Sunday, August 20, 2017

"A Never-Ending Line - A Female Song Cycle" by Jaime Lozano - At Players Theatre, West Village

MacDougal Street in the West Village is the site of a thrilling song cycle entitled "A Never Ending Line," composed and directed by Jaime Lozano. Lin-Manuel Miranda has called Mr. Lozano "the next big thing on Broadway." He has collaborated with nine different lyricists in writing the seventeen songs that make up  this "female song cycle." Four gifted women sing the songs - as solos, trio, and quartets. The result is an intriguing evening of theater and music.
  • Emily Esposito was most impressive in the solo "If You Break My Sister's Heart."
  • Kat Blackwood had her best moments in "Diet or Die."
  • Florencia Cuenca was heartbreakingly effective in the haunting "Maybe In Florence."
  • Erica Wilpon, looking like a young Bernadette Peters, really sold "Hello Forty." 

The loose thread that ties together the songs in this cycle are women and their struggles - with men, with body image, with weight, with looks, with relationships, with hope for the future.

These four gifted singers were backed up by Music Director, Geraldine Anello on piano, Karen Speyer on Harp, Melanie Mason on Cello. My only complaint was that the amplification of the piano sometimes drowned out the singers in the intimate space that is Players Theatre.

The Lyricists are Lindsay Erin Anderson, Neena Beber, Lauren Epsenhart, Sami Horneff, Victoria Kuhne, Lisa Mongillo, Marina Pires, Noemi de la Puente, and June Rachelson-Ospa.

Choreography is by Fernanda Aldaz.

The show runs through September 12.



Praxis Stage Presents "Julius Caesar" - Boston Loves The Bard And Shakespeare In The Park

The Assassination of Caesar
"Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare
Praxis Stage
Through July 27th

Boston area audiences have been blessed with many opportunities to see Shakespeare this summer - outdoors as well as indoors. Praxis Stage is currently presenting "Julius Caesar" in two parks in Cambridge. Today at 3:00 you can catch a performance at Longfellow Park on Mt. Auburn Street. This coming week they return to lovely Danehy Park on Sherman Street with the following schedule: W, TH, F at 7:00, SA at 3:00 and 7:00, SU at 3:00. All performances are free, with donations gratefully accepted at the end of the show.

Praxis Stage has a growing reputation for mounting serious and very well presented productions. "Julius Caesar" builds upon that deserved reputation. The cast is excellent. I attended a performance in the gorgeous Danehy Park. Because of distances and ambient noise, there were a few times when I was not able to hear all of the lines spoken by all of the actors. So I turned my cell phone back on, Googled the script of the play, and followed along. Problem solved!

The cast of 20 are well used by Director Kim Carrell. The actors are uniformly excellent; those with the most lines who carry much of the action of the play are:
  • Michael Anderson as Julius Caesar
  • Shaoul Rick Chason as Brutus
  • Daniel Boudreau as Cassius
  • Sam Terry as Mark Anthony
  • Kevin Paquette as Casca
  • Grace Trapnell as Calphurnia
  • Dawn Davis as Portia
  • Slava Tchoul as Cinna the Poet
Sam Terry as Mark Anthony
Michael Anderson as Julius Caesar
Shaoul Rick Chason as Brutus
"Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare
Praxis Stage
Through July 27th

Ensemble members playing multiple roles include Evan Turissini, Dominic Carter, Susannah Wilson, Leilani Ricardo, Danny Mourino, Angelina Raquel Morales, Kevin Kordis, Kelly Downes, Rachel Leigh Richter, Benjamin Finn, Sophia Koevary, Lisa Nguyen.

A Central Park production of this same play earlier in the summer drew much attention for its explicit parallels between Caesar and a certain POTUS 45. Praxis is less explicit in this production, but Shakespeare's timeless text prompts us to consider the cost of tyranny, naked ambition and disloyalty. We are left to draw our own conclusions - and our own daggers.

Enjoy this fine production - today at Longfellow Park or next week at Danehy Park.