Oct 22

The Touring Blues: J.A.S.O.N.- Myth, Murder & Mayhem in a Punk Rock World

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Photo credit: O.W.I. Facebook page

Photo credit: O.W.I. Facebook page

Edited to Add: The originally published article misspelled Mr. Riesenberg’s last name. The spelling of Mr. Riesenberg’s name is now correct. Our apologies, no disrespect was intended.

Presented by The Office of War Information (Bureau of Theatre)
Written by Pete Riesenberg
Directed by Hatem Adell

October 4-26, 2014
Club Bohemia
Cantab Lounge
Cambridge, MA
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Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MA) The Office of War Information (Bureau of Theatre) plugs the classics into amps and rocks the Cantab Lounge this October. 300 BCE and and the gritty 1970s combine to fill Club Bohemia with noise and fury.

If you experienced the punk rock world firsthand, you should remember the substance abuse, strong language, violence and gore portrayed onstage.  (The gore is less than you’d expect from a Greek tragedy.) Young teenagers, particularly those in high school, might appreciate a re-telling of classics they have been forced to read.  Adults friendly with the tales of Jason, the Argonauts and Medea should also be pleased by this remix. Continue reading

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Oct 20

Between the Modern and Bygone: LATER THE SAME EVENING

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EDWARD HOPPER

Room in New York

Presented by the BU Fringe Festival
Composed by John Musto
Libretto by Mark Campbell
Based on 5 paintings by Edward Hopper: A Room in New York, Hotel Room, Hotel Lobby, Two on the Aisle, and Automat
Music direction by Allison Voth
Stage direction by Jason King Jones
Conducted by Tiffany Chang

October 18 & 19, 2014
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio 200
264 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Later The Same Evening is a concept opera based on five paintings by Edward Hopper. Edward Hopper (1882–1967) was an American artist who employed watercolor (Impressionist) techniques in his paintings of everyday life. His style is defined by the Metropolitan Museum of Art as utilizing, “clearly outlined forms in strongly defined lighting, a cropped composition with an almost “cinematic” viewpoint, and a mood of eerie stillness.” His influences include cityscapes, Cape Cod, his wife Josephine Verstille Nivison. He is famous for capturing the tensions between the modern and the old, people, and mood lighting. His most famous painting, Nighthawks, is used frequently in popular culture (including this sassy adaptation) to depict late night melancholy. Continue reading

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Oct 20

Egypt Unfinished: AIDA

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Photo credit courtesy Fiddlehead Theatre Company/Matt McKee Photo

Presented by Fiddlehead Theatre Company
Presented at the Historic Strand Theatre
Music by Elton John
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Book by Linda Woolverton, Robert Falls and David Henry Hwang
Directed by James Tallach and Meg Fofonoff
Music directed by Balint Varga
Choreography by Kira Cowan

October 17 – 26th, 2014
The Strand Theater
543 Columbia Rd
Dorchester, MA 02125
Fiddlehead Theatre on Facebook

Fiddlehead Theater Company, in collaboration with Aids Action Committee, is proud to present AIDA. 5% of every ticket sold will go to Aids Action Committee.

Review by Danielle Rosvally

Dear Sir Elton John,

I have loved Aida since you first wrote it in 2000 and it took Broadway by storm. It has made me wish many things about myself: that I had the range to successfully best to belt out the craziness that is “My Strongest Suit” somewhere other than my shower so that I could be a part of your glittering romantic someday; that I was an Egyptian Princess so that I could have a wardrobe extensive enough to be sung about this way (….but only in the strictest cartoon sense of the term since being a real Egyptian Princess is a bit more complicated than romantic intrigue and Lady Gaga like clothing choices); or, failing all else, that I could at least appreciate a production which transported me to these places in my head with all the glimmering splendor which belongs to it. Continue reading

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Oct 16

Fyre, Fyre Burning Bright: LA TRAVIATA

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Photos by Eric Antoniou.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
Conducted by Arthur Fagen
Stage directed by Chas Rader-Shieber
Assistant directed by Nathan Troup

Oct. 10 – 19, 2014
Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: Racism, Rape
Sung in Italian with English supertitles. There is one intermission.

(Boston, MA) There were many good things about BLO’s La Traviata. There were a few bad. Overall, it was a grand production.

A gentle disclaimer: Vocal technique will not be reviewed. Technique is highly personal. Reviewing it would be like reviewing hygenic habits: rude. Continue reading

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Oct 15

A Little Murder Between Friends: ASSASSINS

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Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures 2014

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures 2014

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman
Based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr.
Directed by Jim Petosa
Musical direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Judith Chaffee

Oct. 4 – 26, 2014
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
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Please note: there is no intermission for this 2 hour musical.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) Society likes to label people who commit atrociously violent acts, Monsters. It is deeply important that we, the good folk of society, acknowledge that the Monsters who murder, harm, victimize, etc. aren’t depraved beasts transformed by mental illness into inhuman criminals. These Monsters are people who do monstrous things. So, if these Monsters are human just as we are human, then it follows that we must accept the possibility that we too are capable of monstrous acts. Continue reading

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Oct 07

Murder, We Hope: “Chicago”

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Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Directed and choreographed by Nick Kenkal

Beverly, MA
September 23rd – October 5th, 2014
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Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) At one point after a showstopping number during the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Chicago, actor Sean McDermott (Billy Flynn) was clearly out of breath. He had a lot of company in the audience, as this production succeeds in leaving an audience breathless. Continue reading

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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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