Nov 23

Festive and Fun: “A Civil War Christmas: an American Musical Celebration”

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Presented by Wellesley College Theatre
Written by Paula Vogel
Music by Daryl Waters
Directed by Nora Hussey

November 18 – 22
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Wellesly, MA
WCT on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

Christmas theatre is a very specific genre that requires a very particular mix to make effective (or even palatable).  The recipe starts with good old-fashioned holiday cheer; add a dash of nostalgia, a hint of history, a generous helping of family values, and (of course) finish with a generous sprinkling of festive music.  Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration has all the necessary ingredients for the Christmas genre, but actually performing it requires a special touch.  The piece’s simplistic dialogue which features such tropes as characters telling you who they are before they begin to speak (“In the West Wing of the White House, President Lincoln’s maid was cleaning the floor…. Hi, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show tonight?”) that have the danger to edge this play towards the realm of children’s theatre cheesiness, or satirical campiness. Continue reading

Nov 18

Women Are Kept Powerless on Purpose: “The Love of the Nightingale”

Photo by Tim Gurczak

Photo by Tim Gurczak

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Timberlake Wertenbaker
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
Choreography by Tyler Catanella
Music direction and sound design by Bahar Royaee
Fight choreography by Rebecca Miller

Nov. 6 – 21, 2015
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA 02116
Hub Theatre on Facebook

Disclaimer: Mrs. Drexel did audition for this production and was not cast. She firmly believes that only a selfish ass would allow such a thing to taint her review.

Trigger warning: Gore, rape, feminist thought

Review by Kitty Drexel

“How do women still go out with guys, when you consider the fact that there is no greater threat to women than men? We’re the number one threat! To women! Globally and historically, we’re the number one cause of injury and mayhem to women. We’re the worst thing that ever happens to them!” – Louis C.K.

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” attributed to Margaret Atwood

(Boston, MA) The Love of the Nightingale is a Greek myth/morality tale that tells of the dangers of forcing women to be responsible for the sexualities of men. This self-aware play reduces gods and goddesses to the fears and urges of Man: if a dude behaves reprehensibly, it obviously must be the will of the gods. In the reality created by Wertenbaker, self-control and restraint are not wished by higher powers. Rape, victim blaming, unnecessary violence, and other terrible behaviors are. Gross. Continue reading

Nov 17

Fun Time Field Trip to NYC: “Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or, How I started the Iraq War”

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniels; Who's Das Man? You're Das Man.

Photo Credit: Jeremy Daniels; Who’s Das Man? You’re Das Man.

Presented by Charlie Fink, Lee Seymour
Produced by the New Musical Foundation, Inc
Music & Book by Marshall Pailet
Lyrics & Book by A.D. Penedo
Based on a screenplay by J.T. Allen
Directed by Marshall Pailet
Music directed, arranged, accompanied by Rona Siddiqui
Choreography by Misha Shields

Performances are ongoing
The Actors Temple
339 W 47th St, between 8th and 9th Ave,
New York, NY 10036

Review by Kitty Drexel

On occasion Geeks go to NYC. On occasion we review shows while we’re there. This is one such review.

(New York, NY) Sweet Mary Mother of God did George W. Bush, Colin Powell and, most specifically, Dick Cheney screw over the American people with the Iraq war. To say that the events leading up to and immediately after were FUBAR, would be putting it lightly. There were no weapons of mass destruction; the US pointlessly wasted lives, resources and oodles of money to appease Republican impotent bloodthirst. The people never received a refund or even a proper apology for this BS. Thank merciful Zeus the arts are here to save us from horrible truths. In particular, thank Pailet & A.D. Penedo for writing Who’s Your Baghdaddy? Or, How I started the Iraq War, a delightful treatment of the events of 2001 that gives them the severity and respect they deserve*. Continue reading

Nov 16

Royal Humanity: “Who Would Be King”

Photo credit: Liars & Believers

Photo credit: Liars & Believers

Presented by Liars and Believers
Conceived and Directed by Jason Slavick
Music and Lyrics by Jay Mobley
Dramaturgy by Amanda Martin
Fight choreography by Ted Hewlett

November 5 – 22, 2015
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
Liars and Believers on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) I saw something extraordinary at Oberon last night.  Liars & Believers’ Who Would Be King is a beautiful patchwork of physical performance, storytelling, and boundless humanity.  An original work by artists in residence at the LAB, Who Would be King is a re-mixed trove of biblical tales told in a compelling and timeless way with great humor, and great humanity. Continue reading

Nov 16

A Crack in the Blue Wall” Enough to Make a Dent?

