Presented by Cambridge Chamber Ensemble Music by John Blow Libretto by Anne Kingsmill Finch or Aphra Behn From Ovid’s Metamorphosis Stage direction by David R. Gammons Music direction by Stephanie Beatrice Choreography by Alissa Cardone Supratitles by Danielle Shevchenko Concert-master, Ming-hang Tam
Apologies to the cast, orchestra, and crew of Venus & Adonis.Family issues (including a COVID scare) prevented me from publishing this review on time. Mea culpa.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Cambridge Chamber Ensemble’s production of John Blow’s Venus & Adonis was delightful. It was under an hour and packed in more action in 60-minutes than other Baroque operas do in 150 minutes. If you missed it, that’s a damn shame. Donate here and catch the next one.
Adonis & Venus is a romantic opera. Cambridge Chamber Ensemble’s production was sexy. It needed an intimacy director.Continue reading →
Presented by Arlekin Players Theatre & (zero-G) Lab Conceived, adapted, and directed by Igor Golyak Based on The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, as translated by Carol Rocamora With new material by Igor Golyak Robotics designed by Tom Sepe Music composition by Jakov Jakoulov Emerging technologies design by Adam Paikowsky American Sign Language direction by Seth Gore Translations by Carol Rocamora Full creative crew credits are HERE Featuring Jessica Hecht, Juliet Brett, Darya Denisova, Elise Kibler, John McGinty, Nael Nacer, Mark Nelson & Ilia Volok Mikhail Baryshnikov as Anton Chekhov and Firs
June 16 – July 3, 2022 The Orchard is a hybrid piece of theater and can be seen in two formats: Live & In-Person Baryshnikov Arts Center, NYC & Virtual Experience, Online (zero-G) Lab
The show runs just under 2 hours, with no intermission.
Review by Kitty Drexel
This review is of the virtual performance of The Orchard on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.
New York & Online — The Arlekin Players are no strangers to the digital theatre. Their productions of chekhovOS / an experimental game/, Witness, and State vs. Natasha Banina were wildly successful. chekhovOS / an experimental game/ and Witness were both live and audience-interactive in ways that the theatre community hadn’t seen before. These shows navigated the new frontier of digital theatre by showing artists and audiences what is possible.
Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company Co-produced with The Nora at Central Square Theater and The Front Porch Arts Collective
Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. & Murray Horwitz
Musical Adaptions, Orchestrations, and Arrangements by Luther Henderson
Directed and Choreographed by Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Co-Choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
Co-Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez and David Freeman Coleman
STONEHAM, Mass. — Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a show that builds and builds until the energy and the intensity seem unsustainable. Then it builds some more. The musical opens with the titular song and spans the great career of Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller. There is little dialogue but a lot of impressive dancing.
The red Art Deco set by Jon Savage, Aria Pegg, and Tori Oakes transports the audience to a speakeasy deep in the bowels of New York. The audience is flanked by large-scale landscape murals depicting Black jazz musicians and dancers a la Josephine Baker. The stage extends close to the first row to give the cast plenty of room to stomp, prowl, and wiggle. Café tables are placed on the edges of stage left and right. Continue reading →
Photo by Mark S Howard; Dominic Carter and Yewande Odetoyinbo.
Presented by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston By Loy A. Webb Directed by Jacqui Parker Intimacy direction by Ted Hewlett COVID safety officer: Emily Collins Music credit: “Natural High” from the EP “After Hours,” Allyssa Jones feat. Apollo Payton Featuring: Dominic Carter and Yewande Odetoyinbo
BOSTON — The Light at Lyric State of Boston demands its audience believe victims, to listen to them. Trust their stories; lead with compassion.
