Sep 03

Anti-racist Discourse Can Feel Like an Attack: “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992”

Wesley T. Jones as Keith Watson and Elena Hurst as Hector Tobar in “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992.” Photo: Lauren Miller

Presented by American Repertory Theater in association with Signature Theatre
Conceived, Written, and Revised by Anna Deavere Smith
Directed by Taibi Magar
Scenic Design by Riccardo Hernandez 
Costume Design by Linda Cho 
Lighting Design by Alan C. Edwards 
Sound Design by Darron L. West 
Projection Design by David Bengali 
Movement Coach Michael Leon Thomas
Dialect Design by Amy Stoller
Sensitivity Specialist Ann James
Featuring Elena Hurst (she/her), Wesley T. Jones (he/him), Francis Jue (he/him), Carl Palmer (he/him), and Tiffany Rachelle Stewart (she/her). 

Digital playbill
Digital guide & dramaturgy 
Runtime: Two and one half hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

Aug. 28 – Sept. 24, 2022
ASL Interpreted: 9/18 at 2PM & 9/21 at 7:30PM
Audio Described: 9/17 at 2PM & 9/22 at 7:30PM
Open Captioned: 9/17 at 2PM & 9/22 at 7:30PM
Relaxed: 9/24 at 2PM
Loeb Drama Center 
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge MA 02138

This production contains footage of extreme violence, instances of racialized and discriminatory language, and the sound of a gunshot.

Review by Kitty Drexel

I can’t forever dwell in darkness.
I can’t forever dwell in the idea,
just identifying with people like me,
and understanding me and mine.

  • Twilight Bey

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 isn’t a conversation starter. It is the continuation of a centuries-long conversation. While my fellow white people are arguing about woke politics and sniffling about their fragile feelings, BIPOC and their allies live the negative effects of systemic racism. 

This play is about the violence perpetrated against Latasha Harlins, Soon Ja Du, Rodney King, and George Floyd. Graphic violence is depicted. Audience members see the moment when Latasha Harlins dies. We see LAPD police brutally and mercilessly beat Rodney King. Reginald Denny nearly died during the Los Angeles riots. This play is not for children.  Continue reading

Jun 04

Could be Better, Could be Worse: American Repertory Theater’s “1776”


Presented by American Repertory Theater
Produced in association with Roundabout Theatre Company
Book by Peter Stone
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Based on a Concept by Sherman Edwards
Directed by Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus
Music Direction by Ryan Cantwell
Choreography by Jeffrey L. Page
Music Supervision by David Chase
Orchestrations by John Clancy
Vocal Design by AnnMarie Milazzo
Dialect Coaching (NYC) by Dawn-Elin Fraser
Dialect Coaching (Cambridge) by Erika Bailey
Fight Direction by Thomas Schall

May 17 – July 24, 2022
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
Run Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission

The mask goes over your nose.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Contemporary performances of Stone & Edwards’ 1776 are a response to Hamilton. The 1997 Broadway revival production at the Roundabout Theatre had an all white, all cis male cast (with Star Trek TNG’s Brent Spiner in the role of John Adams). American Repertory Theater tries something different with its 2022 production. It is largely successful thanks to the brave, button-pushing performances of its actors. 

1776 is the reproduction of the infamous congressional meetings that lead to the United States’ declaration of independence on July 4, 1776. John Adams (Crystal Lucas-Perry), Benjamin Franklin (Patrena Murray), and Thomas Jefferson (Elizabeth A. Davis) cajole the members of the Continental Congress into voting for American independence from British tyranny.  Continue reading

Sep 25

“Borrowed Cash” and Their Stolen Songs


Presented by Harvard’s American Repertory Theater
Written by Daniel Jenkins and Melissa van der Schyff
Directed by Gina Rattan

Sept. 13 – Sept. 23, 2018
OBERON – American Repertory Theater
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
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Review by Bishop C. Knight

(Cambridge, MA) Borrowed Cash was a band headlined by the two ex-lovers Ann Marie and Harper, who were Brits parading as hillbilly Southerners. Between the ex-spouses, Ann Marie provided the most twanging, crooning Americana songs center stage with eyes closed.  Harper spent most of his time supplying the main keyboard riffs, singing backup harmonies, and blowing a harmonica.  Harper is actually NYC-born actor Daniel H. Jenkins, and Ann Marie the Canadian actress Melissa van der Schyff. Neither are British or Southern, but both did a great job of playing bitter British bandmates who suffered a nasty divorce. Continue reading

Sep 07

Langston Hughes as “The Black Clown”

The Black Clown Production Photo
The cast of The Black Clown.
Photo: Maggie Hall.

