Mar 31

More Than A Political Trinket: “Evita”

The cast rockin’ it in costumes by Paula Peasley-Ninestein. Photo found on TCT Facebook page.

Presented by The Company Theatre
Lyrics by Tim Rice
Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Directed by Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman
Musical direction by Bethany Aiken
Staging and choreography by Sally Ashton Forrest
Conducted by David Healey

March 15-31, 2019
30 Accord Park Dr.
Norwell, MA 02061
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Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Norwell, MA) Evita is a strange rock operetta. It sounds a great deal like Jesus Christ Superstar and is narrated by a political figure that did more work in Mexico and Cuba than he ever did in Argentina. Additionally, Webber and Rice posit the musical against Eva Peron. She’s treated as a mere political trinket during a time when she symbolized the heart of the Peronist movement. Evita is a problematic piece but the Company Theatre does a fine job producing it.    Continue reading

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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

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