Nov 22

Ain’t Misbehavin’: Tribute to a Lost Harlem

Pictured: Lori Tishfield, Calvin Braxton, Davron S. Monroe, Robin Long, & Lovely Hoffman. Picture by Mark S. Howard

Ain’t Misbehavin’, Music by Thomas “Fats” Waller, Based on an idea by Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr., Lyric Stage, 11/17/11-12/17/11,  https://lyricstage.com/main_stage/aint_misbehavin/.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) With its familiar melodies and disarming 1940’s Harlem charm, Ain’t Misbehavin’ is probably the most energetic musical revue I’ve seen.  Done with precision and love for original composer Thomas “Fats” Waller (here played by Calvin Braxton), the show is a tribute to an era that evaporated long ago.  It replicates the energy of the time as best as it can with vibrant musical numbers and tight choreography. Continue reading

Nov 21

Snow Queen: American Repertory Theatre Announcement

American Repertory Theater

announces special family programming for the holidays:

THE SNOW QUEEN

a production for families and children of all ages

adapted by Tyler Monroe from the fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen

directed by Allegra Libonati

original puppets by Michael Kane

December 10-31

Loeb Drama Center 

Cambridge, Mass — The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.), under the Artistic Direction of Diane Paulus, is adding to the already announced season a special family-oriented production — The Snow Queen, Hans Christian Andersen’s exuberant ode to childhood.  The new stage adaptation for children and their families by Tyler Monroe is directed by Allegra Libonati, with original puppets by Michael Kane, and featuring members of the A.R.T. Institute Class of 2012. The production opens at the Loeb Drama Center on December 10 and runs through December 31.

When a young boy named Kai is taken away by a wicked enchantress, his best friend Gerda must embark on a perilous journey to the North Pole to rescue him.  Using puppets, music, and magic, this heart-warming production will take you on a theatrical journey through a magical kingdom to the Snow Queen’s icy palace.

Tickets to The Snow Queen are $15.  For further information call the A.R.T. box office at 617-547-8300 or visit http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/snow-queen

To accompany this production, the A.R.T. is offering Fairy Tale Theater, an eight-week fall theater class for children aged 4-7.   Taught by Snow Queen director Allegra Libonati and A.R.T. Outreach and Education Associate Brendan Shea, this class will take children on a fun-filled, creative adventure through their favorite fairy tales, giving them the chance to create and star in their own reimagining of classic tales, from The Little Mermaid to Hansel and Gretel.  The class will be held on Saturday mornings from October 22 through December 17 at the Loeb Drama Center and will culminate in a presentation for parents and families that features the students and actors from the A.R.T.’s The Snow Queen. Each child enrolled will receive a free ticket to the opening performance of The Snow Queen.  For more information call (617) 496-2000 x8834 or visit

all copy from press release

http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/fairytaletheater.

Nov 19

Captors Connects Too Many Dots

Louis Cancelmi and Michael Cristofer in Evan M. Wiener’s CAPTORS. November 11 through December 11 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Captors by Evan M. Wiener, Huntington Theatre Company, 11/11/11-12/11/11,  http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=10179&src=t.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) Writing is as much about what is not said as what is said.  A playwright must learn to leave space for the audience to fill in the blanks.

Every writer at some point succumbs to excessive explanation to make sure everyone gets it.  Continue reading

Nov 19

The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet

James Milord - Oshoosi Size Part 2: The Brothers Size; Photo Credit: Company One

The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or The Secret Of Sweet by Tarrell Alvin McCraney,  Company OnePlaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 11/10/11-12/3/11, In repertory with In The Red And Brown Waterhttp://www.companyone.org/Season13/Brother_Sister_Plays/synopsis.shtml.  Contains strong sexual content and some graphic language.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) It was once said by the great American musician Miles Davis, “it’s not the notes you play; it’s the ones you don’t play.” While he was using the phrase to sum up the art of preforming jazz music, the saying resonates a sort of “less is more” mentality that is palpable to every form of art. From the Hemingway’s seven word classic “Baby Shoes” to sculptor Tony Smith’s famous block works, minimalism can be both a necessity when resources are scarce and an inspiring self-induced boundary to work within. In the world of theatre, its idea has been stretched from one man plays and single set pieces to improvised comedy and flash mob acts. Possibly one of the best examples of minimalism in theater today can be found in Tarell McCraney’s The Brother/Sisters Plays, a trilogy spanning the story of three separate generations living in the bayous of Louisiana, all told with minimal set pieces and eight actors playing characters in three separate moments in time connected through kin. While part one of the trilogy In The Red and Brown Water is a full length play, parts two and three, The Brother Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet are shorter works, shown in tandem in order to wrap up the series arc. Continue reading

