Oct 27

Beautiful and Painful: “The Scottsboro Boys”

Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots; The ensemble getting down.

Nile Hawver / Nile Scott Shots; The ensemble getting down.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Music and Lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb
Book by David Thompson
Original Direction and Choreography by Susan Stroman
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Musical Direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Ilyse Robbins

October 21 – November 26
Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street
Speakeasy on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) It’s difficult to know what to say about The Scottsboro Boys.  The piece is uncomfortable to watch not because of its incredible talent or flawless direction and design, but rather because it’s meant to be uncomfortable to watch.  The show is a remixed account of the historical case of The Scottsboro Boys, nine young black men who in 1931 were accused of raping two white women on a train, told through the lens of American Minstrelsy.  Performed with gusto and amazing energy, SpeakEasy’s production is a triumph that should be mandatory viewing for any American (particularly in an election year as fraught with the urge to “just give up” as this one has been). Continue reading

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Oct 07

Murder, We Hope: “Chicago”

Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Heather Parcells (Roxie) and Bahiyah Hibah (Velma). Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins
Directed and choreographed by Nick Kenkal

Beverly, MA
September 23rd – October 5th, 2014
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) At one point after a showstopping number during the North Shore Music Theatre’s production of Chicago, actor Sean McDermott (Billy Flynn) was clearly out of breath. He had a lot of company in the audience, as this production succeeds in leaving an audience breathless. Continue reading

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Jun 15

Effervescent Emptiness: CHICAGO

(center) Angie Schworer as Roxie and Rick Pessagno as Billy Flynn give the press the scoop in CHICAGO at Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston June 13-23, 617 Lexington Street, Waltham. (Photo: Herb Philpott)

presented by Reagle Music Theatre

book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed and choreographed by Gerry McIntyre

Robinson Theater
617 Lexington St
Waltham, MA
June 13th – 23rd, 2013
Reagle Music Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Waltham) Personally, I’ve had a hard time with plays that take on the rollicking 20’s. It’s rare to come across a script that strikes the right balance between the era’s bubbly exuberance and its tragically-wasted potential. Anything Goes was written too close to the source material to really make sense anymore. Guys and Dolls is more coherent, but still stubbornly devoid of subtext. And Cabaret (1931 is close enough) is built to pull audiences slowly from a dream to a nightmare, but too often productions can’t pull off the joy and the dread at the same time. Maybe I’m just allergic to flappers. Continue reading

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