The North Shore Music Theatre kicked off their 2018 Season with Mame, starring Emmy nominee Paige Davis. Davis performance was filled with non-stop energy, throughout the entire show. This show made me laugh until my sides hurt.
The show opens in NY where young recently orphaned Patrick arrives with his nanny Gooch. He is in search of his Auntie Mame. Ms. Gooch is a bit fearful of the big city and hopes the two will be alright. After finding Mame house they are shocked to see she was not a frail grey haired older woman, but a red head rowdy lady with a house full of revelers.
As we travel through the years and adventures of Mame and Patrick we are reminded to open a new widow every day, celebrate life, and live it to the fullest. Though, a very not so happy Ms. Gooch returns after being away for some time and thinks this advice was not right for her and that she took it a little too far. Her character then starts a short story line of its own.
Jake Ryan Flynn the actor that plays young Patrick is quite a star as well. Flynn stage presents is heartwarming. He makes you laugh and cry and can belt out a tune. The show is packed with energetic actors, that sing and dance their ways into your heart, and getting your feet tapping.
The show wraps up with Auntie Mame and her newest nephew, Patrick’s boy leaving on an extended trip to begin new adventures of their own. Leaving you wanting to know how their trip was and what happens to the rest of the characters. After a standing ovation, Davis is joined on the stage by Douglas Wilson of Trading Spaces fame, who kept the comedy going. He presented Paige with a large boutique of flowers. Wilson stated, he tried to make the arrangement as tall as Paige so he could be seen more than her.
If you are looking to laugh and maybe tear up a little this shows for you.
Story Covered By: Lisa Fitzgerald
Wood Media Staff Writer
It was an interesting week to see a concert by a Fleetwood Mac Cover Band with the news of longtime guitarist and vocalist Lindsey Buckingham leaving the band ahead of their upcoming tour. But luckily for those at the Cabot on Friday night Tusk still came and played almost all the popular songs from the career of the iconic band including the songs Lindsay wrote and sang on.
Quick refresher Fleetwood Mac was an English Blues Band formed in late 60s Mick Fleetwood on drums, John McVie on Bass, Christine McVie on Keyboards and Vocals and Peter Green on Guitar they had some initial success especially in UK. But it took til the mid 70s with addition of Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham that the band began their rise to superstardom. Their album Rumours is one of the biggest selling albums ever and they had. many hits in 70s and 80s, and successful reunion in 90s.
It is that classic Mac lineup of circa 1975 on that Tusk covers mostly and they do it well. Have a very pretty charismatic leading lady prancing around ala Stevie Nicks, a keyboard playing singer like Christine McVie, A great singer and guitarist like Lindsey Buckingham, and a crack rhythm section like Mick and John. The show is setup to let each member of this talented band shine and the crowd at the Cabot appreciated it on Friday.
The show reminded the audience how many great songs Fleetwood Mac had over the years. They played the hits and classics like Don't Stop, Go Your Own Way, Rhiannon, You Make Loving Fun and of course Landslide and the MTV reunion hit and Rumours Outtake Silver Springs.
But they weren't afraid to play album tracks either like World Turning, Gold Dust Woman, Songbird, Monday Morning, Never Going Back Again. Even had nods to the blues early days with a medley featuring Oh Well and Black Magic Woman.
The sound was very good and faithful to the original recordings. Nothing compares to seeing the real Mac live but Tusk does a nice job in providing the next best thing. Would recommend seeing Tusk in concert if they Go Your Own Way.
Story Covered By: John Suslak
Wood Media Staff Writer
The greatest selling album of the 20th Century may surprise some it was Eagles Greatest Hits 1971-1975, a true testament to those classic songs from that era. The Eagles are still touring including a stop in Boston later this year after the passing a couple years ago of co-founder Glenn Frey. They put on a great show but prices are too high for many.
Luckily for those who couldnt afford to see Eagles at the Garden, there was an opportunity last Saturday to hear those classic songs at The Cabot in Beverly, in the form of Eaglemania.
Eaglemania is a nationally known Eagles Tribute and they didn't disappoint. They had a lead singer with a good voice that carried most of the songs especially the Don Henley ones. But like the real Eagles they had 2 others take the lead on songs.
Musicianship and vocals were solid all night and were faithful to the original arrangements, but gave the band time to shine on solos.
Setlist covered all the biggest hits throughout out the Eagles career. But also included other rarer songs such as Seven Bridges Road with wonderful harmonies, the Don Henley opus The Last Resort, and even the post 9/11 song Hole in the World.
Crowd was into the group all night and everyone had a good time. While nothing beats the opportunity to see Eagles live having the opportunity to catch Eaglemania is a solid alternative and recommend them if they come to your area.
