Dec 07

An Inalienable Right for Some: “1776”

Photo by Andy Brilliant/Brilliant Photography

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Co-directed by Austin Pendleton and Kelli Edwards
Music direction by Todd C. Gordon
Choreography by Kelli Edwards

Nov. 30 – Dec. 30, 2018
Mainstage Theater
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: systemic racism, sexism, bracingly tight pleather pants

(Watertown, MA) 1776 is a quirky, innuendo-laced musical about Boston’s part in the US’s bid for independence. New Rep gives us a fun production that is more timely than it is educational. This musical might be based on historical facts but this production brings new momentum to current events. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Dec 03

Castaway Caught in Colonialist Fantasy in “Shipwrecked!”

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Written by Donald Margulies
Original music composed and performed by Dan Rodriguez and the repertory cast
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat

Nov 25 – Dec 29
Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Moonbox Productions on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Halfway through Shipwrecked! An Entertainment, when Louis de Rougemont (Kevin Cirone)–a real person who claimed to have been stranded in the Pacific in his 1899 serial-turned-book–lives on an unspecified island in a carefree existence with an unspecified, idealized indigenous people who variously refer to him as “chief” or “god,” I thought I’d be writing a very different review. But the lively depiction of a “man-eating octopus” and “flying wombats” early in the show should have tipped me off. This is a narrative that pokes holes in itself, a comedy-drama, a man using a survivor’s unlikely colonialist narrative to build his self-worth, and a story about the stories we tell ourselves to feel better. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Dec 01

Salty Peanuts: “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage”

Image found via Facebook

Presented by Boch Center Schubert Theatre
Story by Charles M. Schultz
Music by Vince Guaraldi
Adapted by Eric Schaeffer

Dec. 1-2, 2018
265 Tremont, Boston, MA 02116
CB on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) The CBS television special A Charlie Brown Christmas, which premiered in 1965, has long been a holiday favorite of mine. Before I understood its sophisticate themes or even its dialogue, the adorable cartoons, slow jazz, and children’s voices were instinctively and irresistibly soothing. Decades later, Charlie Brown’s dark horse demeanor and romantic ideals still hold up as a paragon of optimism in a world that makes it so easy become disenchanted and give up our hopes and dreams.

Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Nov 06

“Peter and the Starcatcher,” and Vote Yes on 3!

With Lindsay Eagle, Robert Benton Orzalli, Michael John Ciszewski, Lauren Elias, Joey Cletis Pelletier, Molly Kimmerling, Claire Koenig and Bob Mussett. Picture by Tim Gurczak.

Produced by Hub Theatre of Boston
Written by Rick Elice
Music by Wayne Barker
Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Directed by Sarah GazdowiczNovember 2 – 17, 2018
First Church of Boston
66 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116

Hub on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) Peter and the Starcatcher is a reimagined origin story for Peter Pan. Before he was the boy who wouldn’t grow up, Peter was an orphan with no name, no friends, and no home. Robbed of their childhoods, Peter and his fellow lost boys are sold to the treacherous, orphan-hating captain of The Neverland, Bill Slank. Slank has stolen Queen Victoria’s treasure trunk and left a decoy in its place on HMS The Wasp. Also aboard The Neverland is Molly Aster, daughter of The Wasp’s captain, righteous and patriotic Lord Leonard Aster. The Asters are revealed to be more than imperial apologists when a band of pirates capture The Wasp and sail for Neverland’s stolen treasure. The adventure lands everyone on Mollusk Island, inhabited by a tribe of English-hating Italian chefs, allowing Peter to discover who he truly is and where he belongs.
Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Oct 29

Songs of Ice and Fire: “Brother Nat”

Presented by The Boston Foundation
Book and Lyrics by Jabari Asim and Liana Asim
Music by Allyssa Jones
Music Director Damien Sneed

October 25, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center
Robert J. Orange Stage
559 Washington Street
Boston, MA  02111
Brother Nat on Facebook

Critique by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) American history is black history, is slave history. It is a history that demonstrates the deepest stoicism and power of humanity. Beaten and chained, stripped of everything, Black American slaves formed communities tighter than blood, turned lifetimes of suffering into exquisite song, and used song to rise above, revolt against injustice, and redeem all humanity. Nat Turner’s Rebellion was a point of inflection in our nation’s story, which swung the course of history toward freedom and salvation. A grand opera is needed to deliver this epic. No other medium could do justice.  Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Oct 09

