Jan 14

Incomplete Sweetness: MARRY ME A LITTLE

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

presented by New Repertory Theatre

songs by Stephen Sondheim
conceived and developed by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene
directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
musical direction by David McGrory

Arsenal Center for the Arts
in the Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
January 6th – January 27th, 2013
New Repertory Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) As a songwriter, Stephen Sondheim is better than you.  He just is.

He mastered the art of straightforward musicals with West Side Story and he’s been toying with us ever since.  After figuring out what sappy audiences want in a love song, he’s been not giving it to them, choosing instead to dwell in the tensions and the ambiguities of our romantic natures in lovely, sonic dissonance. Continue reading

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Oct 21

An Incomplete Sentence: RACE

Photo Credit: New Repertory Theatre; the cast

by David Mamet
Directed by Robert Walsh

presented by the New Repertory Theatre
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
October 14th – November 4th, 2012

New Rep Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) It’s become trickier to discuss racism in the post-2008 election era than it was before. We have elected a black president, many hope to say, and that is enough.

Leave it to troublemaking playwright David Mamet to clear his throat amid the quiet in 2009 with his biting and succinct dramatic comedy, Race, now being performed by the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown. His play refuses to rest on recent racial gains, instead showing the trouble beneath the surface, the kind
that otherwise is obscured unless a police officer arrests a Harvard professor or a neighborhood watchman shoots an unarmed teen. Mamet’s script sparks necessary dialogue about an uncomfortable subject, but the flawed storyline of the play, combined with uneven execution by New Rep’s cast, misses the opportunity to create deeper understanding of inherent social inequality. Continue reading

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Sep 16

Brilliance and Bravery in New Rep’s “The Kite Runner”

The Kite Runner adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler.
Novel by the same name by author Khaled Hosseini.
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Performances, September 9-30, 2012
New Repertory Theater
Charles Mosesian Theater
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472

New Repertory Theater Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) New Rep’s The Kite Runner is adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler from the novel by the same name by author Khaled Hosseini. Director, Elaine Vaan Hogue, interprets her subject with fresh perspective in our post-9/11 world with compassion and ingenuity. Continue reading

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May 07

Horrific Comfort Food: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS

l. to r. Bill Mootos, Ceit McCaleb Zweil, Lovely Hoffman, and Jennifer Fogarty in Little Shop of Horrors. Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

Little Shop of Horrors, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, music by Alan Menken, New Repertory Theatre, Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 4/29/12-5/27/12, http://www.newrep.org/little_shop.php.

Reviewed by Kate Lonberg-Lew

(Watertown, MA) Sometimes you are having a bad day. Sometimes you are in such a bad mood that escapism is the only way to manage.  It was in such a state that I entered the New Rep’s production of Little Shop of Horrors at the Arsenal Center for the Arts. I tell you this so that you will know exactly how steep a hill the cast had to climb in order for me to emerge smiling; which I did. Continue reading

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Apr 22

EPISODE 1 GEEKS, NERDS & ARTISTS Janie E. Howland

Episode 1:  Geeks, Nerds & Artists Podcast: Janie E. Howland 10 April 2012

Photos of designs are displayed in this Flickr photoset.

Interview with Boston based set designer Janie E. Howland.  http://www.janiehowland.com

Credits include: Long Day’s Journey Into Night (New Rep), The Miracle Worker (Wheelock Family Theatre), History Boys and 5 by Tenn (Speakeasy Stage), Big River (Lyric Stage Company), Tonya & Nancy (Oberon), Breaking the Code (Underground Railway), Spring Awakening and Little Women (Boston Children’s Theatre). Venues include: Weston Playhouse, NSMT, New Rep, ART Instit., Nora Theatre, Stoneham Theatre, Seacoast Rep, Merrimack Repertory, Wheelock Family Theatre, New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, Huntington Theatre Studio 210, Opera Boston, Emerson Stage, Barnstormers, Foothills Theatre. Founding member of CYCO SCENIC; MFA from Brandeis University; 2009, 2006 and 1997 winner of the Elliot Norton Award; 2007 & 2006 winner of the IRNE award; part time faculty at Wellesley College and Emerson College; USA local 829.

