Last weekend I had the opportunity to see SpeakEasy Stage’s production of The Color Purple. This musical is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Alice Walker and the acclaimed film by Steven Spielberg.
While watching a musical about a poor African-American woman living in the South in the 1930s may not be the first thing you think of when planning a night out, trust me – you are going to love this show. The SpeakEasy Stage has assembled a large, talented cast that belt out amazing music and draw you in, making the time fly. As you might expect, the show runs the emotional gamut and provides ample fodder for conversation later. For my more shallow readers, the incredibly handsome Jared Nixon (shown below) might be sufficient motivation.
Jared Dixon and Valerie Houston in The Color Purple. Photo by Glenn Perry Photography.
I’ve included a video of one of my favorite songs from The Color Purple courtesy of Mercury Theater Chicago. The local production here at The SpeakEasy Stage runs through February 8th so get your tickets today.
Tickets to The Color Purple
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.