Sep 21

Don’t Hate the Players, Hate the Stage: Shit-Faced Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

One of the SGS: AMSND casts; Photo credit- Nile Scott Studio.

Presented by Shit-faced Shakespeare®
The Saturday night cast:
Compere (the host)- Tyler Rosati
Hermia- Elizabeth Hartford
Demetrius- Evan Turissini
Lysander- Sam Fidler
Helena- Grace Graham
Puck- Brett Milanowski
Lights and sound- Sarah Morin

Sept. 16 – Dec. 4 at 7PM
The Rockwell Theater
Davis Square
Somerville, MA
SFS social media: shitfacedshake; Sfacedshakespeare.us

Review by Kitty Drexel

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The premise of Shit-Faced Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is simple: there’s a cast of five actors performing an abridged version of Shakespeare’s play. One of them is very drunk. The drunk actor changes every performance, as does the cast. A mediator, the Compere (Tyler Rosati), opens the show and keeps the drunk person on task. 

Before the show, the Compere gives the audience three tools to make the performance more interesting. A gong and cowbell, when played, mandate that the drunkard must imbibe another drink. A bucket is employed when the drunkard has had too much. It assumed that the gong and bell are used once each but the trove of onstage beverages kept for this purpose held many more than two. A bucket-holder, bless them, will know if the bucket is needed more than once from the muffled sounds of discomfort echoing from the drunkard.  Continue reading

Sep 15

Is the Rhythm Nation Unionized? Or, Fun is Fun: Amazon’s “Cinderella” 

Produced by Amazon Studios 
Director and writer Kay Cannon
Musical score by Mychael Danna and Jessica Rose Weiss
Cinematography by Henry Braham
Film Editing by Stacey Schroeder
Songs arranged by Keith Harrison
Score performed by Synchron Stage Orchestra
Conducted by Johannes Vogel
Choreography by Ashley Wallen

Review by Kitty Drexel

Amazon — The new Cinderella by Amazon Studios and Kay Cannon is receiving many bad reviews. Cinderella isn’t bad. It’s mediocre. It’s Glee

This Cinderella is written for and appeals to a new generation of consumers. It’s not for us; it’s for a population of The Voice fans who skim Instagram as they tweet their deepest thoughts.

It’s sexist and racist. Women are still degrading themselves for men. The leads and most secondary characters are majority white. England is so busy attempting to correct its inherent classism that it can’t cast BIPOC as leads in the stories it appropriates. (It’s not enough to put non-white people in mainstream movies and TV. You’ve got to let them tell their own stories.)  Continue reading

Sep 05

Geeks Review Books: “Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created ‘Sunday in the Park with George'”

Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created “Sunday in the Park with George”
By James Lapine
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
https://us.macmillan.com/books/9780374200091
Hardcover/e-Book
$40.00
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374200091
416 Pages

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — The world is on fire right now: Texas has nearly outlawed abortion access. The women and girls of Afghanistan are being systematically stripped of their human rights as the world watches. There is still a pandemic and not nearly enough people are getting vaccinated. People in Louisiana don’t have electric power. The West Coast is experiencing a severe drought. The people of Haiti are still recovering from a devastating earthquake on August 14. But, we’re still expected to behave like everything is okay. Things aren’t okay. 

I made a promise to post a book review in exchange for a copy of Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created “Sunday in the Park with George.”  It was difficult to read this book. It isn’t the book’s fault that extenuating circumstances made focus of any kind difficult. August was a difficult month. The book itself is great. 

Putting It Together: How Stephen Sondheim and I Created “Sunday in the Park with George” is a book by writer and director James Lapine on the genesis and exegesis of creating the famous musical with Stephen Sondheim about the paining “Un dimanche après-midi à l’Ile de la Grande Jatte” by Georges Seurat.  Continue reading

Sep 04

Pawpaw Trees are the Gateway to Orgiastic Ritual: “Hurricane Diane”

Jennifer Bubriski, Kris Sidberry, Esme Allen, Marianna Bassham, and Rami Margron “Hurricane Diane” Photo: Nile Hawver

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Madeleine George
Directed by Jenny Koons 
Original music and sound design by Ben Scheff
Voice coaching by Christine Hamel
Intimacy Consultant: Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson

The Playbill
August 27 – September 26, 2021
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 
527 Tremont Street 
Boston MA 02116
The Huntington on social media: @huntington

PLEASE NOTE: This production includes strobe lighting effects and a simulated thunderstorm.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

– Dorothy Parker, theatre critic, poet & hero

BOSTON, Mass. — Hurricane Diane is fun and topical. It smacks of “The Witches of Eastwick.” Please go see it. 

It is recommended that attendees get vaccinated. Everyone must wear a mask (even performers when not actively performing). It’s not just your friendly, neighborhood theatre critic telling you, it’s also on The Huntington’s website

There are two sets of ushers after the BCA’s Box Office waiting to assist patrons into the theater. The first set of BCA staff will confirm your vaccination status or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. It behooves you to have this info at the ready so one doesn’t create a traffic jam.  Continue reading

Sep 03

“Pass Over” Reopened On Broadway. Its Truths Extend to Boston and Beyond.

