Friday, January 29, 2010

Time Stands Still

Believe me, it was really difficult to refrain from joking around the title of Donald Margulies' new play, Time Stands Still (reviewed today). In a reverse of the usual process, I wish Manhattan Theater Club would pick better material for the usually excellent casts it assembles — and here we have no less than Laura Linney, Brian d'Arcy James, Eric Bogosian and Alicia Silverstone (who more than holds her own).

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Venus in Fur

David Ives' Venus in Fur (my review here) just opened at CSC, aka the theater around the corner from Momofuku Milk Bar. I wish there were even more theaters in the East Village — the dining options are so much better than in the theater district. And don't throw the bounties of 9th Avenue at me: It just won't compare as long as there's no Saint's Alp or good banh mi.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Horton Foote and Shakespeare

Horton Foote's Orphans' Home Cycle concludes at last, and my review of the third and final installment is in today's paper. Yes, the show requires an investment in time (nine hours total, and you really can't see just part of it) and money, but it really takes you to a place quite unlike our own.

Also is today's paper is my love letter to Juliet Rylance, aka review of Sam Mendes' As You Like It over at BAM. Rylance was the best thing in the Theater for a New Audience's overrated Othello, and now she's the best thing in Mendes' middling As You Like It. Let's hope this won't turn into a pattern-- meaning, let's hope she gets better productions, not that she lowers her game!

Monday, January 25, 2010

A View from the Bridge

It's advertised as Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge but the way people here talk about it, the show really is Scarlett Johansson's A View from the Bridge. And guess what: She's very good in it — and I've never been a fan. More in my review, out in today's Post.

Oh, Liev Schreiber's in it too. Coincidentally we were watching Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock last night, and he popped up, all muscled up, wigged up and packing. It actually was a nice surprise to spot local stage faves like Dan Fogler, Christina Kirk, Jeremy Shamos and Mamie Gummer. Jonathan Groff plays a big part but the guy, handsome as he is, has little presence. Funny, that.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Does anybody remember laughter?

My review of the middling revival of Noel Coward's Present Laughter that opened last night on Broadway is in today's paper.

Friday, January 15, 2010

More Castle!

No, not the TV show Castle -- I love Nathan Fillion, but not enough to watch his latest vehicle.

Here I'm talking about Terry Castle. I've been a big fan for a while (see this earlier post) and so I was particularly delighted to see that the essays I mentioned a couple of years ago have been collected in one handy volume, The Professor and Other Writings. Yesssss! [pumps fist in geeky excitment] Sadly, what I wrote then still stands: As far as I know, Castle still doesn't have a regular outlet in the US, while The New Yorker's "humor" page continues to require quotation marks.

Even better, the titular essay makes up half of the book and is new. Despite being swamped with work right now, I couldn't help but take a peek, the same way I can't help lunge for a treat when a box of marrons glacés happens to be in the vicinity. Oh it's going to be so good! (I'll even overlook the reference to a "régime amaigrissante" instead of "régime amaigrissant" -- that's how much I love Castle's writing.)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The kids are alright

What a great title for a show: Once and for All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen (reviewed in today's paper). Actually, it could fit many plays… I'm glad this particular Belgian import — written and performed by teenagers — stopped by NYC, in any case. You only have until January 17 to catch it at the Duke on 42nd St.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Rachel Axler's Smudge is reviewed in today's Post. It plays at the Women's Project on W. 55th St., across the street from Alvin Ailey. The best part is watching the classes that take place in a large glassed-in studio at street level. Well worth a few minutes of your time if you're ever in that area.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Duking it out on WNYC

Tune in Tuesday, January 12, at 2pm EST as I guest on WNYC's Soundcheck. I'll argue that yes, rock has its place on Broadway. And when I say "tune in," that means you can also listen on the web, of course.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

From top to bottom in one fell swoop

It's not often that I see two shows that fall on opposite ends of the ratings scales in one evening. And yet that's what happened on Friday, when I caught Jerk at 6:3pm and John Cassavetes' Husbands at 8pm; I reviewed them together in today's Post. The former is by Dennis Cooper and Gisèle Vienne, the latter is Doris Mirescu's stage adaptation of the titular movie. One is amazing, the other inept. Go there to see which is which.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Little diamond in the rough

My review of Elaine Murphy's Little Gem is in today's Post. It's a slow way to start the year, but things are picking up with the Under the Radar festival. I caught two shows last night -- review in the paper on Monday -- and I can tell you it was a showcase of extremes.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Plunging into 2010

I came up with a brief list of shows I'm looking forward to this spring for the Post. Check it out here.