Sep 12

Squirrel Depravity and Much More: the Boston Comedy Arts Festival

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Presented by ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA
IB on Facebook

BCAF FRI 6:30PM: Studio Theater feat. Nancy: Home is Where the Songs Is, Kennedy O’Reily and Matt Geiler

(Cambridge, MA) On Friday evening, I was treated to “Solo/Duo Musical Comedy” at ImprovBoston. It was 90 minutes of awkward and joyful laughter. Drink in hand, it’s one of the best ways to begin or end a night. This performance is one of many featured in the Boston Comedy Arts Festival going on now in Cambridge. Continue reading

Sep 11

Almost a Good Fit – KINKY BOOTS

Photo via http://kinkybootsthemusical.com/media.php

Photo via http://kinkybootsthemusical.com/media.php

Book by Harvey Fierstein
Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper
Music orchestrator/arranger/supervisor: Stephen Oremus
Music direction by Brian Usifer
Directed/choreographed by Jerry Mitchell
Associate direction by DB Bonds
Associate choreography by Rusty Mowery

August 11 – 30, 2015
Boston Opera House
Boston, MA
Kinky Boots online

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) It’s amazing that even a play that prominently features a singing and dancing troupe of transvestites (gay or straight) can still be primarily about helping a heterosexual white male self-actualize and grow up. It’s as if Kinky Boots celebrity writer Harvey Fierstein and his musical partner Cyndi Lauper were given a directive to adhere to some guy version of the Bechdel test. Continue reading

Sep 10

“Radium Girls” Radiates Pain and Triumph

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by D. W. Gregory
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

September 4th – 19th, 2015
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, MA
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Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown, MA) There is a poem by Julianna Baggott, “Marie Curie Gives Advice to her Daughter Irene Before her Wedding.” This is how it ends:
“My hope, daughter, is that
what you love doesn’t come to kill you,
eye by eye, ear by ear, bone by radiant bone.”

The friend with whom I went to see “Radium Girls” mentioned it to me after the show was over. It’s easy to see why. This is a play about not just losing one’s life to radium, but losing everything. Grace Fryer (the magnificent Erin Eva Butcher) loses both her fear and trust while Arthur Roeder (Bridgette Hayes) loses faith in the United States Radium factory and in himself. What you love–what you trust to take care of you, what you trust to be there for you–might indeed ultimately kill you. Continue reading

Sep 08

“Matt & Ben” at The Riot Theater

MB1

Matt & Ben: A story of two Boston boys and a screenplay that fell from the sky.

Fridays in September at 10pmMB1
146A South Street, Jamaica Plain
$10
Buy Tickets

Matt & Ben, a play by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers, answers the question every Bostonian has asked themselves at least once; “How did Matt Damon and Ben Affleck write the screenplay for Good Will Hunting?” Answer: It fell from the sky, of course.

Okay, in reality the screenplay might not have appeared right out of thin air, but the play Matt & Ben takes the audience through a fantastic journey of what if it did. Matt and Ben, respectively played by Lauren Robinson and Libby Schap, spend one long Saturday in Somerville fighting, reminiscing, and hallucinating a lot more than normal when confronted with the screenplay they already know will change their lives.

Produced by the LL Production Company, Matt & Ben is one wicked funny show that will make an audience feel like they’re right in the same living room as these young Boston boys (played by girls), and the first play put up at the Riot Theater.

Produced by the LL Production Company
Starring: Lauren Robinson and Libby Schap

Aug 31

“The Lion” Sends Audience Roaring with Applause

Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Benjamin Scheuer
Directed by Sean Daniels

Aug. 26 – Sept. 20, 2015
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
Merrimack Repertory Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Lowell, MA) While no African cats ever pounced on stage, much to my dismay, I will say that the Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s production of The Lion, which marks both the start of the theatre’s 2015-16 season as well as Sean Daniel’s Artistic Directorial debut at the MRT, took me quite off guard. Continue reading

Aug 28

Genre-Flexible “Winter’s Tale” Becomes a Summer Fantasia in Nathan Tufts Park

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Presented by Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

