Dec 29

You Don’t Have to Understand Your Queer Family to Love Your Queer Family: “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge”

Rehearsal for “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge.” Photo by Meghan Moore/Megpix

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Trista Baldwin
Directed by Courtney Sale
Cast: Kristian Espiritu, Karen MacDonald, Eliza Simpson, Milicent Wright

Now – January 4, 2022
Video on Demand via Mandolin.com
MRT Playbill 
MRT on Facebook

Age Recommendation: 14 and older. Some adult content/language.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Video-On-Demand — The copious productions of The Christmas Carol that come around every year are for mainstream Christmas celebrators. The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge is a Christmas production for the rest of us. It’s intersectionality feminist. It passes the Bechdel Test. It’s under two hours, and you can drink rum-nog the entire time from your own home. Cheers! 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house… Carol (New England darling Karen MacDonald) was stirring because her daughter Holly (Kristian Espiritu) was finally coming home to Brockton, Mass.! This year Holly is bringing her special friend Jordan (Eliza Martin Simpson). Worlds, politics, and identities collide when Holly reveals to Carol that Jordan is more than just her Jewish, progressive liberal friend from Portland.

Milicent Wright plays the online Zumba cueing, comestible baking, excellent listener and BFF neighbor Chris. I would take Zumba class with Chris/Millicent any day. She seems fun.  Continue reading

Dec 21

A Bougie Meh: “Imagine Van Gogh”

Queen Geek’s own photo from the event.

Imagine Van Gogh
The original immersive exhibition in Image Totale© 
Annabelle Mauger & Julien Baron, Artistic Directors and creators
Curated by Androula Michael
Scenography by Annabelle Mauger & Julien Baron
Animation and effects by Julien Baron & Donatien Zébi
Translations by Sarah Jackson
Musical research by Gérard Thouret

December 21, 2021 to March 19, 2022.
December 2021 – March 2022
Open Daily 10 am – 9 pm
SoWa Power Station
550 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA
Info for Boston Attendees

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — I tried not to have expectations entering Imagine Van Gogh

Without intending to, I expected Imagine Van Gogh to be like Yayoi Kusama’s “Love Is Calling” which ran at the ICA. Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms is immersive and kaleidoscopic. Imagine Van Gogh is also immersive. Van Gogh’s paintings are magnified and set to the music of classical artists Saint-Saëns, Mozart, Bach, Delibes and Satie. It makes Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings accessible to an audience that can pay the ticket price. Continue reading

Dec 21

Art is a Gateway Drug to Realness: “Passing Strange”

The cast getting down. Photo Credit: Nikolai Alexander

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Written by Stew with collaborator Heidi Rodewald
Orchestrations by Heidi Rodewald
Directed by Arthur Gomez
Music direction by Julius LaFlamme
Choreography by Elmer Martinez 
Intimacy consulting by Olivia Dumain 
Band: Miles Ahlstrom, Hector Saint-Hilaire, Sahil Warsi

12/10/21 – 1/1/22
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Moonbox on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON – I was today years old when I realized that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is an bacronym for LSD, the psychedelic drug made famous by Harvard Professor Timothy Leary. It took watching Moonbox Productions’ Passing Strange on Saturday afternoon to figure it out. Several hours and a weak tea later, I realized I was a total square. Continue reading

Dec 17

Messing with Your Algorithm or Not Your Daddy’s Inspiration Porn: “Teenage Dick”


Presented by The Huntington
Produced in association with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Pasadena Playhouse
Written by Mike Lew
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Assistant direction and movement coordination by Ashleigh King
Choreography by Jennifer Weber
Fight choreography by Robb Hunter

December 3 – January 2, 2022
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
The Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Content warning: Disabled people exist everywhere 24/7. If this play “expands your world,” you should know that’s ableist, and it’s really not about you.