Story Written By: John Suslak
Wood Media Staff Writer
On Friday Night the Cabot welcomed Al Jardine for an unique intimate show. Al Jardine is a founding member of The Beach Boys and still tours with Brian Wilson regularly. The Brian Wilson and Beach Boys live shows are usually a slick produced show playing a lot of classic songs but minimal chatter.
The show in Beverly was completely different just a 3 man show with Al, his son Matt, and a third person on Keyboards and Guitar. The greatest hits of the Beach Boys were certainly still will represented during the show but Al was not afraid to play some rarer songs like Vegetables from Smile and works from his recent solo album.
Also want to give a shout out to Matt Jardine for his amazing vocals for songs like God Only Knows and Don't Worry Baby. But the old man still looks and sounds good and it was really cool to hear the original voice of Help Me Rhonda and Sloop John B.
But what made the evening so memorable was how personal and chatty they all were. Al shared stories about time with Annette Funicello, meeting the Beatles, and what it was like to be a Beach Boy and for Matt Jardine to grow up in the Beach Boys world. They used the video screen a lot to show lot of archival footage.
Did you know that Brian Wilson received a F in High School for a composition he wrote, it was Surfer Girl.
Al Jardine is also an author he was approached to write a children's book based upon Sloop John B and even played a bit of it and showed the illustrations on the video screen.
In the end it was a great intimate night of music to see a true legend and hear some of the greatest songs in pop music in such a casual and unique setting.
Story Written By: John Suslak
Wood Media Staff Writer
The spirit of the 1970s was alive and well at the Cabot Theatre in Beverly on Saturday Night with a sold out concert by Arrival from Sweden the Music of Abba.
For those who are young or forget Abba, they were a quartet featuring Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The started up in 1972 and within a couple years they were worldwide stars. Many hits followed until the band broke up in 1982. Abba has never reunited since despite many offers. But their music has lived on especially in recent years thanks to Mamma Mia the Musical and now movies made with band cooperation. In many parts of the world Abba is revered as one of the most successful groups of all time.
Now to the show we saw in Beverly it was made up of a group which like Abba is from Sweden led in a similar fashion as Abba with 2 very pretty female singers then 2 males who played guitar and keyboards respectively. The ladies were very talented and hit all the right notes with outfits that look like they came from the Abba museum in Sweden, yes there is one. The crowd got all the big hits like Waterloo, Mamma Mia, Take a Chance on Me, Winner Takes it all, and of course ending with Dancing Queen. Also would like to mention the very talented band with a 2nd keyboardist/sax player, drummer, bassist, and two backing vocalists.
The crowd at the Cabot was great with them up and dancing a good amount of evening. Also there were several Dancing Queens with Abbaesque costumes which only added to the Atmosphere of the night.
In closing since a tour from Abba won't happen ever most likely, I highly recommend going to see Arrival from Sweden the Music of Abba if it comes to your town.
Story Written & Covered By: Jack Suslak
Wood Media Staff Writer
There are sadly just a few true legendary Divas still with us and still performing, one of those is Darlene Love who performed her Holiday show for the 3rd straight year at The Cabot in Beverly Mass, in front of a sold out and festive crowd. She was simply amazing, still sounding and looking great nowhere the 76 years young that she is.
Before I get to the show itself, it is important to note the true importance of Darlene Love she is the voice behind classic Phil Spector songs like He’s A Rebel and Da Doo Run Run but unfortunately at the time the songs were credited to other groups, and as the musical landscape changed Darlene got lost in the shuffle. But after some lean years things turned around as people who knew the greatness of Darlene such as Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zant helped to revive her career. Her song from the Phil Spector Christmas album Christmas Baby Please Come Home became a holiday classic, and as a result David Letterman invited her to come on his show every year starting in the 80s and did it for almost 30 years during the Holiday Special. The last few years has brought Darlene to a recognition worthy of her statue, by getting an Oscar for being part of the outstanding documentary 20 Feet From Stardom.
Now the show that the folks in Beverly got last weekend was her holiday show, so the show was featured with songs from the season throughout the show, but still had time to highlight the classic songs from the past as well as 3 songs from her outstanding 2015 album Introducing Darlene Love which was produced by Stevie Van Zant.
She shared some interesting stories including on how she and Stevie got to working together, how she worked with Elvis Presley on the Gospel Medley during his iconic 68 comeback special, and how she totally miscalculated the commercial ability of He’s A Rebel, thinking it wouldn't sell one copy, it would go on to become a number 1 single.