Photo: Joan Marcus

“Pass Over”
Written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu
Directed in Boston by Monica White Ndounou, January 3 – February 2, 2020
Directed in New York by Danya Taymor
August Wilson Theatre
245 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Tickets on sale now

Article by Kitty Drexel

NEW YORK, NY and BOSTON, Mass.– Broadway stopped all activity in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic closed indoor entertainment venues across the nation.

Thirty-one plays and musicals were running before the shutdown, including eight new shows in previews. An additional eight productions were in rehearsals and preparing to open in the spring the Broadway League said. COVID-19 closed them all.

The fat lady had sung. Continue reading

Aug 31

Connecticut’s Flagship Producing Theaters Announce Mask and Vaccine Requirements

Article by Kitty Drexel

CONNECTICUT — A six-member consortium of Connecticut Flagship Producing Theaters announced mandatory indoor-space vaccination and mask requirements for all audience members, staff, crew, and artists to minimize exposure to COVID-19 said an August 30 press release. 

The theatres say patrons must be masked and fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine to attend an indoor performance. The vaccination and mask requirements are effective immediately and follow current CDC and state and local official guidelines. It represents a collective investment in the well-being of their respective audiences. 

Theatre vaccination and masking measures will be reassessed with changing conditions. Patrons should refer to a theatre’s website for specific requirements and possible exemptions (medical, age, etc.). 

Public Relations Manager Patricia Blaufuss said in an email, the CFPT will accept the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines from patrons.

On August 23, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 said the FDA website. It will be marketed as Comirnaty and available to treat COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.  

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Janssen COVID-19 are approved for emergency use.

Please refer to these websites for more information on safety protocols and more information about seasons, ticketing, and other updates. 

About Connecticut Flagship Producing Theaters:

CFPT is comprised of six nonprofit institutions: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Goodspeed Musicals, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Though distinctive in their missions, programming, and daily operations, CFPT members are significant contributors to Connecticut’s economy, responsible for $42M in direct economic activity each year, and enriching the lives of the more than 330,000 patrons who visit and enjoy CFPT productions annually.

Aug 26

Nine Rhode Island Venues and Organizations Mandate Vaccines and Masks for Indoor Performances

August 25, 2021
Article by Kitty Drexel

Info for patrons attending in-door events:

  • Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 required
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in the prior 72-hours
  • Proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken in the prior 6-hours
  • All patrons must wear a mask over the nose and mouth.

PROVIDENCE, RI — A cohort of nine Rhode Island performance venues and organizations will require audiences, staff, artists, and volunteers to be vaccinated and to wear masks in new COVID-19 protocols, an August 25 press release said. These protocols are in effect until further notice. 

The nine companies formed a partnership so they may safely return to performing indoors said the press release. Protocols are based on current scientific evidence and best practices around the country.

A list of the venues and theatre companies are below. 

Vaccines are not yet available for children. Visit a theatre’s website to learn more about an organization’s rules and regulations.  

Details may be revisited or revised based on CDC guidance and the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, the press release said. Audience members are advised to visit the websites of individual venues for additional restrictions or details.

These are the Rhode Island organizations in the cohort:
Festival Ballet Providence
Gamm Theatre
Island Moving Company
Providence Performing Arts Center
Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School
Trinity Repertory Company
United Theatre
Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium
Wilbury Theatre Group

Aug 20

14 Greater-Boston Theatres Announce Proof of Vaccination and Mask Requirements

Article by Kitty Drexel

  • Proof of vaccination or a Negative COVID-19 test is required
  • Masks must be worn
  • New survey results show majority of arts goers support these measures
  • Bindle, a digital vaccine record app, is free. http://www.joinbindle.com/people

BOSTON — Fourteen theatre companies in the Greater Boston area will require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for all artists, staff members, and audiences as live, indoor performances resume for the 2021/2022 season, said a press release dated August 19. Masks are also required. 

The list of participating theatres is below.

The press release said that these policies begin immediately and remain valid through October 31. Policies are per CDC guidelines and will be reevaluated as COVID-19 pandemic evolves. 

“Proof of vaccination may include showing either a vaccination card, a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine record (through an app such as Bindle at www.joinbindle.com/people),” said the press release. Audience members without proof of vaccination will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID test before entering.

Individual theatres will list specific protocols and guidelines on their websites. At this time, New England Theatre Geek has received protocol updates from the Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Central Square Theater in addition to the joint press release from the fourteen theatres. 

The New England Theatre Geek eagerly awaits updates from other New England performing institutions. “We are reluctant to attend or review indoor performances by organizations that do not enact similar protocols and safety measures,” said Queen Geek Kitty Drexel. 

“Our primary mission is to support our theatre community. We cannot do that if organizations aren’t first taking the necessary steps to protect their staff, crew and casts. Audience members can’t make informed decisions if they aren’t assured the community’s health is a priority.”  

