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  • Light Up the Sky Beacons Us to Theatrical Laughs Theatre

    Comedic View of Putting On A Show

    By: Mark Favermann - May 19th, 2015

    Set in the Ritz-Carlton Boston in the late 1940s, Light Up the Sky is a backstage comedy about the eccentric, colorful artists and producers involved in breathing life into a Broadway-bound play. Here we witness that frightening moment of anticipation and terror just before an audience sees the opening performance. We view the grand, charismatic leading lady, the hopeful young playwright, the high-strung director, the boorish producer and his comical wife along with a monster mother in this affectionate, hilarious and even a bit corny look at what used to be referred to as the "legitimate" theatre. With a wonderful cast, it is an entertaining way to spend some time smiling in the dark.

  • The Last Two People On Earth Sings at A.R.T. Theatre

    An Apocalyptic Vaudeville Full of Fun and Despair

    By: Mark Favermann - May 20th, 2015

    Literally Apocalypse Wow, it’s the end of the world as we know it. A flood of biblical proportions leaves the earth with only two people. An always happy one and a mostly despairing one discover their common language is song and dance. Together they chronicle the rise and fall and hopeful rise again of humankind through music. Song and dance run the gamut from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim, and R.E.M. to Queen.

  • Hand to God at the Booth on Broadway Theatre

    Stunning Performances in an Edgy Play

    By: Susan Hall - May 21st, 2015

    Robert Askins' play started at the Ensemble Studio Theatre and has not stopped since. It arrived on Broadway in time to receive five Tony nominations this year: three for actors, one for the play and the other for direction. Shows you what aa hand to God can do.

  • Butler by Richard Strand Theatre

    Civil War Comedy Launches Berkshire Season

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 21st, 2015

    With a striking resemblance to the Civil War General Benjamin Butler the hilarious performance by David Schramm in "Butler" launches the Berkshire season at Barrington Stage Company. Based on actual characters and events the playwright, Richard Strand, stretches the facts to create an evening of outrageous comedy.

  • Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon of One Acts Theatre

    Series A Opens the 35th Year

    By: Susan Hall - May 22nd, 2015

    The Ensemble Studio Theatre is presenting its 35th anniversary Marathon of one act plays. Although proud of their production, Hand to God, which is now on Broadway with five Tony nominations, they are hardly sitting on their laurels.

  • Charles Giuliano's Shards of a Life Word

    Beyond Gonzo

    By: J.M. Robert Henriquez - May 22nd, 2015

    The book of poetry Shards of a Life by Charles Giuliano will be launched with a reading and book signing at Edith Wharton's The Mount. The free reception will will occur on Friday, June 5 from 5:30 to 7:30. The critical essay "Beyond Gonzo" was written as the introduction for the book by J.M. Robert Henriquez
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  • Bizet's Carmen in Sunset Park Brooklyn Music

    Indominatable Regina Opera Scores Again

    By: Susan Hall - May 23rd, 2015

    With four hundred seats cushioned in plush red velvet to match the red velvet curtain donning a stage almost as tall as the Metropolitan opera's, the Regina Opera Company plays to a packed house full of the much-to-be envied millenials, their children, their parents. Everyone enjoyed great opera.

  • Masha's Seagull at Berkshire Theatre Group Theatre

    Stunning Solo by Virginia Scheuer Launches Season

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 23rd, 2015

    Launching the season on a chilly Memorial Day weekend Bekshire Theatre Group is presenting a variation on Chekhov with Masha's Seagull. In a transfer from Bentonville, Arkansas, directed by Eric Hill it proves to be a family affair. The play is written by Justin Scheuer, stars his wife, Virginia, with set and lighting by their son Nathan. Given the quality of the production it deserves a longer run.

  • Zombie Formalism Fine Arts

    Responding to Banality in Contemporary Art

    By: Martin Mugar - May 23rd, 2015

    Martin Mugar coined the term Zombie Formalism. That bounder, Walter Robinson, a known grifter and blowhard has claimed it as his own. Here our man Mugar bares his soul and makes a case. This is more heavy lifting in the realm of art criticism. Like how about that lead with Heidegger. Not exactly bedtime reading for most of us.

  • Queen Latifah Triumphs in HBO's Bessie Television

    Portrays Legendary and Tragic Empress of the Blues

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 23rd, 2015

    As blues giant Bessie Smith in HBO's "Bessie" Queen Latifah gives the finest performance of her career. The drama is based on a 1972 book by Chris Albertson. During the 1920s she was the Empress of the Blues but during the great depression which followed in the 1930s, as she compellingly sang, "Nobody knows you when you're down and out."

  • Playwright Lillian Hellman Theatre

    Reflections on Two Chicago Productions

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 23rd, 2015

    Last week I saw two masterpieces of 20th century theater by Lillian Hellman, the great playwright and left wing political activist. (I‘m a fan on both counts.) The two shows were extremely different in production values but demonstrated the power of performance.
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  • Cake Word

    Marie Antoinette at Cholmondeley's

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 24th, 2015

    When I was in college the nine year difference in our age was huge. It was one of our first of many dates before my tenure as a jazz and rock critic. All went well until she ordered the cake.
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  • May Word

    A Time to Plant and Sow

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 24th, 2015

    Memorial Day weekend putting in gardens. Tricked by late frost always an issue in harsh New England.

