Jun 30

When a Cigar is Everything: A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE

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presented by Wax Wings Productions
by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Vicki Schairer

@ the Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
June 27th – July 7th, 2013
Wax Wings Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Over time, A Streetcar Named Desire has become like that favorite album you skip over in shuffle to keep special. Oft quoted but performed less and less, it sits on the shelf of American theatre and gathers dust and pious weight until some community theatre takes it down and puts on an ill-advised, chest-beating version down in a church basement. That’s partly because it can seem such a dated portrait of overt sexual politics, something that would fit Michelle Bachman’s view of marriage and gay cures, perhaps, but with little relevance in a blue state. Continue reading

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Jun 26

Nickel Mines Strong: THE AMISH PROJECT

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With Emma Johnson, Mackenzie Dreese, Karin Nilo and Becky Bass at Cambridge YMCA Theater. Photo Credit: Circuit Theatre Co

Presented by Circuit Theatre Company
The Amish Project by Jessica Dickey
Directed by Alexandra Keegan

June 21-27
Cambridge YMCA Theater
Cambridge, MA
Circuit Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge) In its third year, the Circuit Theatre Company has already established itself as a small theatre company willing to take risks.  Their recent IRNE nominations and current production attest to their boldness and artistic integrity.  Circuit Theatre’s The Amish Project is the kind of show which can be interpreted in multiple ways. Continue reading

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Jun 25

Sometimes A Snuggle is Just A Snuggle: “The Baltimore Waltz”

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The Baltimore Waltz

presented by Theatre@First
by Paula Vogel
directed by Kamela Dolinova

June 20 – 29, 2013
Unity Somerville
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

Warning: This production contains graphic but hilarious simulations of sexual acts, and bastardizations of European clichés.

(Somerville) As a playwright, Paula Vogel has the unique opportunity to dedicate herself to exploring and understanding her brother Carl’s end of life circumstances. Carl tragically died of AIDS. Rather than use the written word to metaphorically weep bitterly and openly, Vogel instead channeled her uncommon sense of humor and tender affections for Carl into The Baltimore Waltz, an ode to love, loss and healing.

In the context of the play, Anna has contracted Acquired Toilet Disease (ATD). In “real life,” outside the context of Anna’s fictional imagination, Carl has contracted AIDS. By narrating a character living with a pretend disease created for comic relief, playwright Paula Vogel examines the urgency of life through the lens of incurable disease.While her characters “dance” through a trippy, Noir-influenced trip to Europe, life as we know it continues with its disastrous choreography. Continue reading

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Jun 22

A Shrieking Mess: BLACK COMEDY

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Photo Credit: The Happy Medium Theatre Co. Where can I get that dress?

Photo Credit: The Happy Medium Theatre Co. Where can I get that dress? – Kitty

presented by Happy Medium Theatre
by Peter Shaffer
Co-Directed by Lizette M. Morris and Michael Underhill

@ The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
June 14th – June 22nd, 2013
Happy Medium Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) There is the top, there is going over the top and then there is trampling on the top and spitting on its grave. You have to hand it to the talented Happy Medium cast that performs Black Comedy; they commit to an outrageously loud and brash style that infuses a punk sensibility to a tired and silly British farce. Each actor delivers their lines with such gusto that it’s like being in a room with a guitarist who cranks the amp up to 11. Unfortunately, this loud performance quickly grates, and it’s impossible to emotionally invest in the offensive, obnoxious and one-dimensional characters. The unfunny end product may waste the energetic performances by some talented actors, but at least there’s no danger of falling asleep. Continue reading

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Jun 17

Can an Evergreen Bloom?: THE SOUND OF MUSIC

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http://www.nsmt.org/images/Press/2013/SoundofMusic/production/NSMT-SoundofMusic-Hills.jpg

Photo©Paul Lyden

presented by North Shore Music Theatre

MUSIC BY: Richard Rodgers
LYRICS BY: Oscar Hammerstein II
BOOK BY: Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by: Maria Augusta Trapp
Directed and Choreographed by James Brennan
Music Directed by Dale Rieling

62 Dunham Rd
Beverly, Massachusetts
June 11th – June 23rd, 2013
NSMT Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Most of us can at least list the essentials of The Sound of Music: Julie Andrews, cute kids, nuns, Nazis.  As a child, it’s hard not to like it.  As an adult, it’s hard not to make fun of it.  As a regional theatre, it’s hard to do well.  Like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, audiences know what they want to get out of this play, and too many theaters sigh and go along with it.  It’s like playing with a three-year old nephew through Thanksgiving dinner because it’s easier than dealing with the tantrum. 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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Jun 14

R.I.P. Joan Parker, Philanthropist/Muse/Activist

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Obituary: In Memory of Joan Parker

Photo credit: Bay Windows

An article from Bay Windows written by Deborah Peeples, President of Greater Boston PFLAG chapter follows below.

