Sep 03

“Pass Over” Reopened On Broadway. Its Truths Extend to Boston and Beyond.

Photo: Joan Marcus

“Pass Over”
Written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu
Directed in Boston by Monica White Ndounou, January 3 – February 2, 2020
Directed in New York by Danya Taymor
August Wilson Theatre
245 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Tickets on sale now

Article by Kitty Drexel

NEW YORK, NY and BOSTON, Mass.– Broadway stopped all activity in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic closed indoor entertainment venues across the nation.

Thirty-one plays and musicals were running before the shutdown, including eight new shows in previews. An additional eight productions were in rehearsals and preparing to open in the spring the Broadway League said. COVID-19 closed them all.

The fat lady had sung. Continue reading

Aug 20

14 Greater-Boston Theatres Announce Proof of Vaccination and Mask Requirements

Article by Kitty Drexel

  • Proof of vaccination or a Negative COVID-19 test is required
  • Masks must be worn
  • New survey results show majority of arts goers support these measures
  • Bindle, a digital vaccine record app, is free. http://www.joinbindle.com/people

BOSTON — Fourteen theatre companies in the Greater Boston area will require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for all artists, staff members, and audiences as live, indoor performances resume for the 2021/2022 season, said a press release dated August 19. Masks are also required. 

The list of participating theatres is below.

The press release said that these policies begin immediately and remain valid through October 31. Policies are per CDC guidelines and will be reevaluated as COVID-19 pandemic evolves. 

“Proof of vaccination may include showing either a vaccination card, a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine record (through an app such as Bindle at www.joinbindle.com/people),” said the press release. Audience members without proof of vaccination will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID test before entering.

Individual theatres will list specific protocols and guidelines on their websites. At this time, New England Theatre Geek has received protocol updates from the Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Central Square Theater in addition to the joint press release from the fourteen theatres. 

The New England Theatre Geek eagerly awaits updates from other New England performing institutions. “We are reluctant to attend or review indoor performances by organizations that do not enact similar protocols and safety measures,” said Queen Geek Kitty Drexel. 

“Our primary mission is to support our theatre community. We cannot do that if organizations aren’t first taking the necessary steps to protect their staff, crew and casts. Audience members can’t make informed decisions if they aren’t assured the community’s health is a priority.”  

The June 2021 results of the ArtsBoston Audience Outlook Monitor survey said that 73% of audiences plan to resume indoor performances by Sept 2021. Audience Outlook Monitor is a longitudinal survey to keep tabs on arts attendees thoughts, concerns and intentions as the pandemic and the state’s reopening guidelines evolve, said ArtsBoston.com.

The 14 theatre joint press release said that the most recent round of Audience Outlook Monitor survey data (collected August 9 – 13, 202) found that 80% of respondents indicated that proof of vaccination would make them more likely to attend indoor events. 50% said that proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is a prerequisite for their attendance. 98% of respondents reported being fully vaccinated or planning to do so. 

Theatres in New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago have established similar policies requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test and mask wearing.

It is good practice to stay home if experiencing COVID symptoms on the day of the performance. Common symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell. 

PARTICIPATING THEATRES:
Actors’ Shakespeare Project*
American Repertory Theater (ART)
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre*
Central Square Theater*
The Front Porch Arts Collective
The Gamm Theatre*
Gloucester Stage Company*
Greater Boston Stage Company*
The Huntington Theatre Company 
Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse*
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Moonbox Productions
SpeakEasy Stage Company*
Wellesley Repertory Theatre*
 *Member of New England Area Theaters (NEAT), an association of midsize theatres

Jul 30

Ariel, the Human World, It’s A Mess: “The Tempest”

The cast of “The Tempest.” Gods, it’s good to see theatre again. Photo by: Evgenia Eliseeva

FREE Shakespeare on the Common
Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler
Choreographer/ Movement coaching by Levi Philip Marsman
Sound design and compositions by David Reiffel
COVID Safety Manager by Brian Robillard

July 21-August 8, 2021
Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common
Boston, MA
CommShakes on social media: @commshakes

The Accessibility program dates:
Open Captioning: July 31
Audio description and ASL interpreted performances: August 1 and August 6
Rain Date for all Access services: August 8

Running time is about 110 minutes; there is no intermission.

Register for tickets HERE
COVID-19 restrictions are HERE.

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Theatre is my favorite thing. To me, there is no greater experience than the communion of theatre. It’s been 17 months, and I have missed live-performance every day. Seeing the cast of The Tempest walk onstage to face our crowd of masked-until-seated strangers brought me to tears. It felt like coming home. 

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company celebrates 25 years of free Shakespeare on Boston Common with their production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It stars John Douglas Thompson as Prospero, a role that fits him like a glove. A cadre of beloved local talent plays major and minor roles. Continue reading

Jun 22

Reintegration Through Art: “The Boston Project: Project Resilience”

Banner art by SpeakEasy Stage Co.

