May 12

Love Flusters Money: ANNIE

Presented by Troika Entertainment, LLC
Book by Thomas Meehan
Music by Charles Strause
Lyrics by Martin Charnin
Based on the “Little Orphan Annie,” a comic strip by Harold Gray which was based on the 1885 poem “Little Orphant Annie” by James Whitcomb Riley
Directed by Martin Charnin
Choreographed by Liza Gennaro
Music directed and conducted by Keith Levenson
Animals wrangled by William Berloni

May 9 – 21, 2017
The Wang Theatre operated by Boch Center
Boston, MA
Boch Center on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAI’m a stoic deeply bruised by current events, but Annie at the Wang is such an uplifting show that I was able to smile and think of happier times. This production is a fast-paced, clean cut piece of theatre. Escapism isn’t always productive, but this particular dose isn’t doing anyone any harm.   Continue reading

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Oct 05

GAMES WITHOUT FRONTIERS: “Billy Elliot – The Musical”

Photo © Paul Lyden

Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Music by Elton John
Book and Lyrics by Lee Hall
Based on the Universal Pictures/Studio Canal Film
Direction and Choreography by Adam Pelty
Musical direction by Andrew Bryan

September 29th – October 11th, 2015
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Leave it to children to show adults just how stupid they can be.

In Billy Elliot – the Musical, a young boy in a northern English town stumbles into a love of ballet in the midst of a coal miner strike in the mid-eighties. It is a good show that can achieve multiple goals during the course of the script, and North Shore Music Theatre stages a good one. Through skillful choreography and playful dance, this production shows how the political struggles of Thatcherism in the UK so closely resembles the nonsensical and almost playful twists and turns of a second-rate children’s ballet show. At the same time, at its core, this play is a simple coming-of-age story of a child growing up different and talented at a time when a community was straining to hold onto a core value of gray sameness. Continue reading

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Jul 20

Big Heart, Strings Showing: ANNIE

Photo by Paul Lyden, Jacquelyn Piro Donovan and Lauren Weintraub.

Annie, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charmin, book by Thomas Meehan, North Shore Music Theatre, 7/17/12- 7/29/12, http://www.nsmt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=971&Itemid=2320.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Sometimes, when you shine a light on a worn-out plotline by staging a good production, you breathe new life into the script.  Other times, a strong production’s focus can make a threadbare script fall to pieces.  Continue reading

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Jun 14

Glittery, but Not Grabbing: HELLO DOLLY!

“Hello, Dolly!” Jacquelyn Piro Donovan (Dolly Gallagher Levi) and the ensemble of North Shore Music Theatre’s production of HELLO, DOLLY! Photo by Paul Lyden

Hello Dolly!, book by Michael Stewart, music by Jerry Herman, North Shore Music Theatre, 6/12/12-6/24/12, http://www.nsmt.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=969.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

Since Elizabethan times, some plays have been built around the concept of a character as a force of nature.  As a playwright, it’s often a good strategy that allows a great actor to cover plotline foibles with a powerful performance.  But such a strategy also can backfire, because when your lead can’t will the play to life, a weak plot is exposed all the more.  Continue reading

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