The June 2021 results of the ArtsBoston Audience Outlook Monitor survey said that 73% of audiences plan to resume indoor performances by Sept 2021. Audience Outlook Monitor is a longitudinal survey to keep tabs on arts attendees thoughts, concerns and intentions as the pandemic and the state’s reopening guidelines evolve, said ArtsBoston.com.

The 14 theatre joint press release said that the most recent round of Audience Outlook Monitor survey data (collected August 9 – 13, 202) found that 80% of respondents indicated that proof of vaccination would make them more likely to attend indoor events. 50% said that proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is a prerequisite for their attendance. 98% of respondents reported being fully vaccinated or planning to do so. 

Theatres in New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago have established similar policies requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test and mask wearing.

It is good practice to stay home if experiencing COVID symptoms on the day of the performance. Common symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell. 

PARTICIPATING THEATRES:
Actors’ Shakespeare Project*
American Repertory Theater (ART)
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre*
Central Square Theater*
The Front Porch Arts Collective
The Gamm Theatre*
Gloucester Stage Company*
Greater Boston Stage Company*
The Huntington Theatre Company 
Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse*
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Moonbox Productions
SpeakEasy Stage Company*
Wellesley Repertory Theatre*
 *Member of New England Area Theaters (NEAT), an association of midsize theatres

Aug 19

Resign yourself to the influence of the Earth: “Walden”

Gabriel Brown, Diana Oh, and Jenna Yi | Photo: Christopher Capozziello

TheaterWorks Hartford, in partnership with Riverfront Recapture
By Amy Berryman
Directed by Mei Ann Teo
Set Design by You-Shin Chen 
Lighting Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Sound Design by Hao Bai
Costume Designer by Alice Tavener
Playbill is HERE

In-person performances, Tuesday–Sunday at 8pm, now through August 29, 2021. 
100 Meadow Road
Windsor, CT
Streaming, August 15 — 29, 2021
TheatreWorks Hartford on social media: @TWHartford

Critique by Kitty Drexel

HARTFORD, Conn. — TheatreWorks Hartford, in partnership with Riverfront Recapture, presents Amy Berryman’s Walden. It is a play about estranged twin sisters who must reconcile their differing political beliefs with their need to remain connected in a world devastated by humanity-induced climate change. 

In-person performances for Walden continue now through August 29. Walden streams August 15 – 29. Check the tickets website for in-person, at home, or pop-up streaming options. 

Here is the summary from the TheatreWorks website: “In Walden, after returning from a year-long Moon mission, Cassie (Jeena Yi), a NASA botanist, finds herself in a remote cabin in the woods, where her estranged twin sister, Stella (Diana Oh), a former NASA architect, has found a new life with climate activist Bryan (Gabriel Brown). Old wounds resurface as the sisters attempt to pick up the pieces of the rivalry that broke them apart.” Continue reading

Aug 02

One Percenters Gone Wild: “7 Rooms: The Masque of the Red Death”

Prospero (Juliet Bowler) welcomes you! Photo via Flat Earth Theatre.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
New plays by Sari Boren, Hortense Gerardo, Gabriel Graetz, MJ Halberstadt, Michal Lin, Cliff Odle, Kelly Smith
Directed by Jessica Ernst, David R. Gammons, Lee Mikeska Gardner, Shira Helena Gitlin, Johnny Nichols, Jr., Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez, LaToya T. Robinson
“Prospero” by Amy Lehrmitt; directed by Lindsay Eagle; performed by Juliet Bowler.

Aesthetics Designs by Michael Clark Wonson
Sound by Kyle Lampe
Costumes by Zane Kealey
Props & special effects by S Ayala
Showrunner: Amy Lehrmitt

Dramaturgy by Betsy Goldman

Full cast of actors: Sydney Roslin, Kira Helper, Kristen Heider, Michael Lin, Sharmarke Yusuf, Shanelle Villegas, Kalee Burrows, Olivia Dumaine, Naomi Ibasitas, Evan Turissini, Jo Michael Rezes, Blair Nodelman, Lorraine Kanyike, and Miles Wheeler II.

July 28 – August 15, 2021
Steamed on Zoom 
Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can
Flat Earth on social media: @FE_theatre

Accessibility Notes: This online event offers captioning. Instructions are available before, and during the live-stream. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

Content Warnings: Blood, strong language, abuse of white privilege, mentions of cannibalism 

ZOOM — Flat Earth Theatre’s 7 Rooms: The Masque of the Red Death is a massive undertaking of considerably wide and deep proportions that will impress even the most nihilistic of digital theatre naysayers. 7 Rooms will tantalize; it’ll tease; it’ll entreat you to shake your booty. 

Running July 28 – August 15, audience members are invited to attend a party at Prospero’s (Juliet Bowler) extravagant mansion. There’s no need to rabble rouse with dirty plebes sick with the plague. Not when there’s a fancy ball to attend!   Continue reading