Nov 17

Faith, Family, and Fireworks: BAD JEWS

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Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw

October 24 – November 29, 2014
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
October 24th – November 29th, 2014
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kate Lew Idlebrook

(Boston) Bad Jews asks a question that is fundamental to so many young “Jew-ish” Jews. Are we bad Jews? Are we letting our faith, our traditions, our race die out? Now, in a time when it has arguably never been safer or easier to be Jewish, are we sitting by and letting our very culture die? Continue reading

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May 20

Blood, Gore and Mediocrity: CARRIE THE MUSICAL

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Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
Music by Michael Gore
Lyrics by Dean Pitchford
Book by Lawrence D. Cohen
Based on the novel by Stephen King
Directed by Paul Melone
Music directed by Nicholaus James Connell
Choreographed by Larry Sousa

Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook
Stephen King on Facebook
This awesome goat on Facebook

Trigger Warning: Fanatical Christianity, Gore, Attractive Youths Kissing, Depictions of High School  

Review by Kitty Drexel mediocrity

(Boston) The story of Carrietta White is supposed in invoke sympathy from its reader. Stephen King wrote a story about a young woman so hopelessly naïve and sheltered from the world that she has no tactics to cope with common life stressors. It’s easy enough to relate to her story, to put ourselves in her shoes because everyone feels like an outsider at one time or another. Unfortunately, Carrie is not actually a relatable character. Her life is in no way comparable to another’s. The impossible fantasy of Carrie is what makes the novel/movie/musical. Attempting to make her relatable or identifiable is a stretch that is in no way feasible. And yet, as long as there are outsiders who wish they had super powers, the comparison will be made anyway. Continue reading

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Mar 18

Digging Our Graves, Hoping Someone Notices: THE WHALE

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Georgia Lyman and John Kuntz in the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of “The Whale.” Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by David R. Gammons

March 7th – April 5th, 2014
The Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) No matter what you’ve heard, The Whale is not a play about obesity.  That may be hard to remember when you see a man drowning in his own corpulent flesh, the junk food wrappers strewn around his apartment serving as a testament to his mortal sin. Continue reading

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Jan 22

Sweetness Through Unbearable Cruelty: “The Color Purple”

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Lovely Hoffman in The Color Purple. Photo by Glenn Perry Photography

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
Based on the novel written by Alice Walker and the Warner Bros/Amblin Entertainment motion picture of the same name
Book by Marsha Norman
Music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Musical direction by Nicholas James Connell
Choreography by Christian Bufford

January 10 – February 8, 2014
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Two Disclaimers:
1. Brief nudity is used to abruptly symbolize the stark differences between the lives of Shug and Celie. Prudes should stay at home.
2. This is a musical predominantly about Black women. The only role White people play are as silent, historically accurate oppressors. Racists and sexists won’t enjoy themselves either.

(Boston) The Color Purple is exquisite. It is a tour deforce presentation of musical theatre at its finest. With only one small hiccup, this production achieves greatness on the stage. Run, do not walk, as fast as you are able and get tickets to this show. Do it. Continue reading

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Nov 08

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

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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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Sep 24

ADA Approved for the Mainstream: TRIBES

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photo

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo; Erica Spyres and James Caverly conversating.

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Co.
by Nina Raine
directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

September 13 – October 12
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

There will be two ASL-interpreted performances:  Sunday, October 6 at 7PM and Friday, October 11 at 8PM.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Southie) It is always a relief to see minorities portrayed by the Arts as their community deserves; with dignity, love and respect. We, the disabled, weren’t/aren’t always seen this way. It was (and still is) a commonly held belief of the Christian persuasion that people were born disabled as a punishment from God for sinning. This is despite Jesus saying that the disabled were walking, talking acts of God (John Chapter 9 verses 1-3). In specific, Christians used to believe that, since a deaf person couldn’t hear the word of God, they then couldn’t know God. Fast forward to modern day, the stigmas still exist even with the ADA protecting us. This is why it was so humbling to watch Speakeasy’s intelligent production of Tribes last Saturday. My hope is that this production is a sign that society is ready to welcome the disabled into the mainstream. Continue reading

