Thursday, December 29, 2011


Cheeseball alert at Theater for the New City! I'm referring to Hypnotik: The Seer Will Doctor You Now, and my full review's here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Close Up Space

Though it's common for critics to moan about all the bad plays we have to see, it's actually rare to be subjected to one as inept as Close Up Space, currently at MTC I.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Peter Pan

Peter Pan is back in town, and so is Cathy Rigby. Of course, I was there.

Lysistrata Jones

I liked Lysistrata Jones off Broadway, and I still like it on Broadway: a cheerier show is hard to find. Full review here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Farm Boy

Farm Boy, Michael Mopurgo's sequel (of sorts) to War Horse hits 59E59. Warning: no puppets on stage.

Monday, December 12, 2011

James X

My review of Gerard Mannix Flynn's James X, about abuse in church-run institutions in Ireland, is in today's paper.

On a Clear Day You Can See Forever

Michael Mayer's revisal of this 1965 musical maudit has finally opened, and my review's in today's paper. In brief: Instead of a show with a great score and a clunky book, we now have a show with a great score and a different clunky book. The more things change, the less they do.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Stick Fly

Lydia R. Diamond's sudser Stick Fly opened on Broadway last night. My glass half empty/glass half full review is here.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Maple and Vine

Two of my stage faves, Marin Ireland and Jeanine Serralles, star in Maple and Vine, and despite that cast plus a great premise, the show flounders.

Neighbourhood Watch

Alan Ayckbourn's 75th (!) play lands at 59E59. To, er, watch or not to watch? My take's here.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


New York Theatre Workshop may have a new Rent on its hands with Once, the stage version of the Irish movie. Read my review, then go buy a ticket — if there are any left.


Cillian Murphy stars in Enda Walsh's Misterman at St. Ann's Warehouse. And when I say "stars," I mean just that: He's terrific, plus he's alone onstage. Full review thataway.

Happy Hour

Ethan Coen complete his trifecta of one-act anthologies with Happy Hour. At least I hope he's done, because the shows have steadily worsened. More here.

Monday, December 05, 2011

The Cherry Orchard

CSC delivers a Cherry Orchard that's all over the map, and weirdly gripping in its own disjointed way. I elaborate here.

Elective Affinities

David Adjmi's tasty curtain-raiser, Elective Affinities, gets the deluxe treatment courtesy of director Sarah Benson and star Zoe Caldwell. My full review's here.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Bonnie & Clyde

Six months after Wonderland tanked, Frank Wildhorn has another musical on Broadway: Bonnie & Clyde, inspired by you-know-who. What I thought? Read on.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin

In my case it was an afternoon, since I saw this show at the Sunday matinee. Never mind the time: An Evening with Patti LuPone and Mandy Patinkin is a terrific production, and it certainly surprised me.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Theresa Rebeck's new Broadway comedy, Seminar, cruises into port with a great cast led by Alan Rickman and Lily Rabe. My review's here.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

If it's mid-November, it must be time for Yule cheer. Yep, I saw The Radio City Christmas Spectacular last year -- not sure if it was my 6th or 7th time. This edition introduced quite a few tweaks, and I wasn't crazy about all of them. More details in my review.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Private Lives

Kim Cattrall and Paul Gross duke it out in a revival of Private Lives on Broadway. Much to my surprise, I was delighted by Cattrall, while Gross -- whom I loved in Slings & Arrows -- left me cold.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays

The subtitle of the new anthology Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays needs a hyphen. After all, the pieces are about gay marriage -- they're not gay takes on marriage on general. More quibbles in my review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


Thomas Bradshaw moves up to off-Broadway with Burning, at the New Group. He insistently pushes a lot of buttons — like a man pressing a buzzer again and again and again. My review's thataway.

Monday, November 14, 2011

How Much Is Enough?

The Foundry Theatre examines our values in its new participatory piece, How Much Is Enough? A bit too consensual for my taste.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hugh Jackman, Back on Broadway

Who can carry this type of razzmatazz singing-and-dancing solo show at this point in time? I can only think of one, and it's Hugh Jackman. His Back to Broadway is a hoot, and left me grinning ear to ear.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nightwish is back!

