Oct 07

Murder, We Hope: “Chicago”

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Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Directed and choreographed by Nick Kenkal

Beverly, MA
September 23rd – October 5th, 2014
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) At one point after a showstopping number during the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Chicago, actor Sean McDermott (Billy Flynn) was clearly out of breath. He had a lot of company in the audience, as this production succeeds in leaving an audience breathless. Continue reading

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Aug 18

Needs Oil, But Still Burns Rubber: GREASE

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Photo © Paul Lyden

Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book, music, lyrics by Warren Casey & Jim Jacobs
Directed by Mark Martino
Music directed by Craig Barna
Choreographed by Mark Stuart

August 12th – August 24th, 2014
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) The backstory behind the script for the musical “Grease” is that writers Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey locked themselves away to write a bunch of 50’s era songs, and then tried to piece together a plot to fit the songs together. This sounds like a recipe for a disaster of a script, and for a long time I personally thought the plot flimsy and vacant. Continue reading

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Jul 15

A Sinking Feeling: DISNEY’S A LITTLE MERMAID

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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

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Apr 25

You Can’t Stop Her. Hell, She Can’t Stop Her: PAULA POUNDSTONE

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Acquisitioned from the NSMT facebook site

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
April 19th, 2014
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) If a career coach ever did an aptitude test on a young Paula Poundstone and didn’t find she was cut out to be a comedian, that coach was a loser. Angular, socially awkward, and blessed and cursed with OCD that causes her to let loose a constant stream of sarcastic chatter, Poundstone found her calling on the comedy stage. She owned the North Shore Music Theatre for one night this past April and left the crowd feeling happy and confused. Continue reading

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Nov 20

Kissinger Would Have Cried: MISS SAIGON

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http://www.nsmt.org/images/Press/2013/MissSaigon/production/NSMT-MissSaigon-Engineer.jpg

Francis Jue (Engineer) in North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Miss Saigon running through November 17, 2013. Photo © Paul Lyden

­Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by: CLAUDE-MICHEL SCHONBERG
Lyrics by: RICHARD MALTBY, JR., and ALAIN BOUBLIL
Original French Lyrics by: ALAIN BOUBLIL
Additional Material by: RICHARD MALTBY, JR.
Directed and Choreographed by: RICHARD STAFFORD

November 5th – November 17th, 2013
North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

It’s not often that a soap opera can double as a critique of American foreign policy, but North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Miss Saigon succeeds in creating a surreal love story in which American exceptionalism finds its gory limits. 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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Nov 04

Technicolor Gangsters: GUYS AND DOLLS

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Photo by Paul Lyden

presented by North Shore Music Theatre

Book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Music and Lyrics by Frank Loesser
Based on “The Idyll of Sarah Brown” and characters by Damon Runyon
Directed by Mark Martino
Choreographed by Michael Lichtefeld

Presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International www.mtishows.com

North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, Ma
October 30th – November 11th, 2012

North Shore Music Theatre Facebook Page
October 30th – November 11th, 2012

(Beverly) It’s easy to know from the opening sequence whether a production of the musical Guys and Dolls is going to hit on all cylinders or fall flat. The intro and music is supposed to paint a picture of the vibrant and surprisingly ordered chaos of New York City in the roaring 20’s, or at least the New York City that ferments in the imagination of the show’s authors, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. It’s a metropolis awash with crime, as an apple is filched from a vendor and a pocket gets picked within the first two minutes of stage time, but it’s genial and high-energy crime, so much so that even cops simply shake their heads at the crooks’ peccadillos. Continue reading

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Oct 09

Sass, Refined: “9 TO 5″

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Photo by Paul Lyden, The lovely ladies of “9 to 5″

Music and lyrics by Dolly Parton
Book by Patricia Resnick
Directored/Choreographed by Richard Stafford
Musical Directored by Mark Hartman

North Shore Music Theatre
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
September 25 – October 7th
North Shore Music Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) It seems like a dicey proposition: take a 1979 comedy that has long since been forgotten and make it into a 21st century musical. (I don’t see anyone else lining up to do a musical of other comedies that I watched over and over again on HBO as a child, like Mr. Mom or Police Academy. If you’re a producer, call me.) Yet 9 to 5 has Dolly Parton’s mark all over it, from the opening monologue to the final musical note, and Dolly has a way of turning the ridiculous into credible fun. This endeavor of hers is more Dollyworld than Rhinestone. Continue reading

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Aug 25

Sweet Music: ALL SHOOK UP

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All Shook Up, Book by Joe DiPietro

Staring Joyce DeWitt

Directed by Russell Garrett
Music Director: Anne Shuttlesworth
Choreographer: Kiesha Lalama

North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, Ma
August 14-26, 2012

North Shore Music Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Kate Lonberg-Lew

Elvis is tooling around the countryside when his motorcycle breaks down
and he finds himself stranded in repressed, naïve, small-town America. While his bike is being fixed by the town’s tomboy-teenage mechanic, he teaches the citizens how to let loose, love, and most importantly, rock out. This is the basis for the musical All Shook Up playing at the North Shore Music Theatre.
Continue reading

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Jul 20

Big Heart, Strings Showing: ANNIE

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Photo by Paul Lyden, Jacquelyn Piro Donovan and Lauren Weintraub.

Annie, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charmin, book by Thomas Meehan, North Shore Music Theatre, 7/17/12- 7/29/12, http://www.nsmt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=971&Itemid=2320.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Sometimes, when you shine a light on a worn-out plotline by staging a good production, you breathe new life into the script.  Other times, a strong production’s focus can make a threadbare script fall to pieces.  Continue reading

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