August 14-30, 2015
Nathan Tufts Park (aka Powderhouse Park) in Somerville, MA
BRING A BLANKET and/or LAWN CHAIRS
Maiden Phoenix on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville, MA) Maiden Phoenix gamely takes on one of the strangest of Shakespeare’s late period work. In the style of King Lear, Leontes (Juliet Bowler) comes to distrust his loved ones to the horror of his court. His queen, Hermione (Cassandra Meyer), is accused of adultery, their son, Mamillius (a hilariously bro-y Caroline Rose Markham), is separated from his mother, and a baby is abandoned on a hillside to be devoured by the wild. Then, suddenly, when a man “exits” the stage pursued by bears, the story transforms. The Winter’s Tale leaves aside its devastating tragedy and the king’s “too hot, too hot” anger in favor of a pastoral comedy. From this point on, the story flows together like a series of dreams. This peculiar shift suits not only more optimistic fare but the theatre group’s choice of setting, a green, fairy tale-like staging in Nathan Tufts Park. Continue reading

Aug 21

Fan Service Omitted: WAITRESS, A NEW MUSICAL

Keala Settle, Jessie Mueller, and Jeanna de Waal in Waitress. Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Keala Settle, Jessie Mueller, and Jeanna de Waal in Waitress. Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Presented by American Repertory Theater
Book by Jessie Nelson
Music & lyrics by Sara Bareilles
Based on the motion picture by Adrienne Shelly
Directed by Diane Paulus
Music direction by Nadia DiGiallonardo
Choreography by Chase Brock

Production is partnered with Harvard University’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response.

August 2, 2015 – September 27, 2015
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Waitress the musical is an interpretation of the 2007 movie written and directed by Adrienne Shelly. It is beloved by a devoted fan base. Appeasing this fan base is a tall order. The A.R.T. does a good job of remaining true to Shelly’s masterwork. There are many hits and only one notable miss.  Continue reading

Aug 21

Behind the Big Top: “Midnight at the Midway”

Presented by The Boston Circus Guild

August 20 – 27, 2015
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
Boston Circus Guild on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) I’ll cut to the chase on this one: the only reason not to go see Midnight at the Midway is if you’re allergic to fun. Continue reading

Aug 19

Desperate Jiving: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

Sam Wolf as Tony Manero in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER The Musical playing at North Shore Music Theatre August 11 - 23, 2015. Photo © Paul Lyden

Sam Wolf as Tony Manero in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER The Musical playing at North Shore Music Theatre August 11 – 23, 2015. Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Original Stage Adaptation by Robert Stigwood & Bill Oakes
North American Adaptation by Sean Cercone & David Abbinanti
Directed by Richard Stafford
Choreographed by Nick Kenkel
Music direction by Milton Granger
Assistant music direction by Joseph Mohan

August 11th – 23rd, 2015
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

An old Rolling Stone profile of the Bee Gees, the band behind the music for Saturday Night Fever, included a heartbreaking moment – the band was on top of the world at the time, but one of the Gibb brothers spent the entire interview nervously scrolling the radio dial to hear if any station was playing his music. Continue reading

Aug 11

“Eyes Shut. Door Open”: Exploring the Artist’s Tormented Psyche

Photo credit: Wax Wings Productions (we'll happily updated the credit if given the name of the photographer)

Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by Wax Wings Productions
Written by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Christopher Randolph

Thursday 8/13 @ 7:30pm, Friday 8/14 & Saturday 8/15 @ 7:30pm, 10pm
The Inner Sanctum Gallery, Roxbury
Wax Wings Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Roxbury, MA) They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and I’m ashamed to admit I judged a play by its title. But it’s hard when the name is Eyes Shut. Door Open, which has a seemingly pretentious period in the middle, but no ending punctuation—an English major’s worst nightmare. But I had to let go of this trivialness to be swept up in playwright Cassie M. Seinuk’s world, which had its own set of nightmares prepared for me. Continue reading