Jul 15

Gold, Acrylic, Altar Work, Prayer, Selena & Janelle Monáe: “HOOPS”

Presented by Company One Theatre in partnership with Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the City of Boston’s Office of Arts and Culture
By Eliana Pipes
Adapted from The HOOPS Project by Nicole Acosta 
Directed by Tonasia Jones
Dramaturgy by afrikah selah
Compositions by Brandie Blaze
Choreography by Jenny Oliver 
Featuring: Brandie Blaze, Elijah Brown, Albamarina Nahar, Tiffany Santiago, Kaili Y Turner, Karimah Williams, Beyonce Martinez (swing)

July 12 – August 10, 2024
The Strand Theatre
543 Columbia Road
Dorchester, MA

Approximate run time: 1 hour 30 minutes.
This production includes explicit language.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

DORCHESTER, Mass. — Hoops is adapted from The HOOPS Project by Nicole Acosta in 2019. It was created when Acosta asked fellow members of the art collective LUNA, “What do hoop earrings mean to you?” Their answers were accompanied by photos of the members wearing their own hoop earrings. 

Playwright Eliana Pipes adapted stories from The HOOPS Project for the stage. Company One presents HOOPS at the Strand Theatre in Dorchester through August 10. It has also played in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York. Continue reading

Sep 05

Cheap Art for the Long Haul: “The Heart of the Matter Circus”

Bread and Puppet Theater performs “The Heart of the Matter Circus” at Cambridge Common, Sept. 2, 2023. (©Greg Cook photo)

Presented by Bread and Puppet Theater

Touring through September 9th, 2023
Vernon, NJ
Thursday, September 7 @ 6pm
Meadowburn Farm
42 Meadowburn Rd, Vernon, NJ 07462

Brooklyn, NY
Friday, September 8 @ 4pm & 8pm
Old Stone House
336 3rd St., Brooklyn, NY 11215

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Saturday, September 9 @ 4pm
Montgomery Place Estate @ Bard College

Easthampton, MA
Sunday, September 10 @ 5:30pm
Park Hill Orchard
82 Park Hill Road, Easthampton, MA 01027

Pittsford, VT
Monday, September 11 @ 6pm
Pittsford Village Farm
42 Elm Street Pittsford, VT 05763

Review by Maegan Bergeron-Clearwood

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Much has been said recently about the seeming demise of American theater, with company after company reducing production capacity or closing their doors for good. Earlier this summer, The New York Times lamented this trend with the doom-and-gloom headline, “A Crisis in America’s Theaters Leaves Prestigious Stages Dark,” and a focus on big-name regional theaters – after all, if “prestigious” institutions are going under, surely this spells disaster for theater as a whole.* Continue reading

Aug 29

A Deadly Serious Delight: “Forgive Us, Gustavito!”


Presented by Otherland Theatre Ensemble
Devised and performed by Rebecca Finney, Tushar Mathew, and Lucius Robinson

August 24 and 25, 2023
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
Review by Maegan Bergeron-Clearwood

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — I have seen lots of theater over the past few years, but I still find myself encountering the occasional post-lockdown firsts. In this case, Forgive Us, Gustavito! marked the first production I’ve seen since 2020 that succeeded in being consistently, unabashedly funny – from snorts and chuckles to full-blown guffaws, the three-person ensemble elicited a spectrum of laughs from its audience, myself joyously included, marks itself as the darkest production I’ve seen since 2020.

The devised piece was inspired by a 2017 Washington Post article about the grisly death of hippopotamus, the most famous resident of the now-defunct National Zoo of El Salvador. Speculations as to the cause of Gustavito’s death ran rampant: the original theory, that he had been beaten and stabbed in an act of possible gang-related violence, was replaced by the more mundane (and in some ways more tragic) theory of poor health coupled with inadequate care. Continue reading

Aug 18

Mockumentary, not Mockery? Or, The Kids are Alright?: “Theater Camp”


Theater Camp the film
Directed by Molly Gordon and Nick Lieberman
Written by Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Nick Lieberman, Ben Platt
Featuring Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Ben Platt, Jimmy Tratto, Nathan Lee Graham, Amy Sedaris

Review by Maegan Bergeron-Clearwood

Find Your Local Listing — Like virtually every movie-about-theater that has come before it, Theater Camp features an audition montage. The young performers have barely unpacked for their summer at AdirondACTS (a rundown summer camp in upstate New York) when, one by one, they file onstage to determine their fates for the next three weeks. Stage lights in their eyes and Broadway dreams in their hearts, they begin to belt.

Watching the movie last week, I braced myself for secondhand embarrassment.

