Aug 16

Drag Messiah: A very Allston Christmas; Yes on 3!

Quorum Boston presents Drag Messiah: A very Allston Christmas

Yes on 3!

Performance Dates:
August 17, 2018
7:30PM
MIT Building 6, Room 120
77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Aug. 17 event on Facebook

August 18, 2018
7:30PM
First Parish Cambridge Unitarian Universalist
3 Church St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Aug. 18 event on Facebook
Quorum Boston on Facebook

(Cambridge, MA) Since its writing, Handel’s Messiah has been used as a fundraising concert for various causes to benefit society. In Handel’s time, that was the Foundling’s Hospital for London orphans. Quorum will be performing Drag Messiah: a Very Allston Christmas* in order to raise awareness and donations for Freedom for All Massachusetts, a trans-lead organization that is working to protect the ways in which Massachusetts currently allows trans people to use public accomodations (including but not limited to bathrooms) that align with their gender identity. These protections – which allow trans people to live, work, and move through society with basic dignity – also help prevent violence and discrimination against trans people. An anti-LGBTQ group is trying to repeal them, and Freedom for All Massachusetts is working hard to prevent that from happening through public education and awareness. We will have more information, volunteer sign-up for those interested, and VOTER REGISTRATION!

Written by a queer composer who participated in drag culture and wrote many cross-gendered opera roles, the Messiah as performed by an LGBTQ chorus (some of whom will be in drag) will bring awareness to and celebrate the diversity of gender in our Boston community. It will be a very exciting and high-quality concert, and our aim is to use the popularity of the Messiah and the newfound public interest in drag to support the trans community, which is often marginalized from both the classical music and drag scenes, spaces which should be open to all. We will be performing the entire piece with a guest orchestra of historically-informed instrumentalists, in a setting both intimate and powerful. You have not heard this piece performed with as much emotional authenticity as you will this August.

*What’s Allston Christmas?
It’s that time in August and early September when people scavange treasures left on the sidewalk or put in the trash by departing renters. It’s is a working-class celebration of new life and valuing what has been discarded by others, concepts which are also foundational to the queer experience. Handel’s Messiah – a larger-than-life oratorio about birth, rejection and punishment at the hands of those who don’t understand your worth, and the triumph of good will and promise for a better future – is the perfect piece to sing for this occasion.

Quorum Boston is an LGBTQ vocal ensemble that performs music almost exclusively by LGBTQ composers (like Handel!) in order to combat the erasure of queerness in the classical music canon and help new voices be heard.

Aug 15

Frothy Fun and B-Side Moments: MAMMA MIA

Tari Kelly (Tanya) with Tiffani Barbour (Rosie) and Erica Mansfield (Donna) in MAMMA MIA! live on stage at North Shore Music Theatre thru September 2. Photo©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Directed & Choreographed By: Kevin P. Hill
Music Direction By: Bob Bray
Music And Lyrics By: Benny Andersson & Björn Ulvaeus And Some Songs With Stig Anderson
Book By: Catherine Johnson
Originally Conceived By: Judy Cramer

August 2 – September 2, 2018
North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) There is a reason why the musical Mamma Mia has become such a phenomenon – I mean, aside from the fact that a group of Swedes sold their souls to the devil to make the most earworm-y music of the 20th century. The story is one long, sexy summer party that showcases the current or past foibles of our twenties. A young woman secretly invites her three potential fathers to her island wedding without telling her mother about it – it’s as if someone set out to re-envision Midsummer Night’s Dream with platform shoes. Continue reading

Aug 10

“Leftovers” and the Balance Between Wishes and Truths

Photo by Paul Fox.

Presented by Company One Theatre
Written by Josh Wilder
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Developed by C1 PlayLab

July 21 – August 18, 2018
The Strand Theatre
543 Columbia Road, Boston, MA 02125
The Leftovers on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) When a giant dandelion bursts out of the ground in their Philadelphia yard, Kwamaine (the charming Christian Scales) is enchanted while his older brother, Jalil (Kadahj Bennett, who pulls some of the best humorous faces I’ve seen on any given stage), is understandably baffled. Their harassed mother, Raquelle (Lyndsay Allyn Cox), is mostly just annoyed. Writer Josh Wilder and director Summer L. Williams deliver an odd, funny city-based fable that becomes a magic realist quest through systemic poverty, race, The Cosby Show, and the insulating nature of fantasies. Continue reading

Aug 08

“CATO & DOLLY”, The Hancocks

Ye Olde Statehouse

Presented by the Bostonian Society
Produced in partnership with Plays in Place, LLC
Written by Playwright Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Courtney O’Connor
Performed by Stephen Sampson and Marge Dunn

July 6th through September 29th, 2018
Old State House, Downtown Boston, MA

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Boston, Massachusetts)   On a rainy Saturday, Kathy Mulvaney explained to the crowd of museum visitors that she needed a minute to bring in more chairs, as the hall was fuller than anticipated.  Mulvaney is the Director of Education at the Old State House. She told us that the historical play Cato & Dolly would be about twenty minutes, and she noted that we could not re-enter if we decided to leave for the bathroom.  Finally, Mulvaney encouraged us to sit back and enjoy. Then the hall went silent. Continue reading

Aug 06

A State of Virginal Ecstasy; Or, Needs More Snakes in Bowls: “Dark Room”

Ensemble | Photo Credit, Andrew Brilliant

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
Written by George Brant
Inspired by the life, death, and photography of Francesca Woodman
Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio
Associate director and dramaturgy by Alexander Platt
Choreography by Doppelgänger Dance Collective

July 27 – August 16, 2018
In residence at the Multicultural Arts Center
Cambridge, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: I auditioned for this production, and was not cast. It is my opinion that only a jackass would allow rejection, a natural process of auditioning, to taint their review.