I'm taking a break from linking to my theater reviews to breathlessly gush about the new Nightwish song. Yes, Nightwish, ie the most grandiose band on Earth, is back at long last. New single "Storytime" was worth the wait: It's basically steroidal neo-romantic metal Abba! Clearly this song was written just for me.

Also, the video has evil clowns.

The Blue Flower

When was the last time Second Stage did a musical? Could it have been Sherie Rene Scott's Everyday Rapture, back in May 2009?  That place doesn't produce many of them, and I'm afraid The Blue Flower, sweet and misguided, won't do much to change that attitude.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

King Lear

The third King Lear of the year is the weakest. Only hardcore fans -- of Sam Waterston, Bill Irwin or the play itself -- would want to catch this middling production at the Public.

Venus in Fur redux

After Other Desert Cities, another off-Broadway show moves up -- this time, Venus in Fur. Though the balance between the two characters is much improved with the casting of Hugh Dancy, I'm not sure David Ives had to make his play longer. At 1:45, it overstays its welcome.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011


Godspell is back on Broadway for the first time since 1977, and I really wish I'd liked the revival more. I may have been more lenient if I was 13. My review's here.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Other Desert Cities redux

Other Desert Cities reopens on Broadway with a couple of casting switcheroos: Rachel Griffiths in for Elizabeth Marvel, Judith Light in for Linda Lavin. How does the show fare?  My take here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Now the Cats with Jewelled Claws

Tennessee Williams wrote Now the Cats with Jewelled Claws two years before his death, and you can tell that 1) he had nothing to lose anymore and 2) his brain was foggy. Which means that it's completely fascinating, and the production at La MaMa stars no less than Everett Quinton and Mink Stole. My review's here.

Love's Labor's Lost

Shakespeare's comedy gets slightly Americanized at the Public — and that includes not just the title, but references to Beyoncé and "Boo-yah!" My review's here.

Monday, October 31, 2011


Ooops, forgot to link to my review of David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, now on Broadway. Here it is.

The Atmosphere of Memory

I seem to be in the minority to have enjoyed David Bar Katz's admittedly nutty play, The Atmosphere of Memory (review here). Is it realistic? No. Does it always make sense? No. Is it entertaining and surprising? Yes and yes. I never knew what was coming, which is a big plus for me.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Jesse Eisenberg wrote and co-stars in Asuncion, at the Cherry Lane Theatre. It had the potential to be a lot better, but fans of Eisenberg and Justin Bartha (swoon!) should see it. My review's here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Cries and Whispers

I consider myself an Ivo van Hove completist so I would have gone to see his Cries and Whispers at BAM no matter what. Admittedly, this isn't one of his best productions, though it does have a couple of his signature high-energy scenes. My review's thataway.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Big Apple Circus: Dream Big

The Big Apple Circus' latest show, Dream Big, is at Damrosch Park until early January. Our group had a great time, including our two special consultants (six and a half, eight and a half).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sons of the Prophet

Stephen Karam's new Sons of the Prophet is one of the best-received plays of the new season. I concur! Catch it if you can.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Relatively Speaking

Or, as it's been nicknamed, Relatively Unspeakable. Ethan Coen, Woody Allen and Elaine May strike out in their joint evening of one-act plays. I survived long enough to review it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

Mike Daisey tackles the cult of Apple in his new show at the Public -- review here. Turns out your shiny phone is made by Chinese children who work 70-hours weeks and develop arthritis in their 20s. Actually I say "your" because I don't have an iPhone, but I suspect the source of my cheapo LG isn't much better.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Mountaintop

Katori Hall's The Mountaintop opened last night. Here's the deal: Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, Martin Luther King Jr. And here's my review.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

We Live Here

Zoe Kazan's playwriting debut, We Live Here, just opened at MTC. I went, so you won't have to.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Lyons

Nicky Silver's latest, The Lyons, is also his best in ages. It helps that the cast is led by a Linda Lavin in top form. My very positive review's here.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Man and Boy

Frank Langella is the one and only reason to see the new revival of Man and Boy. A star vehicle? Sure, but there are worse things at the theater. My review, including a pan of Langella's hapless co-star, thataway.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

The Threepenny Opera

Hard to believe, but the Berliner Ensemble had never appeared in New York before its current run in The Threepenny Opera at BAM. Yowsa! Well worth a trip to Lafayette Avenue to see this troupe going at it full blast, even if as always, Robert Wilson's visuals look like a hip restaurant from the 1980s.

