NEW REP BLACK BOX FESTIVAL

Up Next: The inaugural NEXT REP BLACK BOX FESTIVAL: five plays and three new play readings in two Black Box Theaters beginning with TONGUE OF A BIRD, Ellen McLaughlin’s drama of a rescue pilot searching for a lost girl in the snowy mountains, March 8 through 30 in the Black Box Theater at The Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown. Directed by Emily Ranii. Featuring Olivia D’Ambrosio, Elizabeth Anne Rimar, Ilyse Robbins, and Bobbie Steinbach. Click here for tickets.

The Next Rep Black Box Festival continues with two plays in repertory, OUR LADY, James Fluhr’s gutsy story of finding strength in his gay identity, April 3-27; and IN BETWEEN, Ibrahim Miari’s story as a son of an Israeli mother and Palestinian father, raising questions of identity, culture, and belonging, April 4-20. Click here for tickets.

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SpeakEasy Stage Company THE WHALE

(BOSTON) – From March 7 through April 5, 2014, SpeakEasy Stage Company will proudly present the New England premiere of the acclaimed Off-Broadway drama THE WHALE by
Samuel D. Hunter.

Winner of the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, THE WHALE tells the story of Charlie, a morbidly obese man who hides away in his Northern Idaho apartment quietly eating himself to death in the wake of a personal tragedy. With his health quickly failing, Charlie makes one last desperate attempt to connect with his estranged daughter Ellie, a sharp-tongued and wildly unhappy teen whom he has not seen in 15 years. Also involved in Charlie’s quest for redemption are Liz, Charlie’s enabling caregiver; Elder Thomas, a Mormon on a mission; and Mary, Charlie’s ex-wife.

THE WHALE was written by Samuel D. Hunter, whose play A Bright New Boise had its Boston debut last season. A native of Northern Idaho, Mr. Hunter lives in New York City and holds degrees in playwriting from New York University, The Iowa Playwrights Workshop, and Juilliard. He has received the 2013 Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a 2012 Whiting Writers Award, the 2011 Sky Cooper Prize, and the 2008-2009 PONY Fellowship. Mr. Hunter is also a member of New Dramatists, an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens, a Core Member of The Playwrights’ Center, a member of Partial Comfort Productions, and is currently a Resident Playwright at Arena Stage. He has three new plays set to debut nationally this season: The Few, A Great Wilderness, and Rest.

Norton Award-winner David R. Gammons will direct THE WHALE for SpeakEasy Stage. Mr. Gammons’ previous directorial efforts for the company include the award-winning productions of Blackbird, Red, and The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

Boston actor, teacher, and playwright John Kuntz will play Charlie, and will share the stage with Josephine Elwood, Georgia Lyman, Maureen Keiller, and Ryan O’Connor.

The design team includes Cristina Todesco (scenic), Gail Astrid Buckley (costumes), Jeff Adelberg (lighting), David Remedios (sound), and Megan F. Kinneen (props). Christine Lomaka is the Production Stage Manager.

THE WHALE will run for five weeks, from March 7 through April 5, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.

Ticket prices start at $25, with discounts for students, seniors, and persons age 25 and under. For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com.

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SIX ON SONDHEIM HBO DOCUMENTARY

Six on Sondheim
HBO Documentary
December 10, 2013

James Lapine is not Stephen Sondheim. So trying to make a documentary that imitated a Sondheim musical did not work. Sondheim can be edgy, ambivalent, stark and have it all add up to one brilliant artistic creation. Lapine can direct one of these musicals but cannot create one. That’s exactly what he tried to do in Six on Sondheim.

The HBO documentary Six on Sondheim referred to 6 songs that were apparently the bones of the his work. These were the songs that James Lapine had a lot of footage for as well as would carry forward the story. But how dare he not use the original footage for the songs? If this is supposed to be the definitive Sondheim film, then why not use the definitive Sondheim songs with the definitive artists?

Having Sondheim, through 50 years, tell his own story worked. The fact that this talking head film had you take a leap of faith through the years from clip to clip, it was all Sondheim, and all made sense.

Lapine is not a documentary director and it showed. I also had a problem with his recreation of Sondheim’s only autobiographical work, “Merrily We Roll Along” with 3 television stars from Glee, Smash and Ugly Betty. Yes, they could sing, but it was pandering to a younger audience. Sondheim doesn’t pander.

Sondheim dialogue imparted some lesser know stories, which I call WOW moments. He talked about his inspiration for musicals such as “Sunday In The Park with George.” He lamented that his mother sent him a letter as she was going into the hospital for a pacemaker. She wanted him to know that she regretted that he was born. Other stories, although known to many, were good to include such as his relationship with Oscar Hammerstein.

