Jun 28

Your Ticket is Problematic: LUZIA


Presented by Cirque du Soleil
Written by Julie Hamelin Finzi and Daniele Finzi Pasca
Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca
Acrobatic performance designed by Philippe Aubertin
Composed and music directed by Simon Carpentier
Acrobatic choreography by Edesia moreno Barata, Debra Brown, Sylvia Gertrúdix González

June 27 – August 12, 2018
Suffolk Downs
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Boston, MA 02128
Parking available for $20.00
CdS on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Cirque du Soleil’s scheduling of its Luzia American tour is so poorly-timed that it’s nearly offensive. The producers couldn’t have known, could they? On the one hand, there’s the appreciation of Mexico’s song, dance, and natural resources. On the other, there’s the fact that ICE is indefinitely detaining immigrants as well as asylum seekers near the Mexican border. It’s deporting LEGAL residents across the US. It had been separating families because it could. “But why does light entertainment have to be dragged through politics? It’s just a show!” Because the political is personal, my friends. There are immigrants living in Boston who are at risk of deportation as I type. We, as artists and audience members, can’t forget the fascist actions of the the President because it’s convenient. We must be better. Continue reading

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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

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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

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Jun 14

Don’t Expect the Movie: “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage”

Craven and Courts. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Presented by Boch Center
By Eleanor Bergstein
Music supervising and orchestrations by Conrad Helfrich
Choreography by Michele Lynch
Original choreography by Kate Champion
Directed by Sarna Lapine

June 13 – 17, 2018
Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
Dirty Dancing tour on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage is a great production for professional-dance enthusiasts who enjoyed Dirty Dancing the movie but have no particular emotional connection to it. Diehard movie fans may feel put out by Eleanor Bergstein’s script upgrades. Musical aficionados may snark at the “acting” going on onstage. Anybody ready for some good time media nostalgia will enjoy themselves. Continue reading

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Jun 11

“A Chorus Line” as a Period Piece

Wahle as Zach with Ensemble. Photo by Herb Philpott.

Presented by Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston
Conceived and Originally Directed and Choreographed by Michael Bennett
Book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante
Music by Marvin Hamlisch
Lyrics by Edward Kleban
Originally Co-Choreographed by Bob Avian
Direction; Recreation of the Original Choreography by Leslie Woodies
Music direction by Dan Rodriguez
Assistant Director/Assistant Choreographer – Lauren Gemelli

June 7 through 17, 2018
Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston
617 Lexington St., Waltham, MA 02452
Reagle on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Waltham, Massachusetts) I had never seen A Chorus Line so, for readers who are unfamiliar with this 1975 Broadway musical about life in show biz, please let me provide a brief summary.  On a bare stage, a group of dancers bring their headshots and personal histories to an audition where they share their birth names, stage names, birthdays, and ages, as well as their most formative life experiences.  There was a tough boy from the Bronx, another guy from a big Italian family, a saucy woman who flirted with the director, and fifteen more performers – all with large and extremely memorable personalities. Continue reading

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Jun 11

#Gamergate, Too: “The Nether”

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Jennifer Haley
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 8 – 23, 2018
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, 02472
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: pedophilia, sexual abuse, implied physical violence, predatory grooming

(Watertown, MA) Flat Earth’s production is expectedly excellent but it isn’t enjoyable. Well actually, The Nether is about ethics in gaming journalism. It’s a political metaphor for gamer identity protection. Just kidding: It’s about abusive communities on the internet and the people who dwell in them. Identity protection and “ethics” are smoke screens for heinous behavior in the name of free speech and implausible deniability. #yesallwomen Continue reading

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Jun 05

“Les Liaisons Dangereuses”: When You Play the Game of Patriarchy, Everyone Loses

Jaime Carrillo (Volanges), Greg Maraio (Merteuil), Dan Whelton (Valmont) & Stewart Evan Smith (Danceny). Photo: Jorden Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Adapted by Christopher Hampton
Novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

May 31st – July 1st, 2018
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Content Warning: (In the show’s own words.) Full nudity, sexual content, violence, and a damn good sword fight. Suggested age: 18 and over.

