Jan 28

Older Than Most College Students and Still Relevant: TOP GIRLS

Top Girls

Presented by Theatre@First
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Liz Adams

January 23 – February 1, 2014
Davis Square Theatre
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Somerville)

Theatre@First offers an earnest take on Caryl Churchill’s meditation on womanhood in the 1980s.  The production is best in the lighter moments, when the realities of the character’s lives seem far less crushing.

Top Girls itself is not traditional, but is and was a groundbreaking piece which provides incisive snapshots of women beyond as well as within classical archetypes. A show which only represents female voices is not necessarily feminist by default, but feminism as it relates to the time as well as the past pops up regularly.  Central themes such as success and sacrifice are embodied by Marlene, played effectively as a witty and ruthless vamp by Kathy-Ann Hart, who has achieved autonomy by choosing the advancement of her career over other areas of her life. Continue reading

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Jan 27

Historical Footnote: THE CLEARING

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Photo credit: The Wellesley Summer Theatre Company

Presented by The Wellesley Summer Theatre Company
by Helen Edmundson
Directed by Nora Hussey

January 9 – February 2, 2014
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Dana Chapman Walsh Alumnae Hall
Wellesley MA 02481

The theatre is handicapped accessible, for disability services Jim Wice @ 781-283-2434

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Wellesley) If, like me, you have a history degree that you find yourself using as a doorstop or a paper weight, then you might like any play or movie that has cannons, bodices, and acts of Parliament.  But it’s hard to judge whether a work of historical fiction is actually good, or if it’s just an excuse to geek out on people talking about legislation and wars of yesteryear. Continue reading

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Jan 24

Asaf Avidan to Play Somerville Theatre, February 22, 2014 at 8PM

ASAF AVIDAN Presented by World Music/CRASHarts

Saturday, February 22, 8pm, Somerville Theatre For Tickets and Information: 617-876-4275 or www.WorldMusic.org BOSTON, MA — World Music/CRASHarts presents the Boston debut of Asaf Avidan on Saturday, February 22, 8pm at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville. Tickets are $28, reserved seating. For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at www.WorldMusic.org. Perhaps the most interesting voice in the Israeli music scene today, 32-year-old Asaf Avidan has become a huge sensation in Israel and Europe. Singing primarily in English, Avidan¹s powerful voice is unmatched. He has been called “a hoarse angel,” a “force of nature,” and “the love child of Dylan and Joplin.” Continue reading

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Jan 22

Sweetness Through Unbearable Cruelty: “The Color Purple”

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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 21

Gritty Art: THE DEVIL’S MUSIC – THE LIFE AND BLUES OF BESSIE SMITH

 Photo by John Quilty.

Photo by John Quilty.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Angelo Parra
Concept, Musical Staging, and Direction by Joe Brancato

January 9th – February 2nd, 2014
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) Do you know the blues?  I mean really know the blues?

I’m not talking about some wannabe pop singer appropriating the blues to make the crowd gasp on American Idol.  I’m not talking about the rock n’ roll hybrid blues that the Rolling Stones used to distance themselves from the Beatles.  I’m talking the unsanitized blues, rife with onion-skin-thin innuendo about graphic sex and domestic violence.  It’s raw and splintered music, the kind where you can taste hunger and oppression and yet you laugh so you don’t cry. 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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Jan 14

Uncivil Attempts at Domestication : “Venus in Fur”

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Photo: T. Charles Erickson. This show is not for children of any ages.

 

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By David Ives
Inspired by the novel by Leopold von Sacher Masoch
Directed by Daniel Goldstein

Jan. 3 – Feb. 2, 2014
Avenue of the Arts
BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

This show is not for children. Don’t take them unless you like paying for visits to the psychologist.

 

 

 

***Potential Trigger Warnings***

(Boston) The misogynistic pop hit, “Blurred Lines” blew up the radios last summer. For those unfamiliar with the tune, vocalists Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams and rapper T.I. engage in sexist boondoggle to try to convince the object of their bleeting to sleep with them. “Blurred Lines” is about coercion. In a sexual context, coercion is rape. There is nothing blurred about the lyrics used in their song (as explained here and here).

