Mar 25

Masterly, Fun Fiddling: NATALIE MACMASTER

Photo Credit: Care of the Natalie MacMaster Facebook Page

Presented by World Music/Crasharts Festival: Winter/Spring 2013

Sanders Theatre
Cambridge, MA
Saturday March 23, 2013
World Music/CRASHarts Facebook Page
Natalie MacMaster Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idebrook

(Cambridge) When done right, there is something so unpretentiously fun about the Celtic music that comes from the little Nova Scotian island of Cape Breton.  Rooted in Scottish musical traditions and honed in kitchen parties on long winter nights, it is a musical form that is vibrant, heartfelt and accessible.  And few Cape Breton products so embody the spirit of this musical scene better than Natalie MacMaster, a world-class fiddler from world-class fiddling stock.  Continue reading

Mar 22

Not Your Daddy’s Rock Opera: URO’s JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Courtesy of the URO Facebook Page

Words and Music by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Presented by The Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra*

The Norwood Theatre
109 Central St.
Norwood, MA
March 21st at 7:00 pm – March 24th at 2:00 pm
URO Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Norwood) The Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra (URO) rocks. They have made a brilliant career out of rocking classics by musicians such as The Beatles, Bowie, and Queen. Last night’s performance of Jesus Christ Superstar was no exception. Put simply, they capture all the funk that Andrew Lloyd Weber missed. Continue reading

Mar 17

Muito Obrigado: Ana Moura at the Berklee Performance Center

Photo borrowed from the lovely Ms. Moura's Facebook Page

Photo borrowed from the lovely Ms. Moura’s Facebook Page

World Music/CRASHarts presents, in collaboration with the Mass Cultural Council

Saturday, March 16, 2013
Berklee Performance Center
Boston, MA
World Music/CRASHarts Facebook Page
Ana Moura Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston by way of Portugal) While a large percentage of Bostonians were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day (a made up holiday to celebrate something that never happened) there was a smaller part of Boston reaping the benefits of Portuguese culture. The concert given by Ana Moura and her exquisite band (Portuguese guitar player Angelo Freire plays with incomparable skill. His performance was virtuosic.) on Saturday, March 16 was as near perfect as fate can make it. She performed traditional Fado, Portuguese folk, and jazz standard from her 2012 CD, Desfado. Continue reading

Mar 14

Moonbox Productions presents A NEW BRAIN

Moonbox Productions presents
William Finn and James Lapine’s
Hilarious, Engaging and Uplifting Musical
A NEW BRAIN

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Directed by Allison Choat
Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez

March 15 – April 6, 2013
BCA Plaza Theatre
530 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Moonbox Production’s Facebook Page

 A musical based on the actual life experience of composer William Finn. This engaging and fast-paced musical by the author of Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee recounts the life-changing experience of fictional composer, Gordon Schwinn.  Barely enduring a frustrating job working on a children’s TV show, Gordon suffers a sudden life-threatening brain disorder which sends him into emergency surgery.  The tumultuous, comical and surreal ordeal that engulfs Gordon and those closest to him — his mother, partner and publicist — teaches everyone, especially Gordon, something profound about what is truly important in life, and in love.

Approximate Running Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes with no intermission. Continue reading

Mar 11

Dead Nuns and Stubble: NUNSENSE A-MEN

The Little Sisters getting jiggy.

Presented by LynnArts After Hours
by Dan Goggin

Directed by Kevin Cirone
Choreographed by Nicole Spirito
Music directed by Mario Cruz,

LynnArts
Rantoul Black Box Theatre
25 Exchange Street
Lynn, MA 01901
March 7th – March 23rd, 2013
Lynn Arts After Hours Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lynn) Traditional nuns make such easy targets for comedy, dressed so imposingly and yet looking so much like penguins.  Dan Goggin, the creator of the Nunsense  series, makes comedic scriptwriting look easy when nuns get involved; his scripts read like a group of friends began to one-up each other over drinks to devise funny scenes about nuns.  If nuns are funny, the script seems to say, then nuns at a leper colony are funnier.  If leperous nuns are funny, then nuns getting high are even funnier.  And if nuns getting high don’t give you a case of the guffaws, then nothing beats a bunch of dead nuns in the freezer. Continue reading

Feb 05

Moving Melodrama: “Oliver!”

Photo by Gary Ng

Photo by Gary Ng

presented by Wheelock Family Theatre

Adapted from the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
Book, music, and lyrics by Lionel Bart.
Directed by Susan Kosoff.
Musical direction by Jon Goldberg.
Choreography by Laurel Conrad.

