If Music Be The Food Of love, Play On! Give Me Excess Of It!
Orsino, Act 1 Scene 1
The Lyric Stage Company and Actors’ Shakespeare Project will be co-producing a production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. ASP founding member Paula Plum will will direct. Paula has worked as an actor and director with the Lyric Stage since 1975. She has won numerous awards including three Eliot Norton Awards for Outstanding Actress.
The cast will feature Rachel Bell;eman, Dominic Carter, Jennie Israel, Samantha Richert, Alejandro Simoes, Richard Snee, Hayley Spivey, Bobbie Steinbach, and Michael Forden Walker.
Twelfth Night is a tale of unrequited love – hilarious and heartbreaking. Twins are separated during a shipwreck and are forced to fend for themselves in a strange land. The first twin, Viola, falls in love with Orsino, who dotes on Olivia, who falls for Viola but is idolized by Malvolio. Enter Sebastian, who is the spitting image of his twin sister… is it possible for this to all end well? Well, it IS a comedy!
Twelfth Night will run from March 29 through April 28 at the Lyric Stage, Copley Square, Boston.
An all-girls soccer team . . . fierce in competition and in life.
by Sarah DeLappe
Directed by A. Nora Long
At The Lyric Stage January 11 Through February 3
Left quad. Right quad. Lunge. A girls’ indoor soccer team warms up. From the safety of their suburban stretch circle, the team navigates big questions and wages tiny battles with all the vigor of a pack of adolescent warriors. As the author says, “I wanted to see a portrait of teenage girls as human beings – as complicated, nuanced, very idiosyncratic people, athletes and daughters and students and scholars and people who are trying actively to figure out who they are in this changing world around them.”
The Wolves runs at the Lyric Stage, Copley Square, Boston from January 11 through February 3.
Featuring Davron S. Monroe, Yewande Odetoyinbo, Doug Gerber,
Breath & Imagination: The Story Of Roland Hayes opens at the Lyric Stage on November 30 and runs through December 23.
Breath & Imagination chronicles Roland Hayes’s inspirational journey from a Georgia plantation to a singing career that included command performances for kings and queens. Despite his international acclaim, Roland never left behind his complex and loving relationship with his mother, his Angel Mo’. With spirituals and classical music, Breath & Imagination is a compelling musical about one man’s determination to become an artist despite seemingly insurmountable odds.
THE TOWN OF BROOKLINE, home to Roland Hayes, will host a FREE welcoming event for Breath & Imagination, with the actors presenting scenes from the play, plus a talk by the play’s director. Sponsored by Brookline’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Community Relations, local grants will provide a diverse audience of attendees with a range of discounted tickets to the play. Sunday, Nov. 18, 6pm @ United Parish, 210 Harvard St.
The Lyric Stage, 100 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston
Opens At The Lyric Stage April 6th
Runs Through May 6th
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, O’Neill’s classic is a surprisingly contemporary play that crackles with fierce physicality, humor, and drama. After a 20-year separation, a coal barge captain (Lyric Stage favorite Johnny Lee Davenport) is reunited with the daughter he unknowingly abandoned to a life of hardship. When Anna falls in love with a shipwrecked sailor, her father and her suitor come to recognize their own culpability in her plight, and all three struggle in their own way for salvation. Following his acclaimed production of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Scott Edmiston takes a fresh look at one of America’s greatest playwrights.
A note from Director Scott Edmiston:
“In an era when most American plays were set in posh drawing rooms populated by wealthy white characters, O’Neill depicted a world of sea shanties, slums, and barrooms inhabited by the working class and immigrants, the outcast and oppressed, the lost and misbegotten. O’Neill offered them dignity and respect. He accepted them because he was one of them. He wrote complex female characters who were liberated beyond their time. He explored African American identity in the two groundbreaking works, The Emperor Jones (1920), which examines race-based violence, and All God’s Chillun’s Got Wings (1924), which portrays an interracial marriage. He refused to allow white actors in blackface in his plays and insisted on casting African American actors in the leading roles. Anna Christie, which premiered on Broadway in 1921 and earned him the second of his four Pulitzer Prizes, can be viewed as an early feminist drama. Tales of a
woman with a past were not new to the stage, but O’Neill dispelled the Victorian notion that prostitution was a result of female licentiousness. He tells Anna’s story with compassion and an awareness of gender economics. Consequently the role of Anna has become a favorite of great actresses including Ingrid Bergman, Liv Ullman, Natasha Richardson, and most recently Ruth Wilson. Greta Garbo chose the role for her first talking picture in 1930.
In adapting the play for 21st-century audiences, I’ve tried to remain true to O’Neill’s themes and the unique poetry of his hardscrabble dialogue. I’ve removed a few superfluous sailors, a bit of period slang, and the phonetically spelled dialect (Chris was originally Swedish). It’s my hope that this will intensify the conflict between the ill-fated trio of Chris, Mat, and Anna and place them center stage where their fight to find redemption remains as compelling to me as it was nearly 100 years ago.”
