Feb 12

45 Proposes Withdrawing Federal Funding for PBS, NPR & NEA

Please see The Hill for the recent article about the President’s dastardly proposal to cut funding to the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS) and National Public Radio (NPR).

Article by Joe Concha: http://thehill.com/homenews/media/373434-trump-proposes-eliminating-federal-funding-for-pbs-npr 

Here is information on a proposal to withdraw funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
Article 1:  http://www.artsactionfund.org/news/entry/white_house_releases_fy_2019_budget_request_to_congress
Article 2:  http://www.artsactionfund.org/news/entry/arts_action_fund_statement_on_the_presidents_fy2019_budget_proposal

NPR, PBS and the NEA are vital resources for everyone living in the US. Cutting funding would impact the US budget only minimally. This is largely a demoralizing gesture to indicate how 45 presides as a fascist demagogue. Don’t let this tactic work.

Feb 12

See the Movie First: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Book by Linda Woolverton
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Directed by Jane Staab
Music direction by Steven Bergman
Choreography by Laurel Conrad

Feb. 2 – March 4, 2018
Feb. 25 & March 2, ASL and audio-described
Wheelock College; Boston Campus
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA 02215
WFT on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” ― attributed to Margaret Atwood.

(Boston, MA) Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (DBatB) is beloved in all its forms. The 2017 film with Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, and a vastly underutilized Audra McDonald, is a charming retelling with updates to make it more palatable for contemporary audiences. The 1994 musical adaptation of the 1991 film is not. The original Disney movie was notable for its strides in animation technology, but not for its intersectionally feminist portrayal of accepting others for their differences. Unfortunately for Wheelock Family Theatre, this problematic musical hasn’t received the update treatment. In some ways, it’s worse that the 1991 film. Continue reading

Feb 09

LADYSMITH BLACK MAMBAZO: Sunday, February 11, 3pm

Boston, MA — World Music/CRASHarts presents Ladysmith Black Mambazo on Sunday, February 11, 3pm at Sanders Theater, 45 Quincy St., Cambridge. Tickets are $48, $37, $32, and $28, reserved seating. For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at www.WorldMusic.org.
(Cambridge, MA) With the power of gospel and the precision of Broadway, Ladysmith Black Mambazo is the undisputed king of mbube, South African a cappella singing. The group came together in the early 1960s and continues to thrill audiences around the world with its strong, proud melodies harmonized in layers of call and response.

Continue reading

Feb 08

Rooted and Roots-less: “KNYUM”

Photo by Meghan Moore.

 

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Vichet Chum
Directed by KJ Sanchez

Venue: 50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
January 10 – February 4, 2018
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) We owe our individual existences to thousands of coincidences in history, but our identities are forged through careful curation. Many find their identities come preformed for them, whether
they like it or not, but some, like second-generation immigrants, must sort early in life through
conflicting information and cultural influences to find who they are. Continue reading

Feb 08

Flighty “Die Fledermaus” Wobbles But Lands

FPresented by The Harvard College Opera
Composed by Johann Strauss II
Libretto by Karl Haffner and Richard Genée
Music Directed by Sasha Yakub
Stage Directed by Mitch Polonsky

Agassiz Theater
Cambridge, MA
Jan 31 – Feb 4
Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) The Harvard College Opera succeeds in creating a production of Die Fledermaus with the boozy haze that one would associate with a show that sings a tribute to champagne, dubbed “the king of wines!” How else would a woman, Rosalinde (Veronica Richer, a marvelous soprano), successfully disguise herself from her husband, Eisenstein (Ethan Craigo), with a flimsy mask? Why else would an innocent man, Alfred (the charming Samuel Rosner), happily go to prison instead of the husband of his beloved? The logic of this operetta is certainly rooted in the logic of being pleasantly drunk. It’s only when the show becomes more interested in its sensibility than its story, like someone drinking under the impression he’s far funnier and balanced than he thinks he is, that it begins to wobble. Continue reading

Jan 30

“In the Eruptive Mode”: A Woman Can’t Live on Poetry

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Written and directed by Sulayman Al-Bassam
Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre (SABAB Theatre)

