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
Now I cannot say enough good things about Wednesday night’s show! It is a spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed. The first thing that caught my eye was the stage. I am always amazed at the simplicity of the props and basic design of the theater whenever I walk into the North Shore Music Theater (NSMT.) Now with that being said that is not a dis on the theater in any way in fact it is a wonderful thing! I find it absolutely amazing what the set designers and prop department are able to accomplish every time there is a new show in town. I would go into specifics but I feel that it is simply something that needs to be experienced firsthand. One thing that I will say however is that they certainly know how to bring a little tough of movie magic to the real world!
Now I must make the disclaimer that I had never seen the theatrical release of Singing in the Rain or any Broadway or Off-Broadway productions of this show before seeing this and I’m glad I hadn’t! With this being my first time witnessing this show it gave me the chance to be unbiased and not go into the show with any pre-conceived notions of what to expect.
NSMT has quite the cast for this production and they are all simply bursting with talent. We have Mark Evans that played Don Lockwood, Tessa Grady as Kathy Selden, Sean McGibbon as Cosmo Brown, Steve Brady as R.F. Simpson, David Coffee as Roscoe Dexter and of course Emily Stockdale as Lina Lamont.
Evans was nothing short of simply wonderful. He seemed to embody the charter of Mr. Lockwood perfectly. He brought so much light and obvious enjoyment to his charter I can’t see what there isn’t to love. Grady was amazing! Her voice was such a joy to listen to and she looked nothing short of at home on the stage. I swear there were sparks flying that night on stage between Evans and Grady. You could see the physical and emotional chemistry that those two share (even if it is just work related.) Brady was just great, it seemed as if he was born to play the role of R.F. Simpson. Brady was funny, energetic, cunning witty and fun. McGibbon who played Cosmo was fantastic! McGibbon was a fantastic choice for Mr. Brown’s character who is someone who is big into physical comedy and doesn’t seem to take life too seriously but has nothing but support and love for his closest friends. You could see just how much fun he was having on that stage all night through. Coffee is a NSMT legend he has been in over fifty productions with the theater. The role of Dexter was absolutely perfect for Coffee. He is the prefect embodiment of someone who knows what they want and just how to go and get it. Stockdale was great! I am not sure I have even seen someone strep into a character so effortlessly. I must also comment on the level of talent both musically and each and every one of them had with their foot work.
The dancing and singing was just amazing all around and after everything was said and done I remember thinking that I didn’t ever want the night to end. After seeing the NSMT’s rendition of singing in the rain I went back and actually watched the film (I felt it was a must!) After seeing the film, I truly felt that every actor and actress that was chosen for this production was nothing sort of perfect for each of their chosen roles. The ensemble truly brought this whole production together making it nothing short of a spectacle.
Story Written By: Nicole Lynne Wood
Wood Media Co-Owner/Staff Writer
A spoonful of sugar was not the only thing that there was an abundance of at the North Shore Music Theater tonight! Coming into the theater you are instantly struck by the simplicity of the props and scenery. No matter the simplicity you are quickly transported to Edwardian London circa 1910 and dropped off at the doorstep of the Banks family who are living on 17 Cherry Tree Lane.
Instantly you can see this family (that is quite the cast of characters) is in dire need of some assistance. You have the uptight father George Banks who is played by James Andrew Walsh (whose credits include but are not limited to the TV productions of “The family”, “Castle”, “Shine”, “Law and order SVU” and “law and Order Criminal Intent”) Walsh brought with him his obvious ease of being on stage and combined that with his unique acting style and a voice that cannot be forgotten.
The Meek and mild wife and mother Winifred Banks (who is struggling to find her way) is played by Molly Garner. Not only has molly portrayed this role before on the national tour but she has worked in such musicals as Billy Elliot, and Romeo and Juliet among many others. I was nothing short of impressed with molly’s lovely voice and her ability to simply embody a charter.
All Michael Banks wants is love and acceptance from his father and he is played by Jake Ryan Flynn who has held many roles at the NSMT as of late including last season’s smash hit Billy Elliot as well A Christmas Carol and Shrek from a few seasons ago. Flynn was nothing but adorable and perfect for the role of Michael whose character is sweet lovable and mischievous all rolled into one.
