Category Archives: Stage – all

Review: “Mame” At The Reagle Music Theatre Of Boston

Mame At The Reagle Music Theatre 

Is A Satisfying Banquet

Don’t Miss Out

 

Reviewed By Bobby Franklin

Through June 23 At The Reagle Music Theatre Of Boston

617 Lexington Street

Waltham, MA

781.891.5600

www.reaglemusictheatre.org 

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Ensemble With Leigh Barrett
Photo: Reagle Music Theatre/Herb Philpott

One of my favorite lines from Mame is “Life is a banquet and most poor sons of bitches are starving”. The production of Mame now playing at the Reagle Music Theatre of Boston in Waltham is a delicious feast of this classic Broadway musical. It will nourish your theatrical soul.

Led by uber talented Leigh Barrett as Patrick Dennis’s Auntie Mame, the entire cast is solid and tight. Ms Barrett who thrilled audiences in last year’s Lyric Stage production of Gypsy has met, or I would argue, even exceeded that performance here. Leigh Barrett delivers what is best described in the words of the great theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, “a high definition performance”. She is stage presence personified. 

This is the story of the “live life to the fullest” Mame who has taken on the care of her nephew Patrick Dennis. Mame faces many obstacles in watching over young Patrick, including threats to have him taken away from her for her unconventional lifestyle, as well as financial ruin (the play is set in the 1920s and 30s when the stock market crash destroyed many people’s finances), but you can’t keep her down.

While Ms Barrett’s performance is something to behold, she is not on the Reagle’s stage by herself. In fact, she is accompanied by 38 other highly talented actors who light up the theatre along with a full orchestra, a rarity today and such a pleasure, led by Dan Rodriguez. Upon entering the theatre I could hear the musicians tuning up. This lends an air of anticipation and excitement to the evening. 

Ben Choi-Harris and Leigh Barrett
Photo: Reagle Music Theatre/Herb Philpott

Regarding the other performers; well, there are too many to mention by name and any omissions are in no way a slight against any of them. Eleven year old Ben Choi-Harris who pays young Patrick Dennis is a rising star who more than held his own playing opposite Leigh Barrett in the first act. I had to check to make sure this wasn’t a fifty year old veteran actor heavily disguised to look like a boy, as Ben looks as if he has been on the stage for years. The duet between Mame and young Patrick on My Best Girl is just beautiful. Their warmth and love are fully conveyed to the audience. Mame’s nephew also makes a fine martini.

Katie O’Reilly takes on the role of the homely and lovable Agnes Gooch, who learns to open up and let go; well, a bit too much. In Gooch’s Song, Ms O’Reilly shows incredible comedic timing while keeping her character real and sympathetic. 

Mark Linehan, seen last year at the Reagle as Professor Harold Hill in The Music Man, plays Beau, the Southern Gentleman who falls for Mame and takes her hand in marriage bringing her love and wealth. He also ends up taking another fall, literally, while traveling with his new bride. Mr. Linehan has appeared on the Reagle’s stage eight times and once you see him you will understand why they keep bringing him back.

Mame’s house servant Ito is played by Simon Rogers. Mr. Rogers brings a depth to this loyal character while not sinking into caricature. The laughs are never at him, but with him. He, along with Vera, Mame, Patrick, and Miss Gooch are all family.

Maureen Keiller and Ensemble
Photo: Reagle Music Theatre/Herb Philpott

Speaking of Vera Charles, this has to be a dream role for many actors, and Maureen Keiller is having her dream come true. Ms Keiller is hysterical as the “world’s greatest lush” and dear but difficult friend of Mame’s. In fact, they are Bosom Buddies which they sing together in one of the many well known songs from the play. Ms Keiller also gives a hilarious performance on the number The Man In The Moon Is Lady. 

At the beginning of Act II the role of young Patrick transitions to the older Patrick played by Will Burke. The reprise of the song My Best Girl is begun by young Patrick and moves smoothly to older Patrick. It’s a touching moment.

Mame is directed and choreographed by Eileen Grace and the stage is filled with music and dance. The large cast is always in synch, and if you love dancing you will not be disappointed. It is a treat to see and hear them work the boards.

If He Walked Into My Life Today is one of the better known songs from Mame, but it is often not heard in context and is usually thought of as a romantic song about lost love. Seeing it sung here by Ms Barrett you fully grasp the feelings of doubt and regret Mame has over whether or not she has made the right choices in how she raised Patrick. Every parent feels this way at one time or another. 

