Jun 07

On the Wheels of a Dream: “The Chance to Fly”

Imprint: Amulet Books, New York
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Price: $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-4197-4393-1
EAN: 9781419743931
Page Count: 288
Format: Hardcover
Additional formats: Ebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOOK — The saying goes that “there are no small parts, only small actors.” Adults that say this are usually overtired, impatient and trying to sell you something. That something is usually complacency and obedience. Theatre kids deserve better. 

Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon’s dream to sing the role of Eliza Schuyler in Hamilton on Broadway. But, she’s never seen a Broadway show, or even been in a musical before! This changes when Nat moves with her family from California to New Jersey. Nat is all set to meet her new wheelchair racing team coach when she spies a flier promoting auditions for a summer production of Wicked. Suddenly, Nat is thrown into ensemble rehearsals. She’s making new friends in her new town and meeting Malik, the cutest boy she’s ever met. When trouble upsets their production, Nat and her friends learn to roll with the punches (pun sort of intended). Nat lets go of her insecurities and embraces her inner diva!  Continue reading

May 02

What About that 5-Ever?: “TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever”

Tah-Janay Shayoñe as Sally in SpeakEasy’s “TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever”

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by James Ijames
Directed by Pascale Florestal
In Partnership with Boston Conservatory at Berklee
Video Production by Wesley Verge
Lighting Design by Aja Jackson
Costume Design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt
Sound Design & Music by David Freeman Coleman
Choreography by Kira Cowan Troilo
Featuring: Dru Sky Berrian, Jordan Pearson, Tah-Janay Shayoñe, Sadiyah Dyce Stephens, Jared Troilo

April 30 – May 13, 2021
Streaming on Vimeo
TICKETS
SpeakEasy on Facebook, Twitter 

RUN TIME: 1 hour and 35 minutes

SpeakEasy Stage’s CONTENT ADVISORY: TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever contains scenes involving strong language, sexual harassment, slavery, and Black trauma.  Viewer discretion is advised.

NETG Advisory:  TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever also features an adult white man in academia who knows better making an absolute fool of himself to appear young and cool to attract a woman. If you’re offended by the portrayal of this character’s antics, you may know or be that white man. Get help. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

VIMEO — Thomas Jefferson, US founding father, raped Sally Hemings. They weren’t in love. She wasn’t his mistress. Hemings was a slave without autonomy. She was raped repeatedly and mothered seven children by Jefferson. An owned person can’t give consent

TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever put this #MeToo epidemic and holds it under a microscope of history by comparing it to Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of Sally Hemings. Play character Sally (Tah-Janay Shayoñe looking like Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice reincarnated) is a university fellow of smarmy university administrator TJ (Jared Troilo). TJ won’t let Sally’s “nos” get in the way of his orgasm. She is supported by her best friends and historic voices of reason Pam (Dru Sky Berrian) and Annette (Sadiyah Dyce Stephens). Meanwhile study buddy Harold (Jordan Pearson) is challenging the university’s legacy of slavery one protest at a time. These students are trying to get an education that includes them. TJ can’t understand he isn’t cool anymore.  Continue reading

Apr 29

Contemplation, Charm, and Chickens in Gallo: A Fable in Music in One Act – Encore Performance

Presented and Commissioned by Guerilla Opera
Music and Libretto by Ken Ueno
Directed by Sarah Meyers
Set Design by Julia Noulin‐Mérat 

Live Watch Party April 23, 2021 8pm EST 
Video on Demand April 24 – May 16, 2021 
Filmed from a live performance on May 23, 2014 in the Zack Box at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee
Tickets available until Sunday, May 16, 2021
Guerilla Opera on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Have you heard the one about the chicken that crossed the road? Yes? What about the one regarding what came first, the chicken or the egg? Really? Okay. What about the one about Diogenes the Cynic who, when Plato called men “featherless bipeds,” plucked a chicken, brought it to Plato’s Academy, and shouted, “Behold! A man!” Because the last is a wonderful encapsulation of what Ken Ueno and Guerilla Opera have created.

The encore performance of Gallo: A Fable in Music in One Act uses animals to poke at mortal folly, to laugh at us and our flimsy hold on the order of the universe, at ontology, philosophy, and all the castles we build in culture that will one day fall into the sea. That particular anecdote is also a great definition of the show’s continued subversion of expectations, like the fact it takes place on a beach made entirely of Cheerios.  Continue reading

Feb 19

There Are Other Narratives: “The Walking Plays”

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Directed by Jess Meyer
Narrator: Katherine Shaver
Sound Design: Elizabeth Cahill
Audio Engineer: Katie O’Connor
Production Manager: Aja M. Jackson

The current plays as of February 14, 2021:
“On Paying Attention”
by David Valdes
Directed by Jess Meyer
Yaya: Sis K
T: Juliet Archer-Walker

“Monster in the Sky” 
by Ginger Lazarus
Directed by Jess Meyer
Yaya: Sis K
Kevin: Hector Toledo

The plays are available now! 
Free to anyone with WiFi and earbuds
Lyric Stage Co on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: The Walking Plays are a recording that one listens to while walking in Boston. Please know your accessibility needs. If you cannot navigate the winter weather, please enjoy The Walking Plays from home. 

