Publisher & Editor. Charles was the director of exhibitions for the New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University where he taught art history and the humanities. He taugh tModern Art and the Avant-garde for Metropolitan College of Boston University. After many years as a contributor, columnist and editor for a range of print publications from Art New England, Art News, the Boston Phoenix, the Boston Herald Traveler and Patriot Ledger, to mention a few, he went on line with Maverick Arts which evolved into a website.
World Premiere Comedy at Berkshire Theatre GroupBy: - Aug 17th, 2019
The structure of Kathleen Clark's world premiere comedy What We May Be, at Berkshire Theatre Group, is a play within a play. Actually, four plays within a play. That makes for a hard to follow , count them, five plays. It's confusing and not particularly funny. The writing of Clark and misdirection of Gregg Edelman squander generally fine performances by a terrific cast.
Program Combines Old and New WorksBy: - Aug 16th, 2019
The greatest modernist dancer and choreographer of her generation, Martha Graham (1894-1991), had a long and unique connection to Jacob’s Pillow. This week the company she founded in 1926 is making its fifth posthumous appearance in the Berkshires. The program combines old and new, her own work and that of other women choreographers.
Fracking a World Premiere MusicalBy: - Aug 15th, 2019
Juke box musicals with butkis for plots have become the norm. Kudos to Barrington Stage for its world premiere Fall Springs which actually has a compelling book. But fracking, the musical, oh my goodness! While it has entertaining moments this creation by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and Niko Tsakalakos is a whacky long shot. It's more than just a town that sinks in the sludge.
Extended Again at Old GlobeBy: - Aug 14th, 2019
Silly is, as silly does, could easily be the subtitle following the name of the current comedy/farce romp “The Underpants,” now on stage at the Old Globe’s Sheryl and Harvey White stage. The Steve Martin comedy has been extended twice now through September 8/
Harlem, Houston,Winston-Salem, Chicago, SarasotaBy: - Aug 12th, 2019
In a conference organized by Florida critic, Jay Handelman, 30 members and guests of American Theatre Critics Association attended the biennial of the 30-year-old National Black Theatre Festival. In and around Winston-Salem, North Carolina there were 30 productions. During two insightful panel discussions we met artistic directors from Winston-Salem, Sarasota, Chicago and Houston. It provided a compelling overview of black theatre in America.
Astonishing World Premiere at Williamstown Theatre FestivalBy: - Aug 11th, 2019
Last night, attending the world premiere of Before the Meeting by Adam Bock at Williamstown Thatre Festival, felt like an historic occasion in contemporary American theatre. This new play will surely make the rounds of regional theatres after a likely New York run. The success of future productions will entail finding a greal actress like Deidre O'Connell to perform the soon to be classic monlogue of Gail a recovering alcoholic.
Audience as Congregation in Winston-SalemBy: - Aug 10th, 2019
Thirty years ago the late Larry Leon Hamlin founded National Black Theatre Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The biannual event, July 29 to August 3, featured 30 productions on stages in and around the city, They ranged from intensive dramas to entertaining musicals. A great part of the experience was being part of audiences that might better be described as congregations. People assemble from all over American for this unique celebration of African American history, theatre and culture.
August Wilson Play Produced by Multi Ethnic TheaterBy: - Aug 10th, 2019
Set in 1927 Chicago, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is the only play in August Wilson’s great ten-play, ten-decade “Pittsburgh Cycle,” of the black experience in America that takes place outside his home town. Although the black bottom in the title refers to the flapper dance of the period, it seems intended as a double entendre with sexual innuendo. Both connotations are relevant to one of the important verbal clashes among the band members.
Easy on the Eyes but a MishmashBy: - Aug 10th, 2019
While easy on the eyes Moulin Rouge! The Musical a pastiche of some 70 songs slogs along at two and a half hours. It is a mongrel cut and paste of other and better material. If you liked the movie than this one's for you.
Wrapping Another Diva Season for Williamstown Theatre FestivalBy: - Aug 09th, 2019
Another diva season wraps on the main stage of Williamstown Theatre Festival through August 18. A new translation of Henrick Ibsen’s Ghosts by Paul Walsh features Uma Thurman as Mrs. Helene Alving. In 2018 there were mixed reviews for her Broadway debut in Parisian Woman. It was a Beau Willimon rewrite of an 1888 play by Henri Becque.
Biannual Event in Winston-Salem, NCBy: - Aug 09th, 2019
Some thirty members of American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) attended the Winston-Salem, NC National Black Theatre Festival. Here is the first report from our Chicago correspondent Nancy Bishop. More coverage will follow.
