Aug 12

Here the Rodents Reign Supreme: “The Annotated History of the American Muskrat”

Presented by The Circuit Theatre Company
Written by John Kuntz
Directed by Skylar Fox

August 2 – 16, 2014
The Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Circuit Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) My parents were in town this weekend and, in the interest of involving them in my life, I asked them to attend The Annotated History of the American Muskrat with me. My conservative Dad’s immediate response was to ask, “is it weird?” At the time he asked I couldn’t give a definitive answer but, after attending Sunday’s matinee performance,  I can honestly answer that, yes, this show is weird. Yet, “weird” doesn’t scratch the surface of what it is. It is also intensely powerful (reviewers use these words a lot. This show is actually powerful and intense versus a “powerful” and “intense” production of, say, The Cherry Orchard.) in ways that cause the viewer to question how Americans process the life we consume. It’s a bad trip on the best acid. It’s about everything and nothing. It is not for the weak. Continue reading

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Jun 30

Revamped *Cough* Vampire Comedy for Modernity: DER VAMPYR

Photo © OperaHub

Presented by OperaHub
1828 music by Heinrich Marschner
1828 German libretto by Wilhelm August Wohlbrück
1828 libretto based on the play Der Vampir oder die Totenbraut by Heinrich Ludwig Ritter
2014 arrangement by Moshe Shulman
2014 libretto by John J King
Music direction by Lina Marcel Gonzalez
Stage direction by Christie Lee Gibson

June 19 – 28, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Light smut, Feminism

(Boston) Der Vampyr is a decadently feminist adaptation of Marschner’s original. This new arrangement presented by OperaHub tackles the difficult truths of male entitlement, victim blaming and rape culture that all women face on a daily basis. If you, the reader, do not believe in gender equality, this opera is not for you. If you believe that rape culture is not a pervasive truth all women face, then this opera is not for you. It would be best if you pulled your fedora over your eyes and stopped reading this review now. Continue reading

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Jun 16

The Smartest Play in Town: SMART PEOPLE

Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Roderick Hill as Brian White and McKinley Belcher III as Jackson Moore in Smart People. Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by the Huntington Theatre
Written by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Peter DuBois

June 25th – July 6th, 2014
Calderwood Pavelion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) How we view race defines us, but we often don’t like to examine how we view race, at least not directly. To write well about race in America requires both a deep understanding of society and a deeper self-examination of one’s own feelings to sort out fact from feeling, and to know when to use both to create an artistic vision. Successful attempts to write well in fiction about this dicey subject are rare; most either skitter across the surface or descend into lecture. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Playful Rendering of Moliere’s “Lovers’ Quarrels”

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Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
By Molière
Directed by Matthew Woods
Translation by Richard Wilbur

March 28 – April 19, 2014
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) imaginary beasts’ production of Lovers’ Quarrels is less concerned with emotional authenticity than the beauty of its artifice.  The 17th century romantic comedy is not exactly a work of realism, and thankfully, is not treated as such.  Its plot hinges on a girl who has been raised as a boy, Ascagne (Lynn R. Guerra), tricking a young man she likes, Valère (Will Jobs), into marriage by pretending to be her extremely feminine sister, Lucile (Erin Eva Butcher). imaginary beasts presents this material with all the seriousness it deserves, creating an innocent, funny romp through improbable obstacles. Continue reading

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Mar 20

No Condoms Were Harmed in the Making of This Musical: HELLO AGAIN

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theatre of Boston
Book, lyrics and music by Michael John LaChiusa
Directed by Michael Bello
Musical direction by Mindy Cimini
Choreography by Stephen Urspung

March 12 – 29, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Hall A
Boston, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

TRIGGER WARNING: This musical has a lot of sex in it. So much of the sex. Fortunately, it’s all consensual.

(Boston) Not all sex is procreative. Sex should be a really good time for everyone involved*. A lot of it isn’t**. If you fundamentally disagree then stop reading now…

Hello Again presented by Bridge Repertory Theatre is an immersive musical that places the audience in the center of the action. And by “action,” I mean riding the skin-train to orgasm town. That being said, the musical is not actually about sex. It is about what leads to sex, why we do it and with whom we choose to do it. It is art focused on a very specific, necessary act. Continue reading

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Mar 18

Snuggle Inspiring: SOUL MATES

The Cast of Soul Mates (Laura Menzie, Joe Kidawksi, Angela Keefe and Brett Milanowksi.)

The Cast of Soul Mates (Laura Menzie, Joe Kidawksi, Angela Keefe and Brett Milanowksi.) Photo borrowed from BAT Facebook page.

