Jun 15

Geek Book Review: “Madeline Kahn: Being The Music, A Life”

Madeline Kahn book cover

Designed by Peter D. Halverson

Madeline Kahn: Being The Music, A Life

By William V. Madison
University Press of Mississippi
Jackson, 2015
www.upress.state.ms.us
(336 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 48 b&w photographs, filmography, index
9781617037610 Cloth $35.00)
Found wherever fine books are sold

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life is distinct for being one of the only in print books devoted to Kahn’s life. A notoriously private woman, she kept her personal secrets close. Rather, she was known for her stage and screen capacity for uproarious humor, and striking beauty. She was less known for her demons and deep insecurities.

This biography by William V. Madison catalogs her ascent to stardom from her birth in Boston, her childhood in New York City, and her adult life everywhere else. It details her work in Mel Brook’s movies, and her ongoing partnership with director Peter Bogdanovich. She was nominated for Academy Award for Blazing Saddles, and also for her vulnerable performance as Trixie Delight in Paper Moon. She was a Broadway darling of the second degree. Her stage career never reached the heights she had hoped it would. Her life was cut mercilessly short by ovarian cancer in 1999 but this biography lives on to tell her story. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Jun 09

Who Doesn’t Like Penis Stuff? : THREE

Adulthood blows. Enjoy your youth now. Photo Credit: Ron Spalletta

Adulthood blows. Enjoy your youth now. Photo Credit: Ron Spalletta

Presented by Boston Public Works Theatre Company
By Emily Kaye Lazzaro
Directed by A. Nora Long

June 5 – 20, 2015
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Hollywood characterizes women like they’re mysterious flowers incapable of raunch or, conversely, like unsexy raunch-machines that repel penises. Theatre is kinder to us by generally allowing us our humanity, albeit a fragile one that must be guarded… unless characterizing us as a Strong Female Character who is impervious to nurturing. The unjust stereotypes abound. Why can’t we be complicated people who attempted to appropriately abide the status quo while farting into a void? This is who we are. You know, just like dudes.    Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Jun 01

No Parrots Were Harmed in the Making of This Production: LIGHT UP THE SKY

The cast of Light Up the Sky. Photo: Mark S. Howard.

The cast (in their finery) of Light Up the Sky. Photo: Mark S. Howard.

Presented by Lyric Stage Co. of Boston
By Moss Hart
Directed by Scott Edmiston
Music direction by Will McGarrahan

May 15 – June 13, 2015
Boston, MA
Lyric on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) If one scratches the surface of theatre history, information on Moss Hart and his great effect comes spilling forth like a Texan hitting oil in his backyard. He was beloved by most, if not all, for his contributions. He worked with greats such as George S. Kaufman, Kurt Weill, and Ira Gershwin. He co-wrote countless musical reviews (I’d Rather Be Right), directed some hits (Camelot), and wrote several award winning screenplays (A Star Is Born). He was a gentleman, a scholar and pretty great guy. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
May 30

Don’t Trust the Process: THE SUBMISSION

Photo via Zeitgeist Facebook page

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Co.
by Jeff Talbott
Directed by David J. Miller

May 5 – 30, 2015
Plaza Black Box
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Let me preface this review with the following: It is near impossible to have a frank discussion about institutional oppression and personal culpability/responsibility without becoming defensive or offended. If you are a white person who hasn’t closely examined your personal involvement as either an actual or potential racist, it is highly likely that you engage in racist behavior and don’t even know it. If you think it’s OK to affect a lisp and ridicule gay people because you “have gay friends,” you’re likely a homophobe. If you treat either gay people and/or people of color as not “normal,” you’re probably one, the other, or both. Casual racism/homophobia isn’t a POC/LGBTQ+ issue. It’s a failing of the white/hetero, cis members of society convinced that the fight against oppression ends when it becomes inconvenient to fight. It is possible to consider yourself a good person and still be rotten with racism or homophobia. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
May 27

From You, OK. I Learned It From Watching You: PEDR SOLIS

Brian Church, Baritone in the title role of Pedr Solis. Photo by Liz Linder Photography.

Brian Church, Baritone in the title role of Pedr Solis. Photo by Liz Linder Photography.

