All posts by Bobby Franklin

SpeakEasy Stage Company To Present “Choir Boy”

Choir Boy

Opens At

SpeakEasy Stage Company

September 13

From September 13 to October 12, 2019, SpeakEasy Stage Company will proudly present the New England premiere of the acclaimed Broadway musical drama CHOIR BOY.

Nominated for four 2019 Tony Awards including Best Play, CHOIR BOY is a powerful coming-of-age story punctuated by the soaring harmonies of live gospel, spiritual, and R&B performances.  For fifty years, the elite Charles R. Drew Prep School has been dedicated to the education of strong, ethical black men; its legendary choir an emblem of all it holds true.  But for Pharus Young, the opportunity to take his rightful place as the leader of these talented vocalists comes at a price.  Can he still earn his place in the hallowed halls and sing in his own key?

CHOIR BOY is the work of acclaimed writer Tarell Alvin McCraney, Oscar-winner for the film Moonlight, which was based on his play In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue. Mr. McCraney’s other plays include Ms. Blakk for President (co-written with Tina Landau), The Brother/Sister Plays, Head of Passes, and Wig Out!  Mr. McCraney is currently the Chair of Playwriting at the Yale School of Drama, and is an ensemble member at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago.  His original TV series David Makes Man recently debuted on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. 

Maurice Emmanuel Parent will direct the New England Premiere of CHOIR BOY.  An award-winning, Boston-based actor, Mr. Parent is also the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Front Porch Arts Collective, a new black-led theatre company committed to advancing racial equity in Boston through theatre. Mr. Parent made his professional directorial debut last season with Breath & Imagination, a co-production between Front Porch and the Lyric Stage Company of Boston, for which he received an IRNE Award nomination for Best Director of a Musical.  

Joining Mr. Parent are David Freeman Coleman, who will serve as Music Director, and Yewande Odetoyinbo and Ruka White, who will co-choreograph.  

Boston Conservatory graduate Isaiah Reynolds will return to Boston to play Pharus.  He is being joined by Jaimar Brown, Antione Gray, Dwayne P. Mitchell, Malik Mitchell, Aaron Patterson, Thomas Purvis, Nigel Richards, J. Jerome Rogers, and Richard Snee.  

CHOIR BOY will run from Sept. 13 – Oct. 12, 2019, 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 people age 25 and under.  For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call BostonTheatreScene Ticketing Services at 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com.                

“Sunset Boulevard” Opens At North Shore Music Theatre September 24

NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE PRESENTS

ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER’S TONY® AWARD-WINNING MASTERWORK

“SUNSET BOULEVARD”

STARRING TONY® AWARD-WINNER

ALICE RIPLEY

September 24 – October 6, 2019

Alice Riipley

Bill Hanney’s award-winning North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) is thrilled to announce complete casting for the upcoming production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s masterwork, SUNSET BOULEVARD, which will star the previously announced Alice Ripley as the fading Hollywood star, Norma Desmond. SUNSET BOULEVARD is on stage from Tuesday, September 24 thru Sunday, October 6, 2019.

“Producing Sunset Boulevard combines two things I am very passionate about, musical theatre and classic Hollywood films,” said Bill Hanney, NSMT’s owner/producer who also owns Entertainment Cinemas, a chain of movie complexes throughout New England. “Our team has been challenged to create a show that is so thrilling and opulent that it will take the audience’s breath away and keep them on the edge of their seats the same way the original Billy Wilder film did. From the extraordinarily talented cast being led by Tony® Award-winner Alice Ripley, to the exquisite multi-level sets being created for the show, to the glamorous costumes, audiences will need to prepare themselves for an evening of theatre unlike anything they have ever seen.”

SUNSET BOULEVARD is the magnificent tale of Norma Desmond, a faded silent-screen goddess living in her Sunset Boulevard mansion clinging to a fantasy that audiences still long for her, but in reality they hardly remember her. When an impoverished screenwriter Joe Gillis, stumbles into her reclusive domain she persuades him to help her work on her film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras again. Seduced by her and her luxurious lifestyle he agrees. Entrapped in a claustrophobic existence, his love for another woman leads him to try and break free of Norma’s web, but with dramatic consequences.

Based on the film by Billy Wilder, SUNSET BOULEVARD, features music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and a book and lyrics by Don Black and Christopher Hampton. The Tony® Award-winning masterwork is packed with lush and swelling songs including “With One Look,” “As If We Never Said Goodbye,” “Sunset Boulevard,” and “Perfect Year.”

