Apr 17

Real Hopes and Real Dreams: “The Rosenbergs (An Opera)”

Church and Gibson; Kalman Zabarsky, Photographer

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Score by Joachim Holbek
Libretto by Rhea Leman
Music direction by Cristi Catt
Stage direction by Dmitry Troyanovsky
Dramaturgy by Magda Romanska

April 12 – 22, 2018
BPT
Boston, MA
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April 27-29, 2018
Brandeis University
Spingold Theater
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAEthel and Julius Rosenberg were accused of delivering crucial information on the creation of the atomic bomb to the USSR in 1953. This case, considered one of the most infamous spy cases in US history, validated HUAC and contributed to the country-wide paranoia known as the Red Scare. Such attacks on communist affiliates is similar to the current presidential administration’s attacks on socialism. The Rosenbergs (An Opera) considers the couple accused of treasonous espionage. It proves that the American government and the people it claims to serve have changed very little in the last 65 years. Continue reading

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Mar 26

Punk, Communist Opera to Burn Your Daddy’s Ears: The Threepenny Opera

The Threepenny Opera from Boston Lyric Opera on Vimeo.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Kurt Weill
Libretto by Bertolt Brecht
English translation by Michael Feingold
Original German text based on Elisabeth Hauptmann’s German Translation of John Gay’s
The Beggar’s Opera
Conducted by David Angus
Stage directed by James Darrah

March 16 – 25, 2018
Huntington Avenue Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) 3Penny is not your Daddy’s stodgy traditional opera. Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht were communist rabble rousers hell-bent on challenging the operatic form. They were freedom fighters rebelling against the Nazis through theatre. A stalwart Marxist, Brecht wanted to destroy opera’s association with the bourgeoisie. Weill believed opera could belong to the proletariat if given the opportunity. Both would have appreciated the BLO’s production of The Threepenny Opera. Opera purists would not.     Continue reading

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Dec 11

Honestly and Wonderfully: “She Loves Me”

The cast of “She Loves Me.” Photo by Maggie Hall.

Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company
Book Written by Joe Masteroff
Music Originally by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Directed by Ilyse Robbins
Music directed by Matthew Stern

November 24th through December 23rd, 2017
Greater Boston Stage Company on Facebook
395 Main St, Stoneham, Massachusetts 02180

Review with Bishop C. Knight

(Stoneham, Massachusetts) An adaptation of the 1937 play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László, She Loves Me is set in a perfume shop where the entire staff pauses to sing in unison “Pleeeease doooo call again” to every departing customer.  In a broad sense, this is one of those comedies defined by the positive space of its set; meaning that the characters’ workspace and workspace culture were as much part of the musical as the characters’ dialogue and songs.  She Loves Me is evocative of other comedies reliant on their sets, like Cheers and Seinfeld which respectively wouldn’t be what they are without Sammy’s Boston bar and Jerry’s apartment building. Continue reading

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Dec 06

There’s No Remedy for Fascism: “Man of La Mancha”

The cast; photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Based on the novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Book by Dale Wasserman
Music by Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Original production staged by Albert Marre
Directed by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman
Music direction by David Reiffel
Movement direction by Judith Chaffee

Dec. 1 – 24, 2017
Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA 02472
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) There were children in attendance the night I saw this production. Please note that while no one is ever undressed and strong language is avoided, MoLM does approach adult themes. Parents unwilling to discuss why a cowardly group of adult men with rage issues would rape a woman because their feelings were hurt should not bring their kids to this musical. Kids the answer is: they do it because they can.