In other contexts “blurred lines” can be a metaphor for the skewed boundaries between two or more characters entering into unknown relationship territory. For example, in Huntington Theatre Co’s Venus in Fur the lines between characters and their roles in the story arc are blurred. Thomas and Vanda begin the play as strangers with a clearly defined characters. Over the course of the play, who they are as individuals and to each other is disrupted when fate plays her hand. Continue reading

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Jan 07

As in Life, “Working” is a Mixed Bag

Photo by Mark S. Howard for Lyric Stage Co of Boston; The Cast.

Presented by The Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Based on the book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, by Studs Terkel.
Adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso.
Additional contributions by Gordon Greenberg. Songs by Craig Carnella, Micki Grant, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Mary Rodgers and Susan Birkenhead, Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor.
Directed & Choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
Music Direction by Jonathan Goldberg

January 3 to February 1, 2014
140 Clarendon St.
Boston, MA
The Lyric on Facebook

Running time: Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes with no intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Boston) Studs Terkel’s book Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do is a collection of essays/interviews with Americans in the workforce. It spans a variety of jobs and careers while exploring the motivations behind the work the subjects do. The employed and unemployed look for recognition, justification and greater purpose looking for recognition in the work that we do. The musical, Working adapted by Stephen Schwartz and Nina Faso, uses samples from Terkel’s book to bring the dialogue to the stage. Continue reading

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Nov 25

Riverside Theatre Works is Looking for a Few Good Men… And ONE Lady: CABARET

ATTENTION BOSTON PERFORMERS::
Riverside Theatre Works is currently seeking actors/singers/dancers for their Spring production of “Cabaret.” RTW on Facebook.

“Cabaret” will be directed by Kevin Mark Kline, choreographed by Matt Romero and will include musical direction by Danielle Clougher. This fully immersive and engaging new “take” on the classic musical begins rehearsals in mid-February 2014 and performs May 9-18, 2014 at Riverside Theatre Works in Hyde Park, MA.

Auditions will be held on Saturday November 30 at 7:30pm and Thursday December 5 at 8:30pm.
Those interested in auditioning should email Director Kevin Mark Kline at kevin.mark.kline@gmail.com to set up their audition appointment.

Singers should prepare two 16-32 bar selections from the musical theatre repertoire.
There will be a dance call for Emcee and Kit Kat Klub Boy-types. Please bring appropriate clothing. An accompanist will be provided. You may be asked to read sides from the musical.

Seeking the following roles :: Continue reading

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Mar 01

Heavy Stagecraft: STONES IN HIS POCKETS

Photo Credit: Lyric Stage Boston

Photo Credit: Lyric Stage Boston

By Marie Jones
Directed by Courtney O’Connor

The Lyric Stage Company of Boston
140 Clarendon Street
Copley Square
Boston, MA
February 15th – March 16th, 2013
Lyric Stage Company Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

Here’s an ambitious idea: Re-film a warm buddy movie like Good Will Hunting, but have Ben Affleck and Matt Damon play all the characters in the movie….oh, and make sure they have flawless accents that represent all that can be found in the United Kingdom, too. It’s either Oscar bait or an actor’s nightmare.

The Irish dramady Stones in his Pockets, now playing at the Lyric Stage Company, is weighed down by this ambitious premise. The production charges the strong cast of Daniel Berger-Jones and Phil Tayler with credibly populating the stage with a bevy of U.K and U.S. characters who, we are to believe, are trying to film a Hollywood movie in Ireland. Masochistically, the play even starts off by talking about how ridiculous actors are when they try to fake the Irish accent, just when the actors are warming up to said accent themselves. A production this ambitious must hit every right note to have a chance, and, unfortunately, there are missteps that weigh it down and never allow it to reach its lofty goals of stagecraft. Continue reading

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