Presented by American Repertory Theater
Adapted from Langston Hughes’ poem
Adapted by Davóne Tines and Michael Schachter
Music by Michael Schachter
Choreographed by Chanel DaSilva
Directed by Zack Winokur
Music Direction by Jaret Landon
Trumpets by Dave Adewumi and Robyn Smith
Keyboards played by Jaret Landon and Bethany Aikin
Reeds by Rajiv Halim, Isaiah Johnson, and Jason Marshall

August 31 – Sept 23, 2018
Loeb Drama Center
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
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Written by Bishop C. Knight

(Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA)  In The Black Clown program, the A.R.T. Artistic Director wrote how “Langston Hughes drew deeply on the traditions of African American music,” and Hughes would have been pleased with this production.  

The pit orchestra breathed life into spirituals and added rhythmic profundity to operatic adaptations of Hughes’ poems. Keyboards were played by Jaret Landon, a Chicago-based composer who was the show’s Music Director, and Bethany Aiken, who studied Music History at Oberlin College.  A theater experience fusing vaudeville, gospel, and jazz, Black Clown brought Langston Hughes’ verse to life onstage.  Every musician in this production – from the trumpet players, to the actors who themselves are acclaimed singers – every musician, per their participation in this production, paid respect both to Hughes and to the African American music at the heart of Hughes’ art. Continue reading

Dec 24

A Mobile, Spectacle-Driven Adaptation of “Sense and Sensibility”

Presented by Bedlam
Written by Kate Hamill
Based on the novel by Jane Austen
Directed by Eric Tucker

December 10, 2017 – January 14, 2018
The American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.)
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Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Communicating the swift wit of a Jane Austen story is sometimes lost in an adaptation of her work. What better metaphor for the pace and quick gossip of polite society than a stage where all the furniture has wheels and actors move across it with the precision of a ballet? Bedlam, in its own words, “creates works of theatre that reinvigorate traditional forms in a flexible, raw space.” This adaptation is as kinetic and flexible as described, but it works best when its uses its techniques to highlight Austen’s source material, not when they try to rely on special effects. Continue reading

Mar 02

On the realistic level: “The Night of the Iguana”

Presented by the American Repertory Theater
Written by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Michael Wilson

Current-March 18, 2017
ASL Interpreted, Mar. 12, 2PM & Mar. 15, 7:30PM
Audio Described, Mar. 16, 7:30PM & Mar. 18, 2PM
Open Captioned Logo Open Captioned, Mar. 16, 7:30PM & Mar. 18, 2PM
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
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Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MA) One may not immediately think of The Night of the Iguana as an American classic even though the film version is considered a classic and it was a success by every measure.  Tennessee Williams fans themselves are content to see it or hear of it onstage maybe once a decade, if even that frequently since its debut in 1961.   The A.R.T.’s recent production pays homage to the time period without becoming a stale museum piece.  Tennessee Williams may not be a favored son of every American, but he is a recent one.  Loeb Drama Center had a clever setup when I attended which allowed the audience to ponder correspondence  from archives as well as attempt to bang some literary work out with Royal typewriters rented out by Arlington’s own Cambridge Typewriter.    Continue reading

Jun 23

By the time you notice her, you’re already caught in the web: “Spider Cult the Musical”

13227041_1709956299255837_8492057768646383105_nScripted and Produced by Jade Sylvan
Created, Directed, Choreographed and Produced by Fem Bones
Music by Catherine Capozzi

June 24 6:30 pm and 10:30 pm
June 26 5 pm and 8:30 pm
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
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Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MA) Back in 2012, a Kickstarter campaign funded quite a bit of Fem Bones’ Revenge of the Battle Robot Nuns, a sci-fantastical burlesque show birthed by the Slaughterhouse Sweethearts, possibly New England’s only horror burlesque troupe.  Spider Cult: The Musical is a spin-off set in the same universe and  it retains quite a lot of the slashes of the macabre and deviant sexuality that made Revenge so memorable. Initially, Jade Sylvan pitched Scout’s story to Fem Bones as a spin-off movie after seeing Revenge.  Jade was enamoured of Revenge because the action reminded them of discovering weirdness and sexuality for the first time as a queer individual.  Instead of creating a movie, Jade banged out a script for a live show which gets translated by the indomitable Fem Bones and the Slaughterhouse Sweeties with special guests onto the Oberon stage this Friday and Sunday for one weekend only.   Fans and other supporters of fringe theatre stepped up via Kickstarter yet again to fund the first reading as well as the creation of the show. Continue reading

May 20

On Behalf of Women’s Bodies: IN THE BODY OF THE WORLD

Photo Evgenia Eliseeva.

Photo Evgenia Eliseeva. Ensler transcends. 

