Jan 07

As in Life, “Working” is a Mixed Bag

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Photo by Mark S. Howard for Lyric Stage Co of Boston; The Cast.

Presented by The Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Based on the book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, by Studs Terkel.
Adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso.
Additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg. Songs by Craig Carnella, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor.
Directed & Choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
Music Direction by Jonathan Goldberg

January 3 to February 1, 2014
140 Clarendon St.
Boston, MA
The Lyric on Facebook

Running time: Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Boston) Studs Terkel’s book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do is a collection of essays/interviews with Americans in the workforce. It spans a variety of jobs and careers while exploring the motivations behind the work the subjects do. The employed and unemployed look for recognition, justification and greater purpose looking for recognition in the work that we do. The musical, Working adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, uses samples from Terkel’s book to bring the dialogue to the stage. Continue reading

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Dec 29

“The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition”

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Worldwide_Dessert_cover

The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition
Dan Elish
Alina Adams Media

(September 17, 2011)

Aline Adams Media presents Dan Elish’s: The Worldwide Dessert Contest: Enhanced Multimedia Edition,  an ebook with musical numbers embedded into the journey to play while you read. This multimedia fantasy novel about master dessert-concocter John Applefeller, his assistant Stanley and their friends. They learn together, with a bit of song, that with some ingenuity you can do anything you set out to do with a bit of mentoring and help from your creative friends. Continue reading

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Jan 04

Uncle Vanya’s House Party

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John Kuntz as Uncle Vanya, Marissa Rae Roberts at Elena, Photos: Danielle Fauteux Jacques.

Uncle Vanya by Anton Chekov, Apollinaire Theatre Company, Chelsea Theatre Works, 12/29/11-1/22/12, http://www.apollinairetheatre.com/index.html.  Live gun fire in close proximity (blank gun)

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Chelsea, MA) It’s like being at your family’s holiday party, except for the relief that it’s not your family.  Words fly and passions rise as the audience travels from room to room glancing at the private moments of Vanya’s family.  Youth and beauty contrast with the harsh realities of country living as love and hope are thrown about bouncing from wall to wall.   Continue reading

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Dec 17

A Good-Hearted Mashup: What the Dickens?!

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What the Dickens?! Music & Lyrics by Adam Brooks and TC Cheever; Book by TC Cheever, ImprovBoston, 12/15/11-12/23/11, http://www.improvboston.com/whatthedickens.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Cambridge, MA) The holiday season is littered with entertainment chestnuts that get trotted out every year.  Some can get worn thin, like poorer productions of A Christmas Carol; others take on a hipster status, like the television special A Charlie Brown Christmas.

If you want to enjoy two holiday traditions at once, come see What the Dickens?!, a mashup musical that populates Dickens’ classic Christmas morality tale with Schultz’s Peanuts characters.  Watching this play is like downing an invented drink mixed at a holiday party: the two flavors may mix curiously, but it’s all good.  Continue reading

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Dec 13

A Christmas Story: Resurrecting Americana for the Holidays

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l. to r. Adam Freeman as Schwartz, Charlie Brodigan as Flick, Lexi Ryan as Esther Jane, and Andrew Cekala as Young Ralphie. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

A Christmas Story, adapted/written by Philip Grecian, New Repertory Theatre, Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 12/11/11-12/24/11, http://newrep.org/christmas_story.php.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Watertown, MA) Like the film it’s adapted from, the stage version of A Christmas Story paints a childhood spent during the holidays in a golden glow.  Yes, the flustered family of Ralphie (Andrew Cekala) meet nothing but frustrations as they try to pull Christmas together against mean-spirited neighborhood dogs, hideous bunny suits, and intimidating department store Santas, but their holiday is ultimately a nostalgic one. Continue reading

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Dec 12

Three Pianos: Ambition, Anachronism, and a Fun Party

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Dave Malloy, Alec Duffy, Rick Burkhardt. Photo Ryan Jensen

Three Pianos by Rick Burkhardt, Alec Duffy, and Dave Malloy, American Repertory Theatre, Loeb Drama Center, 12/7/11-1/8/12,  http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/three-pianos.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

In Three Pianos, Rick Burkhardt, Alec Duffy, and Dave Malloy look to reconcile the historical Schubertiade with more modern, boozy gatherings of friends.

