Wednesday, September 30, 2009

When stars don't collide

I really do love Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman -- why else would I have put myself through Layer Cake and Van Helsing? And forget all the Wolverine jokes in recent articles about Jackman: It's all about Drover for me!

But oooh boy, these guys have picked a right dud to appear on Broadway together. Review of A Steady Rain thataway.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Another day, another pan

You wouldn't know it from the slew of negative reviews I've been writing lately, but Ming the Merciless really isn't my role model.

That said, here's another one, this time for Mahida's Extra Key to Heaven.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Oh no, Othello

Peter Sellars's Othello is a stinker. There's just no way around it. I can't remember the last time I looked at my watch so much at the theater. I distinctly remember a check at 10:04pm, followed by another one after what felt like at least 20 minutes. Alas, I realized with despair that it was only 10:08.

Considering that this is very much a director-led staging — something I'm usually in favor of — and that it comes a few days after Luc Bondy's Tosca being booed at the Met, I was heartbroken at the idea of having to write such a negative review (my lowest star rating so far at the Post). I really don't want to sound like revisionist readings of classics faze me, but in this case there was no alternative: The show is downright inept. I will go into more details on my Post blog later today.

As for Tosca, I'm going tonight and shall judge for myself.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Killers on the loose

I quite liked Lucy Thurber's Killers and Other Family at the Rattlestick, as you can tell from my review. Both the play and the production are problematic, but it's the kind of flawed show that stays with you.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday, September 21, 2009

What Benny and Björn think of Lady Gaga

As I mentioned earlier today, last week I got to meet two of my heroes. Check out my blog at the New York Post to see what Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus think of Lady Gaga. It's the first installment in a series of posts centering on the stuff that won't make it to the print preview about their show at Carnegie Hall. Still to come: Benny talks about the stylistic links between Abba, Chess and Kristina.

Be still my heart

I've done hundreds of interviews over the years, but last week one almost sent me over the edge. Yes, I finally got to talk to Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus -- the men behind Abba and Chess. I have to admit I struggled to keep it together when I saw them enter the rehearsal studio where the media circus was taking place.

They were in town to present a concert version of their 1995 musical Kristina från Duvemåla (simply Kristina in the English version) at Carnegie Hall this Wednesday and Thursday. Look for my preview in the Post, and I will put a lot of extra stuff on my blog over there -- which has a new URL, by the way, so bookmark it stat.

Is life worth living? Don't answer that

I'm a big fan of the Mint Theater and its mission to revive forgotten plays, but this time they kind of wrecked their latest discovery, Lennox Robinson's Is Life Worth Living? More on the misfire in today's Post.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

High and low

Ooh boy, this past weekend I experienced quite very different shows, as you can see in my two Post reviews today: from the good (Ivo van Hove's staging of La Voix Humaine) to the inept (Daniel Goldfarb's The Retributionists).

At the latter, there was quite an exodus at intermission, which tells you something — and it's not good. The former took place as part of the Dutch-run New Island Festival, out on Governors Island. I have to admit I'd never been there, and I was enchanted by my little trip.

The location certainly added to my enjoyment of La Voix Humaine, but it's a safe bet to say that no setting, no matter how exotic, could have helped The Retributionists. It's an embarrassment for everybody involved.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hooray for Oohrah!

In today's paper, I review Bekah Brunstetter's Oohrah!, currently running at the Atlantic 2, on W. 16th St. It's a happy surprise, especially considering the play's potentially lethal premise -- Iraq vet comes home to North Carolina, things don't go well, etc.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

News from Ireland

My review of the omnibus show Spinning the Times, made up of five monologues by five playwrights, is up at the Post today.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Pets, not animal companions

My preview of the Pet Shop Boys' New York shows is in today's Post.

It'd be preposterous to introduce the Boys' music at this point — or even focus on their latest album since the tour is more of a career retro — so I decided to zero in on their stagecraft. If a band can bring together pop heads and show-tune queens, it's this one. Appropriately, their current Pandemonium tour is staged by an opera and theater designer and choreographed by someone with two new shows on Broadway this season.