This past week I was able to see The SpeakEasy Stage Company world premiere of a the new comedy, KURT VONNEGUT’S MAKE UP YOUR MIND. The play was assembled by Broadway playwright Nicky Silver from eleven different versions of the script penned by Mr. Vonnegut before his passing in 2007.
The show opens in New York City in 1986. The 90-minute performance without intermission is filled with fast paced, witty dialog interspersed by occasional breaks where Richard Snee pulls double duty, also playing the role of Kurt Vonnegut talking to the audience. I preferred the powerful drama TRIBES that opened the SpeakEasy Stage Company 2013 / 2014 season, but fans of Mr. Vonnegut’s cutting wit will like this performance and enjoy the repartee.
KURT VONNEGUT’S MAKE UP YOUR MIND runs thru Nov-30. You may purchase tickets at the Calderwood Pavilion box office or online here.
photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo
Erica Spyres and James Caverly in a scene from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of TRIBES, at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End.
The SpeakEasy Stage Co. first play of their 2013-2014 season, TRIBES, opened last week, and I had the opportunity to see a performance this past weekend. I was genuinely surprised by how touched I was and would encourage you to put this on your calendar.
British playwright and director, Nina Raine, who wrote this play is obviously incredibly talented but The SpeakEasy Stage Co. deserves credit for their production. The staging is great and creates an intimate connection with the audience. The cast works well together, and at different moments each of them shine without stealing the other’s spotlight.
The show centers around Billy (played by James Caverly), a deaf son born into a dysfunctional English family that certainly loves but mostly overlooks him. I’ll admit that the story didn’t speak to me when I read about it but I’m so happy that I went to see this show and I’m confident you’ll feel the same way too. Tickets start at $25 and can be purchased at the Box Office, by phone 617-933-8600 or online, SpeakEasyStage.com.
Pick ad date and order your tickets today.
In The Heights, the winner of four 2008 Tony Awards, is the current production from The SpeakEasy Stage Company that opened May 10th and runs through June 16th. The musical will grab your attention with large dance numbers set to rap and hip hop rhapsodies all set in NYC’s Latino neighborhood, Washington Heights, in the summer of 2003. The story centers around members of this closely knit neighborhood and how their lives are entwined with the neighborhood they all call home.
If you require a bit more incentive to purchase tickets to this show, I’ll give you three reasons: Diego Klock-Perez (Usnavi) and Jorge Barranco (Sonny) who’s lives center around their barrio bodega. Their rap and dance scenes are among the best in the show. However, I was distracted every time the incredibly handsome actor, Jared Dixon (Benny), stepped on stage and his shirtless scene on the balcony at the opening of the second act alone makes this show worth its money, but fortunately there is more to offer than these three men and the entire cast really does deserve credit for pulling off some intricate dance and musical numbers. This is a great date option or night out with friends.
You may purchase tickets at The Calderwood Pavilion box office on Tremont Street in the South End or by phone, 617-933-8600 or online at SpeakEasyStage.com.
Photo by Craig Bailey/ Perspective Photo
Now that we are halfway through the work week, it is time to start planning for the weekend. On Friday, January 18th I will be heading over to enjoy The SpeakEasy Stage Out & About performance of Other Desert Cities.
Out & About night at The SpeakEasy Stage welcomes everyone but it is safe to say there is even more than usual representation from the GLBT community on these special performance nights. Following Friday’s show, all are welcome to join the cast after the performance for a special post-show party.
Join me this Friday and be sure to say hello. You may buy your tickets online here or call the box office at, 617.933.8600.
On Sunday night I’ll be heading to a special concert to benefit SpeakEasy Stage that includes Boston’s first ladies of song – Leigh Barrett, Mary Callanan, Kerry A. Dowling, and Kathy St. George. Tickets remain available for both Sunday and Monday night. If you plan on going on Sunday let me know and perhaps we can meet early for a drink. Tickets are available at the box office or on the SpeakEasy Stage Company website.