Could I have enjoyed this film? Well, I did, in spite of everything. But, I would not want my gardner to perform surgery on me even though they both use tools.

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IN THE MOOD

In The Mood tips it’s hat to the 40s in a most delightful way. The big band was great as was the music. The 6 singer/dancers were delightful. Yes, it was all the old chestnuts, but who doesn’t love chestnuts. They deserved their rousing standing ovation.
It is gone but the memory lingers on.

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CAMELOT

CAMELOT

Be magically transported to “Camelot” for happily-ever-aftering at the New Repertory. CAMELOT runs through December 22, 2013 at the Charles Mosesian Theater at the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown.

From the romantic “If Ever I Would Leave You,” to the hilarious “C’est Moi,” the Lerner and Loewe musical, (that followed their blockbuster “My Fair Lady”) is worth the trip. Although Richard Burton and Robert Goulet are gone, their memory lives on through Benjamin Evett and Marc Koeck who revive King Arthur and Sir Lancelot admirably.

I am aware that the comparison to the original production on Broadway is a foolhardy exercise. That said, they do a noble job hitting all the emotional and funny guideposts.

Once again Erica Spyres shines through, illuminating the play with her character Guenevere. Before our eyes, she changes from a young girl to a mature queen. Her voice is as clear as a bell with nuances that defy any Broadway diva. The violin, that I first heard her play in Sondheim’s “Marry Me A Little“ at the New Rep, has a brief and shining moment here as well, relevant or not.
The villain Mordred, played his role to perfection without overacting, which is a common mistake. Bravo to John Traub set designer who transformed a small stage into a kingdom.
If there was one thing that I would have changed up, it was the “orchestra.” From their overture to the finale, they never got their act together.

This revival will revive your love of musicals where you leave singing.
So get your tickets and check out the interesting Talk Back sessions.

WHAT: CAMELOT
WHERE: NEWrep in WATERTOWN
WHEN: Now through December 22, 2013
TICKETS: 617-923-8487

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Forever Tango the review

Forever Tango titillates the senses.
If you love watching Dancing With the Stars on TV, you will be in heaven as you watch the Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango. These magnificent dancers appear at the Cutler Majestic Theatre at Emerson College now through November 2.
Forever Tango gives you a tango history lesson from its beginning in the underbelly of Buenos Aires and Montevideo in the 1890s. The dance originated in lower class districts (some say brothels) and grew to be one of the most popular dance forms worldwide. The dancers seamlessly go from decade to decade with precision and artistry.
It looks easy but just try it and you will get a deeper appreciation of what the dancers bring to the tango. Go and see what they were raving about in the New York production, then call a dance studio and learn the tango. I did.

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TANGO FOREVER

INTERNATIONALLY ACCLAIMED SENSATION
LUIS BRAVO’S
FOREVER TANGO
IN SEVEN SIZZLING PERFORMANCES AT
BOSTON’S CUTLER MAJESTIC THEATRE
Playing October 29-November 2, 2013
– Tickets Now On Sale –

Luis Bravo’s FOREVER TANGO, the sizzling international sensation, returns to Boston for seven performances only, playing Tuesday, October 29 – Saturday, November 2 at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. FOREVER TANGO comes to Boston direct from an unprecedented fourth run on Broadway, following highly acclaimed tours in Europe, Asia, the Middle East, throughout the United States and he Americas. Press night is set for Tuesday, October 29 at 7:30 pm.

Sensuous and sophisticated, the tango inhabits a world where everything can be said with the flick of a leg, the tug of a hand, the tap of a foot and the arch of an eyebrow. Created and directed by Luis Bravo, FOREVER TANGO was voted Best Touring Musical by Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle in San Francisco where it played an unprecedented 92 weeks at the Theatre on the Square and has returned season after season. Truly an international event, FOREVER TANGO was also awarded the coveted Simpatia Prize at the 1996 Spoleto Festival in Italy.

FOREVER TANGO features fourteen world-class tango dancers, one vocalist and an on-stage eleven piece orchestra, including the instrument of the tango, the bandoneon, in an evening that celebrates the passionate music and dance of Argentina. The dances, performed to original and traditional music, are the result of collaboration between each couple and director/creator Bravo. “The tango is a feeling that you dance,” says Bravo, “a story you tell in three minutes. It’s passionate, it’s melancholic. It’s tender, violent. You dance it with somebody – but it is so internal, you dance it by yourself. More than just a dance, the tango is music, a drama, a culture, a way of life.”

