Tag Archives: Greater Boston Stage Company

“Miracle On 34th Street” To Open At Greater Boston Stage Company



Greater Boston Stage Company cheerfully presents Miracle on 34th Street based on the much-loved motion picture from Twentieth Century Fox. Directed by Associate Artistic Director, Ilyse Robbins, Miracle on 34th Street reminds us that if you really believe, anything can happen. Performances run November 29 – December 22, 2019.

“The miracle of 34th street is that people learn to believe – both in oneself and in the kindness of others. It is about faith. Not necessarily in the religious sense, but rather faith in what is possible,” shares Robbins. She continues, “Stories about kindness and goodness are needed now more than ever. There is such importance simply in the telling of stories like these.” 

The cast features Barlow Adamson, Juliet Bowler, Margaret Ann Brady, Sara Coombs, William Gardiner, Sarah Gazdowicz, Arthur Gomez, Jade Guerra, Michael Jennings Mahoney, David Jiles, Jr., Gary Thomas Ng and Emme Shaw. As part of The Young Company Meets Mainstage program, the cast also includes Young Company actors Mia Galego, Shea Killeen, Graham Layton, Addison McWayne, Gwendolyn Symes, Norah Symes and Young Company Alum Stephen Zubricki IV, making his GBSC Mainstage debut. 

Miracle on 34th Street celebrates the season by taking us to Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in the 1940’s where Kris Kringle steps in as a last-minute replacement. When he claims to be the true Santa Claus, he needs to convince the doubters, including a little girl longing to find something to believe in. 

Greater Boston Stage Company is dedicated to fostering an inclusive and accessible environment for all. A sensory-friendly performance of Miracle on 34th Street will be offered on December 21, 2019 at 2:00 pm. The sensory-friendly production will be a performance dedicated to creating a more welcoming space for individuals with sensory-input disorders. There will be modifications throughout the theatre that create a friendly and supportive environment, encouraging patrons to experience the magic of theatre in their own way. Families, friends and caregivers of individuals with sensory-input disorders are also encouraged to attend. Please visit https://www.greaterbostonstage.org/sensory_friendly.html for more information. 

Box Office: (781) 279-2200
Box Office Hours: Mondays – Fridays, 11am to 6pm; Saturdays, 1pm to 6pm Location: 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA 02180
Website: www.greaterbostonstage.org

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Review: “Marie And Rosetta” At The Greater Boston Stage Company

The Godmother Of Rock And Roll

Receives The Respect She Is Due


Marie And Rosetta

At The 

Greater Boston Stage Company

Reviewed By Bobby Franklin

Lovely Hoffman
Photo: Nile Scott Studios

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a major influence on rock and roll music. She was a favorite of Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, and many other top names from the early days of rock music. Beginning in 1940 Sister Rosetta began using electric guitar in her Gospel Music performances. Her unique style would influence Chuck Berry and Elvis. Just last year she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Still, most people have not heard of her. With the advent of Youtube, videos of her performances are now available for the general public to view. 

In Marie And Rosetta, playwright George Brant has attempted to tell the story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. This is done by setting the play in a funeral home where Tharpe and her young protege Marie Knight are having their first rehearsal, as they are joining together for upcoming performances. Why a funeral home? The story takes place in 1946 in Mississippi and the Jim Crow South wasn’t exactly accommodating to black performers traveling through the area. Since they could not stay at the local hotels, they were dependent on friends finding them a place to stay. On this night it happened to be a funeral home. Toward the end of the play that symbolism will play into the story.

Lovely Hoffman and Pier Lamia Porter
Photo: Nile Scott Studios

Pier Lamia Porter as Marie and Lovely Hoffman as Sister Rosetta both deliver terrific performances and have amazing voices. Ms Hoffman’s interpretation of Tharpe brings the soul of her being to life at the theatre in Stoneham, MA. This is not impersonation or caricature, but rather an exploration of a dynamic and powerful woman. Accompanied by Marquis Lewis on guitar and musical director Erica Telisnor on piano, (Ms Hoffman and Ms Porter go through the motions on muted instruments) the musical numbers are outstanding.

