May 27

They stole her body and the pants off a white man: “Our Lady of 121st Street”

image via https://www.facebook.com/LABTheaterCo

Presented by LAByrinth Theater Company
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Elizabeth Rodriguez
Stage Directions read by David Deblinger

Performed on Saturday, May 23 @ 8PM
A Zoom performance

LAByrinth Theater Company
Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014
LAB on Facebook
LAB on Instagram

Holy cats, DONATE!

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Hang on because it’s gonna be dope.” – From the pre-performance speech by Elizabeth Rodriguez.

ZOOM — This production is made available to viewers as a part of LAByrinth Theater Company’s desire to continue existing past the coronavirus pandemic. If you viewed this production and you are able, please donate to LAByrinth Theater. Donate now so theatre can exist later.

Directors must stop apologizing for their Zoom readings. Our Lady of 121st Street’s triumphant director Elizabeth Rodriguez is not the first to apologize to a Zoom audience. If I had my druthers, she would be the last. It’s unfair to the cast and crew who have put so much energy into the performance. Now is not the time to apologize for variables spinning mundanity far beyond our control. There is no set precedent for corona-times streaming theatre.  We’re inventing the genre. Mistakes and minor emergencies are part of the fun of live theatre. Continue reading

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May 20

You’re Very Cute When You Say ‘Snacks’: A Virtual Presentation of “Eyes Shut. Door Open.”

A virtual presentation over Zoom 
May 18, 2020, 7:30PM
A fundraiser and awareness campaign for The Phoenix Sober Community
Please donate to the campaign HERE

Written by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Christopher Randolph
Sound design by Patrick Greene
Turner played by Michael Underhill
Johanna played by Melissa deJesus
Palmer played by Eliott Purcell
Stage Directions by Alex Leondedis

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — I reviewed Eyes Shut. Door Open. four years ago at Warehouse XI in Somerville, MA. This response to the May 18 reading does not supersede the 2016 critique. It exists in addition to it. It is critical to examine theatre’s adaptation to online performance.

One of the new rules of Zooming is to make your bed. If you insist on streaming from your bedroom, make your bed. Anyone watching you is already judging you on your household aesthetics (or lack thereof). Inviting viewers into your bedroom means sharing an intimate part of you. They will imagine you in that naughtily unmade bed. They will see your unwashed sheets and rumpled comforter and judge your hygiene. Better to make your bed than to feed the trolls. Never feed the trolls.

Speaking of rules. Necessity is forcing actors to develop new techniques for online streaming. Monday’s performance of Eyes Shut. Door Open revealed some mighty useful technical skills in its performers and sound technician. There was a lot to learn from this reading. Continue reading

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May 02

Plague Drama from the Comfort of Your Own Home: “Nosferatu, The Vampyr”

Presented by Sparkhaven Theatre & Homesick Play Project
Written by by M Sloth Levine
Original music composed by Alissa Voth
Directed by Hannah Pryfogle
Musicians: Rebecca Elowe, Bri Tagliaferro, Andrew Gaffney

April 30, 2020
Streamed through HowlRound Theatre Commons 
The streamed version recorded for posterity (and to prove there were witnesses HERE)

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: This review is a response to the experience of a Zoom performance of Nosferatu, The Vampyr.  

ONLINE, Everywhere — Nosferatu, The Vampyr, a play with original music about a mysterious plague with mysterious origins, is the dramatic queering that society needs. It was meant to run at Chelsea Theatre Works March 19 – 28, until the coronavirus, our factual plague, prevented its run. While it would have been brilliant to review Nosferatu, The Vampyr in real life, the Zoom version proves that great theatre can be created specifically for internet viewing with time, ingenuity, and some creative tweaking. Not all streamed theatre content is worth viewing. Nosferatu is.  Continue reading

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Apr 21

Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Odyssey Opera Release Schuller’s “The Fisherman and His Wife” 

Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Odyssey Opera Release Schuller’s “The Fisherman and His Wife”  
Presented by Boston Modern Orchestra Project and Odyssey Opera
Gunther Schuller: The Fisherman and His Wife (#1970)
Opera by Gunther Schuller
Libretto by John Updike
Based on a fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm
Conducted by Gil Rose
Featuring: Sondra Kelly (mezzo-soprano), Steven Goldstein (tenor), David Kravitz (baritone), Katrina Galka (soprano), Ethan Depuy (tenor)

Release Date: April 7, 2020 
Available to purchase HERE

Review by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA — The opening bars of Gunter Schuller’s The Fisherman and His Wife sound like the scoring for an episode of the Stark Trek: The Original Series. Not the opening theme song famous for it’s 70s crooning lounge jam. The organ, shivering strings, and cacophony coming from the woodwinds remind me of composer Fred Steiner’s work in the episode, “The Corbomite Maneuver.” 

