Nov 13

A Fantastical Happening in Manila: “Here Lies Love”


Presented by the Broadway Theatre
Concept & Lyrics: David Byrne
Music: David Byrne & Fatboy Slim
Directed by Alex Timbers
Music direction by J. Oconer Navarro
Choreography by Annie-B Parson
Fight direction by Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum
Cultural advocacy and facilitation by Sophia Skiles
July 20 – November 26, 2023
Broadway Theatre 
1681 Broadway
Between West 52nd and 53rd Streets
New York NY 10019

90 minutes with no intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Post Update, 11/14/23: A previous version of this post misspelled Manila. Grammarly and auto-spellcheck are both jerks.  Our apologies. 

NEW YORK — Here Lies Love is slated to close on November 26. The good news is regional theatres should have access to performance rights soon. The bad news is, if you wanted to see it on Broadway, you have only a few weeks left.  

The Telecharge summary: “From Talking Heads frontman and songwriter of “Burning Down the House,” David Byrne; the beat master of “Praise You,” DJ Fatboy Slim and Tony®-winning director of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Alex Timbers comes Here Lies Love. The Broadway Theatre is transformed into Club Millennium, where a young Imelda Marcos gets catapulted to a life of fame, excess, and intoxicating power after winning the hearts of two political rivals: Marcos and Ninoy Aquino.  Continue reading

Nov 13

Queer and Loving It: “Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors”

Presented by New World Stages
Author: Gordon Greenberg and Steve Rosen
Director: Gordon Greenberg
Original Music/Sound Design by Victoria Deiorio 
Dialect coaching by Jerome Butler
Intimacy direction by Judi Lewis Ockler 
Puppetry design by Tijana Bjelajac
Schedule of Performances 
New World Stages / Stage 5 
340 West 50th Street
New York NY 10019

1 hour and 30 minutes, no intermission

Review by Kitty Drexel

NEW YORK — Dracula: A Comedy of Terrors is cutely queer. It isn’t in New England yet, but it could be when the rights become available. Performances are ongoing at New York’s New World Stages through November.

This Dracula, like so many of its predecessors, tackles Bram Stoker’s most famous novel with a modern spin and blatant sexual references. Persons seeking a severe homage to either the novel in letters or the 1992 film with Winona Rider and Gary Oldman should look elsewhere. This play lacks depth but makes up for it with absurd puppetry and the clever execution of thoughtful props. Continue reading

Sep 21

You Can Lie Down or Get Up and Play: An Interview with Taylor Mac on judy’s “24-Decade History of Popular Music: Film Screening & Discussion with Taylor Mac” event at Boston’s 2023 Raising Voices Festival

Taylor Mac (Photo courtesy HBO Max)

Event: 24-Decade History of Popular Music: Film Screening & Discussion with Taylor Mac
Presented as part of the Raising Voices Festival: A Celebration of Music, Art, and the Power of Protest
Saturday, September 23, 2023 @ 7:30pm EDT
Old South Meeting House
Boston, MA

More about the Raising Voices Festival 
Presented by Revolutionary Spaces
September 23 & 24, 2023
Downtown Boston: Various Locations
Performance Schedule & Map 
Admission is free. 
Registration is highly encouraged.

About the documentary film Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music
Filmed on Saturday, October 8th, 2016 
@ St. Ann’s Warehouse
Brooklyn, NY 11202
Written and created by Taylor Mac 
Music direction by Matt Ray
Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman 
Costume designs by Machine Dazzle 
Makeup artistry by Anastasia Durasova
Produced by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Joel Stillerman, Linda Brumbach, Alisa Regas, Taylor Mac, and Mari Rivera
HBO Documentary Films in association with Content Superba, a Telling Pictures and Pomegranate Arts Production in association with Fifth Season and Nature’s Darlings
Streamed on HBO Max

Interview by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Taylor Mac graciously met the New England Theatre Geek’s Queen Kitty for an interview on Wednesday afternoon to discuss judy’s HBO documentary Taylor Mac’s 24-Decade History of Popular Music and the Raising Voices event 24-Decade History of Popular Music: Documentary & Discussion with Taylor Mac on Saturday, Sep 23, 2023, 7:30pm EDT. 

Mac regularly contributes to the Boston theatre-ecology. Mac’s stage play, Joy and Pandemic played at the Huntington in April of this year.  Mac’s 2012 essay “A Culture of Trust” was published in the 2022 publication of HowlRound Anthology: Essays and Conversations from the First Ten Years. Judy’s Hir was produced by Apollinaire Theatre in February 2020. (One of the last, lucky productions before the lockdown). And, of course, The Lily’s Revenge at Club Oberon (RIP) in 2012.

