Friday, November 26, 2010

The Coward

Nick Jones and director Sam Gold were able to get some $$$ from LCT3 for their production of Jones' new play The Coward (my review's here). Lo and behold, the show looks great!

I wished they had trimmed the first act but don't leave at intermission because Kristen Schaal enters in the second half and boy oh boy is she funny. Also: tix are only $20.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Red Shoes

Emma Rice and the Kneehigh company return to St. Ann's Warehouse with The Red Shoes. First, it's not based on the Michael Powell movie but on the Hans Christian Andersen story. Second, it's not as good as Kneehigh's Brief Encounter. But hey, it still has some cool, grisly stuff. My review thataway.

Monday, November 22, 2010


I'm ready to take a bet I will be among the critics who enjoyed Elling the most (see review). This new Broadway show stars Denis O'Hare and Brendan Fraser, and is based on a Norwegian book and movie. Even the cell-phone announcement is in Norwegian. I suspect my colleagues may not be as Scandi-friendly as I am.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bells Are Ringing

The Encores! production of Bells Are Ringing, which I saw last night, is all kinds of awesome. My review just went up and will be in tomorrow's paper. Kelli O'Hara 4 ever.

A Free Man of Color

I quite enjoyed Stuart Klawans' book Film Follies -- The Cinema Out of Order, and it was hard to not think about it while watching John Guare's play A Free Man of Color at Lincoln Center. It's 2 hrs 45 mns, features 40 speaking parts, is set around the Louisiana Purchase, and will drive you crazy. I'd recommend second-acting it but the pay-offs at the end make more sense in light of what happens in the maddening first act. Sigh. My review is out today.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Marriage of Maria Braun

German director Thomas Ostermeier stages an adaptation of Fassbinder's movie The Marriage of Maria Braun. It's at BAM until Sunday and is a must for fan of bracingly cerebral Euro theater. My review's up at the Post.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

There Are No More Big Secrets

I love Heidi Schreck as an actress (Circle Mirror Transformation, The Language Archive) but I wasn't won over by her latest effort as a playwright, There Are No More Big Secrets. Fortunately, the awesome Christina Kirk is in the show, and I'd see her in anything. Review thataway.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Merchant of Venice redux

The Public Theater's production of The Merchant of Venice reopened on Broadway for a limited run, so I re-reviewed it. Considering the strain Lily Rabe was under (her mother, Jill Clayburgh, died last week), she gave an amazing, luminous performance. Forget about Al Pacino: Rabe is the best thing in this show.


The musical adaptation of the Will Ferrell movie Elf opened yesterday. The thrust of my review is that it's been overly sweetened. Gee, what a surprise.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Pee-wee Herman Show

Oh yeah, that's exactly what it says: The Pee-wee Herman Show, starring Paul Reubens, is now live on Broadway. And everything's there: Miss Yvonne, Cowboy Curtis, Chairry, Pterri, Globey, Mailman Mike, Jambi, the Mr. Bungle short, the secret word, the "why don't you marry it?" joke, the pen-pal letters.

This way to my review -- and the headline, courtesy of one of the Post's ace copy editors, is particularly brilliant.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

After the Revolution

Amy Herzog had a good topic on her hands — the legacy of 1940s American communism on a contemporary family — but she pretty much blew it in After the Revolution (reviewed today). Thank god for Mare Winningham and Lois Smith, pros that they are.

Radio City Christmas Spectacular

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular is back — as it has every year since 1932 — and I still love it. I'm far from being a Yule fanatic but this show has to be seen to be believed. Come on, it's the Rockettes! You can't call yourself a New Yorker without having seen them at least once.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Colin Quinn: Long Story Short

Today's review is Colin Quinn's stand-up show Long Story Short. Nope, not at Carolines but on Broadway.

Tennis players in the NY marathon

Today, the Times ran a second article about tennis player Justin Gimelstob running the NY marathon for the first time. Apparently he signed up after a bet with his buddy Andy Roddick. Gimelstob finished in 4 hrs 10 mns.

The thing is, the Times didn't mention that another tennis player -- and a better one than Gimelstob -- also ran her first marathon this past Sunday. It was French champ Amélie Mauresmo, and she finished in 3 hrs 40 mns!

I was psyched to actually see Mauresmo on 4th Avenue in Brooklyn, right around the Carroll St. intersection.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

About Tristan Garcia's Hate

I just saw in the Times' Book Review that Tristan Garcia's debut novel has been translated under the title Hate (the original is La Meilleure part des hommes, ie The Best Side of Men). I happened to read the book when it came out a couple of years ago, and was a bit startled by Alexander Nazaryan's take.

Well, by one thing mainly: He doesn't mention that the novel, set in the Parisian gay milieu of the 1980s, is a roman à clef. The lead characters are inspired by easily recognizable people, with just enough changes to prevent lawsuits (or so I assume).

Wild boy William Miller, for instance, looks very much like novelist Guillaume Dustan, who made a name for himself by advocating bareback sex. His nemesis, journalist-turned-AIDS-advocate Dominique Rossi, shares quite a few traits with journalist-turned-AIDS-advocate Didier Lestrade. Rossi cofounds an activist group called Stand; Lestrade cofounded the Parisian branch of Act Up. And so on.

Meanwhile, real-life Jewish philosopher and public intellectual Alain Finkielkraut seems to be the model for the novel's Jewish philosopher and public intellectual, Jean-Michel Leibowitz. At least Finkielkraut thought so: When the book came out, he publicly protested "the way I was transparently used," adding, "It's depressing but what can I do? Duels are now illegal."

Come on, this is good stuff!

The novel is so poorly written that trying to figure out who is who and who really did what is the best part. Not mentioning that aspect in a review is like talking about The Devil Wears Prada without mentioning Anna Wintour.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

The most eagerly expected Broadway show of the fall has finally opened! It's not great, but it's not the train wreck many message-board posters have described with great schadenfreude. Personally, I wish I could watch Laura Benanti's big number every other day or so. It's hard to think of a better pick-me-up.

My review's here.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


Will Eno's new play at the Vineyard, Middletown, starts off great. But it's hard to sustain ordinariness, no matter how clever, for two hours. Full review here.

That Hopey Changey Thing

"How's that hopey-changey thing working out for ya?" Sarah Palin once asked. There's the source of the title of Richard Nelson's new play at the Public. Can't say I liked it too much (see review) but the cast is great and it's only $15…

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

In the Wake

Lisa Kron follows up Well and 2.5 Minute Ride with In the Wake, the first play she authored but doesn't star in. I'm a big fan of Kron's work but the new show, now at the Public, really needed an editor. My review's here.

On somewhat related news, since In the Wake is very much concerned with politics, I voted this morning. PS 321 was very orderly, maybe because they had tons of volunteers explaining people how to handle the new voting procedure. Chuck Schumer was leaving as I came in, trailed by a news crew.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The Scottsboro Boys redux

Kander and Ebb's swan song, The Scottsboro Boys, has moved from the Vineyard to Broadway. It remains a triumph — though judging by this morning's reviews, the critics are sharply divided. I clearly fall on the side of masterpiece.