It has been previously announced that Tony® Award-winner Alice Ripley will take on the iconic role of Norma Desmond. Alice Ripley earned critical acclaim and won the Best Actress in a Musical Tony® and Helen Hayes Awards for her work as Diana in the Pulitzer Prize-winning rock opera, Next to Normal. Ripley received Tony and Drama Desk Award nominations for her work as conjoined twin Violet Hilton in the cult hit, Side Show. She also created the role of Betty Schaefer in the original 1994 Broadway production of Sunset Boulevard. She was also part of the original Broadway casts and created the roles in American Psycho, The Rocky Horror Show, James Joyce’s The Dead, King David, and The Who’s Tommy in addition to enjoying a long stay at the Imperial Theatre playing Fantine in the original Broadway production of Les Misérables. Alice Ripley is also an accomplished screen actress and recording artist.

Tickets for SUNSET BOULEVARD are priced starting from $61 – $86. Kids 18 and under save 50%. $25 Student Rush tickets are available with a valid student I.D. starting one hour prior to curtain time. Prices are subject to change without notice. Phone, internet, and other fees may be applied at time of sale.

SUNSET BOULEVARD performances are September 24 – October 6, Tue – Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit nsmt.org, or visit the box office at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.

 

Review: “Murder On The Orient Express” At The Ogunquit Playhouse

Murder, Mayhem, And Laughs

On This Express Out Of Ogunquit

Murder On The Orient Express 

The Ogunquit Playhouse

Adapted By Ken Ludwig

Directed By Shaun Kerrison 

Through August 31

ogunquitplayhouse.org

207.646.5511

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Steven Rattazzi and Christopher Gurr
Photo Credit:Jay Goldsmith

The Ogunquit Playhouse is well known for the musicals performed on its stage each year. They are consistently good and among the best to be seen anywhere. In fact, they are so good it is all they have presented for over 12 years. Why tinker with success? 

Well, this year Artistic Director Brad Kenney has decided to do just that. For the first time on his watch a non musical has been included in the lineup. Brad has chosen Agatha Christie’s Murder On The Orient Express, and it is proving to be a very wise move.

Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig and directed by Shaun Kerrison, this is a not to be missed production which may very well turn out to be the high point in what has been a very strong season at the Playhouse. 

Photo Credit:Julia Russell

The set design by Beowulf Boritt and costumes by William Ivy Long are magical. It is amazing to watch what is created on stage as the Orient Express rolls into the theater. The use of projections and the framing of scenes is spectacular, the colors are vivid, and the costumes would be the envy of Edith Head. Most of the sound effects are created through the use of music, a touch that is quite effective.

While the mise en scene alone makes this is an extremely strong piece of theatre, the actors put it over the top. Led by Steven Rattazzi in the role of Hercule Poirot, the cast is just amazing.

“Mr. Rattazzi is brilliant as Poirot”

Mr. Rattazzi is brilliant as Poirot. It is almost surreal to see how he embodies his character. His accent is impeccable, his movements purposeful yet effortless, his timing absolutely perfect, and his mustache exquisitely groomed. Agatha Christie would be very pleased.

I mentioned Mr. Rattazzi’s accent, I was also fascinated by the panoply of accents used in the play. From Swedish to French to Hungarian, to Russian, to American they are all captivating and musical. The dialog is crisp and fast with many witty one-liners that are quite funny.

Photo Credit: Gary Ng

The play is fast paced and has a rhythm to it that never skips a beat. Each player is perfectly on time with his and her lines. Anita Gillette as Princess Dragomiroff is captivating. On the night I attended Ms Gillette was celebrating her 83rd birthday, and she has the energy of a person half that age. Known for her role in Moonstruck as well as numerous stage, screen, and television roles she is the consummate professional. 

All 10 members of the cast give solid performances. Ruth Gottschall, Christopher Gurr, Kate Loprest, Stephan James Anthony, Andrew Dits, Patricia Noonan, Olev Aleksander, and Anna Tempte each put their own special stamp on the character they play. Each deserve special praise for bringing the audience such a varied array of personages who all in the end have something in common. 

