Oct 16

Everything And More; or, Why My Ex is Straight Now: “The Rocky Horror Show”

Richard O’Brien’s THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW / MOONBOX PRODUCTIONS 2021
Photography: Molly Shoemaker

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Music, lyrics and book by Richard O’Brien
Directed by David Lucey
Music Directed by Mindy Cimini
Choreography by Daniel Forest Sullivan
Dramaturgy by Allison Olivia Choat

October 16 – 31, 2021
Oct. 23 & 24 @ 7PM (ASL Interpreted Performance)
Fri 10/29 8pm (Audio Described Performance)
“The Lab” 
25 Brattle Street
Cambridge MA 02138
Moonbox on Facebook

Please note: Masks and either Proof of Vaccination/Negative PCR Covid Test Results (within 72 hours) are REQUIRED for entry. Thank you for helping us keep everyone safe!

Tickets are General Admission with Pay-What-You-Can* Seating available at the box office prior to each performance.

Content warning: Language, SEXual content, and fabulous drag queens across the gender spectrum

Review by Kitty Drexel

Cambridge, MA — The Rocky Horror Show at The Lab in Harvard Square is everything Rocky Horror could be during these COVID-times and more. Its energy is electric. The cast is damn brilliant. The band is brilliant. Every single person involved in the preview on Friday night knows how to get down (and get back up again). 

Moonbox’s The Rocky Horror Show will cure what ails you – removing the cause but not the symptom. The Lab is awash in bisexual lighting when you enter; we were all lit up in pinks, purple and subtle blues. Gobos twirled above our heads as we sat in rows facing the audience. OMGs, it was so much fun!  Continue reading

Oct 15

It’s “Rent”: “RENT 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour ‘Farewell Season of Love'”

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Credit Amy Boyle 2019.

Produced by Work Light Productions
Book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Directed by Evan Ensign 
Based on the original staging by Michael Greif
Choreography by Marlies Yearby  
Music Supervision and Additional Arrangements by Tim Weil 

Shubert Theater COVID-19 protocols

Boch Center Shubert Theatre
265 Tremont St 
Boston, MA 02116
Rent tour on Instagram

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — RENT 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour “Farewell Season of Love” at the Shubert Theater is Rent.  You will love it or hate it based on your preferences for the dated rock musical.

My lovely wife and I had a fun time. We like the show. The people sitting immediately behind us had a better time. They said they’d seen it every time it came through New England. That’s a lot of Rent. 

Rent is now a period piece. It was first performed on Broadway in 1996; I was a sophomore in high school. Bill Clinton had taken office for his first term that January.  Continue reading

Jun 04

Donate Now so Theatre Can Exist Later: “Songs for A New World”

The soloists from “Songs for A New World.”

Songs For A New World, A Performance to Benefit SpeakEasy Stage
Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music directed by Jose Delgado
Cast includes Rashed Alnuaimi, Laura Marie Duncan, Jennifer Ellis, Dwayne P. Mitchell, Davron Monroe, Mikayla Myers, Rebekah Robles, Alexander Tan, and Victor Carrillo Tracey
The program is HERE

May 26 – June 8, 2021
Streaming to your Device
Tickets  
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

STREAMING — SpeakEasy stage had two COVID compliance officers, and a testing coordinator. OccMed provided health services to the Song for A New World Team and Viracor Eurofins Clinical Diagnostics was their COVID testing provider. A disclaimer that COVID safety protocols were followed during rehearsals and recording of this fundraiser. Continue reading

May 24

2Life Communities Presented “L’Chaim 2 Life!” Virtual Concert on May 23

Photo of Skybell in “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” provided by 2Life Communities.