January 25th – February 24th, 2013
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock Family Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Because Charles Dickens has become such a part of our cultural tapestry, the edges of his work have been smoothed with time; but make no mistake, Dickens is a social commentator first and a storyteller second.  Often his stories are a series of unfortunate events, where good people must navigate the evils of society while trying to keep their souls intact. Continue reading

Feb 04

Irish Nationalism and Irish Charm: “The Irish and How They Got That Way”

Gregg Hammer, Janice Landry, Jon Dykstra, Meredith Beck, Andrew Crowe and Irene Molloy

Gregg Hammer, Janice Landry, Jon Dykstra, Meredith Beck,
Andrew Crowe and Irene Molloy

Frank McCourt’s The Irish and How They Got That Way

Directed by Danielle Paccione Colombo

Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
January 24 – March 17, 2013
Frank McCourt’s Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville) Frank McCourt’s The Irish and How They Got That Way is a musical revue that’s less about the Irish than what goes into being Irish American.  Lots of drinking and tragic songs, it says. The fare is light, airy, and mainly interested in adding to the mystique of the Emerald Isle.

The Irish and How They Got That Way is infectious in its charm.  It’s funny, sweet, and, at least for the first half of the show, sad.  Stirring versions of “Danny Boy,” “Fields of Athenry,” and “Mrs. McGrath” can be difficult to endure without a twinge of feeling.  The show never makes the mistake of taking itself too seriously, though, with a cast all too happy to lapse into “Give My Regards to Broadway” as well as the comic, “Finnegan’s Wake.”  Storytelling and scraps of history keep the action moving between numbers. Continue reading

Jan 29

An Epic Act of Foley: “Lo-Fi Lowdown”

Pictured: Tanya O’Debra Photo credit: Molly Peck

Pictured: Tanya O’Debra Photo credit: Molly Peck

Act One: Jazz Noir, by Bremner Duthie
Act Two: RADIO STAR, by Tanya O’Debra
Directed by Peter James Cook
Original Music by Andrew Mauriello

January 27th @ 7pm
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
Lo-Fi Lowdown Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge) Lo-Fi Lowdown was an homage to the Noir style and the art that it inspires. The first half of the performance was a jumping jazz concert lead by Bremner Duthie and his combo. The second half belonged to Tanya O’Debra and her one-woman radio play Radio Star. Together these two halves complied a fresh evening of cabaret and Foley fun. Continue reading

Jan 21

Good, Right, True: “Legend of Sleepy Hollow: An American Pantomime”

Imaginary Beasts 2013

Imaginary Beasts 2013; no horses were used in this production. They gave full consent.

presented by Imaginary Beasts: Winter Panto 2013
Part of the Emerging Theatre Company program

Conceived and written by Matthew Woods and the Ensemble

Directed by Matthew Woods
Choreography by Joey Pelletier and Kiki Samko

January 11 – February 2, 2013
Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Imaginary Beasts Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) The pantomime (panto) began its troubled youth as British entertainment based on the Elizabethan masque. It touched on classical subjects, included music and often borrowed from the Commedia dell’Arte style. These days, if one travels to jolly olde England during the Christmas and New Year’s season, one is confronted with vaudeville debauchery, bedazzled drag queens, slapstick and heaps of audience participation. It’s amazing that the US hasn’t already adopted the Panto and claimed it as our own invention. Enter Legend of Sleepy Hollow: An American Pantomime.

The form has been simplified and adapted for the small stage by Imaginary Beasts and contains the same wacky charm as its British cousin and more of the brash sassiness expected from the fringe theatre scene. We’re treated to country line dancing, Rocky references, and an extra hairy Fairy Godfather (Mikey DiLoreto) who speaks in rhyme and verse but not to a multimedia spectacular. The charm is in the ensemble’s work and it is served with campy flair. Continue reading

Jan 14

Incomplete Sweetness: MARRY ME A LITTLE

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

presented by New Repertory Theatre

songs by Stephen Sondheim
conceived and developed by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene
directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
musical direction by David McGrory

Arsenal Center for the Arts
in the Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
January 6th – January 27th, 2013
New Repertory Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) As a songwriter, Stephen Sondheim is better than you.  He just is.

He mastered the art of straightforward musicals with West Side Story and he’s been toying with us ever since.  After figuring out what sappy audiences want in a love song, he’s been not giving it to them, choosing instead to dwell in the tensions and the ambiguities of our romantic natures in lovely, sonic dissonance. Continue reading