Sep 12

Children Will Listen and Learn: GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER

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Photo: Paul Marotta; Meredith Forlenza and Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Photo: Paul Marotta; Meredith Forlenza and Malcolm-Jamal Warner – they make a stupidly beautiful couple.

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co
By Todd Kreidler
Based on the screenplay by William Rose
Directed by David Esbjornson

Sept. 5 – Oct. 5, 2014
BU Theatre
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) There are certain conservative republicans that like to argue that racism is finally dead. They are deeply incorrect. It’s 2014 and racism is thriving in the United States of America. It affects everyone and everything. To get into the nitty gritty, please see this Wikipedia article which is currently very good. Who knows how long the populace will let it stay that way.

Racism is so prevalent in everyday culture that bigotry tainted events occur and most people can’t even see it. Take for instance, the couple sitting in front of me last night at the Huntington theatre that was patiently waiting for the show to start. An usher asked to see their tickets as there seemed to be some seat mix up with a couple in the aisle. The usher had intended to interrogate the seated couple and move them… until the standing couple pointed out that the usher was attempting to seat them in the incorrect row. The usher responded, “my bad,” and moved the couple to their seats. The seated couple was Black. The usher and the standing couple were White. The appropriated idiom circa 2004 was horrifying. Continue reading

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Sep 08

“Sweeney Todd” Delights in Dire Tragedy

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Christopher Chew, Paul C. Soper. Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard. Christopher Chew, Paul C. Soper.

Presented by the Lyric Stage of Boston
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed & Staged by Spiro Veloudos
Music Director, Jonathan Goldberg

Sept. 5 – Oct. 11, 2014
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
Lyric on Facebook

Review Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) In today’s entertainment landscape, probably the most surprising thing about The Lyric Stage’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is how un-sexy it makes murder. No, grisly death probably shouldn’t be attractive as a rule, but television shows like Hannibal and Dexter and even some thriller novels give serial killers a stylized warmth. Blood is splashed artfully over plastic tarps and cannibalized flesh is prepared with exquisite attention to detail for unsuspecting dinner guests. Stephen Sondheim’s infamous musical gives us only Sweeney Todd’s icy vengeance, spinning more out of control with every throat he slits in his barber’s chair, and Mrs. Lovett’s questionable baking skills. Continue reading

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Nov 08

A Parody of an Autobiography: Kurt Vonnegut’s MAKE UP YOUR MIND

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http://www.speakeasystage.com/_photos/press/vonnegut_08.jpg

Barlow Adamson and Tracy Goss in Kurt Vonnegut’s Make Up Your Mind. Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Kurt Vonnegut
Assembled by Nicky Silver
Directed by Cliff Fannin Baker

Oct. 30 – Nov. 30, 2013
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Make Up Your Mind was assembled by Nicky Silver from 11 drafts of an unfinished play written by Kurt Vonnegut. To repeat: this is a play by Kurt Vonnegut and edited by Nicky Silver. It was not thought up and written by Silver. To hear the complaints made about this show, one would think that it was written by meth addled donkeys. If there is fault (and there is), then the fault lies with Vonnegut who didn’t even get to finish the darn thing before his tragic death in 2007. Rather than dwell on the negative, let’s focus on the fact that we get one more nugget of gold from our dearly departed author. Continue reading

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Nov 04

Don’t Fear the Beards: THE HOBBIT

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Andrew Barbato and Stephen Benson. Photo credit: Wheelock Facebook page.

Andrew Barbato and Stephen Benson. Photo credit: Wheelock Facebook page.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien
Adapted for the stage by Patricia Gray
Directed by Shelley Bolman
Original score by Will Holshouser
Fight choreography by Ted Hewlett

October 25th – November 24th, 2013
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Picture a staging of The Hobbit without copious CGI, but with kids in cute beards rocking outrageous Scottish accents.  Could be good, could be terrible, right?

The thing is that J.R.R. Tolkien, bless his bookish heart, knew jack about pacing a story, and cared even less.  The Hobbit, here interpreted by Patricia Gray, is an episodic yarn that meanders here and there, getting bogged down into bedtime storytelling action by the time the band hits the Misty Mountains.  It works perfectly as bedtime fare for geeks just for precisely this reason; the thing reads like a really rocking night of Dungeons and Dragons.  Things just happen, and your characters get bailed out by the dungeon-master (Tolkien) every now and then to keep the story moving. Continue reading

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Nov 04

A Polite Mugging: MRS. MANNERLY

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Care of MRT Facebook Page

Care of MRT Facebook Page

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Jeffrey Hatcher
Directed by Mark Shanahan

October 24 – November 17, 2013
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) I didn’t know there had to be rules about flashback nostalgia stories, but I think I’ve found one….if only I can decide which one.

