Jun 07

“The Magic Mirror”: Window Into Another World

Photo Credit: Scott Bump, Not a photo of a brunette Khaleesi’s wedding. But it could be.

Presented by Juventas New Music Ensemble
Music by Polina Nazaykinskaya
Music direction  by Lidiya Yankovskaya
Stage direction by Erin Huelskamp

BCA Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Juventas New Music Ensemble Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) The Magic Mirror succeeds, most of all, in elegance.  Characters move through a sumptuous world, wandering along whirls of purple and blue on the floor, moving through dark woods and bright cottages. Varvara Sosedova, a visual artist from Moscow, brings personality and charm to the scenes, costumes, and props she designs. The contemporary songs and music also do their part to bring a hard edge to the story.  Even when characters aren’t as distinguishable as they could be or when the story begins to drag, the Juventas New Music Ensemble and composer Polina Nazaykinskaya create a fully realized world for Alexander Pushkin’s Snow White. Continue reading

May 13

A Movement in Technicolor: IN THE HEIGHTS

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music directed by Nicholas James Connell
Choreography by Larry Sousa

Boston Center for the Arts
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Speakeasy Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) In the Heights tackles heavy subjects such as endemic poverty, Immigration Reform, affordable education and racial stereotype with canny artistic expression. This community in Washington Heights might be needy but they are not poor. They are proud, hardworking and passionate people who strive for a better life. Just like you and me.

This music incorporates traditional Latin dance with Rap, Hiphop, and Flow poetry, among many others. The dancing looks like it is straight from America’s Best Dance Crew. The ensemble dance scenes are electric and justifiably make the show the stand-out production that it is. The cast adapts to the different styles and each other with such ease it’s as if they studied at the same school. Continue reading

May 13

Normal Adolescent Madness: PUNK ROCK

Photo by Jeff Adelberg

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
by Simon Stephens
Directed by David J. Miller

At Plaza Black Box
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
May 3rd – May 25th, 2013
Zeitgeist Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

There is nowhere for the audience to escape from the horrors of adolescence in Zeitgeist Stage Company’s production of Punk Rock, playing at the Black Box Theatre.  We can only recognize our own cruelties, failures and flailings as a group of high schoolers try to make some sense of their universe.  This kind of play would drive me to drink if it weren’t drawn so brightly and crisply, thanks to a fearless cast which doesn’t shy away from the awkward intimacy. Continue reading

Mar 14

Moonbox Productions presents A NEW BRAIN

Moonbox Productions presents
William Finn and James Lapine’s
Hilarious, Engaging and Uplifting Musical
A NEW BRAIN

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Directed by Allison Choat
Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez

March 15 – April 6, 2013
BCA Plaza Theatre
530 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Moonbox Production’s Facebook Page

 A musical based on the actual life experience of composer William Finn. This engaging and fast-paced musical by the author of Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee recounts the life-changing experience of fictional composer, Gordon Schwinn.  Barely enduring a frustrating job working on a children’s TV show, Gordon suffers a sudden life-threatening brain disorder which sends him into emergency surgery.  The tumultuous, comical and surreal ordeal that engulfs Gordon and those closest to him — his mother, partner and publicist — teaches everyone, especially Gordon, something profound about what is truly important in life, and in love.

Approximate Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes with no intermission. Continue reading

Oct 21

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo: Hungry for Human Foibles

 

Photo credit: Company One

by Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Shawn LaCount

presented by Company One
BCA Plaza Theatre
Boston, MA
October 19 – November 17, 2012
Company One Facebook Page
Adult content. Language.

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Rajiv Joseph’s play about the Iraq War is not so much a dark comedy as a sour one. Its humor is drawn from bitterness, the absurdity of invading a country in 2003 and dethroning its dictator without any real exit strategy. It’s bold not because it says anything not said before, but because the play picks fearlessly at a new, festering wound before it’s had time to heal. Continue reading

Oct 12

Twelfth Night: Foolish Games of Greatness

James Andreassi (Sir Toby), Steven Barkhimer (Feste) & Doug Lockwood (Sir Andrew). Photo by Stratton McCrady

 

Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, Actors’ Shakespeare Project, Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 9/27/11-10/22/11,  http://www.actorsshakespeareproject.org/season8/twelfth_night.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) With the help of the magical playground designed by Christina Todesco, Actors’ Shakespeare Project creates an entertaining evening of romance and folly.  The production touches the joy and pain of being.  And a fool shall lead them all…

Upon entering the theatre, the audience immediately encounters an abstract tempest upon a spacious performance area.  Something that seems to be a trademark of Christine Todesco’s designs, there is a ramp that ends up being used as a slide.  In addition, the columns on stage provide reflective surfaces for the characters to get lost in their own self-interest as imagined by the director, Melia Bensussen. Continue reading