Jan 11

“Mirror” Immerses Audience in Both Moving Show and Modern Complexities of Womanhood

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Frauenliebe und –leben
Music by Robert Schumann
Text by Adelbert von Chamisso

From the Diary of Virginia Woolf
Music by Dominick Argento
Text from the diaries of Virginia Woolf
Directed by Greg Smucker & Patricia-Maria Weinmann

January 6-8, 2017
Longy School of Music of Bard College
Cambridge, MA
Boston Collaborative Opera on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Two portraits of women, written over a century apart. The first is an idealized character looking to not only marry, but be subsumed by her husband’s identity in a happy, storybook life. In German, she sings of having no desire beyond being this man’s wife. She is the heroine of Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Love and Life) from 1830, itself based on a series of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso. Two men filter the story of a fictional woman, a touching if pastel view of a girl coming of age. Carley DeFranco breathes life into this creature (also played by Susannah Thornton, Rhaea D’Aliesio, and Julia Cavallaro, depending on one’s tour of the Zabriskie House mansion where the show is staged) with a Disney-esque sweetness. Continue reading

Jan 03

Exploring BOC’s “Mirror: An Immersive Song Cycle Experience”

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music directed by Jean Anderson Collier, Patricia Au, Brendon Shapiro, Chelsea Whitaker
Stage directed by Patricia Weinmann, Greg Smucker

January 6-8, 2017
Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall (directions at bottom of page)
Longy School of Music of Bard College
27 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
BOC on Facebook
Twitter: @BostonOperaCollaborative

Preview by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) I love immersive theater when done well. I thought I’d take a moment to explore MIRROR, a one-weekend song cycle show based on Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben and Dominick Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. Continue reading

Dec 15

Perfectly Charming Air Ship “Pirates of Penzance”

Presented by The MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
Produced and Directed by Emma Brown
Orchestra Directed by Johnnie Han

December 2-10, 2016
La Sala de Puerto Rico
Cambridge, MA
MITGSP on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) What is happiness? “Steampunk pirate opera” is an excellent answer.

This year, the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players opted for a pleasing, energetic performance of one of the best operettas of all time. The warmth and enthusiasm on display is heartening. Continue reading

Dec 07

Sanctioned Hate is Still Hate : Fiddler On the Roof

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures; The cast of Fiddler on the Roof.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures; The cast of Fiddler on the Roof.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem
By special permission of Arnold Perl
Book by Joseph Stein
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Directed by Austin Pendleton
Music direction by Wade Russo
Choreographed by Kelli Edwards

Dec. 2, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2016
Charles Mosesian Theater
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Trigger warning: Patriarchy, arranged marriage, lack of personhood

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA

New Rep’s Fiddler On the Roof is an extraordinary production… With one not inconsiderable snag. Largely, the performances in this show are spectacular. This production doesn’t make up for New Rep’s lackluster musicals but it certainly resets the standard for its productions. The cast and crew have delivered to us something very special with this Fiddler. Continue reading

Dec 05

Begin the Pegeen: MAME

The cast of Mame (2016). Photo Credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

The cast of Mame (2016). St. George center stage, looking exquisite in red. Photo Credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Presented by the Stoneham Theatre
Book by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee
Music & lyrics by Jerry Herman
Based on the novel by Patrick Dennis, and the play Auntie Mame by Lawrence and Lee
Directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
Music direction by Matthew Stern

Nov. 25 – Dec. 23, 2016
Stoneham Theatre
395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA
ST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame
Mame gave a chump such an ice-cold “No”
For seven days they shovelled snow
So you can put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame”

Put the Blame on Mame,” from the film “Gilda” (1946), by Allan Roberts & Doris Fisher

(Stoneham, MA) Stoneham Theatre’s production of Mame dazzles. It’s a classic show with all the trimmings. Themes of classism and resulting conflicts will be only slightly offensive to gossipy, snooty attendees. It’s a nearly perfect Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/etc. treat that anyone from any doctrine can enjoy. Continue reading