Nancy E. Carroll, Johnny Lee Davenport, Lindsey McWhorter, James R. Milord, Dan Whelton
The Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116
Box Office: 617-585-5678 lyricstage.com
Adapted by Sarah Ruhl Directed by A. Nora Long
February 23 – March 25, 2018
At The Lyric Stage, Boston
In this joyful romance of gender roles and expectations, Orlando the man wakes up, after a particularly wild night in 17th-century Constantinople, to find himself a woman! She abandons herself to three centuries of navigating love, desire, and the world from an entirely different perspective. Oft described as the most charming love letter in literature – written by Woolf to Vita Sackville-West – Sarah Ruhl brings the novel to life on stage in a grand, epic adventure that transcends time, place, and gender.
Featuring: Caroline Lawton as Orlando with Elise Arsenault, Michael Hisamoto, Rory Lambert-Wright, Jeff Marcus, Hayley Spivey.
The Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Copley Square, Boston, MA 02116 lyric stage.com
On his continuing journey through the works of Stephen Sondheim, director Spiro Veloudos brings us Sondheim’s latest work, Road Show, the true boom-and-bust story of two of the most colorful and outrageous fortune-seekers in American history. From the Alaskan Gold Rush to the Florida real estate boom in the 1930s, entrepreneur Addison Mizner and his fast-talking brother Wilson were proof positive that the road to the American Dream is often a seductive, treacherous tightrope walk.
FEATURING: Neil A. Casey, Tony Castellanos, Jordan Clark, Shannon Lee Jones, Robin Long, David Makransky, Will McGarrahan, Sean McGuirk, Brandon Milardo, Vanessa J. Schukis, Patrick Varner.
Lyric Stage, 140 Clarendon Street, Boston Through November 13
Reviewed by Bobby Franklin
In this year when what surely can be called the worst presidential campaign in history is taking place, it would not surprise me if you would take a pass on seeing a play about a politician. I could hardly blame you, but in the case of Kenneth Lin’s Warrior Class now playing at the Lyric Stage Company in Boston you would be making a big mistake.
Yes, Warrior Class is about a politician. It is also about manipulation, extortion, dirty deal making, political fundraising, selling out principles, and much more. That’s right, all the things we hate about politics. It is also about much more than that.
This is a moving and emotional work.
Michael Tow plays Julius Weishan Lee, an idealistic young Chinese American New York State Assemblyman who is looking to move up and run for Congress. He enlists the aid of political operative Nathan Berkshire who is portrayed by Steven Barkhimer who is reminiscent of the real life consultant Bob Beckel. Lee is a sincere young man who wants to run and serve based on his beliefs. Perhaps he is naive, I like to believe otherwise, to think he can make it without selling out, but he wants to take that route. However, a problem arises.
In the course of preparing for the race it is revealed, not publicly, that Lee has a skeleton in his closet in the form of Holly Lillian Eames, played by Jessica Webb. This poses a potentially serious problem for the idealistic Lee who has a wonderful resume that includes serving in Afghanistan and working for Teach For America. He is coming off giving an impressive speech at the Republican Convention and is seen as a rising star on the national scene.
Holly and Nathan meet to try to work out a deal to keep things quiet. Yes, Holly, who claims to be a victim is also using the situation to blackmail Lee. It all seems like a pretty basic plot about a politician with something in his past to hide and his willingness to deal to make things go away. Something any of us over the age of two have seen in our lifetimes more often than we like.
The difference with Warrior Class is that it is much more than a sordid political story. Playwright Kenneth Lin digs deep into all of the characters. This is a moving and emotional work. It is like watching a game of chess as all involved maneuver to either gain from, suppress, or both from the incidents that occurred twenty years earlier. It turns out one of them is the chess master. During the play, which becomes quite intense, we are faced with asking ourselves questions. Can people change? Is it okay for a victim to become a perpetrator? Is it permissible for a man to use lies and manipulation in order to help a family member? Could any of us be one of the characters? Where is the line that should not be crossed? It is easy to walk away from this play feeling cynical, but I found much more to take away from this fine play.
Actors Michael Tow, Steven Barkhimer, and Jessica Webb are superb in their roles.
There was never a moment when my eyes left the stage
There was never a moment when my eyes left the stage,especially during the scene where Julius and Holly meet to discuss working things out. At that point emotions run very high. It is a pleasure to watch three very talented actors taking to the stage and performing seamlessly. It is performances such as this that remind me of why I am so drawn to the theatre. Dawn M. Simmons fine direction leaves enough ambiguity so when you depart the theater you will be thinking a lot about what you just saw and asking yourself many questions.
In a talkback after the performance, the question was asked if the role of Julius Weishan Lee was written specifically for a Chinese character. The answer was yes it was, but Michael Tow pointed out how different it was from so many roles he has played where he was cast because of his ancestry. He told us, while the script called for a Chinese actor, as the name implies, it could have been played by someone from any background. This freed him from feeling typecast. I agree with Mr. Tow. While the heritage of the leading character was a part of the play, it was not a play about a Chinese politician. Refreshingly, it is a play about a politician who happens to be Chinese.
While we are so focused, or perhaps, with good reason not, on the national political scene, this play will make you think more about local politics; especially, here in Massachusetts where corruption is a part of the culture.
I highly recommend you head down to the Lyric Stage and see this play. You will not be disappointed.