And yet, against every precedent set by other films in the mockumentary genre, no embarrassment came. Instead, I found myself beaming with joy. These kids are good, I thought. Nerdy and not great at choosing audition songs, but good. I breathed a sigh of relief.

It was this early audition montage that convinced me that Theater Camp is unique. Theater Camp plays with the expected mockumentary tropes, particularly in its characterizations: everyone at AdirondACTS is a caricature of a theater person, from Rebecca-Diane and Amos (Molly Gordon and Ben Platt), the overly serious co-writers of the summer’s original musical, to Glenn, the thankless stagehand with a secret dream to be in the spotlight (Noah Galvin). Continue reading

Jul 23

Application Opens for the 2023 Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism

NEW YORK: On July 10, the American Theatre Critics Association opened applications for the second annual 2023 Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism on its website, https://americantheatrecritics.org/edward-medina-prize/. The application will close on August 11, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

APPLY HERE

All applicants will be notified of their application status by October 1, 2023. The Medina Prize will be presented in November 2023.

Edward Medina

The ATCA website says the Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism is an award for reviewers, critics, and journalists in the U.S. from under-represented groups (women, people of the global majority, trans, and non-binary) who write about theater and its role in highlighting people from various cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.

The prize is meant to cultivate relationships between ATCA and diverse critics, to increase readership of cultural criticism by diverse writers, and to financially support critics from under-represented groups. Continue reading

Aug 15

Butterflies May Fly Free: “Migraciones/Migrations” by Paradox Teatro

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater 
by Paradox Teatro: Sofia Padilla and Davey T Steinman
Puppetry design and sand art art by Sofia Padilla
Projection design by Davey T Steinman
Co-compositions by Dan Dukich and Davey T Steinman

In-Person
August 12 & 13 at 8:00 pm
August 14 at 2:00 pm
Puppet Showplace Theater 
32 Station St
Brookline, MA 02445
Run is 50-minutes. No intermission. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

BROOKLINE, Mass. — No father would put his family on a boat unless the journey were safer than on land. This is paraphrased statement from a performance of Migraciones/Migrations by Paradox Teatro. It captures and builds upon the universal affirmation that a parent would do anything to save their children from harm. Anything: even to break immigration laws to journey to a foreign land whose people reject them sight unseen; to risk death and being sent back. Anything.  Continue reading

Sep 04

Pawpaw Trees are the Gateway to Orgiastic Ritual: “Hurricane Diane”

Jennifer Bubriski, Kris Sidberry, Esme Allen, Marianna Bassham, and Rami Margron “Hurricane Diane” Photo: Nile Hawver

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Madeleine George
Directed by Jenny Koons 
Original music and sound design by Ben Scheff
Voice coaching by Christine Hamel
Intimacy Consultant: Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson

The Playbill
August 27 – September 26, 2021
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 
527 Tremont Street 
Boston MA 02116
The Huntington on social media: @huntington

PLEASE NOTE: This production includes strobe lighting effects and a simulated thunderstorm.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

– Dorothy Parker, theatre critic, poet & hero

BOSTON, Mass. — Hurricane Diane is fun and topical. It smacks of “The Witches of Eastwick.” Please go see it. 

It is recommended that attendees get vaccinated. Everyone must wear a mask (even performers when not actively performing). It’s not just your friendly, neighborhood theatre critic telling you, it’s also on The Huntington’s website

There are two sets of ushers after the BCA’s Box Office waiting to assist patrons into the theater. The first set of BCA staff will confirm your vaccination status or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. It behooves you to have this info at the ready so one doesn’t create a traffic jam.  Continue reading

Sep 03

“Pass Over” Reopened On Broadway. Its Truths Extend to Boston and Beyond.

Photo: Joan Marcus

“Pass Over”
Written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu
Directed in Boston by Monica White Ndounou, January 3 – February 2, 2020
Directed in New York by Danya Taymor
August Wilson Theatre
245 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Tickets on sale now

Article by Kitty Drexel

NEW YORK, NY and BOSTON, Mass.– Broadway stopped all activity in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic closed indoor entertainment venues across the nation.

Thirty-one plays and musicals were running before the shutdown, including eight new shows in previews. An additional eight productions were in rehearsals and preparing to open in the spring the Broadway League said. COVID-19 closed them all.

The fat lady had sung. Continue reading

Aug 20

14 Greater-Boston Theatres Announce Proof of Vaccination and Mask Requirements

Article by Kitty Drexel

  • Proof of vaccination or a Negative COVID-19 test is required
  • Masks must be worn
  • New survey results show majority of arts goers support these measures
  • Bindle, a digital vaccine record app, is free. http://www.joinbindle.com/people

BOSTON — Fourteen theatre companies in the Greater Boston area will require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for all artists, staff members, and audiences as live, indoor performances resume for the 2021/2022 season, said a press release dated August 19. Masks are also required. 