Presented by 2Life Communities
Hosted by Amy Schectman 
Dramaturgy interview with Dr. Barbara Wallace Grossman
Featuring vocalist Steven Skybell, Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and music director and Tony Award-nominated composer Zalmen Mlotek.
Fiddler in Yiddish online

May 23, 2021 at 11 AM
Streamed via private YouTube link
Boston, MA and New York, NY

Review by Kitty Drexel

YouTube — On May 23 at 11 AM, 2Life Communities and host 2Life Communities President and CEO Amy Schectman celebrated universal themes of community, tradition and life with their virtual, fundraising concert L’Chaim 2Life.”  Broadway notables, performer Steven Skybell and composer Zalmen Mlotek, performed selections from their Off-Broadway hit production Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish Continue reading

Mar 16

Another Day, Another Destiny: “Winter Panto 2021: The Panto Games”

Tributes in the Arena. Photo credit imaginary beasts.

Presented by imaginary beasts 
Directed by Matthew Woods 
Written by Matthew Woods & Noah Simes 
Costumes: Cotton Talbot-Minkin 
Visual Design & Illustration: Lillian P.H. Kology 
Production Stage Management: Sophia Nora Giordano 
Video Editing & Design: Sophia Nora Giordano 
Technical Direction: Bob Mussett 
Puppet Design & Construction: Sophia Nora Giordano & Jamie Semel 
Cast: Michael Chodos, Laura Detweiler, Molly Kimmerling, Catherine Luciani, Tara Harbert,  Colin McIntire, Amy Meyer, Bob Mussett, Elizabeth Owens, Jill Rogati, Kiki Samko, Jamie  Semel, Noah Simes, Derek Smith, Jennifer Taschereau, and Matthew Woods with Sara Kenney  and Hannah Uher 

March 13, 14, 20 at 4:00 pm ET and March 19 at 7:30 pm ET on Zoom 
New show added! March 21 at 4 pm!
Tickets: imaginarybeasts.eventbrite.com 
All tickets are Pay What You Wish with a $0 minimum
imaginary beasts on Facebook 

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — The imaginary beasts yearly panto is a Massachusetts theatre institution. It doesn’t feel like wintertime without it! So thank goodness the beasties rallied and produced their February family-show in March.  Continue reading

Feb 20

Letting the Days Go By: “Giver of Light”

Presented by Guerilla Opera
Based on the life of Rumi 
music and libretto by Adam Roberts 
Stage direction by Andrew Eggert 
Electronics Composition by Anıl Çamcı
Sung in English 
75 minutes

Feb 18, 7:00 PM EST – Mar 18, 7:00 PM EDT

Sparrow Live

This production originally commissioned and performed in 2013 at the Boston Conservatory Black Box Theatre.  
GO on Facebook 
Sparrow Live on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“now even the heavens
are thankful that
because of love
i have become
the giver of light”
– Excerpt from “i was dead” by Mawlānā Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī, the Sufi mystic and poet. 

“And you may ask yourself, ‘How do I work this?’
And you may ask yourself, ‘Where is that large automobile?’
And you may tell yourself, ‘This is not my beautiful house’
And you may tell yourself, ‘This is not my beautiful wife'”
-Excerpted from “Once In A Lifetime” by The Talking Heads

SPARROW LIVE — This critique of Guerilla Opera’s 2013 performance of GIver of Light will not critique the performance. The Boston Classical ReviewBoston Musical Intelligencer, and the Boston Globe reviewed Giver of Light while it was in production.  

I am instead responding to the watch party held on February 18 on Sparrow Live. Sparrow Live’s About section on its website says, “(Our) mission is to democratize access to the arts by connecting artists with their audiences through high-quality experiences. Sparrow Live’s vision is a barrier-free relationship of equals between artists and audiences.” Continue reading

Jan 11

We Love to Hear It: “the motown project”

Alicia Hall Moran

Via the Under the Radar Festival 2021
Conceived, arranged, and performed by Alicia Hall Moran
Presented by Joe’s Pub
Part of Joe’s Pub New York Voices Commission
Executive Producer: Thomas O. Kriegsmann / ArKtype
Featuring:  Thomas Flippin (guitar), Steven Herring (vocals), Barrington Lee (vocals), Jason Moran (piano), and Reggie Washington (bass) in collaboration with choreographer Amy Hall Garner

Production Program 
January 8 – 17, 2021
The Public Theater YouTube Channel
Public Theater on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

YouTube — Opera singers can sing anything.

