Nov 14

Where’s the Scandal? : “Mary Shelley”

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mary-shelley

Presented by Wellesley College Theatre
By Helen Edmundson
Directed by Nora Hussey

Nov. 12 – 16, 2014
Wellesley, MA
Wellesley on Facebook

Review by Nick Bennett-Zendzian

(Wellesley, MA) My hat goes off to any company that is mounting a new or otherwise under-produced script. Helen Edmundson’s Mary Shelley received its première staging in Leeds in 2012, followed by a national tour and a run at the Tricycle Theatre in London. Near as I can tell, it has not been mounted in the United States prior to the production currently running at Wellesley College, and I commend director Nora Hussey for bringing this well-crafted play to us. Continue reading

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Nov 13

Luminarium Dance Presents: The Sleeprunner, December 2014

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sleep runner

THE SLEEPRUNNER
December 5 . 6 . 12 . 13 @
Multicultural Arts Center
41 Second Street
East Cambridge MA
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Luminarium Dance on Facebook

Don’t miss Luminarium’s largest production of the season during its two-weekend fall run. The production will take place at the beautiful and historic Multicultural Arts Center (41 Second Street, East Cambridge MA), highlighting the company’s signature imaginative choreography, lighting, and scenic design, while complementing the caliber of its past feature productions Mythos:Pathos (2012) and Secrets & Motion (2013).

What makes Luminarium uniquely dance & theatre?
  • Luminarium is the first dance company to be invited for, then granted, a Bob Jolly Charitable Trust Award, for its productions’ masterful theatricality in addition to dance. (All previous awards have gone to theatre companies and individuals.)
  • Luminarium was featured as one of 10 “Unsung Heroes” in the Boston performing arts scene, alongside New Repertory Theatre and Company One, by Improper Bostonian magazine.
  • Costumes for The Sleeprunner are being created by rising New York costume designer Sueann Leung, whose work was most notably featured in the runway section of the Wall Street Journal.
  • Luminarium’s The Sleeprunner marks another first for the local dance community as one of the smallest/youngest Boston-based companies to be adopting a theatre performance format, expanding to a two-week run.
  • Its performers come from an energetically-eclectic background that include a nationally-acclaimed colorguard performer, professional voice actor, internationally-touring classical Indian dancer, tap-dancing winner of the World Cup in Germany, and (just to add to the diversity) even a PhD candidate in Biology who is an aerial circus artist on the side.
  • The Sleeprunner will be lit and co-choreographed by professional theatre lighting design and choreographer Kim Holman, who does lighting design and choreography for local Boston theatre companies ranging from Babson College to the Boston Public Schools.
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Nov 10

Like Raw Silk: Ana Moura in Concert

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Presented by World Music/CRASHarts

Friday, Nov. 7, 2014
Berklee Performance Center
Boston, MA
World Music/CRASHarts on Facebook
Ana Moura on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Ana Moura has a voice that captures your attention. It sounds the way raw silk feels against the skin. You are helpless to do anything but listen. She has a majestic stage presence and a unique storytelling style. Her concert on Nov. 7 was nothing if it wasn’t captivating.

Moura and her faithful band visited the Berklee Performance Center last Friday night to an audience besotted with her music… And ripe with family who celebrated the talents of bandmate player Angelo Freire. Moura stocks her band with equally as talented musicians but Freire would draw fans on his own merit. He displays excellent musicianship and exquisite skill on the Portuguese guitar. Continue reading

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Oct 16

WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts presents ANA MOURA

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WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts presents Portuguese Fado Star

Ana Moura
Friday, November 7, 8pm, Berklee Performance Center

Boston, MA — World Music/CRASHarts presents Portuguese fado star, Ana Moura on Friday, November 7, 8pm at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. Tickets are $37-$28. For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at www.WorldMusic.org.

Exquisite vocalist Ana Moura possesses a sound unlike any other in fado. Her voice trolls freely though the Portuguese tradition, flirting elegantly with pop and broadening the soul-baring genre with stunning results. The BBC raves, ³her melancholic intimacy dominates the moment it sashays out of the speakers . . . setting a mood of mesmerizing sorrow.² Examiner.com called Moura¹s voice ³made for melodrama . . . aesthetically thrilling and emotionally heartbreaking.²

Fado (literally, ³fate²) is a type of Portuguese singing, traditionally associated with pubs and cafés, and is renowned for its expressive and profoundly melancholic character. Although the origins are difficult to trace, today fado is regarded by many as simply a form of song which can be about anything but must follow a certain structure. The music is usually linked to the Portuguese word saudade which symbolizes the feeling of loss (a permanent, irreparable loss and its consequent lifelong damage). The singer of fado speaks to the often harsh realities of everyday life, sometimes with a sense of resignation, sometimes with the hope of resolution. Continue reading

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Jun 10

Wistful, Warm and Inconclusive: SELECTED SHORTS ON TOUR: SPRINGTIME, SEX & BASEBALL

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A National Public Radio Production
Hosted by the Huntington Theatre Company

Avenue of the Arts
BU Theatre
June 8th, 2013
Huntington Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Short review: It was great.  You missed it.  Support your public radio.

