Jul 27

Saving Mr. and Mrs. Banks: MARY POPPINS – THE MUSICAL

Kerry Conte (Mary Poppins) with Scarlett Keene-Connole (Jane Banks) and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks), Photo © Paul Lyden.

Kerry Conte (Mary Poppins) with Scarlett Keene-Connole (Jane Banks) and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks), Photo © Paul Lyden.

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Julian Fellows
Original and lyrics by Richard Sherman & Robert Sherman
New materials by Anthony Drewe & George Stiles
Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh
A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers & the Walt Disney Film
Directed and choreographed by Kevin P. Hill
Music direction by Milton Granger

July 12 – July 31, 2016
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) It’s hard to tinker with a musical movie that many consider practically perfect in every way, but when there’s money to be made, many a scriptwriter will try. Mary Poppins – The Musical is more successful than most Disney rehashes at adding some new touches to a classic plot and score, even if the finished product feels a bit overlong, and the North Shore Music Theatre production of this spectacle does a solid job staging this spectacle. Continue reading

May 12

Feelings Are Difficult for Marines: DOGFIGHT

Eddie & Rose Take In the View; Photo by Glenn Perry.

Eddie & Rose Take In the View; Photo by Glenn Perry.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Book by Peter Duchan
Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort
Directed by Paige Daigneault
Music direction by Jose Delgado
Choreography by Larry Sousa

May 7 – June 4, 2016
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MADogfight is yet another musical with serious complications that SpeakEasy maneuvers with poise and dignity. It’s like Disney’s Newsies if the newsboys are replaced with marines and their fight for entrepreneurial justice is replaced with explicitly misogynistic displays of dudebro cruelty. Well, the music sounds a little like Newsies anyway. Continue reading

Dec 01

“The Little Mermaid” Makes a Little Splash

Courtesy Fiddlehead Theatre Company/©Eric Antoniou

Courtesy Fiddlehead Theatre Company/©Eric Antoniou

Presented by Fiddlehead Theatre Company at The Strand Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Musical Direction by Charles Peltz

November 27-December 6, 2015
Dorchester, MA
Fiddlehead Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Dorchester, MA) Disney musicals are the foundation of almost all happy childhoods, so I was excited to see an extended version of the undersea fantasy that entranced my youthful eyes and ears. But the problem with Disney’s staged version of The Little Mermaid, the same part that left me slightly disappointed after seeing the show, is that it expands on something that is already so perfect in a way that feels forced and unnecessary. Continue reading

Feb 24

Because He Could: ALBATROSS

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Presented by the Poets’ Theatre in collaboration with Ocean Conservancy
Directed by Rick Lombardo
Written by Matthew Spangler & Benjamin Evett
Based on “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The poem can be read here.

Feb. 13 – March 1, 2015
The Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Emerson/Paramount Center
Boston, MA 02111
Poets’ Theatre on Facebook
Ocean Conservancy on Facebook

Trigger Warnings: graphic violence, harsh language

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Disney’s Captain Jack Sparrow is a poster boy for pirates. He’s grimy, clever thief with a heart of tarnished gold. Jack likely smells rank but has an unmistakable charisma that drives audiences  wild. Some want to be him; some want to f^ck him, etc. It’s no wonder that this franchise made so much money.

Sparrow is a lie. He is the Hollywood equivalent of a romantic adventure on the high seas with creatures great and majestic during a time that never was. Pirates are not charming; they are brutal criminals capable of unthinkable acts. Historically, pirates sailing the Atlantic sacked and ravaged rival merchant ships. Cruelty was de rigueur. Continue reading

Feb 11

Totally Rad To The Max: Bogart and Lement’s “PINOCCHIO”

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Photo by by Kippy Goldfarb.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Adapted by Steven Bogart and Wendy Lement
Based on the book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Directed by Steven Bogart
Music directed/composed by Mary Bichner
Choreographed by Patricia Manalo Bochnak
Dramaturg: Kate Snodgrass
Sign Performers: Jola Leary, Adrianna Kathryn Neefus, Desiree Weems Sheppard