The train is also a star. It is stunning when the light from it first shines through the theater. Watching the scenes as they move from the different cars is amazing. It is remarkable to see what is done on the stage at the Ogunquit Playhouse; really breathtaking. With so little downtime between productions, it is hard to comprehend how the crew was able to create such a complicated set so quickly. The people behind the scenes deserve a standing ovation for the work they do.

Photo Credit Julia Russell

While the story is intriguing and also very funny, it is about a murder, actually two murders, and it ends with a moral dilemma. Many are already familiar with the story so are aware of this, but when Mr. Rattazzi’s Poirot steps forward to address the audience about making such a choice it is quite moving and thought provoking.

Murder On The Orient Express is only playing for two weeks. Tickets will become scarce, so I suggest you don’t hesitate and get down to the station to book your seat for this incredible ride. I hope the success of this non musical will lead to another next year. I have a suggestion: Why not go with Agatha Christie again; perhaps Witness For The Prosecution. 

Murder On The Orient Express Opens At The Ogunquit Playhouse First Non Musical In Over 12 Years

Agatha Christie’s Masterpiece, Murder on the Orient Express Opens at Ogunquit Playhouse August 14

 

All aboard! Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to announce the first non-musical production at the theatre in over 12 years, Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, on stage August 14 through August 31. This suspenseful play takes audiences on a delightful journey alongside a train full of suspects, each one with an alibi! There are twists and turns aplenty in this intrigue-filled story, newly adapted for the stage from Agatha Christie’s masterpiece by two-time Tony-nominated playwright Ken Ludwig. This beloved mystery unfolds in a fresh new way that takes audiences on a thrilling ride, and is complete with a professional New York and Broadway-based cast including Tony-nominee Anita Gillette as Princess Dragomiroff and Steven Rattazzi as the mustachioed sleuth, Hercule Poirot. This lavish production is directed by Shaun Kerrison and includes an original set designed by Tony Award-winner Beowulf Boritt and stunning costumes designed by Tony Award-winner William Ivey Long.

“I am very excited to produce my first play here at the Ogunquit Playhouse. I am a huge Agatha Christie fan and we have carefully chosen one of her most thrilling murder mysteries that has been newly adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig. It will be seen in Ogunquit for one of the first times anywhere, live on our stage. We are delighted to share this new play with our audiences,” stated Bradford Kenney, Ogunquit Playhouse Executive Artistic Director.

This beloved mystery also features Ruth Gotschall as Helen Hubbard, Christopher Gurr as Monsieur Bouc, Kate Loprest as Countess Andrenyi, Stephen James Anthony as Hector MacQueen, Andrew Dits as Colonel Arbuthnot and Samuel Ratchett, Patricia Noonan as Mary Debenham, Olev Aleksander as Head Waiter and Michel the Conductor, and Anna Tempte as Greta Ohlsson. 

Steven Rattazzi

Steven Rattazzi leads the cast as Agatha Christie’s beloved character, Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. He has performed in Indecent on Broadway, and Off-Broadway in numerous productions including Henry V with Liev Schrieber, The Black Crook, Galileo, The Tempest with Mandy Patinkin, Stunning, Dinner Party, Painted Snake on a Painted Chair, and McGurk. In regional theatres his credits include Ken Ludwig’s Sherwood, Indecent, Lempicka, David Greenspan’s The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Seder, The School for Wives, and Marie Antoinette. He can be seen in the film The Family and is the voice behind the character Dr. Orpheus on Adult Swim’s The Venture Brothers. 

Anita Gillette

Tony-nominee Anita Gillette returns to the Playhouse to portray Princess Dragomiroff. Perhaps best known for her performance as Mona the mistress in the film Moonstruck, or for her portrayal as Tina Fey’s mother in NBC’s 30 Rock, Ms. Gillette has had an illustrious career on stage and screen, with more than fourteen Broadway shows to her credit, including Chapter Two (which earned her a Tony Nomination for Best Actress in a Play and an LA Drama Critics Award), as well as the Off-Broadway production of The Big Meal for which she was nominated for a Lortel Award. She has performed at the Playhouse numerous times, starting in 1976 with Sabrina Fair, followed by Chapter Two in 1980, The Inkwell in 1982, Steel Magnolias in 1990, How the Other Half Lives in 1994, and Alone Together in 1998. and in guest appearances on Modern Family, Blue Bloods, Elementry, Cold Case, Sex & The City, Frasier, Law & Order, and Mad About You.

