Sep 12

One Ironic Goose Step At A Time; or Two Geeks, One Show: “Straight White Men”

Photo by Andy Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures. The cast in a moment of superficial contemplation.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Written by Young Jean Lee
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue

Sept. 7 – 30, 2018
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Mainstage Theater
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Representation matters. Straight White Men is written by an Asian playwright. Noelani Kamelamela was asked to write a review in addition to the critique written by Kitty Drexel. Both are posted below.

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Watertown, MA) The synopsis of Straight White Men seems like it would be a Men’s Rights Activist’s nearest and dearest dream brought to life.  I imagine a white man in a polo shirt and khakis sitting down by the light of a tiki torch to read what would be a thoroughly delightful description: after all, the main action only involves four white men.  Yup. Four white men. No women. No people of color. This hypothetical straight white man would see the name Young Jean Lee and maybe remember sweet ole Robert E. Lee. Perhaps it hearkens him back to time before, when America was great.  “What a fine night of theatre!” this man in a barcalounger would remark aloud as he reached for his credit card and purchased a ticket to New Rep Theatre’s production which runs at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown through September 30th. Continue reading

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Feb 11

Totally Rad To The Max: Bogart and Lement’s “PINOCCHIO”

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Photo by by Kippy Goldfarb.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Adapted by Steven Bogart and Wendy Lement
Based on the book The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
Directed by Steven Bogart
Music directed/composed by Mary Bichner
Choreographed by Patricia Manalo Bochnak
Dramaturg: Kate Snodgrass
Sign Performers: Jola Leary, Adrianna Kathryn Neefus, Desiree Weems Sheppard

Jan. 30 – Feb. 22, 2015
ASL/Audio description: Feb 12,20,22
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Many years ago, when I was a burgeoning opera singer, I attempted to read Collodi’s Pinocchio in the original Italian to learn the language. Pinocchio, originating as a series of short stories in an Italian magazine, is a convoluted tale of dramatic proportions about a little wooden puppet-boy who gets into scrapes only to be saved by those who inexplicably love him. Pinocchio has no social skills, no respect, and no discipline. Yet,his father Geppetto and the Blue Fairy are devoted anyway. I read about ¾ of the book on my journey towards bilingualism. Considering my penchant for justice and the frequency in which Pinocchio is rewarded for his bad behavior, I’m surprised I slogged through as much as I did. Continue reading

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Nov 04

Don’t Fear the Beards: THE HOBBIT

Andrew Barbato and Stephen Benson. Photo credit: Wheelock Facebook page.

Andrew Barbato and Stephen Benson. Photo credit: Wheelock Facebook page.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Based on the book by J.R.R. Tolkien
Adapted for the stage by Patricia Gray
Directed by Shelley Bolman
Original score by Will Holshouser
Fight choreography by Ted Hewlett

October 25th – November 24th, 2013
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) Picture a staging of The Hobbit without copious CGI, but with kids in cute beards rocking outrageous Scottish accents.  Could be good, could be terrible, right?

The thing is that J.R.R. Tolkien, bless his bookish heart, knew jack about pacing a story, and cared even less.  The Hobbit, here interpreted by Patricia Gray, is an episodic yarn that meanders here and there, getting bogged down into bedtime storytelling action by the time the band hits the Misty Mountains.  It works perfectly as bedtime fare for geeks just for precisely this reason; the thing reads like a really rocking night of Dungeons and Dragons.  Things just happen, and your characters get bailed out by the dungeon-master (Tolkien) every now and then to keep the story moving. Continue reading

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Jan 30

A Well-Done Introduction to a Classic: THE WIZARD OF OZ

Katherine Leigh Doherty as Dorothy and ensemble in the Wheelock Family Theatre production of The Wizard of Oz. photo by Tony Paradiso.

The Wizard of Oz, By L. Frank Baum, music and lyrics by E. Y. Harburg, adapted by John Kane for the Royal Shakespeare Company, based upon the Classic Motion Picture owned by Turner Entertainment Co. and disbuted in all media by Warner Bros, Wheelock Family Theatre, 1/27/12-2/26/12, http://www.wheelockfamilytheatre.org/feature-performance.aspx.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) If I hear one more mediocre stage actress imitate Judy Garland’s tortured delivery of Dorothy Gale from the movie version of The Wizard of Oz, I will buy the Wicked Witch of the West a poncho.  Inadequate productions of L. Frank Baum’s bizarre story often parrot the rampant overacting of the movie, with disastrous results.

Luckily, Wheelock Family Theatre director James P. Byrne and actress Katherine Leigh Doherty (Dorothy) set a fresh and nuanced tone to their production of The Wizard of Oz, rallying most of the cast to create characters that are both vibrant and familiar.  Continue reading

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