Apr 18

Geeks Read Books: Recent Plays from TCG

Reviews by Kitty Drexel

Theatre Communications Group (TCG) recently released plays, Evening at the Talk House by Wallace Shawn, Ripcord by David Lindsay-Abaire, and The Motherfucker with the Hat by Stephen Adley Guirgis. These books were offered in exchange for an objective, unbiased review. They were all pretty good. Two of the three will appeal more to Boston-area actors and theatre than the other. I’ll let you guess which ones are which.  Continue reading

Apr 14

Interrupted Lives: “Chill”

Kim Fischer, Maria Jung, Monica Giordano, and Danny Bryck. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Eleanor Burgess
Directed by Megan Sandburg-Zambian

March 22-April 16, 2017
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 E. Merrimack Street, Lowell MA 01852
MRT on Facebook

Review by Kate Lew Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Maybe you’ve been wondering what your teenaged Millennial child or grandchild was doing while hanging in a basement with friends, or perhaps you’re a nostalgic Millennial looking to recapture that just-before-graduation feeling. Either way, here is your chance, because “Chill” now playing at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre is the perfect opportunity. Continue reading

Mar 08

The Simple Beauty of “Grand Concourse”

Photo by Glenn Perry Photography; full stage with cast.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Heidi Schreck
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

March 3-April 1, 2017
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy Stage Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) While I try not to make a habit of going to see religious shows, there’s something about the themes of religion that is compelling. They bring people together and allow them to question anything from faith and love to forgiveness and existence. And while playwright Heidi Schreck’s Grand Concourse manages to tackle all of these, what’s captivating about the show is that it does so without forcing religious concepts. Continue reading

Feb 07

In Homage to the Bastard: “Brecht on Brecht”

Matthew Stern (piano), Carla Martinez, Brad Daniel Peloquin, Jake Murphy, Christine Hamel
in “Brecht on Brecht”   (photo: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures)

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Prophetic Portraits: Exploring history at the level of the individual
By Bertolt Brecht
Arranged by George Tabori from various translations
Co-Produced with Boston Center for American Performance
Directed by Jim Petosa
Music direction by Matthew Stern

Feb. 4 – March 5, 2017
Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

90 minutes with no intermission

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MABertolt Brecht was a selfish, arrogant, exceedingly charismatic dick. He was also a “genius” thanks to the help of collaborators such as Elisabeth Hauptmann and Kurt Weill. Brecht did not support them. He could turn a phrase, though. 
Continue reading

Feb 02

Boston Arts Academy’s “The Wiz” Finds a Place to Call Home

Dorothy, portrayed by Kamiya Parkin; Photo credit Ella Snyder

Presented by Boston Arts Academy
Book by William F. Brown
Music and Lyrics by Charlie Smalls
Adapted From “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Directed by Maura Tighe
Musical Direction by Tyrone Sutton
Choreography by William McLaughlin

January 26-28, 2017
The Strand Theatre
543 Columbia Road
Dorchester, MA 02125

Review by Travis Manni

(Dorchester, MA) In a world where the future of the arts is unclear, and many would like to be transported from reality for a while, it is refreshing to see the next generation of artists from Boston Arts Academy not only take pride in their art, but convey a powerful message of pride in one’s roots. In BAA’s production of The Wiz, I was blown away at the maturity and emotional depth that a group of young adults still in high school not only understood, but also was able to convey to the audience. 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

Nov 02

Shakespeare Wins, The End: SOMETHING ROTTEN!

SOMETHING ROTTEN!
Conceived by Karey Kirkpatrick and Wayne Kirkpatrick
Book by Karey Kirkpatrick and John O’Farrell
Music and lyrics by Wayne Kirkpatrick and Karey Kirkpatrick
Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw
Music directed  by Phil Reno

Now through January 1, 2017
St. James Theatre, a Jujiamcyn Theater
246 W. 44th Street
New York, NY
(Between 7th & 8th Avenues)
Something Rotten! On Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NYIt is a perk and a privilege to write complimentary reviews for people I know or used to know in a different life. There’s a certain joy in spinning a glowing critique for someone who deserves it. My joy is incalculably multiplied when done for a personal acquaintance. It’s best if it’s a surprise. It’s even better if it’s a special occasion. Continue reading

Oct 02

Rebel Theatre Without Activism is as Pointless as Sending Thoughts and Prayers After a Tragedy: “The Plough and The Stars”


Presented by A.R.T.*
Abbey Theatre on Tour in association with Cusack Projects Limited
Written by Sean O’Casey
Directed by Sean Holmes
Voice direction by Andrea Ainsworth

Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: gun fire, siren and other loud effects, punk rock

(Cambridge, MA) Ladies and gentlemen, Unions are legal and necessary. Unions are one of the only protections low to middle income wage earners have against power-hungry suits with no regard for struggles that aren’t their own. Please support your local unions to ensure that they remain strong, honest, and transparent. Continue reading