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company 
Written by Fabiola R. Decius, Adriana RoCale, Nico Pang, Hortense Gerardo, Paige Monopoli, and Magda Romanska
Performed by Cheryl Singleton, Garciela Femenia, Jupiter Lê, Paige Clark, Gigi Watson, and Darya Denisova
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons, Michelle Aguillon, Desire Bennett, Michelle Ambila, Alex Lonati, and Dmitry Troyanovsky

Running June 18-30, 2021
Streaming Online 
Speakeasy Stage Company on Facebook

Review by Afrikah Smith

ONLINE — Celebrating the unique identities and experiences that make up the city of Boston, Speakeasy presents The Boston Project: Project Resilience. Showcasing six original plays by Boston local playwrights, Project Resilience is part of Speakeasy’s initiative in supporting the creation of new play development set in Boston. Continue reading

May 31

You Sow What You Are: “TRACES/REMAIN: Seed to Harvest: The Wooden Book”

Banner by ArtsEmerson

TRACES/REMAIN
Seed to Harvest: The Wooden Book
Presented by ArtsEmerson
Based on the Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 
Featuring the artistry of Toshi Reagon, Letta Neely, Deen Rawlins-Harris, Jenny Hughes, Dyllan Nguyen, Leo Alarcon
Parable Path Boston is Toshi Reagon’s year long artist residency at Emerson College
ArtsEmerson is a sponsor of Boston While Black.

April 8 – June 26, 2021
TRACES/REMAIN incorporates in-Person & online events. Please see below for more details. 
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Remaining opportunities to see/submit to the Wooden Book:
Frugal Bookstore, Nubian Square
MAY 24–JUN 07
57 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA 02119
Drop Off Hours: MON–WED 10:00AM–3:00PM;
THU–FRI 10:00AM–5:00PM
SAT 10:00AM–3:00PM
https://frugalbookstore.net
Sower Session: MAY 25 @ 5:30-7:00PM (Zoom)
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 12 @ 4:00PM-6:00PM (Nubian Square Park)

Franklin Park Tennis Courts
JUN 06
Circuit Drive, Boston, MA 02130
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 06 @ 1:00PM-3:00PM (Across from Lemuel Shattuck Hospital)

BCYF/Shelburne Community Center
JUN 10–24
2730 Washington St, Roxbury, MA 02119
https://www.boston.gov/departments/boston-centers-youth-families/bcyf-shelburne
Sower Session: JUN 10 @ 6:00-7:30PM
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 13 @ 1:00PM-3:00PM (Malcolm X Park, behind Shelburne)

Egleston Branch Library 
JUN 26
2044 Columbus Ave, Roxbury, MA 02119
Culminating Celebration: 1:00PM–3:00PM
https://www.bpl.org/locations/22/

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Moments from Reagon’s 2017 concert of her opera, Parable of the Sower still haunt me. So when I heard about Parable Path Boston, I got excited. When I heard about TRACES/REMAIN, I did a little wiggle-dance in my seat. Butler’s Parable Series is excellent reading whether you enjoy science fiction or not. It’s exciting to see Reagon and Butler inspiring new audiences. 

I signed up for the May 25 Sower Session and put a visit to the Frugal Bookstore in Nubian Square, Boston in my calendar. I Googled the series to remind myself of the content of the novels. I thought I was ready.  Continue reading

May 24

2Life Communities Presented “L’Chaim 2 Life!” Virtual Concert on May 23

Photo of Skybell in “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” provided by 2Life Communities.

Presented by 2Life Communities
Hosted by Amy Schectman 
Dramaturgy interview with Dr. Barbara Wallace Grossman
Featuring vocalist Steven Skybell, Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and music director and Tony Award-nominated composer Zalmen Mlotek.
Fiddler in Yiddish online

May 23, 2021 at 11 AM
Streamed via private YouTube link
Boston, MA and New York, NY

Review by Kitty Drexel

YouTube — On May 23 at 11 AM, 2Life Communities and host 2Life Communities President and CEO Amy Schectman celebrated universal themes of community, tradition and life with their virtual, fundraising concert L’Chaim 2Life.”  Broadway notables, performer Steven Skybell and composer Zalmen Mlotek, performed selections from their Off-Broadway hit production Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish Continue reading

May 19

This is the Future Progressive Theatremakers Want: A “Firebird” Ballet

Crappy screencap of a screen photos by Kitty Drexel

Presented by Abilities Dance Boston
Based on the Slavic firebird folktale
Choreography by Ellice Patterson with the ensemble
Music composed and directed by Andrew Choe
The Firebird program has full cast and crew information

May 14 & 15, 2021
Livestreamed from the Wimberly Theatre at the Calderwood Pavillion
Boston, MA
Abilities Dance on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON/YouTube — The pressure to create during quarantine reached monstrous enormity. For every normie Tom, Delia, and Harrison Ford who worked on a script because Lear was written during a pandemic, an artist with a resume of successes couldn’t polish their abilities because they were too busy surviving the next 24-hours. 