Gunter’s work doesn’t politely introduce its listener to his opera. We’re introduced to a dire world of conflict from the opening chords. The orchestra paints an uneasy ocean with low tones and dissonance.  We’re caught in a negative reverie until a forceful “Meow!” (Katrina Galka as the cat) breaks the atmospheric tension caused by the orchestra. This small world hides stark unhappiness that unravels toward the ear in rumbling phrases. Continue reading

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Apr 06

Streamed Content to Prevent COVID-19 Brain Drain: April 2020 and All is Weird

Dear Readers,

Here is the latest list with online community happenings and be-ins.

Zoombombing is a threat. Please keep yourselves safe by implementing security measures against these fuckboi trolls.

Articles for context:
The Verge,”Zoom adds new security and privacy measures to prevent Zoombombing.”
The New York Times, “‘Zoombombing’ Becomes a Dangerous Organized Effort.”
Buzzfeed News, “Here Are 8 Quick Tips To Keep You From Getting “Zoombombed” By Trolls”

Keep washing your hands, stay at home, and know that you are necessary and loved,
Kitty Drexel
Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks

Boston Theater Marathon XXII: Special Zoom Edition – Boston Playwrights’ Theatre offers features free readings of ten-minute plays by New England playwrights in collaboration with New England theatres, via Zoom, April 1-May 17. They are excellent!

Central Square Theater – Central Square Theater is extending its online run of Pipeline! It’s available to watch until April 12. Get your TICKETS before it’s too late! 

HowlRound has oodles of online content by theatremakers to watch and it is FREE, whether streamed or recorded. Please go to the site for details. 

John J King/J-Rex Plays created a music video called, (Who Needs) Pants?! Featuring special guest star Ramona Rose King. 

Liars & Believers – LAB is sharing The Huns: a radio play by Peter Papadopoulos. Directed and edited by Jason Slavick. The Huns is twelve minutes long and the silliness we need in these dire times. 

Luminarium  Dance Company– Artistic Director Merli V. Guerra’s The One I Keep (2013), performed by long-time company member Jessica Chang, is now available to watch online via YouTube. 

New England New Play Alliance – New Play Alliance has a newsletter with information on local New England playwrights, podcasts, online events, and giveaways! Subscribe HERE.

Rockettes Dance Class: The Radio City Rockettes offer live dance classes on Instagram every week beginning on April 2 at 12PM EST. Additional classes will take place on successive Thursdays at noon. 

Trinity Repertory Theatre – Rhode Island’s Tony Award-winning theater is generating digital content and creating virtual events and classes, so that “the show goes on.” Content is being delivered through its social media channels and is aggregated at 

*Registration for all adult and kid’s classes and/or the knitting circle can be found HERE

*Streaming of the movie I Am A Seagull by directors Brian Mertes, Melissa Kievmanis, and The Chekhov Project is available to steam until April 15 by clicking HERE.

*Virtual tickets are available here for a streamed version of Asolo Rep’s production of Into the Breeches!, which had its world premiere at Trinity Rep in 2018. Available through April 14.

TCG (Theatre Communications Group) – TCG has assembled resources relating to Coronavirus and has held a Webinar that you can access here. Dispatches From Quarantine will be a quick-response way for theatre folks to share thoughts, feelings, griefs, hopes, and strategies for getting through this fraught and disorienting moment.

WGBH, ArtsEmerson, Huntington Theatre Company – WGBH will present a special broadcast of Mala, a poignant drama written and performed by local playwright and performer Melinda Lopez. This award-winning play will air on WGBH 2 and YouTube TV on Thursday, April 9 at 9 p.m.

Following the broadcast, ArtsEmerson will host a pre-recorded online conversation between playwright/performer Melinda Lopez and director David Dower at ArtsEmersonBlog.org.  

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Apr 05

An Interview with Playwright Felicia King on “White Pearl”

White Pearl
Written by By Anchuli Felicia King
Directed by Nana Dakin

Royal Court Theatre
10 May — 15 June, 2019
Sloane Square
London SW1W 8AS
Directed by Priscilla Jackman

Sydney Theatre Company
24 October — 9 November, 2019
Lennox Theatre, Riverside Parramatta
New South Wales, Australia
Directed by Desdemona Chiang

Studio Theatre
November 6 — December 15, 2019
Milton Theatre, 1501 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005

Interview by Diana Lu

DL: Can you tell us about yourself, how you became a playwright, where you got the idea for your play White Pearl?

FK: I am half Thai, half Australian. I grew up between Thailand and Philippines and then moved to Australia when I was quite young. My whole life has been spent as a global citizen in the broader international community with lots of other ex-pats, lots of like immigrant kids. I’ve always been really interested in global culture, and in 2016 when I started writing this play, I saw that a bunch of ads for skin whitening companies, a lot of them Thai ads, were going viral on my news feed. Continue reading

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Mar 23

Book Release and Online Event:”There Must Be Happy Endings” by Megan Sandberg-Zakian is Released Today!

