What these three works have in common—two on the stage and one on the page—is the opportunity for theater lovers to understand the immense amount of thought, work and heart that goes in to a play, from its inception to its delivery.

La Traviata, Presented by Boston Lyric Opera, it plays a the CITI Shubert Theatre through October 19th.

A new “Unforgettable Season of Leading Ladies” begins with a production of Verdi’s heartbreaking classic, La Traviata, which has not been seen on the BLO stage for over a decade. Anya Matanovic makes her Company and role debut as Violetta Valery, the worldly courtesan with all the men of Paris at her feet. Unlike the 1990 film Pretty Woman, inspired by the opera, where Julia Roberts plays a prostitute who transforms into the beloved and highly-sought after belle of the ball, the BLO’s new production moves forward, closer to the turn of the 20th Century, when society developed a less accepting view on extramarital affairs. But BLO's General & Artistic Director Esther Nelson tells me that Violetta is much more than a put-upon prostitute.

“These Courtesans were elegant. If you saw them on the street, you couldn’t tell the difference, if this was a lady of high society or if this is a Courtesan. She dressed in the latest fashion, she lived in the best addresses in Paris or wherever she lived, and was well educated and in touch with the leading members of society, male members mind you, but also the leading artists, intellectuals, so she lived in that world," Nelson said.

King Lear, Presented by ArtsEmerson, it plays at the Paramount Center Mainstage through October 23rd.

Following last season’s buzz‐worthy Broadway revivals of Twelfth Night and Richard III, London’s renowned Shakespeare’s Globe returns to ArtsEmerson with their unique and striking production of King Lear. Joseph Marcell leads eight actor‐musicians who play multiple characters and instruments in Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy, unfolding on an Elizabethan booth‐style stage. A story of divided family loyalties, the struggle of aging with grace and a stroke of madness, Lear wrestles with man’s limitations, the forces of nature and the power of redemption.”

John Lahr's Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh, In bookstores now. Again Lahr gives us a ground-breaking theatre biography with intimate access to the mind of one of the greatest American playwrights of the twentieth century. Williams put his best self – and most of his life – into his plays: The Glass Menagerie, A Streetcar Named Desire, The Rose Tattoo, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Sweet Bird of Youth, The Night of the Iguana among many. This brilliantly written, deeply researched biography sheds a light on Williams’s warring family, his lobotomized sister, his guilt, his plays, his turbulent homosexual life, his misreported death, even the shenanigans of his estate. Larh told me he understands now how Tennessee Williams wrote plays as an alternate world, to work out the issues in his “irrevocably divided self.”

“As he evolves, he changes, with success, with loss, with love… then with drugs and alcohol, so the plays become a chart or a sort of internal geography of his life. That to me is sort of what I want to dramatize, because he does change, and the battle in himself between life and self-destruction, between hauntedness and community, all these various contending forces within him are expressed, represented in his plays, and that is a fascinating synergy," he said.


This week on Open Studio We tour Boston College’s McMullen Museum for its stunning Wifredo Lam show and sit down with the founder of Israeli Stage, Guy Ben-Aharon and actress Maureen Keiller to hear about the new production “Oh God.”

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