by Donna Johns

As the hot summer days fade away, your BOLLI After Dark reporter emerges from her air-conditioned cave to sniff the air and check out theater offerings for the fall. After yawning through the Broadway in Boston list (all good shows but awfully pricey for touring companies), I cast my net wider and found a local theater with an intriguing 2019-2020 season.

Speakeasy Stage Company, performing at the Calderwood Pavilion in the South End, is presenting five plays and offers subscriptions from $210-$270 for all five.  I often avoid subscriptions, preferring to choose my own shows.  But, this season, I am tempted to subscribe.

First up is Choir Boy, a 2019 Tony nominated play written by the screenwriter of Moonlight. It’s a coming of age story set in a private school for young black men. Pharus Young longs to be the leader of the school’s prestigious choir but his talent may not be enough to achieve his goal. Take a listen to an example of the music which sets the tone for the play:

Admissions, the 2018 winner of the Drama Desk award for best play, tells the story of Sherri and Bill, two educators with a strong commitment to diversity. Their bedrock principles are challenged when their son tries to get into an Ivy League school. How far will they go to help him?

Pass Over, the 2019 Lortel Award winner for outstanding play, is described as a mashup of Waiting for Godot and Exodus as two young men of color look for a way out of poverty, danger, discrimination.

The Children, 2018 Tony Award Nominee for Best Play, is a look at each person’s responsibility to future generations. After a nuclear accident, Hazel and Robin, two retired physicists played by Paula Plum and Karen MacDonald, are living quietly in a cottage in England. A former colleague intrudes with a shocking request.

Bright Star rounds out the season.  Steve Martin, playwright, comedy legend, and bluegrass performer and composer partnered with Edie Brickell to tell the story of literary editor Alice Murphy from her beginnings as a backwoods girl to her maturity as a mentor to a soldier returning from the war. Here’s a sample from the rousing score:

In short, an interesting season with lots of variety. Tickets and more information can be found at Speakeasy’s website:

Looking to spot your BOLLI After Dark reporter?

I’ll be hanging out with the SIX wives of Henry VIII at American Repertory Theater

And then, I’m hopping over to the Huntington to check out an impromptu rap battle in The Purists, directed by Billy Porter.

I’ll wear a carnation so you can spot me…

BOLLI Matters feature writer Donna Johns

Donna is a teacher/librarian, writer of unpublished romance novels, sometime director of community theater and BOLLI member. She has two fantastic faux knees which set off the metal detectors at Fenway Park.


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