FOREVER TANGO tells the story of the birth of the tango in 19th century Argentina where thousands of men, having abandoned a disintegrating Europe to emigrate to South America, found themselves in the crowded abattoirs (packing houses), the bars and street corners of the arrabales (outlying barrios) and in the enramadas (brothels). The tango was born of this lonely and violent existence. Originally shunned by Argentina society as indecent, the tango became an overnight craze in upper-class Paris when Argentine intellectuals taught it when traveling abroad. The tango quickly spread across Europe and to America, and was eventually re-imported home to Argentina society, though not unchanged. Born in the brothels and bordellos of Buenos Aires, the tango may be Argentina’s best known export.

Creator/director of FOREVER TANGO, Luis Bravo is a world-class cellist who has performed with major symphonies throughout the world. His distinguished credits include appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Colon Theatre Opera House, the Buenos Aires Philharmonic and other prestigious ensembles.

FOREVER TANGO’s design team includes Argemira Affonso (Costumes), Luis Bravo (Lighting), Mike Miller (Sound), and Jean-Luc Don Vito (Make-up) and Carlos Diaz (Production). Víctor Lavallén serves as Musical Director/Arranger and composed some of the music in the show.

FOREVER TANGO opened on Broadway June of 1997 for what was expected to be an eight-week engagement, ran for 14 months and has since been back to New York on Broadway on three separate occasions, the latest being the summer of 2013 at the Walter Kerr Theatre. The New York Times called FOREVER TANGO, “A must-see!” And USA Today said, “Forever Tango shows that the style is more than steamy – it’s smart, even funny … a sensuous, seductive, pleasure.” The New York Daily News raved that the show was, “an evening of sheer pleasure! Sensual, elegant, dazzling!” And the Associated Press declared it to be, “the most theatrical show on Broadway!” These sizzling reviews and huge demand for tickets forced the run to be extended again and again.

The Boston engagement is presented by Artbeat, Inc., David Shaw, President. For more information about FOREVER TANGO, visit www.ForeverTango.us

FOREVER TANGO plays at The Cutler Majestic Theatre October 29 through November 2. Performances are Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7:30 pm; Thursday at 2:00 pm; Friday at 8:00 pm; and Saturday at 4:00 pm and 8:00 pm. Tickets for the engagement are priced at $30.00 – $95.00, and are on are on sale at the Cutler Majestic Theatre box office (219 Tremont St.), online at CutlerMajestic.org or by calling 617.824.8000.

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Baritone’s Unbound

Baritones UnBound:
Celebrating the UnCommon
Voice of the Common Man
Conceived by Marc Kudisch

Baritones UnBound is a tour de force. Their rousing standing ovation was well deserved.
Not only do you enjoy the three superb voices of Jeff Mattsey, co-creator with Kudish, Ben Davis and Marc Kudisch, you learn about the most common male voice, the baritone. A special nod to the fabulous pianist and Music Director Timothy Splain.

Here’s a brief sketch of the performers experience. Marc is a three-time Tony Award nominee, having appeared on Broadway in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 9-5, Bells are Ringing and Thoroughly Modern Millie . Ben Davis appeared opposite Kelly O’Hara and Victor Garber at Lincoln Centre. He was also in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.
Jeff Mattsey is renowned worldwide for the baritone roles such as Marcello in La Boheme opposite Luciano Pavarotti need I say more. His voice is perfection. I could listen to him all night.

So what happens in this show, with a complicated too long title? It’s a whirlwind of music and historical and hysterical dialogue taking you though the years in opera Rossini, operetta Gilbert and Sullivan, Broadway, Jerry Herman Stephen Sondheim to, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Elvis. This terrific trio switches easily between the different musical genres and it’s all done without a mike. This reminded me of the old days when singers really could sing and project instead of today with all the amplification and pitch correction.
What ties the show together is the story of the baritone’s rise and fall. Who ever thought of it? But it was educational, interesting, amusing and the music most enjoyable.
How can you go wrong? Catch it at the beautifully restored Paramount Theatre, Arts Emerson in downtown Boston.
It runs now through October 20th. You won’t be sorry.

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Hurray to see BARITONES UNBOUND AT THE PARAMOUNT

Baritones UnBound:
Celebrating the UnCommon
Voice of the Common Man
Conceived by Marc Kudisch

Baritones UnBound is a tour de force. Their rousing standing ovation was well deserved.
Not only do you enjoy the three superb voices of Jeff Mattsey, co-creator with Kudish, Ben Davis and Marc Kudisch, you learn about the most common male voice, the baritone. A special nod to the fabulous pianist and Music Director Timothy Splain.

Here’s a brief sketch of the performers experience. Marc is a three-time Tony Award nominee, having appeared on Broadway in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, 9-5, Bells are Ringing and Thoroughly Modern Millie . Ben Davis appeared opposite Kelly O’Hara and Victor Garber at Lincoln Centre. He was also in Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.
Jeff Mattsey is renowned worldwide for the baritone roles such as Marcello in La Boheme opposite Luciano Pavarotti need I say more. His voice is perfection. I could listen to him all night.