People may recall Ms. Parker as a champion of LGBTQ rights. Some may remember her gallant aerial descent to the stage in the 2010 Theater Offensive fundraising event “ClimACTS: Under A Big Top.” She was a miracle to those who needed her. Joan Parker, you are missed.

Joan Parker flying 30 feet up in the air at our 2010 “ClimACTS under a Big Top. Photo credit: The Theater Offensive

From Bay Windows:
“Obituary: In Memory of Joan Parker” by Deborah Peeples, President of Greater Boston PFLAG

I am writing to share the sad news that Joan Parker, one of our distinguished members of the Greater Boston Parents Families and Friends (Greater Boston PFLAG) Advisory Board, passed away yesterday.  Joan was an educator and community activist and philanthropist. She and her late husband, the acclaimed novelist Robert Parker, epitomized the ideal PFLAG parents. Proud and supportive of their two gay sons, Joan and Robert modeled the kind of behavior PFLAG seeks to promote with all parents: unqualified love and acceptance of their LGBT children.  And they took that love and support to its highest form by becoming activists  — committing themselves to making the world safe and inclusive for all.

For decades, Joan was active in a wide range of community service and arts organizations, including the American Repertory Theater, Community Servings, Theater Offensive, The Boston Children’s Theater and, fortunately for us, Greater Boston PFLAG.  Joan was also a moving force behind “Shared Heart”, a traveling exhibit of black-and-white photos of LGBT teens that was narrated by the featured youth.

Joan and Robert joined the Greater Boston PFLAG’s Advisory Board in June 2008, and together with Chad and Anne Gifford, served as Honorary Co-Chairs of our April 2008 and 2009 Pride and Passion fundraisers. At the April 2010 fundraiser, Greater Boston PFLAG honored Joan with its Cornerstone of Equality Award. Joan then went on to Co-Chair three successive Pride and Passion fundraising events. Each of these galas was more successful than the one before by all measures, including increasing the amount of funds raised to support of our bullying prevention and family acceptance programs. Beyond that, through her work on our fundraising events, Joan was instrumental in boosting public awareness of our lifesaving, life-changing mission. She became an active member of our Speaker’s Bureau and participated in our workplace based education programs for parents and allies.  She gave generously of her time, passion and expertise and was a brilliant “organizational development consultant”. She frequently opened her Cambridge home for countless meetings and parties for supporters and friends of the organization- in some respects, her Ash Street residence became a second home office for Greater Boston PFLAG.

My predecessor Stan Griffith, our Executive Director Pam Garramone and I will always cherish Joan’s warm friendship and her steady wise counsel. She was our guru and mentor. We are grateful to Joan Parker for all that she did to make the world a better place for all kids and their families.

Greater Boston PFLAG extends our deepest sympathies to Joan’s sons David and Daniel and to their families during this difficult time. The family has requested that memorial gifts be made in lieu of flowers to one or more of the organizations with which their mother was active, including Greater Boston PFLAG.  Those who would like to make a memorial gift in Joan Parker’s honor should consult our website at: http://www.gbpflag.org or call 781-891-5966.

 

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Jun 12

“Shaping Sound”: Fabulous, Weightless Contortions

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Photo Credit: Shaping Sound website, http://www.shapingsoundco.com/media

Produced by Break The Floor Productions
Created and executed by the Creative Team

Colonial Theatre
Boston, MA
June 10, 2012
Touring Schedule
Shaping Sound Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Break the Floor Productions’ Shaping Sound is a slick beast.  It unfolds like a series of pop music videos, surreal not in how the company experiments with choreography but in how the dancers create a synchronized smoothness.  Set to artists like Florence and the Machine, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeroes, and Queen, each number is a crowd-pleasing mechanism of synthesized glamour. Continue reading

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Jun 10

Wistful, Warm and Inconclusive: SELECTED SHORTS ON TOUR: SPRINGTIME, SEX & BASEBALL

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A National Public Radio Production
Hosted by the Huntington Theatre Company

Avenue of the Arts
BU Theatre
June 8th, 2013
Huntington Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Short review: It was great.  You missed it.  Support your public radio.

(Boston) Kidding, kidding, but really what else is there to say?  Take four well-crafted short stories of love, baseball and awkwardness, mix in three superb actors and stir.  Watching the touring production of Selected Shorts is a powerful reminder that we are creatures of narrative.  Whole societies are shaped by storytelling, be it a creation myth or an endearing belief of what a well-regulated militia looks like.  People die for stories, people become president by telling stories.  Without stories we might as well climb back up into the trees (unless you believe in the Christian creation story….see?). Continue reading

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Jun 10

And the Green Grass Grows All Around: RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN

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photo: T. Charles Erickson

presented by Huntington Theatre Company
by Gina Gionfriddo
directed by Peter DuBois

South End Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
May 24th – June 22nd, 2013
Huntington Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

A bunch of middle-aged folks had an academic argument about feminism and a great play broke out! Rapture, Blister, Burn, an insightful and barbed comedy about post-feminist uncertainty, is the rare play that immerses itself in theory and still makes us care. Continue reading

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