Maureen Keiller and Leigh Photo: BarrettReagle Music Theatre/Herb Philpott

The title song, which closes the first act, is a lavish musical number that fully allows the audience to see what a classic Broadway Musical looks like. The stage is filled with dancers and singers all moving about effortlessly while performing their hearts out. As I was exiting the theatre I could hear people singing and humming the tunes. That’s a nice feeling.

Artistic Director Robert J. Eagle founded the Reagle Musical Theatre fifty-one years ago and it is a gift to have his creation still going strong after all that time. I suspect it easily has another fifty ahead of it. If you haven’t yet been there, well, what are you waiting for? If you have, I’m sure you won’t want to miss the current production. Mame is playing through June 23 and the theater is easy to find and has plenty of parking. 

As the Mame household reminds us, there are times We Need A Little Christmas, and I couldn’t think of a better Christmas present with which to begin your summer.

“Fun Home” Is Back At The SpeakEasy Stage

FUN HOME RETURNS 

SpeakEasy Stage Remounts Its Acclaimed Production of

 the Tony Award-Winning Musical 

Due to popular demand, SpeakEasy Stage will proudly remount its acclaimed production of the Tony Award-winning musical FUN HOME for four weeks, June 8-30, 2019. 

     Featuring music by Tony Award-winner Jeanine Tesori and a book and lyrics by Tony Award-winner Lisa Kron, FUN HOME is a landmark musical about seeing one’s parents through grown-up eyes. Based on Ms. Bechdel’s best-selling memoir of the same name, this groundbreaking show introduces us to Alison at three different ages, revealing memories that celebrate the curiosity of childhood, the challenges of coming out, and the complexities of family.

     SpeakEasy Founder and Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault is again at the helm of this acclaimed production. Winner of three Elliot Norton Awards including the 2014 Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, Mr. Daigneault had directed dozens of Boston premieres, including the company’s recent productions of The View UpStairs, The Scottsboro Boys, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and Allegiance. 

     Also returning to help with the remount are IRNE Award-winning Music Director Matthew Stern and Choreographer Sarah Crane.   Paul S. Katz joins to conduct the band for these added weeks.  

     Amy Jo Jackson (Alison), Ellie van Amerongen (Medium Alison) and Marissa Simeqi (Small Alison) again play Ms. Bechdel at three different ages.  Also returning are Laura Marie Duncan, Luke Gold, Desiré Graham, Cameron Levesque, and Todd Yard.  Christopher M. Ramirez joins the cast as Roy.  

     The design team for both the original production and remount are Cristina Todesco (scenic); Charles Schoonmaker (costumes); Karen Perlow (lighting); Andrew Duncan Will (sound); and Jennifer Butler (props).     

     Rachel Sturm is the Production Stage Manager. John Meredith is the Assistant Stage Manager.  

     FUN HOME will return for four weeks, from June 8-30, 2019, in the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.

  For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call the box office at 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com .                 

“42nd Street” To Run At The Ogunquit Playhouse From June 19 through July 13

Tap Dancing Extravaganza, 42nd Street to Open at the Ogunquit Playhouse

Come and meet those dancing feet! The ultimate tap-dancing, show-biz musical sensation, 42nd Street celebrates Broadway, Times Square, and the people who make magical musical theatre hits the Ogunquit Playhouse stage June 19 through July 13. The Ogunquit production is staged by Tony Award-nominee Randy Skinner, the creator of the Broadway revival and recent West End production of 42nd Street. The tap-dancing extravaganza stars Broadway’s Rachel York as Dorothy Brock, Steve Blanchardas Julian Marsh, Jessica Wockenfussas Peggy Sawyer, Con O’Shea-Crealas Billy Lawlor, and features Emmy-Award-Winner Sally Struthers as Maggie Jones. The Ogunquit production of 42nd Street also features the Lawrence Olivier-nominated and Tony-nominated costumes by Roger Kirkalong with Douglas Schmidt’sTony-nominated sets.