Motherhood Out Loud

An anthology of short pieces about motherhood opens at 59E59. The overall effect is like eavesdropping at a Park Slope playground. My review of Motherhood Out Loud is thataway.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling

Adam Rapp's latest — yes, he has yet another play out — is one of his best yet. Dreams of Flying Dreams of Falling (my review here) stars the incomparable Christine Lahti and Reed Birney, and is well worth a trip down to CSC. Plus that space sells excellent coffee in the lobby. Not that you'd need it, as the show is a zippy 90 minutes.

Monday, October 03, 2011


Too bad Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's Lidless takes a turn for the preposterous (my notes for the evening include "INSANE!"), because it has a promising start, and it's always a pleasure to watch Danielle Skraastad in action.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Lemon Sky

The Keen Company revives Lanford Wilson's 1970 memory play, Lemon Sky. Thataway for my review.

The Submission

Jeff Talbott's would-be-Mametian play, The Submission, is now at the Lucille Lortel. Main reason to go: Rutina Wesley, best known for playing the thankless role of Tara on True Blood. More in my review.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Bald Soprano

The Pearl brings back Ionesco's The Bald Soprano. It's only an hour but feels much longer. (If we were in Paris there would be no need to bring it back since it never left: The same production has been playing the Théâtre de la Huchette since 1957.)

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Yes, the period is part of the title in After., a new play by Chad Beckim. A little precious maybe, but don't let that stop you: This is a worthy show. And it's playing at the Wild Project, a nice little East Village theater that's conveniently located right across from Mama's, home of the best mac 'n' cheese in town.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Arias with a Twist

Joey Arias and Basil Twist's head trip, Arias with a Twist, is back for a limited run at Abrons. Go! Oh, you need more background? Fine, my review's here.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Cirque de Légume

Today's review is of Cirque de Légume, a nifty little Irish show that features enough vegetables to fulfill the food pyramid's requirements for a whole week.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Wood

Dan Klores' play about Mike McAlary, The Wood, is a letdown, considering the action's background: NY in the 1990s, tabloid wars, police brutality, old-school journalism. I wonder what would have happened if Richard Price had written that show.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Itamar Moses' Completeness, at Playwrights Horizons, is very, very chatty and yet feels…incomplete. That's my review for the day. I also in today's paper is our fall preview, in which I handled the forthcoming musicals — not that there's many of them on the horizon.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


The revival of Sondheim's awesome 1971 musical Follies just opened. As you can tell by my review, I was underwhelmed. Still, the score is rich enough to recommend a trip to the Marquis, especially if you get a discount ticket.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Select (The Sun Also Rises)

I was as engaged by The Select (The Sun Also Rises) as I was bored by Gatz. It's not just that this time, Elevator Repair Service abrided the book: The whole experience is more theatrical, a commentary on Hemingway's novel as much as an adaptation of it. Review here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Temporal Powers

The Mint continues its excavation of Teresa Deevy's forgotten oeuvre with Temporal Powers. Review in today's paper.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Hero: The Musical

Straight from Seoul, here comes Hero: The Musical. The least I can say about it is that we don't see this stuff everyday — and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was in the house! More in my review.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Tenant

After Sleep No More, another site-specific piece takes over an entire building: It's Woodshed Collective's adaptation of The Tenant, on the Upper West Side.  I wasn't impressed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ten Cents a Dance

John Doyle is back to his old tricks in Ten Cents a Dance, a Rodgers & Hart revue where the cast doubles up as the orchestra. I caught it in Williamstown (see my review of the revue) but you can also see the show at the McCarter in Princeton starting September 9.