Twelve years ago I took an audition course at London’s ArtsEd summer school as part of my then year-long transition from singing opera to musical theatre. On the first day, like with so any courses of its ilk, the instructors had the students sing for each other. I sang a Kurt Weill piece to show off my legit voice with the intention of following up with a mixed belt/character piece should the instructors request it.  Continue reading

Aug 18

“Knoxville: Summer of 1915” and the Voyage of Nostalgia

Soprano/Vocals by Sarah Moyer
Piano by Timothy Steele
Artistic Direction by Ryan Turner
Composed by Samuel Barber
Based on prose poem by James Agee

Emmanuel Music
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
YouTube

Review by Gillian Daniels

ZOOM — You are here and you are not here. You are waiting in your bedroom for your next Zoom meeting to start, you are in the shower taking fifteen minutes for yourself away from your kids, or you are putting on your mask, ready to head into work where you’re considered essential staff, but not essential enough for customers to remember to wear their masks when you take their order.

Simultaneously, your mind is thinking about your family road trips to Iowa, the raucous laughter of your friends in eighth grade, and traveling, once, to Paris. It’s been months since you’ve seen your family all in one place. You’re in your body, living through a strange time and a terrifying plague, simultaneously overwhelmed and bored while sitting in your room for the ninth hour in a row, feeling the spray from the showerhead, or sitting as far as you can from other masked people on the T, some of whom let their masks sit beneath their nostrils because, apparently, the smell of the train is that important. But you’re also encapsulated in your memories.

You are inside a refuge of the mind, the kind Knoxville: Summer of 1915 invokes with Sarah Moyer’s voice and the parred down instrumentation of Timothy Steele. Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is performed as part of a series called Summer Sessions from Emmanuel Music. Continue reading

Aug 10

“Chelsea People”: Getting to Know Your Community Through Theatre

Jessica Armijo Sabillon, right, with her family at O’Malley State Park in Chelsea. (L-R) Daughter Michelle, 13, her husband Reymer and daughter Adriana, 17. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Produced by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Part of Apollinaire in the Park 2020 (Online Edition): Chelsea People
Directed by: Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Music directed by David Reiffel
Composition by Allyssa Jones, David Reiffel, and David Rivera

August 8th 2020 at 8PM
The Chelsea Collaborative – Jessica L. Armijo
Apollinaire on Facebook
Chelsea Collab on Facebook

Critique by Afrikah Smith

ZOOM — How well do you know your community? Your neighbors? Friends? In our daily interactions, or lack thereof, we each hold a story within us worth telling, waiting for the right moment, or perhaps, the right people to tell.

In Apollinaire in the Park 2020: Chelsea People, the theatre challenged itself to create original plays and music based on interviews by community members nominated by the city’s leading community organizations: GreenRoots and the Chelsea Collaborative. The series ended with the story of Jessica Armijo. Continue reading

Jul 05

New Frontiers for Community Opera: “The ZOOMpresario”

Presented by Opera Del West
Based on The Impresario, A Comic Opera in one Act 
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
German text by Gottlieb Stephanie, Jr.
Additional English text and lyrics by Dan Shore
Video, stage direction by Brenda Huggins
Music direction by Eve K Budnick
Video engineering by Larry Budnick

Debuted to the internet on July 3, 2020
Available now on Youtube at https://youtu.be/4oEc6a8ORhs
Opera Del West on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Based purely on the self-deprecating tones of Music Director Eve Budnick and Lyricist Dan Shore during the performance’s live pre-show, I was expecting The ZOOMpresario to be of poor quality and unenjoyable. I was happy to be wrong. 

Both Budnick and Shore discussed the abundance with great confidence about their inexperience with virtual software and video. This is the antithesis of how artists are taught to present themselves. They could have been impressing us with their performers’ adaptability in the times of quarantine. They could have been discussing how they molded Mozart’s one-act opera to modern times. Instead, we were lead to believe that The ZOOMpresario’s creators weren’t suited to their task by their own words.  Continue reading