Jul 13

The Link Between Cause and Effect: “AddictShunned”

The cast. Photo: Avenue Stage

Presented by Avenue Stage
By Judith Austin
Directed by Michael O’Halloran

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Avenue Stage on Facebook

AddictShunned was originally titled Spiro Spero, which roughly translates to “While I Breathe, I Hope.”

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.”
— NIDA website, “The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: The Basics” https://www.drugabuse.gov/

(Boston, MA) Addiction is as much of a disease as Diabetes. Yet, while we don’t demand diabetics to will themselves healthy, we do demand this of addicts. Addicts need and deserve compassion, understanding, and resources to break the cycles of abuse. Avenue Stage’s AddictShunned compassionately reframes the stories of addicts. The audience is made to find commonality with characters it would prefer to remain anonymous.   Continue reading

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Jun 28

Your Ticket is Problematic: LUZIA


Presented by Cirque du Soleil
Written by Julie Hamelin Finzi and Daniele Finzi Pasca
Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca
Acrobatic performance designed by Philippe Aubertin
Composed and music directed by Simon Carpentier
Acrobatic choreography by Edesia moreno Barata, Debra Brown, Sylvia Gertrúdix González

June 27 – August 12, 2018
Suffolk Downs
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Boston, MA 02128
Parking available for $20.00
CdS on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Cirque du Soleil’s scheduling of its Luzia American tour is so poorly-timed that it’s nearly offensive. The producers couldn’t have known, could they? On the one hand, there’s the appreciation of Mexico’s song, dance, and natural resources. On the other, there’s the fact that ICE is indefinitely detaining immigrants as well as asylum seekers near the Mexican border. It’s deporting LEGAL residents across the US. It had been separating families because it could. “But why does light entertainment have to be dragged through politics? It’s just a show!” Because the political is personal, my friends. There are immigrants living in Boston who are at risk of deportation as I type. We, as artists and audience members, can’t forget the fascist actions of the the President because it’s convenient. We must be better. Continue reading

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Jun 27

Laura Neill’s “DIVAS”

The ensemble

Presented by OperaHub in collaboration with DIVA Museum
Written by Laura Neill
Produced and Stage Directed by Adrienne Boris
Music Directed and Collaborative Piano by Patricia Au
Starring Chelsea Beatty, Kathryn McKellar, Lindsay Conrad, Glorivy Arroyo, and Christie Lee Gibson

June 21 through 30, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston
OperaHub on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(South End, Boston, Massachusetts) DIVAS is a new play by the writer and educator Laura Neill.  It is being performed for the rest of this week in a black box at the BCA.  On the Sunday I attended, the black box was very warm. The man sitting next to me repeatedly wiped the sweat trickling down his brow, and half the audience was skimming through their programs, while the other half fanned their perspiring faces.  The small theatre’s high temperature didn’t seem to bother most of the patrons, who had either greying or thoroughly whitened hair. OperaHub’s noble mission is “to present high-caliber, affordable, and accessible classical music to a wide community of music and art lovers,” but looking around the audience, it was easy to remember that the classical music community remains mostly white and older. Continue reading

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Jun 25

BeBe Winans was “Born for This”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Original Music and lyrics by BeBe Winans
Book by Charles Randolph-Wright, BeBe Winans and Lisa D’Amour
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright
Choreographed by Warren Adams
Orchestrations, Arrangements, & Music Direction by Steven Jamail
Starring Milton Craig Nealy, Kirsten Wyatt, Phillip Brandon, Matthew Griffin, and Donald Webber, Jr.

June 15 through July 15, 2018
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Downtown Boston, MA)  Born for This was the musical biography of soul gospel musician Benjamin “Bebe” Winans, a Detroit native who began his career releasing albums with his sister Priscilla “CeCe” Winans from 1984 through 1996.  In 1989, BeBe won a Grammy for Best Male Soul Gospel Performance. In 1997, he signed with Atlantic Records and released his first of seven solo albums. That same year, BeBe delivered the international hit “I Wanna Be The Only One,” which featured British soul trio Eternal and topped the UK Singles chart in May 1997.  Throughout his career, Bebe has collaborated other Grammy award winning R&B vocalists – such as Stephanie Mills, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder.
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Jun 14

Don’t Expect the Movie: “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage”

Craven and Courts. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Presented by Boch Center
By Eleanor Bergstein
Music supervising and orchestrations by Conrad Helfrich
Choreography by Michele Lynch
Original choreography by Kate Champion
Directed by Sarna Lapine