We thank Taylor Mac for their time and judy’s team for setting up the interview.

Mac was full of laughter. It was truly a pleasure to meet with judy. 

(The below interview is edited for grammar and clarity.)

//

Queen Kitty: Your Decade History of Popular Music History, you’ve described it as a radical fairy realness ritual.

Taylor Mac: Yes.

QK: It spans 24 decades with a 24-piece orchestra for 24 hours, singing 246 songs. What was your dramaturgical research process like? It’s just so much. It must have been so intense for you.

TM: It was a constant reminder that I’m not a historian. I’m not trying to be a historian, and I don’t want to be a historian. Part of the dramaturgy was to make sure that was clear to the audience. In all of the stage shows, in one form or another, that this was expressed to the audience. Continue reading

Jul 23

Application Opens for the 2023 Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism

NEW YORK: On July 10, the American Theatre Critics Association opened applications for the second annual 2023 Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism on its website, https://americantheatrecritics.org/edward-medina-prize/. The application will close on August 11, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

APPLY HERE

All applicants will be notified of their application status by October 1, 2023. The Medina Prize will be presented in November 2023.

Edward Medina

The ATCA website says the Edward Medina Prize for Excellence in Cultural Criticism is an award for reviewers, critics, and journalists in the U.S. from under-represented groups (women, people of the global majority, trans, and non-binary) who write about theater and its role in highlighting people from various cultures, backgrounds, and experiences.

The prize is meant to cultivate relationships between ATCA and diverse critics, to increase readership of cultural criticism by diverse writers, and to financially support critics from under-represented groups. Continue reading

Jul 02

The Party Begins: “Once Upon a Carnival – Act I Workshop Performance”

Presented by Moonbox Productions as part of the Boston New Works Festival 2023
ONCE UPON A CARNIVAL is written by Angele Maraj & Brianna Pierre
Directed by Shania Pahuja
Music Directed by Harrison Acosta
2nd Annual Boston New Works Festival

June 22 – June 26, 2023
The Boston Center For The Arts
The Plaza Theatre
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA

Moonbox Productions on Facebook
Follow the development of Once Upon a Carnival on Instagram

Note: The reviewer knows one of the writers of the production.

Review by Gillian Daniels

BOSTON, MASS – A show that is half done is a show that is difficult to review, but though Once Upon a Carnival is still in its workshopping stage, it’s complete in its sense of joy and cultural complexity. Bhavan (played with churlish realism and charming eagerness by Marshall Romano) is our American, teenage hero. He’s a boy brought to his mother’s home country of Trinidad and then descended upon by relatives (and family friends who might as well be relatives) in a chaotic welcome that, to a young man used to the standoffish city of New York, is completely over-whelming.  Continue reading

Sep 27

From the Back to the Middle and Round Again: “Fabulation or, The Re-Education of Undine”

Lyndsay Allyn Cox as Undine. Photo by Mark S Howard.

Presented by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Written by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Intimacy consultant: Ted Hewlett
COVID-19 safety officer: Emily Collins
Online Playbill

Sept. 16 – Oct. 9, 2022
140 Clarendon St
2nd Floor
Boston, MA 02116

Approximately 2 hours, including one 15-minute intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

“In literary criticism, the term fabulation was popularized by Robert Scholes, in his book The Fabulators, to describe the large and growing class of mostly 20th century novels that are in a style similar to magical realism, and do not fit into the traditional categories of realism or romance.”

BOSTON — An undine (or Ondine) is a mythological water elemental out of the European tradition. The Swiss alchemist Paracelsus wrote of a nymph who became human out of love for a mortal man. Without love, she has no soul and cannot live on land. Undine must take care for she will die if her lover is unfaithful. 

An undine stands as a modern metaphor for the woman who cannot let go of love. Her relationship is over, her lover moved on, but the undine will not move on. There’s the possibility of a happy ending though – Undine can go home if she kills her boyfriend before he cheats

Fabulation or, The Re-Education of Undine puts Undine (Lyndsay Allyn Cox) at the top of her game. She has everything: a wildly successful boutique PR firm in Manhattan, a handsome husband Hervé (Jaime José Hernández) with a fancy accent to match his l’accent aigu, a devoted assistant (Brittani Jenese McBride), a full bank account, a bougie accountant (Barlow Adamson), and more social currency than Wendy Williams. Or, she does until Hervé disappears with his clothing and every last penny she has. And, she’s reluctantly pregnant.  Continue reading

Jan 18

Softness, Compliance, Forgiveness, Grace: The Lyric presents “Mr. Parent”

Maurice Emmanuel Parent in “Mr. Parent.” Photo by Mark S Howard.