Rachel York

The delightful and dazzling show tells the story of aspiring chorus girl Peggy Sawyer who leaves her small town for the big city and soon lands her first job in the ensemble of a glitzy new Broadway show. Mayhem and mirth ensue when just before opening night the leading lady breaks her ankle. Will Peggy be able to step in and become a star? The musical 42nd Street isbased on the novel by Bradford Ropes withbook byMichael Stewart and Mark Bramble. The score by Harry Warren(music) and Al Dubin (lyrics), is chock-full of Broadway standards, including “You’re Getting to Be a Habit with Me,” “Dames,” “We’re In the Money,” “Lullaby of Broadway,” “Shuffle off to Buffalo” and “Forty-Second Street.”

Rachel York returns to the Ogunquit Playhouse as Dorothy Brock, the quintessential Broadway diva. Ms. York last dazzled Playhouse audiences as the Lady of the Lake in Monty Python’s Spamalot. She was most recently seen on Broadway in the musical Head Over Heels, and is best known for her critically acclaimed Broadway performances in City of Angels, Les Misérables, Victor/Victoria (Drama Desk Award) with Dame Julie Andrews, and for her portrayal of Lucille Ball in the CBS TV movie, Lucy. Ms. York has stunned audiences of the stage, screen, and concert halls across the country through her numerous National Tours, regional theatre appearances, concert performances, and TV guest-starring roles.

Sally Struthers

Two-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner Sally Struthers joins the cast as Maggie Jones. Ms. Struthers is best known for her role as Gloria in the groundbreaking TV series, All in the Family as well as reprising that role in the series spin-off, Gloria. She also appeared on Fox television series 9 to 5, and in recurring roles on the CBS’s Still Standing and the CW network’s Gilmore Girls. Sally Struthers has performed many roles at Ogunquit Playhouse including Punky Olander in Grumpy Old Men the Musical, Evangeline Harcourtin Anything Goes, Duchess Estonia Dalworth in Nice Work If You Can Get It, Mama Morton in Chicago, and Paulette in Legally Blonde.

Broadway veteran, Steve Blanchardstars as the notorious Broadway director Julian Marsh. He is probably best known for his portrayal of Beast in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast in both the Broadway production and First National Tour. Other credits includeFred in A Christmas Carol, Lancelot in Camelot with Robert Goulet, Pulitzer in Disney’s Newsies, and Pa in Little House on the Prairie. Joining the cast as the starry-eyed chorus girl, Peggy Sawyer is Jessica Wockenfuss who also performed the role in the North Shore Music Theatre’s 2017 production. Off-Broadway, she has been seen in Hey, Look Me Over!, and Me and My Gal. Her National Tour credits include Jersey Boys, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, The Little Mermaid, and Monty Python’s Spamalot. ConO’Shea-Creal will make his Ogunquit Playhouse debut as Billy Lawlor. His Broadway credits include Irving Berlin’s White Christmas and Side Show, and he has performed in many National Tours including Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins as Bert, Irving Berlin’s White Christmas with Randy Skinner, and Something Rotten.

The Ogunquit Playhouse production of 42nd Street includes one of the largest casts to ever hit the theatre’s stage. It featuresRyan K. Bailer as Pat Denning, Cliff Bemis as Abner Dillon, Megan McLaughlin as Annie, Kilty Reidy as Bert Barry, and JakeWeinsteinas Andy Lee. The ensemble includes Danielle Aliotta, Emily Applebaum, Willie Beaton II, Allison Blanchard, Quinten Patrick Busey, Brittany Cattaruzza, Alex Drost, Liz Friedmann, Patrick Heffernan, Alex John Johnson, Tommy Joscelyn, Trent Kidd, Ryan Koerber, Brianna Latrash, Lily Lewis, Elizabeth McGuire, Andrew Muylle, Melissa Schott, andKristen Welsh.

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

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“Oklahoma!” Opens At North Shore Music Theatre June 4

NORTH SHORE MUSIC THEATRE

KICKS OFF THE 2019 MUSICAL SEASON WITH

RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN’S

‘OKLAHOMA!’

THE GREAT AMERICAN MUSICAL

June 4 – June 16, 2019

 

Blake Price

Bill Hanney’s award-winning North Shore Music Theatre kicks off the 64th Annual Season with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA!, one of the greatest classic musicals of all time, playing for two-weeks only from Tuesday, June 4 thru Sunday, June 16, 2019. OKLAHOMA! is sponsored by Beverly Bank.

