Sep 12

Rent (MA): Celebrating and Embracing Humanity

The cast of RENT. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Rent, book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, New Repertory Theatre, Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 9/4/11-10/2/11, http://www.newrep.org/rent.php. Mature themes, Full-frontal nudity.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Watertown, MA) The New Repertory Theatre, in residence at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, opens its 2011-2012 season with Jonathan Larson’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning musical, RENT.  Considered groundbreaking in its 1996 premiere, RENT uses the story of struggling bohemian artists to convey its message of love, tolerance, and friendship. Continue reading

Sep 08

Big River: A Journey of Human Nature

Jordan Ahnquist as Huckleberry Finn and De'Lon Grant as Jim. Photo by Mark S. Howard

 

Big River, Music and Lyrics by Roger Miller, Book by William Hauptman, Lyric Stage, 9/2/11-10/8/11.  https://lyricstage.com/now_playing/big_river/.  Family Friendly.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Lyric Stage’s production of Big River celebrates the imagination of Mark Twain.  Based on the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the show explores the American landscape of the 1800’s.  The production shines a light on the various forms of humanity that Twain observed in his own travels.  His words come alive through a rousing score, talented cast, and innovative staging. Continue reading

Sep 02

Porgy and Bess Still Has Soul

Photo by Michael J. Lutch

 

The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre L. Murray, American Repertory Theatre, Loeb Drama Center, 8/17/11-10/2/11.  http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/gershwins-porgy-and-bess.   Mature themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Cambridge, MA) Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald bring soul to American Repertory Theatre’s production of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.  The couple struggles to hold onto their love in the midst of danger and strife.  Although minor changes have been made to the operetta, the integrity of the original piece remains intact. Continue reading

Sep 01

Last Year Boston, This Year New York

Missed some excellent shows in Boston last year?  Head down to New York City!

Meghan McGeary as Hannah. Photo by Marcus Stern.

The Blue Flower, Second Stage Theatre, 305 West 43rd Street, NY, NY. Becca’s review of the show at the American Repertory Theatre.

Sons of the Prophet, Roundabout Theatre Company, Laura Pels Theatre, 111 West 46th Street, NY, NY. Becca’s review of the show at the Huntington Theatre. (Just change “Tony Award” to “Obie”

Aug 17

Arcadia: The Paradise of Pursuit

Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard, Bad Habit Productions, Virginia Wimberley Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 8/11/11-8/28/11.
http://www.badhabitproductions.org/shows/season/arcadia.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Bad Habit Productions avoids pretension as it follows the serpentine path of thought from enlightenment to romance.  The witty exchanges bounce from the actors’ tongues to all four walls of the theatre.  The characters learn that the journey is more important than the definition of terms.  The production dances with little hesitation through the rhythmical patterns of Stoppard’s language. Continue reading

Aug 08

ASP Cymbeline Follow-Up

For those of you who loved ASP’s Cymbeline, an event is being held this Thursday:

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=229253273784992


“On August 11 and 12 at 7:00pm, ArtFarm welcomes Actor’s Shakespeare Project to the beautiful outdoor stage at Featherstone. Voted Best Theatre Company in Boston for 2011 by the Improper Bostonian Magazine, Actor’s Shakespeare Project brings their popular “Conversations” series to the Vineyard with selections from their acclaimed winter production of Cymbeline.Cast members will perform selected scenes from this beautiful and rarely produced late romance, while ASP Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and beloved theatre luminary and Vineyard resident Robert Brustein host a lively conversation on everything from Elizabethan England to the casting process to why Shakespeare is vital now. This is your chance to learn about one of the Bard’s more mysterious plays from the best of the best.

Bring a picnic, bring lawn chairs, bring your curiosity, and bring the kids. We’ll provide the poetry, the scenery, the expertise, and the bug spray! And don’t forget to join cast, company, and hosts afterwards for a reception under the stars as we celebrate the close of ArtFarm’s third and most successful summer yet!

Tickets are $20 or adults, $15 for students and seniors and are available at the door or at www.ticketsmv.com.”

Aug 05

Boston Actors’ Theater Summer Play Festival 2011

Summer Play Festival 2011, Boston Actors’ Theater, 7/29/11-8/7/11, http://www.bostonactorstheater.com/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Three playwrights try out some new works at Boston Actors’ Theater’s Summer Play Festival with varying results.  The three plays are:  The Portal of God by Catherine Durickas, Reproduction by Elizabeth DuPre, and Envia! Gifts for the Goddess of Illusion by Kelly Dumar.  The plays explore the complicated and often confusing aspects of love and life. Continue reading

Aug 04

Bug: Real Fear

Bug 003

James Hayward and Julie Becker in "Bug" by Tracy Letts July 29-August 6, 2011. The Factory Theatre, Boston.

Bug by Tracy Letts, Flat Earth Theatre, The Factory Theatre, 7/29/11-8/6/11, http://flatearththeatre.com/shows/bug.html.  Contains graphic violence and language.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Horror reigns at The Factory Theatre in Flat Earth Theatre’s taut production of Tracy Letts’ thriller Bug.  An abused woman finds comfort and safety of a gentle stranger.  However, their safety is short-lived when their motel room becomes infested with bugs.  No matter how they try, their situation escalates providing a realistic and frightening experience. Continue reading

Jul 22

1001: Do we make the stories or do the stories make us?

1001 by Jason Grote, Company One, Boston Center for the Arts, 7/15/11- 8/13/11,  http://www.companyone.org/Season12/1001/synopsis.shtml.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Clockwise from left: Ruby Rose Fox, Ben Gracia, Hampton Fluker, Lonnie McAdoo, Lauren Eicher, Nael Nacer

Scheherazade is back with new tales to tell. Based on 1001 Arabian Nights, Jason Grote takes the ancient tales and reworks them within a twenty-first century context.  The frame story and first inner story remain close to the time and arrangement of the original tales, but the further Scheherazade takes us in, the closer we get to our own reality.  Stories make up a large part of our lives from the fairy tales of childhood to the novels of our adulthood.  Is it what we bring to them that gives them life or what they bring to us that give us life? Company One’s 1001 attempts to answer these questions. Continue reading

Jul 19

THE GOOD DOCTOR: The cure for the common sitcom

from left) Bob Mussett, Sierra Kagen, Victoria Townsend, Brian Tuttle, and Zach Eisenstat in “The Sneeze” from the Independent Drama Society's production of Neil Simon's THE GOOD DOCTOR, playing July 15-23 at the Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street in Boston's South End. Tix and info: http://www.independentdramasociety.org. Photo by Bethany Krevat.

The Good Doctor by Neil Simon, The Independent Drama Society, The Factory Theatre, 7/15/11-7/23/11, http://independentdramasociety.org.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

If it wasn’t so funny, it would be serious.  Chekov is primarily known for his serious drama:  The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, etc.  but Neil Simon draws upon Chekov’s short stories for his play, The Good Doctor.  Chekov’s short stories have been said to be precursor to Seinfeld.  The writer of such tv shows as:  Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour recognized the unique comedy style and put stories “about nothing” to the stage years before the tv show “about nothing”.  Those who miss the “Junior Mint”, “The Soup Nazi”, and “The Chinese Restaurant” can relish in some new-old stories such as “The Sneeze”, “Surgery”, and “The Drowned Man”.  The Independent Drama Society’s final show utilizes the comedic talents to go out with a laugh for the audience and a whimper for the characters.   Continue reading