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
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
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
This past Wednesday night the North Shore Music Theatre surprised the audience with their amazing rendition of Monty Pythons Spamalot. From the minute the actors took the stage to the minute they left they had the audience laughing with excitement and some even crying so hard because of the entertainment. Spamalot, which is playing at NSMT until October 9th, was a show that you couldn’t describe what you were seeing unless you were there.
The cast in this performance featured Ai Bundonis who played King Arthur and for those who have seen other shows at the theatre this season his portray of King Arthur was simply entertaining. He was co-starred by Haley Swindal who also is an NSMT alum from last season which she play Cindy in Saturday Night Fever. Her voice echoed through the theatre and brought chill’s to everyone because of how perfect she was able to hit the high notes on many songs. James Bearman who made his return to his hometown stage and Sean Bell who brought his HBO experience to the NSMT stage performed other great acting in this performance.
The North Shore Music Theatre’s edition of this show was very creative and the fact that they added many relevant current events to the show made it seem as if you were at a broadway musical and yet you felt like you were at a stand up comedy show. This show is one that shouldn’t be missed by anyone even if your not a fan of the Monty Python comedy style Bill Hanney brought his own touch and feel to the show and even helps out in the performance to find the Holy Grail.
Monty Python’s Spamalot plays at the North Shore Music Theatre until October 9th 2016 so head on over today and get your tickets for this surprise hit of the 2016 season. For more information on NSMT visit www.NSMT.org.
Story Written by: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer
Wood Media Theater Reviewers are a husband and wife team which includes Mark & Nicole Wood of Beverly.