May 16

Blessed Be the Patron Saint of Iowa Housewives: “The Bridges of Madison County”

Glenn Perry Photography; Jennifer Ellis & Christiaan Smith.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Book by Marsha Norman
Music, lyrics and orchestrations by Jason Robert Brown
Based on the novel by Robert James Waller
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Music directed by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Misha Shields

May 6 – June 3, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The Bridges of Madison County is a musical about sacrifice and neglect. Ladies and gents, if you’re feeling underappreciated, please bring tissues. You’ll need them. Continue reading

Feb 07

In Homage to the Bastard: “Brecht on Brecht”

Matthew Stern (piano), Carla Martinez, Brad Daniel Peloquin, Jake Murphy, Christine Hamel
in “Brecht on Brecht”   (photo: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures)

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Prophetic Portraits: Exploring history at the level of the individual
By Bertolt Brecht
Arranged by George Tabori from various translations
Co-Produced with Boston Center for American Performance
Directed by Jim Petosa
Music direction by Matthew Stern

Feb. 4 – March 5, 2017
Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

90 minutes with no intermission

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MABertolt Brecht was a selfish, arrogant, exceedingly charismatic dick. He was also a “genius” thanks to the help of collaborators such as Elisabeth Hauptmann and Kurt Weill. Brecht did not support them. He could turn a phrase, though. 
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

Oct 27

Beautiful and Painful: “The Scottsboro Boys”

Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots; The ensemble getting down.

Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots; The ensemble getting down.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Music and Lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb
Book by David Thompson
Original Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Ilyse Robbins

October 21 – November 26
Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) It’s difficult to know what to say about The Scottsboro Boys.  The piece is uncomfortable to watch not because of its incredible talent or flawless direction and design, but rather because it’s meant to be uncomfortable to watch.  The show is a remixed account of the historical case of The Scottsboro Boys, nine young black men who in 1931 were accused of raping two white women on a train, told through the lens of American Minstrelsy.  Performed with gusto and amazing energy, SpeakEasy’s production is a triumph that should be mandatory viewing for any American (particularly in an election year as fraught with the urge to “just give up” as this one has been). Continue reading

Jan 18

Not Inspiration Porn: VIOLET


Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co
Based on short story “The Ugliest Pilgrim” by Doris Betts
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Book and lyrics by Brian Crawley
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music direction by Matthew Stern

Jan. 9 – Feb. 6, 2016
The Stanford Calderwood Paviliion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Violet is the story of a young woman so doggedly determined in her belief that she’s disabled, that she goes to great lengths to prove that she is. For the sake of argument, Violet is also a musical about a young woman who travels across the Midwest on a journey of self-discovery to meet a faith healer to make her pretty. It’s about both. Continue reading

Mar 24

Major and Minor Details: BIG FISH

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by John August
Music & Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Based on the Novel by Daniel Wallace and the Columbia Motion Picture Written by John August
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Assistant Director Alex Lonati
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Larry Sousa

MAR 13 – APR 11, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St.
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) I did not enjoy Big Fish. I did enjoy SpeakEasy’s production. The performances from the cast were, as always, exemplary but the script has many problems. Follow along as I list the major issues and make the conscious decision not to detail the minor ones. Continue reading

Oct 15

A Little Murder Between Friends: ASSASSINS

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures 2014

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures 2014

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman
Based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr.
Directed by Jim Petosa
Musical direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Judith Chaffee

Oct. 4 – 26, 2014
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Please note: there is no intermission for this 2 hour musical.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) Society likes to label people who commit atrociously violent acts, Monsters. It is deeply important that we, the good folk of society, acknowledge that the Monsters who murder, harm, victimize, etc. aren’t depraved beasts transformed by mental illness into inhuman criminals. These Monsters are people who do monstrous things. So, if these Monsters are human just as we are human, then it follows that we must accept the possibility that we too are capable of monstrous acts. Continue reading

Jan 30

Technicolor Fabulousness: HAIRSPRAY

Photo by Gary Ng.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Book by Mark O’Donnell & Thomas Meehan. Music by Marc Shaiman
Lyrics by Scott Wittman & Marc Shaiman
Based on the New Line Cinema film written and directed by John Waters.
Directed by Susan Kosoff
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Laurel Conrad

January 24 – February 23rd, 2014
180 The Riverway
Wheelock College
Boston, MA
Wheelock Family Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) The first act of Wheelock Theatre’s Hairspray is such a great way to dance away the winter blues that it should be prescribed like Vitamin D.  Words fail to do justice in describing this outlandish, energetic, and mirth-filled play, which unfolds like American Bandstand on just a hint of acid, so I’ll just say that I smiled straight through from the downbeat of the opening number until intermission.  Since the second act couldn’t top the first without causing people to disappear to a Nirvana of spastic theatrical comedy, it’s probably just as well that the play trailed off slightly after intermission, like a great joke that leaves you with a fit of the giggles. Continue reading

Oct 01

“Ragtime”: Bravo to the Cast and Crew!

The Company in “Till We Reach That Day”
Photos by Matt McKee

Presented by Fiddlehead Theatre Company in conjunction with The American Civil Liberties Union

Book by Terrence McNally
Music by Stephen Flaherty
Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens
based on the novel Ragtime by E.L. Doctorow

Directed by Meg Fofonoff
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Anne McAlexander

September 28 – October 7, 2012
The Strand Theatre
543 Columbia Rd, Dorchester, MA

Fiddlehead Theatre Company Facebook Page
The American Civil Liberties Union Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Dorchester) Ragtime is an enormous success for The Strand Theatre and Fiddlehead Theatre Company! Bravo to the entire cast and the artistic staff! Your interpretation of the Flaherty/Ahrens/McNally script and music is spot on. You should be very proud of your performances. Continue reading