Feb 09

No Day But Today to See “Rent”

6-Full Cast - (C)Eric Antoniou

(C) Eric Antoniou

Presented by Fiddlehead Theatre Company at the Back Bay Events Center
Book, Music and Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Music Direction by Nathan Urdangen
Directed by Stacey Stephens

February 5-21, 2016
Boston, MA
Fiddlehead Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Rent has a very special place in my heart, and the hearts of many musical fans. I’ve been criticized by various people who point out their faults with the show, including the childish mentality that you can live in New York City (center of the universe) without paying rent for an entire year and expect zero consequences. Whatever shortcomings in its plot, it’s a fantastic rock musical and I was excited for all the nostalgic feels during the Fiddlehead Theatre Company’s production this past weekend, and while I wasn’t blown away, I wasn’t disappointed either. Continue reading

Aug 04

Balance Amidst the Loneliness: ORDINARY DAYS

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Photo credit: The Opposite of People

Presented by The Opposite of People  
Music & Lyrics by Adam Gwon
Directed by Cara Guappone
Musical direction by Samantha Prindiville

July 30th – August 2nd, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
OoP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) Ordinary Days is a sweet, funny musical set in NYC by living composer (!) Adam Gwon. The Opposite of People took this cute but choppy, Jason Robert Brown-esque musical and gave it breadth in the Arsenal Center for the Arts. It had a slow start but it developed into a lovely production that shows promise for this fledgling company. Continue reading

Jul 15

Dances with Agnostics: SAVING KITTY

Alexander Cook and Jennifer Coolidge; photo credit: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Alexander Cook and Jennifer Coolidge; photo credit: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Written by Marisa Smith
Directed by Lee Mikeska

July 9 – August 2, 2015
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel (who could use some saving of her own)

(Cambridge, MA) Marisa Smith has written a very good script. Saving Kitty is so good that, if logistically possible, She should get a second production on its feet ASAP. This is because the Nora Theatre Company’s current production stars Jennifer Coolidge. Coolidge’s well-deserved star power overwhelms Smith’s writing (and the stage). It is inappropriately likely that patrons will remember Ms. Coolidge did a show in Boston that one time. They are less likely to remember whose show it was, what it was about, or who the supporting actors were. That’s a damn shame.    Continue reading

Jun 15

Geek Book Review: “Madeline Kahn: Being The Music, A Life”

Madeline Kahn book cover

Designed by Peter D. Halverson

Madeline Kahn: Being The Music, A Life

By William V. Madison
University Press of Mississippi
Jackson, 2015
www.upress.state.ms.us
(336 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 48 b&w photographs, filmography, index
9781617037610 Cloth $35.00)
Found wherever fine books are sold

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Madeline Kahn: Being the Music, A Life is distinct for being one of the only in print books devoted to Kahn’s life. A notoriously private woman, she kept her personal secrets close. Rather, she was known for her stage and screen capacity for uproarious humor, and striking beauty. She was less known for her demons and deep insecurities.

This biography by William V. Madison catalogs her ascent to stardom from her birth in Boston, her childhood in New York City, and her adult life everywhere else. It details her work in Mel Brook’s movies, and her ongoing partnership with director Peter Bogdanovich. She was nominated for Academy Award for Blazing Saddles, and also for her vulnerable performance as Trixie Delight in Paper Moon. She was a Broadway darling of the second degree. Her stage career never reached the heights she had hoped it would. Her life was cut mercilessly short by ovarian cancer in 1999 but this biography lives on to tell her story. Continue reading

Jan 20

A Resounding Meh: A FUTURE PERFECT

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Beers were harmed in the making of this play.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Written by Ken Urban
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 9 – Feb. 7, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Inside every adult there is an 18 year old wondering what the Hell just happened. It feels like just yesterday you were a shy teenager prepping for college. You blink and there you are, 38 and wondering how you got into this mess. It’s a surprise to discover that we’re the adults now, the guys in charge. We’re the very people we protested against in our teens and 20’s and now we have to pretend it’s OK. While the initial money/freedom is nice, the rest feels like strange and unusual punishment for our childhood sins. Adulthood blows. Continue reading

Dec 05

Kissing Ass and Dropping Names: “The Tale of The Allergist’s Wife”

Photo credit: Mark S. Howard

Photo credit: Mark S. Howard. Their mortgage must be astronomical!

