Aug 16

Hot as Hell in Philadelphia” “1776”

Photo credit: Eurah Joanna Ko

Photo credit: Eurah Joanna Ko

Presented by The MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Directed by Emma Brown
Vocal Direction by Tom Ostrowski and Johnnie Han
Orchestra Directed by Julie Henion

August 12 – 14
MIT Kresge Little Theatre
48 Mass Ave, Cambridge, MA
MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA1776 is one of those archaic mainstays of musical theatre that gets some seasonal adoration around the patriotic holidays of summer and spends the rest of the year hiding in its box waiting for people to remember how catchy the good songs are (and forget how atrociously lingering the bad ones get).  It’s also got some technical and social difficulties: the cast is large; dare I say ungainly; and made almost exclusively of men.  Costuming the show is serious business since it’s a period piece (rarely modernized).  And the script… oh the script… the script has not aged well.  Sherman Edwards wrote some poppy songs that still captivate, but Peter Stone’s book is definitely a product of its time.  Once again; the good parts are great.  The bad parts just linger a little too long.  Last, but certainly not least, the show attempts to tackle some very dark eras of American History and doesn’t exactly do it in the best possible way. Continue reading

Aug 10

A Massive Cuddle for the Ears and Eyes: A MAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Photo credit: Earl Christie Photography, earlchristie.com.

Photo credit: Earl Christie Photography, earlchristie.com.

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
Book by Terrance McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
Based on the 1994 film, “A Man of No Importance” by Suri Krishnamma
Directed by Daniel Morris
Music directed by Meghan MacFadden

August 6 – 28, 2016
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) 1994’s “A Man of No Importance” is a difficult movie to find (legally). My library didn’t have a copy that wasn’t on VHS. Amazon won’t let one buy a copy for less than $95.00. eBay has laserdisc copies but who still uses a laserdisc player? My journey to view the source material before writing a review yielded no positive results. Albert Finney is an excellent actor. It must be a good movie to produce such a lovely musical. Bad Habit’s is a lovely musical. Sad face.    Continue reading

Jul 27

Saving Mr. and Mrs. Banks: MARY POPPINS – THE MUSICAL

Kerry Conte (Mary Poppins) with Scarlett Keene-Connole (Jane Banks) and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks), Photo © Paul Lyden.

Kerry Conte (Mary Poppins) with Scarlett Keene-Connole (Jane Banks) and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks), Photo © Paul Lyden.

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Julian Fellows
Original and lyrics by Richard Sherman & Robert Sherman
New materials by Anthony Drewe & George Stiles
Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh
A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers & the Walt Disney Film
Directed and choreographed by Kevin P. Hill
Music direction by Milton Granger

July 12 – July 31, 2016
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) It’s hard to tinker with a musical movie that many consider practically perfect in every way, but when there’s money to be made, many a scriptwriter will try. Mary Poppins – The Musical is more successful than most Disney rehashes at adding some new touches to a classic plot and score, even if the finished product feels a bit overlong, and the North Shore Music Theatre production of this spectacle does a solid job staging this spectacle. Continue reading

Jun 30

“Show Boat” A Successful Voyage

Photo credit: Eric Antoniou

Photo credit: Eric Antoniou

Presented by Fiddlehead Theatre Company
Music by Jerome Kern
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Co-Directed by Meg Fofonoff and Stacey Stephens
Musical Direction by Charles Peltz
Choreography by Wendy Hall

June 22-July 3, 2016
Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
Fiddlehead on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) I grew up on classic musicals like The King and I and Call Me Madam. After seeing Fiddlehead Theatre Company’s production of Show Boat, I’m surprised that my grandmother never introduced the show to me at an early age. While knowing the show may have given me a higher appreciation for seeing the staged version, I can’t deny that I was caught off guard with how enjoyable Show Boat turned out to be. Continue reading

