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

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

Aug 11

Some Dudes Will Put Their Dicks In Anything: “The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?”

Photo credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidec Photo

Photo credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidec Photo

Presented by Bad Habit Productions, Inc.
Written by Edward Albee
Directed by Daniel Morris

Aug. 8-23, 2015
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Rape (the play), F-bombs (the review)

(Boston, MA) WARNING: Spoilers ahead. The effort necessary to tiptoe around the main plot point of The Goat is so cumbersome that I’m not even going to bother trying.

The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? is about rape. It is about reconciling a sinner with their sin. It is about betrayal. It is not about the moralities of romantic love. Continue reading

Aug 04

Balance Amidst the Loneliness: ORDINARY DAYS

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Presented by The Opposite of People  
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Cara Guappone
Musical direction by Samantha Prindiville

July 30th – August 2nd, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
OoP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) Ordinary Days is a sweet, funny musical set in NYC by living composer (!) Adam Gwon. The Opposite of People took this cute but choppy, Jason Robert Brown-esque musical and gave it breadth in the Arsenal Center for the Arts. It had a slow start but it developed into a lovely production that shows promise for this fledgling company. Continue reading

Aug 04

Come for the Shakespeare, Stay for the Ice Cream: KING LEAR

Photos by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photos by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler

July 22 – August 9, 2015
FREE and Open to the Public
Parkman Bandstand
Boston Common
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Facebook

ASL-Interpreted Performances: Friday, July 31 @ 8pm and Sunday, August 2 @ 7pm
Audio Described Performance: July 30 @ 8pm (Rain date: August 9 at 7pm)

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Before I even get into nitty gritties, let me take a moment to marvel at the fact that Commonwealth Shakespeare Company has brought free Shakespeare to the masses for almost two decades now.  Nothing really says “summer” like Shakespeare al fresco, and Shakespeare on the Common is the way the arts should be: available, relatable, and welcoming.  I was particularly excited this year to witness (for my first time) CSC’s ASL interpreted performance; and those interpreters were working just as hard as (if not harder than) the performers onstage.  Shakespeare on the Common feels like a community coming together to support arts that include them; and that touches even my grinchy critic’s heart more than I can say. Continue reading