Pier Lamia Porter and Lovely Hoffman
Photo: Nile Scott Studios

Not all of Sister Rosetta’s hits will be familiar to most audience members, but you will leave the theatre wanting to hear more. From Gospel songs such as Were You There, to This Train, and Didn’t It Rain to the smoking Tall Skinny Papa and rocking Up Above My Head, there is never a dull musical moment. 

Ms Hoffman, who said she grew up in the church (her father was a minister) knows her Gospel music. She, as Sister Rosetta did, is able to combine the spiritual with a rocking and soulful influence to recreate the sound that was at the root of the early rock era. While she is not actually playing the guitar, her movements with it show how much Tharpe influenced the early musicians. I was very much taken with her performance and was left wanting more.

Ms Porter as Marie is at first seen as shy and reluctant to step into the spotlight but quickly gains confidence with Tharpe’s encouragement. Her interpretation of Were You There is marvelous, as was her take on Peace In The Valley. 

Lovely Hoffman and Pier Lamia Porter
Photo: Nile Scott Studios

Both Hoffman and Porter were outstanding when singing together, most notably on Didn’t It Rain, Up Above My Head, and Tall Skinny Papa. The two had just worked together in Little Shop of Horrors at the Lyric Stage and actually began prepping for Marie and Rosetta while still there. If there was any strain with working together through two shows without a break, it didn’t show here.

The music is the strong part of this production, and while Sister Rosetta’s story is a fascinating one, the dialogue gets a bit muddy and drawn out at times. This is not a major flaw and certainly is no reason to pass on this wonderful show. I just wish it had been a bit stronger. I think what is a very good story could be made into a fantastic one with a little touching up. 

The Sister Rosetta Tharpe story is an important one to tell. She is known as the Godmother of Rock and Roll, and is certainly deserving of that title. Seeing Marie and Rosetta at the Greater Boston Stage Company is a fine way to be introduced to this musical legend. As was the case with me, you will find yourself wanting to hear more of her music. You will also want to learn more about this amazing woman who said “I brought a little club to the church, and a little church to the club”.  

I recommend you head up to Stoneham to see this solid and very enjoyable musical play, not only because it is very good, but also because it is important to get to know Sister Rosetta Tharpe. You’ll be glad you did.

Marie And Rosetta

Directed By Pascale Floresta

Though November 10

The Greater Boston Stage Company

In Collaboration With Front Porch Arts Collective

Stoneham, MA



“Million Dollar Quartet” Opens At Greater Boston Stage Company April 25


Greater Boston Stage Company proudly presents the beloved rock ‘n’ roll musical Million Dollar Quartet. Million Dollar Quartet brings to life the famed 1956 on-the-fly recording session at Sun Records that brought together icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins for one of the greatest jam sessions ever. Featuring a score of hits that includes “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Walk the Line,” “Hound Dog,” and more, Million Dollar Quartet will have audiences dancing in their seats. Directed by Associate Artistic Director Ilyse Robbins, performances run April 25 – May 19, 2019. 

Shares Robbins, “I first heard about Million Dollar Quartet from my parents. They enjoyed it so much, that they saw it twice – in New York and on tour. It turns out that in one of the productions, my parents saw our Music Director and Jerry Lee Lewis, James Scheider, who was their favorite part of the show.” She continues, “Million Dollar Quartet is an evening of song, joy, and story – three things that I love.” 

The Million Dollar Quartet Cast features Melissa Geerlof, Nile Scott Hawver, Luke Linsteadt, Trey Lundquist, Matthew Pitts, Austin Wayne Price, Robert Saoud, and James Scheider. 