  • Mothers & Sons Bond at SpeakEasy Theatre

    Brilliant Acting Underscores Touching Narrative

    By: Mark Favermann - May 11th, 2015

    A touching play exploring our evolving understanding of what it means to be a family. At times funny, provocative, and poignant, this drama follows Dallas matriarch Katharine Gerard on an unexpected visit to New York City to meet with her late son’s former partner, who is now married to another man and raising a young son. Forced to consider the life that her son might have led, Katharine must now come to terms with her own life choices. And certainly, society has changed around her. Wonderful acting underscores this quality production.

  • The Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall Music

    Wizard Nézet-Séguin Conducts

    By: Susan Hall - May 15th, 2015

    Music as diverse as Nico Muhly, Beethoven and Rachmaninoff all sprang up from the Philadelphia Orchestra in rich dynamic and tonal swoops as the conductor, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, drew forth resplendent sounds and shapes. From the beating of a woodblock to a celestial harp, Nézet-Séguin dances as he conducts and his body movements, which are smooth rather than exaggerated, convey to both the musicians and the audience the breath of the phrasing.

  • The Little Foxes in Chicago Theatre

    Hellman's Play at Goodman Theatre

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 15th, 2015

    Goodman's excellent new production of The Little Foxes, directed with style by Henry Wishcamper, stars a galaxy of Chicago's finest actors and surely resonates with some of the current discussions about racism, sexism, domestic abuse and income inequality. If you have a drink with friends after the show, those topics probably will be part of your post-play discussion.

  • Two Natures Talking at Gallery 51 in North Adams Fine Arts

    Exhibition Combines Artists and Poets

    By: MCLA - May 16th, 2015

    On Thursday, May 28, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts’ (MCLA) Gallery 51 will open “Two Natures Talking,” a text/image exhibition that pairs up visual artists Wilma Rifkin and Ellen Joffe-Halpern with poets Stephen Rifkin and Annie Raskin. On Sunday, June 14, the Gallery will host a poetry reading with Stephen Rifkin and Raskin, from 2 to 3 p.m.

  • Misery Loves Comedy by Pollak and Vorhaus Film

    Documentary Explores Feng Shui of Stand-up Comedy

    By: Jack Lyons - May 17th, 2015

    Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Amy Schumer, Jim Gaffigan, Judd Apatow, Lisa Kudrow, Larry David and Jon Favereau are among many famous funny people featured in this hilarious twist on the age-old truth: misery loves company. You will enjoy the in-depth, candid interviews with some of the most revered comedy greats who each share their unique path and a life devoted to making strangers laugh.

  • Mandy Greenfield of Williamstown Theatre Festival Theatre

    Discusses First Season as Artistic Director

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 18th, 2015

    Meeting for Happy Hour we discussed the strong, star studded first season for Mandy Greenfield the artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival. We explored an overview of the elements that must mesh under the pressure of a tight festival format to result in richly compelling theatre.

  • Janet Echelman's Dazzeling Aerial Sculpture Fine Arts

    With This Project, Boston Has Become A Public Art Player

    By: Mark Favermann - May 17th, 2015

    A major piece of public art was floated above the Rose Kennedy Greenway in Downtown Boston. The scale, complexity and the fact that it was even done at all makes a clear statement that Boston has joined the 21st Century. The artwork by artist Janet Echelman is a strong indication that the sky is now literally the limit.

  • Inana by Michele Lowe Theatre

    Timeline Theatre's Chicago Premiere

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 19th, 2015

    Playwright Michele Lowe started out as a journalist with a degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Her plays have been produced around the U.S. and in other countries. Both Inana and Victoria Musica were finalists for the American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg New Play Award in 2010, the first time that a playwright was nominated for two plays in one season.

  • Taubman Museum of Art Fine Arts

    Opened in Roanoke, Virginia in 2008

    By: Susan Cohn - May 19th, 2015

    The Taubman Museum of Art occupies a dramatic, 81,000-square-foot geometrically oblique building just across from Roanoke, Virginia’s historic Marketplace Square. Designed by Los Angeles architect Randall Stout and completed in 2008, the museum, with its swooping and soaring metal roof, is a dramatic architectural presence that has established itself as a major force in the life of Roanoke’s thriving arts community.

  • ICA to Expand Architecture

    Lucky Break After Poor Initial Design Issues

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 19th, 2015

    After less than a decade the land locked ICA on the waterfront has run out of space. There is a desperate plan to expand into two floors of a 17 floor adjacent building which is under construction. It has become ever more obvious that the award winning design by Diller, Scofidio + Renfro. is proving to be an utter dysfunctional disaster.
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  • The Contentious Playwright John Patrick Shanley Word

    Sparring with a Tony, Oscar and Pulitzer Winner

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 03rd, 2015

    Growing up as an Irish kid in the Bronx provided playwright John Patrick Shanley with inspiration from tough love and hard knocks that earned him a Tony, Oscar and Pulitzer prize. Exuding the street wise persona of a made man he read and discussed his works during the annual Tennessee Williams New Orleans Literary Festival.

  • Missouri Artist Thomas Hart Benton Fine Arts

    Frequently Visited College of the Ozarks

    By: Susan Cohn - Apr 07th, 2015

    Thomas Hart Benton—painter, muralist, and writer from Missouri—often stopped at College of the Ozarks, in the mountains of southern Missouri, to visit his long-time friend, art teacher Steve Miller.

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