Dec 19

Appalachian Comedy and Backwoods Humor in “Sand Mountain”

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Presented by The Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Romulus Linney
Directed by Daniel Bourque

December 13-21, 2013
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Romulus Linney’s Appalachian play is a strange, Frankenstein’d animal of a comedy.  It combines two stories about marriage and society on Sand Mountain, an Alabama sandstone plateau.  The first half, Sand Mountain Matchmaking, is about the unlucky love life of the widow Rebecca Tull (Lauren Elias) as she searches for an appropriate suitor.  Act II, Why The Lord Come to Sand Mountain, is a twistier story featuring Jesus (Robert Orzalli) and Saint Peter (Yoni Bronstein) as they spend a night with a backwoods family.  Both acts combine to create a folksy, down-home play, one a little too saccharine to feel credible but fun none-the-less. Continue reading

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Dec 11

OMIGODUGUYS! : “Legally Blonde”

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Photo Credit: AFD’s Facebook page; Cai Radleigh, Shannon Cheong and cast.

Presented by Arlington Friends of the Drama
Music and Lyrics by Laurcen O’Keefe and Neil Benjamin
Book by Heather Hach
Directed by James Tallach
Music Direction by Stephen Peters
Choreography by Theresa Melito

Dec. 6 – Dec. 22, 2013
Charles Mosesian Theater
22 Academy St. Arlington MA
AFD on Facebook

Disclaimer: Queen of the Geeks, Kitty Drexel is involved in this production. The following review takes this into consideration and was written and edited accordingly.

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Arlington) Adaptation is an odd and fickle creature. In the rash of non-musical-movie to Broadway adaptations that have hit the theatre scene over the course of the last five or ten years, we’ve seen everything from Julie Taymore’s travesty (Spiderman: Turn off the Dark), to the possibly better-than-its-source Spamalot.

Legally Blonde is one that has a soft spot in my heart simply because Reese Witherspoon in her dayglow-pink skirted suits has always been something of an inspiration to me. Here’s a woman who’s hot, smart, and makes both work for her in her own way without conforming to society’s boxes. Legally Blonde was also the first film in my conscious memory that showed me a “popular girl” with a heart of gold. Elle Woods has never stood for changing people (unlike her predecessor Cher Horowitz), but rather helping the women around her see value in what they are. Really; who couldn’t use a little bend and snap now and again? Continue reading

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Dec 11

The Difficult Toeing Between Past and Present: “It’s a Horrible Life”

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PHOTOS BY MICHAEL VON REDLICH; Featuring Gene Dante, Olive A Nother, Jessica Barstis and Paul Vincent Melendy

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL VON REDLICH; Featuring Gene Dante, Olive A Nother, Jessica Barstis and Paul Vincent Melendy

Presented by Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans
Directed by James P. Byrnes

December 5th-22nd
Machine:
The Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts
Boston, MA
Gold Dust Orphans on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) Hot off of Mildred Fierce and dashing towards their spring show Snow White and the Seven Bottoms, Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans gift Boston with a sweet spectacular at the Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts. Continue reading

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Dec 10

Song, Cheer, and Social Misfits: “A Christmas Carol”

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Presented by Anthem Theatre Company
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Steve Wargo
Musical Arrangements by Dianne Adams-McDowell
Directed by Michael Poignand

12/5/2013 — 12/21/2013
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box Theater
Boston, MA
Anthem Theatre Co on Facebook

2 hours, 15 minutes with one intermission.

 

 

 

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Though remembered largely as a cheerful, life-affirming tale about learning to embrace kindness, A Christmas Carol is, really, a ghost story. Ebenezer Scrooge (Kevin B. McGlynn) contemplates loneliness and the end of his life as he’s visited by spirits that embody his past, present, and future. Anthem Theatre Company gives us a stripped down Victorian play, a musical with literal Christmas carols to color a melancholy London and the workhouse realities of its Industrial Revolution. Continue reading

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Dec 09

Fading into the Woodwork: STELLA AND LOU

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Displaying Stella-and-Lou-dress-rehearal-compressed (1).jpg

Photo by Meghan Moore.

presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Bruce Graham
Directed by Charles Towers

November 29th – December 22nd, 2013
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”  Yet many of us cling onto being small all our lives.  Doing a play about that intentional smallness can be tricky without having the play succumb to smallness itself. Continue reading

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Dec 09

Life (Instructions Not Included): BECKY’S NEW CAR

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Photo by Mark S. Howard.

presented by The Lyric Stage Company
by Steven Dietz
Directed by Larry Coen
Production sponsored by Tim & Linda Holiner

