Mar 08

The Simple Beauty of “Grand Concourse”

Photo by Glenn Perry Photography; full stage with cast.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Heidi Schreck
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

March 3-April 1, 2017
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy Stage Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) While I try not to make a habit of going to see religious shows, there’s something about the themes of religion that is compelling. They bring people together and allow them to question anything from faith and love to forgiveness and existence. And while playwright Heidi Schreck’s Grand Concourse manages to tackle all of these, what’s captivating about the show is that it does so without forcing religious concepts. Continue reading

Jan 09

Son of a Biscuit: HAND TO GOD

It starts so innocently. It always does. Eliot Purcell and Josephine Elwood; Photo by Glenn Perry Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Robert Askins
Directed by David R. Gammons
Puppetry direction by Roxanna Myhrum
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 6 – Feb. 4, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Devil references, supernatural activity, gore, violence, implied sex with a minor, graphic puppetry

(Boston, MA) Horror gets nastier when it employs kid’s toys. Personally speaking, dolls are the worst, but cinematic history has proved that puppets can be just as creepy. They can be really, super, frickin’ creepy. SpeakEasy’s Hand to God has a puppet. Like the previously referenced horror movies, it gets creepy and weird. Like, Evil Dead chainsaw hand meets Avenue Q levels of weird. It’s awesome.   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

Sep 20

Jordan Needs a Xanax and a Snuggle: “Significant Other”

vanessa-shower-with-nsfw-props

Photo Credit: Justin Saglio; Penises at the Hen Party. Penis. Penis. Penis.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Paul Daigneault

Sept. 9 – Oct. 8, 2016
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MASignificant Other (SO) is Sondheim’s Company is the music were stripped, and Bobby was made both gay and genuinely likable. The percentage of justifiable choreography remains equal between the two shows. The set design is similarly simple. The scene transitions are more facile. All in all, based entirely on sympathetic characters alone, Significant Other is the more pleasant viewing choice. Whether this is true for you depends upon your own theatrical preferences. Continue reading

May 12

Feelings Are Difficult for Marines: DOGFIGHT

Eddie & Rose Take In the View; Photo by Glenn Perry.

Eddie & Rose Take In the View; Photo by Glenn Perry.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Music and lyrics by Benj Pasek & Justin Paul
Book by Peter Duchan
Based on the Warner Bros. film and screenplay by Bob Comfort
Directed by Paige Daigneault
Music direction by Jose Delgado
Choreography by Larry Sousa

May 7 – June 4, 2016
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MADogfight is yet another musical with serious complications that SpeakEasy maneuvers with poise and dignity. It’s like Disney’s Newsies if the newsboys are replaced with marines and their fight for entrepreneurial justice is replaced with explicitly misogynistic displays of dudebro cruelty. Well, the music sounds a little like Newsies anyway. 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

Nov 03

Appropriating the Habits of Rabbits: “Casa Valentina”

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Harvey Fierstein
Directed by Scott Edminston

Oct. 24 – Nov. Nov. 28, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MACasa Valentina is about men who relax by appropriating women’s culture,  and feminine identity. This cutting play by Harvey Fierstein examines the subversive transvestite subculture of the mid-1950’s. According to the healthily robust dramaturgy notes by Maureen Dezell, men would don wigs, hose and dresses to enjoy a quaint weekend in the Catskills. These men unwind from their rigid gender roles with a tube of lipstick and a stiff drink amidst the glory of the New York state. Suffice to say, this is not a production for conservative types with traditional notions of what is or is not acceptable behavior for men. Tread wisely. Continue reading

Oct 12

Thank You Capt. Obvious: “appropriate”

Photo by Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots

Photo by Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Fight choreo by Angie Jepson
 
Sept. 12 – Oct. 11, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook
 
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Boston, MA) It should not take a white person to teach another white person that racism exists. And yet, the case almost always is that white people can’t simply trust the experiences of black people. No, frequently a white person has to verify from other white people that POCs across the color spectrum aren’t lying for attention or handouts. Racism exists. It isn’t going away just because a group of old white men decided they don’t want to fight against it anymore (see the US govt.).

Enter: Jacobs-Jenkins’ appropriate. The Lafayette family has returned to their crumbling Arkansas plantation to hash out Father Lafayette’s hoarding problem, loans, and bigotry. Childhood was hard on them and everyone feels entitled to an apology they aren’t going to get. This entitlement wrapped in bitterness seeped in brittle pain results in violent arguments instead of the reunion they were hoping for. Continue reading

Jan 20

A Resounding Meh: A FUTURE PERFECT

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Beers were harmed in the making of this play.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Written by Ken Urban
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 9 – Feb. 7, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Inside every adult there is an 18 year old wondering what the Hell just happened. It feels like just yesterday you were a shy teenager prepping for college. You blink and there you are, 38 and wondering how you got into this mess. It’s a surprise to discover that we’re the adults now, the guys in charge. We’re the very people we protested against in our teens and 20’s and now we have to pretend it’s OK. While the initial money/freedom is nice, the rest feels like strange and unusual punishment for our childhood sins. Adulthood blows. Continue reading

Dec 15

No, Thank YOU Susan: NECCESARY MONSTERS

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
By John Kuntz
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Walt McGough

Dec.5, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Strobe lighting, smoking, unsexy sex, murder, drugs, wiring from an electrical engineer’s worst nightmare

(Boston, MA) The proverb goes, “some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them*.” The majority of the people who advertise that they apply this statement to their life philosophies are frequently ignorant, bigoted and deeply stupid. One just doesn’t say such things (lest your friends and loved ones think you’re one of them. No one wants to be considered one of them). That doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t agree. On the contrary, we frequently do but refuse to publicly admit it because our Mommies taught us better than that. We only admit we agree with this proverb in the quiet of the night, privately and alone. But it’s true isn’t it? There are certain people that we believe are bad and therefore must be stopped. Sometimes it’s a terrible man like Hitler, and sometimes it’s Celia in 24B across the hall with her 4 incessantly yapping corgis, 2am vacuuming, and magazine stealing habits. Sometimes Celia, and what she represents, must die. It’s thoughts like these that fuel Necessary Monsters. Continue reading