First, let’s define the genre.  Have you ever seen the movie A Christmas Story or The Wonder Years?  Then you know the kind of show MRT’s Mrs. Mannerly is attempting.  It’s the adult narrator looking back on his precocious tween self, with a wistful smile, to share lessons learned. Continue reading

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Oct 31

Things to Do in Boston When You’re Dead: NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

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Presented by the Post-Meridian Radio Players
Adapted by Jay Sekora
Original film script by George A. Romero and John A. Russo
Directed by Jay Sekora and Mindy Klenoff

October 25 – November 2nd, 2013
Responsible Grace Church
Somerville, MA
PMRP on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville) Halloween can be a bit bizarre for those of us in our twenty-somethings.  That weird age bracket when you’re not yet ready to give up the idea that this time of year should be about more than the hum-drum and ordinary; that perhaps there was something to the sugar-coated memories of your childhood walks around the neighborhood in the brisk autumn air wrapped in some crude approximation of a Jedi robe that came from a Party City bag; that perhaps, if you look hard enough, there’s something out there to do that’s not sit at a bar and commiserate with the other “adults” who are still trying hopelessly to deny the fact that they’re too old for free candy from strangers (no matter how good their home-made Hogwarts uniform looks). Continue reading

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Oct 29

A Gore-tastic Romp: EVIL DEAD, THE MUSICAL

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Photo care of Arts After Hours Facebook Page; Ash gets all the hotties.

Arts After Hours
Book and Lyrics by George Reinblatt
Music by Frank Cipolla, Christopher Bond, Melissa Morris, George Reinblatt
Music Supervision by Frank Cipolla
Additional Lyrics by Christopher Bond Additional Music by Rob Daleman
Directed by Corey Jackson
Music directed by Mario Cruz
Choreographed by Nicole Spirito

October 24, 2013- October 31, 2013 – Act NOW, most shows are sold out!
LynnArts Rantoul Black Box Theatre
25 Exchange Street
Lynn, Massachusetts
Arts After Hours on Facebook

Review By: Kate Lew Idlebrook

(Lynn) It ‘s Halloween. There’s lots to do, so why run to Lynn and spend the evening watching the Arts After Hours production of Evil Dead: the Musical? Because it’s bloody fun. That’s why.

And it doesn’t get much more Halloweeny than this.  It’s a spoof of your typical teenage horror flick, a story we all know well. Five college students go on spring break to a deserted cabin in the woods. They end up confronting an unspeakable evil that promises,  “It’ll be just like you were killed by some guy named Don”. Do you get it? They’ll be dead by dawn. Laughing? Then you’ll love the show. Continue reading

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Oct 29

Faith, Failure, and “The Power of Duff”

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http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5514/10409042345_7fec65ecea.jpg?wmode=transparent

Photo: T.Charles Erickson

Presented by The Huntington Theatre Company
By Stephen Belber
Directed by Peter DuBois

October 23 – November 16, 2013
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Hunting Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) In a television studio’s newsroom, sentiment is well known. It’s strange that The Power of Duff’s main conceit is that news anchor Charles Duff (the excellent David Wilson Barnes) scandalizes a nation by praying on air at the end of the show’s broadcast. While the reactions to Duff’s sermons are difficult to swallow, especially in the play’s first half, it’s fascinating to watch the everyday lives of these characters unravel as they reach out to connect with one another. Continue reading

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Oct 28

“Brewed”: Happy Medium Stirs the Pot

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Credit: Debut Cinematic/Karen Ladany

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company
By T. Scott Barsotti
Directed by Mikey DiLoreto

October 24th-November 2nd, 2013
The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Happy Medium Theatre and writer T. Scott Barsotti embrace the American gothic tradition with enthusiasm in Brewed. It’s a fully fleshed-out horror story with the bones of a family melodrama, a violent reaction to the ties that bind blood siblings.  The whose story is a creepy creature and a bleakly humorous outing for the Halloween season. Continue reading

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Oct 28

Nuanced Heartbreak: “Water By The Spoonful”

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Photo credit: Mark S. Howard

Presented by The Lyric Stage Company of Boston
By Quiara Alegria Hudes
Directed by Scott Edmiston

Oct. 18th – Nov. 16th, 2013
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
Lyric Stage on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Behind the People Magazine covers of smiling celebrities announcing sobriety, there is a more jagged and complex tale behind every junkie’s recovery.  Physiologically, the junkie’s brain has been re-wired to seek out new, chemical heights of pleasure, and going clean means settling for a life of just okay.  Psychologically, the task is much harder, as the junkie in recovery must confront the human wreckage of his or her addiction and attempt to make amends, which can be a Sisyphean task. Continue reading

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