Simon Russell Beale stars in a small show in an even smaller theater: today's review is of Bluebird, which is at the subterranean Atlantic Theatre 2. For fans of Mr. Beale only.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Legend of Julie Taymor

Straight from the headlines and into the Fringe's maw: It's The Legend of Julie Taymor! The Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode on the same topic is a lot better, and it's got a cameo by Patti Smith.

Tricks the Devil Taught Me

The Minetta Lane Theatre has a Texas-size problem of a show with Tricks the Devil Taught Me. It's not horribly bad, just inept. How long it will last is anybody's guess.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Yeast Nation

Unsurprisingly perhaps, the new musical Yeast Nation comes from the guys responsible for Urinetown. They've still got a lot of work to do on it, but at least I was able to refer to "yeastie boys" in my review.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Olive and the Bitter Herbs

Just a year after The Divine Sister comes another Charles Busch play, Olive and the Bitter Herbs. Only this time he's not in it and it's playing uptown. I quite enjoyed it, mostly because I find it hard to turn down a feast of old-school bitchery.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Talls

Second Stage Uptown for its emphasis on young playwrights, but sometimes the inexperience shows. There's such a clunky plot device in Anna Kerrigan's The Talls (reviewed today) that I had to wonder if anybody brought it up to the author, and if there was any attempt to smooth things out.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Rent is back! But really, it's as if it had never gone away, especially since the "new" production sticks to the original's spirit and MO. Just, you know, smaller — it's at New World Stages. Review here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


The Amoralists and Adam Rapp join forces again for HotelMotel, a site-specific double header in a room at the Gershwing Hotel. The evening grew thin but if you're an Amoralists or Rapp completist, you may want to catch this.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Uncle Vanya

Weekend in Washington, DC. Saturday featured trips to the Kennedy Center for Uncle Vanya starring Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving (my review here) and to Ben's Chili Bowl for hot dogs and half smokes.

Then the following day, we caught the drum & bugle Tour of Champions' Grand Finale at the New Meadowlands. Much to my surprise, the Cadets won, followed by the Blue Devils and the Cavaliers. I would have put the Cavaliers first, and the Phantom Regiment (a sentimental favorite) 2nd instead of 5th. But hey, what do I know about the intricacies of drum & bugle scoring?

Monday, August 08, 2011

Revisiting long-running shows

In yesterday's Post, I revisited some of NYC's longest-running shows. Can you believe The Phantom of the Opera has been on since 1988? Or that I, a huge ABBA fan, would harsh on Mamma Mia! as the weakest of the dinosaurs?

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Monday, August 01, 2011

Julius Caesar

The Royal Shakespeare Company opened its fifth and last show over the weekend. I quite enjoyed Julius Caesar, especially the two hours leading to intermission. But then I do like me some swords-and-sandal action seasoned with blood and guts.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Winter's Tale

Show No. 4 in the Royal Shakespeare Company's season at the Park Avenue Armory is the weakest one yet. This Winter's Tale is a big bore, especially if you were lucky enough to see Sam Mendes' version at BAM in 2009.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Silver Tassie

The Druid Theatre returns to the Lincoln Center Festival with The Silver Tassie. Some nice stuff in there, but the singing gets tiresome quickly. Why does it so quickly turn into annoying folklorisms in Irish productions?

A Doll's House

Lily Rabe's performance in A Doll's House is worth a trek to Williamstown. I sure am glad I did the trip last weekend. Rabe is the rare actress equally at ease in modern material and in classics.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

All New People

I'd been looking forward to Justin Bartha's return to the NY stage — I loved him in Lend Me a Tenor, and thought he'd been robbed of a Tony nomination. But Zach Braff's All New People isn't the right vehicle for him or for anybody else. Drats.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Patsy

David Greenspan plays the title role — and everybody else — in the Transport Group's revival of the 1925 comedy The Patsy. It's a bit of stunt, but it has its moments.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Death Takes a Holiday