This past weekend I saw The SpeakEasy Stage production of The Mother-F**ker with the Hat. The attention grabbing and funny name is appropriate for this Tony-nominated play. Performed without intermission, the show is divided into nine scenes. The highly charged and dramatic vignettes are laced with witty lines that drew consistent and hearty laughs from the entire audience.
Cousin Julio proves to be the most lovable character and delivers some of the most humorous lines. However, one unintentional funny moment that caught my attention occurred when Ralph D (played by Maurice Emmanuel Parent) was standing stark naked stage left and Veronica (played by Evelyn Howe) was talking stage right. Looking out at the audience I noticed nearly every man’s head remained stage left on Ralph D. I should note that I happened to see the play on “Out Night” when it seemed as if half the South End was in the room. Do yourself a favor and call the box office today to reserve tickets to this show. You’ll enjoy watching this as much as you will talking about it. Plus, its fun to tell people the name of the play when they inquire what you saw.
From left: Jaime Carrillo, Maurice Emmanuel Parent, and Alejandro Simoes from the SpeakEasy Stage Company production of “The Motherf**ker with the Hat,” Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.
The SpeakEasy Stage production runs through Saturday, October 13th so hurry to get tickets by phone at 617.933.8600 or online here.
While I enjoy the travelling Broadway productions, I really prefer supporting Boston’s local theater companies. One of my favorite theater companies is the SpeakEasy Stage, which I’ve written a fair bit about here.
Today only the SpeakEasy Stage Co is having a one day sale. The sale, which started online at midnight, for select performances for both The Motherf**cker with the Hat (September 14 – 20 shows only) and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (October 19 – 25 shows only) are just $25 (not including service fees). If you purchase tickets at the Box Office at 527 Tremont Street in the South End you can avoid the service fees too (Box Office is open from 12-6PM).
This is an amazing deal and opportunity for you to plan a fun night out with someone special or a group of friends. Help support Boston’s theater scene and make plans with your friends today. More about The SpeakEasy Stage, their 2012-2013 season and how to buy tickets online here.
Here are a few worthwhile theater performances from some of Boston’s local theater companies. Support your community’s local theater scene and plan an evening with friends to see a show. Select the links below to learn more about each performance and to purchase tickets.
Support Boston’s Local Theater Companies
Xanadu – SpeakEasy Stage Co. – This fun performance elevates “camp” and will leave you humming familiar Olivia Newton John songs from the early 80s all the while laughing heartily with friends. In my opinion its the surprise show of the summer, which I give “two glow sticks up.” See the show and you’ll understand my reference. Xanadu closes on June 9th.
Private Lives – Huntington Theater Co – Can you imagine bumping into your former spouse while away on your second honeymoon? Neither can I but that’s the premise of this hilarious production which will run through June 24th
Avenue Q – Lyric Stage Co. of Boston – Have you never seen this popular Broadway musical, best described as Seasame Street for adults? This show has fantastically funny songs like The Internet is for Porn, and will leave you laughing out loud. Due to demand, this show has been extended and will run through July 1st.
On Friday, the SpeakEasy Stage will open their 100th production with the 80s cult movie classic, Xanadu, and I will be front and center to see this movie from 1980 that was later turned into a Broadway musical.
Xanadu’s performances will run through Saturday, June 9th so be sure to get your tickets while they remain available. You can do this by visiting the Calderwood theater box office on Tremont Street or purchasing them online here.
Xanadu from The SpeakEasy Stage May 11th – June 9th
Starring Ryan Overberg as “Sonny”
Photo by Glenn Perry Photography
Here’s a little something to put you in the mood while you log-on to buy your tickets… Who can resist a little Olivia Newton-John?
The SpeakEasy Stage included a quote from my review of Next to Normal, the rock-musical currently playing at the Calderwood Pavilion, that rocked my world when I saw it last weekend. I’m no Joyce Kulhawik (sorry its a local reference for those who grew up in Boston) so I was pretty darn flattered.
You may read my full review of Next to Normal here and purchase your tickets here. Get a few friends together and check it out.