So what happens in this show, with a complicated too long title? It’s a whirlwind of music and historical and hysterical dialogue taking you though the years in opera Rossini, operetta Gilbert and Sullivan, Broadway, Jerry Herman Stephen Sondheim to, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Elvis. This terrific trio switches easily between the different musical genres and it’s all done without a mike. This reminded me of the old days when singers really could sing and project instead of today with all the amplification and pitch correction.
What ties the show together is the story of the baritone’s rise and fall. Who ever thought of it? But it was educational, interesting, amusing and the music most enjoyable.
How can you go wrong? Catch it at the beautifully restored Paramount Theatre, Arts Emerson in downtown Boston.
It runs now through October 20th. You won’t be sorry.

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MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET

CITI EMERSON COLONIAL THEATRE

Performances now through October 20th!

BOSTON, MA – Inspired by the electrifying true story of the famed recording session that brought together rock n’ roll icons Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET has arrived at the Citi Performing Arts Center Emerson Colonial Theatre for a limited two week engagement now through October 20, 2013. MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is part of the 2013-2014 Lexus Broadway In Boston Season.

Tickets are currently available through an authorized ticket seller found only at the Citi Center Box Office 1-866-348-9738, and by visiting www.BroadwayInBoston.com. Tickets can also be purchased directly at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre Box Office, 270 Tremont St., Boston, MA during normal business hours (Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm to 6pm). Season Series patrons interested in tickets should call Broadway In Boston directly at 1-866-523-7469 and for Member tickets please call 1-866-551-7469. For groups of 10 or more please call Broadway In Boston Group Sales directly at 617-482-8616 or email Groups@broadwayinboston.com.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET, the 2010 Tony® Award nominee for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical, is set on December 4, 1956, when an auspicious twist of fate brought Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley together. Sam Phillips, the “Father of Rock ‘n’ Roll” who was responsible for launching the careers of each icon, brought the four legendary musicians together at the Sun Records storefront studio in Memphis for the first and only time. The resulting evening became known as one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll jam sessions in history.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET brings that legendary night to life with an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets, betrayal and celebrations featuring an eclectic score of rock, gospel, R&B and country hits including; “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Sixteen Tons,” “Who Do You Love?,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Matchbox,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog,” and more.

The show is directed by Eric Schaeffer and features a book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux. The design team includes: Derek McLane (scenic design), Howell Binkley (lighting design), Jane Greenwood (costume design), Kai Harada (sound design) and Chuck Mead (musical arrangements and supervision).

When the Broadway production opened in April 2010, critics and audiences leapt to their feet in unanimous praise. The New York Times called the show, “a buoyant new musical that whips the crowd into a frenzy,” New York Magazine labeled it, “a dazzling raucous spectacle that sounds like a million bucks,” and NY1 called it, “90 minutes of platinum grade entertainment.” The musical continued its successful New York engagement at New World Stages through June 2012.

The Chicago production of MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET opened in 2008 and is still playing to packed houses at the Apollo Theatre. The West End production played at the Noël Coward Theatre in London in 2011, and a Las Vegas production began performances at Harrah’s Showroom in Las Vegas in February.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET won a Tony Award® for Best Performance by a Featured Actor in a Musical and received a Tony Award® nomination for Best Musical and Best Book of a Musical (Colin Escott & Floyd Mutrux). The show received an Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical, a Drama Desk nomination for Outstanding Musical Revue and three Drama League nominations including Distinguished Production of a Musical and Distinguished Performance.

MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET is produced by Relevant Theatricals, John Cossette Productions, American Pop Anthology and Broadway Across America.

For more information, please visit the official MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET website at www.MillionDollarQuartetLive.com or www.BroadwayInBoston.com. For the latest news, announcements and “backstage” access on all of our upcoming shows become a fan of Broadway In Boston at www.Facebook.com/BroadwayInBoston, follow us on Twitter @BroadwayBoston and on Instagram @BroadwayBoston.

PERFORMANCES ARE: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursdays at 7:30pm
Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 2:00pm & 8:00pm
Sundays at 1:00pm & 6:30pm

TICKET PRICES: Starting at $33

TICKET INFORMATION:
Tickets are currently available through an authorized ticket seller found only at the Citi Center Box Office 1-866-348-9738, and by visiting www.BroadwayInBoston.com. Tickets can also be purchased directly at the Citi Performing Arts Center Wang Theatre Box Office, 270 Tremont St., Boston, MA during normal business hours (Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm

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