Jun 27

Rising Above: FUNNY GIRL

Shoshana Bean is Fanny Brice, Photo © Paul Lyden

Shoshana Bean is Fanny Brice, Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by by Isobel Lennart (from an original story penned by Lennart)
Composed by Jule Styne
Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Directed and choreographed by James Brennan
Music directed by Mark Hartman

June 7 – 19, 2016
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Kate Idlebrook

I walked away from a showing of Funny Girl not at all a fan of the script, but a great fan of the production at the North Shore Music Theatre.  Continue reading

Jun 13

“Carousel” Not a Merry Show but a Pleasant Ride

Photo courtesy Reagle Music Theatre/©Herb Philpott

Photo courtesy Reagle Music Theatre/©Herb Philpott

Presented by Reagle Music Theatre
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed & Choreographed by Rachel Bertone
Musical Direction by Dan Rodriguez

June 9-19, 2016
Waltham, MA
Reagle Music Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Waltham, MA) It always feels a bit dissociative when I see a show that is technically a good production, but the show itself is rather terrible. While watching Reagle Music Theatre’s Carousel, I clapped, I scoffed, rolled my eyes, and was constantly asking myself, “Why?” Continue reading

May 12

Feelings Are Difficult for Marines: DOGFIGHT

Eddie & Rose Take In the View; Photo by Glenn Perry.

Eddie & Rose Take In the View; Photo by Glenn Perry.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Book by Peter Duchan
Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort
Directed by Paige Daigneault
Music direction by Jose Delgado
Choreography by Larry Sousa

May 7 – June 4, 2016
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MADogfight is yet another musical with serious complications that SpeakEasy maneuvers with poise and dignity. It’s like Disney’s Newsies if the newsboys are replaced with marines and their fight for entrepreneurial justice is replaced with explicitly misogynistic displays of dudebro cruelty. Well, the music sounds a little like Newsies anyway. Continue reading

Apr 25

One Big Song & Dance for Sex: THE WILD PARTY

Photograph: Earl Christie Photography

Photograph: Earl Christie Photography

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Music and Lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa
Book by Michael John LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe
Based on the poem by Joseph Moncure March
Directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone
Music direction by Dan Rodriguez
Orchestration by Bruce Coughlin

Now – May 1, 2016
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Moonbox on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: underage rape, blackface, drinking, drugs, violence

(Boston, MA) Moonbox Production’s The Wild Party is a tight, gin-moist package of cruelty, casual racism and light kink. It’s a domestic violence fairy tale of grotesque proportions, and sexy as fuck. Everyone over the age of 18 should see it. The subject might be naughty but its methods are mesmerizing. Continue reading

Apr 19

Britten’s Opera is a “Dream”

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) and Bottom (Joseph Hubbard), Photo provided by BU School of Music

Presented Boston University College of Fine Arts
Benjamin Britten, composer & Peter Pears, librettist
Based on the play by William Shakespeare
William Lumpkin, conductor
Tara Faircloth, stage director

April 14–17th, 2016
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
BU Arts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) I enjoy myself most with adaptations of Shakespeare’s comedies when their sense of fun and lightness remain intact. The direction in Boston University Theatre’s production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream didn’t fail me. This vision is every bit the dream of the title. Fairies wear blue wigs and polka dot suits, columns of giant, white flowers are moved across the stage, Puck (Elizabeth Valenti) brings Queen Tytania (Maya Kherani) her morning tea, and King Oberon (Wee-Kiat Chia) smugly points out his wife slept with an enchanted donkey-man (Joseph Hubbard) the night before. One scene flows into the next elegantly. For the most part, it’s a perfectly realized vision. Continue reading

Apr 12

Another Day, Another Review of “Rent”

Photo credit: Stratton McCrady

Photo credit: Stratton McCrady

Presented by the Suffolk University Theatre Department
Book, Music & Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Directed by Paul Melone
Musical Direction by Scott Nicholas

April 7-10, 2016
C. Walsh Theatre
55 Temple Street, Boston, MA
C. Walsh Theater on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) So here we are again. Same play, another day, and another production. This time, the cherished show made its way to the Suffolk University Theatre Department. Continue reading