Sep 08

“Sweeney Todd” Delights in Dire Tragedy

Christopher Chew, Paul C. Soper. Photo by Mark S. Howard

Photo by Mark S. Howard. Christopher Chew, Paul C. Soper.

Presented by the Lyric Stage of Boston
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed & Staged by Spiro Veloudos
Music Director, Jonathan Goldberg

Sept. 5 – Oct. 11, 2014
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
Lyric on Facebook

Review Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) In today’s entertainment landscape, probably the most surprising thing about The Lyric Stage’s production of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is how un-sexy it makes murder. No, grisly death probably shouldn’t be attractive as a rule, but television shows like Hannibal and Dexter and even some thriller novels give serial killers a stylized warmth. Blood is splashed artfully over plastic tarps and cannibalized flesh is prepared with exquisite attention to detail for unsuspecting dinner guests. Stephen Sondheim’s infamous musical gives us only Sweeney Todd’s icy vengeance, spinning more out of control with every throat he slits in his barber’s chair, and Mrs. Lovett’s questionable baking skills. Continue reading

May 16

Right is Better Than Nice: INTO THE WOODS

Photo by Mark S. Howard. The cast; kicking ass and taking names in The Woods.

 

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Music & lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
Directed & staged by Spiro Veloudos
Music directed by Catherine Stornetta

May 9 – June 15, 2014
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
The Lyric on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(BostonInto the Woods is a tough nut to crack. On the one hand, it’s a classic and butts will fill seats faster than Satan fills a church on Sunday. On the other, it’s a classic and everyone who loves this show will have an opinion that they swear it’s the only legit one because they saw that Broadway performance that one time… on DVD. The Lyric Stage Co’s production is good but not good enough to silence the naysayers (the lines to the bathrooms were all atwitter with sarcasm). The audience community of Boston is protective of their favorite shows. This one falls under the blanket of shows that the community will fight for to the death (of their subscription). Continue reading

Feb 18

Bobby is an Immature Dick: COMPANY

61495_549787648449858_87023996_n Presented by Moonbox Productions
Music & lyrics By Stephen Sondheim
Book by George Furth
Orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat
Music directed by Dan Rodriguez
Super fun choreography by Rachel Bertone

February 7 – March 1, 2014
Nancy and Edward Roberts Studio Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston’s South End
Moonbox on Facebook

Every ticket benefits: Music for Food

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) They say that Stephen Sondheim is one of those composers that people either love or hate. I disagree. There is so much in his catalogue that there could easily be something for everyone. Company, like Sondheim himself, is one of those shows that people have decided others love or hate. Again, I disagree. There are many moments in Company that are golden. Some are not. Depending how much one enjoys Sondheim (or not) opinion fluctuates greatly. This production by Moonbox has several golden moments that I feel reflect the truths Sondheim sharing in his musical. Other moments are not so effective. Continue reading

Apr 08

Serviceable Revolution: LES MISERABLES

One Day More The Company of the New 25th Anniversary Production of Les Misérables; photo credit: http://www.lesmis.com/us/sights-and-sounds/photos/

The Company of the New 25th Anniversary Production of Les Misérables; photo credit: http://www.lesmis.com/us/sights-and-sounds/photos/

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo
Book/Music by Claude-Michel Schönberg
Author/Dramatist: Alain Boublil
Directed by James Powell/Laurence Connor

Cameron Mackintosh Productions
The Hanover Theatre
Worcester, MA
April 2nd – 7th, 2013
Hanover Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Worcester) You’re probably sick of hearing about Les Miserables, and how Russell Crowe can’t sing and how Anne Hathaway can’t pick out her dress.  I know I am, and I didn’t really like the musical that much in the first place.  “Ornate” might be a generous way to describe how this play’s music reaches my ears; “overdone” might be more accurate.  But if you can strip away the hype, it’s possible to see a really good storyline that materializes from this spectacle.  After all, that Victor Hugo guy may have been no Stephen Sondheim, but he was no slouch.  Penned a few novels, something about a hunchback.  I hear he sold a few copies. Continue reading

Jan 14

Incomplete Sweetness: MARRY ME A LITTLE

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures

presented by New Repertory Theatre

songs by Stephen Sondheim
conceived and developed by Craig Lucas and Norman Rene
directed and choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
musical direction by David McGrory

Arsenal Center for the Arts
in the Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
January 6th – January 27th, 2013
New Repertory Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) As a songwriter, Stephen Sondheim is better than you.  He just is.

He mastered the art of straightforward musicals with West Side Story and he’s been toying with us ever since.  After figuring out what sappy audiences want in a love song, he’s been not giving it to them, choosing instead to dwell in the tensions and the ambiguities of our romantic natures in lovely, sonic dissonance. Continue reading

May 07

Lunatics Running the Asylum: ASSASSINS

As the culminating event in the College's year-long examination of the theme of violence, Assassins brims with a particularly urgent energy. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky for Boston University Photography © 2012 Boston University all rights reserved

Assassins, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, Boston University Colllege of Fine Arts School of Theatre, Boston University Theatre, 4/4/12-4/10/12, http://www.bu.edu/cfa/2012/04/20/assassins/.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) It’s nice for Stephen Sondheim and his partner John Weidman to clear up a few things for us about theater in their mishmash of a play, Assassins, playing at the Boston University Theatre.

They have proven a fundamental truth: You can populate your play with profoundly interesting characters, give them things to do that impact every theatergoer’s psyche and bestow wonderful music for them to sing as they do it, but if the script doesn’t allow them to interact in a meaningful way, it’s just an exercise in futility.  The playwrights prove this point despite the best efforts of a talented cast, who creates full-fledged and compelling characters. In fact, the cast and stellar set give us such high expectations that it makes the mind want to rebel at this idle script all the more.    Continue reading

Mar 17

A Muddled Shrubbery: INTO THE WOODS

Into the Woods; music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine, Nextdoor Theater Company, Nextdoor Center for the Arts, 3/9/12-3/24/12,

http://www.nextdoortheater.org/Nextdoor_Theater/THEATER_SHOWS.html.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Winchester, MA) Be careful what you wish for.  No, wait. It’s a jungle out there.  No, wait.  No day but today.  No, wait.  Teach your children well.  No, wait. Continue reading