Darlene was backed by a wonderful band who provided a great sound throughout the night, and she was not afraid to allow her 3 backing vocalist share the limelight during a few songs with her and including some songs without Darlene, I also must also give a mention to Milton Vann who is one the backing vocalists, but brought down the house in his own right with an incredible solo version of the Holiday Classic O Holy Night.
It was a privilege to be in the same room as a true legend like Darlene Love, and it has been nice to see her finally be recognized for all of her work and to have one of the most popular christmas songs isn't a bad bonus to have either. If you get a chance to see her when she comes to your area don’t miss opportunity. For us in the Boston area, the chances are good she will be back in our area next year during the holiday season.
Story Written & Covered By: Jack Suslak
Wood Media Guest Writer
Amid all the controversy The North Shore Music Theatre opened their latest show last night entitled Evita. This show for those not familiar with this show Evita is a musical with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice. It concentrates on the life of Argentine political leader Eva Perón, the second wife of Argentine president Juan Perón. The story follows Evita's early life, rise to power, charity work, and eventual death. The North Shore Music Theatres rendition of this performence was spectacular and beautiful.
The North Shore Music Theatre’s performance showcased an amazing cast with talented voices and acting ability as you have come to expect from the NSMT. The opening scene of the show has them at home in their living room learning about the death of Eva Peron who is played by Briana Carlson-Goodman. In this opening scene they really focus on what is the prelude to the end of the show and then they take you right into the story of how it happened.
There is a funeral scene at the start of the performance however I was really hoping the casket would be a clear one so that you could actually see her inside as if it was sort of a really public display of the body. However then rendition of the rest of the show from the traveling around the world to the scenes when she is a young woman having men come to her home all the time was spot on and the casting for this show was great.
Before this show even got off the ground there was a bit of a controversy going around social media surrounding NSMT not electing to pick a Latino person to portray Che who is played by American Idol star Constantine Maroulis. However, there wasn’t any protestors at the opening night of the show and the show seemed to have a well-attended crowd on hand.
Amid a world of brutal, unpleasant military types, you’re inclined to cheer her progress, and yet something checks you – and it’s not just the lurking, cynical, incongruous presence of the narrator “Che” (the revolutionary Che Guevara who’s played here with one-note heavy seriousness by Contantine maroulis). It’s as if Lloyd Webber and Rice are so ambivalent about whether Evita is a good soul underneath her populist airs and graces that she’s kept at one remove.
The air of hollowness around her is passed off as a critique of the smoke-and-mirrors world of politics but it makes for quite arid viewing. We’re left with roughly six fantastically portrayed songs – among them the anthemic Don’t Cry for Me Argentina – in search of an all-consuming drama. You may end up feeling that the show’s heart is in the right place – and that Evita’s was too. But it’s a close call.
The North Shore Music Theatre’s show Evita plays now through October 8th, 2017 at the theatre in Beverly Massachusetts. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.NSMT.org . Coming up next at the Music Theatre is 42nd Street opening October 28th.
Story Covered by: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer/Co-Owner
Beauty and the Beast recently opened at the North Shore Music Theatre to a packed house! Now there has not been much speculation as to how this production would fair. It was suspected that it would be very successful due to the recent release of the live-action version by the same title and it seems to be shaping up to do just that.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are going into this expecting to see a hollywood style production you are going to be sorely disappointed however if you are willing to keep an open mind and allow for some artistic interpretation I think you will be quiet pleased. I must say that for the most part I was very impressed by the production as a whole from the cast to the wardrobe it was all very well thought out.
The cast had some very good and for the most part very solid choices.While I won’t touch on all of the cast members there were a few that did stand out in my mind for various reasons. Rose Hemingway played Belle. While Rose’s voice was good and that is nothing short of the truth I cannot say that I was blown away by her performance. I felt as if (every time I heard her sing)that I was left waiting for something more something to move me something to wow me.
Steven Cerf played that Beast and boy can that man sing! He was recently in the Broadway/Tours The Jersey Boys and I have to say I LOVED his voice. There was so much power and command when he sang that it made me shiver in the best way possible.
David Coffee played Maurice and I just love whenever this man comes to the stage. You can see the passion and the joy that he has for what he does. He just looks like he is having a good old time. His voice fit what I had in mind for this character (barring any preconceived notions) from the nationally recognized voices/actors that were chosen for the roles in both productions (both animated and live action.)
I just adored who they chose to play the role of Gaston. Oh my, my, my was he the perfect choice for this role. What can I say about Taylor Crousore? His voice had a commanding presence about it. Not only did he look like he was having a grand old time on stage but to me he was Gaston and there were no ifs ands or buts about it. I honestly can’t say much more about it because for me between the actor and the character he was chosen to play the two well they just worked together.
