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Comedy, Music and Burlesque at the Davis Square Theatre

By S. Mathur

Davis Square is a cultural destination for people living in Boston and surrounding areas, and the Davis Square Theater, formerly known as the Jimmy Tingle Off-Broadway Theater, has long been a famous name in alternative theater. With a calendar that includes live theater, raucous comedy and concerts, the theater offers something for everyone. Theater Director Damon Leibert says that shows at the theater include "Everything from children's programming to burlesque. We are an intimate venue, so comedy, theater and music do especially well for acts where the audience is immersed in the story."

The performance space has only 180 seats surrounding the stage on all three sides, which makes for engrossing theater. The lighting and sound systems have recently been renovated, as has the bar which serves craft beers and well crafted cocktails. The location in the heart of Davis Square, with its bustling nightlife and easy access on the Red Line, makes it easy to reach. The Red Line opened up the revival of Davis Square from the 1980s onwards, and the theater has been part for that process since the beginning.

The area is known for its cultural life, restaurants and cutting edge businesses, including IT and biotech startups. Students from nearby Tufts University add to the lively feel of the Square. For those wanting to make a night of it, Liebert says that "Great food is only steps away." The theater is located between two landmark restaurants, The Foundry and the Burren.

The space can be rented for special performances. Upcoming performers include productions that range from the raucous to the profound. In the first category, Shit-faced Shakespeare, a theater regular, presents a "deeply highbrow fusion of an entirely serious Shakespeare play with an entirely shit-faced cast member", promising a genuinely drunk actor each evening. In the second category would be Metamorphosis, based on the Greek myths. The stories of Midas, Eros & Psyche, Orpheus & Eurydice, Phaeton, and Narcissus, and others are woven together to reflect on the transformative power of love.

Another theater regular is The Teaseday Club, billed as "Boston's best little variety show." On the first Tuesday of every month, it presents "the best burlesque, variety, and outlandish foolishness in Boston." Audiences find that the performers are all dedicated and talented actors, and the shows are all intelligent and thought-provoking.

Stand-up comedy shows include the monthly Strange Behavior hosted by Ryan Donahue. The March edition featured Andy Sandford, officially one of "Brooklyn's Funniest People" and Taylor Ketchum. The Old School Game Show is another regular, with an interactive theater experience that promises "recurring characters, wild plot twists, and gratuitous spectacle." And on April 17th, folk singer Michael Hurley will make a rare east coast appearance at the theater.

With a diverse array of intelligent performances, the Davis Square Theater manages to keep audiences coming back for more.

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