Tickets are on sale now with preview performances starting at just $36, and economy seating at $51 each. To learn more about becoming a Playhouse member, subscriber, or to purchase tickets and gift cards, visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call the Ogunquit Playhouse Box Office at 207-646-5511.

Some Summer Reading Recommendations

 Boxing Books That Belong In 

Every Fan’s Library

 

By Bobby Franklin

This time of the year it is common to see lists of book recommendations for summer reading. Often these lists are titled along the line of “Books To Bring To The Beach”. 

That has always made me chuckle as I love going to the beach but not to read. Sitting in the sun with the beautiful ocean in front of me is not conducive to sparking a desire to read. I prefer doing my reading at home where it is quiet and the distractions are few.

The one good thing about these lists is it gives people like me an excuse to recommend favorite books. In this case the books will be some of my favorite boxing reads. It will be a brief list and is just a small sampling of titles that I think you will enjoy. I could have a much longer selection, but I decided to pick the few that I believe are absolute musts for any serious boxing enthusiast to have in his library.

My first choice is Mike Silver’s “The Arc of Boxing: The Rise and Decline of the Sweet Science”. When I first read it in 2010 I was so impressed I put it at the top of my list for must read boxing books. Mike looks at boxing with the eye of an art critic. He knows the game and he understands the art. His arguments, which I find indisputable, about how and why boxing has become a lost art are measured, well thought out, and solid. If you want to know what has happened to boxing over the years, and why today’s boxing no longer even resembles what it was in its golden years, you will find the answers here. For instance, he points out the differences between a great scientific boxer and a boxer who may appear to have great skills but is relying on his physical talents instead of boxing IQ.

Next is Paul Beston’s The Boxing Kings: When American Heavyweights Ruled The Ring. Paul has written an overview of the heavyweight division that covers all the important events and champions over 100 years. While I have referred to it as an overview, don’t think this is just a list of champions and their fights. 

Paul Beston is an extraordinarily talented writer and his history brings the legends and the times they lived in to life. His treatment of John L. Sullivan shows just what an important figure the Strong Boy was in making boxing a mainstream sport and the Heavyweight Champ a mythic figure. 

His chapter on Joe Louis actually brought tears to my eyes as Paul gives the very great champion the recognition he deserves not only for his talent as a fighter, but also for the incredible strides he made in race relations in this country. My sadness came from the realization this great man has been all but forgotten today. Joe Louis transcended boxing and he should never be forgotten. 

Dempsey, Johnson, Tunney, Baer, Marciano and the others are included. After reading this wonderful book you will really appreciate just how unique each of these men were.

Glen Sharp wanted to be a boxer and spent time in the boxing gyms in his native California. After a brief amateur career he turned pro and had three fights, losing two of them. I can understand if this doesn’t sound like the makings of a great boxing memoir to you, but it would be a big mistake not to read his book Punching From The Shadows: Memoir of a Minor League Professional Boxer. 

The best way to describe Glen’s well written account of his time is the ring is to call it honest. His descriptions of the gyms around Stockton, California during the early 1980s and his time spent as a sparring partner for light heavyweight contender Yaqui Lopez is the stuff of novels. 

The honesty in the book comes from Glen’s openness in telling about the emotional struggle every boxer goes through but few will admit. There was never a young man that laced on a pair of gloves who didn’t somewhere in his head believe he would one day become a world champion. It is in facing the fact that you can never succeed at something you love and desire so much that makes boxing such a cruel yet valuable parent. 

I am not one to toss around the word classic, but I am also not alone in calling Punching From The Shadows one. This  is an important boxing book as well as an important book about dealing with life. 

I will finish by recommending a work of fiction that turned fifty years old this year. Leonard Gardner’s Fat City is one of the great boxing novels of all time. The story about washed up pro Billy Tully and novice Ernie Munger is set in Stockton, California, which makes it a great book to read in conjunction with Glen Sharp’s memoir.

It is a dark story but the work is more poetry than prose. In less than 200 pages Leonard Gardner paints a picture in words that will remain vivid in your mind. I read it for the second time a couple of years ago when I was fortunate enough to spend some time with Leonard. He is a fascinating man who knows his boxing. He also knows human nature and is one incredible writer. If you haven’t yet read this masterpiece, you are missing out one of the best works of fiction written by an American author. It was also made into a terrific movie directed by John Huston with the screenplay also written by Leonard Gardner.

There you have four books that I can unreservedly recommend. I’ll call them beach reading, but it’s okay if you sit in a chair at home and enjoy them. There are less distractions there. 

