Sep 21

A Study in Contrasts: “Tiny Beautiful Things”

Shravan Amin, Nael Nacer, Lori Prince and Caroline Strang. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Based on the book by Cheryl Strayed
Adapted for stage by Nia Vardalos
Co-Conceived by Marshall Heyman, Thomas Kail and Nia Vardalos
Directed by Jen Wineman

September 11 – October 6, 2019
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

(Lowell, MA) Tiny Beautiful Things delivers a personal memoir through the vehicle of questions answered by ‘Sugar’, who does so in each case with an insight drawn from a personal story.

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Sep 16

Completely Natural, Incredibly Beautiful: “The America Plays”

Amanda J Collins and Robert Najarian; photo by Corinne Elicone.

Presented by Mount Auburn Cemetery
By Patrick Gabridge, Mount Auburn Cemetary Artist-in-Residence 
Directed by Courtney O’Connor
Music in All the Broken Pieces written, performed and recorded by Arshan Gailus

September 12, 2019 – September 22, 2019
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Cambridge, MA
MAC on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The America Plays is a pleasant introduction to a select few of the curious residents interred at Mount Auburn Cemetery through theatre. These short plays in place preserve the lives of eight artists, politicians, and scientists while asking their audience to hike the cemetery grounds. It’s a charming way to meet some New England spirits and watch the grounds transition to their fall colors.  Continue reading

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Sep 13

We’re on the Same Side: “The Purists”

J Bernard Calloway and John Scurti; Photo Credit: T Charles Ericksonn© T Charles Erickson.

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
By Dan McCabe
Directed by Billy Porter
Original music by Michael Sandlofer

Aug. 30 – Oct. 6, 2019
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Editor’s Note: This article now includes an addendum by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) These are some terms and figures within hip hop culture that viewers should understand to better appreciate The Purists.

These are some terms and figures from musical theatre culture that viewers should understand.

  • Jerome Kern
  • George & Ira Gershwin
  • Bob Fosse 
  • Andrew Lloyd Weber 
  • National treasure, Bob Ross
  • Rapping in musicals
  • Annie + video 
  • Stephen Sondheim
  • Call center/Box office
  • The Golden Age of musical theatre

Oppression isn’t a contest. Virginia is mourning the 400th anniversary of slavery in the US. June 28 marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. The ADA wasn’t made law until 1990. The only people who win when marginalized communities fight are the rich, white people who make money from our oppression. No one is free until we are all free. Freedom must be intersectional.   Continue reading

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Aug 27

Riffs, Shimmies, Herstory: “Six”

Anna of Cleves (Brittney Mack, at center) performs “Get Down” in SIX, written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss and directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage.
Photo: Liz Lauren

Presented by the American Repertory Theatre
By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss
Direction by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage
Music direction by Roberta Duchak
Choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille 

Aug. 21 – Sept. 29, 2019
The Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge MA 02138
A.R.T. on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: sexual abuse of a minor, gas lighting, female objectification

(Cambridge, MA) Six is catchy like Hamilton. They have similar harmonic elements; both borrow heavily from popular music formats. Unlike Hamilton, Six lends its female characters depth beyond the deeds of a man. The women of six will be remembered for more than a shared husband. They’ll be remembered for living and their shared husband.  Continue reading

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Aug 26

Prison is a Place: “Cherry Docs”

The cast; Photo by Tenneh Sillah.

Presented by Acropolis Stage Company
By David Gow
Directed by Evan Turissini
Law practice consultation by Will Korman
Judaism & culture consultation by Becky Price

August 23 – September 1, 2019
The Rockwell
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA 02144
Acropolis Stage on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

This critique contains minor spoilers. 

Trigger warning: depictions of violence, domestic terrorism, racism, hate speech, panic attacks, white fragility

(Somerville, MA) Cherry Docs may be the most relevant-to-our-times production this theatre season. Other area-productions will claim to be relevant (storytelling often is) but they won’t attack the western world’s ongoing white, male, hetero, cis problem like David Gow’s play. Gow even offers solutions to the problems that our white men create for us. The script isn’t perfect, but it does offer the victims of predatory, toxic male behavior a way out. Cherry Docs a more compassionate play than is credited.  Continue reading

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Aug 20

Who will believe you?: “Measure for Measure”

Photo via the BBT Facebook page.

Presented by Brown Box Theatre 
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kyler Taustin
Intimacy & Fight Choreography by Margaret Clark

Performances dates 8/21 – 8/25, 2019
Performance location (s): Various outdoor locations:
8/21: Sampus Pavilion, 160 Pawtucket Blvd, Lowell, MA
8/22: Borderland State Park, 250 Massapoaq Ave., Easton, MA
8/23: – Herter Park Ampitheater, 1175 Soldiers Field Road, Allston, MA
8/24: Hopkinton Ctr for the Arts, 98 Hayde Rowe Street, Hopkinton, MA
8/25: Atlantic Wharf/Waterfront Plaza, 290 Congress Street, Boston, MA
Brown Box on Facebook 

Review by Chloé Cunha

(Boston, Mass.) Without even mentioning context, the above refrain strikes a familiar chord, the scene paints itself: a woman abused, her abuser, threatening the full extent of his power against her. Who will believe you?  Chilling and pressing, Brown Box Theatre’s production reminds us why Shakespeare remains relevant today. Continue reading

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Aug 13

“The Intersection” presented by Bodega

The Intersection presented by Bodega Commedy

Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019
Doors at 7:30 p.m., Show at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $22
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont Street
South End
Boston, MA 02116

Featuring the talents of Geeks Diana Lu and Shiyanbade Animashaun!