BOSTON — There aren’t many perfect days to take a nice long walk in February. It’s the coldest, shortest month of the year. But last Sunday was Valentine’s Day/Lupercalia/the anniversary of the glorious day Hawai’ian natives righteously smote Captain James Cook. Having great reasons to celebrate, my lovely wife and I took the T to Copley Square to participate in the Lyric Stage Company’s The Walking Plays Continue reading

Feb 10

New England Theatre Geek is a Fiscally Sponsored Project with Fractured Atlas!

Dear Readers of the New England Theatre Geek,

We are excited to announce that the New England Theatre Geek is now a fiscally sponsored project of Fractured Atlas! Donations made to the New England Theatre Geek are now tax-deductible.  

We’ve raised $869.00 so far with Fractured Atlas toward our yearly goal of $2,000. We are reaching out to ask you to consider making a donation to our project. 

The New England Theatre Geek has existed under the direction of Queen Geek Kitty Drexel for nine years. During that time, Kitty has acted as editor-in-chief, and lead change within the critique and reviewing communities through arts activism while proving constructive criticism to the New England theatre community. She with staff journalists Gillian Daniels, Noe Kamelamela, Diana Lu, and Afrikah Smith are dedicated to covering the arts at a high standard within the frame of a larger cultural shift. 

Journalists deserve to be paid for their work. New England Theatre Geek joined Fractured Atlas in order to pay its writers for their work. The journalists of the New England Theatre Geek have provided thoughtful, honest critique without pandering to theatres, their donors, or popular opinion on a voluntary, unpaid basis since the blog’s inception in 2010. Each donation received will ensure that the Geeks are paid for their contributions to the New England theatre landscape. 

Journalists deserve to be paid a respectable living wage. Each Geek writer currently makes only $40 per 500-word article posted on the blog. This amount is an honorarium that doesn’t properly compensate writers for their time, research, or expenses. Your donation to the New England Theatre Geek will increase the honorarium paid to writers.

There are two ways to donate:

  1. You can donate by credit card online at the link below: https://fundraising.fracturedatlas.org/new-england-theatre-geek-articles-reviews-critiques-and-interviews/general_support
  1. If you prefer, you can also donate by check. Please email blognetheatregeek at gmail.com for more information. 

The New England Theatre Geek is a sponsored project of Fractured Atlas, a non‐profit arts service organization. Contributions for the charitable purposes of the New England Theatre Geek must be made payable to “Fractured Atlas” and are tax‐deductible to the extent permitted by law.

If you cannot make a donation, please share the New England Theatre Geek with your community! Strong readership numbers assist in our goal to reach a wider audience. Please follow us on our social media platforms on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter

Thank you in advance for your generous support.

Sincerely,

Kitty Drexel
Queen Geek
The New England Theatre Geek
https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek
https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
https://www.instagram.com/newengland_theatregeek/

P.S. Please wash your hands, keep six feet away and stay home. The arts need you. You are necessary.

Dec 13

This is what Economic Depression Looks Like: Boston BID presents “Downtown Holiday Magic”

The Macy’s tree at DTX

Presented by the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID)
With Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Huntington Theatre CompanyChristmas Revels, and Boston Ballet

Running Nov. 24 through Jan 31, 2021
Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA
Boston BID on Facebook

Article by Kitty Drexel

Boston — My delightful wife and I took a stroll through Downtown Crossing today to see the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District’s “Downtown Holiday Magic” decorations. Wreaths are hung on street lamps, flower pots had new holiday arrangements and trees had twinkly lights.

For all of its holiday cheer, and Boston BID is trying its hardest to be jolly, Downtown Crossing is downright depressing. Many DTX storefronts have been shuttered by the pandemic. The three-story Forever 21 is still vacant. Small businesses have been replaced by mega conglomerates that only want your money. A Western Union location that has existed on Winter St since I was in undergrad has gone out of business. Its sign advertising ice cold beverages is still up. This is what an economic depression looks like. Continue reading

Dec 11

Happiest of Holidays to All: SANTA’S HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA!

