Huntington’s “Merrily We Roll Along” A Winner

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Huntington Theatre’s opening show of their season is “Merrily We Roll Along” Stephen Sondheim’s, musical of friendship and ambition. It is based on the 1934 play with the same name by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart. “Merrily We Roll Along” has a book by George Furth that opens in 1976 and travels back in time to tell the story of Franklin Shepherd, a successful Broadway composer who leaves his theatre and songwriting career behind him to become a Hollywood movie producer.

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Lyric, Barrett Open Season With Winning “Gypsy”

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘Gypsy’ – Music by Jules Styne, Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, Book by Arthur Laurents. Directed and Choreographed by Rachel Bertone; Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez; Scenic Design by Janie E. Howland; Costume Design by Rafael Jaen; Lighting Design by Franklin Meissner, Jr. ; Sound Design by Andrew Duncan Will. Presented by Lyric Stage Company at 140 Clarendon St. through October 8.

The Lyric Stage opens its 2017-2018 season with a bang, tackling the (stage) mother of all musicals, Gypsy – widely regarded as one of musical theater’s greatest works – and delivering one of the year’s best musical productions. Fueled by a powerhouse performance by Boston favorite Leigh Barrett, Gypsy paints the seriocomic portrait of Rose Hovick, the fame-seeking mother of renowned Depression-era exotic dancer Gypsy Rose Lee, who wisecracked (and stripped) her way into the hearts of adoring burlesque house audiences across the nation.

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“DAMES AT SEA” at Greater Boston Stage

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Greater Boston Stage Company, formerly Stoneham Theatre, newest show is “Dames At Sea”, a musical spoof of “42nd Street”, “Anything Goes” and “Singing in the Rain.” It is a musical with books and lyrics by George Haimshon and Robin Miller with music by Jim Wise. It’s a parody of 1930’s Busby Berkeley-style movie musicals in which a chorus girl gets off a bus from Utah to NYC, steps into a role on Broadway and becomes a star.

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“GYPSY” at Lyric Stage

 

by Tony Annicone

 

Lyric Stage Company’s opening show of their season is the hit 1959 musical “Gypsy” with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by Arthur Laurents. This musical is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of famous striptease artist, Gypsy Rose Lee. It is the biography of Gypsy and her mother, Rose and is the classic musical fable of the definitive stage mother, Momma Rose. It follows the daughter’s life from her early days in vaudeville with her younger sister, June Havoc, to her successful career in burlesque.

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NSMT’s ‘YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN’ a Monstrously Riotous Musical Comedy

By Sheila Barth

BOX INFO: Two act musical comedy by Mel Brooks, appearing through August 27, at Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre, 62 Dunham Road, Beverly: Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Saturday, 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Saturday, Sunday, 2 p.m. $57-$82. Kids ages 18-under, 50 percent off at all performances. 978-232-7200, nsmt.org.

 

A four-sided scrim bearing a large, foreboding, black and white image of a horror film-style castle on the hill greets theatergoers as they face North Shore Music Theater’s stage. Eerie sounds echo in surround-sound, while gusts of stage fog spurt around them, temporarily obfuscating their view. Chains rattle.  An ominous buzz saw whirrs. Voices groan, moan, howl, in the distance, while ancient-style lanterns set  intaglio in archways adorn the background of the theater-in-the-round. Cacophony abounds. Like an olden-style, black-and-white horror movie, the scrim beams a movie company logo, and announces the film, its stars, producers, directors, etc., then transforms live, in color, to a European village.

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“THE PRODUCERS” Theatre by the Sea, Matunuck, RI

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The closing show of the 84th season of Theatre by the Sea is the Broadway sensation “The Producers” which is based on the Mel Brooks Academy Award winning 1968 film. This bawdy musical is the story of down on his luck theatrical producer, Max Bialystock and a mousy accountant, Leo Bloom. Their “sure fire” theatrical fiasco is none other than the musical “Springtime for Hitler” written by neo-Nazi, Franz Liebkind, an ex-Nazi storm trooper which tells of the rise of Hitler to power in song and dance.

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“YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Welcome to the wild and crazy world of Mel Brooks at the North Shore Music Theatre. Their summer blockbuster hit musical is “Young Frankenstein” with no expense spared by owner and producer Bill Hanney to bring it to this 62 year old gem of a theatre. This hysterically funny musical is an inspired retelling of the Frankenstein legend based on Mel Brooks’s 1974 classic comedy movie masterpiece.

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Ogunquit’s Dark and Powerful ‘Ragtime’ Couldn’t Be More Well-Timed

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘Ragtime’ – Based on a novel written by E. L. Doctorow. Book by Terrence McNally, Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and Music by Stephen Flaherty. Directed by Seth Sklar-Heyn; Scenic Design by Tim Mackabee; Lighting Design by Richard Latta; Sound Design by Kevin Heard. Costumes based on original designs by Santo Loquasto and Coordinated by Molly Walz. Music Direction by Jeffrey Campos; Choreography by Jesse Robb. Presented by the Ogunquit Playhouse, 102 Main St (Rte 1), Ogunquit, ME through August 26.

 

Towards the end of the second act of “Ragtime”, now being given an artistically brilliant and emotionally unsettling staging at the Ogunquit Playhouse, Kirsten Scott (as Mother) delivers a breathtaking version of one of the Tony Award-winning musical’s standout numbers, “Back to Before”. The final line, “We can never go back to before,” refers not only to her transformation from subservient wife to self-actualized woman, but also to the larger issues that were changing (for the better) at the turn of the 20th century, such as the strengthening labor and woman suffrage movements, as well as the notion that “negroes” and immigrants might actually be people too.

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“42ND STREET”

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Reagle Music Theatre’s third show of their 49th summer season is the Tony Award winning musical “42nd Street.” It is loosely based on the movie with the same name. The stage musical version opened on Broadway on August 25, 1980 and ran until January 8, 1989 and starred Jerry Orbach as Julian Marsh and Tammy Grimes as Dorothy Brock.

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“Beauty and the Beast” at Theatre by the Sea

 

By Richard Pacheco

 

“Beauty and the Beast”, now playing at Theatre by the Sea, is a musical extravaganza, a treat for eyes and ears, and a sheer delight for all ages. This spectacular production is marked by stunning sets, glorious costumes and propelled by an extremely talented and flashy cast. The choreography is standout too – vibrant, daring and dazzling.

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