Review: Boston and Beyond

By Susan Mulford, Boston and Beyond

Learning history has never been so engaging, funny, and passionate.  This production, replete with a perfect cast and riveting script provides a “stellar” (excuse the pun) entertainment experience. It takes the audience on a journey filled with laughter, tears and joy. Flat Earth Theatre’s production, written by  Lauren Gunderson, named the most produced living playwright in America by American Theatre Magazine in i2016. has been brilliantly directed by Stoneham Theatre’s Director of Education, Dori A. Robinson.  Staged at the Mosesian Center for the Arts at 321 Arsenal St. in Watertown,  the play, set in the early 1900’s. recants the heartfelt story of real-life, Cambridge astronomer, Henrietta Leavitt and her female colleagues that were working at the Harvard Observatory.

These unique, highly educated and overtly talented women were given the job of mathematically charting the stars. In a male dominated time and profession,  the “Harvard Computers” , as the ladies were irreverently called, performed this task without being allowed to touch a telescope. Leavitt was forced to study celestial bodies just out of reach while attempting to balance the needs of love, family and illness. She ultimately discovered the method to measure the distances of faraway galaxies, paving the way for modern astronomy.

Actress and founder and director of  Mlalden Phoenix Theatre Company, Erin Eva Butcher plays the driven Henrietta Leavitt. Brenna Sweet performs as Henrietta’s Wisconsin, homebody sister, Margarete, while Marcus Hunter, as Peter Shaw, provides a delightfully clumsy love interest for Henrietta. Juliet Bower beautifully morphs into the irrepressible and outspoken Williamina Fleming, the Scottish  housekeeper who became the first of the famous women astronomers at the Harvard College Observatory. She was joined by Annie Cannon, played by Cassandra Meyer, Cannon is credited with the creation of the Harvard Classification Scheme, that organizes and classifies stars based on their temperatures and spectral types.  For tickets visit