New Rep’s production of Man of La Mancha is excellent. Get your tickets right now. Continue reading

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Nov 27

A Broadway Revival of “The Color Purple”

Presented by the Boch Center 
Book Written by Alice Walker
Musical Adapted by Marsha Norman
Music by Brenda Russell and Allee Willis

November 21st – December 3rd, 2017
Church up in Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
The Color Purple on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

“I believe…as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”  -C.S. Lewis

(Downtown Boston, Massachusetts) Dear stars and dear trees:  For all of my life, I’d been closeted about my consumption of musicals.  But after witnessing the musical revival of Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Celie and Sophie have officially folded me into musical theatre, and I want to stay swaddled in the feeling of this lively genre.  I can tell I am swooning over this Broadway show the way all firsts captivate you – your first kiss, your first live music concert, your first adult job, and your first Broadway musical.    Continue reading

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Nov 14

Misstep: “42nd Street”

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by HARRY WARREN
Lyrics by AL DUBIN
Book by MICHAEL STEWART & MARK BRAMBLE
Based on the Novel by BRADFORD ROPES
Original Direction and Dances by GOWER CHAMPION

October 31st – November 12th, 2017
North Shore Music Theatre
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) In the mood for regressive theater that features outstanding tap dancing? If you can stomach a musical with a thin plot that celebrates a time when there was no such thing as sexual harassment, then 42nd Street: The Musical is your show! You will have to try hard to find a script that is as nostalgic for the pre-Harvey Weinstein show business era as this one. It’s a revival of a revival of a 1980 play based on a 1933 movie which was designed to help people remember a time before the Great Depression. Continue reading

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Oct 30

“GoreFest XV” and Its Demons

Presented by ImprovBoston
Book by Nate Lopez
Lyrics and score by Jake Cassman
Directed by Nate Lopez
Produced by Josh Garneau

October 19 – 31, 2017
ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect Street
Central Square, Cambridge, MA 02140
ImprovBoston on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Cambridge, Massachusetts)  The cast of the horror show Gorefest XV: Horror House stars clichés such as Rich Guy, Girl Next Door, Mom Girl, Devil Girl, Overachiever Girl, Gay Guy, and Laura Dern.  They were hilariously accurate stereotypes, even Laura Dern as Laura Dern.  For example, Overachiever Girl became sulky when she placed second in a contest.  And Laura Dern screamed “Take this Academy,” as she stabbed herself with a trophy, falling to a fake death, on a stage smothered in puddles of fake blood.   Continue reading

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Oct 06

Latin America without Latinos: EVITA

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Direction and Choreography – Nick Kenkel
Music Direction – Mark Hartman

September 26 – October 8, 2017
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Essay by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) You’re going to a play; it’s a play about a different time and a different country – Argentina, mid-century, Evita. Maybe you’re going to escape, maybe you’re going to learn something, maybe you’re going to be entertained. Continue reading

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Aug 28

Shoulder Shrug, Head Tilt: “Burn All Night”

Krystina Alabado (Holly), Lincoln Clauss (Bobby), Perry Sherman (Will), and Ken Clark (Zak) shut out the world in Burn All Night. Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva.

Presented by the American Repertory Theatre
Book and lyrics by Andy Mientus
Music by Van Hughes, Nicholas LaGrasta, Brett Moses
Directed by Jenny Koons
Choreographed by Sam Pinkleton
Music supervision & vocal arrangements by Cian McCarthy

Aug. 18 – Sept. 8, 2017
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) At first glance, Burn All Night is pretty impressive. It has a fancy pedigree in director Koons and creator Mientus. Teen Commandments wrote the score. For those who enjoy pop, they’re on Spotify and worth a listen. Choreographer Sam Pinkleton also worked on Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812. The production was not as impressive as its credits. Continue reading

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Aug 28

Gonzo Greatness: YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN

Tommy Labanaris (Dr. Frederick Frankenstein) and Brian Padgett (The Monster). Photos © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan
Music and lyrics by Mel Brooks
Original Direction & Choreography by Susan Stroman
Direction and choreography by Kevin P. Hill
Musical direction by Milton Granger

August 15-27, 2017
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Sometimes, you know you’re in for a great night of theater with the very first line of a play; with Young Frankenstein, playing at the North Shore Music Theatre, you know it before the play even starts. Even the pre-play announcements and opening credits, told by a disembodied voice and projected onto a grey shroud, suck you into the campy, spooky, sexy world that Mel Brooks creates. Continue reading

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