Monday, October 15, 2018

Sakina's Restaurant

I thoroughly enjoyed Aasif Mandvi's solo play, especially for what it tells us about 1998 vs 2018 -- and it's been left pretty much intact from then. Click here for my Times review.

Travisville

William Jackson Harper makes a polished playwriting debut. A bit too polished perhaps -- and yes, there is such a thing. Click here for my review for the Times.

Sunday, October 07, 2018

The Evolution of Mann

Max Crumm wasn't the one we wanted back in that Kathleen Marshall Grease revival (a cynical ploy if there ever was one), but he's much better in the otherwise blah new musical The Evolution of Mann. Click here for my Times review.

"Art" in quotation marks

Yasmina Reza's "Art" (quotation marks in the title) is 24 and aging rather well. A reason: we now fight dirty with our friends, exactly as she described it back then. The very entertaining tg STAN/Dood Paard revival only confirmed that. Check here for my New York Times piece about how our perception of the play has changed over the years.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Uncle Romeo Vanya Juliet

Bedlam tries a theatrical mashup and let's just say it didn't quite gel. Click here for my review.

Todd Solondz makes his stage debut

I talked to Todd Solondz about making his stage debut as playwright and director at the Flea Theater. Thataway for my New York Times feature.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Soundstage

Rob Roth's Soundstage at HERE is intriguing but ultimately unrewarding. It did make me wonder what would happen if a director gave Rebecca Hall a siren role in a movie. Click here for my review.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Ingmar Bergman International Theater Festival

I went to Stockholm for the Ingmar Bergman International Theater Festival and wow, what a trip! Click here for the story.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Can critics learn to love the jukebox musical?

A tricky question, isn't it? I'd say jukebox musicals are like all shows: some work and others don't. In any case, it was a real delight to debate with the Times' theater team. Click here for the link.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Red Emma and the Mad Monk

Yay, summer discovery! There's an infectious, eccentric new musical at the Tank and you should see it, especially if you want to discover new voices. Note: I think this was my first use of "post-Michael Friedman." Click here for my review.

R.R.R.E.D.

There is an unfortunate musical about the possible extinction of redheads at DR2, and I was there to review it for the Times.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Pretty Woman: The Musical

I reviewed Pretty Woman: The Musical for Newsday, and compared to most of the other takes, my take-down is almost a rave! Read for yourself here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Gettin' the Band Back Together

I reviewed this new musical for Newsday and...yikes! How is this even on Broadway when New World Stages is its natural habitat? Click here for the link.

Friday, August 10, 2018

What's in a show title?

Plenty, as it turns out -- whether that title is just one word or two dozen and nine exclamation marks. Click here for my piece in the Times about current trends in play titles.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Inside the Ventriloquist Convention

I was honored to be asked to write a piece for "Inside the Times," the article on A2 (inside the front cover) that goes behind the scenes of a particular feature. Click here to know more about how I heard about the ventriloquist convention and researched it, and the fun stuff that happened at the Holiday Inn bar.

Stephen King and Castle Rock: so many references

The new Hulu show Castle Rock is loaded with hidden (and not so hidden) gifts to Stephen King readers. I came up with a list of movies and shows that'll help you catch up.

The Ventriloquist Convention

I spent a few days at the Ventriloquist Convention and let's just say I'll never forget them. Fortunately I got to write about the experience for the Times, and it's right here.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Monday, July 16, 2018

Let's go car-camping in New York state

Don't feel like backpacking but still want to sleep (almost) under the stars? New York offers a whole bunch of public and private campgrounds where you can just drive up to your spot. I picked a few of them for Newsday, and they're right here.

Marie and Bruce

Jack doesn't often put on revivals but if you're going to do one, Wallace Shawn's Marie and Bruce is quite a pick. Here's my review for the Times.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Laura Bush Killed a Guy

Oops, forgot to link to this review from the Times, of a show about that time Laura Bush (accidentally) killed a man. Also, there are cookies — the real kind, not the kind that track your whereabouts. Thataway for the review.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

How the Go-Go's found their beat

OMG there's a new Go-Go's musical on Broadway and I talked to them! That's it, that's all you need to know. Now click here for the article.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Leonard Bernstein's Peter Pan

Turns out in 1950 Leonard Bernstein wrote the score for a staging of J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Now that show is back at Bard College, and I wrote about it for the Times. Click here for the amazing photos (and my article, of course).

