Nov 23

Festive and Fun: “A Civil War Christmas: an American Musical Celebration”

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Photo image courtesy of the Facebook Page.

Presented by Wellesley College Theatre
Written by Paula Vogel
Music by Daryl Waters
Directed by Nora Hussey

November 18 – 22
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Wellesly, MA
WCT on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

Christmas theatre is a very specific genre that requires a very particular mix to make effective (or even palatable).  The recipe starts with good old-fashioned holiday cheer; add a dash of nostalgia, a hint of history, a generous helping of family values, and (of course) finish with a generous sprinkling of festive music.  Paula Vogel’s A Civil War Christmas: An American Musical Celebration has all the necessary ingredients for the Christmas genre, but actually performing it requires a special touch.  The piece’s simplistic dialogue which features such tropes as characters telling you who they are before they begin to speak (“In the West Wing of the White House, President Lincoln’s maid was cleaning the floor…. Hi, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the show tonight?”) that have the danger to edge this play towards the realm of children’s theatre cheesiness, or satirical campiness. Continue reading

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May 07

Lunatics Running the Asylum: ASSASSINS

As the culminating event in the College's year-long examination of the theme of violence, Assassins brims with a particularly urgent energy. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography © 2012 Boston University all rights reserved

Assassins, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, Boston University Colllege of Fine Arts School of Theatre, Boston University Theatre, 4/4/12-4/10/12, http://www.bu.edu/cfa/2012/04/20/assassins/.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) It’s nice for Stephen Sondheim and his partner John Weidman to clear up a few things for us about theater in their mishmash of a play, Assassins, playing at the Boston University Theatre.

They have proven a fundamental truth: You can populate your play with profoundly interesting characters, give them things to do that impact every theatergoer’s psyche and bestow wonderful music for them to sing as they do it, but if the script doesn’t allow them to interact in a meaningful way, it’s just an exercise in futility.  The playwrights prove this point despite the best efforts of a talented cast, who creates full-fledged and compelling characters. In fact, the cast and stellar set give us such high expectations that it makes the mind want to rebel at this idle script all the more.    Continue reading

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