Each week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen joins Morning Edition to dive into what’s new in arts in and around Boston. This week, we feature two local productions and the return of the Boston Public Library’s special collections.
Now playing at the Citizens Bank Opera House through Oct. 2
This jukebox musical follows the life story of the legendary Tina Turner, from her childhood in Nutbush, Tennessee, through her time in Europe, to today. After spending some time in London, “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” just opened in Boston this week as part of a national tour.
As Bowen describes, “Turner has this extraordinary story to tell,” and “Tina” is an attempt at telling that story, in addition to Turner’s recent documentary, tour, and book. The issue, Bowen elaborates, with “Tina” is the heavy emphasis on Turner’s relationship with Ike Turner, who “gets too much space in this musical” considering the abuse he inflicted upon Tina throughout their relationship. Turner’s story shines through in the details, from her upbringing in the segregated South to her Buddhist beliefs to the musical’s closing concert, which “ultimately does work” in the musical.
Now playing at the Lyric Stage Company through Oct. 9
In Lynn Nottage’s “Fabulation,” protagonist Undine’s pristine life as a boutique PR firm owner in New York comes quickly undone. She’s forced to return home to a family that she’s spent years attempting to leave behind. Described as a “comedy of manners set in the present day,” “Fabulation” incorporates nods to novelist Edith Wharton’s “Customer of the Country”.
Bowen calls the production “wickedly funny,” with “so much heart as we watch Undine go through this journey home and become acquainted with the way she is.” Grappling with notions of home, what it means to go home, and what happens when you have to return home, “Fabulation” serves as both a question and criticism of societal expectations.
On view at the Boston Public Library
The Boston Public Library recently reopened its special collections department to the public for all pursuits – be those academic research or just to drop by during a lunch break. The collection is what Bowen calls “one of the greatest holdings in this country outside of New York,” with thousands of items ranging from a first Shakespeare folio to Frederick Douglass’s The Liberator.
The shelving for the collection spans close to seven miles, and the reopening comes after a multi-year renovation totalling almost $ 16 million. Any member of the community is welcome to make an appointment and experience the historic documents firsthand.