Feb 05

Lead Me On to the Light: “The Bluest Eye” at The Huntington

The cast in The Huntington’s production of The Bluest Eye by Lydia R. Diamond; Photo by T Charles Erickson.

Presented by The Huntington 
Based on the American classic novel by Toni Morrison
Written by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Choreography by Kurt Douglas
Music direction by David Freeman Coleman
Original music by Justin Ellington 
Dramaturgy by Sandy Alexandre 
Intimacy direction by Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson

January 28 – March 13, 2022
Digital access available through March 27, 2022
ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, February 11 at 8pm.
OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, February 15 at 7:30pm.
AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, February 26 at 2pm
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
The Huntington on Facebook

The Bluest Eye plays in approximately one hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.

Content warning: every kind of violence amidst a Black community

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Coming together in a circle to tell a story is essential to our humanity. That’s what we’re inviting the community into with The Bluest Eye.” – Director Awoye Timpo

Boston, MA — The synopsis for The Bluest Eye would have a newcomer believe that the play is about unattainable, western i.e. colonialist beauty standards. It is, but The Bluest Eye is about much more. 

Pecola Breedlove (Hadar Busia-Singleton) has come to stay with Claudia (Brittany-Laurelle) and Freida (Alexandria King). We learn through Claudia’s narration all about the Breedloves.  Mrs. Breedlove (McKenzie Frye, who tears the roof off in her role) and Mr. Cholly Breedlove (Greg Alverez Reid) are scarred from growing up in the Midwest. 

Through an examination of their stories, we come to understand Pecola and why she dreams of having blue eyes. Ramona Lisa Alexander,  Brian D. Coats and Lindsley Howard round out the cast. The cast is excellent together and individually in their own right.
Continue reading

Jan 25

Poverty is Expensive: Rattlestick’s “Addressless”

A screen grab from “Addressless.” The cast discusses their options.

Presented by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Community partnered with Urban Pathways, Community Access
Adapted from
STEREO AKT‘s and Lifeboat Unit’s Hungarian production of Addressless.
Created & directed by Martin Boross
Written by Jonathan Payne
Script consultants: Hope Beaver, Cassie Desalines, Shams DaBaron aka “Da Homeless Hero”
Video editing by Matthew Russell
Graphics & animation by Maiko Kikuchi
Streaming technician: Keenan Hurley
Featuring: Joey Auzenne, Hope Beaver, Shams DaBaron a.k.a. “Da Homeless Hero,” & Bianca Norwood

Thursday, January 13 – Sunday, February 13, 2022
Presented over Zoom
Tickets
Digital Program
Rattlestick on Facebook

Content warnings: Addressless discusses at length issues faced by the unhoused community such addiction and sobriety, bigotry, sex trafficking, shame, government benefits programs, and other forms of abuse. This show can be intense. It may not be appropriate for children under 12. 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Addressless is heart-breakingly honest digital theatre. If you’re looking for something to take you out of the monotony of COVID-living, creators Boross and Payne have a solution for you. Their two-hour, interactive, roleplaying theatre game is a reminder that life’s struggles don’t end just because there’s a pandemic at your door. 

This production begins like any other over Zoom: the host invites attendees in, we wait patiently for the show to start. Addressless is slightly different because it asks attendees to fill out a survey via a link in the chat. The survey asks participants personal questions about their identity, financial situation, and if they’ve ever been unhoused. Have you lived on the streets? For how long?  Continue reading

Jan 18

Softness, Compliance, Forgiveness, Grace: The Lyric presents “Mr. Parent”

Maurice Emmanuel Parent in “Mr. Parent.” Photo by Mark S Howard.

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Written by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Public education consultant – Neema Avashia
Original music and sound design by Arshan Gailus 
Featuring Maurice Emmanuel Parent

January 13 – February 6, 2022
14 Claredon St, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 
The Lyric on Facebook
Homework for Audiences

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Theatreworks Hartford streamed a version of Mr. Parent in March 2021. The Lyric’s live, in-person production is a different beast from TheatreWorks Hartford. While both versions tell the same story, the current production of Mr. Parent at The Lyric evolved for the stage. 

Maurice Emmanuel Parent is compassionate, generous, kind, and funny as Hell in Mr. Parent. The play’s story begins in New York City. Parent is a wide-eyed theatre professional seeking his fortune on Broadway and beyond when his agent sends him to Boston to audition for Angels in America. He gets the gig.