Photo credit: James Pierre

Photo credit: James Pierre

Presented by Hibernian Hall
Directed & Written by Jacqui Parker

November 6 -21, 2015
Hibernian Hall on Facebook
Black Lives Matter

Review by Travis Manni

(Roxbury, MA) The timeliness of Jacqui Parker’s play is not reflective of her knowledge of current events, but rather a sheer necessity in direct response to the fact that we still do not live in a post-racial society. A Crack in the Blue Wall pays tribute to the families of black youth who are being killed because, as poet Claudia Rankine explains in Citizen, white men can’t police their imagination. What surprised me most about the perspective of Parker’s show is the respect she showed for both the families of the deceased as well as the police force, which is too often blanketed as entirely corrupt. Continue reading

Nov 16

Black Nuns are Supposed to be Funny: “SISTER ACT”

Photos©Paul Lyden

Photos©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Glenn Slater
Book by Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner
Additional Book Material by Douglas Carter Beane
Based on the Touchstone Pictures Motion Picture Sister Act written by Joseph Howard
Direction and Choreography by Kevin P. Hill
Music direction by Andrew Bryan (with an assist by Adrian Ries)

November 3 – 15, 2015
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) What do you do with a musical version of a 90’s comedy that doesn’t age particularly well? You try and set it in the 70’s and hope for the best. The North Shore Music Theatre cast of Sister Act is winsome at times, but not crisp enough to transcend the problematic source material. Continue reading

Nov 16

Chronically Single: A Man’s Honest Attempt to Explain Singlehood

Photo of Randy Ross, writer and solo performer of "The Chronic Single's Handbook." Here, he offers one theory on why he is still single. Photo taken at the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo credit: Paul Gillis Photography. (low-res)

Photo of Randy Ross, photo taken at the Capitol Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. in 2013. Photo credit: Paul Gillis Photography. (low-res)

Presented by OutPost 186
Written and Directed by Randy Ross

November 13, 15, 17, 21-22, 2015
OutPost 186 on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) During a conversation I had with a friend recently, it was decided that us twentysomethings are in two categories: the kind that enjoys hooking up with no strings attached, and the kind that is self-aware of the fact that they are not ready to be in any kind of a relationship. So it was quite surprising for me to see that the same could be somewhat true for older singles in The Chronic Single’s Handbook. Continue reading

Nov 15

Dreaming the Dream: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Presented by the Isango Ensemble
Adapted and Directed by Mark Dornford-May
Music Arrangement by Mandisi Dyantyis
Music Directored by Pauline Malefane and Mandisi Dyantyis
Choreography by Lungelo Ngamlana

Presented at ArtsEmerson
November 10 – 22, 2015
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont street, Boston
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Isango Ensemble on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) I don’t know about you, but A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of those shows that I’ve seen so often it’s nearly lost all meaning. It might be a professional hazard: as a Shakespearean dramaturge/actor/fight director/scholar, Midsummer pops onto my project radar so frequently in so many different settings: it’s a favorite of high school drama clubs, regional Shakespeare theatres, and any company looking to do “Shakespeare with a twist”. Midsummer lends itself well to many different interpretations, and has enough zany, wacky antics to support a multitude of artistic styles and choices. Continue reading

Nov 12

Too close but still comfortable: “Six Degrees of Separation”

Credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com.

Credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com.

Produced by Bad Habit Productions
Written by John Guare
Directed by Liz Fenstermaker

November 7-22, 2015
Deane Hall at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

http://badhabitproductions.org/shows/season-9/mainstage/six-degrees-of-separation/

(Boston, MA) Six Degrees of Separation was a celebrated play when it first hit New York stages, portraying stereotypes of the city, moneyed New Yorkers and people who aspire to be moneyed New Yorkers. This production elevates the writing to present a mix that is more than the Law & Order rerun it would like to be. Continue reading

Nov 10

Meet Crazy is Still Cute: LAB RATS

Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project
Written by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Kyler Taustin

Boston, MA: Nov 6-8 & 13-15, 2015
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress St
Ocean City, MD: November 20-23, 2015
Center for the Arts
502 94th Street
Brown Box on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Lab Rats is an adorable comedy about the drastic measures people will take to convince others of their relative normalcy. Some days it’s impossible to hold all the crazy in. Let she who hasn’t committed some social faux pas (like wailing like a blubbering infant on public transport) cast the first stone! For Mika and Jake, “some days” tend to be most days thanks to a barrage of paid-to-evaluate tests they take in order to make ends meet. Continue reading