Jun 23

He Who Watches the Watchers: PATTERN OF LIFE

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Nael Nacer as Rahmat Lewis D. Wheeler as Carlo; Photo: Courtesy of New Repertory Theatre.

Handsome devils: Nael Nacer as Rahmat, Lewis D. Wheeler as Carlo; Photo courtesy of New Rep/BCAP Facebook page.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre and Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP)
By Walt McGough
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

June 14 – 29, 2014
Boston University Theatre – Lane-Comley Studio 210
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
New Rep on Facebook
BCAP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) President Obama has received flak from all political sides for his decision to back govt.-sourced  drone proposals. It has been 5 years and 5 months since the CIA conducted the first strike during Obama’s term and he shortly thereafter ramped up the attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He went so far as to say that “he wrestle[s] with civilian casualties. But, he said, he has a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans — killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American planes.” (Huffington Post) While drone attacks have decreased once his numbers started suffering, attacks have not stopped entirely. Clearly, Obama “wrestles” with casualties enough to make a statement but not enough to discontinue drone use. Continue reading

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May 12

You Carry What You Collect: ON THE VERGE

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Photo snagged from New Rep website

Photo snagged from New Rep website

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
By Eric Overmyer
Directed by Jim Petosa

May 3 – 25, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) It is deeply refreshing to see women amidst the revels of their maturity being embraced by playwrights as the medium for their works. There aren’t enough chewy roles for women past the age of ingenue naivete that embrace life beyond mother or spinsterhood. As an actress and feminist critic, it was a pleasure to watch On the Verge. Playwright Eric Overmyer has given Boston and its actors a gift and it is my hope that the community embraces it.

On the Verge is about three intrepid female explorers in search of adventure in Terra Incognita. While collecting data, photos and samples, our heroines spelunk and hack their way to new territory in space and time. The characters are based on actual accounts of Victorian-era lady explorers who defied the conventions of the time. They sought independence in the wilds beyond Westernized civilization and found it. Continue reading

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Feb 03

Disparate Pieces: THE WHIPPING MAN

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Care of the New Rep Facebook page.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
by Matthew Lopez
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush

January 25th – February 16th, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) Sometimes you can check off all the boxes for what makes an interesting play without the play adding up to great theatre.  The Whipping Man, playing at the New Repertory Theatre, has all the ingredients (interesting slice of history, family drama, a striking set, a strong cast), but they don’t create something bigger. Continue reading

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Jan 13

Questions That Shouldn’t Be Answered: IMAGINING MADOFF

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Joel Colodner as Solomon Galkin and Jeremiah Kissel as Bernard Madoff in IMAGINING MADOFF by Deborah Margolin. Photos by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Joel Colodner as Solomon Galkin and Jeremiah Kissel as Bernard Madoff in IMAGINING MADOFF by Deborah Margolin. Photos by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
by Deborah Margolin
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue

Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
January 4th – 26th, 2014
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) It is in our genetic makeup to try and understand what we cannot comprehend, no more so than when we are confronted with evil that makes a mockery of human decency. We want to know what makes the mass murderer different from us so badly that we desperately try to project understanding when there is none to be had.

Unfortunately, this tends to make us seek black and white answers to complex and disturbing questions. Growing up in a Roman Catholic household, I kept asking my mother who was in Hell besides Hitler. She would pause and respond, “Mussolini.” That was always the end of the conversation. Continue reading

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Dec 02

Charm Conquers All: CAMELOT

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Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Books and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Lowe
Original production directed and staged by Moss Heart
Based on “The Once and Future King” by TH White
Directed and choreographed by Russell Garrett
Musical direction by David McGrory
Dance Captain – Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Fight Captain – Michael J Borges

Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, 2013
Charles Mosesian Theater
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

(Watertown) The Director’s Notes by Russell Garrett are excellent. An audience member desiring nostalgic information correlating Camelot to the anniversary of JFK’s assassination will be well pleased. For this purpose, I will not dwell on the JFK’s Camelot as Mr. Garrett has already done an excellent job of doing so in the programme. If you’d like to know more, see the show.