A miserable union salary and 2006 Boston rent prices force Parent to find a second job. He becomes a cluster substitute teacher in a Boston public school. His cluster-job was a clusterfuck of joys and frustrations.  Continue reading

Jan 10

A Lot to Unpack: Guerilla Opera’s “Rumpelstiltskin”

Presented by Guerilla Opera 
Based on the tale by the Brothers Grimm
Composed by Marti Epstein
Libretto by Marti Epstein and Greg Smucker
Shadow puppetry animation and direction by Deniz Khateri
Conducted by Jeffrey Means
Featuring the Guerilla Opera Ensemble

Premiere date/Reviewed on January 7, 2022
Via Parma Live Stage

Upcoming: 
Rumpelstiltskin Studio Album & Release Party
January 14 at 7:30
An Online Event
Album is available on Navona Records

Review by Kitty Drexel

ONLINE — On January 7, Guerilla Opera held an online viewing party to premiere their short opera Rumpelstiltskin on Parma Live Stage. Rumpelstiltskin will be presented again at the album’s release party on January 14, 7:30 PM. The album will be available on Navona Records. 

Composer Marti Epstein and Guerilla Opera retell the Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin story with some updates for their opera. Rumpelstiltskin (Aliana de la Guardia), a human man with magical abilities, is now portrayed as a sympathetic character according to Epstein’s “Note from the Composer” available on the Navona Records website. The opera explains Rumpelstiltskin’s desire for a child and elaborates on his single-minded obsession with obtaining one: unconditional love.  Continue reading

Dec 29

You Don’t Have to Understand Your Queer Family to Love Your Queer Family: “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge”

Rehearsal for “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge.” Photo by Meghan Moore/Megpix

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Trista Baldwin
Directed by Courtney Sale
Cast: Kristian Espiritu, Karen MacDonald, Eliza Simpson, Milicent Wright

Now – January 4, 2022
Video on Demand via Mandolin.com
MRT Playbill 
MRT on Facebook

Age Recommendation: 14 and older. Some adult content/language.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Video-On-Demand — The copious productions of The Christmas Carol that come around every year are for mainstream Christmas celebrators. The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge is a Christmas production for the rest of us. It’s intersectionality feminist. It passes the Bechdel Test. It’s under two hours, and you can drink rum-nog the entire time from your own home. Cheers! 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house… Carol (New England darling Karen MacDonald) was stirring because her daughter Holly (Kristian Espiritu) was finally coming home to Brockton, Mass.! This year Holly is bringing her special friend Jordan (Eliza Martin Simpson). Worlds, politics, and identities collide when Holly reveals to Carol that Jordan is more than just her Jewish, progressive liberal friend from Portland.

Milicent Wright plays the online Zumba cueing, comestible baking, excellent listener and BFF neighbor Chris. I would take Zumba class with Chris/Millicent any day. She seems fun.  Continue reading

Dec 17

Messing with Your Algorithm or Not Your Daddy’s Inspiration Porn: “Teenage Dick”


Presented by The Huntington
Produced in association with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Pasadena Playhouse
Written by Mike Lew
Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Assistant direction and movement coordination by Ashleigh King
Choreography by Jennifer Weber
Fight choreography by Robb Hunter

December 3 – January 2, 2022
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
The Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Content warning: Disabled people exist everywhere 24/7. If this play “expands your world,” you should know that’s ableist, and it’s really not about you.

BOSTON — This one time, in the Before Times, I was taking an ashtanga-style yoga class, and a random woman told me I was “inspirational.” I was dripping in sweat after having performed 60-minutes of intermediate poses with only one arm, and a brunette Karen in Athleta and Lululemon compression wear decided it was super important to tell me that I inspired her. She didn’t say what I inspired her to do, just that I was “inspirational.” 

I wish I could say that I told the Karing Karen she inspired me to vomit a little in my mouth, but I was too shocked to say much of anything. I picked up my mat, and I skedaddled out of the studio to fume inspirationally in peace.

This horse can’t even do yoga.

I live with brachial plexus palsy, a permanent paralysis of my left arm from my shoulder through my fingers. (Coincidentally, it’s also the sexiest of the palsies.) Sometimes complete strangers find my ability to do completely normal, everyday things Inspirational. Showing up to yoga is difficult for everyone, Karen. 

Abled people have a nasty habit of deriving inspiration from the inabilities of disabled people. We aren’t inspirational just because you find relief from not being disabled. Your inability to see us as people with lives is a You problem. As Buck says in Teenage Dick now at The Huntington, “Please don’t involve me.” Continue reading

Dec 15

No Room at the Inn: “Witness”

WITNESS: A new virtual documentary theater piece

A screen capture of the online platform.