Nov 17

Dark Matters: The Truth Is In Here

Photo credit: Science Fiction Theatre Company

Dark Matters by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Science Fiction Theatre Company, The Factory Theatre, 11/4/11-11/20/11, http://www.sciencefictiontheatrecompany.com/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA, EARTH) The easiest thing in the world to do is to believe; the hardest thing to do in the world is to believe.  When a woman disappears and a husband searches desperately to find her.  She returns and her explanations seem dubious.  The quest for answers and understanding has a price for each of the characters in Science Fiction Theatre Company’s production of Dark Matters by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.  Was Bridgett Cleary taken by aliens or by something much more nefarious?  What is real and what is imagined?  The Cleary family seeks the truth out in the world, but finds it much closer to home. Continue reading

Nov 11

The River Was Whiskey: Tension for the Senses

Joe Lily, Nettie and Arlo (Alex Pollock, Sarah Newhouse and Kendra Jackson)

The River Was Whiskey by Will Fancher, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, 10/27/11-11/20/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.  Contains mature themes, mature language,  and violent images.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) There has been an ongoing moral debate since man was first able to form laws on what the fate of the guilty should be. One school of thought is that redemption is available through either the forgiveness of a higher power or acts of contrition. Then there are those who believe that there must be a punishment for every crime and that an eye for an eye is the only way to balance the damage done. There is possibly no greater example of this dichotomy of thought than Old and New Testaments of The Bible. While the New Testament speaks of forgiveness for all sins through the following of Jesus, The Old Testament is filled with the wicked being punished by a vengeful spirit for their transgressions. This backdrop of faith and fear is the foundation of the Will Fancher play The River Was Whiskey. Continue reading

Nov 08

Moby Dick: Sobering One-Man Show

Conor Lovett in Gare St Lazare Players Irelands Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Photo by Ros Kavanagh.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville, adapted by Conor Lovett and Judy Hegarty Lovett, ArtsEmerson and Gare St. Lazare Players, The Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Paramount Center, 11/7/11-11/12/11, http://alturl.com/z4pzz.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) 

“Call me Ishmael,” performer Conor Lovett begins casually.

His hour and forty-five minute monologue makes up the whole of the Gare St. Lazare Players’ adaptation of Moby Dick. The way Lovett relates the story based on Herman Melville’s novel is restrained and often timid, however.  His Ishmael is a lost soul, marked by events he’s still struggling to parse. Continue reading

Nov 08

November: You’re What You Own

Photo by Reid Gilman

November by David Mamet, Hovey Players, 11/4/11-11/19/11,  http://www.hoveyplayers.com/news/2011-2012-season/november/.  Mature language and themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Waltham, MA) Jonathan Larson wrote, “when you’re living in America…you’re what you own…”; this idea is taken to the highest degree in David Mamet’s November.  Hovey Players hits the heartstrings of the nation as it skillfully examines American politics and policy as we struggle to define what a democracy is and what we are willing to sacrifice for that democracy. Continue reading

Nov 06

Lip-Gloss Feminism: Legally Blonde: the Musical

Kelly Felthous (Elle Woods), Will Ray (Warner). Photo by Paul Lyden

Legally Blonde, music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, North Shore Musical Theatre, 11/1/11-11/13/11,  http://www.nsmt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=947&Itemid=2283.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA)  

Dear Reader,

Do you want the long review or the short one for Legally Blonde: the Musical at the North Shore Music Theatre?

If you’re in a hurry, here’s the short one:

I gave a standing ovation to a bulldog, the first creature to come out for curtain call.  Go see this show!

If you have a bit more time, Continue reading

Nov 06

Spring Awakening: Must See Anachronistic Musical of Teenage Repression

Spring Awakening, music by Duncan Sheik, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, The F.U.D.G,E Theatre Company, Black Box Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 11/4/11-11/12/11, http://www.fudgetheatre.com/.  Adult Themes and Language.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

 

(Watertown, MA)  Spring Awakening is not a show I would recommend; instead, it is a show I would require audiences to see.  Despite the early-20th century backdrop of Germany, the pop-rock musical is a thinly veiled indictment of contemporary repression of teenage sexuality.  Members of the cast occasionally wear anachronistic clothing: goggles, fingerless gloves, and sneakers.  If not for the pervasive nature of the Internet in our modern times and the sometimes salacious information it provides, the play would be perfectly suited for a contemporary adaptation in Middle America.

Instead, we follow our main character, Melchior Gabor, passionately played by Jared Walsh, as he deals with the puberty, lust, and lack of information plaguing his age group.  The adults in his community, varied roles all played fantastically by Linda Goetz and Jim Fitzpatrick, refuse to give their children and charges any information that would make their transitions into adulthood easier.  Continue reading