 

“The 2019 Season marks the tenth season since reopening this historic theatre in 2010. I am still just as excited about creating this season as I was for season one.” said Bill Hanney, NSMT owner and producer. “When planning the 2019 Season, I was surprised to discover that Oklahoma! had not been seen on the North Shore Music Theatre stage in more than twenty-five years. Seventy-five years ago, Rodgers and Hammerstein reinvented musical theatre with Oklahoma!, a musical that is a celebration of both the pioneering spirit of settlers building new lives on the frontier and the patriotism surrounding the territory’s impending statehood. It feels like the perfect time to create an all new production of this classic for our signature in-the-round stage.”

 

When Rodgers and Hammerstein’s masterpiece OKLAHOMA! made its Broadway debut in 1943, it launched a new era in American musical theater — fusing story, song and dance through the stunning choreography of Agnes de Mille. It also began one of the most successful songwriting partnerships in Broadway history. At its heart, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s OKLAHOMA! is a love story between confident cowboy Curly and feisty farmer Laurey. As the road to romance and the road to statehood converge, Curly and Laurey are poised to carve out a life together in a brand-new state. But the road to love is as bumpy and fraught with all the dangers and excitement of the time. The unforgettable score includes: “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “People Will Say We’re in Love,” “I Cain’t Say No!” and the exhilarating title song, “Oklahoma!

 

The cast of OKLAHOMA! will be led by Blake Price (Curly McLaine), and Madison Claire Parks (Laurey Williams), along with Sean Bell (Will Parker), Melissa Carlile-Price (Ado Annie Carnes), Sue Cella (Aunt Eller Murphy), Tom Gleadow (Andrew Carnes), Cooper Grodin (Ali Hakim), and Alex Levin (Jud Fry).

 The cast of 24 will also include Bella Calafiura, Mary Callanan, Stephen Diaz, Dale Elston, Marjorie Failoni, Katie Griffith, Ricky Lee Loftus, Trevor McChristian, Kevin B. McGlynn, Alaina Mills, Rachel Perlman, Michael Pesko, Laura Sky, Cameron Turner, Scott Whipple, and Jessica White.

Performances are June 4 thru June 16, 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.

 

 

The View Upstairs Opens At Speakeasy Stage Company

                                              

Speakeasy Stage Company Presents 

THE VIEW UPSTAIRS

 From May 31 through June 22, 2019, SpeakEasy Stage Company will proudly present the New England Premiere production of the acclaimed Off-Broadway musical THE VIEW UPSTAIRS.  

     THE VIEW UPSTAIRS was inspired by a historical event, the firebombing of the UpStairs Lounge in New Orleans in 1973, which, up until the Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, was the deadliest assault on a gay bar in US history. THE VIEW UPSTAIRS tells the story of Wes, a young fashion designer who buys an abandoned building in the French Quarter of New Orleans.   One night, while exploring his new purchase, Wes is transported to the UpStairs Lounge, a vibrant seventies gay bar, where he begins an exhilarating journey of self exploration that spans two generations of gay history.  Featuring a gritty, glam rock score and a tight-knit ensemble of unforgettable characters, THE VIEW UPSTAIRS asks what has been gained and lost in the fight for equality, and how the past can inform the future.  

     Described by The New Yorker as “equal parts Bohemia and Broadway,” Max Vernon has emerged as a singular and eccentric voice in the world of musical theatre. He received the Lucille Lortel Award for Best Musical, three Drama-Desk Nominations, a Jonathan Larson Grant, and the Richard Rodgers Award for his musicals The View UpStairs and KPOP, both of which had critically-acclaimed extended Off-Broadway runs. Notable concert performances include the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Joe’s Pub, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

     SpeakEasy Founder and Producing Artistic Director Paul Daigneault will direct the Boston Premiere of THE VIEW UPSTAIRS. Winner of three Elliot Norton Awards including the 2014 Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence, Mr. Daigneault had directed dozens of Boston premieres, including the company’s recent productions of The Scottsboro Boys, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Allegiance, and Fun Home. 

      Adam Bokunewicz will music direct and Alessandra Valea will choreograph.

      Johanna Carlisle-Zepeda, Russell Garrett, J’royce Jata, Michael Levesque, Will McGarrahan, Davron Monroe, Yewande Odetoyinbo, Eddie Shields, Jared Troilo, and Shawn Verrier make up the cast. 

     The design team is Abby Shenker (scenic); Dustin Todd Rennells (costumes); Abigail Wang (lighting); and Elektra Newman (sound).   Lauren Burke is the Production Stage Manager.  

THE VIEW UPSTAIRS will run for four weeks, from May 31 through June 22, 2019, in the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts, 537 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.

