Boston’s Best College Theatre Productions To See This Year

October 14, 2013 6:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

When it comes to theater productions in Boston, you often get the most for your money by watching college drama. Not only is there some great upcoming talent in these shows, but the prices tend to be lower than professional companies charge for their plays. This fall, several of Boston area’s colleges are putting on productions that range from simple family theater to nuanced and emotional pieces. Always be on the lookout for such shows, as they are not always taking place in the schools or even the schools’ on-campus theaters.

“The 39 Steps” By Patrick Barlow
Main State at the Robsham Theater Arts Center
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Ave.
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467
(617) 552-4800

Dates: Oct. 17-20, 2013

“The 39 Steps” was originally a novel by John Buchan, which was adapted into a film of the same name by Alfred Hitchcock in the 30s. The following century, Patrick Barlow adapted it into a play that takes on a few more elements of mystery and comedy. It is being put on by the theatre department at Boston College’s College of Arts and Sciences this fall. This play has won two Tony Awards and leaves audience laughing the night away, so do not miss it.

“Starting Here, Starting Now”
Greene Theater
10 Boylston Place, 6th Floor
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 824-8400

Dates: Nov. 21-24, 2013

Set up with a cast of three performers, “Starting Here, Starting Now” is a musical look at love and relationships. The audience is brought through the emotional highs and lows of everything from looking for the right husband to actually being in love. David Shire and Richard Maltby, Jr. are responsible for the play’s music, which is arguably the highlight of “Starting Here, Starting Now.” For theatergoers who are looking to run the gamut of human emotion as it relates to seeking and finding love, this is the performance to see this year.

Related: Boston’s Best Student Theater

“The Hobbit”
Wheelock Family Theatre
180 Riverway
Boston, MA 02215
(617) 879-2147

Dates: Oct. 25 through Nov. 24, 2013

As the family theater of Wheelock College, Wheelock Family Theatre focuses on family-friendly entertainment. Few works are as family friendly and widely beloved as J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit.” Children and parents alike will enjoy this fun, adventurous and often comedic foray into Middle Earth via the stage. The magical world of “The Hobbit” will enchant children who have yet to see it and bring back fond memories for those who have. It is also a great jumping-off point for getting kids to read this classic novel.

“Conspiracy” By Loring Mandel
Loeb Mainstage
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 547-8300

Dates: Nov. 15-23, 2013

“Conspiracy” is a thought-provoking look at the class of men who planned and perpetrated the atrocities of World War II. It is based on transcripts of a meeting held during an idyllic vacation that most of us would consider the last place to devise a plan for genocide, but that is exactly what happened. Viewers get an unsettling look at how easy war makes it to view the enemy as less than human or even as pests to be exterminated. This is not a play for the faint of heart, but certainly for the inquisitive of mind.

“Caberet” by Joe Masteroff
Mainstage Theater
Spingold Theater Center
415 South St.
Waltham, MA 02453
(781) 736-2000

Date: Nov. 28-24, 2013

“Caberet” is about a caberet in 1930s Berlin. The main character is a writer who is drawn into the party scene and falls in love with the club’s premiere singer. Of course, a world that is tearing itself apart will find a way to break up the fun, even for determined party goers like those in the play. “Caberet” takes a look at how people change as time changes, but also how some people are too entrenched in their lifestyles to move on with the times.

Related: Best Outdoor Theaters on the South Shore and Cape Cod

Shelly Barclay is a professional freelance writer and amateur author. She writes on a variety of topics from food to mysteries. She loves to share the culture and rich history of her birthplace and home, Boston, with the rest of the world. Her work can be found at