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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Laughter Abounds in Moonbox Productions’ “The 39 Steps”

(Cirone, Zahnzinger, Mussett and Gazdowicz in Moonbox Productions’ “The 39 Steps”)


by Michele Markarian


“The 39 Steps”. Written by Evan George Patrick Barlow. Directed by Allison Olivia Choat.  Presented by Moonbox Productions, the Plaza Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, 539 Tremont Street, Boston through December 9.


“I was bored – no, more than bored, tired,” begins the play’s hapless, world weary protagonist, Richard Hannay (Kevin Cirrone), from a rented flat in London.  He decides to go to the theater, where he meets a mysterious woman (Sarah Gazdowicz, playing one of three roles) who, after shooting off a gun in the theater, asks if she can spend the night. When his guest is mysteriously murdered, Hannay is the suspect-at-large and goes on the run, but not before the dying woman gives him the address of a professor in Scotland with the cryptic phrase, “the 39 steps.” It is here that Hannay’s boredom ends and his adventure begins, as he journeys to Scotland. Along the way, he meets another young woman as well as a multitude of characters, some benign, some nefarious, many inept, and all played by Man 1 (Bob Mussett) and Man 2 (Matthew Zahnzinger).

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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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Greater Boston Stage’s ‘She Loves Me’ a Joyful Musical Journey


Reviewed by Tony Annicone


Greater Stage of Boston’s winter show this year is Joe Masteroff’s 1963 musical, “She Loves Me” with music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick (who also wrote “Fiddler on the Roof.”) This musical is based on a 1930’s play by Miklos Laszlo on which the movies “The Shop Around the Corner”, “In the Good Old Summertime” and “You’ve Got Mail” are also based. “She Loves Me” takes place in a perfume shop in Hungary in 1930 and the characters live in a world of love and longing.

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Huntington’s Hilarious ‘Tartuffe’ Keeps Classic Relevant


By Mike Hoban


‘Tartuffe’ – Written by Molière, Translated by Ranjit Bolt, Directed by Peter DuBois; Scenic Design, Alexander Dodge; Costume Design, Anita Yavich; Lighting Design, Christopher Akerlind; Sound Design, Ben Emerson; Choreographer, Daniel Pelzig; Original Music, Peter Golub. Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company at the Avenue of the Arts/Huntington Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston, through December 10


As someone who did not grow up reading the classics, and came into the theater later in life, I must admit that I don’t usually share the same sense of glee as some of my counterparts when it comes to reviewing plays written before the 19th century. The archaic language and rhythmic structure often make it difficult for the untrained ear to follow, and by the time I catch on, the first act is usually half over. Such is not the case with Tartuffe, the wickedly funny 1664 comedy by Molière now being staged at the Huntington. Powered by a wonderfully oily performance by Brett Gelman in the title role, Tartuffe is as accessible as any 20th century work, and a howl to boot.

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Oberon’s “The Fever” Brings Sense of Community to Theatrical Experience


by Mike Hoban


The Fever – Written and Directed by Abigail Browde & Michael Silverstone. Created in collaboration with Brandon Wolcott, Emil Abramyan, and Eric Southern. Produced by Oberon in collaboration with 600 Highwaymen. Performed at the Ex at the Loeb Theatre, 64 Brattle St. Cambridge through November 19


If you’re one of those folks who is a little (or a lot) skittish about the thought of attending a show where audience participation is built into the theatrical experience, relax, The Fever is not that kind of a show. In fact, it’s not really a “show” at all, certainly not in any traditional theatrical sense. This oddly compelling piece plays more like a social experiment in unforced compliance than theater, but it works in a way that never feels forced or hokey.

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Trinity Rep’s 40th Anniversary “A CHRISTMAS CAROL” A Holiday Gem


Reviewed by Tony Annicone


Trinity Repertory Company ushers in the holiday season for their 40th Anniversary of their production of “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens and adapted by Adrian Hall and Richard Cumming. The show’s underlying themes of charity, forbearance and benevolence are universal and are equally relevant to people of all religions and backgrounds especially with the unsettling events in this country and around the world. This familiar tale is about the curmudgeonly miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who is visited by the ghosts of Jacob Marley, Christmas Past, Present and Future who hope to change his destiny and save his soul to ultimately discover the true meaning of Christmas.

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time and the Mystery and Suspense Genre


by Michael Cox


The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-TimeAdapted by Simon Stephens from the novel by Mark Haddon. Produced by Speakeasy Stage Company and playing at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion October 20 – November 25.


Just after midnight in Swindon, a town 71 miles West of London, fifteen-year-old Christopher John Francis Boone finds a dog brutally murdered in his neighbor’s garden. Wellington, a cherished family pet, has been impaled with a pitchfork and is still pinned to the ground. Mrs. Eileen Shears, the owner of the dog and the garden, calls the police. And when they arrive they’re looking for answers. But Christopher can’t provide them. Instead, he assaults the officer.


As The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time unfolds, Christopher tells us his side of the story. He writes it down in a notebook as part of a school project, and he chooses to convey the experience as a murder mystery.

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‘Three Fifths Traveling Minstrel Show’ Entertains and Provokes



by Evan McKenna


‘Three Fifths Traveling Minstrel Show’ – Created and Written by James Scruggs. Directed by Mark Rayment. Presented by Sleeping Weazel at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, 527 Tremont St. Boston, through 11/9


We live in an age when too much political discourse takes place over Facebook and Twitter, where we can safely hide our opinions behind screen names. We can choose to ignore the perspectives of those whom we disagree with and move on. But that liberty is lost when you are confined to an intimate room with a diverse audience, where a play about racial issues is being staged. Such was the case with James Scruggs’ tense and confrontational “Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show” which made its debut at the BCA.

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Revisiting History with The Longwood Players’ “A Bright Room Called Day”


by James Wilkinson


The Longwood Players present A Bright Room Called Day by Tony Kushner. Nov 3-11, 2017. Presented at Chelsea Theatre Works. Directed by Kaitlyn Chantry. Set Design by John Randell. Lighting Design by Erik Foxx. Costume Design by Sandy Chantry. Sound Design by Lee Neikirk. Projection Design by Sunil Doshi. Prop Designer by Kaitlyn Chantry and Kat McCorkle.


I have a friend who absolutely refuses to read a book more than once. Her reasoning is that once she knows what’s going to happen in the story, (AKA the plot), she loses interest. For her, the magic is in finding out what happens next. Personally, I’ve never been that sort of person (and have argued with her on that point many times), but her theory is one that you often find lobbed at theater companies, especially those who specialize in the classical cannon (“Why, oh why do we need to see yet another production of Hamlet?”). To those people I would say that a theater script isn’t like a novel or a movie, which remains fixed each time the viewer comes to it. A play script is more like a template or, if you like, a tool box. Even within the most precise of writers there can be a great deal of variety in how a theater director explores the possibilities the playwright lays out. As an audience member, there can be a great deal of fun in going to a new production of a play you’ve seen before and saying “How are they going to tackle this one?”

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