(Boston) Kidding, kidding, but really what else is there to say?  Take four well-crafted short stories of love, baseball and awkwardness, mix in three superb actors and stir.  Watching the touring production of Selected Shorts is a powerful reminder that we are creatures of narrative.  Whole societies are shaped by storytelling, be it a creation myth or an endearing belief of what a well-regulated militia looks like.  People die for stories, people become president by telling stories.  Without stories we might as well climb back up into the trees (unless you believe in the Christian creation story….see?). Continue reading

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Jan 07

A Parental Nightmare or Fantasy: MEMORY HOUSE

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***With Apologies to Merrimack Repertory Theatre and the cast of Memory House, this review was intended to be published during the October/November run****

Susan Pellegrino and Rebecca Blumhagen. Photo by Meghan Moore

Susan Pellegrino and Rebecca Blumhagen. Photo by Meghan Moore; snuggles.

by Kathleen Tolan
Directed by Melia Bensussen

presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 E. Merrimack Street
Lowell, Massachusetts 01852
October 25th – November 18th, 2012

Merrimack Repertory Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Family dramas on stage and screen are filled with “explanation” moments, when a parent is called out by a now-grown child to explain the who, what and where, when, how and why of family history.  The explanation moment can be a blessing or a curse, as it hits home for parents just how much they’ve screwed up their children’s lives while also giving them the chance to make their cases before the court.  This theatrical device can be used sloppily for Lifetime dramas or effectively for Oscar-bait movies. Continue reading

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Jan 06

Breathtaking Chutzpah: PIPPIN

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Photo: Michael Lutch; a tender balancing act.

Photo: Michael Lutch; a tender balancing act.

book Roger O. Hirson
music and lyrics Stephen Schwartz
directed by Diane Paulus
circus creation Gypsy Snider of Les 7 Doigts de la Main
choreography by Chet Walker in the style of Bob Fosse

presented by American Repertory Theatre
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
December 5, 2012 to January 20, 2013
ART Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge) This Cirque du Soleil meets Fosse production of “Pippin” tells the tale of the Everyman, a youthful personification of any adult tentatively beginning the journey toward self-knowledge. Our young hero seeks the meaning of life in all the wrong places: violence, sex, politics, and other follies of inexperience. What the audience soon realizes is that Pippin, son of Charlemagne (the Emperor who not only made Christianity famous but mandatory), for all his proclamations, isn’t special. He is on the same journey that all young adults travel in their search for self – plus or minus some fantastical hardships and an orgy or two. What our hero discovers on this epic ego-trip is that, after he finds and secures a lasting relationship with meaning, he doesn’t know what to do with it. Continue reading

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Dec 31

Embracing the Flaws: TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA

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Stratton McCrady Photography; the cast getting funky with Shakespeare.

Stratton McCrady Photography; the cast getting funky with Shakespeare.

presented by Actors Shakespeare Project

Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street,
Somerville, MA
December 12th, 2012 – January 6th, 2012
Actors Shakespeare Project Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Somerville) Because Shakespeare has become the standard by which Western theatre is judged, we often forget that the man first had to feel his way in the dark, just like every other art school wannabe.  Two Gentlemen of Verona, believed by some to be the Bard’s first play, shows frustrating snatches of his future brilliance.  All his trademark comedic pieces are there (cross-dressing women, inconstant lovers and the amazing power of the wilderness to right all wrongs), but this script reads like the man was working on deadline.  Themes are picked up and discarded, wordplay only sporadically catches fire and a plot point in the final act makes you want to bang Shakespeare’s head against the floorboards and scream, “Rewrite!” Continue reading

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Dec 29

Bring Tissues: “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”

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Photo credit: Turtle Lane Playhouse; Joseph and Pharaoh getting familiar.

Photo credit: Turtle Lane Playhouse; Joseph and Pharaoh getting familiar.

by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice

Presented by Turtle Lane Playhouse

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
December 7th-30th, 2012
Turtle Lane Playhouse Facebook Page
283 Melrose Street
Auburndale Ma 02466

Directed and Choreographed by Rachel Bertone
Music directed by Daniel Rodriquez

The music of Andrew Lloyd Weber has a way of wheedling its way under your skin and pulling on the most protected of heart-strings. Tim Rice’s words and lyrics are like poetry. This is true still of Turtle Lane’s production of Joseph the 2nd to last production for this Playhouse before the doors close forever. It’s a damn shame, their productions are touching and their outreach is vast. This is a community theater production with all the trappings of community theater but it is strikingly good. Those expecting it to be a different beast will be disappointed. Those anticipating a friendly night of theater will be happily surprised by the quality of the local music, dancing and costumes. 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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