Dec 07

Sanctioned Hate is Still Hate : Fiddler On the Roof

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures; The cast of Fiddler on the Roof.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures; The cast of Fiddler on the Roof.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Based on the stories of Sholem Aleichem
By special permission of Arnold Perl
Book by Joseph Stein
Music by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Directed by Austin Pendleton
Music direction by Wade Russo
Choreographed by Kelli Edwards

Dec. 2, 2016 – Jan. 1, 2016
Charles Mosesian Theater
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Trigger warning: Patriarchy, arranged marriage, lack of personhood

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA

New Rep’s Fiddler On the Roof is an extraordinary production… With one not inconsiderable snag. Largely, the performances in this show are spectacular. This production doesn’t make up for New Rep’s lackluster musicals but it certainly resets the standard for its productions. The cast and crew have delivered to us something very special with this Fiddler. Continue reading

Dec 07

“Return of the Winemaker”: I Met God at a BBQ

Photo credit to Aidan Hamell

Photo credit to Aidan Hamell

Presented by Tír Na Productions
By Bernard McMullan
Directed by Carmel O’Reilly

December 1-23, 2016
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Tír Na Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Somerville, MA) I’ve never been to Ireland, or been cultured into any traditional Irish customs, despite the high percentage of ancestry that I maintain. However, by the end of Tír Na’s production of Return of the Winemaker, it was pretty clear that the best kind of Christmas is an Irish one. Continue reading

Dec 06

“The Tempest”: Heaven Hath no Mercy Like a Sorceress Scorned

Kai Tshikosi (Ferdinand), Marya Lowry (Prospero), Lydia Barnett-Mulligan (Miranda), and Samantha Richert (Ariel)

Kai Tshikosi (Ferdinand), Marya Lowry (Prospero), Lydia Barnett-Mulligan (Miranda), and Samantha Richert (Ariel); photo credit to Nile Scott Shots.

Presented by Actors’ Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Allyn Burrows

December 1, 2016-January 8, 2017
Willet Hall at United Parish
210 Harvard Avenue
Brookline, MA 02446
Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Brookline, MA) One of the most exciting things about seeing any production of a Shakespeare show is how vast the possibilities are for interpretation. The fact that I was completely new to the world of The Tempest, which serves as Artistic Director Allyn Burrows’ final show with Actors’ Shakespeare Project, made seeing a production of it that much more thrilling. Continue reading

Dec 05

Begin the Pegeen: MAME

The cast of Mame (2016). Photo Credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

The cast of Mame (2016). St. George center stage, looking exquisite in red. Photo Credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Presented by the Stoneham Theatre
Book by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee
Music & lyrics by Jerry Herman
Based on the novel by Patrick Dennis, and the play Auntie Mame by Lawrence and Lee
Directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
Music direction by Matthew Stern

Nov. 25 – Dec. 23, 2016
Stoneham Theatre
395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA
ST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame
Mame gave a chump such an ice-cold “No”
For seven days they shovelled snow
So you can put the blame on Mame, boys
Put the blame on Mame”

Put the Blame on Mame,” from the film “Gilda” (1946), by Allan Roberts & Doris Fisher

(Stoneham, MA) Stoneham Theatre’s production of Mame dazzles. It’s a classic show with all the trimmings. Themes of classism and resulting conflicts will be only slightly offensive to gossipy, snooty attendees. It’s a nearly perfect Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/etc. treat that anyone from any doctrine can enjoy. Continue reading

Dec 02

Looocy, You Got Some ‘Splaining to Do: Heart & Dagger’s SWEENEY TODD

Promotional Art by Heart & Dagger

Promotional Art by Heart & Dagger

Presented by Heart & Dagger Productions
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Joey C. Pelletier
Music direction by Michael Amaral

