Dec 01

Salty Peanuts: “A Charlie Brown Christmas Live On Stage”

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Presented by Boch Center Schubert Theatre
Story by Charles M. Schultz
Music by Vince Guaraldi
Adapted by Eric Schaeffer

Dec. 1-2, 2018
265 Tremont, Boston, MA 02116
CB on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) The CBS television special A Charlie Brown Christmas, which premiered in 1965, has long been a holiday favorite of mine. Before I understood its sophisticate themes or even its dialogue, the adorable cartoons, slow jazz, and children’s voices were instinctively and irresistibly soothing. Decades later, Charlie Brown’s dark horse demeanor and romantic ideals still hold up as a paragon of optimism in a world that makes it so easy become disenchanted and give up our hopes and dreams.

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Nov 13

BLO Opera Annex: “Lizzie Borden”


BOSTON LYRIC OPERA continues the 2013-14 season with its Opera Annex production of Jack Beeson’s riveting masterwork:

LIZZIE BORDEN

Sung in English with projected text
Based on a Scenario by Richard Plant
Composed by Jack Beeson
Libretto by Kenward Elmslie
Realized by Todd Bashore (orchestration) and John Conklin (dramaturgy)
Stage Directed by Christopher Alden
Conducted by David Angus

 

 

FOUR PERFORMANCES ONLY: November 20, 22, 23, 24, 2013
The Castle At Park Plaza
130 Columbus Avenue
Boston, MA 02116
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BOSTON (November 6, 2013)—Boston Lyric Opera (BLO) continues its 2013-14 season with a production of Jack Beeson’s operatic masterpiece, Lizzie Borden, for BLO’s Opera Annex series, in a world premiere chamber version in seven scenes, specially commissioned by BLO and directed by the acclaimed Christopher Alden. Running four performances only, November 20-24, Beeson’s riveting opera captures the dramatic, claustrophobic family portrait based on the sensational Fall River, Massachusetts axe murders that gripped the nation in 1892.

Lizzie Andrew Borden was tried and acquitted in the 1892 axe murders of her father and stepmother in Fall River, Massachusetts, but here has been controversy ever since about her guilt or innocence. In their opera, composer Jack Beeson and librettist Kenward Elmslie leave no doubt about her murderous culpability, while changing a few details of the well-known story for theatrical reasons. An older sister, Emma, becomes a younger sister, Margret. A suitor for Margret is created, the sea captain Jason McFarlane, and a psychologically convincing backstory for the stepmother, Abbie (her subservient and deeply resented role as a servant-nurse to the dying first Mrs. Borden, Lizzie’s mother) is developed. The Beeson piece was first performed in 1965 as a three act opera.

 

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Jun 22

A Shrieking Mess: BLACK COMEDY

Photo Credit: The Happy Medium Theatre Co. Where can I get that dress?

Photo Credit: The Happy Medium Theatre Co. Where can I get that dress? – Kitty

presented by Happy Medium Theatre
by Peter Shaffer
Co-Directed by Lizette M. Morris and Michael Underhill

@ The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
June 14th – June 22nd, 2013
Happy Medium Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) There is the top, there is going over the top and then there is trampling on the top and spitting on its grave. You have to hand it to the talented Happy Medium cast that performs Black Comedy; they commit to an outrageously loud and brash style that infuses a punk sensibility to a tired and silly British farce. Each actor delivers their lines with such gusto that it’s like being in a room with a guitarist who cranks the amp up to 11. Unfortunately, this loud performance quickly grates, and it’s impossible to emotionally invest in the offensive, obnoxious and one-dimensional characters. The unfunny end product may waste the energetic performances by some talented actors, but at least there’s no danger of falling asleep. Continue reading

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Jan 13

Office Space on Downers: THE MEMORANDUM

Photo credit: Flat Earth Theatre; a normal day at the office.

Photo credit: Flat Earth Theatre; a normal day at the office.

presented by Flat Earth Theatre

By Václav Havel
Translated by Vera Blackwell
Directed by Victoria Rose Townsend

Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
January 11th – 19th, 2013
Flat Earth Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

If Václav Havel’s life is any indication, it may wise not to let your biography get more interesting than your scripts. The Czech playwright went from a persecuted critic of Communism to his country’s first freely-elected president. His play, The Memorandum, here translated by Vera Blackwell, now often inevitably is viewed through that lens. Continue reading

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