Jun 27

Laura Neill’s “DIVAS”

The ensemble

Presented by OperaHub in collaboration with DIVA Museum
Written by Laura Neill
Produced and Stage Directed by Adrienne Boris
Music Directed and Collaborative Piano by Patricia Au
Starring Chelsea Beatty, Kathryn McKellar, Lindsay Conrad, Glorivy Arroyo, and Christie Lee Gibson

June 21 through 30, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston
OperaHub on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(South End, Boston, Massachusetts) DIVAS is a new play by the writer and educator Laura Neill.  It is being performed for the rest of this week in a black box at the BCA.  On the Sunday I attended, the black box was very warm. The man sitting next to me repeatedly wiped the sweat trickling down his brow, and half the audience was skimming through their programs, while the other half fanned their perspiring faces.  The small theatre’s high temperature didn’t seem to bother most of the patrons, who had either greying or thoroughly whitened hair. OperaHub’s noble mission is “to present high-caliber, affordable, and accessible classical music to a wide community of music and art lovers,” but looking around the audience, it was easy to remember that the classical music community remains mostly white and older. Continue reading

Jun 25

BeBe Winans was “Born for This”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Original Music and lyrics by BeBe Winans
Book by Charles Randolph-Wright, BeBe Winans and Lisa D’Amour
Directed by Charles Randolph-Wright
Choreographed by Warren Adams
Orchestrations, Arrangements, & Music Direction by Steven Jamail
Starring Milton Craig Nealy, Kirsten Wyatt, Phillip Brandon, Matthew Griffin, and Donald Webber, Jr.

June 15 through July 15, 2018
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Downtown Boston, MA)  Born for This was the musical biography of soul gospel musician Benjamin “Bebe” Winans, a Detroit native who began his career releasing albums with his sister Priscilla “CeCe” Winans from 1984 through 1996.  In 1989, BeBe won a Grammy for Best Male Soul Gospel Performance. In 1997, he signed with Atlantic Records and released his first of seven solo albums. That same year, BeBe delivered the international hit “I Wanna Be The Only One,” which featured British soul trio Eternal and topped the UK Singles chart in May 1997.  Throughout his career, Bebe has collaborated other Grammy award winning R&B vocalists – such as Stephanie Mills, Whitney Houston, and Stevie Wonder.
Continue reading

Jul 29

These Violent Delights: “Romeo & Juliet”

Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Allegra Libonati

July 19 – August 6, 2017
Boston Common
Boston, MA
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company on Facebook

Romeo and Juliet is like an old jalopy: if you want it to run, you need to know where to kick it, when to kick it, and how hard to kick it. Unfortunately, I really don’t think that director Allegra Libonati has the formula down (and not for lack of trying). Continue reading

Jul 25

Listen! : “American Moor”

Keith Hamilton Cobb is jacked.

By Keith Hamilton Cobb
Presented by the Office of War Information (Bureau of Theatre)
Directed by Kim Weild
Presented at the Boston Center for the Arts

July 19th – August 12th
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston
Office of War Information on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

A note to the cast and crew of American Moor, and the associates of the Office of War Information (Bureau of Theatre), the Queen Geek came down with a summer flu virus that has kept her away from her posting duties. I offer you my heartfelt apologies. Please know that Mrs. Rosvally is in no way to blame for the tardiness of this review.  -KD

(Boston, MA) I am, to be completely honest, still in a state of shocked awe at what I witnessed during Keith Hamilton Cobb’s American Moor last night.  Normally, my job as a critic is to give an honest opinion of the things I see onstage: the acting, the direction, the design… sometimes the writing…. Continue reading

Jul 17

“Waiting for Waiting for Godot”

Photo by Tim Gurczak; costumes and puppy by Chelsea Kerl; the corgi isn’t part of it but she should be.