The production believes there’s little difference between the parties that Schubert threw for his friends, prominent artists during the Romantic movement, and the soirees of contemporary audiences.  Particularly entertaining are the actors, in the guise of German guests, deciding who should go on a beer run. Continue reading

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Dec 11

Priscilla Dreams The Answer–And The Answer Is 42

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The ensemble of Priscilla Dreams the Answer. Left to Right: Bob Mussett (Harry), Dakota Shepard (Zop), Caroline L. Price (Priscilla), Michael Caminiti (Simon), Emily Kaye Lazzaro (Zip). Photo Credit: Sarah E. Farbo

Priscilla Dreams The Answer by Walt McGough, Fresh Ink Theatre Company, The Factory Theatre, 12/8/11-12/17/11,  http://www.freshinktheatre.com/on-stage.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Douglas Adams would be proud of Walt McGough.  While Priscilla does not have to deal with a world that is already destroyed, she does have to find the answer to save both the Earth and another planet that has a close relationship with the Earth.  This clever and witty play takes the audience on a journey through space and time but never loses sight of the core humanity, which is the test of well-crafted science fiction. Continue reading

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Dec 11

Better than a School Concert: big: the Musical

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big:  The Musical, book by John Weidman, music by David Shire, lyrics by Richard Maltby, Jr., Turtle Lane Playhouse, 12/9/11-12/30/11, http://www.turtlelane.org/showdetail.php?show=Big.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Auburndale, MA) My parents were forced to sit through some terrible school concerts, including an animal-themed choral concert which featured lyrics wondering why there were so many anteaters, but no uncle-eaters.  They fixed their smiles and did their duty.

If you’re a parent of one of the many children in the youth ensemble in big: the Musical, this will seem like a treat in comparison.  You have a reason to feel pride, as your child has discharged his or her role admirably, dancing and singing his or her heart out.  The night will pass quickly for you. Continue reading

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Dec 10

Great Acting While on a Treadmill: The Merry Wives of Windsor

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Photo Credit: Stratton McCrady

The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Davis Square Theatre, 12/7/11-1/1/12, http://www.actorsshakespeareproject.org/events/merry-wives-windsor-0.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Somerville, MA) It’s one thing for a young theater troupe to be ambitious, but it’s something else to watch the troupe succeed in its ambition.

In its early history, the Actors’ Shakespeare Project has decided to skip the low-hanging fruit of the Bard’s body of work and reach for some of his more obscure works.  (Hands up for anyone who knows a single line from Troilus and Cressida, which the troupe performs in the spring.) Continue reading

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Dec 08

Hope Held ‘HIGH’

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Sister Jamison Connolly (Kathleen Turner) and Cody Randall (Evan Jonigkeit) in HIGH, Photo credit: Lanny Nagler

High by Matthew Lombardo, Broadway National Tour, Cutler Majestic Theatre,

12/7/11-12/11/11,  http://www.highonbroadway.com/about.html.  Male nudity, mature language and themes

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA)  

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”  Madeleine L’Engle

How do we find strength and salvation in the middle of pain and suffering?   Everyone tries to hide from pain and many people try to protect others from the experience, but the inevitability of life is that human beings get hurt.  We try to breathe and “be strong”–to not let anyone see that we are falling apart.  What if we all admitted that we are not perfect–that there isn’t even one person out there that could be categorized by society’s standards as “normal”?  High offers no escape from that darkness that lies inside of all of us and calls us to either face our flaws or recede further into our own shame. Continue reading

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