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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Lyric’s “Souvenir” a Keeper

 

By Michele Markarian

 

‘Souvenir’ – Written by Stephen Temperley.  Directed by Spiro Veloudos.  Presented by The Lyric Stage Company of Boston, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston, MA through November 19.

 

“How many people have already seen the show?” asked Producing Artistic Director Spiro Veloudos during his curtain speech. A large number of hands went up in the audience. “What the heck?  Who sees a show twice?” I thought. After seeing “Souvenir” once, I get it.  This is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen all year, with its two performers wonderfully in tune with each another.

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Ogunquit Playhouse’s ‘FROM HERE TO ETERNITY a Powerful, Dramatic Musical

By Sheila Barth

 

Okay- straight out – Ogunquit Playhouse’s production of new musical “From Here to Eternity” is so overwhelming, realistic, and gut-wrenching, it’s the hardest-hitting musical I’ve seen in a while. Some of you remember the dramatic movie that won Frank Sinatra an Academy Award and took several other Oscars. The movie was superlative, and this new musical seems slated for success.

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MARY POPPINS (Uncommon Theatre, Foxboro)

MARY POPPINS
Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of Walt Disney with “Mary Poppins” and the opening musical of Uncommon Theatre’s 38th season. This musical opened on Broadway on November 16, 2006, closed on March 3, 2013 and ran for 2619 performances. It is now a full Broadway musical with 44 major awards worldwide. The story of Mary Poppins, the magical nanny who flies into the troubled lives of the Banks children will dazzle and delight audiences of all ages. Bert, the chimney sweep welcomes the audience into the world of “Mary Poppins” with “Chim Chim Cher-ee.” We then follow Mary’s exploits throughout all of London where she charms each person she comes in contact with. The talent of this cast captures the hearts of all members of the audience by propelling them to their feet at curtain call. Director Meg Dussault, music director Linda Barbieri, orchestra director Esther Zabinski and choreographer, Anna Pietal  definitely out do themselves with this spectacular musical.

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LEGALLY BLONDE – (Dean College)

LEGALLY BLONDE
Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The School of Arts at Dean College’s fall musical is “Legally Blonde, the Musical” which is based on the Amanda Brown novel and the 2001 movie which starred Reese Witherspoon. It tells the story of Elle Woods, a sorority girl from Delta Nu who is the college sweetheart and home coming queen who doesn’t take no for an answer. So when her boyfriend, Warner dumps her for someone more “serious”, she puts down the books, heads to Harvard Law School to win him back. Along the way Elle proves that being true to yourself never goes out of style. She also discovers how her knowledge of the law can help others and defends fitness guru, Brooke Windham from murder charges. Director Ali Angelone creates a high energy contemporary musical with her keen insight into these comic characters while musical director taught them all these musical numbers does so while playing lead keyboards and conducting a seven piece orchestra. Ali who is also the choreographer, supplies the dance numbers that stop the show with their power and execution. Their combined expertise wins the cast a standing ovation at the curtain call.

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CHICAGO (Footlights at the Grange, Swansea, MA)

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Welcome to the 1920’s with the current musical at Footlights at the Grange. Director/choreographer Brian Barry Pereira transports the audience to the prison atmosphere needed for this terrific blockbuster musical “Chicago.” Kander and Ebb’s 1975 vaudeville type show is based on the 1926 play by Maurine Watkins. The 1997 musical version won six Tony Awards and the 2003 movie version won the Academy Award.

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Halloween Family Fun with ‘THE ADDAMS FAMILY’

By Sheila Barth
A nod of the shroud to North Shore’s Stage 284 for its two-act, two-hour finger-snapping, fun production of musical comedy ”The Addams Family”.  Based on Charles Addams’ cartoons, the spoofy, spooky, kooky family play resurrects the popular 1960‘s TV wacky, weird, family, and their creepy, abnormal, anti-societal demeanor.

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YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

The current show at MMAS is the 1999 revival version of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” which is based on Charles Schultz’s beloved “Peanuts” comic strip. The revival opened on February 5. 1999 and made a star out of Kristen Chenoweth, winning her the Tony Award for best featured actress as Sally Brown. The show takes us through an average day in the life of Charlie Brown. The audience catches a glimpse of their favorite characters and includes many moments from all the days of his life from Valentine’s Day to baseball season, from wild optimism to utter despair. They include all his friends. both human and non-human and strung together on the string of a single day, from bright uncertain morning to hopeful starlit evening. Director/choreographer Adam Joy infuses the musical with high energy from start to finish with his talented cast while musical director Eli Bigelow not only conducts his five piece orchestra but plays keyboards and taught them this glorious music. They are rewarded with a resounding ovation at curtain call.

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“Hair” Still Rocks at Fifty

 

By Michele Markarian

 

“Hair” – Book and Lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni. Music by Galt MacDermont.  Directed by Joey C. Pelletier. Presented by Heart and Dagger Productions at Club Café, 209 Columbus Avenue, Boston, through October 20.

 

I was a little kid when my parents bought the album of the original Broadway cast of “Hair”, after they’d gone to New York to see it. I thought the music was contagious and would sing along to the soundtrack.  My naïve mother didn’t know the meaning of the words in “Sodomy” any more than I did, so the singing worked out nicely.  Years later, I found a book in our local library by original cast member Lorrie Davis, called “Letting Down My Hair: Two Years With the Love Rock Tribe–From Dawning to Downing of Aquarius”. Fans of “Hair”, this book is not to be missed!  ($30 used on Amazon.)  I read and reread it cover to cover until my mother, who had wised up by then, got her hands on it and declared it “filthy”. Years later, as a young theater reviewer in college, I volunteered to see a Brown University production of “Hair”. The show itself was excellent, but I was disappointed to experience it as a piece of history, rather than something relevant to the times.

 

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