BOSTON — This one time, in the Before Times, I was taking an ashtanga-style yoga class, and a random woman told me I was “inspirational.” I was dripping in sweat after having performed 60-minutes of intermediate poses with only one arm, and a brunette Karen in Athleta and Lululemon compression wear decided it was super important to tell me that I inspired her. She didn’t say what I inspired her to do, just that I was “inspirational.” 

I wish I could say that I told the Karing Karen she inspired me to vomit a little in my mouth, but I was too shocked to say much of anything. I picked up my mat, and I skedaddled out of the studio to fume inspirationally in peace.

This horse can’t even do yoga.

I live with brachial plexus palsy, a permanent paralysis of my left arm from my shoulder through my fingers. (Coincidentally, it’s also the sexiest of the palsies.) Sometimes complete strangers find my ability to do completely normal, everyday things Inspirational. Showing up to yoga is difficult for everyone, Karen. 

Abled people have a nasty habit of deriving inspiration from the inabilities of disabled people. We aren’t inspirational just because you find relief from not being disabled. Your inability to see us as people with lives is a You problem. As Buck says in Teenage Dick now at The Huntington, “Please don’t involve me.” Continue reading

Dec 16

The WASPs are Not OK: “Incels and Other Myths”

Photo by Stratton McCrady: Matthew Swain, Julien Tornelli, Fady Demian.

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre 
Written By Ally Sass
Directed by Erica Terpening-Romeo
A BU New Play initiative production
Produced by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre

December 2-12, 2021
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
BPT on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

BOSTON — Incels and Other Myths invites the audience into the world of massive multiplayer online gaming and the Lord of the Flies corners of the internet, where misogyny has even less consequences than in the physical world. Elaine (Allison Blaize), a mythology teacher at an all-girls high school, and her precocious but awkward son Avery (Aidan Close) play the historical fantasy game, “Oracle.” In “Oracle,” they try on highly gendered, performative personas and encounter friends and monsters that help them get in touch with integral parts of themselves they couldn’t face in real life. Continue reading

Dec 15

No Room at the Inn: “Witness”

WITNESS: A new virtual documentary theater piece

A screen capture of the online platform.

Presented by Arlekin Players’ (Zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab
Conceived and directed by Igor Golyak
Written by Nana Grinstein with Blair Cadden & Igor Golyak
Scenography & Costume Design by Anna Fedorova
Virtual Design by Daniel Cormino
Sound Design by Viktor Semenov
Produced by Sara Stackhouse
Dramaturgy by Blair Cadden 
Featuring the Arlekin Acting Company

December 10, 2021 – January 23, 2023
Over the Arlekin (zero-G) virtual Theater Lab platform
and Zoom
Arlekin Players on Facebook
Playbill

Review by Kitty Drexel

“It doesn’t feel virtual; it feels real.” 

– Talkback moderator Inessa Rifkin, a founder of the Russian Jewish Community Foundation and a founder of the Russian School of Mathematics, after the December 13 performance of Witness.  

ONLINE/Zoom  — It’s almost Yule! Here’s a Christmas story: In May 1939, the MS St. Louis carried 937 passengers from Nazi-occupied Germany to Havana, Cuba. The Cuban government refused the ship. Its passengers remained onboard; the ship didn’t dock. Cuba had cancelled the immigration papers of the onboard immigrants without notifying them. 

The United States refused the ship too. The US had space to put the passengers but our politicians let money and immigration law stop them from welcoming the passengers. We made a 1976 secular movie about it called “Voyage of the Damned” with Faye Dunaway. How American of us. 

The Jewish passengers were finally allowed some succor when the ship returned to Europe that June.  254 of the passengers died in the Holocaust: 84 in Belgium; 84 in Holland, and 86 in France. There was no room at the inn or the stable with Mary and Joseph. 