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Written by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Public education consultant – Neema Avashia
Original music and sound design by Arshan Gailus 
Featuring Maurice Emmanuel Parent

January 13 – February 6, 2022
14 Claredon St, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 
The Lyric on Facebook
Homework for Audiences

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Theatreworks Hartford streamed a version of Mr. Parent in March 2021. The Lyric’s live, in-person production is a different beast from TheatreWorks Hartford. While both versions tell the same story, the current production of Mr. Parent at The Lyric evolved for the stage. 

Maurice Emmanuel Parent is compassionate, generous, kind, and funny as Hell in Mr. Parent. The play’s story begins in New York City. Parent is a wide-eyed theatre professional seeking his fortune on Broadway and beyond when his agent sends him to Boston to audition for Angels in America. He gets the gig.

A miserable union salary and 2006 Boston rent prices force Parent to find a second job. He becomes a cluster substitute teacher in a Boston public school. His cluster-job was a clusterfuck of joys and frustrations.  Continue reading

May 25

A haunting, meta experience: “This American Wife”

Presented by FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy O. Harris
Conceived & Written by Michael Breslin & Patrick Foley
Directed by Rory Pelsue
Dramaturgy by Cat Rodríguez and Ariel Sibert
Sound Design by Kathy Ruvuna
Lighting Design by Amith Chandrashaker
Scenic Design by Stephanie Osin Cohen
Featuring Michael Breslin, Patrick Foley, and Jakeem Dante Powell

May 20- June 6, 2021
Streamed over the internets via Stellar tickets
Fake Friends on Facebook

Critique by Afrikah Smith

“Who’s watching this?”
    “It’s just for me.” — Michael to Patrick, This American Wife

ONLINE — Catching my attention from the moment it began, This American Wife is a thrilling play that speaks to our cultural obsession of American reality TV. A house staple in escaping our current realities and trauma, theatre company Fake Friends invites audiences to witness and reckon with the art of reality TV.  Continue reading

May 24

2Life Communities Presented “L’Chaim 2 Life!” Virtual Concert on May 23

Photo of Skybell in “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” provided by 2Life Communities.

Presented by 2Life Communities
Hosted by Amy Schectman 
Dramaturgy interview with Dr. Barbara Wallace Grossman
Featuring vocalist Steven Skybell, Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and music director and Tony Award-nominated composer Zalmen Mlotek.
Fiddler in Yiddish online

May 23, 2021 at 11 AM
Streamed via private YouTube link
Boston, MA and New York, NY

Review by Kitty Drexel

YouTube — On May 23 at 11 AM, 2Life Communities and host 2Life Communities President and CEO Amy Schectman celebrated universal themes of community, tradition and life with their virtual, fundraising concert L’Chaim 2Life.”  Broadway notables, performer Steven Skybell and composer Zalmen Mlotek, performed selections from their Off-Broadway hit production Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish Continue reading

May 04

BLACK FEMINIST VIDEO GAME: A glimpse into the future?

Presented by The Civilians
Written by Darrel Alejandro Holnes
Directed by Victoria Collado
Video Game created by Ché Lovell Rose & Jocelyn Short
Produced by Ilana Becker
Sound Design by Twi McCallum
Featuring Christon Andell, Kyla Jeanne Butts, Starr Kirkland, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Constance Fields, Phillip Patrick Wright, Michael Diamond, Mia Anderson, and Brandiss LaShai Seward.

April 27 – May 9, 2021
The Civilians
138 SOUTH OXFORD STREET #3C
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 11217 
The Civilians on Facebook

Critique by Afrikah Smith

YOUTUBE — BLACK FEMINIST VIDEO GAME is a groundbreaking, online theatrical experience that explores love, neurodiversity, and the importance of Black feminism.

After a first date gone wrong, Jonas Jones (Christon Andell) is determined to find a way to win back his crush, Nicole (Starr Kirkland). As a biracial teenager with autism, Jonas broadcasts his life online as a means of connection, destigmatising autism, and becoming a filmmaker. Integrating live chat in the performance, Jonas asks audiences for advice on what he should do. While brainstorming, he finds an old gift from his mother; a video game that may lead a way to winning Nicole back.  Continue reading