Presented by Boston Actors Theatre
by Kirsten Knisely
Directed by Caroline L. Price

March 7 – 22, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box
Boston, MA 02116
BAT on Facebook

Trigger warnings for drug use and super fun, adult naked times.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) In The Symposium, Plato famously describes three human genders (man, woman and androgynous) whose strength equaled that of the gods. They were made of two faces, 4 arms, 4 legs and 2 sets of genitalia. Zeus, rather than kill the humans for pride, uses his lightning to tear them asunder. Their powers halved, humans were cursed to spend the rest of their existence looking for their second half, their “soul mate,” so they could be complete again. Most people assume that their “other half” is their one romantic partner to have and to hold for all time. Life isn’t so simple. People are complicated animals. Continue reading

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Feb 18

Bobby is an Immature Dick: COMPANY

61495_549787648449858_87023996_n Presented by Moonbox Productions
Music & lyrics By Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat
Music directed by Dan Rodriguez
Super fun choreography by Rachel Bertone

February 7 – March 1, 2014
Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston’s South End
Moonbox on Facebook

Every ticket benefits: Music for Food

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) They say that Stephen Sondheim is one of those composers that people either love or hate. I disagree. There is so much in his catalogue that there could easily be something for everyone. Company, like Sondheim himself, is one of those shows that people have decided others love or hate. Again, I disagree. There are many moments in Company that are golden. Some are not. Depending how much one enjoys Sondheim (or not) opinion fluctuates greatly. This production by Moonbox has several golden moments that I feel reflect the truths Sondheim sharing in his musical. Other moments are not so effective. Continue reading

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Jan 22

Sweetness Through Unbearable Cruelty: “The Color Purple”

http://www.speakeasystage.com/_photos/press/purple_10.jpg

Lovely Hoffman in The Color Purple. Photo by Glenn Perry Photography

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
Based on the novel written by Alice Walker and the Warner Bros/Amblin Entertainment motion picture of the same name
Book by Marsha Norman
Music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, Stephen Bray
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Musical direction by Nicholas James Connell
Choreography by Christian Bufford

January 10 – February 8, 2014
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Two Disclaimers:
1. Brief nudity is used to abruptly symbolize the stark differences between the lives of Shug and Celie. Prudes should stay at home.
2. This is a musical predominantly about Black women. The only role White people play are as silent, historically accurate oppressors. Racists and sexists won’t enjoy themselves either.

(Boston) The Color Purple is exquisite. It is a tour deforce presentation of musical theatre at its finest. With only one small hiccup, this production achieves greatness on the stage. Run, do not walk, as fast as you are able and get tickets to this show. Do it. Continue reading

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Jan 15

Potty humor, Puns and a Ripping Good Time: “Rumpelstiltskin, or All That Glitters”

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf. The cast is wonderful – whether they wore pants or not.

Presented by Imaginary Beasts
Conceived and directed by Matthew Woods
Written by The Ensemble
Choreography by Kiki Samko, Daniel J. Raps, and The Ensemble

January 11 – February 1, 2014
Plaza Black Box Theatre
BCA
Boston, MA
Imaginary Beasts on Facebook

(Boston) The low-brow humor of the pantomime* is not for everyone. Not unlike the like satyr plays of the ancient Greeks, panto isn’t intended to educate an audience but to show it a ripping good time. It’s a celebration of adult immaturity heaping with potty humor, puns and physical comedy. Imaginary Beasts’ winter pantos deliver this and so much more. This year’s treat, Rumpelstiltskin, or All That Glitters, packs in the family-inappropriate funny while also tantalizing the brain with witty pop culture references, dance, and a dash of Alice in Wonderland. You can’t bring a kid to a satyr play but you should bring your baby of any age to Rumplestiltskin. Continue reading

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Dec 10

Song, Cheer, and Social Misfits: “A Christmas Carol”

 

 

Presented by Anthem Theatre Company
Based on the novel by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Steve Wargo
Musical Arrangements by Dianne Adams-McDowell
Directed by Michael Poignand

12/5/2013 — 12/21/2013
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box Theater
Boston, MA
Anthem Theatre Co on Facebook

2 hours, 15 minutes with one intermission.

 

 

 

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Though remembered largely as a cheerful, life-affirming tale about learning to embrace kindness, A Christmas Carol is, really, a ghost story. Ebenezer Scrooge (Kevin B. McGlynn) contemplates loneliness and the end of his life as he’s visited by spirits that embody his past, present, and future. Anthem Theatre Company gives us a stripped down Victorian play, a musical with literal Christmas carols to color a melancholy London and the workhouse realities of its Industrial Revolution. Continue reading

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