A.R.T.s “Arrabal” Electrifies

 

By Mike Hoban

 

Arrabal – Book by John Weidman; Music by Gustavo Santaolalla/Bajofondo; Choreographed by Julio Zurita; Directed and co-choreographed by Sergio Trujillo; Choreography by Julio Zurita; Scenic Design by Riccardo Hernandez; Costume Design by Clint Ramos; Lighting Design by Vincent Colbert; Sound Design by Peter McBoyle; Projection Design by Peter Nigrini. Presented by the American Repertory Theater at the Loeb Drama Center, 64 Brattle St., Cambridge, through June 18

 

It may be relatively early in the 2017 theater season, but it seems highly unlikely that anything you will see on Boston stages (or anywhere else) this year will pack the kind of visual, aural and emotional wallop that Arrabal – now making its United States premiere at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge – will deliver to the senses. This tango-based work combines Latin music and dance with a horrific (and true) political story to create a singular theatrical experience that is alternately steamy and harrowing.

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Lyric Stage Delivers Fresh Take on “Camelot”

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The closing show of Lyric Stage’s season is “Camelot”, a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe. It is a fresh new take on this classic musical by David Lee, a cautionary tale based on the King Arthur legend as adapted from the T.H. White novel “The Once and Future King.” The original Broadway show opened on December 3, 1960, ran for 873 performances and won 4 Tony Awards, and the original cast album was America’s top selling LP for 60 weeks.

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Ellis A Revelation in Speakeasy’s “The Bridges of Madison County”

 

by Michele Markarian

 

‘The Bridges of Madison County’ – Book by Marsha Norman. Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Based on the novel by Robert James Waller. Directed by M. Bevan O’Gara. Music Direction by Matthew Stern. Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company, Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, Boston, through June 3.

From the opening strains of a sole, mournful cello, you get a sense that the story about to unfold is a sad one. Let me clarify by saying I may have been the only person in the audience unfamiliar with the book or film. Which is a good thing, because I find musical adaptations of films in general to be lackluster, pallid affairs. But M. Bevan O’Gara and the cast of Speakeasy Stage Company’s “The Bridges of Madison County” do such a great job creating an alternate reality that I was truly transported. Adding to the magic is the score, which is very, very intriguing.

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SPRING AWAKENING (Wilbury Theatre Group – Providence, RI)

“SPRING AWAKENING”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Wilbury Theatre Group’s closing show of their season is “Spring Awakening”, the 2007 Tony Award winning musical by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater which won 7 Tonys. This musical ran for 888 performances on Broadway and is a fusion of morality, sexuality and rock n’ roll that explores the journey from adolescence to adulthood. The musical is an adaptation of the controversial 1891 play with the same name by Frank Wedekind which was banned in Germany due to its portrayal of abortion, homosexuality, rape, child abuse and suicide.

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“VICTOR VICTORIA” Ocean State Theatre Company

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The current musical at Ocean State Theatre Company is “Victor Victoria”, the 1995 musical which is based on the 1982 movie starring Robert Preston and Julie Andrews. The 1982 movie was a remake of movie from 1933 called “Viktor Viktoria”, a German film comedy. A penniless soprano, named Victoria Grant, colludes with a struggling gay impresario to disguise herself as a man named Victor, who entertains as a female impersonator known as “Victoria.” This down on her luck singer finds fame as a drag queen.

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“YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN” Shining Lights Productions, Stadium Theatre, Woonsocket, RI

Reviewed by Tony Annicone
Shining Lights Productions current show at the Stadium Theatre is “Young Frankenstein” by Mel Brooks. This musical is the inspired reimaging of the Frankenstein legend based on Mel Brooks classic comic movie masterpiece. The story follows bright young Dr. Frederick Frankenstein (that’s Fronkenstein) as he attempts to complete his grandfather’s unfinished masterwork of bringing a corpse to life.

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‘Altar Boyz’ A Heavenly Romp

 

By Michele Markarian

 

Altar Boyz – Music and Lyrics by Gary Adler and Michael Patrick Walker.  Book by Kevin Del Aguila. Co-Directed by Tyler Rosati and Ceit Zweil, with Music Direction by Matthew Stern. Presented by Stoneham Theatre, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, through April 9.

 

The first image one gets of the Altar Boyz is five hooded figures in long white robes, silver crosses on their backs, entering the stage to ominous sounding music from the four-piece band behind them. It’s a Spinal Tap moment, and one that made me laugh out loud. For the next eighty minutes, if I wasn’t laughing, I was smiling. A lot. This is one super fun show with a tight and talented cast.

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Rousing Folk Rock in Stoneham’s ‘Jonah’ as Real as It Gets

 

By CJ Williams

 

Jonah and the Whale – Book written by Tyler Mills; Music and Lyrics by David Barrow and Blake Thomas; Directed by Weylin Symes; Scenic Design by Katheryn Monthei; Costume Design by Deirdre Gerrard: Lighting Design by Christopher Fournier; Sound Design by John Stone. Presented by The Stoneham Theatre 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA 02180 through March 12.

 

“It wasn’t real,” says a character at one point in ‘Jonah’, the newish musical now making its New England premiere at the Stoneham Theatre. But in this rousing new folk-rock musical, that’s not the answer, rather, it’s a question, and one that runs through the length of the show. As we get our sea legs, so to speak, on the theatrical ship, we’re pressed more and more to ask about reality, both what and why – What makes life worth living? What makes us human? But like that first statement, the answers the play gives are often more questions in disguise.

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Timely Relevance with Brecht on Brecht

 

By Michele Markarian

 

‘Brecht on Brecht’ – Written by Bertolt Brecht. Arranged by George Tabori, from various translations. Co-produced with Boston Center for American Performance. Directed by Jim Petosa; Music Direction by Matthew Stern; Scenic Design by Ryan Bates; Costume Design by Alyssa Korol; Lighting Design by Bridget K. Doyle. Presented at the Black Box Theater at the New Repertory Theatre, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown through March 5.

 

Two men and two women rush out of the wings, wearing red clown noises and pushing a shopping cart. They babble and chant slogans relevant to today (…”nevertheless, she persisted”.  “No war”, etc) before bringing onstage a man in tails (music director and accompanist Matthew Stern) to the piano. “What the heck IS this?” I thought somewhat crankily, before settling in to the very entertaining, often moving, and frighteningly timely kaleidoscope of Bertolt Brecht and his writing, expertly directed by Jim Petosa.

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