The Design Team is comprised of Scenic Designer Patrick Lynch, Lighting Designer Jeff Adelberg, Costume Designer Stephen LaMonica – a Young Company alum, Sound Designer John Stone, and Props Master Emme Shaw. Music Direction is by James Scheider.

pastedGraphic_6.pngBox Office: (781) 279-2200, 395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA 02180 Mondays – Fridays, 11am to 6pm; Saturdays, 1pm to 6pm  www.greaterbostonstage.org

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Review: “Onegin” At Greater Boston Stage Company 


By Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille

Directed By Weylin Symes

Musical Direction By Steve Bass

Choreographer Ilyse Robbins

Through March 31


Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

Sarah Pothier and Mark Linehan
Photo by: Maggie Hall Photography

Onegin, now playing at the Greater Boston Stage Company in Stoneham is the U.S. premiere of the musical based on the epic poem of the same name by Alexander Pushkin. It has been very popular in Canada, and after seeing this production I can understand why. In this version, Russian literature meets rock opera. The result is two hours of very enjoyable theatre that you won’t want to miss.

Set in 19th Century Russia, it is the story of Evgeni Onegin (Mark Linehan) who has moved to the countryside where he has inherited his uncle’s estate. There he befriends the young poet Vladimir Lensky (Michael Jennings Mahoney). To cheer his new friend up, Lensky introduces Onegin to his girlfriend’s sister Tatyana (Sarah Pothier). 

We hear how Tatyana is immediately taken with Onegin as she sings Let Me Die, in which she tells of her love of books and her feelings that Onegin has walked out of one of the great novels she has read. Ms Pothier’s rendition of Let Me Die is beautiful. Her voice is sweet and conveys a vulnerability that captures the essence of Tatyana. 

Sarah Pothier
Photo By: Maggie Hall Photography

Unfortunately, the object of her affection does not respond in kind. He makes his feelings clear in Onegin’s Refusal in which he sings the lyric, “Marriage is not for me.” Mark Linehan’s voice is strong and rich, and it doesn’t take long to understand the character of the self centered Onegin. 

The story moves to tragedy as Onegin’s thoughtlessness causes his friend Lensky much pain. Onegin’s flirtation with Lensky’s fiancé Olga (Josephine Moshiri Elwood) leads to the two friends having a duel. The result causes much pain while giving Onegin what appears to be the first sense of caring for others. 

Christopher Chew
Photo by Maggie Hall Photography

While tragic, the play has many upbeat and funny moments. Christopher Chew as Triquet puts on quite the rock star performance during “The Queen Of Tonight”. Kerry Dowling’s glower seems aimed at each audience member as she sings Rules For Dueling while dressed as a Cossack complete with mustache. There are a number of memorable moments such as this.

Michael Jennings Mahoney who plays Lensky has a remarkable voice. The melancholy that shows during Olga Will You Weep is deeply moving. I was impressed and taken with what I heard.

The five piece orchestra was on stage throughout the performance as are most of the cast members. And, in a nice touch, a few members of the audience are also seated on stage and take part in some of the numbers. 

Onegin plays through March 31 in Stoneham, and I highly recommend it. This Greater Boston Stage Company production is well worth seeing.  With political divisions permeating so much of our daily lives, it is nice to be able to take a break from the madness and see a play that is touching, human, and has such a great score. 


Greater Boston Stage Company

395 Main Street, Stoneham, MA



“Onegin” Opens At Greater Boston Stage



Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Greater Boston Stage Company proudly announces the U.S. Premiere of Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hill’s, Onegin. Based on Pushkin’s masterpiece novel in verse and Tchaikovsky’s stunning opera, Onegin tells the love story of the innocent Tatyana and the self-obsessed aristocrat Onegin. This soaring musical adaptation begs you to answer the question, “Look around, look around, look around, Do you see someone worth dying for? Directed by Producing Artistic Director Weylin Symes, performances run March 14 – 31, 2019

Says Symes, “I discovered this one in a bit of a strange way. Veda Hille (composer/co-writer) released several albums in the 90s and early 2000’s that I owned and loved. One day a few years ago, I discovered that she was still writing and moreover that she had written a brand-new musical based on Pushkin’s most famous poem, Onegin. After listening to one song, I was hooked. Veda’s modern pop/musical sensibility that includes motifs from the Tchaikovsky opera, combined with a ‘musical-meets-rock-concert’ setting seemed like the perfect way to capture the passion, vibrancy and tongue-in-cheek playfulness of this classic story for a modern audience.” He continues, “Like most of my favorite shows, Onegin is a true ensemble piece with a cast of seven playing multiple roles throughout the show. And what a cast it is.”