For tickets or more information, the public is invited to call the box office at 617.933.8600 or visit www.SpeakEasyStage.com .            

 

 

Reagle Music Theatre Announces 2019 Season

Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston Announces 51st Summer Season

Of Classic Musical Theatre:

 Mame, The Sound of Music, and La Cage Aux Folles

Norton Award Winner Leigh Barrett To Open the Season as “Auntie Mame” June 13-23rd

 

Reagle Music Theatre of Greater Boston’s 51st consecutive summer season will take audiences on a fabulous journey around the world and across the 20th Century with three classic musicals:

Mame, from June 13-23, will star IRNE and Norton Award winner Leigh Barrett as “Auntie Mame,” an irrepressible 1920’s socialite whose New York life is changed forever when her orphaned nephew comes to live with her. The Sound of Music, from July 11-21, relates the beloved tale of a young postulate in pre-WWII Austria who is sent to work as a governess and brings joy and music into the family’s home. Finally, the musical comedy La Cage Aux Folles, August 8-18, will travel to the 1980’s French Riviera for the hilarious tale of love and family set above a glitzy drag nightclub.

 

Mame

Directed and Choreographed by Eileen Grace

Music Director Dan Rodriguez

Produced by Robert J. Eagle

June 13-23, 2019, 8 performances including 4 matinees

Mame’s chic New York City life is changed when her orphaned nephew comes to live with her. Surrounded by a cast of eccentric characters, she celebrates the roaring 20s, overcomes tragedy, and sails through life without missing a fad or a dance step. Featuring Jerry Herman songs like “If He Walked Into My Life,” “It’s Today,” “We Need A Little Christmas,” and “Bosom Buddies,” this beloved musical is sure to warm any heart.  Book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee.  Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman.

 

·     The Sound of Music

Directed and Choreographed by Daniel Forest Sullivan

Music Director Dan Rodriguez

Produced by Robert J. Eagle

July 11-21, 2019, 8 performances including 4 matinees

In 1930s Austria, Maria is struggling in her attempt to become a nun. When she is sent to look after the children of a stern, widowed Navy captain, she brings joy and music back into the family’s home. This beloved, Tony and Oscar-winning musical features Rodgers & Hammerstein songs like “My Favorite Things,” “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” “Edelweiss,” and “Do-Re-Mi.  Music by Richard Rodgers. Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse. Suggested by The Trapp Family Singers by Maria Augusta Trapp. Presented through special arrangement with R&H Theatricals.

La Cage Aux Folles

Directed and Choreographed by Susan M. Chebookjian

Music Director Dan Rodriguez

Produced by Robert J. Eagle

August 3-13, 2019, 8 performances including 4 matinees

Georges and Albin enjoy a charmed life on the French Riviera as proprietor and star of a glitzy drag club. When their son gets engaged to the daughter of a bigoted politician, the limits of love, family, and mascara are put to the test in this hilarious, heartwarming musical.  This new 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. Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman. Book by Harvey Fierstein. Based the play “La Cage Aux Folles” by Jean Poiret. Presented through special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

All family-friendly shows will run for 8 performances over 2 weekends; Fri & Sat at 7:00 pm, Thurs & Sun matinees at 2:00 pm. Tickets for Reagle’s 51st summer season can be purchased at www.reaglemusictheatre.org, by calling the box office at 781-891-5600, or at the theater box office.

 

 

Review: “Jersey Boys” Ogunquit Playhouse

Jersey Boys

Stays Just A Little Bit Longer

At The Ogunquit Playhouse

Even Better The Second Time Around

Jersey Boys

Though June 15

The Ogunquit Playhouse

Ogunquit, Maine

207.646.5511

ogunquitplayhouse.org

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Photo Credit: Paul Charest

The Ogunquit Playhouse closed out their 2018 season with the hit jukebox musical Jersey Boys, which played to sold out audiences for eight weeks. Building off of that success, OPH Artistic Director Brad Kenney chose to hang on to what they got and begin the 87th season where they left off.

I very much enjoyed  Jersey Boys last August and gave it high praise. Settling in for this year’s return engagement, I planned on reliving that experience and looked forward to another great evening with the music and story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. Well, it turns out I was in  for a surprise. The great production I saw last year has been ramped up and matured. A new lighting system, some tweaking of the script, and the actors reprising their roles with more depth has taken the 2019 version of Jersey Boys to another level. 

