Jan 30

That Which Makes Us Different Makes Us Beautiful: BREATH & IMAGINATION

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Elijah Rock, Nehal Joshi and Harriet D. Foy Photo credit: Mike Ritter

Elijah Rock, Nehal Joshi and Harriet D. Foy
Photo credit: Mike Ritter

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Created/written by Daniel Beaty
Directed by David Dower
Music directed/accompanied/arranged/additional music by Jonathan Mastro

Jan 27 – Feb 08, 2015
Paramount Center Mainstage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Roland Hayes (School of Music) on Facebook, Wiki

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Black lives matter: Racism is alive and thriving everywhere. “But it’s 2015,” people will cry. Right, it’s 2015 and racism is still alive and thriving in Boston. To prove a point: check out which art makes the most money. For an institution greatly concerned with artistic expression, remaining significant in an ever modernizing world, and pushing boundaries, opera tends to steer clear of non-White people. Opera includes POCs in its casting but its stories are mostly about White people. Roland Hayes, first Black man to sing a concert at Symphony Hall would be an excellent subject for an opera.  Thank the great goodness that there’s Breath & Imagination to educate the masses. Continue reading

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Jan 12

Breaking up is Hard to Do: THE LAST FIVE YEARS

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The Nextdoor Theater Company

The Nextdoor Theater Company

Presented by Next Door Theater Company
Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Steve Black
Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez

January 9 – 31, 2015
Next Door Theatre
40-50 Cross Street, Winchester, MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

The only thing better than seeing a small theatre company be successful is to see it do so because it knows itself. The Last Five Years simply triumphs at Next Door Theatre Company; and you’ll want to be its neighbor before it disappears. Continue reading

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Jan 12

A Winsome Hot Mess: MIDSUMMER

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Midsummergraphic5inPresented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
By David Greig & Gordon MacIntyre
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Music Direction & Sound Design by David Reiffel

December 26th – January 18th, 2014
189 Winnisimmet St
Chelsea, MA
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Perhaps we’ve never puked at the front door of our sister’s wedding or stolen and spent a mobster’s money on one weekend, but the effervescent play MidSummer makes us wish we had.

Because this play lacks anything resembling pretension, David Greig and Gordon MacIntyre’s well-crafted script and Daniele Fauteux Jacques’ pitch-perfect staging makes us recognize the low notes and high notes of our lives in this 95-minute yarn. There is something surprisingly universal about the story of a low-rent con artist and a desperate divorce lawyer who are thrown together for a lost weekend that enables them to find themselves, if only in the telling. Continue reading

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Dec 08

Delightfully Off-Kilter: “13 Things About Ed Carpolotti”

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Photo by Meghan Moore.

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Book, Music and Lyrics by Barry Kleinbort
Based on a play by Jeffrey Hatcher

November 28 – December 21, 2014
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) It’s one thing to create a play that mimics the feeling of being trapped in a conversation with someone who is batty; it’s another to make such a play entertaining. As the play 13 Things About Ed Carpolotti demonstrates, the difference is all in the storytelling prowess of the off-putting character. Continue reading

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Dec 01

Busy With Important Things; or, Leggings Are Not Pants: THE LITTLE PRINCE

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Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by the New Repertory Theatre
Adapted from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Book and lyrics by John Scoullar
Music by Rick Cummins
Directed by Ilyse Robbins
Musical Direction by Todd C. Gordon

Nov. 22 – Dec. 21, 2014
Charles Mosesian Theatre
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) The novella The Little Prince is part memoir, part analogy for a grown man’s relationship with his inner child. Scoullar and Cummins adapted Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s most famous work into a parent-friendly children’s science fiction musical. It has the subject matter to entertain kids and the emotional complexity to interest adults. This is a show heavy with metaphor and analogy. Continue reading

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Nov 20

“Love Potion” Number Nine

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Photos by Eric Antoniou, Boston Lyric Opera 2014.

