Jennifer Ellis, Robert St. Laurence*, Kate Klika, Phil Tayler, Jared Troilo*, Lori L’Italien, Aimee Doherty*, Todd McNeel, Jr., Leigh Barrett*. Photo by Mark S. Howard.
Presented by The Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Music and Lyrics by Steven Lutvak
Book and Lyrics by Robert L. Freedman
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Larry Sousa
BOSTON, Mass. — Laughter is never neutral. Whiteness is never neutral. A comedy of manners might stake the claim that farce is some great, humanizing equalizer, but humor is inherently directional: someone is always doing the laughing, and something, or someone, is always being laughed at.
AGentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, which won the Tony in 2014 for Best Musical, is vague about its directionality. Ostensibly, we’re laughing at the hypocritical mores of upper crust Edwardian England, but we’re just as often prompted to laugh at, for example, effeminate men, hyper-feminine women, or the “exotic” peoples suffering under the thumb of colonialism offstage. Continue reading →
Presented by Company One in collaboration with American Repertory Theater, Boston Public Library, and Boston Comics in Color Festival Written by Inda Craig-Galván Directed by Monica White Ndounou Dramaturgy by Ilana M Brownstein and Regine Vital Animation design & comics consultant: Cagen Luse Fight choreography by Margaret Clark
April 23 – May 21, 2022 Rabb Hall @ Boston Public Library’s Central Branch Copley Square Boston, MA All tickets are Pay-What-You-Want ($0 minimum)
Recommended for ages 14 and up. This production contains depictions of police brutality, violence, death, grief, depression, and strong language.
Review by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON, Mass. — The leads of Black Super Hero Magic Mama deserve a critic that looks like them. I look like the cops that are acquitted by juries that also look like me for killing unarmed Black men and women. There are more white critics than Black critics in New England. We need more Black critics in Boston. I strongly urge interested individuals to apply for The Porch’s Young Critics Program this winter and then to shoot me an email.
Company One and American Repertory Theatre’s Black Super Hero Magic Mama shows us an unsettled Chicago. Sabrina Jackson (Ramona Lisa Alexander, who ran that stage like Pam Grier on a mission) is raising a bright young quiz show star Tramarion Jackson (Joshua Robinson). When Tramarion isn’t trouncing the competition on “Know Your Heritage” with Coach Corey Brackett (Ricardo Engermann), he’s writing comic books with his friend Joseph A Hughes aka Flat Joe (Anderson Stinson III). These two smart but mouthy kids have bright futures. That is until the worst happens. Continue reading →
Presented by ArtsEmerson Created by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Co-Directed by Eric Ting & Signe V. Harriday Music and Lyrics by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Music Direction by Toshi Reagon Choreography by Millicent Johnnie Movement Director: Yasmine Lee Performed by Marie Tatti Aqeel, Alina Carson, Helga Davis, Kyle Garvin, Jared Wayne Gladly, Toussaint Jeanlouis, Karma Mayet Johnson, Morley Kamen, Alexandra Koi, Josette Newsam, Shelley Nicole, Toshi Reagon, Noah Virgile, Evie Schuckman Orchestra Monique Brooks Roberts, Zach Brown, Bobby Burke, Fred Cash, Jr., Chogyi, Matt Graff Orchestra: Monique Brooks Roberts, Zach Brown, Bobby Burke, Fred Cash, Jr., Chogyi, Matt Graff
April 21 – 24, 2022 Open Captioning: Fri, April 22 @ 8:00 PM American Sign Language: Sun April, 24 @ 2:00 PM Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre 219 Tremont Street Boston, MA 02116
Recommended for Ages 13+
Running Time: 120 minutes, no intermission
Please Note: Proof of vaccination or a negative test is required for entry
Critique by Kitty Drexel
“All that you touch
All that you Change
The only lasting truth
Is Change.” Earthseed, Lauren Olamina in The Parable of the Sower
BOSTON, Mass. — The audience was small on Thursday night but grateful. We’d waited over two years to see Toshi Reagon’s Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower. The air was palpable with anticipation. We had each other to talk to and other excited conversations to easedrop on. When the theatre held the house lights for an extra 20 minutes to allow late audience members to straggle in, we were okay with it.
When the lights finally dimmed to signal the start of the show, a hush fell over us. Finally, after all this waiting, it was time for church.
Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower is an opera adapted by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon from the Afro-futurist science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler’s novel The Parable of the Sower. The ArtsEmerson website says it is “a genre-defying, modern congregational opera that celebrates two centuries of Black music.” Continue reading →
Presented by ArtsEmerson Written & performed by Travis Alabanza Produced by Hackney Showroom Directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay Movement by Nando Messias Dramaturgy by Nina Lyndon
April 13 – 23, 2022 Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theater Boston, MA ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Review by Noe Kamelamela
Content warning: gender-based violence and transphobia are discussed in this review and also in BURGERZ.
BOSTON, Mass. –In the time before the COVID pandemic started here in the States, the danger of being visibly queer felt risky and fun to me, heading to the strip mall eager to anger gender essentialists a bit like poking caged bears, a way to appease my past teenaged, quieter, closeted self. I was armed with keen attention to exits and entrances, always ready to leave. I would relate scenes to friends about children asking me what it was to be different. Or people – rude people, very rude – being weird to me about what bathroom I went to, regardless of whatever I wore or which bathroom I used it was always wrong.Continue reading →
BOSTON — There is nothing more hardcore than birthing a baby (sorry BASE jumpers). It’s not “the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced” as my own father put it. Babies are metal AF.