Presented by the Lyric Stage Company of Boston
By Charles Busch
Directed by Larry Cohen

Nov. 21 – Dec. 20, 2014
Boston, MA
The Lyric on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: nontraditional sexy times, liberal politics, poop jokes

(Boston, MA) Just as Busch’s other works, The Tale of The Allergist’s Wife features a diva resplendent in her advancing glamour, highly stylized hilarity, and juxtaposes low brow against high brow comedy. There is an overwhelming amount of name dropping (philosophers, celebrities, book titles, places, historical events) but this is de rigeur for Busch’s work. Allergist’s Wife wastes no time explaining anything but the emotional realities of its characters (which are diverse and complicated). It’s the product one would get if you bleached the crap out of How Stella Got Her Groove Back and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, tossed in a quartet of rich Manhattan intelligentsia, and sauteed in a heaping spoonful of scatological humor. Allergist’s Wife is a highly enjoyable production if you can settle your stomach and keep up.   Continue reading

May 15

A Lovely Evening of Music and Poetry: HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SEAMUS HEANEY

The Queen went on vacation. This was one of the shows she saw in NYC.

Happy Birthday, Seamus Heaney image

Heaney was fancy.

Seamus Heaney Birthday Celebration: A celebration of Heaney’s works with songs by Ellen Mandel to his poems.

May 12, 2014 at 6 PM
Cornelia St Cafe
New York City, New York

Kim Sykes,Paul Hecht, Lizbeth Mackay, actors
Eleanor Taylor, vocals
Ellen Mandel, composer/piano

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NY) Upstairs at the Cornelia St. Cafe is a posh restaurant with food that looks as delicious as it tastes. Downstairs is a performance nook with just enough space for a piano and a few actors to huddle together in performance. It isn’t glamorous but there is a full bar. This was a cozy setting to belatedly celebrate the birthday of Irish poet and scholar Seamus Heaney through song and poetry. Continue reading

Feb 14

Unattainable Excellence for Boston: WITNESS UGANDA

Photo: Gretjen Helene Photography; Adeola Role with Griffin Matthews and Emma Hunton.

Presented by American Repertory Theatre
By Matt Gould and Griffin Matthews
Directed by Diane Paulus
Music Directed by Remy Kurs
Choreography by Darrell Grand Moultrie

Based on true events.

February 4 – March 16, 2014
ASL Interpreted performances: Tues, March 4 at 7:30pm; Sun, March 9 at 2:00pm.
Audio Described performances: Wed, March 5 at 7:30pm; Sat, March 8 at 2:00pm.
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
A.R.T. on Facebook
Witness Uganda on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel
(Cambridge)In Witness Uganda, Griffin (character inspired by co-creator Griffin Matthews) goes to Uganda on a mission to build a school for needy children. He hopes to make the world a better place and find life purpose. He discovers that American aid workers are not building schools for the community. The Ugandan children are not receiving an education. Together, Griffin, his best friend Ryan and a group of orphans fight to better the lives of Ugandans. Witness Uganda is about the complications of international giving in third world countries, the role community plays on a global scale, and Man’s eternal struggle for purpose. Continue reading

Aug 23

Punks That Rock, Plot that Panders: “Rooms, A Rock Romance”

Photo Credit: Kevin Hadfield for Bad Habit Productions. Kicking ass/Taking names.

presented by Bad Habit Productions
music and lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman
book by Paul Scott Goodman and Miriam Gordon
directed by Daniel Morris
arrangements and orchestrations by Jesse Vargas

The production is in memory of Terri Meilus.

reviewed on August 22, 2013
August 10 – 25, 2013
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Rooms: A Rock Romance is a contemporary rock musical dressed in vintage clothing. It has Folk, New Wave and Pop Rock influences. It sounds like the love child of John Cameron Mitchell and Jonathan Larson if Joni Mitchell was the surrogate and they all lived in Glasgow. It has a rich score well worth a listen. Continue reading

Aug 05

It’s Only Torture if Organs Fail: “Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them”

Photo Credit: Titanic Theatre Co’s Facebook page. The company is not afraid of icebergs or snuggles.

By Christopher Durang
Directed by Adam Zahler
Presented by Titanic Theatre Company

July 25-August 10, 2013
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Titanic Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

M for Mature. Actors occasionally appear in their underoos.

(Watertown) The attack on the two towers in NYC and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 changed the way the United States viewed itself forever. Before that day, many citizens viewed North America as the most powerful entity in the world. After 9/11, we recognized our vulnerability as a country. Almost everyone was looking for answers. There were many who turned to The Arts for catharsis. These same people reacted in anger when artists turned back to them for compassion. The Arts were supposed to provide answers. While coping with the same shock, we artists didn’t know what to do either.

It’s been 12 years since the attacks and the US is still divided. Our media has moved on to bigger and newer things. But our artists are still processing the events and asking questions. The media has given the American people plenty of reasons to explain why Taliban members attacked. Thank goodness for The Arts. Playwright Christopher Durang hasn’t given up on understanding the U.S.’s response to the attacks of 9/11. Rather than focus on the “badness” of Ossama Bin Laden*, Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them ponders the American people’s decade-long reaction from the perspective of western, 20/20 hindsight. He peppers his absurdist play with Dadaism and panic. The script is a sweet bouquet of human experience and dramatic flair. Continue reading