Presented by Guerilla Opera and The Boston Conservatory
Music by Per Bloland
Libretto by Paul Schick
Directed by Laine Rettmer

May 15 – 23, 2015
The Zack Box
8 The Fenway
Boston, MA
Guerilla Opera on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Pedr Solis is an avant garde (i.e. strange), dark, messy beast of a prog rock opera. It’s set, props, and libretto are highly conceptualized and feature the most abstract of metaphors. The staging is full-contact. It should be a complete mess but it isn’t. Rather, as a logical, relatively objective reviewer I found it quite entertaining. As an over-educated audience member relying on her emotions to determine if she had a good time, I found my experience less than satisfying.   Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
May 25

ADDENDUM! – The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville

Dearest Readers,

Should you need a better explanation of The Last Two People on Earth: An Apocalyptic Vaudeville that Danielle Rosvally’s review provides, the good people at the A.R.T. sent us this slightly insightful, mostly cryptic email with a link from The New York Times. Their helpful email and link are included (word for word) below for posterity. Non-Geek names have been removed to protect the “innocent.”

With love,
The Queen Geek

“From: “********, *******” <****_*******@harvard.edu>
Date: May 25, 2015 at 10:05:40 AM EDT
To: Danielle Rosvally
Subject: “Last two people” explained to you….

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/25/theater/review-the-last-two-people-on-earth-offers-soft-shoe-apres-deluge.html?_r=0

****** *******
******* Press and Public Relations
American Repertory Theater
64 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
****_********@harvard.edu
617-496-****”

Share with Your Audience
May 12

The Power of Shame: THE VOICES OF WE


Presented by 333 Productions and the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written by Robbi D’Allessandro
Directed by Shana Gogansky

April 25 – May 9, 2015
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Voices of We on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: domestic abuse, gun shots, political satire, kickass feminism

(Boston, MA) Trigger warnings abounded for The Voices of We. They were plentiful because the writing was effective and the acting was very good. The stories in Voices aren’t necessarily true to life but they could be true for someone. The point is that these stories are true enough to appear realistic in performance. In the case of the scenes with the most abundant triggers, the inherent realism should serve as a warning to audience members that we, as a society living these stories, have a long way to go.   Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
May 07

Hate the Player, Not the Game: DON GIOVANNI

Costume Designer Tilly Grimes, © T Charles Erickson Photography, Set Designer Laura Jellinek, Each ticket holder receives free admission to Rock’s Gun Show.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte
Sung in Italian with English supertitles
Conducted by David Angus
Stage Directed by Emma Griffin
Fight direction by Andrew Kenneth Moss
BLO Concertmaster: Sandra Kott
BLO Chorusmaster: Michelle Alexander

May 1 – 10, 2015
Boston Lyric Opera
The Shubert Theater
Boston, MA
BLO on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Opera singers are gifts that keep on giving. Along with my usual attendance of BLO’s Don Giovanni, I had the pleasure of experiencing a bonus adventure the Friday evening before while out with my wife. She and I were supposed to be on a romantic date. We did not count on a cameo by a premier performer. I was to be well-compensated for my diverted attention. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
May 04

High Velocity Surrealism or, Buckle Up, It’s Going To Be A Bumpy Night: “The Grand Parade (of the 20th Century)”

This video has been slowed down considerably to protect the innocent.

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Produced by Double Edge Theatre
Conceived, designed, and directed by Stacy Klein
Composed by Alexander Bakshi
Music and vocal direction by Lyudmila Bakshi

April 30 – May 3, 2015
Emerson/Paramount Center Mainstage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Strobe effect, Gunshots

One hour with no intermission.

(Boston, MAStacy Klein writes in her director’s note that Grand Parade (of the 20th Century) pairs the dream-like works of Marc Chagall with the “extreme conflicts” of the twentieth century. Images from his paintings are reflected in the troupes’ depiction of significant events in American history. Her intention as designer, director and co-creator was to “(reflect) history through (the creators’) own eyes” as “the only way to speak to (their) desires for the future.” If what Klein and Double Edge presented is their vision of the future, we are doomed; Grand Parade is a hot mess. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Apr 25

Integrity Sells for So Little: CITY OF ANGELS

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Presented by Lyric Stage Co. of Boston
Book by Larry Gelbart
Music by Cy Coleman
Lyrics by David Zippel
Vocal arrangements by Cy Coleman and Yaron Gershovsky
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music direction by Catherine Stornetta
Choreography & musical staging by Rachel Bertone

March 27 – May 2, 2015
Boston, MA
Lyric on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) City of Angels pays homage to film noir with tongue firmly in cheek sexual innuendo and integrated design film tropes. The Lyric Stage Co. of Boston brings life to this beloved musical with panache and two shakes of wit with inspired clever projection design by Jonathan Carr and zippy choreography by Rachel Bertone. This production is great fun. The book and lyrics are clever. The score, vocal and instrumental, is inherently singable. The artistic upsides far outweigh the downsides. An evening spent at COA is one well spent. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience