Flat Earth’s “Fat Pig” Artfully Combines Pain, Laughter

 

by Mike Hoban

 

“Fat Pig” Written by Neil LaBute. Directed by Juliet Bowler. Presented by The Flat Earth Theatre at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, Watertown, through June 24.

 

Flat Earth Theatre follows up their luminous (and Elliot Norton Award–winning) Silent Sky with another first-rate production, Neil LaBute’s Fat Pig, playing through next weekend (June 24). This dark dramedy details the unlikely romance between plus-sized librarian Helen, and Tom, a handsome (and thin) up-and-coming corporate guy. The two meet by chance in a crowded restaurant and the mutual attraction is evident early on, as Helen’s disarming and sexually-tinged wit draws Tom in, and he quickly finds himself smitten.

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MY FAIR LADY New Bedford Festival Theatre

“MY FAIR LADY”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

New Bedford Festival Theatre’s 28th season’s musical is the classic Broadway smash musical “My Fair Lady” by Lerner and Loewe. This musical is hailed as the greatest musical of all time. It is the timeless story of Professor Henry Higgins, the crotchety, middle aged bachelor and phonetician and the Cockney flower girl, Eliza Doolittle, who becomes part of his experiment to transform her into a “lady.” She agrees to take lessons from Higgins after he insults her after their first meeting.

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“BEAUTY AND THE BEAST” Theatre by the Sea

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Welcome to the wonderful world of Walt Disney and one of the first of his animated movie musicals to be brought to life as a musical on Broadway back on April 19, 1994. Based on the 1991 Disney movie, the play tells the story of the story of a spell cast on a prince which transformed him into a ferocious Beast.

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Broadway Fire in Reagle’s “Technicolor Dreamcoat”

 

By CJ Williams

 

Directed and Choreographed by Susan M. Chebookjian, based on original Choreography by Anthony Van Laast. Lighting Design by David Wilson. Set Design by Peter Colao and Richard Schreiber. Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez. Presented by Reagle Music Theatre at 617 Lexington St, Waltham through June 18.

 

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is Broadway-theater fare in unexpectedly Beantown-local affordability – and the Broadway musical is put on to amazing effect at the Reagle Music Theatre in Waltham. For all its crowd-pleasing choruses, and a cast that could sing and dance down Carnegie Hall, “Dreamcoat” nonetheless pulls a nice undercurrent of depth as well.

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NSMT Serves Up A Delicious Slice of White Bread with Delightful ‘Music Man’

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘Music Man’ – Book, Music, and Lyrics by Meredith Willson. Story by Willson and Franklin Lacey. Directed by Bob Richard. Choreography, Diane Laurenson. Music Direction by Milton Granger; Scenic Design by Kyle Dixon; Lighting Design by Franklin Meissner; Sound Design by Danny Erdberg; Costume Coordinator and Additional Costume Design by Paula Peasley-Ninestein. Presented by North Shore Music Theatre, Beverly, through June 18.

“I’m as corny as Kansas in August” may be a line from a song from another classic musical, (South Pacific, “A Wonderful Guy”) but it could certainly double as a description of Music Man, the delightful 1957 musical now being given an inspired revival at the North Shore Music Theatre. Set in 1912 Iowa, birthplace of Meredith Willson, writer of the book, music, and lyrics for the Broadway hit, Music Man may be the quintessential white bread musical, but damn – er, darn – is it good.

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Drama Abounds in “Days of Atonement”

 

By Michele Markarian

 

Days of Atonement. Written by Hanna Azoulay-Hasfari, translated by Shir Freibach. Directed by Guy Ben-Aharon. Presented by Review,, 527 Tremont Street, Boston through June 25.

 

It is the eve of Yom Kippur.  Amira (Dana Stern), a student filmmaker, calls her three estranged sisters to their mother’s apartment in Netivot, to try and locate their elderly Moroccan/Israeli mother, who has disappeared without a note. Malka (Jackie Davis) the oldest sister, is in her own state of perpetual crisis, convinced that her husband David is cheating on her. Evelyn (Adrianne Krstansky), the second oldest, is deeply Orthodox. Pregnant again, in an advanced age and already with eight daughters, she refuses to have an abortion, even though her doctor is recommending it – Evelyn has diabetes. Fanny (Ramona Lisa Alexander), whom Malka suspects has slept with David, had been thrown out of the house as a teenager, her mother jealous of her developing body. Although a successful realtor, Fanny still has emotional wounds that make her reunion difficult and bitter. Amira, the youngest, born after their father has died, is suffering from mental health issues. Each sister feels like she had it the worst growing up.  It’s a play fraught with tension, resentment and, appropriately set on Yom Kippur, forgiveness and repentance.

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Nora Theatre’s ‘Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion’ Is A Charmer

 

by Mike Hoban

 

The Midvale High School Fiftieth ReunionWritten by Alan Brody, Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner; Scenic Design by Steven Royal; Costume Design by Chelsea Kerl; Lighting Design by John Malinowski; Sound Design by Nathan Leigh; Choreography by Marlena Yanetti and Felton Sparks. Presented by The Nora Theatre Company at Central Square Theater, 450 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge through July 2.

 

Is it possible to fall in love for the first time long after AARP has begun mailing you membership offers? That’s the question that Midvale High School Fiftieth Reunion, the superb comic drama now having its world premiere at the Central Square Theater, seems to be asking. This thoughtful and very funny play takes one of life’s ridiculously emotionally trying rituals and uses it as a springboard for an unlikely but utterly charming love story. It also sends up all the awkward moments one encounters at the oft-dreaded high school reunion (crushes revealed, not remembering friend’s names, feigned interest in other’s lives) while cleverly inserting backstory for the characters via a series of revealing flashbacks.

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THE MUSIC MAN (Theatre by the Sea, Matunuck, RI)

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Bill Hanney’s Theatre by the Sea’s second show of their 84th season is “The Music Man” by Meredith Willson. This musical first opened on Broadway on December 19, 1957 and ran for 1375 performances. Robert Preston played the leading role of Harold Hill both onstage and in the 1962 film version. The show is set in Iowa in 1912 and is the story of the fast talking Harold Hill who cons the good citizens of River City into buying musical instruments and band uniforms by promising to create a boy’s band in the town.

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Huntington’s ‘Ripcord’ Delivers Laughs Alongside Odd Couple’s Darker Side

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘Ripcord’ – Written by David Lindsay-Abaire. Directed by Jessica Stone. Scenic Design by Tobin Ost; Costume Design by Gabriel Berry; Lighting Design by David J. Weiner; Sound Design and Composition by Mark Bennett; Projection Design by Lucy Mackinnon. Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Calderwood Pavilion, Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont St. Boston through July 2

 

There probably aren’t many plays – even comedies – that could include a scene as implausible as having a septuagenarian drugged, kidnapped, and tricked into jumping out of an airplane without straining its credibility to the point of snapping, but David Lindsay-Abaire manages to not only pull it off but make it convincing in his very funny and ultimately touching Ripcord, now running at the Huntington Theatre through July 2. That scene is just one of the many horrors that two female roommates inflict upon one another to great comic effect as they each try to win the bet to settle a turf battle set in an assisted living facility.

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“Godspell” (Bishop Hendricken’s Summer Stage)

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Bishop Hendricken’s Summer Stage show this year is “Godspell” with music and new lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by John-Michael Tebelak, originally opened off-Broadway on May 17, 1971. It is the loose account of the life and death of Christ and is constructed as a continuous stream of stories, told through parables, many taken from the gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke. The show lives on in the minds of many as one of those “hippie” musicals and is performed in two acts. “Godspell” is the Old English spelling of gospel. The show is sketch like in nature and suited to improvisations and ad libs. The updated references include the current president and other contemporary themes told in a comical manner. The timeless message of “Godspell” has always been about finding your quiet, unshakeable faith amid a loud,very cold, very shallow modern world. Director Julia Paolino casts these roles splendidly while music director Richie Sylvia taught the 70 member cast the beautiful harmonies of the numbers while Ryan Cox plays lead keyboards and conducts a marvelous seven piece orchestra. Richie taught the diverse type songs to this young cast. Choreographer Teresa Pearson taught the different styles of dance including Charleston, soft shoe, kick line and jazz. Their combined efforts plus their extremely talented cast wins a standing ovation at curtain call.

The set and the costumes are by Carrie Devanney. Jack Ruscetta stars as Jesus and is excellently cast in this role. One of Jesus’ most powerful numbers is “Alas for You” where the words ring true for contemporary audiences as it did back in biblical times and in the 1970’s when the show was first written. Jack’s first song is “Save the People” where the cast dances around him. He also sings “Beautiful City” that he wants a city for all people to enjoy. The Last Supper and the death scene are marvelously portrayed not leaving a dry eye in the house including mine. The opening philosophers section has beautiful harmonies in it as they sing individually first and then in harmony and counterpoint later on.

Julia does a terrific job blocking her huge cast and gives them each their moment to shine in this high energy show. The first act is more vaudevillian while the second act becomes more somber after “Turn Back O Man.” Stephen Lee as John the Baptist sings “Prepare Ye” with his powerful voice to open the show. Ryan Farrell plays Judas displaying his strong voice where he and Jack stop the show with “All For The Best” done in counterpoint with hats and canes. “Day by Day” is given a lovely rendition by Madelyn Dutilly with her beautiful voice where the disciples learn to share with each other. Another fantastic group number occurs when Samantha Hopgood and Madeline Morin belt out “Bless the Lord” with their strong voices. Samantha also sings “Learn Your Lessons Well” with Samantha Schliefer.

A rousing number is “We Beseech Thee” with powerful vocals by Ryan McKenn, Nicholas Bullock and Emily Fielding with a dynamite dance by the cast. The betrayal scene is stunning, too. “By My Side” is sung by the quartet of Madeline Morin, Michaela Vieira, Gillian Austin and Emily Fielding. The tear jerking “On the Willows” is brilliantly sung by the quartet of Nicholas Bullock, Ryan Farrell and Joseph and Thomas Burdick. This song is done as Jesus says goodbye to his followers during the last supper and there isn’t a dry eye in the house. My favorite song in the show is “Turn Back O Man” sung excellently by Lily Brewster as she tries to seduce Jesus and the men in the audience. Jack’s voice soars in his section of this song. “All Good Gifts” is sung by Joseph Burdick with his tenor voice soaring off the charts during it. Elizabeth Barrett sings “Light of the World” to close Act 1. “Long Live God” and “Prepare Ye” are done in counterpoint as Jesus is crucified at the end of the show and “Beautiful City” is also sung in this section. The ending of this musical will leave you emotionally drained at its intensity but uplifted because Jesus left hope for the future. In these trying and uncertain times who could ask for anything better for the world. So be sure to catch “Godspell” at Summerstage before time runs out,

GODSPELL ( 3 to 6 August)

Summer Stage, Bishop Hendricken High School, 2615 Warwick Ave, Warwick, RI

1(401)739-3450 ext 172 or www.hendrickentheatre.com/ARTS