Photo Credit:Morgan Gavaletz LaMontagne

Matthew Amira, Andy Christopher, Matt Magnusson, and Jonathan Mousset playing Nick Massi, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito, and Frankie Valli respectively dig down deeper into their characters. The story of the four boys from New Jersey who went on to record mega hits amid much drama in their relationship served as a solid narrative to support the great musical score. That narrative has now become a more integral part of the production as the personal aspects of their lives are brought out more powerfully. The result is a Jersey Boys that is nothing short of spectacular.

This enhancement of the story does not take away from the power of the musical numbers; in fact, it adds to them by stirring the emotions while leading into each song. Mr. Mousset’s amazing take on My Eyes Adored You coming off the scene where we see Frankie Valli’s marriage breaking up really tugs at the heart. 

Photo Credit: Morgan Gavaletz LaMontagne

While standing ovations are not unusual, especially at the Ogunquit Playhouse, it is rare to see audiences jump to their feet during a performance. Both Sherry and Walk Like A Man had the crowd out of their seats cheering the performers on. I could see just how much this touched the members of the cast. One of the wonderful things about attending live theatre is getting to experience that symbiotic energy occurs  between actors and the audience. In this case it was electrifying for both.

The boys went through a number of names for the group before settling on The Four Seasons and later, after a couple of them left, it became known as Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. In Jersey Boys, each of the  four originals is given the recognition they deserve. 

Matt Magnusson plays Tommy DeVito, the bad boy who got the group going. A part time crook who had done time, he had that combination of daring and recklessness that it often takes to succeed in such a tough business. Mr. Magnusson captures his character with a Jersey accent and a mischievous twinkle in his eye. DeVito can drive you crazy but you can’t help but like him. He also serves as narrator for the first part of the play. 

Photo Credit: Paul Charest

In contrast to DeVito is Bob Gaudio who was introduced to the group by Joe Pesci (Tommy Martinez), yes, that Joe Pesci. Andy Christopher takes on the role of the man who not only wrote the songs that put the group on the map, but also was able to use his keen head for business and making deals to get them heard. Mr. Christopher plays the part of Gaudio with the perfect balance of calmness and drive that helped make the group so well known. 

Bass player Nick Massi describes himself as the Ringo of the quartet. Played by Matthew Amira, Massi is not left out. Mr. Amira gives a strong performance that is filled with humor and frustration. His description of rooming with Tommy DeVito is a riot. 

And that brings us to Jonathan Mousset who is reprising the role of Frankie Valli from last year. As I said earlier, there is a deeper layer of emotion in the 2019 Jersey Boys, and Mr. Mousset really plumbs the part and gives us a Valli torn between driving for success and living up to his “Old School Values”. Along with his amazing falsetto voice, he shows fine acting chops and brought more than a few tears to the eyes of those in the audience on the evening I attended. 

The entire cast is great, including Doug Storm who plays a number of roles including lyricist Bob Crewe. Storm comes close to stealing a few of the scenes with some well timed glances and asides. You might want to consult him about your horoscope. While Neal Benari as the gangster Gyp DeCarlo is the local Godfather type who helps the boys out of a few jams. The scene where he is brought to tears when he hears Frankie sing My Mother’s Eyes, is one of those touching comedic moments.

The new lighting system that has been installed at the playhouse is incredible. In the hands of lighting designer Richard Latta the effects are amazing. The use of spotlights and shadows is breathtaking. The scene recreating the evening the boys debuted on the Ed Sullivan Show is striking. Add in Choreography by Gerry McIntyre, Scenic Design by Adam Koch, and the work of Costume Designer Tristan Raines and this rivals anything you will see on Broadway. I also want to note that Ogunquit Playhouse productions are not touring companies, but are built from the ground up. 

Director Holly-Anne Palmer has been with Jersey Boys from its inception and she clearly has lost none of her enthusiasm for it. She has upped her game with this run. 

The music is still front and center with all of the hits plus more being performed powerfully, and the unique sound of the Four Seasons is captured perfectly. Dawn, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Let’s Hang On, Stay, December ’63, along with some  early 60s standards such as Short Shorts and Earth Angel. Caroline Iliff led Hillary Porter and Bailey Purvis in a smashing rendition of  My Boyfriend’s Back complete with big hair and bobby sox. Music to feed the nostalgic soul.