Photos by Eric Antoniou, Boston Lyric Opera 2014.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Frank Martin
Based on Joseph Bédier’s 1900 novel Roman de Tristan et Iseut
New English translation by Hugh Macdonald
Stage Director David Schweizer
Conductor David Angus (Ryan Turner on Nov. 22)

November 19 – 23, 2014
Temple Ohabei Shalom
1187 Beacon Street, Brookline, MA
Boston Lyric Opera on Facebook

Of all the art forms out there, the slowest to adapt to the shifting sands of time is theatre. This is true for many reasons (how long it takes to produce a piece of theatre, how many fingers have to be in the theatre pie, and how many minds have to be shifted about the fundamental precepts of the art form just to name a few…). Some might call this a devotion to tradition; theatre (after all) does have a long and vibrant history to honor at every step of the production process. Others might call it a weakness which, Darwineanly, will be the very demise of the art form if it doesn’t find some way to evolve. Continue reading

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Nov 20

A Story Worth Telling: “The Old Man and the Old Moon”

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Presented by ArtsEmerson
Created by PigPen Theatre Co.

November 19 – 23, 2014
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
PigPen Theatre on Facebook

Review by Nick Bennett-Zendzian

(Boston) Theatre is storytelling. Hopefully that’s not a revelation to anyone reading this, but given that theatre covers such a broad spectrum, I find it helpful to remember that no matter what art forms get incorporated into a production, the story is what lies at the heart of every play, musical, opera or what have you. And the young men who make up the ensemble of the NYC-based fringe group PigPen Theatre Company have proven themselves to be masterful storytellers with their contemporary folktale-style production of “The Old Man and the Old Moon,” running until this Sunday at the Paramount Theatre in Downtown Boston. Continue reading

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Nov 18

The Strange Sensation You Feel is Part of the Process: BAT BOY

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bat boyPresented by The Office for the Arts at Harvard
Book by Kythe Farley & Brian Flemming
Music & Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe
Directed by Ally Kiley
Music directed by Cynthia Meng

Nov. 14-22, 2014
The Farkatorium
10 Holyoke St
Cambridge, MA
Bat Boy on Facebook
Harvard Office for the Arts on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: sexy animal orgy, partial male nudity, incest

(Cambridge, MA) The Office for the Arts at Harvard has had the rare privilege to host the creators of Bat Boy for a workshop on their monster musical. They have made some significant edits: shortening the run time from 3 hours to 2, cutting of songs, cutting of incidental plot lines and some script editing. The current production presented in the Farkatorium Center for the Arts is still the same Pygmalion meets Edward Scissorhands meets Christ child storyline as the original except a lot simpler. The edits have smoothed over the wrinkles of the original show and kept the endearingly off-putting essence of the off-Broadway science fiction jewel. Continue reading

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Nov 17

Argentina Still Weeps: “EVITA”

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Photo courtesy of The Umbrella Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of The Umbrella Facebook page.

Presented by The Umbrella
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Directed by Brian Boruta
Music Direction by Maria Robinson
Choreography by Lara Finn
Presented at the Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts
November 14 – 29
Emerson Umbrella Center for the Arts
40 Stow St., Concord, MA 01742
Emerson Umbrella on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Concord, MA) Alright, Andrew Lloyd Weber. Here’s the deal.

I know that your career has sprouted some of the longest-running Broadway hits in the history of Broadway. Cats was my first Broadway musical, and I would be delusional if I said that Phantom of the Opera was anything other than a Broadway legend. But why, oh why, do you allow unsuspecting community theatres (or theatres of any degree of professionalism) to lease the rights for your early works? Continue reading

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Nov 17

Bloomingdale’s Empowerment: MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL

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Image courtesy of the Menopause Facebook Page. Apologies to the cast and staff. Photo link was not working properly.

Presented by Spectacle Management
Created by Jeanie Linders
Produced by GFour Productions

The Larcom Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 12th-16th, 2014
Spectacle Management on Facebook
Menopause: the Musical on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Sometimes, it is impossible to decide the value of a show until you can decide on its politics. Menopause: the Musical, playing at the Larcom Theatre, is giddy and infectious, to be sure, but does its very existence set back women’s rights by a few decades? This is the question the theatergoer must ask as his or her foot starts tapping to the fun on stage. Continue reading

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