Apr 02

Beautiful & Grotesque Misrepresentations: BY THE WAY, MEET VERA STARK

Photo Credit: Mark S. Howard; Hannah Husband, Kami Rushell Smith, Kelby T. Akin, Gregory Balla

by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Summer L. Williams

The Lyric Stage Company
Boston, MA
March 29, 2013 – April 27, 2013
The Lyric Stage Facebook Page
Running time: Approximately 2 hours & 15 minutes, includes one intermission

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) The events of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark appear to be comedic. In truth, viewed with the perspective of historical racial prejudice, it is more like a tragedy. Vera Stark is a Black actress living in Los Angeles and nursing a dream of appearing on the big screen as more than an anonymous face in a club scene. She dreams of being a character that isn’t a slave and definitely isn’t a “Mammy” role. Determined to make her mark in Hollywood, Stark rallies her friends and boss Gloria, and manages to slightly alter bureaucratic race relations at the same time. It was one small step for woman and a held breath for the rest of mankind. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Bloody Fences Make Good Neighbors: SOCIAL CREATURES

PHOTO: MARK TUREK

Presented by Trinity Repertory Company

by Jackie Sibblies Drury
directed by Curt Columbus

Providence, Rhode Island
Trinity Rep Co Facebook Page
March 14 – April 21

Review by Craig Idlebrook

This play contains graphic violence. Running time is 95 minutes with no intermission.

(Providence) It didn’t look like a good setup for good theater. Post-apocalyptic zombie invasions have become all the rage for script-writers, and there have been several new plays in Boston which have attempted to turn flesh-eating marauders into viable drama; few have been successful. The best resembled family dramas with zombies tacked on; the worst became fan fiction.

But Jackie Sibblies Drury’s sharp script for Social Creatures powers the best production of a new play I’ve seen in a long time. This tense and gory tragicomedy, debuting at Trinity Rep, avoids so many pitfalls of both new plays and zombie drama. It creates a credible atmosphere of real danger, both physically and emotionally, and Drury uses the threat to effectively explore what we lose as a society when we lose intimacy. Continue reading

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Mar 29

When X+Y+Z=X+Y+Z-1: PROOF

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=eacf24cc2b&view=att&th=13db5fcef24a3fc7&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=9462bffff6bbf670_0.1&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-8Q_l0QzPMOYuJpu9b4yGh&sadet=1364566712433&sads=8a7OkyFJrdwvVawQwpsGvn59UMs

Photos by Meghan Moore; Michael Pemberton and Keira Keeley.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre

by David Auburn
Directed by Christian Parker

50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
March 21st – April 14th, 2013
Merrimack Rep Theatre Facebook Page
Estimated run time 2 hours with one 15 minute intermission.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) For a play that focuses on mathematics, Proof, playing at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, nails social theory.  In this thoughtful production, we learn that a family is really a group organism that can adapt to having a limb injured or severed, but that organism can never be the same afterwards. Continue reading

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Mar 24

Singing in Authenticity: Boston Gay Men’s Chorus, “Seize the Day!”

Photo Credit: Borrowed from the BGMC Facebook Page

Photo Credit: Borrowed from the BGMC Facebook Page

Presented by the fabulous Boston Gay Men’s Chorus

With support from Mass Cultural Council & Boston Cultural Council

Reuban Reynolds III, Music Director
Chad Weirick, Principal Accompanist & Assistant Music Director
ASL Interpretation by Lewana Clark (This woman deserves her own concert)
Michelle Chasse, Choreographer

 March 23 & 24, 2014 (Get in there!)
Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory
Boston, MA
BGMC Facebook Page

The title of the programme comes from Alan Menken and Jack Feldman’s Newsies.

If you’ve been involved in either the Boston area theatre or LGBTQ scenes long enough, you have heard of the Boston Gay Men’s Chorus (BGMC). If you haven’t heard of their exquisitely executed, heart rending concerts, you’ve been living under a metaphorical rock. Shame on you! They’ve been making sweet music since 1982 and deserve all the accolades they get for their musicianship and their outreach. Continue reading

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Mar 22

Not Your Daddy’s Rock Opera: URO’s JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Courtesy of the URO Facebook Page

Words and Music by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Weber.

Presented by The Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra*

The Norwood Theatre
109 Central St.
Norwood, MA
March 21st at 7:00 pm – March 24th at 2:00 pm
URO Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Norwood) The Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra (URO) rocks. They have made a brilliant career out of rocking classics by musicians such as The Beatles, Bowie, and Queen. Last night’s performance of Jesus Christ Superstar was no exception. Put simply, they capture all the funk that Andrew Lloyd Weber missed. Continue reading

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Mar 18

Love & Hate Are Two Sides of the Same Spork: DOG SEES GOD

Joey C. Pelletier as Beethoven and Michael Underhill as CB. Credit: Happy Medium Theatre/Robyn Linden

Joey C. Pelletier as Beethoven and Michael Underhill as CB. Credit: Happy Medium Theatre/Robyn Linden

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

by Bert V. Royal

Directed by Lizette M. Morris

Unofficially based on the comic by Charles M. Schulz

The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
March 14 – March 30
Happy Medium Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

This play dramatizes adult themes such as sex, violence and drugs. It is not suitable for kids under 14, prudes or the extra-sensitive.