Monday, June 18, 2018

Radio Delirio

Turns out it's not easy to make a memorable show about a man trying hard to make sure he's not noticed. Click here for my review of Radio Delirio.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Al l Want Is One Night

Jessica Walker does not disappoint with her new show, about the French chanteuse Suzy Solidor. Read my review of this swell cabaret show here.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Marketplace

I was one of the people interviewed by Marketplace about Broadway prices, a subject I feel especially passionate about. Click here to hear the segment.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Tchaikovsky: None but the Lonely Heart

The Ensemble for the Romantic Century is back with this interesting piece about the platonic relationship between Tchaikovsky and his patron, Nadzhda von Meck. Thataway for my review.

The 25 best plays of the past 25 years

Work on this epic supplement about the 25 best plays of the past 25 years started months ago and it was all worth it: looking great online and in print! Click here for the main stem and here for the sidebars.

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Hollower

My review of the new play The Hollower is up at the Times. Thataway!

Harry Potter for beginners

Is it possible to enjoy Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway if haven't read the books or seen the movies? I wasn't convinced, and wrote about it for the Times.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Link Link Circus

After Green Porno, Isabella Rossellini is back with another wonderfully eccentric theatrical lecture about animals. My review of Link Link Circus is here.

Disco musicals on Broadway

Broadway has made its peace with rock and hip-hop, and now Summer looks like it could be its first disco hit. I looked at some of its predecessors in the Times in this sparkly disco charticle!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

David Zinn's SpongeBob SquarePants costumes

It couldn't have been any more perfect: David Zinn showed me some of his costumes for SpongeBob SquarePants backstage at the Palace. So exciting! But really, it's the photos that make it. Have a look over there, and prepare to be dazzled.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

It's Eurovision time!

This year I helped with a New York Times package about that most beloved (by some of us) European institution: the Eurovision Song Contest. Thataway for the goods, and look for the bit about DJ ohRicky..

Monday, May 07, 2018

Fun things to do in the Bronx

My guide to the Bronx is out now with Newsday. Clearly it's just scratching the surface, but if you've never been, this will get you started.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Seagullmachine

I gotta admit I love this title: Seagullmachine. So cool! Alas, I'm less fond of the show itself, an attempt to mash up The Seagull and Hamletmachine. My Times review is here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Cheapskate's Guide to the Good Life

I contributed a couple of items to the Wall Street Journal's "Cheapskate Guide to the Good Life": Can you find them? The whole (cheap) enchilada is here.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

We Live by the Sea

Here's what theater can do: tell a good, simple story in a good, simple way. You'd be amazed how hard it is to pull off, but the Patch of Blue company did just that. My review is here.

Angélica Liddell comes to New Jersey

The Spanish queen of theatrical transgression came to New Jersey: do you really think I'd have missed that show? My review for the Times is here.

My Fair Lady

The Lincoln Center Theater revival of My Fair Lady is such a treat, and I got to review it for Newsday!

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Be More Chill phenomenon

Even if you follow musicals, you can be forgiven for not having heard of Be More Chill: After all, it only had a month-long run in NJ just under three years ago. Last year, however, the cast album took off, fueled by viral fan interest. I tracked it all in this Times feature.

King Lear

The RSC was back at BAM with Gregory Doran's King Lear, starring Antony Sher. My thoughts for the Times.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Yerma

Billie Piper's performance is really all that, but I was also astounded by the level of skill and ingenuity in the sound and set designs. Frankly Yerma makes most NYC productions look a little clunky. Click here for my review.

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

Live from the Humana Festival

I flew down to Louisville for the Humana Festival and had a blast. What could be better than gorge on theater while staying in a hotel and not worry about cooking or making the bed? I will say that I'm happy Please and Thank You does not have a branch in NYC because their chocolate-chip cookies are now my favorite ever. It's hard to stop at just three, or 30. OK, and now just read my report for the Times.

