Jul 23

Laughter Through Tears: “Steel Magnolias”

The Cast; Photo by Tim Gurczak

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Robert Harling
Directed by Paula Plum

July 19 – Aug. 3, 2019
Club Cafe
209 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA
Hub on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Steel Magnolias is a theatre classic. It can be seen in fringe and community productions across the country. The 1989 movie starring Sally Fields and Dolly Parton has firmly cemented itself into the 80’s pop culture. The 2012 TV-movie starring Queen Latifah and, queen in her own right, Phylicia Rashad introduced a new generation to the story. It has survived well because of its timelessness. There will always be a need for safer-spaces where women can be themselves beyond the emotional and physical labors society demands from them. Hub Theatre’s production nestles into that need.  Continue reading

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Nov 03

Appropriating the Habits of Rabbits: “Casa Valentina”

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Harvey Fierstein
Directed by Scott Edminston

Oct. 24 – Nov. Nov. 28, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MACasa Valentina is about men who relax by appropriating women’s culture,  and feminine identity. This cutting play by Harvey Fierstein examines the subversive transvestite subculture of the mid-1950’s. According to the healthily robust dramaturgy notes by Maureen Dezell, men would don wigs, hose and dresses to enjoy a quaint weekend in the Catskills. These men unwind from their rigid gender roles with a tube of lipstick and a stiff drink amidst the glory of the New York state. Suffice to say, this is not a production for conservative types with traditional notions of what is or is not acceptable behavior for men. Tread wisely. Continue reading

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Oct 09

Sass, Refined: “9 TO 5”

Photo by Paul Lyden, The lovely ladies of “9 to 5”

Music and lyrics by Dolly Parton
Book by Patricia Resnick
Directored/Choreographed by Richard Stafford
Musical Directored by Mark Hartman

North Shore Music Theatre
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
September 25 – October 7th
North Shore Music Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) It seems like a dicey proposition: take a 1979 comedy that has long since been forgotten and make it into a 21st century musical. (I don’t see anyone else lining up to do a musical of other comedies that I watched over and over again on HBO as a child, like Mr. Mom or Police Academy. If you’re a producer, call me.) Yet 9 to 5 has Dolly Parton’s mark all over it, from the opening monologue to the final musical note, and Dolly has a way of turning the ridiculous into credible fun. This endeavor of hers is more Dollyworld than Rhinestone. Continue reading

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Jul 31

A Few Moments of Grace: Steel Magnolias

Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling, directed by Nancy Curran Willis
Nextdoor Center for the Arts, July 13-28 2012, http://www.nextdoortheater.org/STEEL.html

photo credit: Nextdoor Center for the Arts

Reviewed by Kate Lonberg-Lew

(Winchester, MA) When I watch an Olympic gymnast fly on the balance beam or the uneven bars, I
know I am watching genius, not because I know the difference between a punch- front summersault and a double pike, but because they make it look easy, effortless. The same can be said of playwright Robert Harling, the author of Steel Magnolias. Continue reading

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