Jun 26

Critiques and Commentary: Moonbox’s 3rd Annual Boston New Works Festival

Presented by Moonbox Productions as part of the 3rd Annual
Boston New Works Festival
 Partnered with the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund

June 20-23, 2024
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St 
Boston, MA

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Moonbox had its 3rd annual Boston New Works Festival at the BCA. The three performances I attended on different two days were well attended. This is a hopeful sign that the Boston theatre ecology is healing from lockdown. We love to see it.

The festival hosted readings and staged performances of new works by living playwrights over four days. The BCA’s foyers were alive with visual art by local artists. Actors, crew, and designers bustled from show to show with audience members. Moonbox did a good job of telling attendees they were in the right place: brave, tireless volunteers handed out playbill inserts and directed attendees; free pins awaited pickup on tables with festival information.

The bathrooms were atrocious, but that’s a festival for you. Transfer times from show to show were rushed, but that should be expected, too.

The vibes were otherwise positive and the seats had butts in them. Theatre is a lifestyle choice, and it was a good weekend to choose the theatre.

Moonbox partnered with TCBF to produce the 2024 3rd Annual Boston New Works Festival. TCBF provides financial relief to its community members in times of need. It is a venerable organization. Please consider donating. No donation is too large.

Continue reading

Jun 23

Partying On with “Once Upon a Carnival” 

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Part of the 2024, third annual Boston New Works Festival
Directed by Regine Vitale
Written by Angele Maraj and Brianna Pierre
Music Directed by Harrison Acosta

June 22 – June 23, 2024
The Boston Center For The Arts
The Plaza Theatre
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Moonbox Productions on Facebook
Once Upon a Carnival on Instagram

Review by Gillian Daniels

Note: The reviewer is acquainted with one of the writers.

BOSTON, Mass. – Last year’s reading for the first half of Once Upon a Carnival was electric. In it, we watch New York teenager Bhavan (Marshall Romano) travel with his impulsive mother, Radhika (Shubhra Prakash), to Trinidad. With Bhavan, we learn the delights and perils of his new home and, once he meets fellow teenager Jada (Ekaterina Hicks-Magaña) and the eccentric Tantie (Nina Giselle, who approaches the part with charm and humor), they explore the magic of the island. The story’s initial joy and effervescence is largely untouched. It’s a bad sign, however, that the workshop I attended had more polish than the full production.  Continue reading

May 19

Her Smile Contains A Primal Scream: “Morning, Noon, and Night”

Sydney Jackson, Kaili Y. Turner (Photography by Ken Yotsukura)

Presented by Company One Theatre with Boston University’s College of Fine Arts
A new play by Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Dramaturgy by Ilana M. Brownstein
Featuring: Kaili Y. Turner, Sydney Jackson, Eliza Fichter, Schanaya Barrows, Aislinn Brophy, Alexandria King

Apr 26 – May 25, 2024
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Company One presents Kirsten Greenidge’s Morning, Noon, and Night at the BCA through May 25. Greenidge’s play examines society’s crushing demand for motherly perfection with brilliant comedy and heartrending honesty. She is joined by director Summer L Williams, and dramaturg Ilana M Brownstein to complete Company One’s trifecta of power.  Continue reading

May 13

Hades is the Drama: “Orpheus in the Overworld”

Eurydice and Orpheus. Photo by Erin Solomon.

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre 
By Dante Gonzalez
Directed by Shira Helena Gitlin
Composer/Music Director – Abacus Dean-Polacheckan
Dramaturgy by AJ Helm
Fight and Intimacy Coordinator – Kayleigh Kane
Lighting Designer – Z Weber 
Costume Design by  Mikayla Reid 
Production Stage Management by Micaela Slotin 
Assistant Stage Manager – Katelyn Paddock
Featuring: Elijah Brown, Isabel Ginsberg, Lucy Bertolet, Kulfi Jaan, Matthew Suchecki, Rebekah Brunson

April 27 – May 11, 2024 
Boston Center for the Arts 
539 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Fresh Ink’s Orpheus in the Overworld asks what if the Greek gods’ wills were as free as humanity’s? Dante Gonzalez reimagines the “Orpheus and Euridice” myth as a queer as the day is long burlesque with music and dance. It is for the queer community yet can be enjoyed by anyone. Continue reading

Apr 10

Make It Personal, Tell the Truth: “Burn This”

Photo by Tim Gurczak.

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston 
By Lanford Wilson
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Intimacy direction by Lauren Cook
Fight choreography by Matt Dray

Saturday, April 6 -Sunday, April 21, 2024
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 

All performances are Pay-What-You-Can

Two hours with one intermission

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Hub Theatre Company of Boston’s production of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This runs at the BCA through April 21. Get your tickets to support local fringe theatre HERE

Anna (Kiki Samko), an impotent choreographer and retired dancer, is grappling with the artistic and personal void left by the untimely death of her roommate and creative partner Robbie. Her best friend and housemate Larry (Steve Auger) acts as nurse, bodyguard, and gatekeeper. Anna’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Burton (Tim Hoover) wants to be her everything. Anna won’t decide what she wants to be or who she wants to do. 

Enter Pale (Victor L Shopov), Robbie’s incendiary older brother. She lights a flame in her heart, under her feet, and in her pants. With Robbie gone, Anna will either discover a new muse or burn the apartment down trying.  Continue reading

Mar 13

 Accident, Illness, or Genetics: “Cost of Living”

Sean Leviashvili (left) and
Gina Fonseca. Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company 
By Martyna Majok
Directed by Alex Lonati
Intimacy direction by Jesse Hinson
Dramaturgy by Nontani Weatherly
Community liaison: Brennan Srisirikul 
Occupational therapy consultant: Beth Cashin
Featuring: Lewis D Wheeler, Gina Fonesca, Sean Leviashvili, Stephanie Gould 

March 13 – March 30, 2024
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Roberts Studio Theatre 
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA

1 hour 40 minutes with no intermission. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — SpeakEasy Stage’s Cost of Living by Martyna Majok is playing at the Boston Center for the Arts. It has themes of intimacy and loneliness. It is not appropriate for children. 