Cindy Williams to Join the Cast of the Ogunquit Playhouse Production of Menopause The Musical

The Ogunquit Playhouse is thrilled to announce that Cindy Williams will join the cast of the hilarious musical comedy, Menopause The Musical, as the host. Ms. Williams is best known for her role as Shirley Feeney alongside Penny Marshall (Laverne) in the hit television show Laverne and Shirley. This joyful musical parody is on stage from September 4 through September 14. 

A raucous celebration of womanhood inspired by a hot flash and a bottle of wine, Menopause the Musical applauds women who are on the brink of, in the middle of, or have survived The Change. Grab your best gal-pal or your best guy for this hilarious and joyful parody of 25 re-lyricized classic hits from the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s. The show features chart-toppers including “I Heard it Through the Grapevine that You No Longer See 39,” and the disco favorite “Stayin’ Awake, Stayin’ Awake!”

For tickets visit www.ogunquitplayhouse.org or call the Ogunquit Playhouse Box Office at 207-646-5511.

The Ogunquit Playhouse season continues with Cabaret, on stage now through August 10; Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, August 14 through August 31; the Tony Award-winning, smash hit musical Kinky Boots, September 18 through October 27.

“Not Fade Away” Comes To Greater Boston Stage Company August 23

GREATER BOSTON STAGE COMPANY ROCKS IT OUT WITH 

NOT FADE AWAY 

Friday, August 23, 2019… That’ll Be the Day… that Not Fade Away comes to Greater Boston Stage Company! Greater Boston Stage Company welcomes back Austin Price, last season’s Johnny Cash in Million Dollar Quartet. Austin, alongside his band Not Fade Away, creates the ultimate throwback to Buddy Holly and the legends of rock n roll. Not your typical Buddy Holly tribute, Not Fade Away will celebrate the unforgettable sounds of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper with hits by Bill Haley, The Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, The Beatles and more. So, don’t feel blue Peggy Sue, because you have five chances to see these guys and gals jumping up on instruments, dancing, soloing behind their heads, and jumping through ropes (yee-haw!) all to powerful NEW renditions of the classic hit songs of the 50’s, 60’s and beyond. Not Fade Away rocks on from August 23 – 25, 2019 for five hopping performances. 

For more information call GBSC’s Box Office at 781-279-2200, or visit www.greaterbostonstage.org. 

Box Office Hours: Mondays – Fridays, 11am to 6pm; Saturdays, 1pm to 6pm
Location: 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA 02180

Book Review: “My Favorite Fights” By Jerry Fitch

Cleveland’s Mr. Boxing
Looks Back At His Favorite Fights

Book Review
My Favorite Fights
By Jerry Fitch
152 Pages
jerryfitch1946 [at] gmail [dot] com

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Every fight fan has his favorite fights. Some are those that were seen live either in person on on television. Others have been viewed on film and usually include classics such as Ali v Frazier I and Louis v Schmeling II. But those would be included on any list of “great” fights.

In Jerry Fitch’s latest book, he does not compile another list of the greatest fights. What he does is to look back at a lifetime, over 50 years of watching fights, and chooses his “favorite” fights. Yes, some of his favorites are also some of the great fights of all time, but there are many included in this collection that became favorites for other reasons. It is that difference that makes this book so enjoyable. In fact, after reading it I started to look back at my own history of watching fights and recalled how many fights I saw on the local level that would rank on my list of favorites.

In 25 chapters, Jerry describes the fights he fondly remembers and gives his reasons for why they stand out in his memory. Living in Cleveland, he had the good fortune to be in a place that had an active boxing scene over the years. He has written a book on the history of Cleveland boxing as well as biographies of two great fighters from that city, Johnny Risko and Jimmy Bivins. Jerry has earned the title “Cleveland’s Mr.Boxing”.

His list does have some of the all time great fights on it. He has chapters on Ali vs Frazier I, the first Leonard/Duran fight, the first Louis/Conn fight, and the fight where Rocky Marciano won the title from Jersey Joe Walcott. His take on these fights is very interesting, and there is no doubting Jerry is an “old school” boxing guy.

While reading his views on experiencing these well known battles is a treat, the book gets really interesting when Jerry writes about some of the lesser known matches between figures that never made to the top. Or fights that would never be considered great, but certainly are interesting. He has a fine eye for picking out the matches.