A Haunted House, With Music : JEKYLL & HYDE

Constantine Maroulis (Edward Hyde) with William Mulligan (The Bishop of Basingstoke). Photo©Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Directed By Robert Cuccioli
Music Direction By Milton Granger
Choreographed By Kelli Barclay
Book And Lyrics By Leslie Bricusse
Music By Frank Wildhorn
Originally Conceived By Steve Cuden and Frank Wildhorn

September 25 – October 7, 2018
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) As I was attempting to become a fiction writer, I thought I had found a clear path to getting published by watching the Lifetime Channel in November and December. The channel was chock full of terrible movies, all about some aspect of Christmas. It occurred to me that while you had to sell your soul to get a $10 check from a literary journal, surely they had to pay someone to write this shlock, and there was always demand for it. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Oct 05

Boldly “Being Earnest”

Photos: Nile Scott Studios

Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company
Direction and Choreography by Ilyse Robbins
Music by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska

13 September to 7 October, 2018
Greater Boston Stage Company
395 Main St, Stoneham, MA 02180

Written by Bishop C. Knight

(Stoneham, Massachusetts) In September, I attended the East Coast Premiere of Being Earnest at the Greater Boston Stage Company (GBSC).  This comedy runs for another week ‒ featuring actress Ephie Aardema who performs internationally, as well as other accomplished actors.  GBCS’s adaptation is set in 1960s London, and the composers stayed true to Oscar Wilde’s play. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Sep 07

Langston Hughes as “The Black Clown”

The Black Clown Production Photo
The cast of The Black Clown.
Photo: Maggie Hall.

Presented by American Repertory Theater
Adapted from Langston Hughes’ poem
Adapted by Davóne Tines and Michael Schachter
Music by Michael Schachter
Choreographed by Chanel DaSilva
Directed by Zack Winokur
Music Direction by Jaret Landon
Trumpets by Dave Adewumi and Robyn Smith
Keyboards played by Jaret Landon and Bethany Aikin
Reeds by Rajiv Halim, Isaiah Johnson, and Jason Marshall

August 31 – Sept 23, 2018
Loeb Drama Center
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Written by Bishop C. Knight

(Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA)  In The Black Clown program, the A.R.T. Artistic Director wrote how “Langston Hughes drew deeply on the traditions of African American music,” and Hughes would have been pleased with this production.  

The pit orchestra breathed life into spirituals and added rhythmic profundity to operatic adaptations of Hughes’ poems. Keyboards were played by Jaret Landon, a Chicago-based composer who was the show’s Music Director, and Bethany Aiken, who studied Music History at Oberlin College.  A theater experience fusing vaudeville, gospel, and jazz, Black Clown brought Langston Hughes’ verse to life onstage.  Every musician in this production – from the trumpet players, to the actors who themselves are acclaimed singers – every musician, per their participation in this production, paid respect both to Hughes and to the African American music at the heart of Hughes’ art. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
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

Share with Your Audience
Jun 27

Laura Neill’s “DIVAS”

The ensemble

Presented by OperaHub in collaboration with DIVA Museum
Written by Laura Neill
Produced and Stage Directed by Adrienne Boris
Music Directed and Collaborative Piano by Patricia Au
Starring Chelsea Beatty, Kathryn McKellar, Lindsay Conrad, Glorivy Arroyo, and Christie Lee Gibson

June 21 through 30, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston
OperaHub on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(South End, Boston, Massachusetts) DIVAS is a new play by the writer and educator Laura Neill.  It is being performed for the rest of this week in a black box at the BCA.  On the Sunday I attended, the black box was very warm. The man sitting next to me repeatedly wiped the sweat trickling down his brow, and half the audience was skimming through their programs, while the other half fanned their perspiring faces.  The small theatre’s high temperature didn’t seem to bother most of the patrons, who had either greying or thoroughly whitened hair. OperaHub’s noble mission is “to present high-caliber, affordable, and accessible classical music to a wide community of music and art lovers,” but looking around the audience, it was easy to remember that the classical music community remains mostly white and older. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience