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

Sep 23

Announcing Don’t Speak Cabaret Benefit for Reproductive Rights

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Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd Street, New York, NY, 10010
Tickets:  $25 – $115 at http://metropolitanroom.com/event.cfm?id=164797&cart or by calling 212-206-0440.

NEW YORK, NY – Broadway, Off-Broadway, and up-and-coming NY talent raise their voices for reproductive rights at the Don’t Speak Cabaret Benefit at the Metropolitan Room on Sunday, October 26 at 9:30pm.

Jessica Phillips (Leap of Faith, Law & Order, SVU), Sarah Drake (New England premieres Next to Normal and Carrie), Sean Harkness (Windham Hill Records [Sony/RCA/BMG]) , Samantha Owen (Forbidden Broadway), Erick Pinnick (A Christmas Carol, The Tin Pan Alley Rag), T. Oliver Reid (After Midnight, Mary Poppins) donate their talent and time to raise awareness and celebrate women’s strength and freedom. Rebecca Elliott, Morgan Frazer, Becca Kidwell, Anna Kirkland, Molly Maynard, Clare Mione, and Parker Scott also lend their voices for the cause.

All proceeds from the event go to The Center for Reproductive Rights. Continue reading

Dec 10

Song, Cheer, and Social Misfits: “A Christmas Carol”

 

 

Presented by Anthem Theatre Company
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Steve Wargo
Musical Arrangements by Dianne Adams-McDowell
Directed by Michael Poignand

12/5/2013 — 12/21/2013
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box Theater
Boston, MA
Anthem Theatre Co on Facebook

2 hours, 15 minutes with one intermission.

 

 

 

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Though remembered largely as a cheerful, life-affirming tale about learning to embrace kindness, A Christmas Carol is, really, a ghost story. Ebenezer Scrooge (Kevin B. McGlynn) contemplates loneliness and the end of his life as he’s visited by spirits that embody his past, present, and future. Anthem Theatre Company gives us a stripped down Victorian play, a musical with literal Christmas carols to color a melancholy London and the workhouse realities of its Industrial Revolution. Continue reading

Jun 17

Can an Evergreen Bloom?: THE SOUND OF MUSIC

http://www.nsmt.org/images/Press/2013/SoundofMusic/production/NSMT-SoundofMusic-Hills.jpg

Photo©Paul Lyden

presented by North Shore Music Theatre

MUSIC BY: Richard Rodgers
LYRICS BY: Oscar Hammerstein II
BOOK BY: Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by: Maria Augusta Trapp
Directed and Choreographed by James Brennan
Music Directed by Dale Rieling

62 Dunham Rd
Beverly, Massachusetts
June 11th – June 23rd, 2013
NSMT Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Most of us can at least list the essentials of The Sound of Music: Julie Andrews, cute kids, nuns, Nazis.  As a child, it’s hard not to like it.  As an adult, it’s hard not to make fun of it.  As a regional theatre, it’s hard to do well.  Like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, audiences know what they want to get out of this play, and too many theaters sigh and go along with it.  It’s like playing with a three-year old nephew through Thanksgiving dinner because it’s easier than dealing with the tantrum. Continue reading

Dec 03

It’s a Weirdly Wonderful Life with ImprovBoston’s “Merry Christmas, Mister Lampost!”

Image Credit: ImprovBoston

presented by ImprovBoston

ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
December, Fridays at 10pm
ImprovBoston Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge) Criticized as saccharine on its initial release, It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) is probably one of the most watched Christmas movies of the era. In it, Jimmy Stuart stars as George Bailey, an unlucky small town businessman who gains a new lease on life when his guardian angel shows him how awfully the world would get on without him. Continue reading

Dec 17

A Good-Hearted Mashup: What the Dickens?!

What the Dickens?! Music & Lyrics by Adam Brooks and TC Cheever; Book by TC Cheever, ImprovBoston, 12/15/11-12/23/11, http://www.improvboston.com/whatthedickens.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Cambridge, MA) The holiday season is littered with entertainment chestnuts that get trotted out every year.  Some can get worn thin, like poorer productions of A Christmas Carol; others take on a hipster status, like the television special A Charlie Brown Christmas.

If you want to enjoy two holiday traditions at once, come see What the Dickens?!, a mashup musical that populates Dickens’ classic Christmas morality tale with Schultz’s Peanuts characters.  Watching this play is like downing an invented drink mixed at a holiday party: the two flavors may mix curiously, but it’s all good.  Continue reading

Dec 04

High-Voltage Holiday Cheer: A Christmas Carol: A Musical Ghost Story

David Coffee (Ebenezer Scrooge) and Gordon Baird (Jacob Marley). Photo by Paul Lyden.

A Christmas Carol:  A Musical Ghost Story. adaptation by Jon Kimbell, North Shore Music Theatre, 12/2/11-12/23/11, http://www.nsmt.org/.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA)  

There are two types of Christmas displays you can create with those dangly lights from the hardware store.  You can hang a string or two on a bush or you can cover every inch of your home’s exterior with sequenced glitz that spells out the lyrics of “Jingle Bells” and blinks a tableau of Santa feeding a reindeer.  Either option can be beautiful or ugly, depending on how it’s done.

The same holds true with staging Charles Dickens’ A Christmas CarolContinue reading

Nov 23

A Confused Classic: A Christmas Carol

Brian McEleney as Ebenezer Scrooge and the cast of the 35th annual production of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, adapted by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming, directed by Christopher Windom, presented by Cardi’s Furniture with supporting sponsor Amica Insurance. Performances will be November 18 - December 30 in the Chace Theater. Set design: Michael McGarty; Costume Design: William Lane; Lighting Design: John Eckert. Photo by: Mark Turek.

A Christmas Carol, adapted from Charles Dickens’ novel by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming, original music by Richard Cumming, Trinity Repertory Company, 11/18/11-12/30/11, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/ACC.php.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Providence, RI) At first glance, it seems easy to perform A Christmas Carol; just round up the usual characters from last year and dust off the crutch.  But staging a play that everyone knows can present a challenge because of audience dogma; everyone has an idea of the way the play should go. A director can be ridden out on a rail if s(he) strays too far from the collective idea of the play.

Confronted with such a double-edged sword, directors have two options.  They may either decide to stage the play faithfully, trying to bring out bits of nuance to keep theater-goers and actors from falling asleep, or stage the play in a new way that helps the audience examine why it has become such a cultural icon.  Continue reading