Dec 04

Do Better: “Nurse Play”

Photo from Exiled Theatre’s Facebook page.

Presented by Exiled Theatre
By James Wilkinson
Directed by Joe Juknievich
Movement direction by Kayleigh Kane

Dec. 1 – 17, 2017
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Exiled Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The days of casting the able-bodied to play a disabled person are nearly at an end. We aren’t there yet. While it is unacceptable to cast a white person to play a person of color, it is still marginally acceptable to cast an abled person in the role of a disabled character. Boston has many working actors that identify as seeing impaired. Should a theatre decide to cast an abled person in the role of a disabled character, it behooves the theatre to make it abundantly clear to the audience/disabled community that great pains were taken to either cast from the disabled community, or that the disabled community representative was consulted in the production of the play. Anything less is offensive. Continue reading

Nov 28

Love Can’t Afford to be Afraid: “Tartuffe”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Co.
By Moliere
Translated by Ranjit Bolt
Directed by Peter DuBois
Choreography by Daniel Pelzig
Original music by Peter Golub
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Nov. 10 – Dec. 10, 2017
Avenue of the Arts
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) If you haven’t seen #metoo then it’s likely you’ve been under a proverbial rock. Female and male victims of sexual assault rallied their cry in solidarity with the women accusing Harvey Weinstein of years of criminal misconduct. Weinstein is a pig enabled by others so focused on their own careers/pocketbooks that they wouldn’t stop him. Whether intentional or not, the Huntingington’s Tartuffe is a reflection of the news cycle. In our own backyard, Berklee School of Music harbored rapist professors. “Good” men can’t seem to keep their hands to themselves.   Continue reading

Nov 27

Utterly Enchanting: “The Perils of Mr. Punch”

Presented by Modern Time Theater
Puppeteers Rose Friedman & Justin Lander
Modern Times Theater Website

November 24th thru 26th, 2017
Puppet Showplace Theater, 32 Station St.
Brookline, Massachusetts 02445
Puppet Showplace on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Brookline Village, Massachusetts) The puppeteer spouses Rose Friedman and Justin Lander are as lovely as their puppets and, in particular, Justin Lander’s sense of humor was utterly enchanting.  At one point during their opening act, Lander intimated to a kiddo at the front of the audience, “You owe me an ice cream sundae.”  A few minutes later during this musical skit, Lander told kids and presumably their parents that he was holding “one of the many instruments you can make out of old washing equipment.”  For cornballs like myself who thoroughly enjoy observational comedy,  statements like that are a hoot! Continue reading

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

Nov 20

Adapt or Perish: “3Sisters”

The sisters Prozorov. Photo by Stratton McCrady

Presented by the Suffolk University Theatre Dept.
Inspired by the play by Anton Chekhov
Adapted and directed by Robert Kropf

Nov. 16-19, 2017
Modern Theatre
Boston, MA 02111
Modern Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Script adaptations are like staged, audience-ready fanfiction. In a Boston Sunday Globe article by Sandy MacDonald from August 2017, director and writer Robert Kropf explained that he adapts works to bypass the laws preventing him (and anyone) from making edits. The laws are frustrating but necessary to protect a playwright’s work. If the author is extremely dead, such as Anton Chekhov, it’s difficult to know what his original intentions for a work were without thoroughly researching first. Continue reading

Nov 20

Of a Family’s Home: “The Magic Fire”

Two generations; one woman. Gretta Beaty and Alice Hunter as Lise. Photo by Johanna Bobrow.

Presented by Theatre@First
Written by Lillian Garrett-Groag
Directed by Elizabeth Hunter

November 10 through 18, 2017
Unity Somerville, 6 William Street
Somerville, Massachusetts  02144
T@F on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

It is important to note that Queen Geek, Kitty Drexel performed in this production. As per the New England Theatre Geek reviewing policy, Knight’s review is tailored to avoid nepotism.

(Davis Square, West Somerville, Massachusetts) In her Note from the Director, Elizabeth Hunter wrote that she “invited you into this room because [she wanted] you to feel like part of the family,” and Hunter succeeded in creating that audience experience. Continue reading

Nov 16

Berklee Performance Center Presents David Broza & Friends on Dec. 16, 2017

David Broza & Friends

Saturday, December 16, 2017 at 8:00 p.m.
Berklee Performance Center
136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA, 02115, United States
Berklee on Facebook

David Broza is one of the most innovative and creative musicians in the world today. For more than 40 years, he has performed blues, jazz, rock, country, folk, and world music. Singing in Hebrew, Spanish, English, and Arabic, Broza brings the full spectrum of his work to a performance that also features his all-star band and special guests.
$55 / $65 / $75 / $85
Berkleee has been in the news. Equality through transparency. #metoo
Nov 14

Stardust and Deep Roots: SILENT SKY

Julia Brothers, Polly Lee, Alexis Bronkovic, Victoria Grace, and Tom Coiner
Photo by Meghan Moore

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Sean Daniels

Oct. 18 – Nov. 12
50 E Merrimack St
Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) There has been a move in recent years to use film and stage to unearth the hidden stories of women who have advanced society while making their contributions in the confines of sexism. This has resulted in a series of earnest biopics or bio-plays, some more well-crafted than others. Continue reading

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

Nov 08

The Writing Is On The Wall: “New and Dangerous Ideas”

Sarah Leach, Phoenyx Williams, and Christopher Johnson in the world premiere of “New and Dangerous Ideas” by Christopher Johnson at The Wilbury Theatre Group. Photo by James Lastowski.

Presented by Wilbury Theatre Group
Written by Christopher Johnson
Directed by Josh Short

November 2nd through 18th, 2017
Wilbury Theatre Group, 40 Sonoma Ct
Providence, Rhode Island  02909
WTG on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Providence, Rhode Island)  Lately I’ve been listening to JAY’s most recent album 4:44 when I’m driving, and one of my favorite tracks is “Smile,” partly because of the following lyric:  A loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson / Appreciate the pain, it’s a blessin’.  JAY’s album – released in response to Beyoncé’s Lemonade – is a reflection of the current state of Black American manhood, and right now you can hear that same lyric echoed by Black men throughout all the creative spheres.  The two men starring in New and Dangerous Ideas were certainly grappling with the lessons that we all can learn from the losses of rampant racism. Continue reading