Scarlett Keene-Connole took to the role of Jane Banks who is the daughter with a big voice and much whit. She has been in many productions including but certainly not limited to NSMT’s own A Christmas Carol and Saturday Night Fever. Connole slipped into this role with such ease and sophistication that it blew my mind. She will no doubt be a name to look for when she gets older if she keeps up the hard work.
Of course you cannot forget about the strong and soulful powerhouse that is Jenelle A. Robinson. Robinson has come back to the North Shore Music Theater after 15 years away (she was in Carousel in 2001.) She has played in Oklahoma!, Thoroughly Modern Millie and the Broadway run of Mary Poppins including many more! She portrayed both Miss Andrew and Mrs. Corry. Robinson played both of these charters with such conviction and honesty that I honestly forgot that I was watching something of fiction and fantasy.
Then you have the two charters that stood out to me the most and those are Bert the fun loving deuteragonist played by Brad Bradley (The Broadway productions of Spamalot, The People in the Picture, Annie Get Your Gun (with Reba McEntire) and so many more!) who came across as having this role written specifically for him. When I first saw him sitting on one of the chimney stacks (as part of the opening number) not only did I love his look and thought his costumes was perfect but I was instantly in love with his voice! His opening number of “Chim, Chim Cheree” was so cheerful and exciting that I was instantly drawn into the world that is Mary Poppins without even trying. Every time Bradley came out on stage I became like a little kid, excited to open a new never seen before Christmas present because I knew that I was not going to be disappointed in the slightest.
Kerry Conte played the beloved and well-known charter Mary Poppins. Conte truly brought a little bit of magic and wonder to the theater tonight! Her costumes were on point and her voice was truly out of this world. There were a few instances that I found myself simply sitting in my seat and closing my eyes so I could really hear and understand the full magnitude that was her voice. I have never and I mean never seen or heard someone who looked like they were having more fun and truly loving what they were getting the opportunity to do than Conte.
Don’t even get me started on when Bradley and Conte were on stage together whether it was simply acting or singing that of a duet. Those two were a force to be reckoned with all night. You could see and feel the chemistry that those two had together and it was very refreshing to see. My two favorite musical numbers throughout the whole show had to be “Supercalifragilisticexpialidious” and “Step in Time”. The talent that ran throughout the cast when it came to the choreography was to die for!
I also must give major kudos to the entire crew at the NSMT. This production was completely flawless but the one thing that stood out to me the most was their ability to make Mary fly! When I saw her come down from the roof I was astounded. I really don’t think that this show could have gone any better. I would like to say thank you. Thank you for finally giving me a reason to enjoy what I get the opportunity to do and making me fall in love with what is musical theater once again. Lastly thank you for brining bit of magic to your stage and into my life if only for just a little while. The whole production was nothing short of spectacular.
Mary Poppins is running now through July 31st please don't miss your opportunity be part of the excitement and magic, you won't regret your choice in the slightest!
Written By: Nicole Lynne Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer
Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre opened their season last night with their performance of Funny Girl. The show was headlined by Shoshana Bean who has performed in so many hit Broadway shows and is also a award winning recording artist. The show also featured a few other great cast who were able to support her in her leading role.
The story of Funny Girl features Young Fanny Brice grows from poverty in New York's Lower East Side to become one of the stars of the Ziegfeld in the 1920s. She is helped on her journey by a flashy gambler. The show when it premiered featured music legend Barbara Streisand who’s voiced performed these amazing song’s "I'm the Greatest Star" (Fanny); "If a Girl Isn't Pretty" (Rose & Mrs. Strakosh); "Roller Skate Rag," "I'd Rather Be Blue Over You," "His Love Makes Me Beautiful," "People" (Fanny); "You Are Woman, I Am Man" (Fanny & Nick); "Don't Rain on My Parade," "Second Hand Rose," "Sadie, Sadie," "The Swan," "Funny Girl," "My Man" (Fanny) n the 1968 movie.