Presented by Arlekin Players’ (Zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab
Conceived and directed by Igor Golyak
Written by Nana Grinstein with Blair Cadden & Igor Golyak
Scenography & Costume Design by Anna Fedorova
Virtual Design by Daniel Cormino
Sound Design by Viktor Semenov
Produced by Sara Stackhouse
Dramaturgy by Blair Cadden 
Featuring the Arlekin Acting Company

December 10, 2021 – January 23, 2023
Over the Arlekin (zero-G) virtual Theater Lab platform
and Zoom
Arlekin Players on Facebook
Playbill

Review by Kitty Drexel

“It doesn’t feel virtual; it feels real.” 

– Talkback moderator Inessa Rifkin, a founder of the Russian Jewish Community Foundation and a founder of the Russian School of Mathematics, after the December 13 performance of Witness.  

ONLINE/Zoom  — It’s almost Yule! Here’s a Christmas story: In May 1939, the MS St. Louis carried 937 passengers from Nazi-occupied Germany to Havana, Cuba. The Cuban government refused the ship. Its passengers remained onboard; the ship didn’t dock. Cuba had cancelled the immigration papers of the onboard immigrants without notifying them. 

The United States refused the ship too. The US had space to put the passengers but our politicians let money and immigration law stop them from welcoming the passengers. We made a 1976 secular movie about it called “Voyage of the Damned” with Faye Dunaway. How American of us. 

The Jewish passengers were finally allowed some succor when the ship returned to Europe that June.  254 of the passengers died in the Holocaust: 84 in Belgium; 84 in Holland, and 86 in France. There was no room at the inn or the stable with Mary and Joseph. 

Witness by Arlenkin Players is about the fluffy talent show that the passengers held to boost morale. Local New Englanders who are also immigrants play passengers on the boat. It’s about the stark tragedy that our country, a nation that says it welcomes immigrants at its front door on the East Coast, decided that Jewish immigrants fleeing for their very lives should go elsewhere. Popup text boxes invite us to learn about who the passengers were and if they survived the ship. It’s about the multigenerational fight against anti-Semitism in the US. The Arlekin Acting Company portrays Jewish characters from across the decades. Continue reading

Sep 03

“Pass Over” Reopened On Broadway. Its Truths Extend to Boston and Beyond.

Photo: Joan Marcus

“Pass Over”
Written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu
Directed in Boston by Monica White Ndounou, January 3 – February 2, 2020
Directed in New York by Danya Taymor
August Wilson Theatre
245 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Tickets on sale now

Article by Kitty Drexel

NEW YORK, NY and BOSTON, Mass.– Broadway stopped all activity in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic closed indoor entertainment venues across the nation.

Thirty-one plays and musicals were running before the shutdown, including eight new shows in previews. An additional eight productions were in rehearsals and preparing to open in the spring the Broadway League said. COVID-19 closed them all.

The fat lady had sung. Continue reading

Jan 28

Lying, Believing, and Hoping “Beyond A Winter’s Day”

Presented by Liars & Believers and Moonbox Productions
Written by Rachel Wiese (To Bed To Bed & Vasalisa the Blessed) and Jesse Garlick (Malka and the Behema)
Directed by Jason Slavick
Costume Design by Kendra Bell
Featuring Music by Veronica Barron, Singer Mali, and Carols Odria
Video Editing by Sam Powell
Zoom Mastery by Cynthia Hu

January 15 – March 27, 2021
Facebook
Website

Review by Gillian Daniels

ZOOM – In winter, spring is a fairy tale. That sounds pretty ridiculous, what with empirical data suggesting, yes, the northern hemisphere will tilt once again toward the sun. If you, like me, are on the East Coast in January, though, it’s going to be a while, and what with the current horror of a plague ravaging the country, this winter is particularly bleak. The usual comforts of gathering indoors with friends and family are not as available to us as they have been in the past. So, why not unite with one another through the power of sharing stories? Continue reading

Feb 06

A Moving Adaptation: “Little Women”

Photo by Nile Scott Studios; The March women in “Little Women.”

Presented by Wheelock Family Theater at Boston University:/ 
Music by Jason Howland
Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein
Book by Allan Knee
Based on the Book, “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott
Directed by Nick Vargas
Music Directed by Jon Goldberg
Choreography by Laurel Conrad

Performance dates: Jan 31 – Feb 23, 2020

Wheelock Family Theater at Boston University, 
180 Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook 

Review by Chloé Cunha

Boston, MA — Like anybody who grew up with an overactive imagination and an abundance of energy, I have fond memories of exploring fantastical worlds as a kid. My mum used to transform her bed into a space ship, her bedroom, an alien planet. A whir and a hum and we were off, her narration painting the room around us into a whole new galaxy. Continue reading