Deadly Plight of Gays in UgandaBy: - Aug 08th, 2019
New York’s Lincoln Center Theater is presenting the American premiere of playwright Chris Urch’s The Rolling Stone. Sensitively directed by Saheem Ali – the play an import from London – is scheduled to run through Sunday, August 25th.
Harvard Dissertation on Aaron Siskind First on Photography in USBy: - Aug 07th, 2019
During graduate study at Boston University photographer Carl Chiarenza was a professor, mentor and friend. We spoke at length about how JFK and the Vietnam War nudged him into studying art history. At Harvard he was the first American to write a dissertation on photography. It was a biography and critical study of then living American icon Aaron Siskind. Now retired from the University of Rochester he continues to create new work.
Composed by Jake Heggie with Libretto by Gene ScheerBy: - Aug 07th, 2019
If I Were You possesses a compelling score with drama to match. Full of symbols of soul transporters and apples and grieving elephants as well as contrasting venues from offices to bars, it stimulates the ears and eyes and holds the attention throughout
At The Bridge YardBy: - Aug 07th, 2019
The spare nature of Orfeo & Euridice is well suited to a smaller opera company. Requiring only three principals, casting is simplified. This small entourage and extensive use of dance by nymphs also make it conducive to the barest of staging. Mikiko Uesugi’s set design of gauzy hanging sheets certainly qualifies.
Measured Rings of TimeBy: - Aug 07th, 2019
Anton’s Well Theater CompanyBy: - Jul 28th, 2019
Anton’s Well’s Artistic Director Robert Estes scored a coup by securing the Bay Area premieres of two one-act plays – Escaped Alone and Here We Go – by Caryl Churchill, who some consider Britain’s finest living playwright.
Great Enertainment at Berkshire Theatre GroupBy: - Jul 28th, 2019
For a deliciously entertaining evening of theater it is hard to top Working: A Musical at Berkshire Theatre Group. Last night the intimate Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge was filled to capacity by a thoroughly delighted audience.
Pretenders the Real DealBy: - Jul 27th, 2019
It was standing room only last night for the packed performance of Chrissie Hynde and The Pretenders. On a perfect summer night, with just a touch of heat relief, they performed on stage in a large courtyard of MASS MoCA.
Nuclear Meltdown at Shakespere & CompanyBy: - Jul 26th, 2019
The approach of the Lucy Kirkwood play, The Children at Shakespere & Company, is conceptual. It’s rather like a BBC detective series where there is investigation of a murder that we don’t witness. There is crime but the audience is spared the horrific details. Characters are involved with cleaning up the meltdown of a nuclear power plant which entailed their flawed design.
Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, MABy: - Jul 23rd, 2019
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary since his death the Clark Art Institute has organized a scholarly exhibition Renoir: the Body, the Senses. At his best few 19th century masters can match his charm and popular appeal. His greatest works were included in the 1985-1986 blockbuster exhibition Renoir, which was shown in London and Paris before it came to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It broke MFA records with 500,000 plus visitors. The Clark show by comparison is small and uneven.
New Play at Barrington Stage CompanyBy: - Jul 22nd, 2019
Hamlet is tormented to avenge the murder of his father by Gertrude, his mother and her lover Claudius, his uncle. First performed in 1609 they have been scorned by audiences ever since. John Updike's novel Gertrude and Claudius presented their sordid collaboration as a love story. That has been tranformed into a drama directed by Julianne Boyd for Barrington Stage Company. While the production is problematic it is among the best and most intriguing of the many plays of a prolific playwright.
Fasten Your Seatbelt for a Bumpy EveningBy: - Jul 19th, 2019
Not since A Strange Loop, through July 28th at Playwrights Horizons, have we come across a many faceted gay character like Usher (the extremely talented Larry Owens). He spares no detail, however raw, intimate, personal, scatological and sordid – in the telling of his life.
A Program of Old and New WorkBy: - Jul 19th, 2019
With more that 20 bookings no company has logged more appearances at Jacob's Pillow. For the first time in five years Mark Morris Dance Group & Music Ensemble is back this week. In recent years it has been the only dance company to be featured a number of times at Tanglewood. Now sliding past middle age, however, the choreographer is challenged to maintain pole position on the cutting edge. It was heartening to see a new piece in a program of vintage works.
An Overview in the ArtsBy: - Jul 19th, 2019
A particular period of Irish history has been the focus of several recent remarkable works of art: two books, one an experimental novel, and the other journalistic nonfiction, plus a much-praised Broadway drama. All of them won multiple awards. I’ll also add a 2008 film to this list of artistic works. They all commemorate the years of the Troubles, that period of history of Northern Ireland in which more than 3500 people died or were disappeared.