The list of participating theatres is below.

The press release said that these policies begin immediately and remain valid through October 31. Policies are per CDC guidelines and will be reevaluated as COVID-19 pandemic evolves. 

“Proof of vaccination may include showing either a vaccination card, a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine record (through an app such as Bindle at www.joinbindle.com/people),” said the press release. Audience members without proof of vaccination will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID test before entering.

Individual theatres will list specific protocols and guidelines on their websites. At this time, New England Theatre Geek has received protocol updates from the Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Central Square Theater in addition to the joint press release from the fourteen theatres. 

The New England Theatre Geek eagerly awaits updates from other New England performing institutions. “We are reluctant to attend or review indoor performances by organizations that do not enact similar protocols and safety measures,” said Queen Geek Kitty Drexel. 

“Our primary mission is to support our theatre community. We cannot do that if organizations aren’t first taking the necessary steps to protect their staff, crew and casts. Audience members can’t make informed decisions if they aren’t assured the community’s health is a priority.”  

The June 2021 results of the ArtsBoston Audience Outlook Monitor survey said that 73% of audiences plan to resume indoor performances by Sept 2021. Audience Outlook Monitor is a longitudinal survey to keep tabs on arts attendees thoughts, concerns and intentions as the pandemic and the state’s reopening guidelines evolve, said ArtsBoston.com.

The 14 theatre joint press release said that the most recent round of Audience Outlook Monitor survey data (collected August 9 – 13, 202) found that 80% of respondents indicated that proof of vaccination would make them more likely to attend indoor events. 50% said that proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is a prerequisite for their attendance. 98% of respondents reported being fully vaccinated or planning to do so. 

Theatres in New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago have established similar policies requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test and mask wearing.

It is good practice to stay home if experiencing COVID symptoms on the day of the performance. Common symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell. 

PARTICIPATING THEATRES:
Actors’ Shakespeare Project*
American Repertory Theater (ART)
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre*
Central Square Theater*
The Front Porch Arts Collective
The Gamm Theatre*
Gloucester Stage Company*
Greater Boston Stage Company*
The Huntington Theatre Company 
Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse*
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Moonbox Productions
SpeakEasy Stage Company*
Wellesley Repertory Theatre*
 *Member of New England Area Theaters (NEAT), an association of midsize theatres

Aug 02

One Percenters Gone Wild: “7 Rooms: The Masque of the Red Death”

Prospero (Juliet Bowler) welcomes you! Photo via Flat Earth Theatre.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
New plays by Sari Boren, Hortense Gerardo, Gabriel Graetz, MJ Halberstadt, Michal Lin, Cliff Odle, Kelly Smith
Directed by Jessica Ernst, David R. Gammons, Lee Mikeska Gardner, Shira Helena Gitlin, Johnny Nichols, Jr., Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez, LaToya T. Robinson
“Prospero” by Amy Lehrmitt; directed by Lindsay Eagle; performed by Juliet Bowler.

Aesthetics Designs by Michael Clark Wonson
Sound by Kyle Lampe
Costumes by Zane Kealey
Props & special effects by S Ayala
Showrunner: Amy Lehrmitt

Dramaturgy by Betsy Goldman

Full cast of actors: Sydney Roslin, Kira Helper, Kristen Heider, Michael Lin, Sharmarke Yusuf, Shanelle Villegas, Kalee Burrows, Olivia Dumaine, Naomi Ibasitas, Evan Turissini, Jo Michael Rezes, Blair Nodelman, Lorraine Kanyike, and Miles Wheeler II.

July 28 – August 15, 2021
Steamed on Zoom 
Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can
Flat Earth on social media: @FE_theatre

Accessibility Notes: This online event offers captioning. Instructions are available before, and during the live-stream. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

Content Warnings: Blood, strong language, abuse of white privilege, mentions of cannibalism 

ZOOM — Flat Earth Theatre’s 7 Rooms: The Masque of the Red Death is a massive undertaking of considerably wide and deep proportions that will impress even the most nihilistic of digital theatre naysayers. 7 Rooms will tantalize; it’ll tease; it’ll entreat you to shake your booty. 

Running July 28 – August 15, audience members are invited to attend a party at Prospero’s (Juliet Bowler) extravagant mansion. There’s no need to rabble rouse with dirty plebes sick with the plague. Not when there’s a fancy ball to attend!   Continue reading