(Boston) Hating someone for being gay makes as much sense as hating someone because they are 8 feet tall. Yet, in Dog Sees God (and much of the world), the peanut gallery unjustly hates Beethoven/Schroeder (Joey C. Pelletier) for just that. Beethoven is bullied mercilessly. They hate him because he is different, because that is easier than confronting what the real impetus behind their hate is. Inspired by the true stories of gay teenagers who were literally bullied to death by their peers and academic staff, Dog See God examines the consequences of absentminded hate speech and action. It points a finger of blame at the kids who bully and at the adults who watch. Continue reading

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Mar 18

“Lysistrata”: Adorably Filthy

The lovely ladies of Lysistrata refusing to get sexy. Photo Credit: Theatre@First.

The lovely ladies of Lysistrata refusing to get sexy. Photo Credit: Theatre@First.

Presented by Theatre@First

Written by Aristophanes
Directed by John Deschene
Choreographed by Alex Nemiroski

Unity Somerville
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First Facebook Page

Review by Gillan Daniels

(Somerville) Comedies, especially those that depend on references contemporary to when they’re written, don’t often age well.  Plays survive on the universal quality of their themes, like mortality, revenge, and hope, most of which belong to the sphere of drama. For a long shelf life, they must be built on ideas that resonate down the ages. It certainly says something about the nature of humor that Lysistrata, produced in 411 B.C.E. and one of Aristophanes few surviving plays, continues to be well remembered and celebrated for its bawdiness. Continue reading

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Mar 17

Muito Obrigado: Ana Moura at the Berklee Performance Center

Photo borrowed from the lovely Ms. Moura's Facebook Page

Photo borrowed from the lovely Ms. Moura’s Facebook Page

World Music/CRASHarts presents, in collaboration with the Mass Cultural Council

Saturday, March 16, 2013
Berklee Performance Center
Boston, MA
World Music/CRASHarts Facebook Page
Ana Moura Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston by way of Portugal) While a large percentage of Bostonians were celebrating St. Patrick’s Day (a made up holiday to celebrate something that never happened) there was a smaller part of Boston reaping the benefits of Portuguese culture. The concert given by Ana Moura and her exquisite band (Portuguese guitar player Angelo Freire plays with incomparable skill. His performance was virtuosic.) on Saturday, March 16 was as near perfect as fate can make it. She performed traditional Fado, Portuguese folk, and jazz standard from her 2012 CD, Desfado. Continue reading

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Mar 17

Random Waves and Good Promise: THE SEABIRDS

With David Lutheran and Brendan Mulhern. Photo credit: Argos Productions.

With David Lutheran and Brendan Mulhern. Photo credit: Argos Productions.

Presented by Argos Productions
by William Orem

Boston Playwrights Production
949 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA
March 15th – March 30th, 2013
Argos Productions Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Purgatory can be the hardest thing on a man, the play The Seabirds seems to suggest. It also can be very difficult on an audience. And that’s what makes a new script so deliciously maddening to watch take shape.

There are so many good elements to this play, which revolves around a Union lighthouse keeper, Laben Shadfield (David Lutheran), and a Confederate deserter, Mickey Leance (Brendan Mulhern) who are forced to share a spit of rock on the sea. Great central characters, winning snatches of dialogue and nuanced touches of historical accuracy help immerse the audience into a time when the nation was tearing itself in two. Continue reading

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Mar 17

There’ll Be a Whole Lotta Sunlight Someday*: “A Raisin in the Sun”

Keona Welch ("Beneatha Younger") and Corey Allen ("George Murchison") in the Huntington Theatre Company's production of Lorraine Hansberry's A RAISIN IN THE SUN. Mar. 8 - Apr. 7, 2013 at Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. photo: T. Charles Erickson

Keona Welch (“Beneatha Younger”) and Corey Allen (“George Murchison”) in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN. Mar. 8 – Apr. 7, 2013 at Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company 
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Liesl Tommy

March 8-April 7
BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre Company Facebook Page

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) Theatre with an African American focus owes its considerable roots to Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, which debuted on Broadway in 1959.  The Younger family’s struggle against external limitations has been the inspiration behind the musical Raisin (1973) as well as the play Clybourne Park (now at Speakeasy Stage Co, running through March 30th) to name a few.  The racial oppression that existed then hid behind God and country, and now decades after the gains of the civil rights movement in the 1960’s has the power to still do so, to hold prisoner hard-working men and women and to frame that incarceration as well deserved. The Huntington’s current production is definitely not a re-staging of their 1995 show, and makes a bold statement about resistance to the status quo and the courage it takes to insist on fair treatment in any era. Continue reading

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