Welcome to Bolli After Dark!  In this column, I will highlight stage plays, movies and videos to dive into after a day of learning. Comments and suggestions are always welcome at my email: mamasigs126@gmail.com.


Summer in the greater Boston area used to be an entertainment wasteland, with only concerts on town greens and baseball games for diversion. Not so this summer.

Let’s start with the biggest original musical coming in to the city. Moulin Rouge, based on the Baz Luhrmann movie, is slotted for the newly renovated Emerson Colonial Theater starting on June 27. Broadway veterans Aaron Tviet and Karen Olivo headline the show, which will be heading for Broadway next season. It tells the story of an ambitious young writer and an enchanting chanteusse who cross paths at the decadent French nightclub. Here’s a teaser from YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFay0SVFxVI. (through August 5) Preview the story by watching Lehrmann’s film which can be rented through Comcast, Fios and Amazon Prime.

Most of the repertory companies remain dark during the summer but American Repertory Theater has two robust shows extending into June and July. Jagged Little Pill is an original story inspired by the Alanis Morrissette album. The Healey family, living a pleasant suburban life, is rocked to its core and must examine the values and morality of their lives. (through July 15)

A perennial A.R.T. favorite, The Donkey Show, retells Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream with a disco beat. The show is performed in the intimate Oberon theater, where cocktails and audience participation are part of the fun. (through June 30)

One of Shakespeare’s greatest villains, Richard III, strides onto the Boston Common from July 17 to August 5. Commonwealth Shakespeare’s free performances are always well done and you can’t beat the picnic atmosphere on a sultry summer night. I saw a brief scene from Richard III done by this group last month and it was a chilling picture of an ambitious man seizing and trying to keep power at any cost.

Don’t feel like driving into Boston? Shakespeare is coming to the Waltham Common on July 28th. J.T. Turner presents a one man show which highlights the Bard of Avon’s life as well as scenes from his comedies, tragedies and histories. The parking is plentiful, the show starts at 6:30 and carryout is nearby. Bring a lawn chair and prepare to participate as well.

If you’ve been out in the hot sun all day weeding your garden, you may not feel like going out at all. Settle in with one of the Oscar nominees you might have missed. Better yet, rent The Black Panther.

I am not a comic book/superhero fan and saw this film under protest. Boy, was I wrong. It’s visually stunning, full of humor and action and big ideas. Chadwick Boseman’s performance as Black Panther was touching and inspiring as he made the difficult transition from prince to king.

So get busy marking up your calendars for an exciting, entertaining summer. In my next column, I’ll be looking at that great American institution, the road trip.  Lots of great films to explore as we hit the road.

BOLLI After Dark feature writer Donna Johns

Donna Johns is a teacher/librarian, writer of unpublished romance novels, sometime director of community theater, and new BOLLI member.  (Welcome, Donna!)     


  1. Hi, Donna:

    As a resident of Boston, I very much appreciate your suggestions/ideas. As much as I try to keep track of everything going on, it’s tough, so your thoughtful suggestions are very welcome. Thanks!

  2. This is wonderful and informing. I particularly appreciate your review of the Black Panther. I have friends who left well before the ending. Thanks for a different perspective.

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