This week, Jared reviews “Rhapsody” by the Boston Ballet and three new plays in the Greater Boston area.
“Rhapsody,” presented by the Boston Ballet through June 9.
The Boston Ballet brings a series of fresh performances with “Rhapsody.” This largely spirited program features the world premiere of Boston Ballet Principal Dancer Paulo Arrais’s “ELA, Rhapsody in Blue,” a cinematic homage to the strong women of his life set to the music of George Gershwin. Also featured are a series of works by Russian choreographer Leonid Yakobson, including the Boston Ballet premieres of “Vestris” and “Rodin.” The show concludes with George Balanchine’s “Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No. 2.”
Jared describes “Rhapsody” as “fun and gorgeous. It really exemplifies all of the ballet’s ever-expanding skill and character.”
“We Live in Cairo,” presented by American Repertory Theater through June 23.
Massachusetts-born playwrights (of Lebanese descent) Daniel and Patrick Lazour bring a world-premiere musical to the American Repertory Theater. “We Live in Cairo” presents the inspiring and tragic tale of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution through the lens of six revolutionary students. Based on true accounts, the musical follows the revolution from the ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the unanticipated fallout of regime change.
“What I found to be an unsure start evolves into a fairly gripping take on the risks of amplifying a voice of protest and revolt during the Egyptian Revolution,” says Jared. “I’m hugely appreciative of the creators embracing subject matter few would.”
“School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play,” presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company through May 26.
“Mean Girls” is interpreted through an African lens at the SpeakEasy Stage Company. Written by Ghanaian-American playwright Jocelyn Bioh, “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play” takes place at Ghana’s top boarding school in the year 1986. As the school’s “queen bee” Paulina assumes she will represent her peers in the Miss Ghana pageant, things take a turn when newcomer Ericka – a Ghanaian who has been living in America – arrives and shakes up the school’s hierarchy. Directed by two-time Norton Award-winner Summer L. Williams, “School Girls” uses cutting wit and humor to address issues of colorism and racism within the African community while also highlighting the universal joys and heartaches facing teenage girls around the world.
“While it’s very funny, it’s also extremely pointed,” says Jared of the play. “It succeeds for its exceptional ensemble, especially under the gifted direction of Summer L. Williams.”
“The Ebonic Woman,” presented by the Gold Dust Orphans through May 26.
Qya Marie packs a superhero punch with the Gold Dust Orphans in “The Ebonic Woman.” The musical-comedy sees Marie starring as Hennessy Brown, a genius scientist who develops “Harmony,” a serum that could create a colorblind society and end racism as we know it. But when evil and bigotry rears its head in the form of “The Bald Eagle” (President Donald Trump reinventing himself in the guise of a supervillain), Hennessy accidentally drinks her serum and transforms into the titular superhero, donning a cape to save the world in yet another scathing satire from Ryan Landry and the Gold Dust Orphans.
“Ever riotous,” says Jared, “this Gold Dust Orphans show also ventures into the unexpected – finding a humanity and even sentimentality. It’s a balm to be bathed in the Orphans’ optimism.”