Presented by the American Repertory Theater
Written and performed by Eve Ensler
Directed by Diane Paulus

May 10 – 29, 2016
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: nudity not for the purpose of female objectification, implied drug use, graphic depictions of violence and cruelty, raw feminism

(Cambridge, MA) Our iPads, tablets, game consoles, phones and anything else that requires processed natural minerals and metals are the by-products of systematic rape. This is an oversimplified statement but it is true. The ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and complications within the mineral supply chain means that conflict minerals end up in everyday items. The computer I’m using to write this review likely has conflict minerals in it. The device you’re using to read this review likely has conflict minerals in it. By not pushing for a transparent mineral supply chain, we are aiding the conflict in the Congo. By not taking an active stance, we are telling the companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. that we approve of their trade dealings with companies that don’t require transparency. As ignorant consumers, we are part of them problem.   Continue reading

Aug 21

Fan Service Omitted: WAITRESS, A NEW MUSICAL

Keala Settle, Jessie Mueller, and Jeanna de Waal in Waitress. Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Keala Settle, Jessie Mueller, and Jeanna de Waal in Waitress. Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Presented by American Repertory Theater
Book by Jessie Nelson
Music & lyrics by Sara Bareilles
Based on the motion picture by Adrienne Shelly
Directed by Diane Paulus
Music direction by Nadia DiGiallonardo
Choreography by Chase Brock

Production is partnered with Harvard University’s Office of Sexual Assault Prevention & Response.

August 2, 2015 – September 27, 2015
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Waitress the musical is an interpretation of the 2007 movie written and directed by Adrienne Shelly. It is beloved by a devoted fan base. Appeasing this fan base is a tall order. The A.R.T. does a good job of remaining true to Shelly’s masterwork. There are many hits and only one notable miss.  Continue reading

Jun 14

R.I.P. Joan Parker, Philanthropist/Muse/Activist

Obituary: In Memory of Joan Parker

Photo credit: Bay Windows

An article from Bay Windows written by Deborah Peeples, President of Greater Boston PFLAG chapter follows below.

People may recall Ms. Parker as a champion of LGBTQ rights. Some may remember her gallant aerial descent to the stage in the 2010 Theater Offensive fundraising event “ClimACTS: Under A Big Top.” She was a miracle to those who needed her. Joan Parker, you are missed.

Joan Parker flying 30 feet up in the air at our 2010 “ClimACTS under a Big Top. Photo credit: The Theater Offensive

From Bay Windows:
“Obituary: In Memory of Joan Parker” by Deborah Peeples, President of Greater Boston PFLAG

I am writing to share the sad news that Joan Parker, one of our distinguished members of the Greater Boston Parents Families and Friends (Greater Boston PFLAG) Advisory Board, passed away yesterday.  Joan was an educator and community activist and philanthropist. She and her late husband, the acclaimed novelist Robert Parker, epitomized the ideal PFLAG parents. Proud and supportive of their two gay sons, Joan and Robert modeled the kind of behavior PFLAG seeks to promote with all parents: unqualified love and acceptance of their LGBT children.  And they took that love and support to its highest form by becoming activists  — committing themselves to making the world safe and inclusive for all.

For decades, Joan was active in a wide range of community service and arts organizations, including the American Repertory Theater, Community Servings, Theater Offensive, The Boston Children’s Theater and, fortunately for us, Greater Boston PFLAG.  Joan was also a moving force behind “Shared Heart”, a traveling exhibit of black-and-white photos of LGBT teens that was narrated by the featured youth.

Joan and Robert joined the Greater Boston PFLAG’s Advisory Board in June 2008, and together with Chad and Anne Gifford, served as Honorary Co-Chairs of our April 2008 and 2009 Pride and Passion fundraisers. At the April 2010 fundraiser, Greater Boston PFLAG honored Joan with its Cornerstone of Equality Award. Joan then went on to Co-Chair three successive Pride and Passion fundraising events. Each of these galas was more successful than the one before by all measures, including increasing the amount of funds raised to support of our bullying prevention and family acceptance programs. Beyond that, through her work on our fundraising events, Joan was instrumental in boosting public awareness of our lifesaving, life-changing mission. She became an active member of our Speaker’s Bureau and participated in our workplace based education programs for parents and allies.  She gave generously of her time, passion and expertise and was a brilliant “organizational development consultant”. She frequently opened her Cambridge home for countless meetings and parties for supporters and friends of the organization- in some respects, her Ash Street residence became a second home office for Greater Boston PFLAG.

My predecessor Stan Griffith, our Executive Director Pam Garramone and I will always cherish Joan’s warm friendship and her steady wise counsel. She was our guru and mentor. We are grateful to Joan Parker for all that she did to make the world a better place for all kids and their families.

Greater Boston PFLAG extends our deepest sympathies to Joan’s sons David and Daniel and to their families during this difficult time. The family has requested that memorial gifts be made in lieu of flowers to one or more of the organizations with which their mother was active, including Greater Boston PFLAG.  Those who would like to make a memorial gift in Joan Parker’s honor should consult our website at: http://www.gbpflag.org or call 781-891-5966.