Next to Normal, The SpeakEasy Stage’s latest production, explores a family that is anything but what its name implies. This rock musical centers around a mother who struggles with bipolar disorder, and how she and her family are impacted. This musical which opened on Broadway in 2009 and went on to receive 11 Tony nominations is making its Boston premiere at the Calderwood Pavilion on Tremont Street in the South End.
SpeakEasy Stage’s production is compelling. Kerry A. Dowling’s performance as Diana – the housewife struggling with bipolar disorder – is reason enough to see the show. However, Dowling is not forced to carry the show on her own, the entire cast comes together. In particular, I found myself extremely sympathetic to the high school daughter, Natalie, played by Sarah Drake who’s struggling to make sense of her life which lacks love and attention from her ill mother and her father too obsessed with “saving” his wife to notice her. More than once I could hear sniffles from the audience so I know I wasn’t the only one touched by this performance.
Next to Normal was extended and now runs through Sunday, April 15th. I dare you to step out of your “normal” routine and make date to check out this new show. Be sure to bring along some friends, because after the curtain drops you’ll want to talk about what you just saw. You can read more about the show and purchase tickets online here.
Tonight Boston’s SpeakEasy Stage production of Next to Normal opens at the Calderwood Pavilion on Tremont Street in the South End. This play won 3 Tony Awards and received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama so I know the story line will be compelling. According to the website the show has a pop rock musical score which should add an element of drama to this story of a suburban family dealing with the direct and indirect effects of mental illness.
The cast of six includes three handsome faces who are making their debut with the SpeakEasy Stage. Native New Yorker – Chris Caron, Northeastern University graduate – Michael Levesque, and Boston Conservatory’s very own – Michael Tacconi.
Look for my review of the show early next week, and in the interim start talking to friends to line up a date to step out and enjoy this show.
I love getting a good deal so when I saw this offer from The SpeakEasy Stage last night, promoting their spring musical comedy, Xanadu with a one day sale, I knew I had to post this. Tickets for the first week of performances of Xanadu (May 11-17 shows only) will be only $29 (not including phone or online handling fees).
This is a GREAT deal so snag a pair of tickets to see the show, which looks as if it will marry nostalgia with humor. Sale hours are today from 9:00am – midnight (online at www.SpeakEasyStage.com) and from 12:00pm – 7:00pm by phone (617-933-8600 ) or for walk-up sales.
This past weekend the SpeakEasy Stage invited me to see their latest production, RED. I was happy to go, although I will admit I wondered if a 2-person play about a famous abstract expressionist artist living in NYC in 1958 would be too deep or too intellectual for me to grasp.
I should have realized that a play that won five Tony Awards in 2010 would be compelling to see. However, the reason the story comes alive on stage here in Boston is because of the chemistry between the two actors Thomas Derrah who plays the lead (Mark Rothko) and Karl Baker Olson who plays his new young assistant (Ken). The play is filled with quick, spirited dialog and (to my surprise) many funny lines. The dialog is expertly delivered by both actors. One of my favorite lines is when Rothko shouts at his assistant Ken. “You are an employee! This is about me.” The line sums up the artist as portrayed in the show better than I ever could.
RED plays through February 4th at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts at 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End. Looking for a great evening out? Support Boston’s local art and theater scene by coming to see this Tony Award winning play. You’ll be happy you saw this New England premiere. Check out The Boston Globe’s glowing review by Terry Byrne here.
You can purchase tickets over the phone at 617-933-8600 or online at SpeakEasyStage.com
In early September I wrote about all the great local theater companies in Boston in my post, 2011-2012 season (which was at the time just starting). The productions these companies pull together are not as elaborate as travelling Broadway and the National touring companies that come to Boston’s Theater District, but they can be surprisingly entertaining and tickets are half the price.
On Friday, I’m off to see The Divine Sister, which closes this weekend and is playing at the Roberts Studio Theatre in the Calderwood Pavilion. The program which was written by Charles Busch is probably more bawdy and lewd than anything playing currently in Boston’s theater district and that suits me just fine. We’re going to be joined by two other couples and make a night of this which is a welcome change from hitting the same bars or restaurants.
Have you attended a local theater production lately? There are so many good shows playing right now; support your local arts community.