Jan. 30 – Feb. 22, 2015
ASL/Audio description: Feb 12,20,22
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Many years ago, when I was a burgeoning opera singer, I attempted to read Collodi’s Pinocchio in the original Italian to learn the language. Pinocchio, originating as a series of short stories in an Italian magazine, is a convoluted tale of dramatic proportions about a little wooden puppet-boy who gets into scrapes only to be saved by those who inexplicably love him. Pinocchio has no social skills, no respect, and no discipline. Yet,his father Geppetto and the Blue Fairy are devoted anyway. I read about ¾ of the book on my journey towards bilingualism. Considering my penchant for justice and the frequency in which Pinocchio is rewarded for his bad behavior, I’m surprised I slogged through as much as I did. Continue reading

Jan 24

Beasts drop many tales into a well and frog them out: KERPLOP!


Presented by imaginary beasts
Written and Directed by Matthew Woods

January 17-February 7, 2015
BCA Plaza Black Box Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA)  imaginary beasts have produced a pleasant reminder of spring.  A silly and colorful confection, Kerplop!  is anchored by the ensemble’s commitment to the lighter side of theatre in a convoluted story based somewhat on The Frog Prince as well as other, possibly lesser known tales. Continue reading

Nov 17

Bloomingdale’s Empowerment: MENOPAUSE: THE MUSICAL

Image courtesy of the Menopause Facebook Page. Apologies to the cast and staff. Photo link was not working properly.

Presented by Spectacle Management
Created by Jeanie Linders
Produced by GFour Productions

The Larcom Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 12th-16th, 2014
Spectacle Management on Facebook
Menopause: the Musical on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Sometimes, it is impossible to decide the value of a show until you can decide on its politics. Menopause: the Musical, playing at the Larcom Theatre, is giddy and infectious, to be sure, but does its very existence set back women’s rights by a few decades? This is the question the theatergoer must ask as his or her foot starts tapping to the fun on stage. Continue reading

Jul 15

A Sinking Feeling: DISNEY’S A LITTLE MERMAID

Adrienne Eller as Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre's Production of Disney's THE LITTLE MERMAID running July 8 - 27, 2014. Photo©Paul Lyden

Adrienne Eller as Ariel in North Shore Music Theatre’s Production of Disney’s THE LITTLE MERMAID running July 8 – 27, 2014. Photo©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater
Book by Doug Wright
Based on the Hans Christian Andersen Story and the Disney Film produced by Howard Ashman & John Musker and written & directed by John Musker and Ron Clements
Direction by Michael Heitzman
Music directed by Bruce Barnes
Choreography by AC Ciulla

July 8th – July 27th, 2014
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Whenever you are suspending disbelief, there are rules that must be followed to create a new reality. It doesn’t matter if you are writing Game of Thrones or playing make-believe with a 2-year-old, the ground rules, once established, have to be enforced or the whole thing falls apart.

That is perhaps the main reason why the musical version of Disney’s A Little Mermaid, playing at the North Shore Music Theatre, couldn’t hook either me or for my 8-year-old daughter. This show is largely aquatic, but director Michael Heitzman fails to create a sea for our imagination. Sometimes, the merpeople and fish hobble awkwardly in tight fin-like gear; other times, they use the same wires and pulleys to occupy the same air as the seagull. Merpeople aren’t allowed on land, until they are at the end of the play. Too often, they crossed the streams. Continue reading

Apr 22

Delicious Raunch Never for the Entire Family: SNOW WHITE AND THE 7 BOTTOMS

Photo claimed from the Gold Dust Orphans facebook page.

Presented by The Gold Dust Orphans
Written and Conceived by Ryan Landry
Directed by James P. Byrne

April 18th – May 18th, 2014
The Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts
MACHINE – 1254 Boylston Street, Boston.
Gold Dust Orphans on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Mr. Ryan Landry excels at writing fast-paced, raunchy pantos. His shows are regularly engorged with punchy, LGBTQ+ inclusive, sexy humor unsuitable for family-minded audiences. Snow White is no exception. This beauty based on the classic Disney movie is sure to leave your mouth dry and your seat wet. Continue reading

Sep 20

A Roar as Fierce as its Bite: THE JUNGLE BOOK

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