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In the News
MetroWest Daily: At the A.R.T. in Cambridge, "Witness Uganda" asks pivotal question (January 25, 2014)
When Griffin Matthews flew off to Uganda in 2005, he had no idea he'd return with a sense of purpose, a love life and a musical.
For Paulus, the ART’s artistic director, 2013 was a year of snowballing commercial success. In June, she won her first Tony Award as a director, for “Pippin,” which transferred to Broadway from the ART last spring, recouped its $8.5 million capitalization in December, and continues its run. It is Paulus’s third Broadway show, and her third to win the Tony for best revival of a musical.
A state of wonder sets in even before the actors appear in the deliriously enjoyable American Repertory Theater production of “The Heart of Robin Hood” at the Loeb Drama Center in Harvard Square through January 19th.
I found myself gasping before anything happened. Entering the theater I was plunged into an all-enveloping deep, dark, mysterious, magical forest, giant trees arching upward, with leaved branches curling out over the audience, above a three-quarter thrust stage, tapestried to look like the forest floor. It was thrilling, the beauty of it.
Farr's fusion of English legend and Shakespearean comedy is a pretty neat trick. And the set, by Gardarsson's Reykjavik-based colleague Börkur Jónsson, is a splendid mix of outsized greenery, creaking castle architecture, Alice in Wonderland whimsy, and funhouse obstacle course complete with pond. This production adds to the Christmas-panto story and droll, athletic shenanigans an infectious score played live by Connecticut-based roots band Poor Old Shine, with lyrics by the talented musicians and Farr. What it all adds up to, if not Errol Flynn or Ivanhoe, is a magical, rough-hewn delight.
What a wonderful theatrical gift for the Holiday season.
There may never have been a more purely entertaining production at the American Repertory Theater than “The Heart of Robin Hood.”
It’s a romance, a comedy and a drama. It has swashbuckling, cross-dressing and acrobatics, a clarinet-playing mute and baddies straight out of “The Road Warrior.” There’s even an American roots band that looks like it wandered over from “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” or maybe just Davis Square. By the time of its final glorious romantic tableau, it will be a rare theatergoer who’s not won over.
It is hard to come up with another American company whose creative footprint at the moment is making such a deep impression on the country’s theater.
For someone who claims he never really liked theater, Gisli Örn Gardarsson certainly knows how to turn a rehearsal room into a fabulous playground. Actors hang upside down from high ropes, performing feats not meant for the acrophobic. The Icelandic director is here re-creating his production of “The Heart of Robin Hood” at the American Repertory Theater, and he has a mischievous glint in his eye as he talks about elves and circus tricks and his unlikely affection for a certain crashing chandelier.