Theater
Chelsea Churchgoing and Theater-hopping

Chelsea Churchgoing and Theater-hopping

Atlantic Theater Company’s season of newness  Greek theater grew out of a religious festival so it’s fitting that the Atlantic Theater Company’s home in Chelsea uses that former neighborhood church as the locus of plays concerned with, in a classic theater company’s motto, the deepest questions about morality and performances that show the relationship between...
Pop Origami on Broadway

Pop Origami on Broadway

Doug McGrath reimagines Broadway’s Jukebox Musical  One of the best aspects of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (at the Stephen Sondheim Theater) is seeing book writer Doug McGrath’s origami treatment of American pop music history. McGrath, who has directed the excellent films Infamous and Nicholas Nickleby, starts with bio-pic basics about singer-songwriter Carole King’s life...
Back to the Basics of the Bard

Back to the Basics of the Bard

Rylance re-invents Shakespeare at the Belasco  It is fitting that the Globe Shakespeare company’s new repertory event appear at New York City’s most dramatically beautiful venue, The Belasco Theater. Its recently renovated, sumptuous, layered designed—both theater and sanctuary, offering volume, ornamentation and radiance–makes an on-stage performance special. Imagination and skill are represented in a jewel...
Two by Four on the Boards

Two by Four on the Boards

Film stars take on two stage modern classics on Broadway   Why another Waiting for Godot, just four years after the Roundabout’s seemingly definitive 2009 pairing of Bill Irwin and Nathan Lane as Vladamir (Didi) and Estragon (Gogo), also featuring the enormous John Goodman (Pozzo) and the incandescent John Glover (Lucky)? Well, here’s an appropriate...
Mac and Mandy Get Apocalyptic

Mac and Mandy Get Apocalyptic

Star power comes to Henry Street Settlement   A Biblical-size flood has swept away almost everything on earth, leaving two lone survivors who have lost the ability to speak and can only communicate in song and dance. To keep up their spirits, they sing of the rise and fall of civilization to tunes ranging from Rodgers and...
Why The Glass Menagerie Persists 

Why The Glass Menagerie Persists 

New Tennessee Williams production misunderstands a classic Zachary Quinto wants to be the Tom Wingfield for his era. In the new Broadway production of Tennessee Williams’ 1945 play The Glass Menagerie at the Booth Theater, Quinto presumes a modern Sad Young Man interpretation of the play as Williams’ autobiographical gay memoir, making Tom (Williams’ nickname)...
Dee Dee Sharp

Dee Dee Sharp

Bridgewater returns to Broadway in Billie Holiday triumph  At first Dee Dee Bridgewater’s impersonation of Billie Holiday in Lady Day at the Little Shubert Theater seems an odd misuse of talent in this Broadway production imported from its London run (where Bridgewater got an Olivier Award nomination). Bridgewater’s strong, tall stage presence and ringing voice...
Armory’s Forces

Armory’s Forces

Season’s greetings at the Park Avenue Armory No more thrilling space has opened up for unconventional performances and installations in recent years than the Park Avenue Armory in 2007. Built in 1861 to resemble Grand Central Station and other majestic 19th century railroad stations and designed as a military facility and social club, it became...
Out of the Past, Out of the Vestpocket

Out of the Past, Out of the Vestpocket

Revivals of Crothers and Kelly in two local theaters Rachel Crothers and George Kelly were two of the 20th century’s most important American playwrights; today, however, their work exists in a state of semi-obscurity, semi-rediscovery.  This month the Metropolitan Playhouse brings back Crothers’s 1910 A Man’s World, while the Mint Theater gives us Kelly’s 1931 Philip...
Uptown, Downtown Stages

Uptown, Downtown Stages

Summer theater remains in the city  Can’t get away to the Bay Street Theatre in Sag Harbor or the Williamstown Theatre Festival in the Berkshires this Summer? Well sweat not (or as little as possible), because you can enjoy some excellent, inexpensive (free to $25) Summer theater right here in the city through the rest...
Shakespeare Comes to Harlem

Shakespeare Comes to Harlem

Classic Theater of Harlem’s new season When Puck casts his magic spell over love besotted royalty and fairies in Shakespeare’s joyful A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the splendid new Richard Rodgers Amphitheater in Marcus Garvey Park July 13-30, the setting won’t be ancient Greece nor the music Elizabethan. Thanks to the brilliant Classic Theater of...
A Comedy with NO Errors!

