Mar 24

Rock Out with Your Snark Out: BLOODY, BLOODY ANDREW JACKSON

Photo care of Emerson Umbrella Facebook page.

Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson
Presented by The Umbrella Mainstage
Written by Alex Timbers
Music & Lyrics by Michael Friedman
Directed by James Tallach
Music Directed by Maria Duaime Robinson
Choreography by Lara Finn
Fight Choreography by Micah Greene

March 21 – April 5
The Umbrella Community Arts Center
Concord, MA
The Umbrella on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclosure: I have worked with both directors James Tallach, Maria Duaime Robinson, and a cast member or two. This review is tempered to reflect this.

(Concord) History favors old, White dudes. Heck, old, White dudes are favored now.  If Green Day had collaborated on an historical punk musical with Bill Clinton, Lindsay Lohan and George Michael, chances are they would have written Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson (let us all say a silent prayer for Clinton’s potential saxophone career). And it would be a huge hit. Fans of American Idiot the musical will appreciate the music of BBAJ. They will also appreciate the snarky treatment of a politician who purported to be the People’s President but, after all is said and done, was only in it for himself. History has repeated itself and punk happens to be the medium for this particular telling. Continue reading

Jan 24

Come for the Puppets, Stay for the Bread: SHATTERER OF WORLDS

The Shatterer of Worlds

scene from The Shatterer of Worlds; photo credit: Mark Dannenhauer

Presented by Bread and Puppet Theatre
Directed by Peter Schumann

January 23 – February 2, 2014
Cyclorama
Boston Center for the Arts
529 Tremont St
Boston, MA
Bread and Puppet on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston) There aren’t many opportunities in your modern New England life to actually be a part of something that has deep, continuous, traditional roots.  I don’t count Civil War Reenacting.[1]  Experiencing Bread and Puppet is an honest-to-goodness moment of oneness with theatre history, even if you don’t quite understand what’s going on in the performance. Continue reading

Dec 02

Charm Conquers All: CAMELOT

Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Books and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Lowe
Original production directed and staged by Moss Heart
Based on “The Once and Future King” by TH White
Directed and choreographed by Russell Garrett
Musical direction by David McGrory
Dance Captain – Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Fight Captain – Michael J Borges

Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, 2013
Charles Mosesian Theater
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

(Watertown) The Director’s Notes by Russell Garrett are excellent. An audience member desiring nostalgic information correlating Camelot to the anniversary of JFK’s assassination will be well pleased. For this purpose, I will not dwell on the JFK’s Camelot as Mr. Garrett has already done an excellent job of doing so in the programme. If you’d like to know more, see the show.

Considering the weight that the Kennedy Family carries in the US, one might expect Camelot to be a more serious show. Lerner and Lowe’s fluffy hit does examine some heavy issues but the majority of the script and lyrics are intended to entertain rather than educate. The sugary sweet production by New Rep does not fail in its mission to cheer Baby Boomers and to indoctrinate younger generations in classic musical theatre. Continue reading

Nov 25

Nothing is but What Is Not: “Macbeth”

Presented by F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Joey DeMita
Original Music by Steven Bergman

November 22 – 30th, 2013
Arsenal Center for the Arts
F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Watertown) Some projects require a special touch.  There are, for instance, people who implicitly understand Musicals.  The musical form requires things that other theatre does not: an eye for choreography, an ear for music, an interest in balancing ham and legitimate acting…

Directing Shakespeare is a very specific task that requires a very specific skillset: an ear for rhetoric, an understanding of verse, a knowledge of history, an eye for embedded stage directions… F.U.D.G.E.’s Joey DeMita has none of these skills. Continue reading

Nov 13

Homosexuals Are People: “The Normal Heart”

Photo by Richard Hall/Silverline Images

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
By Larry Kramer
Directed by David J. Miller

November 1 – 30, 2013
Plaza Black Box
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: Rape, Proud Homosexuality, Truth