Jonathan Mousset’s rendition of Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You is a classic show stopper. Seeing it performed after hearing the story of how it almost never got released is amazing. Hey, the entire show is amazing.

The 2019 Season at the Ogunquit Playhouse is off to a tremendous start. Tickets for last year’s performances of Jersey Boys sold fast. I would recommend you book your seats soon so you don’t miss out this year. If you’ve never seen Jersey Boys, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. If you have seen it, come back and be as surprised as I was at how a very good play can get even better . Oh! What a night it is!

Jersey Boys Kicks Off Ogunquit Playhouse 2019 Season

Ogunquit Playhouse Season Opens with the Multi-Tony Award-Winning Musical “Jersey Boys”

Runs From May 15 Through June 15

The Ogunquit Playhouse 2019 season kicks off with Jersey Boys! The multi-Tony Award-winning, international sensation that performed to sold-out houses during its run in 2018, is back by popular demand May 15 through June 15. The cast that BroadwayWorld exclaimed to be “the closest you’ll ever get to having seen Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons,” also returns to the Ogunquit stage – Jonathan Mousset (Frankie Valli), Matt Magnusson (Tommy DeVito), Andy Christopher (Bob Gaudio), and Matthew Amira (Nick Massi).

Follow the incredible story of four guys bound by one dream, who worked their way from the streets of New Jersey to the heights of stardom. Jersey Boys takes audiences on an exhilarating journey with the electrifying performances of the golden greats that took these hometown boys from Jersey all the way to the top of the charts: “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You,” “Dawn,” “My Eyes Adored You,” and many more. If you missed it last year, don’t miss your chance to see this blockbuster show – you’re sure to leave exclaiming, “Oh, What a Night!”

Starring as Frankie Valli, lead vocalist of The Four Seasons is Jonathan Mousset. His phenomenal performance, falsetto, and range was described as astounding by the Portland Press Herald last season. Mr. Mousset has performed in many regional theatres across the U.S. in such shows as Newsies, In the Heights, and Godspell. He has also performed in concerts at New York City venues including 54 Below, the Times Center, and the Town Hall. Matt Magnusson returns to play charming bad-boy Tommy DeVito, the lead guitar player of The Four Seasons, who serves as the show’s primary narrator and founding member of the band. Mr. Magnusson has numerous regional theatre credits including Grease, Spring Awakening, American Idiot, and Ring of Fire. 

Reprising his role from last season as Bob Gaudio, the sensible and poised songwriter behind The Four Seasons is Andy Christopher. He has performed as Buddy Holly in the National Tour of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story and in many regional theatres across the U.S. including Bucks County Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, West Virginia Public Theatre, The Muny, Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Great Lakes CFA, Fulton Theatre, Maine State Music Theatre, Casa Mañana, and the Ogunquit Playhouse where he got his start in 2012. Matthew Amira also returns to the Playhouse after his highly regarded portrayal of The Four Seasons bassist Nick Massi. Mr. Amira also performed at the Ogunquit Playhouse in the 2016 production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. His many regional theatre credits include Madame Defarge, She Loves Me, Fiddler on the Roof, and South Pacific among others.

The Ogunquit Playhouse production will once again be helmed by Award-winning director, writer and producer Holly-Anne Palmer. Ms. Palmer is the lead Producer and Creative Director of theglobal hits Wine Lovers the Musical, PROHIBITION, and Holiday Happy Hour. She has numerous Broadway credits including Jersey Boys, Billy Crystal’s 700 Sundays, Bring It On: The Musical, Dracula, Walking With Dinosaurs, and Cover Girls. Her many Off-Broadway and regional credits include the 25th Anniversary Production of Steel Magnolias at Le Petit Theatre, Gentleman’s Wish and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? at Barrow Group, Platforms at TASC, Autophobia at Ars Nova, Inventing Avi Aviv at Abingdon Theatre, Oklahoma! for the Reagle Players, and for the Ogunquit Playhouse 2009 production of All Shook Up starring Sally Struthers.

www.ogunquitplayhouse.org

Box Office 207.646.2402 

Video From Last Year’s Outstanding Run. This year Jersey Boys plays from May 15 through June 15:

ARTSEMERSON PRESENTS “SEE YOU YESTERDAY” 

SECOND-GENERATION SURVIVORS OF THE KHMER ROUGE GENOCIDE SHATTER ITS SILENCE 

ARTSEMERSON PRESENTS 

SEE YOU YESTERDAY 

BY GLOBAL ARTS CORPS
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH PHARE PERFORMING SOCIAL ENTERPRISE AND PHARE PONLEU SELPAK ASSOCIATION