There Must Be Happy Endings: On Theatre of Optimism & Honesty
By Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Published by The 3rd Thing Press
Olympia, 2020
Available on Kickstarter with a $24.00 pledge
Paperback, 230 pages

LIVE ONLINE EVENT!
Megan Sandberg-Zakian in conversation with Melinda Lopez
March 23, 2020, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Free on the HowlRound website! More info below.
Event on
Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“An ending doesn’t have to be happy to be satisfying. A good ending, happy or not, draws a line around the experience of story hearing and telling. It picks the story up, holds it in its hands, and offers it out, whole. It gives us the opportunity for a collective breath. A good ending is honest: a boundary we can feel, the knowledgable edge of a reliable container. It is a ritual threshold between story and not-story.” 

— Megan Sandberg-Zakian, “There Must Be Happy Endings,” There Must Be Happy Endings: On Theatre of Optimism & Honesty, 2020.

Somerville, Mass — There Must Be Happy Endings by Megan Sandberg-Zakian is an exploration in the personal dramaturgy of the mind and spirit. In her first book of essays, the author takes a deep dive into the works that have made a lasting impression upon her. They are an extension of her need to share stories through theatre. Whether by quoting Homer, The Dark Knight or Annie, these essays draw the reader into the author’s personal story by circumnavigating the landscape of the greater western narrative. She tells us why happy ends are important and why they are especially important to her. Her title essay isn’t demanding sappy closure but commanding a divine right to culminate our narratives with an end to the suffering within them.  Continue reading

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Mar 11

Interview with Composer Erin McKeown, Composer of “Miss You Like Hell” Playing at Wilbury Theatre Group

Photo of Erin McKeown by Jo Chattman

Miss You Like Hell
Presented by Wilbury Theatre Group
Book & lyrics by Quiara Alegría Hudes
​Music & lyrics by Erin McKeown
Directed by ​Don Mays
Music direction by ​Matt Requintina

​March 5 – 29, 2020
The Wilbury Theatre Group
40 Sonoma Court
Providence, RI 02909
Wilbury on Facebook

Erin McKeown in Concert:
Saturday March 14
7p doors, 8p show
The Good Will Engine Company
41 Central St, Providence, RI 02907
Jocie Adams supports
TICKETS for Erin McKeown in Concert

Interview conducted by Kitty Drexel

Providence, MA — Composer and lyricist Erin McKeown graciously agreed to answer interview questions ahead of her post-performance talkback after the March 13, 7:30PM performance of Miss You Like Hell at the Wilbury Theatre Group. We are grateful that she took the time to connect with us about performances, her career, and upcoming projects!

This interview has been edited for clarity, grammar, and length.

Queen Geek: March 2, 2020 was Super Tuesday. What parts of “Miss You Like Hell” do you find the most rewarding or cathartic in this political climate?

Erin McKeown: I find the witness to the audience extremely rewarding. It’s their catharsis that really feels good to me. I need to watch art that other people made in order to experience catharsis. I can’t feel my own catharsis with something I made. But I do really find it wonderful to watch. Continue reading

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Mar 02

100% That Witch: “Hansel & Gretel”

The “Hansel & Gretel” cast. C/o imaginary beasts on Facebook.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written & directed by Matthew Woods
Additional text by the Ensemble: Laura Detwiler, Lauren Foster, Colin McIntire, Amy Meyer, Bob Mussett, Kiki Samko, Jamie Semel, Sivan Spector, Jennifer Taschereau, Matthew Woods
Puppets designed by Elizabeth Owens & Jill Rogati

Feb. 7 – March 1, 2020
The Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA
The beasts on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Charlestown, MA — The run of Winter Panto 2020: Hansel & Gretel by imaginary beasts ended on March 1. You are out of luck if you are reading this review now. It was wonderful! The cast’s acting talents were in excellent form because the script was chock full of boisterous puns and pop culture references. Scenery chewing extended to the audience just a little bit so as to rope all comers into the play’s antics. Best of all, the audience was game to interact with the show for the duration of the took the two-and-a-half-hour performance. If you watch the beastie website, you can catch them next year.  Continue reading

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Feb 27

“Swan Lake in Blue: A Jazz Ballet”

Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company
Music Director and Composer Steve Bass
Director and Choreographer Ilyse Robbins
Featuring Sara Coombs as Odette/Odile and Andy McLeavy as Florenz Siegfried

February 9 – March 1, 2020
395 Main Street
Stoneham, MA 02180
GBSC on Facebook

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

Stoneham, MA — Swan Lake in Blue: A Jazz Ballet is a retelling of the classic ballet Swan Lake with heavy jazz influences. It is set in the 1940s, and takes place in an audition space and night club. Continue reading

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