May 25

The Art of Making a Practical Thing Pretty: “Toni Stone”

Jennifer Mogbock as Toni Stone; Photograph © T Charles Erickson

Presented by The Huntington
Written and Directed by Lydia R. Diamond
Inspired by Curveball: The Remarkable True Story of Toni Stone by Martha Ackmann
Choreography by Ebony Williams
Dramaturgy by Charles Haugland
Fight direction and intimacy choreography by Ted Hewlett
Vocal coaching by Kim James Bey

May 17 – June 16, 2024
Blackout Performance: June 11, 7 pm
Open Caption Performance: 6/4 at 7:30 pm
ASL Performance: 6/7 at 8 pm
Audio Described Performance: 6/15 at 2:30 pm
Huntington Theatre 
264 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA 02115

2 hours and 20 minutes including intermission

Content Advisories: Toni Stone contains flashing lights, the use of herbal cigarettes, strong themes of racism and misogyny, and discussions of sexual violence. 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Lydia R Diamond’s Toni Stone had a triumphant opening on Wednesday, May 22. The Huntington took America’s pastime, the culture of and for the masses, into art for those who can afford a ticket. Toni Stone plays at The Huntington through June 16. It is available for pay-what-you-wish digital streaming HERE.

I’m a bespectacled geek made for comfort, not speed with an avid distaste for projectiles in all forms. I loathed gym class in school. Every New England summer, it felt like the world opened its heart and screen doors for Spring Training. I couldn’t wait for it to be over.  Continue reading

May 19

Her Smile Contains A Primal Scream: “Morning, Noon, and Night”

Sydney Jackson, Kaili Y. Turner (Photography by Ken Yotsukura)

Presented by Company One Theatre with Boston University’s College of Fine Arts
A new play by Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Dramaturgy by Ilana M. Brownstein
Featuring: Kaili Y. Turner, Sydney Jackson, Eliza Fichter, Schanaya Barrows, Aislinn Brophy, Alexandria King

Apr 26 – May 25, 2024
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Company One presents Kirsten Greenidge’s Morning, Noon, and Night at the BCA through May 25. Greenidge’s play examines society’s crushing demand for motherly perfection with brilliant comedy and heartrending honesty. She is joined by director Summer L Williams, and dramaturg Ilana M Brownstein to complete Company One’s trifecta of power.  Continue reading

May 15

Battle Uphill, Downhill, and Hopping Across: “Touching the Void”

The cast of “Touching the Void.” Photo by Danielle Fauteux Jacques.

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Based on Joe Simpson’s bestselling memoir Touching the Void
Written by David Greig
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Scenic & Sound Design: Joseph Lark-Riley
Costume Design: Elizabeth Rocha 
Lighting Design: Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Featuring: Patrick O’Konis, Kody Grassett, Parker Jennings, Zach Fuller

April 19- May 26, 2024 (Extended!)
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St.
Chelsea, MA

Running Time: estimated 2 hours with one intermission

Performances followed by a Reception with the actors

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Apollinaire Theatre Company’s Touching the Void is about two men chasing death up a mountain. Death chases them back down.  It runs through May 26 at Chelsea Theatre Works.

It is 1985. Two Brits, Joe Simpson (Patrick O’Konis) and Simon Yates (Kody Grassett) are mountaineers who decide to climb a dangerous mountain together: the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. These dumbass himbos don’t have a backup plan, just a hippy acquaintance with no useful skills, Richard (Zach Fuller), watching their gear at base camp. Touching the Void is told in imaginary flashforwards and backs that feature Joe’s sister Sarah (Parker Jennings). Sarah wants to understand why Joe, Simon, and even Richard would do such a foolhardy thing as climbing a treacherous peak. Me too, Sarah.  Continue reading

May 08

Beating the Villain is Half the Fun in “Domme and Giovanni”

Stefanos Koroneos, Stage Director & Projections Designer.