Dec 02

Looocy, You Got Some ‘Splaining to Do: Heart & Dagger’s SWEENEY TODD

Promotional Art by Heart & Dagger

Promotional Art by Heart & Dagger

Presented by Heart & Dagger Productions
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Joey C. Pelletier
Music direction by Michael Amaral

Nov. 19 – Dec. 4, 2016
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center For The Arts
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
H&D on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAHeart & Dagger’s approach to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is highly unusual. It’s design harkens back to the original “Penny Deadfuls” in a way fancy pants professional productions don’t. It revels in its everyday horrors. It’s design brings creative license to the next level. Many strong, risky choices were made in this production. Most of them paid off. Unfortunately, some of the bigger ones did not. Continue reading

Nov 18

Our Town? YOUR Town: URINETOWN

urinetown-300

The world is your toilet!

Presented by The MIT Musical Theatre Guild
By Greg Kotis and Mark Hollmann
Directed by Daniel Epelbaum
Music and Vocal Direction by Paul Gallagher
Produced by Caroline Walsh and Anni Zhang

November 17 – 20, 2016
MIT’s La Sala de Puerto Rico
84 Mass Ave, Cambridge
MIT Musical Theatre Guild on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Urinetown is a tough piece to tackle.  It’s a satire and, as such, full of clichés that are meant to be hit precisely right in order to ring hilarious and not maudlin.  It’s a dark musical with dark themes, a dark plot, and a dark ending.  Last, but certainly not least, there are several technical demands that make it an interesting theatrical problem to solve (one character is thrown off a building onstage…. Try staging that without a fly rig). Continue reading

Nov 11

Scarily Relevant Once More: WEST SIDE STORY

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 1- 20, 2016
NSMT on Facebook

BOOK BY: Arthur Laurents
MUSIC BY: Leonard Bernstein
LYRICS BY: Stephen Sondheim
Director: Bob Richard
Music Director: Milton Granger
Choreographer: Diane Laurenson
Based on Conception of Jerome Robbins
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) How quaint – working class whites and Hispanics fighting for control of a few city blocks. West Side Story is a fun period piece hearkening back to a time when institutionalized racism was the norm and …
Continue reading

Oct 27

Beautiful and Painful: “The Scottsboro Boys”

Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots; The ensemble getting down.

Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots; The ensemble getting down.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Music and Lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb
Book by David Thompson
Original Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Ilyse Robbins

October 21 – November 26
Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) It’s difficult to know what to say about The Scottsboro Boys.  The piece is uncomfortable to watch not because of its incredible talent or flawless direction and design, but rather because it’s meant to be uncomfortable to watch.  The show is a remixed account of the historical case of The Scottsboro Boys, nine young black men who in 1931 were accused of raping two white women on a train, told through the lens of American Minstrelsy.  Performed with gusto and amazing energy, SpeakEasy’s production is a triumph that should be mandatory viewing for any American (particularly in an election year as fraught with the urge to “just give up” as this one has been). Continue reading

Oct 17

Laugh Until You Hate Yourself Less: SILENCE! THE MUSICAL

Photo credit: Seth Albaum, Upsidemedia; Clarice and Hannibal getting close.

Photo credit: Seth Albaum, Upsidemedia; Clarice and Hannibal getting close.

Presented by Arts After Hours
Music and lyrics by Jon and Al Kaplan
Book by Hunter Bell
Directed by James Tallach
Music directed by Tim Lawton
Choreographed by Nicole Spirito

October 7 – 29, 2016
LynnArts
25 Exchange St
Lynn, MA
AAH on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Lynn, MA) If there is a Hell, and I’m not sure if there is, then sitting through this musical may assure there’s have a seat saved for you. It is deeply offensive, crass, disrespectful, tacky and trashy. Equally dubious Heavens forgive me, I loved every minute of this explosive diarrhea of a shit show. We laughed our asses off. Continue reading