Arts This Week

Jared's arts picks for this week: Mrs. Packard (top left), Our American Hamlet (top right), Grand Concourse (bottom left), Kylián / Wings of Wax (bottom right)

Credit: WGBH News

Arts This Week: 'Mrs. Packard,' 'Our American Hamlet,' 'Grand Concourse,' 'Kylián / Wings of Wax'

March 30, 2017

This week, WGBH News' Arts Editor Jared Bowen's recommendations send you to the theater and the ballet.

'Mrs. Packard', presented by Bridge Repertory Theater and Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company at the Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center through April 9. 

"Mrs. Packard" is presented by Bridge Repertory Theater & Playhouse Creatures Theatre Company.
Photo Credit: Marc J. Franklin

Synopsis: Set in 1861 Illinois, Elizabeth Packard is proclaimed insane by her husband and committed against her will to an insane asylum. Inspired by true events, Emily Mann’s stunning American drama chronicles one woman’s struggle to fight for her life and, in the process, right a system gone wrong. Penned by American theater icon, Emily Mann, the play was originally staged at the McCarter Theatre in Princeton, NJ, where Mann has served as Artistic Director for more than two decades. This production, running at the Multicultural Arts Center in Cambridge, is the play’s first appearance in any other region of the country, and Mann herself has been directly involved in the production.

Jared Says: "A very absorbing excavation of a very devastating history."

'Our American Hamlet', presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company at Sorenson Center for the Arts at Babson College in Wellesley through April 2.

Jacob Fishel stars as Edwin Booth in "Our American Hamlet."
Photo Credit: Nile Scott Shots

Synopsis: The year is 1866, less than a year after President Lincoln was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. His brother, Edwin Booth, is one of the greatest Shakespearean actors of the nineteenth century. To save his legacy, Edwin decides to perform Hamlet on Broadway, a role he performed in the past to great acclaim. A huge crowd turns up for the performance—but it isn't clear whether they are there to see the actor perform, or to exact their revenge. Jacob Fishel, an actor with a wide-ranging career on television and on and off Broadway, takes on the role of Edwin Booth.

Jared Says: "Fascinating history at play."

'Grand Concourse', presented by Speakeasy Stage Company through April 1.

The cast of SpeakEasy Stage Company's 'Grand Concourse.'
Photo Credit: Glenn Perry Photography

Synopsis: Shelley, a Catholic nun and former high school basketball star, now struggles to find meaning in her work as the manager of a Bronx soup kitchen. With the help of Oscar, a former Dominican dentist now making a living as a security guard, Shelley tends to her flock, a colorful crew that includes Frog, a homeless former intellectual who now passes time writing joke books. The arrival of Emma, a college dropout looking for a sense of purpose, is at first a welcome addition to the team, but the girl’s erratic behavior soon takes its toll. In unpacking the notion of altruism, 'Grand Concourse' explores the mysteries of faith, forgiveness, and compassion.

Jared Says: "A play about when bad people happen to good and moderately bad people."

Kylián / Wings of Wax, presented by Boston Ballet at the Boston Opera House through April 2.

Alexander Ekman's 'Cacti' performed by Boston Ballet.
Photo Credit: Rosalie O'Connor

Synopsis: Boston Ballet’s spring season continues with 'Kylián / Wings of Wax', a trio of ballets by three choreographic masters. The program opens with George Balanchine’s charming and spirited Donizetti Variations set to excerpts from the composer’s final opera 'Don Sebastian', followed by 'Kylián'’s hauntingly beautiful 'Wings of Wax' with a score of musical selections by Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber, John Cage, Philip Glass and J.S. Bach. Alexander Ekman’s delightful and witty 'Cacti' closes the program accompanied by a collage of orchestral music performed by the Boston Ballet Orchestra and a string quartet.

Jared Says: "Another reminder of why we should be seeing just about everything that the consistently superb Boston Ballet does!"

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