Considering the weight that the Kennedy Family carries in the US, one might expect Camelot to be a more serious show. Lerner and Lowe’s fluffy hit does examine some heavy issues but the majority of the script and lyrics are intended to entertain rather than educate. The sugary sweet production by New Rep does not fail in its mission to cheer Baby Boomers and to indoctrinate younger generations in classic musical theatre. Continue reading

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May 06

Struggling with Genius: AMADEUS

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Photo: Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
A play with music by Peter Shaffer
Directed by Jim Petosa

Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
April 28th – May 19th, 2013
New Rep Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) The story goes that an earnest young monk once asked a Zen master to describe the immaculate nature of the Buddha.  The Zen Master, most likely with an insufferable grin on his face, pointed to a pile of dung.

This sums up the life of Antonio Salieri (Benjamin Evett) in the spirited production of Amadeus being staged at the Arsenal Center for the Arts.  Salieri, an accomplished composer who writes operas for Hapsburg monarchs, dedicates his life to capture the music of God.  Instead, he discovers his own private dung heap in the form of a foul-mouthed former child prodigy named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Tim Spears).  Salieri is crushed to learn that Mozart, a drunk, womanizing jerk, has a much clearer channel to God’s radio station and can compose the most beautiful music the world has ever known, even while playing billiards.  It drives the devout Italian composer to lose both his faith and his scruples. Continue reading

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Apr 02

Properly and Honestly: MASTER CLASS

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Amelia Broome as Maria Callas; Photo: Rob Lorino

Presented by New Repertory Theatre

A play with music by Terrence McNally
Directed by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman

Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA 02472
March 31 – April 21, 2013
New Rep Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) Amelia Broome doesn’t use a Greek accent in her portrayal as international treasure and opera superstar, Maria Callas. The audience doesn’t have the luxury of knowing why Broome chose not to use an accent. Broome’s performance is effective without one so the reasons don’t matter.

Master Class is a grand opportunity for non-Classical singers (plebes) to experience the horror and joy that is operatic study. It is a (relatively) cheap vocal coaching for its length and history wrapped in a convenient package. The dialogue is only slightly dramatized for the benefit of the audience. The majority of Callas’ lessons and helpful hints are comments that any voice teacher could and would give her student. The majority of these same lessons and hints are conveyed in a similar manner as well. Continue reading

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Jan 14

Incomplete Sweetness: MARRY ME A LITTLE

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Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

presented by New Repertory Theatre

songs by Stephen Sondheim
conceived and developed by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene
directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
musical direction by David McGrory

Arsenal Center for the Arts
in the Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
January 6th – January 27th, 2013
New Repertory Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) As a songwriter, Stephen Sondheim is better than you.  He just is.

He mastered the art of straightforward musicals with West Side Story and he’s been toying with us ever since.  After figuring out what sappy audiences want in a love song, he’s been not giving it to them, choosing instead to dwell in the tensions and the ambiguities of our romantic natures in lovely, sonic dissonance. Continue reading

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Oct 21

An Incomplete Sentence: RACE

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Photo Credit: New Repertory Theatre; the cast

by David Mamet
Directed by Robert Walsh

presented by the New Repertory Theatre
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
October 14th – November 4th, 2012

New Rep Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) It’s become trickier to discuss racism in the post-2008 election era than it was before. We have elected a black president, many hope to say, and that is enough.

Leave it to troublemaking playwright David Mamet to clear his throat amid the quiet in 2009 with his biting and succinct dramatic comedy, Race, now being performed by the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown. His play refuses to rest on recent racial gains, instead showing the trouble beneath the surface, the kind
that otherwise is obscured unless a police officer arrests a Harvard professor or a neighborhood watchman shoots an unarmed teen. Mamet’s script sparks necessary dialogue about an uncomfortable subject, but the flawed storyline of the play, combined with uneven execution by New Rep’s cast, misses the opportunity to create deeper understanding of inherent social inequality. Continue reading

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Sep 16

Brilliance and Bravery in New Rep’s “The Kite Runner”

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The Kite Runner adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler.
Novel by the same name by author Khaled Hosseini.
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Performances, September 9-30, 2012
New Repertory Theater
Charles Mosesian Theater
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472

New Repertory Theater Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) New Rep’s The Kite Runner is adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler from the novel by the same name by author Khaled Hosseini. Director, Elaine Vaan Hogue, interprets her subject with fresh perspective in our post-9/11 world with compassion and ingenuity. Continue reading

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