Doyle Baird

One favorite of mine, for obvious reasons, is the first fight between the exciting Akron, Ohio middleweight Doyle Baird and Boston favorite Iron Mike Pusateri, held in Cleveland in 1971. Baird had established himself as a world class fighter having fought a draw with champion Nino Benvenuti in a non title fight, scoring a win over Don Fullmer, and going ten rounds with Emile Griffith while losing a decsion. As any Boston boxing fan from that era will tell, Iron Mike Pusateri was one tough battler.

Jerry’s descriiption of the fight is terrific, but he also gets into some of the background of the promotion as well as telling a funny story about a fan he was seated next to. It’s all part of the charm of this book.

Another reason for choosing a fight as his favorite has to do with his personal boxing history. Most real fight fans will remember the first pro boxing match they ever attended. In Jerry’s case it was the third fight between Carmen Basilio and Johnny Saxton which was held in Cleveland. This welterweight title fight was the rubber match between the two combatants, and Jerry admit it was anti-climatic, but it was very exciting to have his first live boxing experience be a championship fight.

Some of the other fights discussed in the book are the 2nd bout between local fighters Billy Wagner and John Griffin, Cassius Clay vs Doug Jones, Danny Lopez and Bobby Chacon, Ali vs Wepner, and Palomino vs Muniz I.
There is even a very interesting chapter on a fight card Jerry attended in Palm Springs, CA where the main event had to be delayed because the ring was swarmed by grasshoppers.

Jerry Fitch “Mr.Boxing”

This is Jerry’s fifth book, and he is to be credited with doing much to keep alive the memory of the great history of boxing. In choosing to include a number of local fight cards in this collection he has seen to it that the guys who never made it big are still remembered for the wonderful fights they put on before smaller crowds. Some of these fight cards were more exciting than many of the big pay per view fights that fans laid out big money to see.

After reading Jerry’s book I hope you too will think back on those fights you saw at the local arenas, and come to appreciate how hard those fighters fought for the short money. While Boston boxing fans have never witnessed an infestation of grasshoppers before a main event, I am sure you will have many of your own stories to tell about nights at ringside. Jerry Fitch shows us just how interesting so many of those memories are.

To order a copy of My Favorite Fights, email Jerry Fitch at jerryfitch1946 [at] gmail [dot] com

 

Opening At North Shore Music Theatre August 6: “Jersey Boys

OH, WHAT A NIGHT!

‘JERSEY BOYS’

PREMIERES AT NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE

IN A ONE-OF-A-KIND 360° IMMERSIVE PRODUCTION

August 6 – September 1, 2019

 

 Bill Hanney’s award-winning North Shore Music Theatre (NSMT) continues the 2019 Musical Season with JERSEY BOYS, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. This special extended engagement plays for four week starting Tuesday, August 6 and playing thru Sunday, September 1, 2019. JERSEY BOYS is sponsored by Abiomed.

 “We are so proud to be presenting the Massachusetts Regional Theatre Premiere of Jersey Boys. Many people have seen the show on Broadway and on the many tours that have come through the area, but I can guarantee they have never seen the show like this before,” said Bill Hanney, NSMT owner and producer. “Our audiences will not just be watching the musical phenomenon – but they will be experiencing the show from all sides in our unique 360° theatre. Our Producing Artistic Director, Kevin P. Hill, has created a brand-new immersive production featuring his own original direction and choreography. Our extraordinarily talented cast will have audiences saying, “Oh, what a night!” and coming back for more!”

JERSEY BOYS is the four-time Tony Award-winning musical about Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons – four guys from Jersey who had a sound nobody had ever heard … and the radio just couldn’t get enough of. But while their harmonies were perfect on stage, off stage it was a very different story. Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in JERSEY BOYS, featuring a book by Marshall Brickman & Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe. The unforgettable score includes top ten his like “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like A Man,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” and “December, 1963 (Oh What A Night).”

The cast of JERSEY BOYS will be led by Andrés Acosta as Tommy DeVito, Luke Hamilton as Bob Gaudio, Jonathan Mousset as Frankie Valli and Alex Puette as Nick Massi. The cast of 15 also features Matthew Amira, Barry Anderson, Ashley Chasteen, Luke Darnell, EJ Dohring, Mia Gerachis, Josh Greenblatt, David LaMarr, Alyssa Mcanany, Alaina Mills, and Corey Mosello.