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Dave Hanson
Directed by Paula Plum

July 14 – 29, 2017
Club Cafe
209 Columbus Ave
Boston, MA
Hub on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: bathroom use without washing hands

(Boston, MAWaiting for Waiting for Godot (WfWfG) is Beckett fanfiction through the lense of a Durang play. It’s confusing, absurd, and ultimately very funny. Hub Theatre Co of Boston does a fine job with Dave Hanson’s script. Continue reading

Aug 01

The Kugel is Your Destiny: YOU’RE KILLING ME ALREADY!

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Presented by Theatre@First’s FirstWorks
by Andrea Aptecker
directed by Dave Policar

Thursday, July 28th, at 8pm
Unity Somerville
6 William Street
Somerville, MA 02144
T@F on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Somerville, MAFirstWorks is Theatre@First’s initiative to support local playwrights as they write new plays. The intent of this program is to provide constructive feedback by experienced directors and actors to playwrights on a play submitted for this purpose. After a workshopping period, a staged reading is performed for the Theatre@First community at large. The most recent subject of the FirstWorks program is Andrea Aptecker’s You’re Killing Me Already! (YKMA!). Continue reading

Jul 29

Everyone’s Invited to “The T Party”

Playing through August 13, 2016. Photos by Paul Fox

Playing through August 13, 2016. Photos by Paul Fox

Presented by Company One
Written and Directed by Natsu Onoda Power (with contributions by Jade Sylvan)

July 15 – August 13, 2016
Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Company One on Facebook
Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MAThe T Party is colorful potpourri of a show: bright, engaging, and eclectic in design. The skit format gives a wide range of stories based under the LGBTQ (QUILTBAG?) umbrella usually, but not always, focused on gender. Natsu Onoda’s anecdotes come in a wide range, some as feel good as a ‘90’s prom in the style of Lisa Frank that opens the show. Others are  more awkward, like a Craigslist meet up between a cis male identified crossdresser and a trans Filipina escort. The scope is broad and looks to simultaneously create community and intimacy. Without focus on an individual narrative, the tone shifts between joy and sadness wildly, suddenly, as if the two emotions weren’t separate at all, but a continuum of the same experience. 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

Jul 27

Saving Mr. and Mrs. Banks: MARY POPPINS – THE MUSICAL

Kerry Conte (Mary Poppins) with Scarlett Keene-Connole (Jane Banks) and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks), Photo © Paul Lyden.

Kerry Conte (Mary Poppins) with Scarlett Keene-Connole (Jane Banks) and Jake Ryan Flynn (Michael Banks), Photo © Paul Lyden.

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Julian Fellows
Original and lyrics by Richard Sherman & Robert Sherman
New materials by Anthony Drewe & George Stiles
Co-created by Cameron Mackintosh
A Musical based on the stories of P.L. Travers & the Walt Disney Film
Directed and choreographed by Kevin P. Hill
Music direction by Milton Granger

July 12 – July 31, 2016
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) It’s hard to tinker with a musical movie that many consider practically perfect in every way, but when there’s money to be made, many a scriptwriter will try. Mary Poppins – The Musical is more successful than most Disney rehashes at adding some new touches to a classic plot and score, even if the finished product feels a bit overlong, and the North Shore Music Theatre production of this spectacle does a solid job staging this spectacle. Continue reading

Jul 18

Some Like it Hot: CUISINE & CONFESSIONS

CAPTION: ANNA KICHTCHENKO & MELVIN DIGGS Photo Credit: Alexandre Galliez

Anna Kichtchenko & Melvin Diggs; Photo Credit: Alexandre Galliez

Presented by The 7 FingersArtsEmerson and Jonathan Reinis Productions
Created and Staged by Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila

July 12 – August 7
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont St. Boston
The 7 Fingers on Facebook
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) I’ve noticed a really exciting trend in Circus arts lately.  The Circus, in many ways, is going through a pivotal transitional period: as animal acts continue to dwindle in reaction to the many valid concerns about humane animal treatment, circus performers are finding more and more creative ways to showcase not just the feats of inhuman strength, flexibility, and dexterity that we’re used to seeing, but also the humanity of the performers themselves.  Story telling is becoming more and more central to the outstanding circuses touring the world and I couldn’t be more excited to have a front row seat to the incredible fruits of this transition. Continue reading