Presented by White Snake Projects
Composed by Ryan Oldham
Libretto by Liz Abram-Oldham and Cerise Lim Jacobs
Stage Directed by Stefanos Koroneos
Music Directed by Tianhui Ng
Donna Anna: Carami Hilaire (soprano)
Don Giovanni: Andrew Simpson (bass-baritone)
Donna Elivira: Pascale Spinney (mezzo-soprano)
Leporello: Kyle Oliver (baritone)
Jazz/Rock Band: David McGrory (keyboard/accordion), Dan J. Pelletier (percussion), 
Gillian Dana (bass), and John Tyler Ken (guitar)

May 5 -6, 2024
La Voile
1627 Beacon Street
Brookline, MA, 02445

Review by Gillian Daniels

BROOKLINE, Mass. – White Snake Projects, as part of their Opera Through the Looking Glass series, reframes Mozart’s Don Giovanni as an opera of cathartic, female-driven revenge. Donna Anna (Carami Hilaire, soprano), a professional dominatrix with a vendetta, and Donna Elvira (Pascale Spinney, mezzo-soprano), a self-serious FBI agent convinced she’s starring in an ‘80’s cop show, are working to bring down the titular Don Giovanni (Andrew Simpson, bass-baritone) from the beginning. 

There is no suggestion that Giovanni is supernaturally charming, just manipulative and cruel. He’s a mafia don, a crime boss who spills blood as gleefully as he demands a whipping from a hired sex worker. Not so much titillating as a campy, though there is indeed a striptease courtesy of Simpson, his relationship with Donna Anna is enthusiastic and more complex than even he realizes. Continue reading

May 07

Glimpses of Brilliance: “Ailey Classics”

Photo: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Alvin Ailey’s “For Bird – With Love.” Photo by Paul Kolnik

Presented by the Celebrity Series of Boston
Performed by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey, founder
Judith Jamison, artistic director emerita
Matthew Rushing, interim artistic director

May 2 – 5, 2024
Boch Center, Wang Theatre
270 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116

Review by Craig Idlebrook

BOSTON, Mass. — Choreographer Alvin Ailey often felt the need to mask much of his private life to the public, but he unabashedly shared the emotion of his art with audiences. A publicly closeted gay Black man with bipolar disorder who grew up in the southern United States during the height of the brutality of the Jim Crow era, he staged heartfelt shows reflecting the highs and lows of Black life through dance.

In a 1973 New York Times Magazine interview, he said of his shows, “They are as honest and truthful as we can make them. I’m interested in putting something on stage that will have a very wide appeal without being condescending; that will reach an audience and make it part of the dance.”

That emotional integrity of Ailey’s work was evident in the recent staging of Ailey Classics, featuring excerpts of his most well-known works by the dance troupe he founded. More than 30 years after Ailey’s death, there were moments on stage when it felt as if he were personally greeting each member of the audience through his art. Continue reading

Apr 30

Nothing Feeds A Hunger Like A Thirst: “A Strange Loop”

Kai Clifton (center) and the company. Maggie Hall Photography.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co and The Front Porch Arts Collective
Book, Music and Lyrics by Michael R. Jackson
Directed by Maurice Emmanuel Parent 
Music direction by David Freeman Coleman
Choreography by Taavon Gamble
Intimacy Direction by Greg Geffard
Dramaturgy by Elijah Albert-Stein

April 26, 2024 – May 25, 2024
The Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — SpeakEasy Stage Company and The Front Porch Arts Collective’s A Strange Loop at the BCA is fucking amazing and you should see it now. It is a voluptuous Möbius strip tease perpetually feeding excellence into itself from the smallest prop by Emme Shaw to the Lil Nas X’s Montero-like intimacy direction by Greg Geffard up to the highest heights of Kai Clifton’s fluid vocal ornamentation. Get your tickets.  Continue reading

Apr 30

“Mermaid Hour”: A Tender Tale, Not Quite for Our Times

Photo by Molly Shoemaker.

