This past Wednesday night the North Shore Music Theatre opened up it’s season finale show The BodyGuard. This show rocked the packed house and had everyone tapping their feet and dancing in their seats all night long.
“The Bodyguard” is based on the Warner Bros. film of the same name which starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, and tells the story of Rachel Marron a Grammy award winner singer who begins getting strange fan mail threatening her life. Frank Farmer is hired to update security practices and make sure that Rachel is safe. As their professional relationship begins to get stronger, so does their personal relationship, perhaps it gets a little too strong.
Going in, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was a little concerned that this was just going to be a cheesy jukebox musical. Luckily, it is not. What this show is, however, is a night out that allows the audience to hear some magnificent singing and see some awesome staging of a great story.
The musical styles of the lead actor Cheaza Figueroa had the audience captivated from the moment she took the stage with her amazing vocal range and talents. The supporting cast with her had me almost to tears of joy as they just all seemed to be on key and the show had a great flow that just sounded amazing.
The ensemble of this show backs up the principle players extremely well, providing wonderful dancing, sex appeal, and support in bringing this story to life on stage.
My favorite highlight of the night was the final song “I Will Always Love You” which who would ever think an entire show could depend on a sole song at the end to make it a hit. However this song that was performed was able to get you to close your eyes and picture that you were actually listening to Whitney Houston herself on stage.
The set design by Kyle Dixon is really mesmerizing, and while it might seem simple, the wonderful design allows for the story to move effortlessly, and is a very effective in its creation, implementation, and design.
This show is a fun time had by all. You will be tapping your feet, dancing in the aisles, and hoping that the night will never end! Go see this show!
THE BODYGUARD performances are October 29 – November 10, Tue - Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit nsmt.org, or visit the box office at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.
Written By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer/Beverly Patch Mayo
The North Shore Music Theatre last night held its most recent opening night for it’s Fall 2019 show Sunset Boulevard. This show featured Tony® Award-winner Alice Ripley. Who brought her acting skills to the stage for the crowd’s amazement. This show is another one of Kevin P. Hill’s great productions that he continues to put together for the NSMT. Along with the help of Kyle Dixon who created some amazing sets for this production.
Upon entering the theatre for this show you will feast your eyes on an elaborate set design that can only be described as beautiful. From the beautiful stairs that you see and hear so much about in the movie. NSMT was able to recreate these with a large scale design which just wowed the crowd. They also featured a small movable car on stage which was a cool and creative things to see on the theatre in the round.
For those of you who don’t know the story of Sunset Boulevard it is the magnificent tale of Norma Desmond, a faded silent-screen goddess living in her Sunset Boulevard mansion clinging to a fantasy that audiences still long for her, but in reality they hardly remember her. When an impoverished screenwriter Joe Gillis, stumbles into her reclusive domain she persuades him to help her work on her film script that she believes will put her back in front of the cameras again. Seduced by her and her luxurious lifestyle he agrees.
The entire production fit perfectly into what kind of production NSMT has been able to accomplish this past year. Alex Ripley was able to fill the shoes of her role and play a great Norma Desmond along with her supporting cast who made this production marvel with the sound and the beauty of their voices. The show had a long first half but the second half was able to bring in all the excitement at the end so you were ready for the big ending which NSMT did get right.
The NSMT was able to wow the crowd with this production as they continue their amazing season of productions and with Sunset Boulevard I think you will enjoy this show for it’s classic look and feel of old broadway shows. Bill Hanney’s production team continues to make great productions and who knows what else they will have up their sleeves this season and for many more seasons to come.
Tickets for Sunset Boulevard are priced starting from $61 - $86. Kids 18 and under save 50%. $25 Student Rush tickets are available with a valid student I.D. starting one hour prior to curtain time. Prices are subject to change without notice. Phone, internet, and other fees may be applied at the time of sale. SUNSET BOULEVARD performances are September 24 – October 6, Tue - Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit nsmt.org, or visit the box office at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.
Story Covered By: Russell Crocker
Wood Media Staff
Review Written By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer/Beverly Patch Mayor
The North Shore Music Theatre has outdone themselves with their latest show in the 2019 season with The Jersey Boys. This is not your average Jersey Boys Musical that you can see on Broadway in Boston or New York. This version which was produced by Bill Hanney is done in the NSMT's famous round stage and boy do they use that literally. Kevin P. Hill who is the artistic director at NSMT helped direct this show and in my 5 years of covering shows at NSMT this is the best show that NSMT has put on thus far.
From the minute the show starts you're tapping your feet to the beat of the music where they bring you into the center of their lives by showcasing how far they have come with the songs of the Jersey Boys. You're brought into the round and the stage is magically moving while they perform and the up close musical renditions of the hits almost make you feel like your right in the middle of the group's ups and downs.
The set designs on this show were spectacular as they're all done using a basic one piece set that was able to rotate and also make use of different sections of the rotating stage for different scenes which helped the show have a great flow without the distraction of blackouts so that the stage crew had to swap out the different scenes.
