Aug 31

“The Lion” Sends Audience Roaring with Applause

Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Benjamin Scheuer
Directed by Sean Daniels

Aug. 26 – Sept. 20, 2015
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
Merrimack Repertory Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Lowell, MA) While no African cats ever pounced on stage, much to my dismay, I will say that the Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s production of The Lion, which marks both the start of the theatre’s 2015-16 season as well as Sean Daniel’s Artistic Directorial debut at the MRT, took me quite off guard. Continue reading

Aug 21

Fan Service Omitted: WAITRESS, A NEW MUSICAL

Keala Settle, Jessie Mueller, and Jeanna de Waal in Waitress. Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Keala Settle, Jessie Mueller, and Jeanna de Waal in Waitress. Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Presented by American Repertory Theater
Book by Jessie Nelson
Music & lyrics by Sara Bareilles
Based on the motion picture by Adrienne Shelly
Directed by Diane Paulus
Music direction by Nadia DiGiallonardo
Choreography by Chase Brock

Production is partnered with Harvard University’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response.

August 2, 2015 – September 27, 2015
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Waitress the musical is an interpretation of the 2007 movie written and directed by Adrienne Shelly. It is beloved by a devoted fan base. Appeasing this fan base is a tall order. The A.R.T. does a good job of remaining true to Shelly’s masterwork. There are many hits and only one notable miss.  Continue reading

Aug 19

Desperate Jiving: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

Sam Wolf as Tony Manero in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER The Musical playing at North Shore Music Theatre August 11 - 23, 2015. Photo © Paul Lyden

Sam Wolf as Tony Manero in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER The Musical playing at North Shore Music Theatre August 11 – 23, 2015. Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Original Stage Adaptation by Robert Stigwood & Bill Oakes
North American Adaptation by Sean Cercone & David Abbinanti
Directed by Richard Stafford
Choreographed by Nick Kenkel
Music direction by Milton Granger
Assistant music direction by Joseph Mohan

August 11th – 23rd, 2015
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

An old Rolling Stone profile of the Bee Gees, the band behind the music for Saturday Night Fever, included a heartbreaking moment – the band was on top of the world at the time, but one of the Gibb brothers spent the entire interview nervously scrolling the radio dial to hear if any station was playing his music. Continue reading

Aug 04

Balance Amidst the Loneliness: ORDINARY DAYS

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Presented by The Opposite of People  
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Cara Guappone
Musical direction by Samantha Prindiville

July 30th – August 2nd, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
OoP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) Ordinary Days is a sweet, funny musical set in NYC by living composer (!) Adam Gwon. The Opposite of People took this cute but choppy, Jason Robert Brown-esque musical and gave it breadth in the Arsenal Center for the Arts. It had a slow start but it developed into a lovely production that shows promise for this fledgling company. Continue reading

Aug 03

Frothy and Forgetful Summer Fare: “Shrek the Musical”

Photo © Paul Lyden

Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig
Musical directed by Michael Gacetta (why does NSMT keep leaving their music directors off the main page?)
Direction by Michael Heitzman
Choreography by Mara Greer

July 7 – 19, 2015
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

If you can’t smile at North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Shrek the Musical you really are an ogre, and I don’t mean the good kind that everyone cheers for to win the girl. However, if you can remember a song from this musical a few days after you watched it, you are a better reviewer than I. This production has all the trappings of a winsome summer blockbuster movie in that it’s something fun to watch while scarfing down popcorn with your family, but when the dazzle fades, there isn’t much there there. Continue reading

Jul 27

A Remarkable Felicity of Expression: “1776”

Photo credit: The Company Theatre

Photo credit: The Company Theatre

Presented by The Company Theatre
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Directed by Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman
Musical Direction by Michael V. Joseph
Staging by Sally Ashton Forrest

July 24 – August 16, 2015
30 Accord Park Drive
Norwell, MA 02061
Company Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Norwell, MA) For a town that takes its history so seriously, Boston doesn’t give much love to 1776 (the musical).  In fact, this was the first time I had ever caught the play staged.  Of course I’m a devotee of the film, but I’ve always wanted to see a staged production of the show.  When I moved to Massachusetts four years ago, I thought I would see it produced at least once a season but found myself sorely mistaken.  So of course I leapt at the chance to see The Company Theatre’s 1776 and I am heartily glad I was in the audience to witness their triumph! Continue reading

Jul 14

Thank you and Goodbye: MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG

Photo credit: FUDGE Theatre Co. (courtesy of Facebook)

Photo credit: Matt Phillips (courtesy of Facebook)

Presented by F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
Music direction by Steven Bergman
Directed by Joey DeMita

July 10 – 18, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
FUDGE on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MAMerrily We Roll Along is Company meets Kiss Me Kate. This musical is what happens when Sondheim runs out of ideas and starts throwing what appear to be events based on an autobiographical story onto the stage. There’s singing, dancing and several broken hearts. This is a belty show with many great solos for singers. Mainly there’s a narcissist with his head so far up his own ass that he can’t tell when enough is finally enough. It’s also an incomplete mess that F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Co. did a pretty great job of making entertaining.      Continue reading

Jun 16

Sanitized Motown: DREAMGIRLS

Photo©Paul Lyden

Photo©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book & lyrics by Tom Eyen
Composed by Henry Krieger
Directed & choreographed by Nick Kenkel
Music direction by Jesse Vargas

June 2-14, 2015
North Shore Music Theatre
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Sometimes, a musical is cursed with potential. The action on stage may be enough to bring the crowd to its feet, but you can still walk away thinking it should have been something more. Continue reading

May 27

From You, OK. I Learned It From Watching You: PEDR SOLIS

Brian Church, Baritone in the title role of Pedr Solis. Photo by Liz Linder Photography.

Brian Church, Baritone in the title role of Pedr Solis. Photo by Liz Linder Photography.

Presented by Guerilla Opera and The Boston Conservatory
Music by Per Bloland
Libretto by Paul Schick
Directed by Laine Rettmer

May 15 – 23, 2015
The Zack Box
8 The Fenway
Boston, MA
Guerilla Opera on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Pedr Solis is an avant garde (i.e. strange), dark, messy beast of a prog rock opera. It’s set, props, and libretto are highly conceptualized and feature the most abstract of metaphors. The staging is full-contact. It should be a complete mess but it isn’t. Rather, as a logical, relatively objective reviewer I found it quite entertaining. As an over-educated audience member relying on her emotions to determine if she had a good time, I found my experience less than satisfying.   Continue reading

May 22

At World’s End: “The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville”

Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac. Photo by Gretjen Helene/A.R.T.

Mandy Patinkin and Taylor Mac. Photo by Gretjen Helene/A.R.T.

Presented by The American Repertory Company
Conceived by Paul Ford, Taylor Mac, Mandy Patinkin, and Susan Stroman
Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman
Music Direction, Arrangements, and Orchestrations by Paul Ford

May 12 – 31, 2015
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge MA
The A.R.T. on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) I’m not sure if I can really describe what I just saw onstage at the A.R.T.  I guess I could start with… an earthquake; birds, snakes, airplanes… Lenny Bruce is not afraid. Continue reading