In a 2020 article by the American Psychological Association, “Black Women Often Ignored by Social Justice Movements,” lead researcher Stewart Coles said “Black women are often overlooked in people’s conversations about racism and sexism even though they face a unique combination of both of these forms of discrimination simultaneously.”Continue reading →
Presented by American Repertory Theater
Produced in association with Roundabout Theatre Company
Book by Peter Stone
Music and Lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Based on a Concept by Sherman Edwards
Directed by Jeffrey L. Page and Diane Paulus
Music Direction by Ryan Cantwell
Choreography by Jeffrey L. Page
Music Supervision by David Chase
Orchestrations by John Clancy
Vocal Design by AnnMarie Milazzo
Dialect Coaching (NYC) by Dawn-Elin Fraser
Dialect Coaching (Cambridge) by Erika Bailey
Fight Direction by Thomas Schall
May 17 – July 24, 2022 Loeb Drama Center
Run Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes, including one 15-minute intermission
The mask goes over your nose.
Critique by Kitty Drexel
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Contemporary performances of Stone & Edwards’ 1776 are a response to Hamilton. The 1997 Broadway revival production at the Roundabout Theatre had an all white, all cis male cast (with Star Trek TNG’s Brent Spiner in the role of John Adams). American Repertory Theater tries something different with its 2022 production. It is largely successful thanks to the brave, button-pushing performances of its actors.
1776 is the reproduction of the infamous congressional meetings that lead to the United States’ declaration of independence on July 4, 1776. John Adams (Crystal Lucas-Perry), Benjamin Franklin (Patrena Murray), and Thomas Jefferson (Elizabeth A. Davis) cajole the members of the Continental Congress into voting for American independence from British tyranny. Continue reading →
Stephanie Blythe as Blythely Oratonio. Photo by Dominic M. Mercier
Presented by Boston Lyric Opera Directed by John Jarboe Music direction & arrangements by Daniel Kazemi Cowritten by John Jarboe & Stephanie Blythe Blythely, flower, costumes and throne designed by Machine Dazzle with Rebecca Kanach Original sound design by Dan Perelstein Jaquette
May 6, 2022 at 7:30 PM Royal Boston 279 Tremont St Boston, MA 02116
Review by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON, Mass. — Opera is not dead. Opera has the potential to thrive in these interesting times. Stephanie Blythe ushers in its new dawn as Blythely Oratonio, a drag king with a most ostentatious countenance, in Blythely Ever After. Opera, the culture, need only evolve with its denizens to survive.
Drag queen Sapphira Cristál, she of the six-octave range, opened the concert in a stately purple taffeta robe with “Dich Teure Halle” from Wagner’s Tannhäuser.She sang live but she was so pitch-perfect that she sounded recorded. This aria sounds as good sung by a queen if not better than it does by a princess soprano.Continue reading →
Presented by Company One in collaboration with American Repertory Theater, Boston Public Library, and Boston Comics in Color Festival Written by Inda Craig-Galván Directed by Monica White Ndounou Dramaturgy by Ilana M Brownstein and Regine Vital Animation design & comics consultant: Cagen Luse Fight choreography by Margaret Clark
April 23 – May 21, 2022 Rabb Hall @ Boston Public Library’s Central Branch Copley Square Boston, MA All tickets are Pay-What-You-Want ($0 minimum)
Recommended for ages 14 and up. This production contains depictions of police brutality, violence, death, grief, depression, and strong language.
Review by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON, Mass. — The leads of Black Super Hero Magic Mama deserve a critic that looks like them. I look like the cops that are acquitted by juries that also look like me for killing unarmed Black men and women. There are more white critics than Black critics in New England. We need more Black critics in Boston. I strongly urge interested individuals to apply for The Porch’s Young Critics Program this winter and then to shoot me an email.