A Comedy with NO Errors!

Shakespeare shines in the Park  Shakespeare presented outdoors–whether on a lawn, in a parking lot or at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater–is a sure sign that Summer has truly arrived in New York City. And, because the Bard still speaks to us, in forms tragical, comical, historical and/or pastoral, directors continue to return to his oeuvre,...
Building Boldness

Building Boldness

find new inspiration for Ibsen   Wrenn Schmidt loves playing the role of the highly sexual and manipulative Hilde in Henrik Ibsen’s The Master Builder. The current production, directed by Andrei Belgrader, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and starring John Turturro as the eminent and egomaniacal architect Halvard Solness, leaves Schmidt plenty of room to...
Naming Stage Names

Naming Stage Names

Russian monikers take the boards in local productions  While Christopher Durang’s celebrated Broadway hit Vanya, Sonia, Masha and Spike boasts a slew of Chekov-inspired Russian monikers, there’s nary a Slav to be found in its rollicking send-up of that esteemed playwright. But two Off-Broadway productions, Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 and Nikolai and the Others...
Recall and Response

Recall and Response

Cicely Tyson brings realness to The Trip to Bountiful Broadway’s new Black (or non-traditional cast) production of The Trip to Bountiful comes alive when Cicely Tyson as Carrie Watts, an elderly Texas widow longing to return to her titular hometown, stands up and sings a church hymn in a desolate bus station. It is the...
A Legacy Is Born

A Legacy Is Born

Broadway’s Motown means more than it can say Barry Gordy, founder of the legendary record label Motown had to do something. His landmark artistic venture had some of its historic lustre stolen by the lame-brain drama and trifling music of Dreamgirls (which traduced the story of Motown group The Supremes for a cliché-ridden yet widely-promoted...
Romances and Revivals

Romances and Revivals

Two no-holds-barred Off-Broadway love stories. The most romantic fairy tale revival in town right now isn’t Cinderella, but the Roundabout Theatre‘s revival of Lanford Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning Talley’s Folly,  lovingly directed by Michael Wilson. “They tell me we have 97 minutes here tonight…without intermission,” begins Danny Burstein’s Matt Friedman who then predicts that those...
African Caesar

African Caesar

New take on Shakespearean politics at BAM Julius Caesar doesn’t usually get ranked as one of Shakespeare’s most exciting plays but last year theatergoers in England were given reason to change their minds after seeing the Royal Shakespeare Company’s revival, reset in modern Africa, with an all black cast. In its new incarnation, directed by...
Return of the Poet

Return of the Poet

Langston Hughes’ Ask Your Mama gets a one night only revival Emmy-award winning composer, Laura Karpman, started thinking about staging Langston Hughes’ twelve-part, epic poem, “Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” when she came across it in a bookstore six years ago. Begun by the great poet in 1960 while attending the Newport Jazz...
Dramatic Personae

Dramatic Personae

The Tavianis Illuminate Reality through Theater Compartive Literature classes were never as exhilarating as the best parts of Paolo and Vittorio Taviani’s Caesar Must Die. This ingenious adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, combines documentary and drama as the Tavianis follow theater director Fabio Cavalli guiding a couple dozen convicts through a production of the play...
Golden Idol

Golden Idol

Sher’s ‘Golden Boy’ revives Odets’ insights Bartlett Sher continues his investigation of American Theater history with the 75th anniversary production of Clifford Odets’ play Golden Boy. As in his revivals of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and South Pacific, Sher looks at the past in order to understand the present. He reveals that Odets’ story...