Revisiting History with The Longwood Players’ “A Bright Room Called Day”

 

by James Wilkinson

 

The Longwood Players present A Bright Room Called Day by Tony Kushner. Nov 3-11, 2017. Presented at Chelsea Theatre Works. Directed by Kaitlyn Chantry. Set Design by John Randell. Lighting Design by Erik Foxx. Costume Design by Sandy Chantry. Sound Design by Lee Neikirk. Projection Design by Sunil Doshi. Prop Designer by Kaitlyn Chantry and Kat McCorkle.

 

I have a friend who absolutely refuses to read a book more than once. Her reasoning is that once she knows what’s going to happen in the story, (AKA the plot), she loses interest. For her, the magic is in finding out what happens next. Personally, I’ve never been that sort of person (and have argued with her on that point many times), but her theory is one that you often find lobbed at theater companies, especially those who specialize in the classical cannon (“Why, oh why do we need to see yet another production of Hamlet?”). To those people I would say that a theater script isn’t like a novel or a movie, which remains fixed each time the viewer comes to it. A play script is more like a template or, if you like, a tool box. Even within the most precise of writers there can be a great deal of variety in how a theater director explores the possibilities the playwright lays out. As an audience member, there can be a great deal of fun in going to a new production of a play you’ve seen before and saying “How are they going to tackle this one?”

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Sleeping Weazel Combines Thought-Provoking Message, Humor with “Traveling Minstrel Show”

 

Review by James Wilkinson

 

3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show. Conceived and Written by James Scruggs. Directed by Mark Rayment. Scenic and Graphic Design by Michael O’Reilly. Video Design by Jason Batcheller. Lighting Design by Bridget K. Doyle. Sound Design by Mark Van Hare. Choreographed by Nejla Yatkin. Makeup Artist: Brian Strumwasser. Presented by Sleeping Weazel through November 11.

 

There’s an inherent irony present in this review which I cannot help but appreciate. A white male is going to tell you what he thinks about a show that is very concerned with examining what happens when black men do not have control over their own narratives. If this is the kind of scenario that bothers you, then feel free to check out after this paragraph (I promise that I won’t take it personally). I’ll boil the review down to this: You should go see Sleeping Weazel’s production of James Scrugg’s play, 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show. You should see it, form your own opinion on the work and contribute to the conversation that Scruggs and his director, Mark Rayment are trying to start.

 

Still with me? Fantastic…

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ArtsEmerson Delivers Tense and Moving “Kiss”

 

by Michele Markarian

 

‘Kiss – Written by Guillermo Calderon. Directed by David Dower. Presented by ArtsEmerson, at the Emerson Paramount Center, Jackie Liebergott Black Box, 559 Washington St, Boston, through November 19.

 

“Kiss” begins as a televised performance of what appears to be a melodrama from Syria, loaded with betrayal of both friendship and love, staged by young Americans. The character of Hadeel (Ashley Dixon) is being propositioned by the character of Yusef (Derek Brian Demkowicz), despite the fact that both of them are friends with their respective others, the characters Ahmed (Brandon Beach) and Bana (DeeDee Elbieh). “Hate is fire – the beginning of a second love,” Yusef tells Hadeel, who tries to resist him. “Right now you think you hate me, but that’s just the beginning”.  Hurt feelings and jealousy come into play with the arrival of Ahmed and later, Bana, especially after Bana announces triumphantly that she has been kissed. She does chastise Yusef for his odd revolt from the relationship with “Before you break up, you have to become distant and weird”, which he has not done.

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‘Silent Sky’ Shines Brightly at MRT

 

By Mike Hoban

 

‘Silent Sky’ – Written by Lauren Gunderson; Directed by Sean Daniels; Set Design by James J. Fenton; Costume Design by Anne Kennedy; Lighting Design by Brian J. Lilienthal; and Original Composition and Sound by David Keeton. Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre at the 50 East Merrimack Street through November 12

 

Lauren Gunderson’s ‘Silent Sky’, now being given glorious life by Merrimack Rep’s first rate production, is proof positive that science can indeed be fun. It certainly helps that it’s the science of the stars – and its infinite possibilities – at the heart of this dramedy, which is uplifting without hitting us over the head with the very real importance of its subject matter. Silent Sky tells the story of Henrietta Swan Leavitt, the groundbreaking astronomer who devised a method of analysis that established “the relationship between period and luminosity in Cepheid variables” – which essentially provided the building blocks for the discovery that the universe is considerably bigger (by billions of times) than previously thought.

