May 22

Geeks Read Books: TCG Play Reviews

(Somerville, MA/NYC) Occasionally the New England Theatre Geek is invited to review plays. Theatre Communications Group (TCG) provides gratis paperback copies to NETG in exchange for objective reviews. The opinions stated here are not shared by TCG and are the author’s own. Continue reading

May 22

Fempool: THE VILLAINS’ SUPPER CLUB

Kristen Mengelkoch (Galactic Girl). Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Lila Rose Kaplan
Directed by Sean Daniels

April 25 – May 20, 2018
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Bringing a comic book to life on stage can be extremely difficult, but deconstructing the comic book genre onstage can bring a new round of pitfalls. While the Merrimack Repertory Theatre production of “The Villains’ Supper Club” sometimes stumbles through the scattershot superhero world created by Lila Rose Kaplan’s script, it does so with a winsome and improvisational spirit. This, combined with the fact that Rose Kaplan has packed the script with some really great comical lines, leaves theatergoers with a visually stunning and utterly unique theatrical experience that may not always make sense, but is always entertaining. Continue reading

May 22

Batman Burlesque Brings Out the Brave and the Bold

Presented by The Slaughterhouse Society

May 20 – May 25, 2018
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street
Cambridge, MA
The Slaughterhouse Society on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

CONTENT WARNING: Psychosexual camp with some abuse and violence for good measure.

(Cambridge, MA) Maybe it’s the number of expertly dressed femme fatales and smart suited gentleman villains in the rogue gallery. Maybe it’s just the spandex. All the same, Batman’s unique blended history of pulp, humor, and darkness puts it at the same cross-section of camp and psychosexual horror in which Boston’s happily weird burlesque scene specializes. The Slaughterhouse Society makes sure burlesque and Batman are a match made in vaudeville variety show heaven. Continue reading

May 17

Uncle Sam is a Benevolent Master. Bator: ALLEGIANCE

The cast. Photo credit: Nile Scott Studios

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione
Music and lyrics by Jay Kuo
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Ilyse Robbins
Traditional Japanese dance choreography by Kendyl Yokoyama

May 4 – June 2, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

The New England Theatre Geek believes that productions about people of color should be critiques by people of color. Allegiance was attended by both Noelani Kamelamela and Kitty Drexel. The editorial response by Kamelamela gives insight into personal histories of the Japanese-American internment camps. Drexel gives a performance critique. If a story doesn’t include us at all levels then it isn’t really about us.

Response by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) After bringing an acclaimed version of Kander & Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys to Boston last year, Speakeasy Stage Company presents Allegiance, a two hour long musical that explores the unjust imprisonment of Japanese Americans in the US at the tail end of World War II.  It is important for us to tell these stories, not stories of victory, but tales of survival in difficult circumstances. Ignorance, more than the steady drumbeat of white supremacy, separates people far more than a border wall ever can. Continue reading

May 16

Play It Again Sam: “Trouble in Tahiti and Arias & Barcarolles”

Sam and Dinah (Marcus DeLoach and Heather Johnson) robotically repeat their morning routine. Photo: Liza Voll

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music & Libretto by Leonard Bernstein
Stage directed by David Schweizer
Music direction by David Angus
Dramaturgy by John Conklin

May 11-20, 2018
DCR Steriti Memorial Rink
561 Commercial Street, Boston, MA
BLO on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel

After Bernstein’s performance at the White House in 1960, President Eisenhower remarked, “You know, I liked that last piece you played: it’s got a theme. I like music with a theme, not all them arias and barcarolles.” quote taken from leonardbernstein.com. Eisenhower was a bit imperceptive.

(Boston, MA) Trouble in Tahiti and Arias & Barcarolles are presented by the BLO in one continuous operetta subtitled, “Sam and Dinah Say Goodnight (Scenes From A Marriage).” It is a “new reimagining” of Bernstein’s works which abbreviates Tahiti and merges the reduced scoring directly into Arias & Barcarolles. They are not performed individually as suggested by BLO’s marketing materials. The performance runs about 90 minutes. Continue reading

May 15

The Undiscovered Country: Heritage Hill Naturals

The cast. Photo via Fresh Ink Facebook page

Presented by Fresh Ink
Written by Francisca Da Silveira
Directed by Phaedra Michelle Scott

May 11 – 26, 2018
Deane Hall, The Standford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) Fresh Ink Theatre Presents: Heritage Hill Naturals is nominally an examination of the millennial generation’s anxiety, paralysis, and distractions from their unique existential malaise. These distractions come in the form of Buzzfeed memes, selfie stick subculture, and month-long agro-tourism stints in rural America. Our protagonist, Lucy, seeks self-enlightenment, or at least solace from her anxiety and depression at Heritage Hill Naturals, one such farm in rural Georgia. Here, she finds anything but, amongst a cast of quirky characters, and strange circumstances beyond her scope of experience or her best efforts at benevolence. Continue reading

May 14

Quorum Boston presents “The Gay Spring”

Boston is super gay!