Presented by Reagle Music Theatre with Eternal Artists NYC 
Written and created by Eternal Artists NYC
Appearances by Joey Cullinane, Justin Long, Shoshana Bean, Leanne Cope, Maria Bilbao, Nati Rabinowitz, Cristina Lucas, Erica Lustig, and more.
Orchestra: Rose van Dyne (Conductor), Sophie Manoloff (Trumpet), Earle Perez (Cello), Miles Plant (Piano/Overture Orchestrations), Michael Brinzer (Reeds), Cosima Ho (Bells)

December 10, 11, 12 and 13 at 12:30 p.m.
Streamed live via Zoom
Viewers are encouraged to reserve screens early. 
Tickets are limited to 120.

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Santa’s Holiday Extravaganza! is a holiday treat! This production injects the mid-day lunch hour with necessary levity. 2020 might be the worst of years since 2008, this week’s musical and dance potpourri brought to us by Reagle Music Theatre and Eternal Artists NYC shows us that festive celebration is good no matter the medium. 

December productions of A Christmas Carol are a tradition. Theatre companies do their darndest to infuse new life into this exhausted classic. A new show, unrelated to the Dickens story is a welcome change to the theatre landscape.  Continue reading

Dec 04

Do Not Forget to Breathe: “in the absence of things (work in progress)”

IN THE ABSENCE OF THINGS

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Commissioned by Krannert Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York), and ArtsEmerson. This event is also presented in partnership with the National Black Theatre.
Writer and Performer: Somi
Director: Mariona Lloreta
Producer: Priscilla Nzimiro Nwanah
Editor: Victor Xavier Monzó
Sound Designer: Justin Ellington
Cinematographers: Sara Escobar & Jon Lowenstein
Lighting Designer: Michael Williams
Set Designer: Priscilla Nzimiro Nwanah

Live screening on Dec. 01, 2020 at 7PM
On Demand viewing Dec. 1 @ 9:30PM – 15 @ 6:00PM
FREE! 

Review by Kitty Drexel

ArtsEmerson/On Demand — in the absence of things is a ritual. Applause starts the film and fades to silence. Vocalist & songwriter Somi is presented with her back to us on an altar in darkness and shadows. She lies on trifold swathes of champagne, white, chocolate, and bronze fabrics while cradled from three sides by delicate purple flowers and greenery. Thin branches stand tall as if reaching to the heavens. Virtuosic piano music plays as a voice the texture of noil silk says in voice-over, “In the absence of things, there is breath.”  Continue reading

Oct 20

The Dreams of Youth are the Regrets of Maturity: “The Sun Is Sleeping”


Presented, written and performed by Michael John Ciszewski for his 27th birthday
Featuring the talents of Rachel Belleman (she/her), Teresa Langford (she/her), Steven Maier (he/him), Pier Lamia Porter (she/her), Regine Vital (she/her)
Voice work by Kevin Becerra (he/him), Elissa Bonito (she/her), Bryan Guffey (they/them), Sarah Oakes Muirhead (she/her), Noah Simes (he/him)
Music by Nicky B (he/him), Sam Graham (he/him)

Viewed on Oct. 18, 2020
Next screening on Oct. 24, 8PM EST
http://www.michaeljohnciszewski.com/
Social media: @micjcis

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM – Happy birthday Michael John Ciszewski – belated! The Sun Is Sleeping: A Queer Reverie is was released in June to celebrate Pride month and Ciszewski’s 27th circle around the sun. How does one celebrate a birthday during quarantine? (If my own April birthday was any indication) With heartfelt disappointment. Rather than suffer his madness, Ciszewki turned it into art.  

The Sun Is Sleeping is the expression of an extrovert’s existential frustration with the soul-crushing confinement of quarantine and pop music. Ciszewski plays the Sun Prince (and other roles), golden royalty forced into impotent exile. His revels are ended; depression is setting in. Unlike the sweet lipped and jubilant Persephone, our Sun Prince doesn’t have a dark King awaiting him in the underworld. He has Zoom and it provides poor comfort to His Majesty.  

Continue reading

Oct 09

Upstaged By A Wandering Mouse: “Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light”


Presented by Central Square Theatre 
In partnership with City of Cambridge Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity & YWCA Cambridge.
Written and performed by Dr. Billie Jean Young 

October 7, 2020, at 7PM
A virtual event over Zoom 

Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM/Cambridge, MA — Central Square Theatre’s presentation of Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light was a hot and sticky mess. This event didn’t have technical difficulties; it had technical catastrophes. An evening that should have been about civil rights warrior Hamer was rife with distractions instead. 

The audience was told at the beginning of the event that Dr. Young wouldn’t be able to perform for us that evening but that a recording of her performance would be played. While this was unfortunate, we could sympathize with Dr. Young. Her body is her instrument and instruments can be fickle. The Women’s Vote Centennial Panel would continue as scheduled.  Continue reading