Lumiere, Lumiere, Lumiere! Oh my how I loved this character! They chose Benjmin Howes to played this character and I was nothing short of in love with him and how he portrayed his character from the moment he stepped on stage. I was truly blown away by his vocal talent and just his ability to truly step into the “shoes” of a character and really become the part. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I could listen to him song all night long!
Lastly They had many things down pat that I was not expecting when tt came to set production and costume design. I could go on and on about the wonderful actors and set design that they had in this production but I don’t want to get into all of the details simply because you really should see it for yourself I think that you will leave there feeling like you were part of a wonderful journey to a far off place.
The show runs now thru July 29th, 2017 and tickets can be purchased at the NSMT.org or by visiting the Box Office.
Written By: Nicole Lynne Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer/Editor
Beverly MA: The Historic Cabot Theatre brought a sell out crowd to the north shore to see hilarious comedian and musician Mario Cantone. For those of you unfamiliar with Mario he is an American comedian, writer and actor, with numerous appearances on Comedy Central including Chappelle's Show. He also played Anthony Marentino on Sex and the City. His style is fast-paced and energetic, with much of his humor coming from his impersonations of various characters ranging from his family members, to celebrities, to stereotypes.
During his appearance at The Cabot last night he brought his A game right from the start of the show and didn’t stop. Being a Massachusetts native he made sure to let the crowd know that he is the next best thing out of Stoneham other than Olympic figure skater Nancy Karigan. His show brought a unique presentation of comedy and music which the show also featured a full band on stage.
He opened the show with a sort of jazz musical number and then went right into comedy that can only be described as “hilariously funny”. He covered a variety of topics ranging from the President Trump Family to Kaitlyn Jenner. His voices that he was able to cover was simple amazing as he was able to go deep into his heart and perform some amazing some from many famous musicians. At the end of the show he ended up performing an encore for the local crowd and he even mentioned to them that he doesn’t usually do them. His encore included him bringing out his best Bruce Springsteen and performed some of his great hits to send the crowd home happy.
I must say that he was a man that was able to take control the of the stage and keep you engaged for the entire show which last roughly about an hour and half. Many times you go to a one man comedy act and they have to keep checking their notes. However Mario brought it and was able to keep you on the edge of your seat and almost in tears because he was so funny. When Mario heads to your town this is one show that you don’t want ot miss and prob one that you’ll want to bring the entire family too.
Story Written & Covered By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer
2017 season kicked off with a bang at Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre. The theatre opened up the season with one of America’s most beloved musical’s The Music Man. For those of you who don’t know the story of The Music Man. The story is In the early summer of 1912, aboard a train leaving Rock Island, Illinois, Charlie Cowell and other traveling salesmen engage in a heated argument about consumer credit. The conversation eventually turns to another topic: a con man known as "Professor" Harold Hill, whose scam is to convince parents he can teach their musically disinclined children to play musical instruments. On the premise that he will form a band, he takes orders for instruments and uniforms. But once the instruments and uniforms arrive and are paid for, he skips town without forming the band, moving on before he is exposed.
The North Shore Music Theatre's rendition of the show was amazing as you’d always expect to come from this great theatre and artistic director Kevin P. Hill. The theatre opens up their show with a group of salesmen on a train who are sort of rapping along the rails in a great set of musical theatre storytelling. They made you feel as if you were really riding the train and it was a great way to showcase the talents of the entire cast as each of them had to carry each other through this act. Once you were done with Act 1 the show kept rolling along and the storytelling just got better and better. Although there were a few acts in the first half of the show that I thought road along a little too long. The overall end of the first act allowed the cast which was led by Matt Loehr and Siri Howard really made you feel like you went back in time and were experiencing this entire show with them.
The voices of the entire cast were something that the NSMT is always great at finding.I feel that once the second half of the show starting to go full steam ahead it was nothing but pure genius storytelling and musical theatre. The entire audience was brought to their feet when the youngest actor on the cast who played Winthrop got his chance to shine. Ben Choi-Harris did a small little song and solo which a lisps that only a pure genius actor could perfect. Overall I think every member of the cast perfected their rolls and that they should all be proud of the work they did in this performance. I honestly went into this show questioning if I was going to be able to enjoy it and understand it. However I am able to say that the show was very enjoyable and anyone of all ages with think this show is a fun and exciting ride through small time life in America.
Tickets for this amazing show can be purchased by visiting www.NSMT.org and the show runs now through June 18. For more information on the North Shore Music Theatre please visit www.NSMT.org.
Story Written/Covered By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writier
Wood Media Theater Reviewers are a husband and wife team which includes Mark & Nicole Wood of Beverly.