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May 13

A Movement in Technicolor: IN THE HEIGHTS

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Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music directed by Nicholas James Connell
Choreography by Larry Sousa

Boston Center for the Arts
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Speakeasy Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) In the Heights tackles heavy subjects such as endemic poverty, Immigration Reform, affordable education and racial stereotype with canny artistic expression. This community in Washington Heights might be needy but they are not poor. They are proud, hardworking and passionate people who strive for a better life. Just like you and me.

This music incorporates traditional Latin dance with Rap, Hiphop, and Flow poetry, among many others. The dancing looks like it is straight from America’s Best Dance Crew. The ensemble dance scenes are electric and justifiably make the show the stand-out production that it is. The cast adapts to the different styles and each other with such ease it’s as if they studied at the same school. Continue reading

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Mar 04

Clybourne Park: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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Michael Kaye, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, DeLance Minefee, Paula Plum, and Tim Spears in a scene from SpeakEasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park, running March 1-30 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Tickets/info at speakeasystage.com or 617.933.8600. Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

By Bruce Norris

Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company

March 1 – March 30

Nancy & Edward Roberts Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts Boston, MA

Speakeasy Stage Co Facebook Page

Review by Becca Kidwell

A strong script elevates a performance or points out the flaws of the company.  Speakeasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park demonstrates its mastery through a strong ensemble, innovative set, and smart direction.  After seeing Clybourne Park, there is no question why this clever, dark play won at the Tony Awards in 2012.  When Boston sees Speakeasy Stage’s production, they will be talking about it for the rest of 2013 (Norton and IRNE awards in its future?).  The ensemble, comprised of Paula Plum, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, Tim Spears, DeLance Minefee, Michael Kaye, and Philana Mia, pulls the audience into a dynamic confrontation between politics and politeness that never apologizes Continue reading

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Jan 16

“Other Desert Cities”: Facades Collide With Reality

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Photo caption: Anne Gottlieb and Christopher M. Smith in a scene from SpeakEasy Stage's production of Other DesertCities, running January 11 through February 9 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Tickets at speakeasystage.com or 617.933.8600. Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo caption: Anne Gottlieb and Christopher M. Smith, Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

By Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by Scott Edmiston

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
January 11 – February 9
Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy Stage Co Facebook Page

Review by Becca Kidwell

(Boston) At a time when nostalgia for the eighties is heightening (neon, rubber bracelets, leg warmers,
cut off tees), Jon Robin Baitz reminds us that our recent past was neither as lavish or simple
as we would like to contain it. As the last of the Reaganite politicians cling desperately to
the “grand old party,” gen-xers (like myself) try to find meaning out of a part of seeming trivial
history. Baitz sends a thermobaric weapon to the Wyeth household in the form of Brooke Wyeth, played by Anne Gottlieb. Continue reading

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Oct 23

Accidentally Sexy: “Bloody, Bloody, Andrew Jackson”

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Photo by Craig Bailey / Perspective Photo. The show is accidentally sexy; the cast is sexy on purpose.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company

Written by Alex Timbers
Music & Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by Paul Melone
Music directed by Nick Connell

SpeakEasy Stage Company
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
October 19 – November 17, 2012

SpeakEasy Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) President Andrew Jackson (Gus Curry) invented the Democratic Party but was infamous for hating the English, the Spanish, American Aristocracy and Native American Indians. The book by Alex Timbers presents President Jackson as an angsty young man bristling with frenetic energy. He loves Populism, his wife Rachel and representing “The Voice of the People.” His hobbies include building the Trail of Tears, guns and erratic behavior. Even though there’s 100 years difference between his era and ours, not much has changed in politics: some political leaders just love a tantrum. Continue reading

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