Oct 07

Murder, We Hope: “Chicago”

Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Directed and choreographed by Nick Kenkal

Beverly, MA
September 23rd – October 5th, 2014
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Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) At one point after a showstopping number during the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Chicago, actor Sean McDermott (Billy Flynn) was clearly out of breath. He had a lot of company in the audience, as this production succeeds in leaving an audience breathless. Continue reading

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Jun 15

Effervescent Emptiness: CHICAGO

(center) Angie Schworer as Roxie and Rick Pessagno as Billy Flynn give the press the scoop in CHICAGO at Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston June 13-23, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham. (Photo: Herb Philpott)

presented by Reagle Music Theatre

book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed and choreographed by Gerry McIntyre

Robinson Theater
617 Lexington St
Waltham, MA
June 13th – 23rd, 2013
Reagle Music Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Waltham) Personally, I’ve had a hard time with plays that take on the rollicking 20’s. It’s rare to come across a script that strikes the right balance between the era’s bubbly exuberance and its tragically-wasted potential. Anything Goes was written too close to the source material to really make sense anymore. Guys and Dolls is more coherent, but still stubbornly devoid of subtext. And Cabaret (1931 is close enough) is built to pull audiences slowly from a dream to a nightmare, but too often productions can’t pull off the joy and the dread at the same time. Maybe I’m just allergic to flappers. Continue reading

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Jan 06

Breathtaking Chutzpah: PIPPIN

Photo: Michael Lutch; a tender balancing act.

Photo: Michael Lutch; a tender balancing act.

book Roger O. Hirson
music and lyrics Stephen Schwartz
directed by Diane Paulus
circus creation Gypsy Snider of Les 7 Doigts de la Main
choreography by Chet Walker in the style of Bob Fosse

presented by American Repertory Theatre
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
December 5, 2012 to January 20, 2013
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge) This Cirque du Soleil meets Fosse production of “Pippin” tells the tale of the Everyman, a youthful personification of any adult tentatively beginning the journey toward self-knowledge. Our young hero seeks the meaning of life in all the wrong places: violence, sex, politics, and other follies of inexperience. What the audience soon realizes is that Pippin, son of Charlemagne (the Emperor who not only made Christianity famous but mandatory), for all his proclamations, isn’t special. He is on the same journey that all young adults travel in their search for self – plus or minus some fantastical hardships and an orgy or two. What our hero discovers on this epic ego-trip is that, after he finds and secures a lasting relationship with meaning, he doesn’t know what to do with it. Continue reading

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