Nov 11

Scarily Relevant Once More: WEST SIDE STORY

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 1- 20, 2016
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BOOK BY: Arthur Laurents
MUSIC BY: Leonard Bernstein
LYRICS BY: Stephen Sondheim
Director: Bob Richard
Music Director: Milton Granger
Choreographer: Diane Laurenson
Based on Conception of Jerome Robbins
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) How quaint – working class whites and Hispanics fighting for control of a few city blocks. West Side Story is a fun period piece hearkening back to a time when institutionalized racism was the norm and …
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Mar 09

The Harm that Lust Can Do: TRISTAN & YSEULT

overs Tristan (Dominic Marsh) with Yseult (Hannah Vassallo) Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult Photo by: Richard Termine

Lovers Tristan (Dominic Marsh) with Yseult (Hannah Vassallo).  Photo by:Richard Termine

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Directed and adapted by Emma Rice
Written by Carl Grose & Anna Maria Murphy
Performed by Kneehigh Theatre Company
Composed by Stu Barker
Sweet Band: Lizzy Westcott, Justin Radford, Pat Moran, James Gow

March 5 – 15, 2015
Cutler Majectic Theater
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) In 2006 Twentieth Century Fox released a film bastardization of the Tristan and Isolde myth, Tristan & Isolde. It was headlined by James freakin’ Franco, directed by Kevin Reynolds, and produced by Ridley Scott. It was terrible but sweet, innocent youths flocked to the theater because, then “It” boy, James Franco (Tristan) participated in naked sexy times with Sophia Myles (Isolde) and they wanted to see it. These poor kids assumed that T&I were star crossed lovers with good intentions and bad luck. The truth lives thousands of miles away from the inane crud Reynolds and Franco brought to screen.

Kneehigh Theatre Company’s Tristant & Yseult presents a more true interpretation of the medieval French tale. Tristan (Dominic Marsh with a dodgy French accent), Yseult (Hannah Vassallo) and King Mark (Stuart Goodwin) are caught in a love triangle. Tristan loves and serves the English King Mark like a father. In return, Mark loves Tristan like a son. After defeating the Irish royal Morholt (Niall Ashdown),  Tristan sails to Ireland to capture Morholt’s sister, the fair Yseult, and bring her back to England at Mark’s behest. Upon seeing her for the first time, both men fall deeply in love with Yseult. Yseult gives her sensible heart to Mark but her hormonal lady bits to Tristan. The actions are narrated by the elegant White Hands (Kirsty Woodward) and the patrons of the Club of the Unloved, the omniscient ensemble dressed in snoods, thick glasses, and windbreakers (snood dudes). There’s betrayal and laughs aplenty. Continue reading

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May 14

“Mad Men” Set to Song and Dance: ON THE TOWN

Photo by Mark S. Howard

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston

Book and lyrics by Betty Comden & Adolph Green
Music by Leonard Bernstein
Based on an idea by Jerome Robbins
Directed by Spiro Veloudos
Music direction by Jonathan Goldberg
(kick-ass) Choreography & musical staging by Ilyse Robbins

May 10 – June 8, 2013
The Lyric Stage
Boston
, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) On the Town is a sweet little musical about what happens when three horny US Navy men seeking adventure visit NYC for 24 hours. As the plot thickens, they meet their equally horny female counterparts, do some healthy snogging, see some sights and return to duty. It’s mostly romantic. The  Lyric Stage delicately wraps these adult themes in saccharine sweet nostalgia, excellent choreography and Bernstein’s music. Although this could be for mature audiences only, it is presented as tasteful family-friendly material. Continue reading

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May 13

A Movement in Technicolor: IN THE HEIGHTS

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company
Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Book by Quiara Alegría Hudes
Conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music directed by Nicholas James Connell
Choreography by Larry Sousa

Boston Center for the Arts
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) In the Heights tackles heavy subjects such as endemic poverty, Immigration Reform, affordable education and racial stereotype with canny artistic expression. This community in Washington Heights might be needy but they are not poor. They are proud, hardworking and passionate people who strive for a better life. Just like you and me.

This music incorporates traditional Latin dance with Rap, Hiphop, and Flow poetry, among many others. The dancing looks like it is straight from America’s Best Dance Crew. The ensemble dance scenes are electric and justifiably make the show the stand-out production that it is. The cast adapts to the different styles and each other with such ease it’s as if they studied at the same school. Continue reading

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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

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