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Apr 08

The Walking Dead: LONG DAY’S JOURNEY INTO NIGHT

Long Day’s Journey Into Night by Eugene O’Neill, New Repertory Theatre, Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts, 4/1/12-4/22/12, http://newrep.org/long_days.php.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown, MA) Inconvenient truths sometimes come from the mouth of the mad, from those with the least to lose.  From the most hopeless in the New Repertory Theatre’s unflinching drama Long Day’s Journey into Night, we receive the troubling message that you can’t outrun the past.  If the past is not dealt with, it can rise from the grave and overtake the present and the future.   Along with this, we also learn that perhaps you should ask your doctor about possible side effects before taking any new medication. Continue reading

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Mar 04

Not Buying It: BAKERSFIELD MIST

Photo Credit: Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Bakersfield Mist by Stephen Sachs, New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 2/26/12-3/18/12, http://newrep.org/bakersfield_mist.php.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown, MA) 

Audiences, like art critics, want to believe, but the New Repertory Theatre production of Bakersfield Mist doesn’t give theatergoers a chance.  Instead, the audience must suspend disbelief the moment we spot a central character’s obviously-fake tattoo.  For a play intent on debating what is real, Bakersfield Mist provides a poor facsimile of real life.

The play centers on a plausible and chewy scenario:  A trailer-park loser, Maude (Paula Langton), has summoned a renowned art critic, Lionel (Ken Cheeseman), to authenticate a Jackson Pollack painting bought at a thrift shop.  Some $50 million to $100 million is riding on Lionel’s opinion.  The answer, the play suggests, is much messier than checking “yes” or “no”, and both Maude and Lionel must wrestle with their pasts and their notions of art to view the painting. Continue reading

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Jan 19

ART: A Matter of Perspective

l. to r. Robert Pemberton as Marc and Robert Walsh as Serge in 'ART'. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Art by Yasmina Reza, New Repertory TheatreArsenal Center for the Arts, 1/15/12-2/5/12, http://newrep.org/art.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Watertown, MA) Art is…well, about art–the styles, philosophies, the impact on the individual.  When a person creates a work of art, using quality tools always helps in creating a quality piece (although that’s not to say that there aren’t some interesting works of art made from found objects).  Antonio Ocampo-Guzman starts with some of the finest:  a brilliant script and a trio of Boston talent.  Without any deeper analysis, those are two reasons to see the show.  The problem with art, as the play postulates, is that art is subjective and will not necessarily be seen the same through the same lens by each person. Continue reading

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Dec 13

A Christmas Story: Resurrecting Americana for the Holidays

l. to r. Adam Freeman as Schwartz, Charlie Brodigan as Flick, Lexi Ryan as Esther Jane, and Andrew Cekala as Young Ralphie. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

A Christmas Story, adapted/written by Philip Grecian, New Repertory Theatre, Charles Mosesian Theater, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 12/11/11-12/24/11, http://newrep.org/christmas_story.php.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Watertown, MA) Like the film it’s adapted from, the stage version of A Christmas Story paints a childhood spent during the holidays in a golden glow.  Yes, the flustered family of Ralphie (Andrew Cekala) meet nothing but frustrations as they try to pull Christmas together against mean-spirited neighborhood dogs, hideous bunny suits, and intimidating department store Santas, but their holiday is ultimately a nostalgic one. Continue reading

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Nov 30

Three Viewings: Humor and Human Folly at the Graveside

Adrianne Krstansky as Virginia in Three Viewings. Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Three Viewings by Jeffrey Hatcher, New Repertory Theatre, Arsenal Center for the Arts, 11/27/11-12/18/11, http://newrep.org/three_viewings.php.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Watertown, MA) Three Viewings is the kind of theatrical outing that I cannot recommend highly enough, a play where writer Jeffrey Hatcher deftly and comically attempts to capture the variation and nuance of human nature. Continue reading

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