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Play by David Valdes
Direction by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary
Scenic Design by Janie E. Howland
Lighting Design by Deb Sullivan
Costume Design by E Rosser
Composition by Kai Bohlman
Sound Design by Kai Bohlman and Anna Drummond
Dramaturgy by Wenxuan Xue
Featuring: Brenny O’Brien, Phil Tayler, Monica Risi, Alex Goldman, Clara Tan

April 26 – May 19
Arrow Street Arts
2 Arrow St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Tickets here

Article by Maegan Bergeron-Clearwood

Content advisory for transphobic language such as misgendering, as well as mature content such as swearing, references to anatomy, and sexual activity. Recommended for ages 12 and up.

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — In the early 2010s, when Mermaid Hour was written, trans visibility was on the rise and Internet discourse was largely concerned with pronouns and representation. In David Valdes’ play, Pilar and David are searching for information about terminology and puberty blockers to support their trans daughter, Vi. Their efforts are earnest; they make mistakes; then they learn and adjust and move on. They love their kid, and that’s enough. Continue reading

Apr 15

Uncle Barney Wasn’t Particular: “The Birthday Party”

The cast. Photo credit: Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by Praxis Stage
By Harold Pinter
Directed by James Wilkinson

April 11- 28, 2024
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Article by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Praxis Stage did everything right. It collected a great cast; it hired James Wilkinson to direct. Pinter’s The Birthday Party is an absurd play, but it’s tight. Sometimes, even when all the elements of success are there, you still fall short. 

Meg (Sharon Mason) and Petey (Paul Valley) run a boarding house in a sleepy seaside town. Despite being on a prestigious list of boarding houses, they have only one tenant, Stanley (Zair Silva). Lulu (Darya Denisova) arrives to taunt Stanley and deliver a package for Meg. All is well until Meg & Petey receive two new guests, Goldberg (Daniel Boudreau) and McCann (Kevin Paquette).  Continue reading

Apr 13

Take A Friendly Plunge: “The Drowsy Chaperone”

Production photo. Photo by Mark. S. Howard.

Presented by The Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Music & Lyrics by Lisa Lambert & Greg Morrison
Book by Bob Martin & Don McKellar
Directed and choreographed by Larry Sousa
Music direction by Matthew Stern

April 5 – May 12, 2024
Lyric Stage Boston
140 Clarendon St, Boston, MA 02116

One hour and forty-five minutes with no intermission

Content advisory: Comedic sexuality and alcohol use.

Review by Sean French-Byrne

BOSTON, Mass. – Metanarrative is the word of the day in The Lyric Stage Company of Boston’s The Drowsy Chaperone. Opening in darkness and lingering in that moment of tension, as the voice of the Man in the Chair rises out of the darkness and muses about theater, from beginning to end The Drowsy Chaperone presents a sardonic yet compassionate love letter to the way that theater touches our lives. 

Buoyed from beginning to end by the charismatic performance of Paul Melendy as the Man in the Chair, this production evokes the experience of being taken by the hand and shown the pieces of a play that shine. It is imbued by that friend’s (occasionally morbid) fascination. Continue reading

Apr 10

Make It Personal, Tell the Truth: “Burn This”

Photo by Tim Gurczak.

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston 
By Lanford Wilson
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Intimacy direction by Lauren Cook
Fight choreography by Matt Dray

Saturday, April 6 -Sunday, April 21, 2024
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 

All performances are Pay-What-You-Can

Two hours with one intermission

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Hub Theatre Company of Boston’s production of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This runs at the BCA through April 21. Get your tickets to support local fringe theatre HERE

Anna (Kiki Samko), an impotent choreographer and retired dancer, is grappling with the artistic and personal void left by the untimely death of her roommate and creative partner Robbie. Her best friend and housemate Larry (Steve Auger) acts as nurse, bodyguard, and gatekeeper. Anna’s on-again, off-again boyfriend Burton (Tim Hoover) wants to be her everything. Anna won’t decide what she wants to be or who she wants to do. 

Enter Pale (Victor L Shopov), Robbie’s incendiary older brother. She lights a flame in her heart, under her feet, and in her pants. With Robbie gone, Anna will either discover a new muse or burn the apartment down trying.  Continue reading