Mar 04

Clybourne Park: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Bookmark and Share
8519616048_c4b78e35f2_c

Michael Kaye, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, DeLance Minefee, Paula Plum, and Tim Spears in a scene from SpeakEasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park, running March 1-30 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Tickets/info at speakeasystage.com or 617.933.8600. Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

By Bruce Norris

Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company

March 1 – March 30

Nancy & Edward Roberts Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts Boston, MA

Speakeasy Stage Co Facebook Page

Review by Becca Kidwell

A strong script elevates a performance or points out the flaws of the company.  Speakeasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park demonstrates its mastery through a strong ensemble, innovative set, and smart direction.  After seeing Clybourne Park, there is no question why this clever, dark play won at the Tony Awards in 2012.  When Boston sees Speakeasy Stage’s production, they will be talking about it for the rest of 2013 (Norton and IRNE awards in its future?).  The ensemble, comprised of Paula Plum, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, Tim Spears, DeLance Minefee, Michael Kaye, and Philana Mia, pulls the audience into a dynamic confrontation between politics and politeness that never apologizes Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Apr 16

Luck of the Irish: Race Warfare in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Bookmark and Share

Nikkole Salter and McCaleb Burnett in Kirsten Greenidge’s THE LUCK OF THE IRISH. March 30 – April 29, 2012 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

The Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge, Huntington Theatre Company, Boston Center for the Arts Virginia Wimberly Theatre, 3/30/12-5/6/12, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/2011-2012/The-Luck-of-the-Irish/.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) When the upwardly mobile Lucy and Rex Taylor (Nikkole Salter and Victor Williams, respectively) are unable to buy a house in Boston because they’re black, they turn to Patty Ann and Joe Donovan (Marianna Bassham and McCaleb Burnett) to buy one for them during the 1950’s.  The complex relationship this creates between them bleeds over into the early 2000’s when the Harrisons’ grandchildren discover the elderly Donovans want the house back.  The drama that results is tight and enjoyable. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Jan 24

Sugar: A Naturally Sweetened Life Story

Bookmark and Share

Sugar by Robbie McCauley, ArtsEmerson, Jackie Liebergott Black Box in the Paramount Center, 1/20/12-1/29/12, http://alturl.com/fj8j3.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Robbie McCauley begins the story of her life reciting food from her Georgia upbringing in the 1940’s.  In detail, she describes cake and succulent barbecue ribs, the taste of Southern cooking compacted with an African American childhood restricted by racial segregation.  She cheerfully rattles off the names of her favorite dishes and the relatives she best associates with them before revealing the diabetes with which she continues to fight. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Nov 22

Ain’t Misbehavin’: Tribute to a Lost Harlem

Bookmark and Share

Pictured: Lori Tishfield, Calvin Braxton, Davron S. Monroe, Robin Long, & Lovely Hoffman. Picture by Mark S. Howard

Ain’t Misbehavin’, Music by Thomas “Fats” Waller, Based on an idea by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., Lyric Stage, 11/17/11-12/17/11,  https://lyricstage.com/main_stage/aint_misbehavin/.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) With its familiar melodies and disarming 1940’s Harlem charm, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is probably the most energetic musical revue I’ve seen.  Done with precision and love for original composer Thomas “Fats” Waller (here played by Calvin Braxton), the show is a tribute to an era that evaporated long ago.  It replicates the energy of the time as best as it can with vibrant musical numbers and tight choreography. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Sep 02

Porgy and Bess Still Has Soul

Bookmark and Share

Photo by Michael J. Lutch

 

The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre L. Murray, American Repertory Theatre, Loeb Drama Center, 8/17/11-10/2/11.  http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/gershwins-porgy-and-bess.   Mature themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Cambridge, MA) Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald bring soul to American Repertory Theatre’s production of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.  The couple struggles to hold onto their love in the midst of danger and strife.  Although minor changes have been made to the operetta, the integrity of the original piece remains intact. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share
Jan 18

NEIGHBORS: What do you see?

Bookmark and Share

Christine Power (Jean), Lori Tishfield (Melody), Johnny Lee Davenport (Richard)

Neighbors by Brandon Jacob-Jenkins, Company One, BCA, 1/14/11-2/5/11.  Explicit Language and Sexual Content.

http://www.companyone.org/Season12/Neighbors/synopsis.shtml

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

“Who do you think you are?”  With each generation, the answer to that question becomes more ambiguous and cryptic.  Yet, the question does not go away and becomes the fulcrum for the conflict in Brandon Jacob-Jenkins’ play Neighbors.  Company One does not apologize for the rawness of the material, but embraces it and challenges the audience to do the same.

The young actors Lori Tishfield and Tory Bullock steal the show.  Ms. Tishfield’s portrayal of Melody Patterson, a confused teenager of a mixed-race family, underscores the need for love, acceptance, and belonging that we all search for.  Her honest performance is matched by the sweet naiveté of Tory Bullock as Jim Crow, Jr.  Jim does not want to follow in his father’s footsteps as a performer, but becomes more comfortable as he develops a relationship with Melody. Continue reading

Bookmark and Share