“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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‘The Odd Couple” – (Arctic Playhouse West Warwick, RI)

by Cindy Killavey



The Odd Couple by Neil Simon, The Arctic Playhouse, 117 Washington Street, West Warwick, RI through September 17


Oscar Madison and his card-playing cronies learn that Felix Unger is missing after his wife ends their 12 year marriage. When Felix arrives on the scene the friends try to cheer him up to no avail.. In the end, Oscar, who isn’t phased by clutter, insists Felix, “Mr. Clean”, stay with him. Oscar learns to regret this decision to the delight of the opening night crowd.


The card players include Tony Annicone as Speed; Anthony Capraro as Vinnie; J.P. McCormick as Murray and Bob Mignarri as Roy. This ensemble seamlessly trades barbs and witty dialogue and their reactions to Felix, crying in the bathroom and the mayhem when they think that he has swallowed a whole bottle of pills, draws hearty laughter from the audience.  The stage at this black box theater is intimate and directors John Faiola and Geoff Monti used some creative blocking for the several “chases” in the performance which the cast handled perfectly. Set changes were handled by the card players between the acts, another clever Directorial choice.


Henryce “Hen” Zannini and Denise Izzi are Gwendolyn and Cecily Pigeon These English “birds of a feather” are extremely entertaining.  The way they interact with each other would have you believing they really are sisters.


It’s easy to see that Fred Davidson (Oscar) and John Faiola (who wears two hats as Director and as Felix) have performed in these roles before. The chemistry between the two is palpable. Oscar’s eye rolls and bluster are a perfect foil for Felix’s mobile face and gestures. John’s ladle work is priceless.  When Felix turns what Oscar had hoped would be a romantic evening with the Pigeon sisters into a group sob fest, it’s the last straw.


Co-Director and first time Stage Manager Geoffrey Monti keeps things running smoothly throughout and the music choices are perfect.


For a wonderful evening of terrific theater, laugh-out-loud humor and delicious popcorn & cookies, don’t miss this show. Call for reservations as several performances are already sold out!!





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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“Babes” Shine in Horovitz’s Latest at GSC

(Debra Wise, Paula Plum, and Sarah Hickler in GSC’s Out of the Mouths of Babes)


by Mike Hoban


Out of the Mouths of Babes – Written & Directed by Israel Horovitz; Set Design by Jenna McFarland Lord; Costume Design by Jane Alois Stein; Lighting Design by Russ Swift; Sound Design by David Remedios. Presented by the Gloucester Stage Company, 267 East Main Street, Gloucester through September 2


Can four women, each of whom was the live-in lover of the same recently deceased man for prolonged periods of time, co-exist under the same roof – even if it’s to attend his funeral?


That’s the premise of Israel Horovitz’s latest work, “Out of the Mouths of Babes,” an airy but laugh-filled comedy now making its New England premiere at Gloucester Stage after a sold-out Off-Broadway run last summer. Complicating matters is the fact that the deceased had cheated on and left all of the assembled women (except possibly the final wife) for other women now sharing the same apartment – the one in which they had all lived in with him. So if all that tension sounds like a springboard for a comedic jousting match, you’re correct, and Horovitz (who also directed) assembles some of Boston’s top female talent to deliver the goods.

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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.


“Bell Book and Candle” at 2nd Story, Warren RI


By Richard Pacheco


By Richard Pacheco

The 2nd Story Production of the classic John Van Druten play, “Bell, Book and Candle” is refreshing, spirited and well acted. Onstage attempts at efforts which involve magic can go badly awry, but not here. The Broadway play was turned into a film with Kim Novak and James Stewart and on Broadway with Rex Harrison and Lilli Palmer in the lead roles.

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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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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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“American Moor” a Catalyst for Change


By Michele Markarian


“American Moor”.  Written by Keith Hamilton Cobb.  Directed by Kim Weild.  Presented by O.W.I. (Bureau of Theatre) and Phoenix Theatre Ensemble. At Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, through Aug. 12. 


At the end of this deeply personal, soul-mining dialogue, with an invisible but audible white Director, the Actor, played by the magnetic Keith Hamilton Cobb, asks him to tell him what scares him, what makes him feel deeply.  And it’s an appropriate question, because experiencing Cobb perform and being privy to his inner thoughts and emotions somehow makes us privy to our own. Read more ““American Moor” a Catalyst for Change”