"Oh, What a Night" you'll have at this show — featuring Jonathan Mousset as Frankie Valli - that takes you behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The Tony and Grammy-winning true-life musical phenomenon Jersey Boys follows the rags-to-rock-to-riches tale of four guys from Jersey who work their way up from the streets of Newark to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, selling 175 million records worldwide before the age of 30. Although Valli and his cohorts — Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi — are famed for their legendary harmonies, things didn't always go so smoothly between them off the stage. Sing, hum, rock and reminisce to the groundbreaking group's hit songs "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," "Walk Like a Man," "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" and "December, 1963 (Oh What a Night)" at the North Shore Music Theatre.
The entire cast's voices on this musical were spot on and like I said in my 5 years covering these shows I have never seen a group of performers work so well that in the third song of the first half there was a 4 minute applause session because of their amazing musical talents. Your not going to want to miss out on this spectacular show as this is the best version of the hit musical I have seen anywhere. The show will run at NSMT now through September 1st and tickets can be purchased by visiting NSMT.org or by visiting the box office.
Story By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer
Mary Rodgers’ best-selling 1972 children’s book “Freaky Friday” spawned two Disney movies, the most recent a 2003 hit starring Jamie Lee Curtis and a pre-meltdown Lindsay Lohan as a mother and daughter who mysteriously swap bodies to learn hard-earned life lessons.
Now the story has become the latest Disney stage musical, which opened at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly and it will run now through July 21st, 2019. The NSMT production, has the advantage of having a theatre in the round so it can produce show-stopping performances by theatre pros
A cast of largely teenage actors with impressive vocal chops brings a youthful lightness to a show that hits on some surprisingly heavy themes. Among them loss, grief, blended families, tattoos, smoking and teenage hormones.
While the entire cast and crew is solid, it is Lindsay Joan & Laurie Wells who anchor the production. The two females not only have incredible vocals, they are both exceptional actors who maneuver between prim and proper adults and moody teenage girls with ease, though it seems that when their characters’ bodies are switched they are both at their best.
The NSMT set design was spot on and this show had a great soundtrack that will keep you upbeat and tapping your toes to the music. Many people would think that this show would just be for kids, however it’s a show for the whole family because we have all had experiences in our lives where things go wrong and we wish we could be someone else for the day.
Overall everyone in the audience will enjoy this summer children’s show that the NSMT has created and it will be a show that I think will be the surprise of the season. Don’t underestimate Bill Hanney as he keeps coming up with these amazing productions that keep the crowds happy on the North Shore.
Tickets for Disney's FREAKY FRIDAY are priced starting from $61 - $88. Kids 18 and under save 50%. Performances are July 9 – July 21, Tue - Thurs at 7:30 pm, Fri & Sat at 8 pm, matinees Wed, Sat and Sun at 2 pm. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit nsmt.org, or visit the box office at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.
Additional Free Audience Enrichment events: Meet the Theatre: post-show audience discussion with the artists on July 16 after the 7:30 pm performance and July 20 after the 2 pm performance; OUT at the North Shore, an evening for the LGBTQ+ Community with a post-show reception on July 18 after the 7:30 pm performance. OUT at the North Shore is sponsored by North Shore Pride.
Last night the North Shore Music Theatre kicked off it’s summer blockbuster show Mama Mia and the show sure kicked off with a bang. From the dazzling costumes to the NSMT’s own spin on this broadway classic using the round stage the sold out crowd was left standing on their feet and dancing in the aisles by the very end.
Mama Mia is a story that takes place on a mythical Greek island in the present day, and centers around a young girl named Sophie who dreams of a white wedding, with her father giving her away at the altar. Problem is, she doesn't know who her dad is - and she's getting married the next day. As the show begins, she explains to her chums that her mum, Donna, fell into the arms of three men within a short space of time. So she's got three possible dads, and has invited them all to the wedding.
The cast that the North Shore Music Theatre selected to perform in this show was one of the best cast that I think the theatre has had in my 5 years of attending shows. Malia Monk who played Sophie, voice was simply dazzling and her on stage presence and acting ability was something that just made the show all that more enjoyable. David Elder who plays Sam in this performance made his NSMT debut and was able to support the acting of Sophie with his amazing personality and his marvelous on stage attitude.
The North Shore Music Theatre took full advantage of their theater in the round during this show as in many parts of the show the entire audience felt like they could see everything that was happening and felt that it they were traveling through the journey to marriage with the cast of characters. The most memorable part of the show for me was seeing them setup a scene with the groomsmen at the wedding where there getting ready to go out for his bachlor party and it turned out they had the male cast come out in wet suits and they tapped the flippers all around the stage in one hilarious dance to be remembered.
This show is one of the best show that The North SHore Music Theatre has put together in the past 5 years and shouldn’t be missed by anyone. You get all the Abba hits you can remember and don’t forget to stay for the finale. Tickets are on sale still for this show as it runs now through September 2nd. Tickets can be purchased at NSMT.org.
Story Covered by: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer
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
Wood Media Theater Reviewers are a husband and wife team which includes Mark & Nicole Wood of Beverly.