(Cambridge, MA) Producer and director, D’Ambrosio gives an important, informative speech before Dark Room to guide audience expectations. She suggests we allow the performance to wash over us. Should we become puzzled by the actions onstage, rather than self-interpret what we see, we should allow the performance to explain itself through continued observance. I’d further posit that audience members do proper research before attending. The chiaroscuro style of Francesca Woodman is emphatically stirring. To fully absorb the performance, it behooves an audience to google Woodman’s art. Continue reading

Aug 03

PROSPERA – la Señora de la Isla: “La Tempestad”

Presented by Trinity Repertory Company with Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA)
Originally Written by William Shakespeare
Translated to Spanish by Orlando Hernandez
Directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo

June 28 through July 27, 2018
Toured around Rhode Island. Schedule with locations is HERE
Trinity Rep on
Facebook
RILA on
Facebook

Review by Bishop C. Knight

(Roger Williams Park, Providence, Rhode Island)  This bilingual English-Spanish adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest was part of the Rhode Island Latino Arts’s (RILA) program Teatro en El Verano (Theater in the Summer).  It was directed by the Brown/Trinity second-year Tatyana-Marie Carlo, who was drawn to the humor and magic of The Tempest.  Carlo’s ensemble cast performed the play in a hybrid Spanglish, switching back and forth between the two languages mid-stanza, sometimes mid-line. Continue reading

Aug 03

“Richard III”: Uncomfortably Mirroring a Summer of Our Discontent

Faran Tahir (Richard III) and the cast of Richard III (photo by Evgenia Eliseeva)

Presented by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler

July 18 – August 5, 2018 
Parkman Bandstand
Tremont Street & Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108
CSC on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) The Commonwealth Shakespeare Company brings an arresting production of Richard III to Boston’s Common. The grim story of a happily evil king is enlivened by the performance of Faran Tahir as he swaggers, lies, and simpers his way to a throne that might as well be soaked in blood. The play is grounded in real world anger toward a cartoonish villain who disintegrates into a self-doubting coward. It’s a cathartic watch, one that both moved me and concerned me in the way it compliments and comments on topical news items. Continue reading

Jul 23

Taking Flight: PETER PAN

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Based on the play by Sir J. M. Barrie
Lyrics by Carolyn Leigh
Music by: Morris “Moose” Charlap
Additional lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Additional Music by Jule Styne
Directed by Bob Richard
Choreography by Diane Laurenson
Music direction by Peter Leigh-Nilsen

July 10 – July 22, 2018
NSMT
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Kate Lew Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Fairies, pirates, flying, and magic, all on an island without parents – Peter Pan, Sir J.M. Barrie’s adventure about the boy who doesn’t want to grow-up and the magical island that is his home
has it all. Capturing this magic on stage can be a challenge, but Carolyn Leigh and Morris
(Mosse) Charlap turn the classic into a wonderful and catchy musical, and the North Shore
Music Theatre’s production of this musical is a strong revival of this classic tale. Continue reading

Jul 13

The Link Between Cause and Effect: “AddictShunned”

The cast. Photo: Avenue Stage

Presented by Avenue Stage
By Judith Austin
Directed by Michael O’Halloran

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Avenue Stage on Facebook

AddictShunned was originally titled Spiro Spero, which roughly translates to “While I Breathe, I Hope.”

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.”
— NIDA website, “The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: The Basics” https://www.drugabuse.gov/

(Boston, MA) Addiction is as much of a disease as Diabetes. Yet, while we don’t demand diabetics to will themselves healthy, we do demand this of addicts. Addicts need and deserve compassion, understanding, and resources to break the cycles of abuse. Avenue Stage’s AddictShunned compassionately reframes the stories of addicts. The audience is made to find commonality with characters it would prefer to remain anonymous.   Continue reading

Jun 28

Your Ticket is Problematic: LUZIA


Presented by Cirque du Soleil
Written by Julie Hamelin Finzi and Daniele Finzi Pasca
Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca
Acrobatic performance designed by Philippe Aubertin
Composed and music directed by Simon Carpentier
Acrobatic choreography by Edesia moreno Barata, Debra Brown, Sylvia Gertrúdix González

June 27 – August 12, 2018
Suffolk Downs
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Boston, MA 02128
Parking available for $20.00
CdS on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Cirque du Soleil’s scheduling of its Luzia American tour is so poorly-timed that it’s nearly offensive. The producers couldn’t have known, could they? On the one hand, there’s the appreciation of Mexico’s song, dance, and natural resources. On the other, there’s the fact that ICE is indefinitely detaining immigrants as well as asylum seekers near the Mexican border. It’s deporting LEGAL residents across the US. It had been separating families because it could. “But why does light entertainment have to be dragged through politics? It’s just a show!” Because the political is personal, my friends. There are immigrants living in Boston who are at risk of deportation as I type. We, as artists and audience members, can’t forget the fascist actions of the the President because it’s convenient. We must be better. Continue reading