May 21

“Pirates of Penzance” Pillages Hearts

Emily Casey, Sean Pfautsch, Matt Kahler, Ryan Bourque, Dana Omar. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

presented by American Repertory Theater
produced by The Hypocrites
by Gilbert & Sullivan
adapted by Sean Graney, Kevin O’Donnell
directed by Sean Graney

Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
The Hypocrites’ Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge) The Hypocrites’ production of Pirates of Penzance is an absolute confection.  Adapting the beloved Gilbert and Sullivan operetta to a quirkier, more contemporary stage, Sean Graney and Kevin O’Donnell infuse the original libretto and its score with banjos, bathing suits, beach balls, and a warmth that charms but never cloys.  It’s energetic and just plain fun.

Premiering in New York in 1879, the original show has a long history of making audiences titter at lyrics like, “I am the very model of a modern major general.”  The comic opera lampoons Victorian concepts of honor, piracy, politeness, the literary inconveniences of being a foundling, and, most importantly, duty. Continue reading

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Sep 27

Candide–The Best of All Possible Shows

Geoff Packard and Lauren Molina in the Huntington Theatre Company's CANDIDE. Directed and newly adapted by Mary Zimmerman. Playing 9/10-10/16 at the BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo © T Charles Erickson

Candide, Music by Leonard Bernstein, Lyrics by Richard Wilbur, Adapted by Mary Zimmerman, Huntington Theatre Company, 9/10/11-10/13/11, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/production.aspx?id=10114.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Boston, MA) Wow.  It’s hard to know where to begin when discussing Huntington Theatre Company’s Candide.  Mary Zimmerman’s new adaptation of this revered and much revised musical is staggering.

Based on Voltaire’s 1759 novella, “Candide, Or Optimism,” Candide was first produced as a musical in 1953 by the genius Leonard Bernstein.  Unfortunately, although he had the beginnings of a musical masterpiece, the show was not received well.  Reworked for decades, director and adapter Zimmerman has created a cohesive, brilliantly staged, beautifully performed work of art. Continue reading

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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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