Sep 02

Porgy and Bess Still Has Soul

Photo by Michael J. Lutch

 

The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess by George and Ira Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, adapted by Suzan-Lori Parks and Diedre L. Murray, American Repertory Theatre, Loeb Drama Center, 8/17/11-10/2/11.  http://www.americanrepertorytheater.org/events/show/gershwins-porgy-and-bess.   Mature themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Cambridge, MA) Norm Lewis and Audra McDonald bring soul to American Repertory Theatre’s production of The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess.  The couple struggles to hold onto their love in the midst of danger and strife.  Although minor changes have been made to the operetta, the integrity of the original piece remains intact. Continue reading

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Jul 02

T: An MBTA Musical — Charlie Takes A Wicked Funny Ride

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!)

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

LISTEN TO ORIGINAL MUSIC EXCERPTS

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

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Jun 24

What’s On This Week 24 June 2011

New Play at Salem Theatre Company

Here’s what’s happening this week (I do not know the quality of the productions since I have been out of town, but find something you might enjoy and go see some theatre this weekend!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boston      Metro Boston     Outer Points Massachusetts 

Rhode Island     Connecticut    Next to Normal Tour

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Jun 13

The People In The Picture: Uncovering the Past

Photo: Joan Marcus

The People in the Picture, book and lyrics by Iris Rainer Dart, music by Mike Stoller and Artie Butler, Roundabout Theatre Company, Studio 54, Broadway, 4/1/11-6/19/11.  http://www.roundabouttheatre.org/broadway/thepeopleinthepicture/index.htm

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

How can we ever forget the past?  How can remember?  These questions surface for Raisel and Red  when Jenny asks her Bubbie who the people in the picture are.  They are Raisel’s friends and theatre/film company.  These people hold the key to Jenny’s heritage and must instill it within her despite her mother’s objections and grandmother’s failing health.  Although the story and score are uneven, the talent and the sentiment carry the show through joy and heartbreak.

Donna Murphy spends the majority of the show as Jenny’s Bubbie who tries to pass down her family’s history.  Ms. Murphy shows her versatility by not only providing a strong dramatic performance but also by providing comedic moments depicting Raisel’s younger days.  Raisel shows her granddaughter Jenny (played by Rachel Resheff) the life that she and her theatre/film company had.  She tries to only share positive memories, but the horrible realities underneath keep seeping through.  Raisel’s daughter Red (played by Nicole Parker) pushes for the entire truth to be known and not simply a pleasant mythology.  Ms. Murphy’s acting, singing, and dancing flow effortlessly and show the whimsy, pain, and sacrifice that make up Raisel’s life. Continue reading

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Jun 02

What’s On This Week: 2 June 2011

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!)

Boston     Metro Boston
Rhode Island      Connecticut
Next to Normal Tour

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May 26

What’s On This Week

Learn To Be Latina, Company One/Boston Playwrights Theatre, Maureen Adduci (Jill), Crystal Lisbon (Mary), Shawna O'Brien (Hanan),Rory Kulz (Bill)

While I am busy helping my students finish out the year, here are some listings for this week (unless otherwise noted, I do not know the quality of the productions, but find something you might  enjoy and go see some theatre this weekend!)

BOSTON (in the city):


Animal Crackers, Lyric Stage Company, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA 02116

May 6-Jun 4
Tickets by Phone: 617-585-5678

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May 10

PASSING STRANGE: More than ‘the real’

The cast of Passing Strange. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

 Passing Strange, book and lyrics by Stew, music by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, New Repertory Theatre, The Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 5/1/11-5/22/11, http://newrep.org/passing_strange.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

New Repertory Theatre’s production of Passing Strange examines a classical theme in a post-modern construct–the quest for the meaning of life.  Like Candide and Pippin, the youth in Passing Strange leaves his familiar surroundings to find “the real” or the meaningful existence but finds only more illusion and more questions.  New Rep’s masterful presentation carries the audience along the journey, earnestly hoping the youth will find what he is looking for.

If New Repertory Theatre uses even half of the talent from Passing Strange for their fall production of Rent, they will have another hit on their hands.  The vibrant cast of Passing Strange electrifies the concert-style stage with their performances. Continue reading

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Apr 02

The Last Five Years: Tempestuous Love

(left to right) Aimee Doherty and Mark Linehan in The Last Five Years. Photo by Christopher McKenzie.

The Last Five Years, written and composed by Jason Robert Brown, New Repertory Theatre, 3/27/11-4/17/11, http://newrep.org/last_five.php.

by Becca Kidwell

Less than a week after Elizabeth Taylor’s death, what story could be more apropos than the tumultuous romance of  two artists?  Jason Robert Brown’s chamber musical about the conflict marriage and career examines the fallout of two people who meet in the middle but remain apart.  New Rep’s production of The Last Five Years delivers two masterful performances to a faulty libretto.

Aimee Doherty shows her versatility going Continue reading

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Feb 20

THE SECRET GARDEN: A Magical Secret Worth Sharing

photo by Gary Ng

The Secret Garden, book and lyrics by Susan Kosoff, Music by Jane Staab, Wheelock Family Theatre, 1/28/11-2/27/11 (including weekday performances 2/22/11-2/25/11), http://www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org/feature-performance.aspx

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

As I was watching Wheelock’s production of The Secret Garden, I wished I was eight again (except for the horrible prospect of growing up again).  Wheelock Family Theatre is a magical place where dreams come alive, and this is particularly evident in their production of The Secret Garden.

One can’t help but be enchanted by the scenery by Matthew T. Lazure.  The garden wall rotates and reveals the inside of the garden, and Colin’s room appears from the walls of the seemingly impenetrable house.  Another clever aspect is the “growth” of the flowers during intermission; I put my head down for one minute–I look up and see leaves; I put my head down for another moment, look up and see flowers in full bloom. Continue reading

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Jan 25

NINE ways to leave your lover

Timothy John Smith (center) and company in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of NINE, running Jan. 21 - Feb. 20 at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion . Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

Nine, book by Arthur Kopit, music & lyrics by Maury Yeston, adaptation from the Italian by Mario Fratti, based on Fellini’s 8 ½, Speakeasy Stage Company, 1/21/11-2/20/11, http://www.speakeasystage.com/index.php

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

Speakeasy Stage Company has created an exquisite, solid revival of Maury Yeston’s award-winning musical Nine.  With masterful direction and a stage full of talent, Maury Yeston’s vision of the struggling director as a conductor of his own affairs takes the stage with vigor and tenacity.

Nine, based on Fellini’s film 8 ½, tells the story of a formally successful film director who is struggling with both a creative crisis and midlife crisis.  Timothy John Smith plays Guido Contini, the figure who represents Fellini.  Smith infuses Guido with both an arrogant confidence of a professed womanizer and the almost childlike uneasiness of someone whose world is trying to spin out of control.  Although he is betrayed by his own schema, he picks himself up, pulls himself together, and moves on. Continue reading

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