CABARET @ The Hanover Theatre

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The National Tour of “Cabaret” is the latest musical to grace the stage at the historic Hanover Theatre in Worcester, MA. This Kander and Ebb Tony Award winning musical is set in the tumultuous city of Berlin right before Hitler’s rise to power. “Cabaret” won it’s first Tony for best show in 1967, the second Tony for best revival in 1998 and is based on Christopher Isherwood’s “Berlin Stories” and John Van Druten’s “I Am a Camera.” This version was inspired by the 1993 production at the Donmar Warehouse in London. The action takes place in the Kit Kat Klub where the show begins with the jazz number “Wilkommen” as well as in Fraulein Schneider’s boarding house and Herr Schultz’s fruit shop. Cliff Bradshaw, a young American novelist arrives on the train to Berlin where Ernst, a German businessman, places his briefcase among Cliff’s luggage at the German border and uses it as an opportunity to make Cliff’s acquaintance.

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A Timeless “CHRISTMAS CAROL” at Hanover Theatre

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The Hanover Theatre’s holiday show this year is the 10th Anniversary production of “A Christmas Carol” which is an annual favorite. This musical version of this well known holiday tale was adapted and directed by Troy Siebels. “A Christmas Carol” is a timeless story that still resonates with people of all ages and carries a message that is as genuine and poignant now as it was when it was first written back in 1843. This splendid musical version captures the true spirit and meaning of the holiday season for everyone.

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Old World Music, Comedy from Renaissance Era Lights Up Christmas Revels – A Venetian Celebration

 

By Mike Hoban

Christmas Revels – A Venetian Celebration of the Winter Solstice. Directed by Patrick Swanson; Musical Direction by Megan Henderson; Set Design by Jeremy Barnett; Sound Engineer, Bill Winn; Costume Design by Heidi A. Hermiller; Choreography by Kelli Edwards. Presented by Revels at The Sanders Theater at Harvard University, 45 Quincy Street, Cambridge, through December 27th.

It seemed appropriate that snow was still lightly falling last Saturday evening, just in time for opening night of the Christmas Revels – A Venetian Celebration at the Sanders Theater in Harvard Square. Not that it snows much in Venice, Italy – the setting for the 47th Christmas Revels – nor do the performances of the Revels necessarily bear any resemblance to any traditional New England Christmas celebration. But there is something (okay, the old world music and comedy that are trademarks of any Revels show) about this Cambridge Yuletide tradition that bring that same warm feeling as any of the traditional holiday shows, and the gentle snowfall just completed the experience.

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NSMT’s Delivers Spirited ‘Christmas Carol’

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre’s holiday show this year is the 27th Anniversary production of “A Christmas Carol, A Musical Ghost Story” which is an annual favorite. This version of this well known holiday tale was written by former NSMT artistic director, Jon Kimball which he adapted back in 1989. As Jon explains “A Christmas Carol” is a timeless story that still resonates with people of all ages and carries a message that is as genuine and poignant now as it was when it was first written back in 1843. This splendid musical version captures the true spirit and meaning of the holiday season for one and all.

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Onward to Glory with “Man of La Mancha”

By Michele Markarian

 

Man of La Mancha, by Dale Wasserman. Music by Mitch Leigh, Lyrics by Joe Darion.  Directed by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman.  Presented by New Repertory Theatre, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown through December 31.

 

“Man of La Mancha” is based on the story of Miguel de Cervantes, one of Spain’s – and the world’s – most eminent authors. Cervantes was imprisoned many times over the course of his lifetime, usually for financial reasons, and managed to survive five years in captivity by pirates during his early military career. Throughout his captivity, his love for literature kept him going, setting the stage for his creation, Don Quixote, the nobleman who wishes to restore chivalry by becoming a knight in a world that’s decidedly harsh. With the help of a recruit, poor dumb farmer Sancho Panza, who serves as his squire, and his courtly love towards the lowly born Aldonza (renamed Dulcinea), Don Quixote attempts to live out his reality in his world where chivalry thrives.

