Oct 07

The Broadway Facts of Life: “42nd Street”

PREVIEW: The Umbrella Stage Company Presents 42nd Street from The Umbrella on Vimeo.

Presented by The Umbrella Stage Company 
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble
Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes
Directed by Brian Boruta
Music direction by James Murphy
Musical restaging and new choreography by Lara Finn Banister

September 27 – October 20, 2019
The Umbrella Main Stage 
Concord, MA
The Umbrella Stage on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Concord, MA) 42nd Street is a show-within-a-show jukebox musical serving as a thinly veiled excuse to pair tap dance with 1930’s Broadway hits. The 1933 Depression-era movie had choreography by Busby Berkeley and was nominated for an Academy Award. The movie (and eventually the musical) has deeply impacted musical theatre. Bullets Over Broadway, Kiss Me Kate and other backstage musicals have all been influenced by 42nd Street’s incarnations. It’s a classic but carries with it the problems of its time.   Continue reading

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Oct 14

Jigsaw Transcendence: “Angels in America – Perestroika”

Photo found on Umbrella Facebook page. Currently uncredited.

Photo found on Umbrella Facebook page. Currently uncredited.

Presented by Umbrella Arts
By Tony Kushner
Directed by Nancy Curran Willis

The Umbrella
Concord, MA
October 3 – October 18, 2014
Umbrella Arts on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Concord, MA) In 100 years, Tony Kushner’s sprawling masterpiece of Angels in America might be studied by school-kids, much like the Odyssey. That might be the right setting, providing a full semester to fully take in this script. Kushner asks us to follow along as he pinballs between real and surreal, politics and religion, gay culture and religion. Each well-developed scene feels like a glistening jewel of a short story, complete in pacing and characters, but it can be very hard to understand how these pieces come together into one cohesive story. If you’re watching the play for the first time, it can feel like reading a New Yorker magazine from cover to cover in one sitting. Continue reading

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May 05

Profound Confusion: ANGELS IN AMERICA

PART 1 MILLENNIUM APPROACHES

Presented by The Umbrella Community Arts Center
Written by Tony Kushner
Directed by Nancy Curran Willis

April 18 – April 27th, 2014
Concord, MA
Umbrella Community Arts on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Concord) There was a time we would like to forget in U.S. history when AIDS was a painful, quick, and lonely death sentence, one largely suffered by gay men. The gay community was stratified into victims and survivors, and everyone was scared and scarred. Yet amidst this plague, the gay community did not break, having developed an inner strength in the face of years of oppression that galvanized it to action. Continue reading

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Mar 24

Rock Out with Your Snark Out: BLOODY, BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON

Photo care of Emerson Umbrella Facebook page.

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson
Presented by The Umbrella Mainstage
Written by Alex Timbers
Music & Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by James Tallach
Music Directed by Maria Duaime Robinson
Choreography by Lara Finn
Fight Choreography by Micah Greene

March 21 – April 5
The Umbrella Community Arts Center
Concord, MA
The Umbrella on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclosure: I have worked with both directors James Tallach, Maria Duaime Robinson, and a cast member or two. This review is tempered to reflect this.

(Concord) History favors old, White dudes. Heck, old, White dudes are favored now.  If Green Day had collaborated on an historical punk musical with Bill Clinton, Lindsay Lohan and George Michael, chances are they would have written Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson (let us all say a silent prayer for Clinton’s potential saxophone career). And it would be a huge hit. Fans of American Idiot the musical will appreciate the music of BBAJ. They will also appreciate the snarky treatment of a politician who purported to be the People’s President but, after all is said and done, was only in it for himself. History has repeated itself and punk happens to be the medium for this particular telling. Continue reading

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