They’re back again! Mark your calendars for the return of The Intersection. Come to the South End on Saturday, September 7 for a night of comedy!

Come witness the baddest comedians, poets, sketch artists, and improvisers create community on stage while making you laugh! The Intersection is produced by creatives of color from across the Boston area.

Doors open at 7:30 pm. Show at 8:00 pm.

#FUNinBOS

F.U.N. – Fierce Urgency of Now: Energizing Young Professionals of Color to Unlock Boston’s Promise

What is the Fierce Urgency of Now Festival?

A five-day series of events hosted by local businesses and organizations geared at highlighting the experiences, challenges, and opportunities for young professionals of color in our city with the ultimate goal of creating community. With more than 30 events scheduled, you can plan to learn, connect, and have fun all week long, while also lending your voice to change. Join us September 4-8 to help make Boston more inclusive for all.Why are we involved in F.U.N.?
With half of the workforce in Boston being classified as millennials, and nearly half of millennials in Greater Boston being people of color, we know that the business community must play a key role in improving the city’s image and increasing access and opportunities to attract and retain talent. Retention of young people of color is of critical importance to our future as a region.

F.U.N. is for you: young professionals and young professional of color looking to build community and gain allies.

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Jul 21

Superfans in Cosplay Having the Best Time: “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Adapted from the book, The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan 
Book by Joe Tracz
Music and lyrics by Rob Rokicki
Directed by Stephen Brackett
Music direction by Wiley DeWeese
Choreography by Patrick McCollum
Fight direction by Rod Kinter
New puppetry design by AchesonWalsh Design Studios

July 17 – 28, 2019
Huntington Avenue Theatre
264 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA
The Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Saturday afternoon’s performance of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical was an event for superfans and their friends. Children in Camp Half-Blood t-shirts and their adults congregated to the Huntington Theatre to watch this musical about modern day children of Greek gods. It’s not a production for everyone; it’s specifically written for devotees to the Rick Riordan book. Theatre-lovers will appreciate the ingenuity of the design team but they should attend knowing that this musical isn’t for them; It’s for fans in their childhood years. Continue reading

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Jul 17

Universal Appeal Through Puppetry: “A Chance Encounter”

Image via https://english.moc.gov.tw

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater
Written and performed by I Wan Jan Puppet Troupe

Saturday July 13, 2019
Puppet Showplace Theater
32 Station Street
Brookline, MA 02445
Puppet Showplace on Facebook 

Critique by Piyali Mukherjee

(Brookline, Mass.) I Wan Jan  is a puppet troupe from Taiwan who presented their debut and only performing show in Boston on July 14th. The troupe was founded by Li Tien-Lu, who named the group “I Wan Jan” (translation: “like natural”) because he believed that a puppet show could be as convincing as any performance by a live actor. The members of the troupe are fourth and third generation descendants of Li Tien-Lu. Continue reading

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Jul 15

Blame it on the Unquiet Ducks: “Hamlet”

Photo via Praxis Stage on Facebook: Elena Toppo, Eric McGowan, Joan Raube-Wilson; not dead yet.

Presented by Praxis Stage 
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kim Carrel
Dramaturgy by Michael Anderson
Fight choreography by Kim Carrell

Jul 6 – Jul 14, 2019
Danehy Park
99 Sherman St.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Jul 18 – Jul 28, 2019
Longfellow Park 
Cambridge, MA 02138
Praxis Stage on Facebook
Critique by Kitty Drexel

Murther [ mur-th er ] – noun, verb (used with or without object) Obsolete:

  1. Murder. 

 – From Dictionary.com

(Cambridge, MA) I don’t prefer productions performed out of doors. The novelty has never appealed to me. I’ve only acted in one Shakespeare in the Park production and, while grateful for the experience, I wouldn’t do it agin. Actors must complete with offstage noise, there’s the weather, and, at dusk, there are the MOSQUITOS. Nature in all its splendor cannot compare to the creature comforts offered by the great indoors. That being said, Praxis Stage’s Hamlet is fun.

A summary of Hamlet is provided by Encyclopedia Britanica (contains spoilers). Unlike many, many Hamlets before, Praxis’ interpretation doesn’t paint Hamlet (Eric McGowan) the man as a wounded emo-hero torn apart by his circumstances. Praxis takes a more feminist approach by establishing Hamlet as a man-child culpable for his abusive actions: he’s rash and impulsive; a murderer and a misogynist.  Continue reading

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