June 13 – 17, 2018
Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
Dirty Dancing tour on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage is a great production for professional-dance enthusiasts who enjoyed Dirty Dancing the movie but have no particular emotional connection to it. Diehard movie fans may feel put out by Eleanor Bergstein’s script upgrades. Musical aficionados may snark at the “acting” going on onstage. Anybody ready for some good time media nostalgia will enjoy themselves. Continue reading

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Jun 08

Saving Boston One Turtle at a Time: “Martha’s (b)Rainstorm”

Photo by Paul Fox

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
Written by John J King
Directed by Stephanie LeBolt
In collaboration with the Boston Public Library Playwright-in-Residence program and part of the Push Project Residency at Boston Center for the Arts

June 7 – 15, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Warning: Parts of this play require audience interaction. If that isn’t your thing, sit in the back.

(Boston, MA) Martha’s (b)Rainstorm: A Boston Fairytale pays homage to our fair city through Native myth, pop culture references, and pseudoscience. It tackles the very real threat of climate change on our Massachusetts shores through democratic process. Fresh Ink’s production is still in its nascent stage but it a beautiful show bursting with possibility.

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Jun 04

Fingers in “Cold Blood”


Presented by ArtsEmerson
Original idea by Michèle Anne De Mey
Produced by Astragale ASBL
Co-produced by Charleroi Danses

May 30 to June 3, 2018
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Downtown Boston, MA)  The show began with a narrator sonorously incanting:  “It’s dark. You hear a voice. That voice will count to three, and at three you will be asleep.  One. Two. Three.” Continue reading

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May 31

Disabled Children Are No More a ‘Life Sentence’ Than Any Other Child: “Fall”

Joanne Kelly, Josh Stamberg, Nolan James Tierce, Joanna Glushak, and John Hikock  ©Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Bernard Weinraub
Directed by Peter DuBois

May 18 – June 16, 2018
South End/Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Trigger warnings: Ablism, historically-accurate slurs, misogyny

Review by Kitty Drexel

Tokenism
noun/to·ken·ism/ˈtōkəˌnizəm/
The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.

(Boston, MA) Bernard Weinraub tried so hard to be respectful of the Down Syndrome community. Fall would be a good play about Arthur Miller and Inge Morath if it didn’t fail so hard at including Daniel Miller. Unfortunately, it misses the mark. A lot. Continue reading

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May 25

Business As Usual: “The Plague”

The cast of Praxis Stage’s THE PLAGUE (left to right): Dawn Davis, Danny Mourino, Steve Auger, Michael Rodriguez, and Dayenne C. Byron Walters.

Presented by Praxis Stage
After La Peste by Albert Camus
Adapted by Neil Bartlett
Directed by Daniel Boudreau

May 23 – 27, 2018
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Praxis on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“And they answered, “Five gold tumors and five gold mice corresponding to the number of Philistine rulers, since there was one plague for both you[a] and your rulers. 5 Make images of your tumors and of your mice that are destroying the land. Give glory to Israel’s God, and perhaps He will stop oppressing you,[b] your gods, and your land.”
1 Samuel 6:4-5, Internet Bible

“”Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” President George W. Bush in response to Michael Brown’s failure to provide basic relief services to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, 2005.

(Boston, MA) History is not taught because educators are sadists with penchants for boring their victims into pliancy. Rather, not just for that. Taught history is meant to remind each generation of what previous generations have done; how they have succeeded and, more importantly, to prevent them from similar failures. The Plague reinforces our need to learn from history now because we will repeat it. We always do.   Continue reading

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May 16

Play It Again Sam: “Trouble in Tahiti and Arias & Barcarolles”

Sam and Dinah (Marcus DeLoach and Heather Johnson) robotically repeat their morning routine. Photo: Liza Voll

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music & Libretto by Leonard Bernstein
Stage directed by David Schweizer
Music direction by David Angus
Dramaturgy by John Conklin

May 11-20, 2018
DCR Steriti Memorial Rink
561 Commercial Street, Boston, MA
BLO on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel

After Bernstein’s performance at the White House in 1960, President Eisenhower remarked, “You know, I liked that last piece you played: it’s got a theme. I like music with a theme, not all them arias and barcarolles.” quote taken from leonardbernstein.com. Eisenhower was a bit imperceptive.

(Boston, MA) Trouble in Tahiti and Arias & Barcarolles are presented by the BLO in one continuous operetta subtitled, “Sam and Dinah Say Goodnight (Scenes From A Marriage).” It is a “new reimagining” of Bernstein’s works which abbreviates Tahiti and merges the reduced scoring directly into Arias & Barcarolles. They are not performed individually as suggested by BLO’s marketing materials. The performance runs about 90 minutes. Continue reading

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