June Staff Picks
Get bit by the June art-bug!
Outdoor concerts, cultural festivals, Shakespeare in the Park, public art installations: all these and more are as emblematic of a summer day in Boston as game at Fenway Park. We’ve got a short list; what will you be making it out for?
What We’re Recommending:
Red Velvet | Presented by O.W.I. (Bureau of Theatre)
Now – June 16
“I’m gonna be honest with you here, I’m not normally a Shakespeare person. (I know, I know, greatest playwright of all time, et cetera.) But O.W.I’.s Red Velvet is a production I will not miss. It’s based on the true story of Ira Aldridge, the first black actor to play Othello. While he’s trying to fill the shoes of actor Edmund Kean inside the theatre, Londoners are rioting outside over the abolition of slavery. So the play explores the relationship of art to personal identity and political movements, which I’m excited to connect to discussions of whitewashing, race-bending, and representation in contemporary theatre as we continue to ponder how art can both reflect and shape our world. Plus, Bryn Boice is an awesome director and I can’t wait to see what she’s done with this script!”
Calendar Girls | Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company
May 31 – June 17
“How can I not be excited about Calendar Girls at Greater Boston Stage Company? A ‘feel-good’ comedy based on the true story of eleven English Ladies Club members who posed nude for a calendar to raise money for Leukemia—yes, please! And if that weren’t enough the cast is made up of some of my absolute favorite actresses that I’m lucky enough to call friends – Sarah deLima, Kathy St. George, Kerry Dowling, Cheryl McMahon, and Karen MacDonald. This show has magic written all over it!”
A Piece of My Heart | Presented by Wellesley Repertory Theatre
May 31 – June 24
“Wellesley Repertory has a long tradition of producing important and entertaining plays, but I am particularly excited for A Piece of My Heart, a powerful and true story brought to the stage by playwright Shirley Lauro and director Nora Hussey. Following six women (five nurses and a performer) who went to Vietnam with U.S. troops, A Piece of My Heart will feature two faces quite familiar to the ArtsBoston community: Victoria George, our Audience Lab Director; and Ariela Nazar-Rosen, a long-time member of our BosTix staff. I can’t wait to cheer on Vicky and Ariela in this moving piece.”
Les Liasons Dangereuses | Presented by Central Square Theater
May 31 – July 1
“When I was a sophomore in high school, the film Cruel Intentions came out – way before I did. I must have seen this movie, based on the play by Christopher Hampton and staring teen heartthrob Ryan Philippe, at least 12 times in the theater. From my gay young adult perspective, nothing could be sexier than a lithe Ryan Philippe in that pool scene, but Central Square’s all–male production could give Cruel Intentions a run for it’s money. This production promises all the same sultry scandals, plus the electrifying Eddie Shields (ASP’s Edward II and SpeakEasy’s Casa Valentino), to keep your thurst strong this summer.”
An Evening with Leslie Odom, Jr. | Presented by Boston Pops
“This event is a collision of some of my all-time favorite things. Leslie Odom, Jr. is one of my favorite voices in American music right now. No disrespect to the fabulous Lin-Manuel Miranda, but my biggest disappointment about not having seen Hamilton yet is that I probably missed my shot (pun intended) to see Odom, Jr. as Aaron Burr. I love a good summer concert, and no one does it better than the Boston Pops. Lastly, June 12 is my all-time favorite holiday — not just Loving Day, but my birthday! So if anyone is still waiting to get me a present, now you know what to give me.”
Life, Death, and Revelry | Presented by Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
June 14 – September 3
“I love visiting the Gardner Museum in the summer, and there’s a special treat this year: The Farnese Sarcophagus will be on display in the Hotstetter Gallery, instead of its usual spot in the courtyard. That may not sound that revolutionary, but for the first time over a hundred years, all four sides will be visible to museum-goers! The exhibit will look at the history and journey of this gorgeous ancient artwork and it’s long, winding journey to Boston. It’s always fun to see an old favorite in a new way, especially a piece as iconic as this one. I’m excited to see the new display, as well as all the incredible additional events IGSM has planned in conjunction with the sarcophagus. Isabella’s home is sure to be filled with celebration this month!”
Born for This: The Musical | Presented by ArtsEmerson
June 15 – July 15
“ArtsEmerson will present this new musical created by and based on the true life story of Bebe Winans, six-time Grammy Award-winning gospel singer for a full month this summer. It promises to be zany, beautiful, and powerful fun for the whole family. Who knew televangelists and superstar families could be so relatable? With new music and lyrics, I’m looking forward to having a new soundtrack to jam to this June.”
Moulin Rouge! The Musical | Presented by Emerson Colonial Theatre
New Dates! July 10 – August 19
“Where do I even begin? First, there’s the reopening of the beautiful 118-year-old Colonial Theatre, the fate of which, since its closing in 2015, had been (controversially) questionable. Then, there’s the entrance of the new major player in the Boston arts community: the Ambassador Theatre Group, the international theatre-owning and producing organization, which last year stepped in to renovate and operate the playhouse. There’s the potential that this will herald Boston’s reemergence as a Broadway tryout town, with the Colonial itself having been the birthplace of hit musicals Anything Goes, Oklahoma!, Follies, and much more. Next, there’s the fan-favorite source material, the 2001 Oscar-nominated Baz Luhrmann film, which itself was full of hit songs spanning decades and genres. And finally, there’s the world premiere stage adaptation itself brought to life by musical theatre heavyweights, including director Alex Timbers, book writer John Logan, and leads Karen Olivo, Aaron Tveit, and Danny Burstein. Moulin Rouge! The Musical at the Emerson Colonial Theatre is truly a result of stars aligning, and, in my opinion, one of the most exciting things happening in Boston this summer.”
Check out all these picks and more on the ArtsBoston Calendar.
What arts or cultural event are you most excited for this month? Let us know on Twitter by tweeting us, @artsboston!
Want weekly recommendations on what to see and do in Boston?
Pictured above: Aaron Tveit sings “Come What May” in a music video promoting Moulin Rogue.