Quorum Boston is a local LGBTQ vocal ensemble. We program music almost exclusively by queer composers, with the goal of combating the erasure of queerness from canonical composers and amplifying the voices of living composers.

This concert explores themes of love, spring, and water. It features the world premiere of Upallay, a piece by inti figgis-vizuetta, our Resident Composer. Other works included in our program are Britten’s “Heaven Haven,” Barber’s “To be sung on the Water,” Cage’s “Litany for the Whale,” Mari Valverde’s “En la noche entraremos,” a rare choral work by Tchaikovsky, and several of Hildegard von Bingen’s chants.

Come enjoy the gay spring with us!
Performance Schedule:
May 14, 2018
8PM
Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center
123 Antwerp Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02134
Free!
Collected donations go to LGBTQ+ programming at the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center in Lower Allston.

Or,

May 19, 2018
8PM
First Church Somerville
89 College Ave, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
Tickets:
Suggested Donation: $20
Student/Low Income: $10
No one turned away: Free if you can’t pay.

Both performance venues are accessible to disabled patrons. Rehearsals are too! Interested in joining Quorum Boston? Connect with us HERE.

May 11

“DIANA!” – sketch comedy for millennials born in the mid-1990s

Presented by ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St, Cambridge, MA
Friday, 4 May 2018 @ 10pm
Next performance is June 8, 11PM
IB on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Central Square, Cambridge) DIANA! was marketed as an all-women musical to be performed by a cast of passionate comediennes who celebrate imperfection, and this was the only preparation patrons were provided, because that’s how it goes in the improv comedy circuit.  Late night audiences show up, some degree of inebriated and half-heartedly hoping our performers are capable of spontaneously spurning out sunny slapstick satire. The cast of DIANA! had their assignment – to parody imperfection – and they did a terribly terrific job of mocking classy “classic people” and laughing at highbrow literature. Continue reading

May 08

Fear Not the Creative Mind: “The Women Who Mapped the Stars”

Sarah Newhouse as Annie Jump Cannon, Christine Power as Antonia Maury, Becca A. Lewis as Williamina Fleming and Sarah Oakes Muirhead as Henrietta Swan Leavitt. (Courtesy A.R. Sinclair Photography)

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
By Joyce Van Dyke
Directed by Jessica Ernst

April 19 – May 20, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Now, there was a time/ when they used to say,
that behind ev’ry great man/ there had to be a great woman.
But oh, in these times of change/ you know that it’s no longer true.
So we’re comin’ out of the kitchen/ ’cause there’s something we forgot to say to you.
We say, Sisters are doin’ it for themselves”
-The Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin, “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”

(Cambridge, MA) It’s been a good few years for female scientists. Sally Ride came out posthumously in 2012. Hidden Figures rocked the box office in 2016/2017. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Goble/Johnson and the other human computers are finally receiving their due accolades. Women are entering STEM fields at increasing rates. Local company, Flat Earth Theatre produced Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky in March 2017. The Nora Theatre Company is playing The Women Who Mapped the Stars right now. There are many more successes, but it won’t be enough until women and other minorities receive the equal success as men. Continue reading

May 08

A Majestic “Migration”


Presented by Step Afrika!
Produced by 
ArtsEmerson
Choreographed by Jakari Sherman, Jackie Semela, Paul Woodruff
Percussionists: Artis Olds, Jakari Sherman, Andrew Vinson

May 3 through 6, 2018
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

“One of the most important functions of jazz has been to encourage a hope for freedom, for people living in situations of intolerance or struggle.”  –Herbie Hancock, jazz pianist and bandleader

(Boston, Massachusetts)  I could feel the crackling energy of the show, even before it started.  I could anticipate that it’d be a layered and textured theatrical experience that engaged the audience, even before dancers and musicians arrived on stage.  I am a person who is always listening to music. Likewise, I’m a patron who yearns for a show’s soundtrack to play both before and after the performance, as well as during its intermission.  The recording of African drum music, peppered with the rattling of gourds and the rhythmic clapping of hands, was vitalizing and encouraged a social atmosphere before the show began. Most patrons were out of seats, strolling around, greeting each other, standing in small circles having spirited conversations, smiling while sipping drinks; it was the pre-party I always wished for. Continue reading