“The great Russian novels feel so contemporary to us,” shares co-creator Hill. “You know these people, and you’ve had these feelings. We are so thrilled to have our American Premiere at GBSC. This production marks the first time that Amiel and I are not directing/music directing the show. We’ve been looking for the right company to hand Onegin to, and we feel we’ve found such excellent people at GBSC.”

The Onegin Cast features Peter Adams, Christopher Chew, Kerry Dowling, Josephine Ellwood, Mark Linehan, Michael Jennings Mahoney, and Sarah Pothier.

The Design Team is comprised of Scenic Designer Katy Monthei, Lighting Designer Jeff Adelberg, Costume Designer Deirdre Gerrard, Sound Designer John Stone, and Props Master Emme Shaw. Music Direction is by Steve Bass with choreography by Associate Artistic Director, Ilyse Robbins. Young Company Alum, Stephen Zubricki IV Assistant Directs.

There will be complimentary Pre-Show Vodka Tastings at each of the Friday performances courtesy of Vodka Sponsor Deep Eddy Vodka.

Single Tickets for Onegin: $50-60 Adults; $45-55 Seniors; $20 Students (with valid ID). Thrifty Thursday tickets cost $15 at the door and are available for the Thursday, March 14, 2019 performance at 7:30pm. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Box Office at Greater Boston Stage Company at (781) 279-2200, or visit www.greaterbostonstage.org.

She Loves Me Is A Romantic Delight In Stoneham

Reviewed by Bobby Franklin

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by holiday shopping I would suggest you take a couple of hours away from the madness and stop by to see the Greater Boston Stage Company’s production of She Loves Me. This very warm musical, which had its first run in 1963, will be familiar to many of you who have seen the movie The Shop Around The Corner. The story about a romance that began through letters and involves mistaken identity is funny, touching, and warm. It is also quite enjoyable.

Jennifer Ellis

Of course, with Jennifer Ellis in one of the lead roles you could never be disappointed. Ms Ellis is a positively outstanding talent with a superb singing voice and amazing acting ability. I would pay just to see her read the phone book. Yes, she is that good.

Ellis, as Amalia Balash,  an Sam Simark, who takes on the role of Georg Nowack, have an onstage chemistry that is magical. Having such a wonderful score to showcase their voices doesn’t hurt.

Sam Simahk

The play is set in Hungary as Christmas approaches and revolves around the romances both Amalia and Georg are having via mail (not email, but the ones you have to put a stamp on and deposit in a mailbox, remember those?), with people they have not yet met. It turns out the two have been writing to one another without realizing it, which becomes more complicated when Amalia gets a job at Maraczak’s, a perfumery, where Georg is already employed. The two do not hit it off well. The confusion draws in the other employees of the store as well as Mr. Maraczak (Tom Gleadow) who is also dealing with a case of mistaken identity.

Jared Troilo

Local favorite Jared Trolio plays the obnoxious Steven Kodaly who is pursuing fellow employee Ilona Ritter played by Aimee Doherty. Trolio is just wonderful in the number Ilona, which has a bit of a Mambo beat. Ms Doherty will have you smiling with A Trip To The Library.

A Romantic Atmosphere with Nick Sulfaro as the maitre d’ of a local restaurant is one of many stand out numbers that include Tonight At Eight (Georg), Vanilla Ice Cream (Amalia), and Where’s My Shoe (Amalia and Georg). Perspective sung by employee Ladislav Sipos (Robert Saoud) is filled with advice on how to keep your job. The delivery boy and aspiring clerk Arpad (Brendan Callahan) appeals for a promotion in Try Me. It would be very hard to refuse him after hearing this musical resume.

The story is not a complicated one, but it is so enjoyable to watch. The musical numbers are just wonderful and with Musical Director Matthew Stern at the helm the orchestration is tight. Choreography is by director Ilyse Robbins and is smooth and light.

While the entire cast and production are wonderful, Ms Ellis and Mr. Simahk are positively great. This is a play worth seeing. It will leave you with a big smile on your face.

She Loves Me
Through December 23rd
The Greater Boston Stage Company
Stoneham, Ma