Witness by Arlenkin Players is about the fluffy talent show that the passengers held to boost morale. Local New Englanders who are also immigrants play passengers on the boat. It’s about the stark tragedy that our country, a nation that says it welcomes immigrants at its front door on the East Coast, decided that Jewish immigrants fleeing for their very lives should go elsewhere. Popup text boxes invite us to learn about who the passengers were and if they survived the ship. It’s about the multigenerational fight against anti-Semitism in the US. The Arlekin Acting Company portrays Jewish characters from across the decades. Continue reading

Nov 29

All We Like Sheep: H+H’s “Messiah”

Georg Friederich Händel’s Messiah
Presented by Handel + Haydn Society
Performed by Harry Christophers, conductor
Carolyn Sampson, soprano
Emily Marvosh, contralto*
James Way, tenor
Roderick Williams, baritone
H+H Orchestra and Chorus

November 26, 27, & 28, 2021
Boston Symphony Hall
301 Massachusetts Ave
Boston, MA 02115
H+H on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — We were granted tickets to Handel + Haydn’s Messiah. It was lovely: the orchestra was in good form on their period instruments; the choir sang in four voices with rich purity; the soloists were attuned to the orchestra. It was a nice afternoon at the symphony. Our first since the quarantine.

In the program, H+H included a note: “We regret to announce that countertenor Reginald Mobley has been forced to withdraw from this week’s performances due to illness. We are pleased to announce that contralto Emily Marvosh has graciously agreed to take his place.” Continue reading

Nov 17

Science, History, & Humanity: “The Half-Life of Marie Curie”

Produced by The Nora@Central Square Theater
A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production
Written by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Bryn Boice
Dramaturgy by Julie-Anne Whitney
Voice & text direction by Christine Hamel 
Starring Lee Mikeska Gardner & Debra Wise

November 11 –  December 12, 2021
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Digital streaming: The digital stream of The Half-Life of Marie Curie is available from November 28 to December 26, 2021. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

Cambridge, Mass. — The Half-Life of Marie Curie presented by The Nora Theatre Company is a platonic love story between two adult scientists separated by distance and their fields. It’s a show to see with your best friend. It is warmly written and bravely acted. 

In the summer of 1912, two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie (Lee Mikeska Gardner) hermited herself with friend and confidant Hertha Aryton (Debra Wise who entered wig first), renowned mechanical engineer. Curie was hounded by pigeonous journalists for daring to love in her widowhood. Aryton opened her seaside home to Curie and her daughters. They spoke of science, nature, womanhood, and many other things.   Continue reading

Nov 09

Seated in the Tonsorial Parlour: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

Presented by The Longwood Players
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Kaitlyn Chantry
Music Directed by Jeremy Lang

November 5 – 20, 2021
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St.
Chelsea, MA
TLP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Chelsea, Mass. — TLP’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a forthright production. It takes no risks, but it lacks pretension. The staging is simple but the vocals are strong. The orchestra performs mightily. It is exactly what a good Sweeney Todd should be at a community level.  Continue reading

Nov 08

Witches, Vamps, and Rock & Roll: “Macbeth in Stride”

Steven Cuevas at the piano with Kira Helper, Charlie Thurston, Reggie D. White, and Whitney White in rehearsal for Macbeth In Stride.
Photo: Lauren Miller

Presented by American Repertory Theatre
Created and performed by Whitney White
Orchestrations Steven Cuevas and Whitney White
Music Director Steven Cuevas
Choreography Raja Feather Kelly
Directed by Tyler Dobrowsky and Taibi Magar

October 23 – November 14, 2021
Audio Described Performances: Friday, November 12 at 7:30PM and Saturday, November 13 at 2PM
Open Captioned Performances: Thursday, November 11 at 7:30PM and Saturday, November 13 at 2PM
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

Macbeth in Stride is a lush pop, rock, gospel, and R&B musical theater event that can only be described as An Experience. It is the first of a five-part series by Obie Award-winning artist Whitney White examining the women of Shakespeare through a black, queer, feminine lens. I’m often skeptical of shows with stated agendas like this, but Macbeth in Stride delivered far more than what was promised, in more ways than I expected. Continue reading