The NSMT performance however was very different from the movie. Now you know when your going into this it isn’t going to be Barbara Streisand on stage so that is a given. But Shoshana Bean was able to fill those shoes and then some. However other than Bean carrying the show the performance lacked any remarkable moments. For someone going into the story without any back story you could get lost until midway through the first act. Also the first act is very long to take it all in with all the different songs being performed. The supporting cast featured James Van Treuren as a handsome classy as Florenz Zigfield, Jr. Also the love interest of Fanny Brice was played by Bradley Dean and Fanny’s best friend Eddie was played by Rick Faugno.
Overall the show was lead by Shoshana throughout with her amazing voice and performing skills but the long interludes and low energy moments really made a lot of the audience at least where we were sitting time to check their watches. The show runs at NSMT now through June 19th. If you’re looking for a good attempt at a recreation of Funny Girl on the north shore give this a shot it might hit you In a spot that didn’t connect with us. To purchase tickets to this performance please visit www.NSMT.org . This may have been the season opener but Bill Hanney promised an amazing season and next up we will be covering the opening night of Mary Poppin’s which Bill let the crowd know there will be a lot of flying going on in the Theater in the Round.
Story Written By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer
The roof was blown off of the Bill Hanney’s North Shore Music Theatre at the opening night of the Tony Award winning musical Billy Elliot. In front of a sold out crowd of over 1,300 the crowd was treated to a show that can only be described in one word “Amazing”. The entire show had the crowd feeling the energy of the moments and also had them at points laughing at the top of their lungs.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Broadway Musical Bill Elliot which has all the music composed by Grammy Award winning music legend Elton John. Billy Elliot the Musical is a musical based on the 2000 film Billy Elliot. The music is by Elton John, and the book and lyrics are by Lee Hall, who wrote the film's screenplay. The plot revolves around motherless Billy, who trades boxing gloves for ballet shoes. The story of his personal struggle and fulfillment are balanced against a counter-story of family and community strife caused by the UK miners' strike (1984–1985) in County Durham, in North Eastern England. Hall's screenplay was inspired in part by A. J. Cronin's 1935 novel about a miners' strike, The Stars Look Down, to which the musical's opening song pays homage.
The North Shore Music Theatre’s edition of this musical was done perfectly and precisely. Most folks we talked to while leaving the theater said that this had the be the blockbuster hit of the 2015 season by Bill Hanney. Nicholas Dantes’ Brooks plays the show’s headlining actor who portray’s Billy Elliot. Nicholas acting ability along with his dancing skills cannot be described. He can hit all of his notes and all the moves with nothing but precision. His dance moves are something that should be seen on Dancing with the Stars. This is a show that had everything that broadway would require for it to be a hit. NSMT’s theatre in the round setting made this show even better. Using the full 360 round stage Nicholas and his supporting actors including Janet Dickinson who plays Mrs. Wilkinson made their dance and performance together nothing but magical. One of the highlights that I thought was amazing was during this dream sequence number in the show Billy is dancing in the clouds with what appears to be a future version of himself. An out of nowhere they do a duet dance together and then Billy is just flung into the sky and is dancing through the sky on a wire which was very magical with the setup.
What really made this evening very special was an appearance in the performance by Bill Hanney himself along with Kevin P. Hill. These two appear in the show one with having Bill perform as one fo the childs parents and then having Kevin appear on stage wearing Spandex white tights and portraying a person from Glasgow. The last 5 minutes of the show however cannot be missed with NSMT’s surprise ending. So once the show is over be sure to not leave your seat until the house lights come on and it will be worth the wait.
All in all this musical has everything to make it a hit and a show that the North Shore will not forget for the next few years. Bill Hanney has knocked one out of Boston and to the moon and put together a heartfelt memorable show that the theatre lovers will enjoy. BILLY ELLIOT THE MUSICAL isrunning thru October 11, 2015. For tickets and information call (978) 232-7200, visit www.nsmt.org, or visit the box office in person at 62 Dunham Rd., Beverly, MA.
By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Wrtier
Wood Media Theater Reviewers are a husband and wife team which includes Mark & Nicole Wood of Beverly.