(Lowell, MA) There is an inherent problem in the study of classic poetry. Most of what is deemed worthwhile to scholars are works that tend to be genre defying and broke the conventions of the times they were written in. However, when a poet’s collection becomes so widely revered, scholars tend to set them as the new template for the system that the writer had originally broken through. This leads to the poems losing much of their edge and therefore becoming mundane to modern audiences. There is possibly no bigger victim of this “catch-22” than west coast born, New England based poet Robert Frost, and there is possibly no better cure for this academic sickness than a play like This Verse Business. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) A musical adaptation of Norton Juster’s 1961 children’s book of the same name is currently being performed at the Wheelock Family Theater. With an inventive, bright cast and set, the play is sure to fascinate younger viewers. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) A new age is dawning in the 1660’s. Women are allowed to act. Strict Puritan regulations have been lifted. What’s a girl to do? Aphra Behn, one of the first professional playwrights that was female, has some answers with the help of modern day playwright Liz Duffy Adams. Lyric Stage brings a delightful evening of ‘girl power’ to the stage in this play of Restoration, modern, and post-modern ideals. Continue reading →
(Cambridge, MA) Once again, ImprovBoston treats audiences to the guts and glory, but especially guts, of a Halloween comedy show. This time, the theater gives its audience a seasonally appropriate splatter musical set in a hospital. A young and more or less well-adjusted couple, Carla and Trevor, get into a car accident and venture into the Braggs Memorial Hospital. Not so secretly, something about the facility is wrong, especially when Carla’s unborn baby starts getting a little too much attention. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) With the help of the magical playground designed by Christina Todesco, Actors’ Shakespeare Project creates an entertaining evening of romance and folly. The production touches the joy and pain of being. And a fool shall lead them all…
Upon entering the theatre, the audience immediately encounters an abstract tempest upon a spacious performance area. Something that seems to be a trademark of Christine Todesco’s designs, there is a ramp that ends up being used as a slide. In addition, the columns on stage provide reflective surfaces for the characters to get lost in their own self-interest as imagined by the director, Melia Bensussen. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) There is a very particular fear that runs through our country these days, unique to the new century. The threat of fascist world conquerors and nuclear holocaust has been stripped away for a much more mundane, yet equally terrifying threat. Extremist mass murders, with no concept of mercy or fear of death, dressed as everyday citizens are what our new public eye has focused on as the danger of our time. A danger that has caused many everyday citizens to rethink the people they see on the street as potential threats to their lives and national security. It is that paranoia, honed into a profession view point, that makes up the mind set of special agents of the C.I.A along with other bodies of authority, whose job it is to make the life and death decisions every day between who is an enemy and who is a civilian. So enters the mind set of Special Agent Finn, the central focus of Walt McGough’s The Farm. Continue reading →
from left) Bob Mussett, Sierra Kagen, Victoria Townsend, Brian Tuttle, and Zach Eisenstat in “The Sneeze” from the Independent Drama Society's production of Neil Simon's THE GOOD DOCTOR, playing July 15-23 at the Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street in Boston's South End. Tix and info: http://www.independentdramasociety.org. Photo by Bethany Krevat.
If it wasn’t so funny, it would be serious. Chekov is primarily known for his serious drama: The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, etc. but Neil Simon draws upon Chekov’s short stories for his play, The Good Doctor. Chekov’s short stories have been said to be precursor to Seinfeld. The writer of such tv shows as: Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour recognized the unique comedy style and put stories “about nothing” to the stage years before the tv show “about nothing”. Those who miss the “Junior Mint”, “The Soup Nazi”, and “The Chinese Restaurant” can relish in some new-old stories such as “The Sneeze”, “Surgery”, and “The Drowned Man”. The Independent Drama Society’s final show utilizes the comedic talents to go out with a laugh for the audience and a whimper for the characters. Continue reading →
Emily Hecht as Alice and Brett Johnson as Charlie in T: An MBTA Musical. Plays June 30-July 9 at ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect Street in Cambridge. Tix/Info: 617-576-1253 or improvboston.com. Photo by Ben Snitkoff
T: An MBTA Musical, music and lyrics by Melissa Carubia, book by John Michael Manship, ImprovBoston, 6/30/11-7/9/11. http://www.improvboston.com/shows/musical?ref=slide. Mature Themes. **Warning: should not be viewed by kids, pets, bikes, and particularly tourists and freshmen (we need people to keep coming to Boston, and they don’t need to know the truth until it’s too late!)
Most people have been there at one time or another: the T (translation for non-Bostonians–the subway). For those who know it is a frustrating experience that makes you want to hop in your car and drive to the country or Rhode Island. Delays, fires, sports fans, and vomit are all familiar sights on that are highlighted in the hilarious new musical at ImprovBoston–T: An MBTA Musical. If interactive/improvisational theatre scares you, don’t worry: this is a scripted show. This show makes you laugh until it hurts; then, you are not so angry at the train on the way back–until the train stands still for twenty minutes because of a fire on the rail. Continue reading →
McCaela Donovan and members of the company in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, running May 6 - June 5 at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End. Tix/Info: 617-933-8600 or www.SpeakEasyStage.com. Photo: Stratton McCrady.
Since my students are graduating this week and then I’m off to New York, here’s one more week of what’s happening around this area. When I am back, I will share my reviews of the shows I’ve seen in New York; also, I hope to have articles for you on my obsession with Next to Normal and the Opera 101 piece that I have been planning. (unless otherwise noted (POE @trinityrep), I do not know the quality of the productions, but find something you might enjoy and go see some theatre this weekend!)