(Boston) Britney Spears thinks that gay people are “adorable and hilarious.” Her quote is terrifying because it is indicative of the thoughts and feelings of the majority of US citizens. For most of the world, only straight people are real™ people. Gay people are fun and quirky but we aren’t real™ people deserving of equal rights and a voice, says society. The LGBTQ get to be characters, sidekicks, and sassy friends who are defined solely by the people with whom we rub nethers (and other fun parts). Spears and people like her are stereotyping an entire community of human beings because it hasn’t occurred to them that we’re also human. Our history, culture and politics are just as rich as the hetero-normative precedent. Continue reading

Sep 13

Election-Year Escapism: THE MIKADO

Erica Spyres (Yum-Yum) and cast of The Mikado at The Lyric Stage. Photo by Mark S. Howard

The Mikado, music by Arthur Sullivan, libretto by W.S. Gilbert
Directed by Spiro Veloudos

Lyric Stage Company, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA
September 9 – October 13

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

It is rare to see good actors overacting, over-annunciating and mugging the audience to ring out every laugh. It is even rarer to enjoy every minute of it. In the Lyric Stage Company’s staging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s the Mikado, you get the delicious treat of both.

If you have never seen a Gilbert and Sullivan play, then now’s the time to get initiated with this production. Continue reading

Apr 27

28 SEEDS: Be a part of Boston History

 

photo credit: Hans Wendland

28 Seeds, Liars & Believers, Boston Center for the Arts Plaza Theatre, 4/19/12-5/12/12, http://liarsandbelievers.com/Shows/28Seeds.

Reviewed by John Herring

Let’s start with the mission statement of Liars and Believers, the company responsible for presenting 28 Seeds, currently at the Plaza theatre of the BCA complex: “Liars and Believers expands the language of live performance, exploring the widest variety of theatrical forms, creating accessible, unique shows that meaningfully engage the world we share.” Multimedia BOOYAH!!! fun is the game, here. Your seat taken, you will wonder at Zeynep Bakkal’s set design, involving the actual bare support structures of the space, evoking forgotten government warehouses, science gone terribly wrong, and gritty urban chaos that extends to and beyond your seat. Continue reading

Nov 08

November: You’re What You Own

Photo by Reid Gilman

November by David Mamet, Hovey Players, 11/4/11-11/19/11,  http://www.hoveyplayers.com/news/2011-2012-season/november/.  Mature language and themes.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Waltham, MA) Jonathan Larson wrote, “when you’re living in America…you’re what you own…”; this idea is taken to the highest degree in David Mamet’s November.  Hovey Players hits the heartstrings of the nation as it skillfully examines American politics and policy as we struggle to define what a democracy is and what we are willing to sacrifice for that democracy. Continue reading

Sep 22

Where To Stand When You’re In ‘Mortal Terror’

Will Shakespeare, Ben Jonson and John Marston (Stafford Clark-Price, Jeremiah Kissel and John Kuntz) Photo by Boston Playwrights' Theatre

 

Mortal Terror by Robert Brustein, Suffolk University & Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, The Modern Theatre at Suffolk University, 9/15/11-10/2/11, http://www.bu.edu/bpt/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) Each generation lives in fear of war, conflicts, pain, and death.  Each person has to choose how they are going to react to the conflict.  Mortal Terror addresses this puzzlement in Elizabethan garb.  Rowdy writers, absolute rulers, and crazy conspirators throw words back and forth until every character must face his own compass and decide on where he stands.

Will Shakespeare, the toast of Renaissance England’s theatre scene, gets the opportunity to write a play to legitimize King James’ rule. Continue reading

Sep 17

His Girl Friday: Justifiable Laughter

Left to right: Angela Brazil as Hildy Johnson, Stephen Thorne as McCue, Lovell Holder (Brown/Trinity

His Girl Friday by John Guare, adapted from The Front Page by Ben Hecht/Charles McArthur & Columbia Pictures Film, Trinity Repertory Company, 9/9/11-10/9/11, http://www.trinityrep.com/on_stage/current_season/CAB.php.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Providence, RI) John Guare lends his wry wit to his newest creation: His Girl Friday. With the talented cast, masterful direction, and clever design, the pre-World War II press room. With the black and white realities mixed in with the comedy, the play shines a light on the present ambiguities of justice, media manipulation, and political diversion. Continue reading