Survival for the disabled arts community means something very different than it does the abled community. Jobs for disabled artists didn’t merely dwindle. They vanished overnight. Some of those jobs may never reappear

Our priorities went from managing a job to managing continued existence in a world actively trying to kill them: doctors appointments and surgeries were canceled, elevators became vectors for disease, carers were transferred to essential service positions. We went from demanding plastic straws in restaurants to demanding our right to live at all. It felt like ableds weren’t going to permit us either thing.   Continue reading

Mar 12

This Just In: “Home Office: Season 2” & “Mr. Parent”

Home Office
Created & Written by John J King & Ramona Rose King
A J-RexPlays Production
Quick, Fun & Dirty, for the People
www.J-RexPlays.com
Venmo: @JRexPlays

Review by Kitty Drexel

ASTORIA , NY — Creators and Boston community members John J. King and Ramona Rose King moved to New York City! During a pandemic! Home Office: Season Two follows their adventures in their new city. They find work, new friends, and opportunities all within a two-block radius. 

A summary from YouTube: Home Office returns for a second season, following Mona and Jonathan as the couple moves to New York City mid-pandemic and struggles to get jobs, forge friendships, and take on their most collaborative project yet.

The second season is brief. It’s five episodes. The first season was was twelve. The stakes are higher but the circumstances are just as twee. Watch them navigate their relationship in a minuscule Astoria apartment without killing each other. As John says in episode three, “It’s nice!”

Also available to stream:

Mr. Parent presented by Theaterworks Hartford 
Based on stories from Maurice Parent
Playwright: Melinda Lopez
Conceived with and directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Video Multimedia Production Jared Mezzocchi
Associate Video Editor Katerina Vitaly
ASL Video Editor Cassandra Saulski
Audio Mix/Mastering Matt Berky, Massive Productions

Streaming On Demand
March 7— 26, 2021
Hartford, CT 
Theaterworks of Facebook

Aug 25

Make the World Better: “I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone”

Image via http://www.judithkalaora.com/i-now-pronounce-you-lucy-stone.html. Kalaora looked as luminous during the performance as she does here. 

Presented by History at Play’s Pay-Per-Hap program
Researched, written, produced and performed by Judith Kalaora
Music by Deborah Goss
Friday, August 21, 7:30 – 9 PM

Livestreamed on Facebook
History At Play on Facebook
An Upcoming Schedule of Performances

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Apologies to Judith Kalaora and the History At Play team for the tardiness of this post – we were without internet for five days and unable to post this review. 

FACEBOOK LIVE — The one-woman show, I Now Pronounce You Lucy Stone, began with a light, off-camera folk song performance minutes before 7:30 PM on August 21. Stone’s (Judith Kalaora) vibrant, full-bodied voice was heard as she puttered just offstage. As we learned, she had a lot to prepare for. MA native Lucy Stone fought for women’s right to vote in the 1840s. She nearly did it too. Unfortunately for all female-identifying individuals, women would have to wait another 80 years before wringing the privilege from men’s totalitarian grasp.  Continue reading

Aug 18

“Knoxville: Summer of 1915” and the Voyage of Nostalgia

Soprano/Vocals by Sarah Moyer
Piano by Timothy Steele
Artistic Direction by Ryan Turner
Composed by Samuel Barber
Based on prose poem by James Agee

Emmanuel Music
15 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
YouTube

Review by Gillian Daniels

ZOOM — You are here and you are not here. You are waiting in your bedroom for your next Zoom meeting to start, you are in the shower taking fifteen minutes for yourself away from your kids, or you are putting on your mask, ready to head into work where you’re considered essential staff, but not essential enough for customers to remember to wear their masks when you take their order.

Simultaneously, your mind is thinking about your family road trips to Iowa, the raucous laughter of your friends in eighth grade, and traveling, once, to Paris. It’s been months since you’ve seen your family all in one place. You’re in your body, living through a strange time and a terrifying plague, simultaneously overwhelmed and bored while sitting in your room for the ninth hour in a row, feeling the spray from the showerhead, or sitting as far as you can from other masked people on the T, some of whom let their masks sit beneath their nostrils because, apparently, the smell of the train is that important. But you’re also encapsulated in your memories.

You are inside a refuge of the mind, the kind Knoxville: Summer of 1915 invokes with Sarah Moyer’s voice and the parred down instrumentation of Timothy Steele. Knoxville: Summer of 1915 is performed as part of a series called Summer Sessions from Emmanuel Music. Continue reading