Company One and American Repertory Theatre’s Black Super Hero Magic Mama shows us an unsettled Chicago. Sabrina Jackson (Ramona Lisa Alexander, who ran that stage like Pam Grier on a mission) is raising a bright young quiz show star Tramarion Jackson (Joshua Robinson). When Tramarion isn’t trouncing the competition on “Know Your Heritage” with Coach Corey Brackett (Ricardo Engermann), he’s writing comic books with his friend Joseph A Hughes aka Flat Joe (Anderson Stinson III). These two smart but mouthy kids have bright futures. That is until the worst happens. Continue reading →
Presented by ArtsEmerson Created by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Co-Directed by Eric Ting & Signe V. Harriday Music and Lyrics by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon Music Direction by Toshi Reagon Choreography by Millicent Johnnie Movement Director: Yasmine Lee Performed by Marie Tatti Aqeel, Alina Carson, Helga Davis, Kyle Garvin, Jared Wayne Gladly, Toussaint Jeanlouis, Karma Mayet Johnson, Morley Kamen, Alexandra Koi, Josette Newsam, Shelley Nicole, Toshi Reagon, Noah Virgile, Evie Schuckman Orchestra Monique Brooks Roberts, Zach Brown, Bobby Burke, Fred Cash, Jr., Chogyi, Matt Graff Orchestra: Monique Brooks Roberts, Zach Brown, Bobby Burke, Fred Cash, Jr., Chogyi, Matt Graff
April 21 – 24, 2022 Open Captioning: Fri, April 22 @ 8:00 PM American Sign Language: Sun April, 24 @ 2:00 PM Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre 219 Tremont Street Boston, MA 02116
Recommended for Ages 13+
Running Time: 120 minutes, no intermission
Please Note: Proof of vaccination or a negative test is required for entry
Critique by Kitty Drexel
“All that you touch
All that you Change
The only lasting truth
Is Change.” Earthseed, Lauren Olamina in The Parable of the Sower
BOSTON, Mass. — The audience was small on Thursday night but grateful. We’d waited over two years to see Toshi Reagon’s Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower. The air was palpable with anticipation. We had each other to talk to and other excited conversations to easedrop on. When the theatre held the house lights for an extra 20 minutes to allow late audience members to straggle in, we were okay with it.
When the lights finally dimmed to signal the start of the show, a hush fell over us. Finally, after all this waiting, it was time for church.
Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower is an opera adapted by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon from the Afro-futurist science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler’s novel The Parable of the Sower. The ArtsEmerson website says it is “a genre-defying, modern congregational opera that celebrates two centuries of Black music.” Continue reading →
Presented by Umbrella Stage Adapted by James Magruder Concept and Original Book by James Whitty Music by The Go-Go’s Directed by Brian Boruta Music direction by David Wright Choreography by Lara Finn
April 15 – May 8, 2022 (no performance 4/17) Presented on the Main Stage The Umbrella Arts Center 40 Stow Street Concord, MA 01742
Interview by Kitty Drexel
CONCORD, Mass. — The Umbrella Stage returns to performances this April with Head Over Heels. Brian Boruta generously chatted with me on Friday, March 18 about the musical, gender politics, and The Go Go’s.
This interview is condensed. It has been edited for grammar, congruity, and clarity.
Queen Kitty: It’s awesome that you’re starting with Head Over Heels. Why this show now?
Brian Boruta: It’s funny; I think about this show now, because we had chosen this show earlier than now. Then things all got moved around.
We moved, a couple of years ago, to a committee-based approach to season planning. As we were coming out of the pandemic, it was really important that as many voices and perspectives as possible be included in program planning.
One thing that came to the fore in that conversation was finding ways throughout the season coming out of the pandemic to just celebrate joy in many forms, to celebrate love, to amplify different marginalized voices throughout the season. Head Over Heels really popped out as that title that we could put towards the end of the season that celebrates joy, celebrates love, and celebrates community. Continue reading →
Presented by ArtsEmerson and Sleeping Weasel Written by Charlotte Meehan Directed by Tara Brooke Watkins Choreographed by Peter DiMuro Videography by Lee Francois Original composition “Alone Together” by Kirsten Volness
Live: March 12 – March 27, 2022 Streamed: April 1 – 10, 2022 Emerson Paramount Center Jackie Liebergott Black Box 559 Washington Street Boston, MA 02111
Review by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON, Mass. — Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends by Charlotte Meehan is about people. People are confusing, leaky, wonderful, breakable creatures capable of great love and harrowing despair.
This play is also about disability. We are introduced to Meehan’s characters and their relationships, and then we learn about their relationships to Parkinson’s Disease. People with disabilities are human first so it is right that we learn the world of the play in this order.
In Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends, three imperfect couples navigate their relationships. We watch them live with Parkinson’s Disease. The persons with PD are surviving. The caretakers are too. Survival means something different to each couple. We learn what survival means at the same time they do. Continue reading →