptation of Marschner’s original. This new arrangement presented by OperaHub tackles the difficult truths of male entitlement, victim blaming and rape culture that all women face on a daily basis. If you, the reader, do not believe in gender equality, this opera is not for you. If you believe that rape culture is not a pervasive truth all women face, then this opera is not for you. It would be best if you pulled your fedora over your eyes and stopped reading this review now. Continue reading

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Jun 17

OperaHub Announces: DER VAMPYR

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OperaHub Announces June 2014 Show:

Heinrich Marschner’s

DER VAMPYR

in a new English-language adaptation
Boston’s “opera punks” say, “Bite me!”

Librettist: John J King
Stage Director: Christie Lee Gibson
Music Director: Lina Gonzalez

June 19 – June 26, 2014

FREE ADMISSION!
In the spirit of accessible opera for all, tickets are absolutely free, and may be reserved in advance online here!

 

BOSTON, MA – OperaHub broadens their ambitions with their June 2014 production: a new adaptation of Heinrich Marschner’s 1828 gothic opera DER VAMPYR. Though the work had its American premiere at the Boston Conservatory in 1980, it has not been seen in Boston since. Several companies around the world have produced it in recent years, including the American Symphony in Spring 2013 and the New Orleans Opera last fall. Hailed by the New York Times as a “gem of an opera,” it falls stylistically between Weber’s DER FREISCHUTZ and Wagner’s FLYING DUTCHMAN, with a thematic debt owed to Mozart’s DON GIOVANNI.

In the original version of DER VAMPYR, Lord Ruthven, the blood-sucker in question, has not been sucking his fair share of blood. The other vampires in his coven gather at the witches’ dance to charge him with taking three virgins by the end of the third day, or he will perish as a mortal. Tragedy ensues in the local village until the vampire is vanquished. Continue reading

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