Apr 22

Sometimes God Eats People: “Caroline or Change”


L to R: Pier Lamia Porter* as “The Washing Machine”, Davron S. Monroe* as “The Dryer” and Yewande Odetoyinbo* as “Caroline Thibodeaux” ; Photograph: Sharman Altshuler

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Book and lyrics by Tony Kushner
Score by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat
Music directed by Dan Rodriguez
Choreography by Yewande Odetoyinbo

April 20 – May 11, 2019
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Moonbox on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It isn’t true that money can’t buy happiness. Science, as dressed in commercially digestible articles from Time or Entrepreneur, told us in 2017 that happiness begins at an income that covers payment of non-negotiable needs such as food, rent, and other expenses. That amount was approximated between $50,000 – $75,000. Anything less or more than fiscal solvency lowers our quality of life. Minimum wage is still $7.25. And the 1% wonder why the 99% are angry all the time.   

Caroline or Change is about a poor, Black woman raising four kids on her own in 1963 at the peak of the Civil Rights movement in Louisiana. She’s a maid in the Gellman household where she makes $30 a week (roughly $250/week in 2019) and it’s not enough. Caroline Thibodeaux (Yewande Odetoyinbo) isn’t paid enough to deal with any of the nonsense like throws at her but she does it anyway.  Continue reading

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Apr 23

“Cabaret” : Red Lights & Secrets

Aimee Doherty* Photographer: Tom Shoemaker

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Based on stories by Christopher Isherwood
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Music by John Kander
Book by John Masteroff
Directed by Rachel Bertone
Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez

April 14th thru 29th, 2018
BCA Calderwood Pavilion
Wimberly Theater, Boston
Moonbox on Facebook

Review by Bishop C. Knight

(Boston, Massachusetts) I assume that unlike many in the audience at the Wimberly Theatre, I went to the Calderwood Pavilion knowing nothing substantial about Cabaret and naïvely expecting lots of eye-high rockette dance moves.  Seated with friends before the show, I opened up a program and encountered a quote by Christopher Isherwood, the British-American novelist who holds a principal place within my private imaginative world.  This quotation was from Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin, upon which Cabaret is based, and it goes “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Someday, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.”   Continue reading

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Oct 14

Poetic License: “Einstein’s Dreams”

A.R. Sinclair Photography

A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by Underground Railway Theater
Part of the Catalyst Collaborative@MIT
Based on a book by Alan Lightman
Adapted and Directed by Wesley Savick

September 24 – November 15, 2015
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Ave Cambridge, MA
Central Square Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Even as I sit here staring at a blank page, I am having trouble putting into words the experience of seeing Einstein’s Dreams at Central Square Theatre.  What I know for a certainty is that I can extend to the piece the highest comment that this reviewer can give: it sparked discussion, and it made me think. Continue reading

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Jan 16

“Other Desert Cities”: Facades Collide With Reality

Photo caption: Anne Gottlieb and Christopher M. Smith in a scene from SpeakEasy Stage's production of Other DesertCities, running January 11 through February 9 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Tickets at speakeasystage.com or 617.933.8600. Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo caption: Anne Gottlieb and Christopher M. Smith, Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

By Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by Scott Edmiston

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
January 11 – February 9
Wimberly Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Speakeasy Stage Co Facebook Page

Review by Becca Kidwell

(Boston) At a time when nostalgia for the eighties is heightening (neon, rubber bracelets, leg warmers,
cut off tees), Jon Robin Baitz reminds us that our recent past was neither as lavish or simple
as we would like to contain it. As the last of the Reaganite politicians cling desperately to
the “grand old party,” gen-xers (like myself) try to find meaning out of a part of seeming trivial
history. Baitz sends a thermobaric weapon to the Wyeth household in the form of Brooke Wyeth, played by Anne Gottlieb. Continue reading

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Sep 13

Election-Year Escapism: THE MIKADO

Erica Spyres (Yum-Yum) and cast of The Mikado at The Lyric Stage. Photo by Mark S. Howard

The Mikado, music by Arthur Sullivan, libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Directed by Spiro Veloudos

Lyric Stage Company, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA
September 9 – October 13

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

It is rare to see good actors overacting, over-annunciating and mugging the audience to ring out every laugh. It is even rarer to enjoy every minute of it. In the Lyric Stage Company’s staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s the Mikado, you get the delicious treat of both.

If you have never seen a Gilbert and Sullivan play, then now’s the time to get initiated with this production. Continue reading

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Apr 22

EPISODE 1 GEEKS, NERDS & ARTISTS Janie E. Howland

Episode 1:  Geeks, Nerds & Artists Podcast: Janie E. Howland 10 April 2012

Photos of designs are displayed in this Flickr photoset.