FIVE PERFORMANCES ONLY
MAY 16 – 19, 2019
AT THE EMERSON PARAMOUNT CENTER

Photo Credit:Jacqueline Lessac

On the heels of Cambodian New Year, ArtsEmerson is honored to welcome See You Yesterday, a moving performance by Global Arts Corps which explores the painful history of the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. Directed by Michael Lessac, nineteen Cambodian performers utilize their extraordinary physical skills, including acrobatics and circus arts, to travel back in time and shatter a legacy of silence. Global Arts Corps brings See You Yesterday’s U.S. premiere to Boston to close ArtsEmerson’s 2018/2019 season, for five performances only, May 16-19, at the Emerson Paramount Center Robert J. Orchard Stage. 

Over 22 weeks of development since 2012, Global Arts Corps—whose celebrated work brings together people from opposite sides of violent conflicts—collaborated with these young Cambodian artists as they grappled with the painful history of their country’s genocide. While details of the four-year horror have largely gone unexplored by younger generations of Cambodians, the cast of See You Yesterday interviewed their elders (and even a former Khmer Rouge child soldier) to build a stunning performance that is both beautiful and cathartic. 

“In 2013, when we brought our Northern/North of Ireland production Hold your Tongue, Hold your Dead to Boston audiences, we witnessed two communities, separated by an ocean and burdened by their own personalized historical memories, find a common healing ground in talk- backs across the footlights,” says See You Yesterday director Michael Lessac. “At a time when we seem to be clinging to what separates us and not what connects us, we wanted to be in the same place again to see what happens when another, totally different, theatrical vision of honesty, tenacity, and imagination takes the ArtsEmerson stage. See You Yesterday brings to Boston a cast of young Cambodian circus artists whose culture has forced them to live in silence with a harrowing memory. They have created a performance that shows us how hope can emerge from despair and how truth can emerge out of a powerfully moral and courageously honest imagination. I could not be more proud to be working with David Dower and his extraordinary team, in the namesake space of my old friend, Rob Orchard, as we once again explore together what happens when inherited conflict and unspoken multiple truths are surfaced across continents so that generations can talk to each other again.” 

See You Yesterday is precisely the kind of experience that ArtsEmerson has become known for over these past nine seasons,” says ArtsEmerson artistic director David Dower. “The show puts one of most vibrant world cultures in the spotlight. Our region hosts one of the largest Cambodian communities in the nation and as with last season’s Bangsokol, we are presenting it in deep partnership with that community, both in Boston and in Lowell. This effort to put the world on stage in dialogue with diverse communities delivers that particular synergy between the art and the audience that our supporters have come to count on. See You Yesterday also uses a form of storytelling that is entirely ArtsEmerson – sharing its moving search for restorative justice through the tools of circus and dance. We are proud to be working with Michael Lessac and Global Arts Corps to tell this story.” 

artsemerson.org 

617-824-8400

Lyric Stage Presents “Pacific Overtures”

PACIFIC OVERTURES

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

May 10th Through June 16th

Book by John Weidman

Directed by Spiro VeloudosMusic Director, Jonathan GoldbergChoreography by Micheline Wu

Additional material by Hugh WheelerOrchestrations by Jonathan Tunick
Original Broadway production directed by Harold Prince and Produced by Harold Prince in association with Ruth Mitchell

May 10 – June 16, 2019

This startling, entertaining, and thrilling masterpiece puts a cap on Spiro Veloudos’ multi-year Sondheim Initiative. An unlikely friendship is forged between a samurai, Kayama, and an Americanized fisherman, Manjiro, during Commodore Matthew Perry’s 1853 mission to open trade relations with isolationist Japan. The two friends are caught in the inevitable winds of change and tell the story of Japan’s painful and harrowing Westernization. A highly original, inventive, powerful, and surprisingly humorous theatrical experience.

FEATURING:
Kai Chao, Sam Hamashima, Alexander Holden, Elaine Hom, Carl Hsu, Brandon Milardo, Gary Thomas Ng, Jeff Song, Karina Wen, Micheline Wu, Lisa Yuen.

Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Copley Square, Boston
Box Office 617-585-5678 lyricstage.com

boxoffice [at] lyricstage [dot] com

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