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Women Stand Strong in Boch Center’s Magnificent ‘The Color Purple’

 

by Mike Hoban

 

The Color Purple – Based on the novel by Alice Walker; Book by Marsha Norman; Directed by John Doyle. Music and Lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray; Set Design by John Doyle, Costumes by Ann Hould-Ward; Lighting by Jane Cox; Sound by Dan Moses Schreier. Presented by the Boch Center Shubert Theatre through December 3.

 

For those who believe that pain and suffering are indeed the gateways to a spiritual life, then Celie, the central character of The Color Purple, must surely be the poster girl for that philosophy. Celie suffers through presumed incest, teen pregnancy, and losing her children all by the time she turns 15, and the years that follow don’t get much better. But through persistence and prayer she endures her trials and tribulations and transforms herself into a strong woman of dignity and honor before our eyes.

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Greater Boston Stages’ ‘She Loves Me’ is a Delight

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘She Loves Me’ – Book by Joe Masteroff; Music by Jerry Bock; Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick; Based on a play by Miklos Laszio. Directed by Ilyse Robbins; Music Direction by Matthew Stern; Scenic Design by Brynna Bloomfield; Lighting Design by Jeff Adelberg; Costume Design by Gail Astrid Buckley; Sound Design by John Stone. Presented by the Greater Boston Stage Company at 395 Main St, Stoneham through December 23rd

 

The Greater Boston Stage Company and director Ilyse Robbins have again mined gold from Broadway’s lesser known catalogue, following up the wonderfully campy season opener Dames at Sea with an utterly charming production of She Loves Me, which debuted on Broadway in 1963. Featuring two of Boston’s most gifted female musical theater actors (Jennifer Ellis and Aimee Doherty – both fresh off sterling performances in the Huntington’s Merrily We Roll Along) as well as a pair of Boston’s emerging leading men (Sam Simahk and Jared Troilo), She Loves Me is a delight.

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Company Theatre’s “Company for the Holidays” Sparks Holiday Spirit

 

by Evan McKenna

 

“Company for the Holidays: A Christmas Spectacular” – Directed by Zoe Bradford and Jordie Saucerman, Music arranged by Steve Bass and Chris Hansen, music direction and several original arrangements by Steve Bass, choreography by Sally Ashton Forrest, costume design by Kathryn Ridder, lighting design by Adam Clark, set design by Ryan Barrow and James A. Valentin. Through 12/17

 

While Black Friday deals and long lines at the Christmas Tree Shop remind us that December is almost here, gifts and Christmas decorations don’t always spark that genuine holiday spirit. It’s family, song, and traditions that give Christmas its true essence, and that’s what Company Theatre’s “Company for the Holidays: A Christmas Spectacular,” which premiered Friday, illustrates so well, making it the perfect entré into the Holiday season.

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NSMT’s “42ND STREET”

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Welcome back to 1933 and the wonderful world of tapping feet in “42nd Street” at North Shore Music Theatre with a huge cast of 30 performers. It is loosely based on the 1933 movie musical with the same name which starred Ruby Keeler and Dick Powell. The stage musical version opened on August 25, 1980 and ran until January 8, 1989, won the Tony Award for Best Musical. It starred Jerry Orbach as Julian Marsh and Tammy Grimes as Dorothy Brock and I was fortunate enough to catch that musical back in 1980. “42nd Street” is the tale of up and coming chorus girl, Peggy Sawyer who arrives in New York seeking a career on Broadway.

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“In the Heights” Soars at Wheelock Family Theatre

 

By Michele Markarian

 

In the Heights.  Music and Lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Book Quiara Alegria Hudes.  Directed by Rachel Bertone.   Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA, through November 19.

 

I don’t know if anyone remembers watching the 2008 Tony awards, but the winner of that year’s Best Musical, Lin-Manuel Miranda, rapped his acceptance speech. “What an odd little guy”, I thought, with a mixture of admiration and disdain (even for the Tonys, it was an unusual form of acceptance speech). I never felt compelled to see “In the Heights”, but given the quality of Wheelock Family Theatre’s musical productions, I figured, why not?  This wonderful show, expertly directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone, does not disappoint.

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