Emerson Paramount Center
Boston, MA
Jan 24-28, 2018
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) In the Eruptive Mode is a quasi-feminist collection of monologues that tells a disjointed tale of suffering, hopes and personal struggle, set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring. The six monologues span a range of characters from a pragmatic prostitute unwillingly caught in a revolution, to a surreal American business woman pitching the next heir to an Arab throne to foreign investors. Hala Omran and Catherine Gowl give energetic and passionate performances that add vitality to Al-Bassam’s often intangible writing. In the Eruptive Mode, as the title suggests, is not a fully formed play. The script spills out unconstrained and oftentimes unintelligible and whilst there are bursts of poetry throughout, the piece overall felt flimsy and confusing. Continue reading

Jan 29

Justice for Jerrod and Regina: “Hype Man”


Presented by Company One Theatre
By Idris Goodwin
Directed by Shawn LaCount
Music direction & beat making by Kadahj Bennett
Dramaturgy by Jessie Baxter, Tatiana Isabel Gil
Choreography by Misha Shields

Jan 26 – Feb 24, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
Boston, MA
C1 on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The prep work done for Hype Man is intensely impressive. From the dramaturgy work by Baxter and Gil, beat making staging/choreography performed in chorus with the sound engineering by Debra Marcus, the combined efforts of the cast and crew of are not to be taken lightly. A lot of it looks deceptively simple. It isn’t. That it does speaks greatly of the craft hours that went into this production. Continue reading

Jan 26

Anything But Typical: “Irresistible”

LAB cover photo on Facebook

Presented by Liars and Believers
Directed by Jason Slavick
A list of collaborators and other info is HERE

January 24, 2018 One Night Only
Sonia at the Middle East
10 Brookline St
Cambridge, MA
LAB on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Irresistible is Liars & Believers most recent, most experimental collabortive project to date. It is incredibly important, when considering the expected outcome of experiments, to remember that the majority of experiments fail. Failure does not negate the significance of the experiment. Rather, it gives the technician an opportunity to understand what didn’t work. Failure can be good.     Continue reading

Jan 26

Caregiver Vents and Mourns in “Mala”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company and ArtsEmerson
Written and performed by Melinda Lopez
Directed by David Dower

Jan. 6 – Feb. 4, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) “Dying doesn’t make you wise,” says Melinda Lopez, describing the death of her tough, stubborn mother. “Dying doesn’t make you generous.” The words could serve as the thesis of Mala, a story of a loyal daughter processing guilt and bitterness over the death of her elderly parents. Baked into the subject matter is a grim but gentle humor, one that picks at the coat of polish usually applied to recollections of the grieving process. Lopez’s pain, here, is visceral and true, not some softly lit movie set. Continue reading

Jan 25

Subvert Everything; 1 Critique and 1 Op-Ed: “Proof”

Photo: Forden Photography. Design: Bird Graphics; Featuring Michael Tow & Lisa Nguyen.

Presented by the Nora Theatre Company
Written by David Auburn
Directed by Michelle M. Aguillon

Jan. 18 – Feb. 18, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Introduction: Below are two pieces in response to The Nora Theatre’s production currently playing at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA. First is my critique of the production. The second is an opinionated response from fellow Geek Noelani Kamelamela. I asked Noelani to write a response to the production because representation is important. Three out of four cast members of Proof are Asian-American. This is significant because David Auburn didn’t factor race into his writing process. This means white was his default. No one gets extra credit for treating people of color like human beings. The Nora does get kudos for subverting the racial paradigm.

Review by Kitty Drexel

“In a good proof there is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy. The argument takes so odd and surprising a form; the weapons used seems so childishly simple when compared with the far-reaching consequences; but there is no escape from the conclusions.”  – G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology

(Cambridge, MA) The stigma around mental illness remains sharp. The Nora Theatre’s production of Proof doesn’t tackle this stigma so much as wait until the audience is pliable and then viciously assault it. It isn’t gentle but it is effective.   Continue reading