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) When dividing the population into a binary construct where one group is viewed as perpetually in danger of committing sexual indiscretions and possessing virtue that they may only give to certain people, and the other group is seen as committing indiscretions and betrayals because they can’t help themselves, yes, some awful dynamics are at play. In this production, the source material of Les Liaisons Dangereuses is not much altered, but the way it’s performed is. The players all appear to be male without makeup, dresses, or distinctive cosmetic traits, beyond the apparently random distribution of a few bits of jewelry, rosary beads, and gloves. To clarify, this is a faithful adaptation of a story where two manipulative, almost-lover aristocrats spend their time “ruining” innocence. The gender of the characters remains the same as it was in Pierre Choderlos de Laclos 1782 novel. The gender of the actors just doesn’t always conform to those of their characters. In having an all-male cast, gender is shown as the flimsy construct it is, and adherence to stringent, narrow roles reproduce only an eventual misery in everyone. But just because the proud Vicomte de Valmont (Dan Whelton) and perceptive Marquise de Merteuil (Greg Maraio) seem to see the pieces of the social contraption in which they move doesn’t mean they can escape the trap. Continue reading

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May 31

Disabled Children Are No More a ‘Life Sentence’ Than Any Other Child: “Fall”

Joanne Kelly, Josh Stamberg, Nolan James Tierce, Joanna Glushak, and John Hikock  ©Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Bernard Weinraub
Directed by Peter DuBois

May 18 – June 16, 2018
South End/Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Trigger warnings: Ablism, historically-accurate slurs, misogyny

Review by Kitty Drexel

Tokenism
noun/to·ken·ism/ˈtōkəˌnizəm/
The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.

(Boston, MA) Bernard Weinraub tried so hard to be respectful of the Down Syndrome community. Fall would be a good play about Arthur Miller and Inge Morath if it didn’t fail so hard at including Daniel Miller. Unfortunately, it misses the mark. A lot. Continue reading

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May 08

A Majestic “Migration”


Presented by Step Afrika!
Produced by 
ArtsEmerson
Choreographed by Jakari Sherman, Jackie Semela, Paul Woodruff
Percussionists: Artis Olds, Jakari Sherman, Andrew Vinson

May 3 through 6, 2018
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

“One of the most important functions of jazz has been to encourage a hope for freedom, for people living in situations of intolerance or struggle.”  –Herbie Hancock, jazz pianist and bandleader

(Boston, Massachusetts)  I could feel the crackling energy of the show, even before it started.  I could anticipate that it’d be a layered and textured theatrical experience that engaged the audience, even before dancers and musicians arrived on stage.  I am a person who is always listening to music. Likewise, I’m a patron who yearns for a show’s soundtrack to play both before and after the performance, as well as during its intermission.  The recording of African drum music, peppered with the rattling of gourds and the rhythmic clapping of hands, was vitalizing and encouraged a social atmosphere before the show began. Most patrons were out of seats, strolling around, greeting each other, standing in small circles having spirited conversations, smiling while sipping drinks; it was the pre-party I always wished for. Continue reading

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Jul 03

Please, Make the Music Stop: THE MUSIC MAN

Photo by Paul Lyden.

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey
Music by Meredith Willson
Direction by Bob Richard
Music direction by Milton Granger
Choreography by Diane Laurenson

June 6 – June 18, 2017
North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) Sometimes, a play gets to an awkward age where it needs to be taken out of circulation for a while so it can age properly and can come back as a nostalgic piece. The Music Man, which was performed recently  at the North Shore Music Theatre, is one of those plays. In the age of Trump, this play’s racist and rape-culture overtones hit too close to home to be enjoyable. Continue reading

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