Nov. 19 – Dec. 4, 2016
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center For The Arts
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
H&D on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAHeart & Dagger’s approach to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is highly unusual. It’s design harkens back to the original “Penny Deadfuls” in a way fancy pants professional productions don’t. It revels in its everyday horrors. It’s design brings creative license to the next level. Many strong, risky choices were made in this production. Most of them paid off. Unfortunately, some of the bigger ones did not. Continue reading

Nov 30

Too Many Words: AMADEUS

Moonbox Productions - AMADEUS (L-R) Matthew Zahnzinger - "Antonio Salieri", Cody Sloan - "Amadeus Mozart" Photographer: Earl Christie

Moonbox Productions – AMADEUS, (L-R) Matthew Zahnzinger – “Antonio Salieri”, Cody Sloan – “Amadeus Mozart”
Photographer: Earl Christie

Presented by Moonbox Productions
By Peter Shaffer
Directed/choreographed by Allison Olivia Choat
Music direction by Dan Rodriguez
Period music consultation by Thomas Carroll

Nov. 25 – Dec. 17, 2016
Plaza Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Moonbox on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Moonbox’s Amadeus is a delightful tragedy. Tragic because Mozart dies. Also tragic because playwright Shaffer likes to hear his own words spoken aloud. It’s made a delight by the elegant, classically lined staging by Choat, and the performances from the cast.   Continue reading

Nov 26

“Bedroom Farce”: The Art of Being in a Relationship

Bedroom Farce HTC 11-16 130Bedroom Farce, by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Mariah Aitken at Huntington Theatre Company 11/10/16Set Design: Alexander DodgeCostume Design: Robert MorganLighting Design: Matthew Richards© T Charles Erickson Photographytcepix@comcast.net

Bedroom Farce, © T Charles Erickson

Presented by The Huntington Theatre Company
By Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Maria Aitken

November 11-December 11, 2016
BU Theatre at The Huntington Theatre Company
The Huntington Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Usually, I’m a sucker for anything British, especially accents and that special brand of English humor. Both passions, as well as the potential for bedroom antics, were just a couple reasons I was excited to attend a performance of English playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce. But by the end of the show I was disappointed to realize that the accents were the only British thing about it and the bedroom humor was rather lazy at best. Continue reading

Nov 26

“Margo Veil” a Successful Satirical Noir

Stratton McCrady for photos

Stratton McCrady for photos

Presented by Suffolk University Theatre Department
By Len Jenkin
Directed by Wesley Savick
November 17-20, 2016
Modern Theatre at Suffolk University

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) I must admit, after glancing at the extensive cast list in the program for Suffolk’s production of Margo Veil, I was a bit concerned that there were going to be too many cooks in the kitchen (or actors on the stage, I suppose). But I was ecstatic to be proved wrong as the fantastical story became more interesting and curiouser and curioser with each scene. Continue reading

Nov 14

Freedom is Not an Inconvenience: HOW SOFT THE LINING

Photo credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com.

Photo credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com. Borders and Hayes sharing a tender moment. Remember folks: intersectional feminism or nothing at all. 

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
Written by Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Dialect coaching by Steven E. Emanuelson
Dramaturgy by Phaedra Scott
Fight choreography by Margaret Clark
Nov. 5 – 20, 2016

Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) How Soft the Lining is nearly a performance ready script. It isn’t there yet. There was a lot of good. There was some not so good too. It has a beautiful story that history nearly forgot thanks to history’s disregard for women’s stories. Thanks to Greenidge, we won’t forget. Continue reading

Nov 11

Scarily Relevant Once More: WEST SIDE STORY

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 1- 20, 2016
NSMT on Facebook

BOOK BY: Arthur Laurents
MUSIC BY: Leonard Bernstein
LYRICS BY: Stephen Sondheim
Director: Bob Richard
Music Director: Milton Granger
Choreographer: Diane Laurenson
Based on Conception of Jerome Robbins
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) How quaint – working class whites and Hispanics fighting for control of a few city blocks. West Side Story is a fun period piece hearkening back to a time when institutionalized racism was the norm and …
Continue reading