Eddie (Lewis D Wheeler) and his estranged ex-wife Ani (Stephanie Gould) reunite unexpectedly after she is paralyzed in an accident. John (Sean Leviashvili), a PhD student with cerebral palsy, hires Jess (Gina Fonseca) as his aide. Cost of Living examines our inherent need for connection while taking a hard look at monetary and physical privilege. Continue reading

Feb 18

You Don’t Have to Apologize for Existing: “John Proctor is the Villain”

Left to right: Brianna Martinez, Jules Talbot, Victoria Omoregie, Haley Wong in John Proctor is the Villain; directed by Margot Bordelon; photo by T. Charles Erickson

Presented by The Huntington
By Kimberly Belflower
Directed by Margot Bordelon
Dramaturgy by Lauren Halvorsen
Choreography by Victoria L Awkward 
Fight and Intimacy Direction by Jessica Scout Malone
Voice and dialect coaching by Christine Hamel

February 8 – March 10, 2024
The Huntington @ Calderwood/BCA
527 Tremont St. 
Boston, MA 02116

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — It’s simple: believe girls. Believe women. Believe femme non-binary persons. Believe gender-expansive people who don’t fit your idea of how a person should look. Believe our stories. We don’t want fame. We want due process.  

The Huntington’s John Proctor is the Villain running through March 10 at the BCA is an age-old story of victim blaming and abuser protection.  Four teen girls (Brianna Martinez, Victoria Omoregie, Jules Talbot, and Haley Wong) are coming of age in post-#MeToo Appalachia. The four best friends and their bro classmates (Maanav Aryan Goyal, Benjamin Izaak) are taught by the school’s coolest homeroom teacher, Mr. Smith (Japhet Balaban), and new counselor Ms. Gallagher (Olivia Hebert).  Continue reading

Jan 15

Read, Played, and Broken Into Pieces: “Northside Hollow” at the BCA

Photo by Edward Boches. Pollock (left) and Kropf (right) in “Northside Hollow.”

Presented by Harbor Stage Company
Written and directed by Jonathan Fielding and Brenda Withers
Featuring Robert Kropf, Alex Pollock, Stacy Fischer, Joe Kenehan

Jan 11 –  20, 2024
Boston Center for the Arts
BCA Plaza Black Box Theatre
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 

The digital playbill

Performed with no intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Harbor Stage Company presents Northside Hollow by Jonathan Fielding and Brenda Withers. It was previously performed on the Cape in 2015. The 2024 production is damn fine theatre. 

Continue reading

Sep 18

No Perfect Options: “Break, Break”

The cast of “Break, Break.” Photograph by Paul Fox.

Presented by the Legion Theatre Project with Artists’ Theatre of Boston
By Erin Lerch
Directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden
Dramaturgy by Alison Yueming Qu
Intimacy consulting by Alex M. Jacobs
Featuring: Melissa DeJesus, Jordan Palmer, Steve Auger, Michael J Blunt, Chris Everett

September 15-23, 2023
BCA Black Box Theatre 
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Attendees of Break, Break are asked to remain masked to protect the actors and each other. Masks are generously provided to attendees who forget to bring one. 

BOSTON, Mass. — The Legion Theatre Project and the Artists’ Theatre of Boston present Break, Break playing at the Boston Center for the Arts through Sept. 23. Break, Break is a continuation of the Legion Cycle by Erin Lerch. 

Recent performances within the science fiction realities of the “unapologetically queer, stubbornly hopeful” The Legion Cycle include Flat Earth Theatre’s reading of Pinch Point in March 2023 and Shrike by Fresh Ink Theatre in January 2022 and 2020. Podcast fans may listen to the Legion Tapes (one of the best projects to come out of the COVID lockdown tragedy. Lemons into Lemonade.) at https://www.thelegiontapes.com/

Aliens! The time is about now in a place close to here. The Legion have descended upon Earth. As humanity prepares for world peace or world catastrophe, the staff of Western Pennsylvania radio station, WCRP, 103.7, do their best to spread any available news about the invasion.  Continue reading

Jul 02

The Party Begins: “Once Upon a Carnival – Act I Workshop Performance”

Presented by Moonbox Productions as part of the Boston New Works Festival 2023
ONCE UPON A CARNIVAL is written by Angele Maraj & Brianna Pierre
Directed by Shania Pahuja
Music Directed by Harrison Acosta
2nd Annual Boston New Works Festival

June 22 – June 26, 2023
The Boston Center For The Arts
The Plaza Theatre
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA

Moonbox Productions on Facebook
Follow the development of Once Upon a Carnival on Instagram

Note: The reviewer knows one of the writers of the production.

Review by Gillian Daniels

BOSTON, MASS – A show that is half done is a show that is difficult to review, but though Once Upon a Carnival is still in its workshopping stage, it’s complete in its sense of joy and cultural complexity. Bhavan (played with churlish realism and charming eagerness by Marshall Romano) is our American, teenage hero. He’s a boy brought to his mother’s home country of Trinidad and then descended upon by relatives (and family friends who might as well be relatives) in a chaotic welcome that, to a young man used to the standoffish city of New York, is completely over-whelming.  Continue reading