Road Show, Photo:Maggie Hall
Spiro Veloudos, the producing artistic director of Boston’s Lyric Stage, has long admired the work of the prolific composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. During his twenty years at the Lyric, he has directed at least eight of Sondheim’s musicals. Veloudos’ latest, Road Show, which he co-directed with choreographer Ilyse Robbins has a somewhat checkered past.
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AdaAva_3LD Photo Yi Zhao
ArtsEmerson is dedicated to bringing compelling and experimental theatre from all parts of the world to Boston. On January 10, Manual Cinema, a company that devises works that cross the line between cinema and theatre brought Ada/Ava to ArtsEmerson’s Paramount Theatre. First produced in 2013, Ada/Ava is the second full-length production by this young Chicago collective of five. Since then they have added three more productions and become known in the US and abroad. (Continue reading » )
État de siège, Photo de Jean Louis Fernandez
Albert Camus’ 1948 play The State of Siege (L’État de Siège) is presently touring the U.S. in a production by Paris’ celebrated Théâtre de la Ville. This is the company’s third visit to this country, but its first to Boston where it opened on November 9 at ArtEmerson’s Majestic Theatre.
Camus was invited to write the play by the actor and mime Jean-Louis Barrault then also France’s leading director. As early as the late 1930s, Barrault began developing ideas for a drama based on the plague. At first, he collaborated with Antonin Artaud whose interest lay not in dialogue, but in creating a powerful theatre of ritual, imagery, and movement which ultimately through assaulting the audience’s senses would have a cathartic effect. The two men split up because Artaud’s ideas were too extreme for Barrault and the converse was true for Artaud. (Continue reading » )
The Revolutionists Photo A. R. Sinclair
The Nora Theatre Company at the Central Square Theatre in Cambridge, MA is currently presenting The Revolutionists, a work by Lauren Gunderson that takes place in Paris during the Reign of Terror (1792-1793), a period of the French Revolution during which the leaders of the new government took revenge against those viewed as anti-revolutionists. The situation worsened when the government split into two factions, the Jacobins and Girondins. Of the two the Jacobins were the more vicious. Arrests, quick trials, and the guillotine were the order of the day. (Continue reading » )
photo: Nile Hawver-Nile Scott Shots
The 2015 Tony Award winning The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time now playing at Boston’s SpeakEasy Company was adapted by Simon Stephens from Mark Haddon’s bestseller of the same name. It is a very imaginative theatrical play where what is seen is as important as the words heard.
It revolves around Christopher Boone, a high functioning mathematically gifted autistic fifteen year old boy who lives in Swindon, England. Although the word autism is never mentioned, his behavior and the production make his problems clear. Given that he prefers his own company he does not socialize with people. As a result, he is extremely naïve about the way the world functions. He cannot bear physical contact with people. Even his parents are allowed only to reach out a hand and touch Christopher’s hand while he stands at a distance. However he has a pet rat he cares for tenderly. He dreams of becoming an astronaut, a profession where he could be alone and fly towards the planets. (Continue reading » )
Souvenir. A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins
Photo Mark S.Howard
Ten years after staging Stephen Temperley’s two-hander Souvenir, A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins Spiro Veloudos, the artistic director of Boston’s Lyric Stage, has revived it with the same cast. Not having seen the earlier production, I am unable to compare the two. However, both talented performers Will McGarrahan and Leigh Barrett are comfortable and believable in their roles.
Since Souvenir’s Broadway début in 2005, Florence Foster Jenkins has become considerably better known. Coincidently, Peter Quilter’s British iteration with an even longer title: Glorious!: The True Story of Florence Foster the Worst Singer in the World opened the same year. (Continue reading » )
Photo Gretjen Helene
As its title seems to indicate,Warholcapote , a two character play revolves around a relationship so close that both characters are in some way indistinguishable. Both were honored as avant-garde artists of the mid-twentieth century and both were celebrity hounds. Much of Warhol’s art consists of paintings of beautiful and famous actresses, most notably Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, the most prominent movie stars of their time. Nonetheless, he is perhaps most renowned for his pop art paintings of Campbell soup cans and other consumer goods of the middle class of the period. (Continue reading » )
Cambridge’s Central Square Theatre is presently showing Nick Payne’s imaginative Constellations under the auspices of the Underground Railway Theatre as a Catalyst Collaborative @ MIT. Every year a play whose source is scientific knowledge is offered at the Central Square Theatre and supported by MIT as a means of amalgamating art and science. (Continue reading » )
Photo Mark Howard.
For its first show of the season Boston’s Lyric Stage, which often produces musical theatre pieces, chose Arthur Laurents’, Jule Styne’s, and Stephen Sondheim’s Gypsy. Gypsy is considered by many critics, scholars, and theatre artists as one of the greatest musicals of the mid-20th century when American musical comedy turned into musical theatre, a more well-rounded genre in which the narrative and characterization were on par with the songs, where comedy could remain an integral part of the show or be dropped.
In 1959, Ethel Merman created the leading role of Mama Rose, a woman dedicated to fulfilling her dream of seeing her two daughters become show business stars, who in Merman’s version was funny, cruel, selfish, powerful, and at times loving. Her loud (and for some abrasive) mezzo-soprano voice and her belting style were inimical.
Since the original closed in 1961, Gypsy has been revived four times on Broadway with Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury, Bernadette Peters, and Patti Lupone as the lead. Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury, and Patti Lupone won a Tony award, while Bernadette Peters was nominated. What their performances have in common is that their interpretations are less vulgar, tough, lower class, and over the top than Merman’s.
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Photo: Sophie l’anson
Louis Riel, Canada’s leading opera composed by Harry Somers with the libretto written by Mavor Moore and Jacques Languirand, first produced in 1967 to commemorate the centennial has been revived for the country’s 150th anniversary of confederation. The 2017 production is a collaboration between the Canadian Opera Company in Toronto and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. (Continue reading » )