Oct 07

Murder, We Hope: “Chicago”

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Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Directed and choreographed by Nick Kenkal

Beverly, MA
September 23rd – October 5th, 2014
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) At one point after a showstopping number during the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Chicago, actor Sean McDermott (Billy Flynn) was clearly out of breath. He had a lot of company in the audience, as this production succeeds in leaving an audience breathless. Continue reading

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Feb 19

An Improbable Fiction Played Upon The Stage: “12 Nights”

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Photo borrowed from Oberon website. No photo credit available on site. Notice from sources will prompt immediate update to give credit where it is due.

Presented by The Hypocrites
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney
Adapted from the play by William Shakespeare

February 18 – 21, 2014
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Welcome back dear readers! I am reporting to you from day two of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14.  Over three days, I will attend and review three different American Shakespeare remixes.  Tonight’s Oreo filling show: 12 Nights presented by The Hypocrites at Club Oberon.  Stop back later this week to catch the stunning conclusion of this Epic Shakes-Series.

(Cambridge) Watch out, Boston; The Hypocrites are back in town.

After their stunning production of The Pirates of Penzance (first performed at Oberon in June 2012, then again on the A.R.T. main stage this past May), I had high expectations for 12 Nights.  The Hypocrites excel at high-octane performance which engages and illuminates for audiences who might otherwise have given this style of theatre a miss.  As such, I thought that Shakespeare was a perfect fit for this Chicago-based company.  What better way to interest people in the Bard than to introduce them at a Hypocritical party. Continue reading

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Feb 18

Extempore from their Mother Wit: Improvised Shakespeare Company

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Improvised-Shakespeare-Logo

ImprovBoston

Presented by Improv Boston
By Improvised Shakespeare Company

February 17, 2014
ImprovBoston
Cambridge, MA
Improvised Shakespeare Co on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

Hello dear readers; I am reporting to you from the front lines of Dani’s Grand Bardopalooza Adventure: 2K14.  Over the next three days, I will be attending three different American Shakespeare remixes and reviewing them right here just for you.  First up: Chicago’s Improvised Shakespeare Company.  Stop back later this week to catch the rest of this Epic Shakes-Series.

(Cambridge) I have wanted to see the Improvised Shakespeare Company in performance for years.  Years.  They’ve fallen on and off my radar several times since I first discovered their existence and, despite my living in veritable theatre Meccas for the entirety of my earthly existence, I’ve not yet had a chance to catch their show. Continue reading

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Sep 20

A Roar as Fierce as its Bite: THE JUNGLE BOOK

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André de Shields (King Louie) and Akash Chopra (Mowgli); Photo: Liz Lauren

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Produced in association with Goodman Theatre
Based on the Disney movie of the same name and the stories of Rudyard Kipling
Book and direction by Mary Zimmerman
Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Terry Gilkyson, Lorraine Feather, Paul Grabowski

September 7 – October 20, 2013
Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre Co on Facebook

Run time: 2 hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission
Recommended: For adults and families with children ages 6+, but if your child is able to sit quietly through a film in a movie theatre, they will be able to enjoy this production.

Review by Kitty Drexel

***Edited because my typos were showing***

(Boston) The Huntington is known for good theatre that takes few risks. While deserving of the awards that they receive, the Huntington’s programming errs on the institutional. The shows are reliable. To any other Boston-area theatre, reliability would mean death.The Jungle Book is such a strong departure from the usual Huntington fare that their decision to host the Boston leg of the musical tour might be construed as a risk. It is not. The Jungle Book would charm the fur off of the back of the grumpiest of theatre cats.

This production is electric; a guaranteed win for the theatre: the costumes are vivid, the actors are extraordinary, and the set is sumptuous, the backing by Disney certainly doesn’t hurt. If you see anything presented by The Huntington this season; see this show. Bring your children and your parents. Bring everyone. This show should not be missed! Continue reading

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Jun 15

Effervescent Emptiness: CHICAGO

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(center) Angie Schworer as Roxie and Rick Pessagno as Billy Flynn give the press the scoop in CHICAGO at Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston June 13-23, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham. (Photo: Herb Philpott)

presented by Reagle Music Theatre

book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed and choreographed by Gerry McIntyre

Robinson Theater
617 Lexington St
Waltham, MA
June 13th – 23rd, 2013
Reagle Music Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Waltham) Personally, I’ve had a hard time with plays that take on the rollicking 20’s. It’s rare to come across a script that strikes the right balance between the era’s bubbly exuberance and its tragically-wasted potential. Anything Goes was written too close to the source material to really make sense anymore. Guys and Dolls is more coherent, but still stubbornly devoid of subtext. And Cabaret (1931 is close enough) is built to pull audiences slowly from a dream to a nightmare, but too often productions can’t pull off the joy and the dread at the same time. Maybe I’m just allergic to flappers. Continue reading

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Mar 29

When X+Y+Z=X+Y+Z-1: PROOF

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https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=eacf24cc2b&view=att&th=13db5fcef24a3fc7&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=9462bffff6bbf670_0.1&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-8Q_l0QzPMOYuJpu9b4yGh&sadet=1364566712433&sads=8a7OkyFJrdwvVawQwpsGvn59UMs

Photos by Meghan Moore; Michael Pemberton and Keira Keeley.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre

by David Auburn
Directed by Christian Parker

50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
March 21st – April 14th, 2013
Merrimack Rep Theatre Facebook Page
Estimated run time 2 hours with one 15 minute intermission.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) For a play that focuses on mathematics, Proof, playing at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, nails social theory.  In this thoughtful production, we learn that a family is really a group organism that can adapt to having a limb injured or severed, but that organism can never be the same afterwards. Continue reading

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Feb 26

PROMO: Lucky Plush Productions’ “The Better Half”: March 8th and 9th

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C/O Lucky Plush Productions Facebook Page

C/O Lucky Plush Productions Facebook Page

PROMO: Lucky Plush ProductionsThe Better Half: March 8th and 9th

Gillian Daniels

Since 1999, the Chicago-based dance ensemble theater company, Lucky Plush Productions, has sought to marry humor and movement.  The Chicago Tribune has not been shy with its praise, describing the company as “full of amusing, varied and tireless dancing by a troupe of dancers who ably double as comics.”  During the weekend of March 8th, Lucky Plush will bring its combination of wit and whimsy to Boston with The Better Half.

The show is described as an adaptation of the cult-classic noir film, Gaslight (1944).  In the movie, following the murder of her aunt, a woman is manipulated into believing she is mentally unstable.  Most would wring this concept for parody and stop there. The Better Half, however, promises to energetically take this plot and mine it for humor, heart, and surprising turns.  It drives to comment on tension in domestic relationships and the claustrophobia of contemporary living.  The mix sounds promising. Continue reading

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Mar 22

‘Ma Rainey’ Sings the Music of the Soul

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Yvette Freeman and Corey Allen in August Wilson’s MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM. March 9 – April 8, 2012 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom by August Wilson, Huntington Theatre Company, 3/9/12-4/8/12, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=10262&src=t.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Music breathes and pulses as each note is played.  The blues provide a voice for the inexpressible feelings of the human experience.  The blues celebrate the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of life in its entirety; it is neither surprising that the blues came out of the African American spiritual tradition, nor that soul, r&b, and hip-hop were derived from the blues and at the core of the best is the heart and soul of the artist.  What happens when that soul is taken away?  Can the heart survive?

This question permeates the existence of each of the characters in August Wilson’s play Ma Rainey’s Black BottomContinue reading

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