Jul 15

LEGALLY BLONDE

Legally Blonde, music & lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin, book by Heather Hach, Boston Children’s Theatre Studio 3The Governor’s Academy Performing Arts Centerhttp://bostonchildrenstheatre.org/.

retrospective by John Herring

If anyone ever doubts the origin of energy at a performance, just look to those younger attendees. You will find your lost inner child there, and maybe a little of your missing ingenuousness. At the Boston Children’s Theatre Studio 3 presentation of LEGALLY BLONDE, at the historical Governor’s Academy in Byfield on Thursday evening, the 12th of July, I was swept on a tide of kids’ insouciant ebullience, just getting to the doors. Continue reading

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Jul 02

“Polaroid Stories” Messily Blends Myth and Teen Anguish

Kiki Samko, Luke Murtha, Michael Underhill, Elizabeth Battey, and Michael Caminiti, photo credit: Heart & Dagger Productions

Polaroid Stories by Naomi Iizuka, Heart & Dagger Productions, Boston Actors’ Theatre, and Happy Medium Theatre**,  Black Box Theatre at Boston Center for the Arts, 6/29/12-7/14/12, http://www.heartanddagger.org/.

**THIS REVIEW WAS SCHEDULED PRIOR TO THE CHANGES IN OUR REVIEWING POLICY AND WITHOUT KNOWLEDGE THAT HAPPY MEDIUM THEATRE COMPANY WAS DIRECTLY INVOLVED

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) With mixed success, Polaroid Stories attempts an abstract production that marries mythology and youth drug culture.  It’s a uneasy union.  The actors, at least, mine the material to the best of their abilities. Continue reading

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Jun 29

Hovey Players Presents the Annual “Hovey Summer Shorts” Festival

Hovey Players of Waltham (http://hoveyplayers.com) is proud to bring back “Hovey Summer Shorts” opening Friday, July 13.  Hovey began this festival 16 years ago when it featured 10-minute “shorts”.  Through the years, the festival evolved, incorporating short musicals, musical acts, short films, full one-act plays, and displayed works by local artists.  This year’s festival features the “shorts” format featuring ten 10-minute plays by ten local playwrights.  The festival is produced by Michael Haddad, a Hovey Board Member and Trustee. Continue reading

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Jun 25

ADHD NPR – CAR TALK: THE MUSICAL

The cast in a scene from Underground Railway Theater’s and Suffolk University’s co-production of Car Talk: The Musical!!! running from June 14 – August 12 at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA. Tickets & Information: 866.811.4111 or CentralSquareTheater.org. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Car Talk: The Musical, book and lyrics Wesley Savick, original music by Michael Wartofsky, Underground Railway Theater & Suffolk University, Central Square Theater, 6/14/12-8/12/12, http://www.centralsquaretheater.org.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

Charisma can carry a show a long way. Just look at what it did for Tom and Ray Magliozzi, a pair of goofball (and genius) brother-mechanics who talked their way into a hit show on National Public Radio. For 35 years, the pair has giggled their way through thousands of calls from car owners with mystery questions, strewing terrible puns and corny humor on the road as they went.

And now, on the eve of the brothers’ retirement from “Car Talk”, they have gotten themselves involved in a musical, written by Wesley Savick, with music by Michael Wartofsky. Continue reading

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Jun 21

Cirque du Soleil: Serenity Under the Big Top

photo credit: Evan Witek

Totem, Cirque du Soleil, Marine Industrial Park, 6/10/12-7/15/12, http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/totem/default.aspx.

(Boston, MA) It’s not logical or, frankly, believable that a circus featuring so many acrobats in body stockings could be capable of such grace.  In performance, style, and message, though, Cirque du Soleil’s Totem is enthralling.  I found the show unique and lovely among Boston’s other attractions this month. Continue reading

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Jun 19

A Chorus Line: Meant for One, Singular Audience (That May Not Be You)

Allison Russell as Maggie, Aimee Doherty as Sheila and Hannah Shihdanian as Bebe in A CHORUS LINE at Reagle Music Theatre June 15-24, photo credit Herb Philpott.

A Chorus Line, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban, book by James Kirkwood and Nicholas Dante, Reagle Music Theatre, 6/15/12-6/24/12, http://www.reagleplayers.com/current.html.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Waltham, MA) The Reagle Music Theatre is a supportive, intimate venue I remember with pleasure from when I visited it to review Christmas Time.  Reagle puts on the same high quality production in A Chorus Line, too, despite some difficulty with the microphones halfway through the play I sat through.

A Chorus Line fits for the Reagle even if the original material hasn’t aged well. Continue reading

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Jun 16

Awesomeness on Wheels: ROLLER DISCO: THE MUSICAL

photo credit: Ministry of Theater

Roller Disco:  The Musical, book by Sam Forman and Jen Wineman, lyrics by Sam Forman, music by Eli Bolin, Ministry of Theater and Club Oberon, 5/30/12-8/30/12, http://www.rollerdiscothemusical.com/Home.html.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Cambridge, MA) Sometimes, you come across a play that works so effortlessly on so many levels that it skates circles around your standard theatrical fare.  Club Oberon’s Roller Disco, glittery, vacant, hyper and hysterical, draws the audience into a disco-soaked world from the theme song’s opening strands.  We have no choice but to harken back to striped tube socks, gritty skating rinks and cheesy eighties movies.  Heck, we never even put up a fight. Continue reading

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Jun 11

Happy Medium Theatre’s The American Plan

The American Plan by Richard Greenberg, Happy Medium Theatre Company, Factory Theatre, 6/8/12-6/16/12, http://www.happymediumtheatre.com/.

Feature by Gillian Daniels

Happy Medium Theatre’s The American Plan starts off light.

Set during an early-1960’s summer, a young couple meet cute and begin a hesitant courtship near a resort in the Catskill Mountains.  The first act sets up initially simple obstacles, mysterious pasts and disapproving parents.  By the second act, the play finally bears its teeth, revealing far more bile for the age than its nostalgic exterior would suggest. Continue reading

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May 27

Connecting with the Cheerfully Cheesy “Xanadu”

McCaela Donovan and Ryan Overberg, Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Xanadu, book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar, Speakeasy Stage Company, Roberts Studio Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 5/11/12-6/9/12, http://www.speakeasystage.com/doc.php?section=showpage&page=xanadu.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

Xanadu, the 1980 film featuring Olivia Newton John and music by the Electric Light Orchestra, is well known for being a critical flop.  The chief crime of this cinematic musical, however, is in creating entertainment that doesn’t connect with its audience.  After all, it’s a movie about disco released a year after the genre died a largely un-mourned death.  I’m hard pressed to find a better image of disconnection than that.

In being brought to the stage, Xanadu has finally found its correct medium.  The show not only finds its audience but winks at it furiously throughout the course of the story. Continue reading

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May 23

Trojan Women: An Atmospheric View of the Devastation of War

photo credit: Whistler in the Dark

Trojan Women by Euripides,
Whistler in the Dark,
The Factory Theatre,
5/18/12-6/2/12, http://www.whistlerinthedark.com/productions/trojanwomenprod.html.

Reviewed by Anthony Geehan

(Boston, MA) The end of war is something that is looked on as a celebratory event. Images of servicemen returning home, country’s flags being raised, and a collective sigh of relief from the population are the usual symbols that are associated with victory. There is however always a losing side in a war who must deal with a devastated homeland, a shamed or exterminated army, and the loss of everything their civilization was or could ever be. Continue reading

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