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“Lost Tempo” Hits All the Right Notes

 

Review by James Wilkinson

 

‘Lost Tempo’ – Written by Cliff Odle; Directed by Diego Arciniegas; Scenic Design by Jeffrey Petersen; Costume Design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt; Lighting Design by Evey Connerty-Marin; Sound Design by J Jumbelic. Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre at 949 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston through October 22.

 

I’m a sucker for a truly immersive theater set. There’s something about the way it envelops you, inviting you in. You’re allowed to let everything outside of the theater fade away. Forget about where you parked the car, what you had for dinner, the work at home you’ve been putting off. The curtain hasn’t even risen and already you’ve been dropped into the world of the play. Read more ““Lost Tempo” Hits All the Right Notes”

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The Renaissance City Theatre Inc., the producing entity of the Granite Theatre’s current show is “Jesus Christ Superstar”, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s rock opera. The show chronicles the last seven days in the life of Jesus of Nazareth as seen through the eyes of his disciple Judas Iscariot, who became disillusioned by the movement. At the opening of the show, Judas agonizes over his perception that Jesus’ followers have become fanatical and unrealistic, hailing him as a god and twisting his words into monstrous prophecies.

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Rod Ferguson Brings Music, Laughs with “Some Others I’ve Seen”

 

by Mike Hoban

 

Following a successful summer run in Provincetown, Rod Ferguson is bringing his unique cabaret style to Club Café in the South End for the next two Thursdays in October. His new show, “Some Others I’ve Seen: Stumbling Towards Love” combines musical selections from the 40’s (“You’d Be So Nice To Come Home To”, “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” “Where or When”) with a series of well-crafted (and very funny) personal anecdotes to create an evening of cabaret that allows you to check your mind at the door, sing along – and laugh like hell.

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Theater Mirror Interviews Rod Ferguson on his one-man show, “Some Others I’ve Seen”

 

by Michael Cox

 

We sat down with the “wickedly funny” cabaret comedian Rod Ferguson to talk about his one-man show, “Some Others I’ve Seen,” the third in a series he has presented at Club Café featuring “the songs you love to hear with the stories I loves to tell.” This time the music is inspired by the swing era show tunes of the 1940s. Accompanied by Club Café’s own Brian Patton on the piano, “Some Others I’ve Seen” runs October 12, 19 and 26 at 7 PM. Tickets are available at clubcafe.com.

 

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Bill Hanney’s NSMT ‘EVITA’ Evokes Excitement and Tears

 

By Sheila Barth

 

BOX INFO: Under two-hour, two-act, multimedia musical production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s 1980 multi-Tony Award winner and others, appearing through October 8: Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Saturday, 8 p.m.; matinees, Wednesday, Saturday Sunday, 2 p.m. Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre, 62 Dunham Road, Beverly. $57-$82; kids 18-under, 50 percent discount. nsmt.org, 978-232-7200.

 

While dynamic, dying, populist First Lady Eva Peron sings to the masses,”Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” members of Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre audiences stifled tears, identifying with the grieving masses who deified the beautiful performer-turned-political leader.

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Jesus Christ Superstar, Bristol Community College, Fall River

Jesus Christ Superstar, Bristol Community College, Fall River

Janice MacDonald’s Studio Theatre Company

October 19-21, 2017

 

By Sue Nedar

 

Going into the theatre last night, I was filled with hopeful anticipation.  Jesus Christ Superstar, Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s crown jewel piece, is this reviewer’s all-time favorite show.  It holds a very special sentimental place in my heart – but that’s another story.

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