Interview with Boston based set designer Janie E. Howland.  http://www.janiehowland.com

Credits include: Long Day’s Journey Into Night (New Rep), The Miracle Worker (Wheelock Family Theatre), History Boys and 5 by Tenn (Speakeasy Stage), Big River (Lyric Stage Company), Tonya & Nancy (Oberon), Breaking the Code (Underground Railway), Spring Awakening and Little Women (Boston Children’s Theatre). Venues include: Weston Playhouse, NSMT, New Rep, ART Instit., Nora Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, Seacoast Rep, Merrimack Repertory, Wheelock Family Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre Studio 210, Opera Boston, Emerson Stage, Barnstormers, Foothills Theatre. Founding member of CYCO SCENIC; MFA from Brandeis University; 2009, 2006 and 1997 winner of the Elliot Norton Award; 2007 & 2006 winner of the IRNE award; part time faculty at Wellesley College and Emerson College; USA local 829.

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Sep 22

Next Fall: Don’t Agree, Just Love

Luke (Dan Roach, left) slips in a prayer before breakfast with his partner Adam (Will McGarrahan) in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of Next Fall, running now thru Oct. 15 Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts, Speakeasy Stage, Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 9/15/11-10/15/11,  http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=nextfall.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

 “Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.” Thomas à Kempis

(Boston, MA)  Moments pass in a heartbeat.  All that’s left is waiting…waiting in hope…waiting in fear; the only choice is waiting together or waiting alone.  Next Fall by Geoffrey Nauffts does not try to moralize or condescend; it leaves its audience with the hope that love will transcend all differences.  The friends and family of the comatose Luke see the world through different viewpoints but connect at the core of their being–in love. Continue reading

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Sep 08

Big River: A Journey of Human Nature

Jordan Ahnquist as Huckleberry Finn and De'Lon Grant as Jim. Photo by Mark S. Howard

 

Big River, Music and Lyrics by Roger Miller, Book by William Hauptman, Lyric Stage, 9/2/11-10/8/11.  https://lyricstage.com/now_playing/big_river/.  Family Friendly.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Lyric Stage’s production of Big River celebrates the imagination of Mark Twain.  Based on the novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the show explores the American landscape of the 1800’s.  The production shines a light on the various forms of humanity that Twain observed in his own travels.  His words come alive through a rousing score, talented cast, and innovative staging. Continue reading

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Apr 14

BREAKING THE CODE: Turing Passes The Test

Dafydd ap Rees (Mick Ross) and Allyn Burrows (Alan Turing) in Hugh Whitemore's BREAKING THE CODE through May 8. Presented by Catalyst Collaborative@MIT. Performances at Central Square Theater at 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge. Tickets and Information: http://CentralSquareTheater.org or 866-811-4111. Photo by A.R. Sinclair Photography.


Breaking the Code by Hugh Whitemore, Underground Railway Theater and Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT, Central Square Theater, 4/7/11-5/8/11.  http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/10-11/code.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Intelligence is a prized commodity that governments and businesses appropriate for their own needs, but don’t always appreciate the ones who provide it.  Alan Turing was loved by Great Britain for his decoding work during World War II and was derided for his failure to conform to social norms after the war.  Breaking the Code masterfully explores the isolating nature of “polite” society.

Underground Railroad Company and Catalyst Collaborative@MIT bring the audience into the world of Alan Turing’s mind and memory.  Performed in the round, the audience literally steps into Janie Howland’s set of inverse geometric spirals as they take their seats.  Strings across the walls and ceiling connect formulas and ideas.  Following the idea of the spirals, director Adam Zahler has Turing (played by Allyn Burrows) follow these patterns as Turing moves through the various moments of his life.  The set and the action become an extension of Alan Turing’s personality. Continue reading

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Jan 11

HYSTERIA: the naked women in Freud’s closet

Hysteria, or Fragments of an Analysis of a Obsessional Neurosis by Terry Johnson, The NoraTheatre Company, Central Square Theater, 1/6/11-1/30/11.  Nudity and mature themes.  http://www.centralsquaretheater.org/season/10-11/hysteria.html

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Freudian analysis?  A dream of Dali?  Too much spicy food?  These are questions the audience might ask while watching Hysteria.  Using the real meeting between Freud and Dali as a starting point, Johnson’s play moves from farce to surrealism to nothingness.  The Nora Theatre Company makes this strange journey palatable and pleasurable and  masks the flaws of the script.

The exaggerated perspective of the set, Freud’s study, immediately tells the audience that something peculiar is going to happen.  As the play unfolds, Janie E. Howland’s surrealistic set design matches the frenetic energy that is sent forth from the actors.  No one questions the absurdity of the situations that take place because the cast commit fully to the roles that they play.  Richard Sneed, as Freud, tries to hold the world together as it keeps trying to spiral out-of-control.  His warm-fatherly nature combined with Freud’s philosophies moves the audience from sympathy for a dying man to anger at an intractable man that will not even admit the possibility that he might have erred. Continue reading

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