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 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
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
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
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
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
Last night at the Historic Cabot Street Theatre in Beverly Massachusetts laughter was abound as Paul Gilligan took the stage with fellow comedians to entertain the North Shore. Scamps Comedy Productions was able to pack the house on a cool fall night on the North Shore.
The comedians for the night made sure there wasn’t a single person who wasn’t giggling in their seat. Jesse Bickford who brought the crowd into the experience opened up the show and Stephan Bjork who brought his great comedy style and local touch to the crowd followed him. Dave Lamb also brought his great comedy style and made sure that everyone was warmed up for the headliner Paul Gilligan.
Once Paul took the stage there wasn’t a moment in his act that the theatre was silent. Paul brought his A game as he was able to even get this critic to laugh almost over every joke he threw out at us. Have you ever wondered what it was like to live in Ipswich Massachusetts? Paul made sure to tell you how it is to go kayaking when there is only 2.5 inches of water in the Ipswich River. Also how come if you pay your property taxes in Ipswich you can only put out two barrel’s and can’t have any fences around your property. However the beavers down the end of the street can build a multi level condo that has an in ground pool and hot tub. Paul makes sure that you know that he is a local and makes you feel like you have been friends forever.
All in all Scamp Comedy Productions made sure to make everyone sit on the edge of their seat with laughter. Stephan Bjork, Jesse Bickford, Dave Lamb & Paul Gilligan brought their A game to the audience and made sure we were all entertained throughout the night. Comedy returns to Beverly on Saturday November 7th, 2015 at the Beverly/Salem Elks Lodge for the North Shore Last’s Comic’s Standing hosted by Bob Gautreau. Come see 10 local comics’ compete to be the best on the North Shore. For more information visit http://nslastcomic.weebly.com/.
By: Mark Allen Wood
Wood Media Staff Writer
On one of the hottest nights of the Summer of 2015 season SeniorCare Inc was able to get a couple hundred folks to head on out to the Historic Larcom Theatre in Beverly Massachusetts to see some great stand up comedy acts. The event was being held as a fundraiser for the organization SeniorCare Inc SeniorCare Inc currently serves an area that is comprised of more than 27,000 residents aged 60 and over. They provide services to adults with disabilities and elders in nine communities. SeniorCare has approximately 100 employees and nearly 400 volunteers. The staff and volunteers allows residents to live independently at home or in a setting of their choice, while remain part of the community.
The comedy night was hosted by David Rattigan who is a local Beverly resident that entertained the crowd with his witty and local comedy which was great for folks who are from around the area. He took you from Manchester by the Sea all the way to Gloucester but remember folks its only comedy. The second comedian of the night was Stephen Bjork who entertained the crowd with stories of living with his kids to growing up at the supermarket. From being a single man shopping to being that married man who is at the grocery store and is calling the wife every five seconds to ask what the next item is on the list.
The headliner of the night was Paul D'Angelo who brings his amazing style of comedy right from the start. From talking about growing up with his small Italian mother to going to the doctors for his over 50 checkup. Paul made you laugh from the moment he entered the stage to the minute he left. One really good thing about Paul's style is that he has the ability to not plan his shows and it was shown tonight that he really tried to gear his show towards the audience from SeniorCare Inc. He brought up stories about living with folks who are older to dealing with them as they got even older. Although he was still able to bring it all full circle and make you not feel like you were left out at all during the show even if you didn't have an affiliation with SeniorCare Inc.
All in all The Larcom does it again with another hilarious night of comedy for the local community and they continue to provide entertaining content to the community of Beverly. Their next big show is comedy on June 13 as Jimmy Tingle will take the stage. For more information please visit their web site at www.LarcomTheatre.com. For more information on SeniorCare Inc please visit www.SeniorCareInc.org.
Mark Allen Wood
Last night at the Larcom Theatre in Beverly Massachusetts, Frank Santos Jr entertained the very large crowd with his Rated-R comedy Hypnotism show. The show kicked off with a bang as he was able to get a bunch of folks from the audience who were looking the quit smoking, eat healthier and relax smoother to volunteer to come on stage and be part of the show.
During the show he brings the audience to the edge of their seats almost to the point that you’re going to pee yourself laughing, no pun intended. During this 2 hour show the volunteers who were on stage had to perform hits from Frank Sinatra and Taylor Swift all while under hypnosis. Plus folks on stage had to be part of other crazy things, which included having sexual pleasure just by sitting in their seats, feeling like they had to pee and thinking that everyone in the audience was naked and freaking out about it. Frank has been performing for over 20 years and in this show he showcased why. One person in the audience said “it didn’t disappoint as I could not stop myself from laughing”. Another one said while the show was going on “This is amazing, how does he do it?”
Frank travels the country performing this act and the next time he is in your neighborhood you should head on out to see him. Every show is different since there are new volunteers every time. If you visit our web site at www.wood-media.com you can see some video highlights form the show at the Larcom that will make you die laughing.
The Larcom Theatre has a great lineup of shows for the summer of 2015 so be sure to head on over to www.LarcomTheatre.com for more information. Jimmy Thingle will be performing on June 13th, 2015 at 8pm and this is one comedy show you don’t want to miss out on.
Wood Media Theater Reviewers are a husband and wife team which includes Mark & Nicole Wood of Beverly.