Presented by The Umbrella Stage Company Music by Harry Warren Lyrics by Al Dubin Book by Michael Stewart & Mark Bramble Based on the novel by Bradford Ropes Directed by Brian Boruta Music direction by James Murphy Musical restaging and new choreography by Lara Finn Banister
(Concord, MA) 42nd Street is a show-within-a-show jukebox musical serving as a thinly veiled excuse to pair tap dance with 1930’s Broadway hits. The 1933 Depression-era movie had choreography by Busby Berkeley and was nominated for an Academy Award. The movie (and eventually the musical) has deeply impacted musical theatre. Bullets Over Broadway, Kiss Me Kate and other backstage musicals have all been influenced by 42nd Street’s incarnations. It’s a classic but carries with it the problems of its time. Continue reading →
“We need to make books cool again. If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don’t fuck them.”
Critique by Kitty Drexel
(Boston, MA) The pop culture obsessions of today are the classics of tomorrow: 50 Shades of Greyis Twilight fanfiction; the Twilight Saga is influenced by Wuthering Heights; Wuthering Heights was controversial in its day for its critical examination of religious hypocrisy, and class inequality within the gothic fiction genre. If the cultural narrative in response to a book shows us who we are as a society, then The Book Club Play at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre shows us that book snobs are insecure secret-hiders. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) Choir Boy opens on a sole figure, David (Dwayne P. Mitchell), a student at the elite Charles R. Drew Prep School. He looks into the audience with intent as he begins to step dance. It is deliberate, slow and unaccompanied. The routine then increases in intensity and volume as more students appear. They flank the audience, on their way to the stage, with percussive dancing and chanting. Among the students, I noticed Bobby Marrow (Malik Mitchell) right away. He often seemed moments away from breaking into a joyous smile, mirroring my own.Continue reading →
Playwright Ginger Lazarus; photo via www.gingerlazarus.com.
(Cambridge, MA) Playwright Ginger Lazarus said the journey to write her drama “The Akhmatova Journals” began in 1993 while visiting St. Petersburg, Russia.
Lazarus was completing a semester abroad in Moscow through the O’Neill Center’s National Theater Institute when fellow students invited her to visit the Anna Akhmatova Museum at the Fountain House with them. She said during a phone interview in late July that she planned on meeting her classmates there that afternoon but a sudden, touristy apathy convinced her to spend the afternoon sipping espresso in a cafe instead.
“I still kick myself for not going,” Lazarus said.
Lazarus’s play “The Akhmatova Journals” is scheduled for a dramatic play reading as part of the That’s What She Said program held by the Nora Theatre Company at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA. Continue reading →
(Cambridge, MA) A possessed contortionist, a painting that springs to life to ensnare its painter, a clan of vampires, and a burlesque zombie who strangely (and seductively?) tears off and eats their own skin during their aerial act. Yes, it is Halloween for the Boston Circus Guild. This year, they successfully walk the line between disturbing and beguiling. The show is fragmented into circus acts, yes, but the pieces cohere into a complete (if possessed) picture.Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) American history is black history, is slave history. It is a history that demonstrates the deepest stoicism and power of humanity. Beaten and chained, stripped of everything, Black American slaves formed communities tighter than blood, turned lifetimes of suffering into exquisite song, and used song to rise above, revolt against injustice, and redeem all humanity. Nat Turner’s Rebellion was a point of inflection in our nation’s story, which swung the course of history toward freedom and salvation. A grand opera is needed to deliver this epic. No other medium could do justice. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) For relatively local folks who missed the remount of The Peculiar Patriot at the National Black Theatre in Manhattan this summer, grab tickets and head over to the Paramount Center. If you can’t catch The Peculiar Patriot over the rest of it’s Boston run, but if you know a theatre and a community who needs this show, bug the heck out of them to pay these artists and get this to as many audiences as possible. Continue reading →
(Watertown, MA) We Will Not Be Silent revisits the true story of Sophie (Sarah Oakes Muirhead) and Hans (Conor Proft) Scholl, German student dissidents in Nazi Germany executed for attempting to mount a nonviolent resistance movement in 1942. Post-WWII, Germany vindicated the Scholl siblings and lionized their sacrifice as a symbol of great stoicism and bravery. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) Any social worker can tell you that the foster system is broken. Wards of the State are just as vulnerable as foster kids, but at the very least they get to socialize with each other in a relatively consistent environment. The Tragic Ecstasy of Girlhood takes a look at family dynamics within State government enforced boundaries and the impossible odds girls face as they grow into womanhood. It’s a miracle any of us come into adulthood with our sanity intact. Continue reading →