Just like many other XXXtreme tasks, delivering and rearing a baby doesn’t come naturally to many mothers. Maternal instincts require hard work: research, doctor visits, mommy groups, prenatal yoga, therapy, emotional and physical labor. Beasts by Cayenne Douglass explores the psyche of pregnancy. It takes a deep dive into what it means to be gestating a human parasite. Continue reading →
Presented by Umbrella Stage Adapted by James Magruder Concept and Original Book by James Whitty Music by The Go-Go’s Directed by Brian Boruta Music direction by David Wright Choreography by Lara Finn
April 15 – May 8, 2022 (no performance 4/17) Presented on the Main Stage The Umbrella Arts Center 40 Stow Street Concord, MA 01742
Interview by Kitty Drexel
CONCORD, Mass. — The Umbrella Stage returns to performances this April with Head Over Heels. Brian Boruta generously chatted with me on Friday, March 18 about the musical, gender politics, and The Go Go’s.
This interview is condensed. It has been edited for grammar, congruity, and clarity.
Queen Kitty: It’s awesome that you’re starting with Head Over Heels. Why this show now?
Brian Boruta: It’s funny; I think about this show now, because we had chosen this show earlier than now. Then things all got moved around.
We moved, a couple of years ago, to a committee-based approach to season planning. As we were coming out of the pandemic, it was really important that as many voices and perspectives as possible be included in program planning.
One thing that came to the fore in that conversation was finding ways throughout the season coming out of the pandemic to just celebrate joy in many forms, to celebrate love, to amplify different marginalized voices throughout the season. Head Over Heels really popped out as that title that we could put towards the end of the season that celebrates joy, celebrates love, and celebrates community. Continue reading →
Presented by Club Passim
Written by Rebecca Bellingham
Music by Catie Curtis
With special guest Rose Polanzani
Live and Streamed: April 20, 2022 Club Passim
47 Palmer St
Cambridge, MA 02138
Review by Maegan Clearwood
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The marketing language for the musical The Raft likens Rebecca Bellingham’s writing process to piecing together a tapestry: 25-years’ worth of threads, from journal entries to emails to text messages, woven into a singular, sprawling story. But the more-or-less finished product, presented as a workshop reading at Club Passim, feels more like a quilt: distinct stories from two distinct lives that aren’t so much intertwined as they are lovingly stitched at the seams. Continue reading →
Presented by ArtsEmerson and Sleeping Weasel Written by Charlotte Meehan Directed by Tara Brooke Watkins Choreographed by Peter DiMuro Videography by Lee Francois Original composition “Alone Together” by Kirsten Volness
Live: March 12 – March 27, 2022 Streamed: April 1 – 10, 2022 Emerson Paramount Center Jackie Liebergott Black Box 559 Washington Street Boston, MA 02111
Review by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON, Mass. — Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends by Charlotte Meehan is about people. People are confusing, leaky, wonderful, breakable creatures capable of great love and harrowing despair.
This play is also about disability. We are introduced to Meehan’s characters and their relationships, and then we learn about their relationships to Parkinson’s Disease. People with disabilities are human first so it is right that we learn the world of the play in this order.
In Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends, three imperfect couples navigate their relationships. We watch them live with Parkinson’s Disease. The persons with PD are surviving. The caretakers are too. Survival means something different to each couple. We learn what survival means at the same time they do. Continue reading →
BOSTON — Boston Theatre Marathon XXIII: Special Zoom Edition Anthology is the physical manifestation of the 23rd Annual Boston Theatre Marathon on Zoom. #BTMXXIIIelectricZOOMaloo
The Boston Theatre Marathon was live and in-person until COVID-19 struck the Earth like a biblical pestilence. Years 2020 and 2021 were over Zoom. This anthology puts the magic and the mystery of 2021’s plays in one book.
From the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre website: “For more than two decades, the Boston Theater Marathon has brought together playwrights, directors, and theatre companies in an effort to foster collaboration between artists and producers. Continue reading →
Presented by TheatreWorks Hartford By Harrison David Rivers Directed by David Mendizábal Fight and intimacy direction by Rocío Mendez Digital playbill
Live on stage: February 16 – March 20 Streaming: March 7-20 TheaterWorks Inc 233 Pearl Street Hartford, CT 06103 TWH on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
Content warning: This Bitter Earth contains partial nudity as well as mature language and themes.
STREAMING ONLINE — This is a review for the pre-recorded, streamed version of This Bitter Earth.
Relationships are hard work. The kind of work a relationship requires depends upon the people in it. As the white person in a biracial relationship, you either educate yourself to understand the experiences of your partner of color, or you lose them. Your partner will either love you back by meeting you halfway with patience and sympathy, or they will lose you.
This Bitter Earth is the first play that I’ve seen in my ten years as a critic to specifically, comprehensively address the complex issues of a modern biracial relationship. Other plays have broached the subject; none have been as successful as This Bitter Earth.Continue reading →