Mar 09

“The Hotel Nepenthe”: Here’s looking at you and you and your other you, kid kid kid…

Photo by Maggie Hill Photography

Presented by The Brown Box Theatre
Written by John Kuntz
Directed by Alex Lonati
Produced by Kyler Taustin

March 9-11, 2018 in Massachusetts
Atlantic Wharf, 290 Congress St., Boston
March 15, 2018 in Princess Anne, MD
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
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Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Boston, MA) It was a wintry evening in Boston’s Financial District and, as the audience moseyed into the lobby of an office building with wet snow piled upon our hats and coats, we found our seats to the soundtrack of bubbly theme songs from classic pre-1970s television and cinema. There were themes from Gilligan’s Island, Bewitched, and that kicky rendition of the Charleston dance song as featured in It’s A Wonderful Life (1940s).

Once seated and ready for the performance, patrons sat with our four actors lounging around the small stage space in short leopard-print bathrobes. Hm? Earlier in the week, I told a pal that I was going to see a play by John Kuntz, and their heads-up was “John Kuntz? His stuff is weird but wonderful!” And yes, very immediately, with the bouncy lyrics of “The Ballad of Gilligans Island” promising a fateful trip, I knew I was in for a theatrical adventure. Continue reading

Dec 11

The Difficult Toeing Between Past and Present: “It’s a Horrible Life”

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL VON REDLICH; Featuring Gene Dante, Olive A Nother, Jessica Barstis and Paul Vincent Melendy

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL VON REDLICH; Featuring Gene Dante, Olive A Nother, Jessica Barstis and Paul Vincent Melendy

Presented by Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans
Directed by James P. Byrnes

December 5th-22nd
The Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts
Boston, MA
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Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) Hot off of Mildred Fierce and dashing towards their spring show Snow White and the Seven Bottoms, Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans gift Boston with a sweet spectacular at the Ramrod Center for the Performing Arts. Continue reading

Jun 17

Can an Evergreen Bloom?: THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Photo©Paul Lyden

presented by North Shore Music Theatre

MUSIC BY: Richard Rodgers
LYRICS BY: Oscar Hammerstein II
BOOK BY: Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse
Suggested by “The Trapp Family Singers” by: Maria Augusta Trapp
Directed and Choreographed by James Brennan
Music Directed by Dale Rieling

62 Dunham Rd
Beverly, Massachusetts
June 11th – June 23rd, 2013
NSMT Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Most of us can at least list the essentials of The Sound of Music: Julie Andrews, cute kids, nuns, Nazis.  As a child, it’s hard not to like it.  As an adult, it’s hard not to make fun of it.  As a regional theatre, it’s hard to do well.  Like It’s a Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, audiences know what they want to get out of this play, and too many theaters sigh and go along with it.  It’s like playing with a three-year old nephew through Thanksgiving dinner because it’s easier than dealing with the tantrum. Continue reading

Dec 25

Close to a Classic: IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

Photo: Mark Linehan* & Erin Brehm. Credit: David Costa.

Photo: Mark Linehan* & Erin Brehm. Credit: David Costa.

presented by Stoneham Theatre

adapted for the stage and directed by Weylin Symes

395 Main St. Stoneham, MA
November 23rd through December 23rd, 2012
Stoneham Theatre Facebook Page

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Stoneham) In an interview in Time Magazine, Spanish director Pedro Almodovar once quipped that every mistake he made in his first film became his signature “style” in subsequent ones. The holiday classic It’s a Wonderful Life doesn’t stand the test of time because it is perfect, but because of its many flaws. It is a holiday redemption story told by director Frank Capra at his most moody, and one can see why it bombed in its inaugural run at the movie houses. The script moves in a disjointed style, with a biblical fable serving as tacked-on bookends to a dark meditation on inequality in America. If not for Capra’s bold and technically-accomplished direction and the performance of a lifetime by Jimmy Stewart, the movie would be a laugher by now.

Stoneham Theatre’s staging of Weylin Symes’ theatrical adaption of Capra’s screenplay may have seemed like a safe end-of-year choice, and crowds have come in droves to see the spirited production, but this is as difficult a script as some of Shakespeare’s obscure works, and director Caitlin Lowans fails to navigate this production around many pitfalls. If not for Mark Linehan’s heart-on-sleeve performance as the desperate George Bailey and near-universal knowledge of the iconic storyline, this staging would have derailed. Continue reading

Dec 03

It’s a Weirdly Wonderful Life with ImprovBoston’s “Merry Christmas, Mister Lampost!”

Image Credit: ImprovBoston

presented by ImprovBoston

40 Prospect St.
Cambridge, MA 02139
December, Fridays at 10pm
ImprovBoston Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge) Criticized as saccharine on its initial release, It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) is probably one of the most watched Christmas movies of the era. In it, Jimmy Stuart stars as George Bailey, an unlucky small town businessman who gains a new lease on life when his guardian angel shows him how awfully the world would get on without him. Continue reading