Abba Gold in Salon

Psyched that Salon is featuring an excerpt from my book Abba Gold!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Women, sports and theater

Women, sports and theater: three great tastes that taste great together! Another think piece for the Times, and it's thataway.

What constitutes the American Songbook?

I came up with some kind of theory about what constitutes the American Songbook. Hint: it's not so much about the Songbook part as it is about the American part. Click here for my Times piece.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Rocktopia

Yes, I saw Rocktopia on Broadway! It's classical, it's rock, it's classic rock. Here's my review for the Times.

Babette's Feast

Isak Dinesen's short story gets the stage treatment courtesy of Karin Coonrod, and I'm not entirely sold. Click here for my review.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Leonora and Alejandro

I could not make head nor tail of this play, but it's about Leonora Carrington and Alejandro Jodorowsky so that's par for the course. And I loved it. Do you want a head trip? Head to Montclair! And don't forget to read my Times review.

Oye! For My Dear Brooklyn

Modesto "Flako" Jimenez strikes out on his own in this unruly but pretty damn cool show at Abrons. My review for the Times is here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Three Wise Guys

TACT tried to tackle Damon Runyon for their latest (and last) show. Here's my review for the Times.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Time No Line

It's always a pleasure to catch up with whatever John Kelly is up to, but I particularly enjoyed Time No Line. It's got a few days left at La MaMa, so make your way to E. 4th St. In the meantime, here's my review for the Times.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Black Light

Jomama Jones, diva extraordinaire, shines in Black Light at Joe's Pub. Until she starts singing. My review for the Times is here.

Joël Pommerat's Little Red Riding Hood

French writer-director Joël Pommerat presented his Little Red Riding Hood this weekend, and I previewed it for the New York Times here.

Monday, February 26, 2018

New Georges tackles sound

I reviewed a double bill of sound-centric new plays for the Times. As you may know, I'm frustrated by theater's lack of interest in the possibilities of sound, so it was rewarding to catch shows that at least try to make the most of it. Click here for my critic's notebook.

Unmasked

I can't believe the title of Andrew Lloyd Webber's autobiography doesn't have an exclamation mark but there you go. I had a ton of fun reviewing it for Newsday. All the Cats action you'd want is here.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Athena

Another play about women and sports, but I'm not complaining — we have a lot to catch up after decades of disinterest. My review of Athena for the Village Voice is up here.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Terminus

Deirdre O'Connell is a living treasure of the New York stage. Every time she's in a show, I know that show will have at least one thing going for it. Right now she's in Terminus and...well, read my New York Times review here.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Against the Hillside

Going to EST is always a bit of a trip, often in more ways than one. A few days ago (sorry for the delay posting, I was otherwise engaged), I reviewed Against the Hillside for the Times.

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Interview with Nina Hoss

Like most Americans familiar with her work, I discovered Nina Hoss in the Christian Petzold movies Barbara and Phoenix. It was a real treat to interview her before her star turn in Returning to Reims. Thataway for my chat with one of my favorite contemporary actors.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Divine Horsemen

I climbed several sets of stairs to reach Divine Horsemen at the Access Theater, then I reviewed the show for the Times.

Cute Activist

After Cute Activist, I definitely want to see more from the New Saloon company. Here's my review for the Village Voice.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The rarity of the rock & roll experience in plays

For the life of me I can't understand why rock is never used as a subject or even as background in American plays. Well, turns out two shows just did, and I reviewed them for the Times. Click here.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

All About Bruce Haack

Bruce Haack's 1970s concept albums The Electric Lucifer and Electric Lucifer Book 2 have been turned into a rock opera by Jim Findlay and Philip White. What a trip to dig into Haack's life for the Times. Click here!

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)

I reviewed Split Britches' latest for the Times and it's here. Amazing that in all these years, this is the first time I've officially written about this company!

Friday, January 05, 2018

Blanka Zizka and the Wilma experiment

A fascinating theatrical experiment is underway in Philadelphia, and I wrote about it for the Times. Click here to read all about the Wilma.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Interview with Dane Terry

I love all those genre-hopping artists who keep popping up in the downtown scene. Check out Dane Terry, whom I interviewed for the Times.