Jan 11

“Mirror” Immerses Audience in Both Moving Show and Modern Complexities of Womanhood

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Frauenliebe und –leben
Music by Robert Schumann
Text by Adelbert von Chamisso

From the Diary of Virginia Woolf
Music by Dominick Argento
Text from the diaries of Virginia Woolf
Directed by Greg Smucker & Patricia-Maria Weinmann

January 6-8, 2017
Longy School of Music of Bard College
Cambridge, MA
Boston Collaborative Opera on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Two portraits of women, written over a century apart. The first is an idealized character looking to not only marry, but be subsumed by her husband’s identity in a happy, storybook life. In German, she sings of having no desire beyond being this man’s wife. She is the heroine of Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Love and Life) from 1830, itself based on a series of poems by Adelbert von Chamisso. Two men filter the story of a fictional woman, a touching if pastel view of a girl coming of age. Carley DeFranco breathes life into this creature (also played by Susannah Thornton, Rhaea D’Aliesio, and Julia Cavallaro, depending on one’s tour of the Zabriskie House mansion where the show is staged) with a Disney-esque sweetness. Continue reading

Jan 10

Wasted on “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Photo credit: Lara Woolfson

Presented by Magnificent Bastard Productions
Based on the play by William Shakespeare

Reviewed on January 7, 2017
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
Magnificent Bastard Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Somerville, MA) There’s nothing quite as dazzling as experiencing theatre, the Shakespearean kind no less, under the hazy glow of stage lights as a soft buzz starts to settle in. While I chose not to partake in the highly encouraged consumption of alcohol, I figured my flu-like-symptoms-inducing hangover was enough of a qualifier to get me in the mood for Magnificent Bastard Productions Shit-faced Shakespeare performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And to top it off, the entire audience had the privilege of playing witness to the company’s first ever sex-swapped show. Continue reading

Jan 09

Son of a Biscuit: HAND TO GOD

It starts so innocently. It always does. Eliot Purcell and Josephine Elwood; Photo by Glenn Perry Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Robert Askins
Directed by David R. Gammons
Puppetry direction by Roxanna Myhrum
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 6 – Feb. 4, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Devil references, supernatural activity, gore, violence, implied sex with a minor, graphic puppetry

(Boston, MA) Horror gets nastier when it employs kid’s toys. Personally speaking, dolls are the worst, but cinematic history has proved that puppets can be just as creepy. They can be really, super, frickin’ creepy. SpeakEasy’s Hand to God has a puppet. Like the previously referenced horror movies, it gets creepy and weird. Like, Evil Dead chainsaw hand meets Avenue Q levels of weird. It’s awesome.   Continue reading

Jan 05

Color and Joy for the End of the Year: “Squirrel Stole My Underpants”

Bonnie Duncan and The Gottabees are on a mission!

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater
Created by The Gottabees
Created and performed by Bonnie Duncan
Live Musicians Brendan Burns and Tony Leva

December 30, 2016-January 1, 2017
Puppet Showplace Theater
Brookline, MA
Puppet Showplace on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Brookline, MA) Puppet Showplace Theatre produced the show Squirrel Stole My Underpants to ring out the old and terrible year of 2016.  Originally created with the support of PST’s Incubator program as well as a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation in 2013, the Gottabees presented a rare puppet show that managed to capture the attention of kids and kids at heart without spoken words.   Continue reading

Jan 03

Exploring BOC’s “Mirror: An Immersive Song Cycle Experience”

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music directed by Jean Anderson Collier, Patricia Au, Brendon Shapiro, Chelsea Whitaker
Stage directed by Patricia Weinmann, Greg Smucker

January 6-8, 2017
Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall (directions at bottom of page)
Longy School of Music of Bard College
27 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
BOC on Facebook
Twitter: @BostonOperaCollaborative

Preview by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) I love immersive theater when done well. I thought I’d take a moment to explore MIRROR, a one-weekend song cycle show based on Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben and Dominick Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf. Continue reading

Jan 02

Geeks Read Books: “Ode to Joy” by Craig Lucas

Ode to Joy
Craig Lucas
Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
New York, NY (2016)
$14.95

Review by Kitty Drexel

(NY, NY) I cannot take seriously any play that describes its lead female role as “intimidatingly bright” in its character description. It’s the kind of description that communicates to any intelligent reader that the the playwright has no business writing “strong female characters.” I read the rest, but my heart wasn’t in it. Continue reading

Dec 30

Geeks Read Books: “Here We Go/ Escaped Alone: Two Plays” by Caryl Churchill

 

Here We Go/ Escaped Alone: Two Plays
Caryl Churchill
Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
New York, 2016
$14.95

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NY meets Somerville, MA) As made evident by the title, Here We Go/ Escaped Alone contains two new plays by Caryl Churchill. They are as strange, and pleasantly unsettling as her other works. Churchill takes every opportunity to push buttons, and redefine theatre. Fans will be delighted by these two new scripts. Continue reading

Dec 24

Monkeys On My Mind: JOURNEY TO THE WEST

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater
Adapted by Mary Zimmerman from the translation by Anthony C. Yu of “Hsi Yu Chi”
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Choreography by Judith Chaffee
Fight choreography by Andrew Moss
Composition, Percussion & Music Collaborations by Ryan Meyer

Nov. 25 – Dec. 31, 2016
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: gender fluid casting, non-Christian religions that existed before the birth of Christ

(Cambridge, MA) Journey to the West is excellent family theatre. It has joyful storytelling, runs a little long, but delivers an epic myth in child-sized bites. There are bouncing monkeys, kings and queens, educational morals, and integrated behavioral psychology lessons. It has a little something for every intelligent, open-minded liberal.   Continue reading

Dec 21

Directors, Music Directors, and Choreographers Sought!

Arlington Friends of the Drama
22 Academy Street
Arlington, MA 02476
AFD on Facebook

Arlington Friends of the Drama is currently seeking Stage Directors, Music Directors and Choreographers for our 2017-2018 Season. If you are interested in directing for AFD next season, please send a current resume along with a brief paragraph describing your concept for each production you are applying for. You may apply for more than one production. Please respond by January 1, 2017. Interviews are scheduled for Tuesday evening, January 17th and Saturday, morning and afternoon, the 21st at the theater. Interview slots will be confirmed and conducted in 20 minute intervals. Please include a date and time preference when responding to this application form. Continue reading

Dec 15

Perfectly Charming Air Ship “Pirates of Penzance”

Presented by The MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players
Libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Music by Sir Arthur Sullivan
Produced and Directed by Emma Brown
Orchestra Directed by Johnnie Han

December 2-10, 2016
La Sala de Puerto Rico
Cambridge, MA
MITGSP on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) What is happiness? “Steampunk pirate opera” is an excellent answer.

This year, the MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players opted for a pleasing, energetic performance of one of the best operettas of all time. The warmth and enthusiasm on display is heartening. Continue reading