 JERSEY BOYS performances are August 6 – September 1, Tue – Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit nsmt.org, or visit the box office at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.

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La Cage Aux Folles To Open At Reagle Music Theatre Of Greater Boston

Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston Presents

 La Cage Aux Folles

August 8-18, 2019 – 8 performances with 4 matinees

 

Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston‘s 51st Summer Season concludes with La Cage Aux Folles from August 8-18, 2019. This hilarious, heartwarming musical comedy shows what happens when the proprietor of a glitzy drag club comes face to face with a bigoted politician (and soon-to-be in-law), all in the name of love and family.  Featuring Broadway alum James Darrah (Hello Dolly!, Avenue Q) as “Albin” – the drag star of La Cage Aux Folles nightclub, and the love of his life and club owner, “Georges,” played by J.T. Turner (Reagle’s 42nd Street, Anything Goes).  Directed and Choreographed by Susan M. Chebookjian, Music Director Dan Rodriguez, Produced by Robert J. Eagle.

Reagle’s production of the groundbreaking musical comedy features a score by Tony and Grammy winner Jerry Herman (including songs like “I Am What I Am,” “The Best of Times,” and “Song on the Sand”) and a book by four-time Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein.  Based the play “La Cage Aux Folles” by Jean Poiret.  Presented through special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

La Cage Aux Folles Cast

James Darrah as ALBIN:  James Darrah, Broadway veteran and Waltham native, first appeared on the Reagle stage as a Munchkin in The Wizard of Oz during the company’s second season in 1970. Broadway credits include: Ambrose Kemper in the 30th Anniversary Revival of Hello, Dolly! at the Lunt Fontaine Theatre, opposite Carol Channing; Avenue Q; Boeing Boeing; Hedda Gabler. Some Off-Broadway and Touring credits include: Cornelius Hackle in, Hello, Dolly! opposite Madeline Kahn; 42nd Street (Billy) opposite Jerry Orbach and Tammy Grimes; Silent Laughter; archy and mehitabel; Once Around the City; Billion Dollar Baby starring Kristin Chenoweth; Secrets Every Smart Traveler Should Know. TV credits include Late Night with Conan O’Brien, Law and Order, Christmas at Rockefeller Center; General Hospital and other daytime dramas. James holds Broadway and Off-Broadway stage management credits and spent six seasons as Stage Manager on staff at The Metropolitan Opera. He is on The Board of Governors of The American Guild of Musical Artists. James is in his seventh year as Production and Stage Director for the annual Henry Viscardi School Celebrity Sports Night. James is a former Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown and faculty alumnus of their famed Clown College.

J.T. Turner as GEORGES:  J.T. returns to the Reagle stage where he was most recently seen as Moonface  in Anything Goes. His recent performances include Rochefort in 3 Musketeers, (GBSC), Fezziwig in Christmas Carol, (NSMT) Snowbell in Stuart Little, (Wheelock) and Alfie in My Fair Lady, (Lyric). He is the Descriptive Narrator for the PBS shows ARTHUR and MARTHA SPEAKS, as well as episodes of MYSTERY!. J.T. tours with solo shows about Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Ben Franklin and Charles Dickens.

The full cast of La Cage Aux Folles includes: James Darrah* as Albin; J.T. Turner* as Georges; Jonathan Acorn as Jean-Michel; Benz Atthakarunpan as Jacob; Lily Steven as Anne; Rich Allegretto as Dindon; Maureen Brennan* as Marie Dindon; Allyn Hunt as Renaud; Margaret Felice as Madame Renaut; Ellen Peterson as Jacqueline; Robert B. Orzalli as Francis; Dwayne P. Mitchell*, Joey Cullinane, Paul Watt-Morse, Michael Morley, Justin Flores, Andy Edelman and Will Burke as Cagelles; Maria Tramontozzi, Conor Meehan, Madelyn Sproat, Anelise Allen, Nino Ruggeri, Kat O’Connor and Ian Costello round out the ensemble.  *Denotes member of Actor’s Equity Association

La Cage Aux Folles runs for 8 performances with four matinees over 2 weekends; Fri & Sat at 7:00 pm, Thurs & Sun matinees at 2:00 pm.

To purchase, visit www.reaglemusictheatre.org, call 781-891-5600, or visit the theater box office at 617 Lexington St, Waltham, MA, 02452. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturdays 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., with extended hours from 9:00 am to curtain on performance days.