Jan 23

A Pleasant Romcom: “Shakespeare in Love”

Shakespeare at Viola’s feet. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Based on the screenplay by Mac Norman & Tom Stoppard
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall
Directed by Scott Edmiston
Original music/music direction/sound design by David Reiffel
Choreography/period movement by Judith Chaffee
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 12 – Feb. 10, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) SpeakEasy’s production of Shakespeare in Love is okay. People who loved the movie will get a lot out of attending. Anyone expecting a revelatory experience from their theatre will be disappointed. Aside from the lighting design by Karen Perlow (which made Jennifer Ellis look like a gilded angel floating down from Heaven, and the set look like a theatre in a night forest) and the compositions by David Reiffel, this production is good but unremarkable.    Continue reading

Dec 11

Honestly and Wonderfully: “She Loves Me”

The cast of “She Loves Me.” Photo by Maggie Hall.

Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company
Book Written by Joe Masteroff
Music Originally by Jerry Bock
Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick
Directed by Ilyse Robbins
Music directed by Matthew Stern

November 24th through December 23rd, 2017
Greater Boston Stage Company on Facebook
395 Main St, Stoneham, Massachusetts 02180

Review with Bishop C. Knight

(Stoneham, Massachusetts) An adaptation of the 1937 play Parfumerie by Hungarian playwright Miklós László, She Loves Me is set in a perfume shop where the entire staff pauses to sing in unison “Pleeeease doooo call again” to every departing customer.  In a broad sense, this is one of those comedies defined by the positive space of its set; meaning that the characters’ workspace and workspace culture were as much part of the musical as the characters’ dialogue and songs.  She Loves Me is evocative of other comedies reliant on their sets, like Cheers and Seinfeld which respectively wouldn’t be what they are without Sammy’s Boston bar and Jerry’s apartment building. Continue reading

May 16

Blessed Be the Patron Saint of Iowa Housewives: “The Bridges of Madison County”

Glenn Perry Photography; Jennifer Ellis & Christiaan Smith.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Book by Marsha Norman
Music, lyrics and orchestrations by Jason Robert Brown
Based on the novel by Robert James Waller
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Music directed by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Misha Shields

May 6 – June 3, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The Bridges of Madison County is a musical about sacrifice and neglect. Ladies and gents, if you’re feeling underappreciated, please bring tissues. You’ll need them. Continue reading

Jul 29

Losing to Win: LOVE’S LABOUR’S LOST

The players. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures.

The players. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures.

By William Shakespeare
Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Directed by Steven Maler

July 20 – August 7, 2016
Boston Common
Boston, MA
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Every year, I find a way to haul myself out to the Common to see Boston’s free Shakespeare under the stars.  Every year, I find something to like about the performance (even if some years it’s just the signature Ben & Jerry’s sundae which, by the way, is once again delicious).  This year, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t have to dig deep to find something to like.  CSC’s 2016 production of Love’s Labour’s Lost is not one to be missing; it’s easily the best production I’ve seen CSC put up since my move to Boston in 2011. Continue reading

Jun 13

“Carousel” Not a Merry Show but a Pleasant Ride

Photo courtesy Reagle Music Theatre/©Herb Philpott

Photo courtesy Reagle Music Theatre/©Herb Philpott

Presented by Reagle Music Theatre
Music by Richard Rodgers
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed & Choreographed by Rachel Bertone
Musical Direction by Dan Rodriguez

June 9-19, 2016
Waltham, MA
Reagle Music Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Waltham, MA) It always feels a bit dissociative when I see a show that is technically a good production, but the show itself is rather terrible. While watching Reagle Music Theatre’s Carousel, I clapped, I scoffed, rolled my eyes, and was constantly asking myself, “Why?” Continue reading

Apr 25

Integrity Sells for So Little: CITY OF ANGELS

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Presented by Lyric Stage Co. of Boston
Book by Larry Gelbart
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by David Zippel
Vocal arrangements by Cy Coleman and Yaron Gershovsky
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music direction by Catherine Stornetta
Choreography & musical staging by Rachel Bertone

March 27 – May 2, 2015
Boston, MA
Lyric on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) City of Angels pays homage to film noir with tongue firmly in cheek sexual innuendo and integrated design film tropes. The Lyric Stage Co. of Boston brings life to this beloved musical with panache and two shakes of wit with inspired clever projection design by Jonathan Carr and zippy choreography by Rachel Bertone. This production is great fun. The book and lyrics are clever. The score, vocal and instrumental, is inherently singable. The artistic upsides far outweigh the downsides. An evening spent at COA is one well spent. Continue reading

Sep 19

Pretty to Watch, Messy to Contemplate: FAR FROM HEAVEN

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Look at those costumes!

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Book by Richard Greenberg
Music by Scott Frankel
Lyrics by Michael Korie
Based on the Focus Features/Vulcan Production Motion Picture, Written & Directed by Todd Haynes

Directed by Scott Edmiston
Musical Direction by Steven Bergman
Choreography by David Connolly

Sept. 12 – Oct. 11, 2014
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) In 1957, Betty Friedan conducted a survey of Smith College graduates to celebrate their 15th anniversary. When she discovered that many of her contemporaries were deeply unhappy, she expanded her research to include other US suburban housewives. She continued her research into psychology and other social sciences. Her studies found a “problem that has no name,” a depression among women despite their ensured physical and emotional comforts. A life revolving around marriage and children was deeply unfulfilling.

This study and her corresponding writings were the basis for The Feminine Mystique, a book that sparked the second-wave of feminism. Published in 1963, it has played an influential part in assuring a modern woman’s right to equality. Women who work outside of the home owe a large part of their freedoms to Friedan and the women who worked with her. Friedan began her survey the same year that Far From Heaven begins. Continue reading

Jun 22

It’s Cabaret Series Time Again!

Get Ready, A Cabaret, The Cabaret Series, 6/25/12 at 7:30pm at Central Square Theatrehttp://www.facebook.com/events/168039596660963/.

“Spring: Time to renew and reenergize, but it’s also a time for change. GET READY to enjoy this whimsical look at life’s twists and turns with the cast of the Cabaret Series as they shake off winter hibernation and gear up for the joys and challenges of spring renewal.Directed By:
Megan Sandberg-Zakian

Featuring:
Leigh Barrett, Cheo Bourne, Jennifer Ellis, De’Lon Grant, Brian Richard Robinson, Kami Rushell Smith, & Tim Maurice.

To Purchase Tickets:
Visit CentralSquareTheater.org or call 866-811-4111 (toll free).”

(copy from event announcement)
Jan 24

Life is a cabaret, old chum

You and I, The Cabaret Series, Central Square Theatre, 2/13/12,

http://www.facebook.com/events/165355680235635/.

Interview by Becca Kidwell

(Cambridge, MA) On December 12, 2011, while many people were decking the halls and looking for luminescent reindeer, a group of people gathered for a warm evening of song with friends and family.  Much laughter and a few tears were shared as the five singers, the pianist, cellist, and drummer poured their hearts into an entertaining set of songs.  The December audience will have a new evening of heart-filled melodies on February 13th.  For those who did not make the December show, they will get to see what everyone was talking about as The Cabaret Series takes on love in all of its forms.

De’Lon Grant answered some questions about the inception of The Cabaret Series and the group’s approach to the shows: Continue reading