November 29th – December 22nd
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA
Lyric Stage on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Film, literature and theater are filled with midlife crises.  The plotlines for men offer them the chance to break away from office meetings and drudgery to lead a life of adventure and get the girl (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty).  For women, the midlife crisis plotline offers a chance to break free from the ties that bind, to take a vacation from a family, and to have some great sex (The Bridges of Madison County).  Too often, things either resolve too well or too tragically, but always too neatly.  The explosion.  The choice.  The last goodbye.  Fade out. Continue reading

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Dec 06

Harvard Early Music Society Presents “Dido and Aeneas”

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Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas
Stage directed by Giselle Ty
Music directed by Jessica Rucinski
December 5, 6, 7 • 8pm
10 Garden Street
Harvard University
Dido and Aeneas on Facebook
For tickets, visit boxoffice.harvard.edu
$12 regular admission • $8 students
Experience the legendary tale of doomed love through the concentrated emotion of Purcell’s music. Based on Book IV of Vergil’s (also, Virgil) Roman epic, The Aeneid, this tragic opera traces the charged romance between Dido, the Queen of Carthage and Aeneas, the Trojan prince destined to become the founder of Rome.
The marriage of one of the most iconic texts in classical literature and some of the most enduring and cherished moments in the history of western classical music beautifully capture the lovers’ yearning to find an immortal love and all of the obstacles that they must fight against in order to hold on to it. In a world where duty, fate, grief, and supernatural forces disrupt and challenge the power of love, love cannot conquer all.
The Harvard Early Music Society is collaborating with a cast and creative team consisting of professionals and undergraduates to stage Henry Purcell’s 1688 masterwork in one of Harvard’s most intimate theatrical spaces.
 

 

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Dec 02

Charm Conquers All: CAMELOT

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Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Books and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Lowe
Original production directed and staged by Moss Heart
Based on “The Once and Future King” by TH White
Directed and choreographed by Russell Garrett
Musical direction by David McGrory
Dance Captain – Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Fight Captain – Michael J Borges

Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, 2013
Charles Mosesian Theater
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

(Watertown) The Director’s Notes by Russell Garrett are excellent. An audience member desiring nostalgic information correlating Camelot to the anniversary of JFK’s assassination will be well pleased. For this purpose, I will not dwell on the JFK’s Camelot as Mr. Garrett has already done an excellent job of doing so in the programme. If you’d like to know more, see the show.

Considering the weight that the Kennedy Family carries in the US, one might expect Camelot to be a more serious show. Lerner and Lowe’s fluffy hit does examine some heavy issues but the majority of the script and lyrics are intended to entertain rather than educate. The sugary sweet production by New Rep does not fail in its mission to cheer Baby Boomers and to indoctrinate younger generations in classic musical theatre. Continue reading

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Dec 02

Getting a Rise out of their Audience: THE SLUTCRACKER

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This production is intended for a mature audience only (18+). It depicts (albeit with great humor and entertainment value) graphic sexual acts and adult material. The following review is written for the same audience; please proceed accordingly and stop reading if you believe you may be offended by nudity, sexual content, and/or anything that calls itself “The Slutcracker”.

Photo care of the Slutcracker facebook page.

Directed and adapted by Vanessa White
Music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

November 30th – December 31st, 2013
Somerville Theatre
55 Davis Square
Somerville, MA
The Slutcracker on Facebook

(Somerville) Every year for the holiday season, the Babes in Boinkland take the good denizens of the Boston burlesque scene on a journey of fantastical fornication, sensational shtuping, and beautiful buggering.  This year, of course, is no exception.  If you appreciate the human form, are a fan of high ballet, and/or have a sense of humor about sexuality, why are you even questioning if you should see this show?  Go buy a ticket, and come, come, come to Somerville for a Christmas treat with more dick than Dickens. Continue reading

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Nov 26

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here: LIZZIE BORDEN

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Photo Credit: Eric Antoniou for Boston Lyric Opera © 2013. It’s all downhill from here.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Jack Beeson
Libretto by Kenward Elmslie
Based on a scenario by Richard Plant
Realized by Todd Bashore (orchestration) and John Conklin (dramaturgy)
Conducted by David Angus
Stage directed by Christopher Alden

November 20 – 24, 2013
Opera Annex: The Castle at Park Plaza
Boston, MA
BLO on Facebook

Sung in English with projected text (because the diction of the vocalists is excellent but the space eats sound like Cookie Monster eats a baker’s dozen).

(Boston) This is not an opera hoping to experience the heavenly glories of the human voice through song. Lizzie Borden is an impressive piece of theatre that will shock the pants off of audience members expecting traditional operatic fare. Beeson’s opera is beast heavy with repressed sexuality, anger and desperation. Although it was not an enjoyable production per se, the artists involved created a brilliant evening of artful music. Continue reading

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