I was eagerly waiting for Maury Yeston's new musical, but unfortunately Death Takes a Holiday is rather tepid. Drats.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

King Lear

The third show in the Royal Shakespeare Company's summer residency at the Park Avenue Armory is King Lear. Overall I greatly enjoyed it — it's much better than the drab production BAM presented in the spring. And it's always fun to see Goneril and Regan so relentlessly nasty!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hair...yet again

My third review of Diane Paulus' Hair revival is in today's paper. Yes, third: I wasn't at the Post when it played the Delacorte, but then I weighed in on the Broadway opening and the replacement cast. Now the national tour's in town for the summer.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Romeo and Juliet

The RSC's New York residency continues with Romeo and Juliet, directed by Rupert Goold. I loved the first half, but thought the energy was overwhelming in the second. Fatigue set in. Still, this is a dynamic production and worth attending for Mariah Gale's Juliet and Jonjo O'Neill's Mercutio. My review's here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

As You Like It

The Royal Shakespeare Company begins its residency at the Park Avenue Armory with As You Like It. I loved it, and if the other four plays in the run are only half as good, this will be a genuine feast not just for Bard-o-philes but for all fans of theater.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Master Class

Tyne Daly puts on the pantsuit and the carré Hermès as Maria Callas in Master Class. If you think that's a bit of a stretch, you're right. My review's here.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Sex Lives of Our Parents + Unnatural Acts

After going off the grid on vacation, I'm back and ready to rock the new season.

In the meantime, here are links to a pair of reviews I'd filed ahead and which were published while I was away: Unnatural Acts at the Vineyard and Sex Lives of Our Parents at Second Stage Uptown.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

4000 Miles

I didn't care much for Amy Herzog's After the Revolution but her latest, 4000 Miles, is delightful. Well worth a trip to the Duke on 42nd Street, especially since tickets are only $20. You could pay three times that for the privilege of seeing Mary Louise Wilson in action.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Side Effects

Today's review is of Side Effects at the Lucille Lortel. Ayee! Not a very good show, I'm afraid. The highlight of the evening I saw it was sitting behind Vanessa Redgrave -- whose daughter Joely Richardson is in the play.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Theater outside NYC

In today's Post, I offer some suggestions about catching theater out of town this summer. This is one of the few times when I wish I had a car -- so I could get myself to Williamstown and see everything. At least I can go to Vassar's Powerhouse Theater by train.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark redux

I saw Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark 2.0 last Friday and lived to write a review. Boy, what a ride it's been — getting this show to open, I mean, because the actual production isn't actually a ride. Or at least not a very fun one.

I also cooked up a handy timeline, so you can discover with astonishment that the seed was planted all the way back in 2002.

Monday, June 13, 2011

One Arm

More Tennessee Williams curios! This time it's One Arm, unearthed and put together from various drafts by Moisés Kaufman. Not a long lost masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but a worthy experience for Williams fans.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World

The Shaggs may not be a great musical, but it's a surprisingly warm, affectionate one — and very smart about varying perceptions and the pressures of family. I suspect those who love traditional musicals won't go for it, but fans of a certain brand of indie rock — and a certain indie spirit — should. I certainly did. Click here for my review.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Through a Glass Darkly

Don't mess with the master! Yes, I'm a bit of a Bergman freak (I even have a magnet of his face on my fridge), but even a dabbler could tell that the stage adaptation of Through a Glass Darkly completely misses the point of the movie. I liked Carey Mulligan's performance but that ending left me steaming. More thoughts here.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Lysistrata Jones

Yay, another good musical! What a spring season! Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn's Lysistrata Jones is a cheerleader update of the Aristophanes chestnut. It's ridic good fun. Full review here.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Best Is Yet to Come

The Cy Coleman revue The Best Is Yet to Come is now at 59E59. I actually love Coleman's work — one of the most swinging on Broadway — but the show is frustratingly uneven. My review's here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cradle and All

Daniel Goldfarb's Cradle and All opened at MTC last night. Listening to yuppies talk about having kids — or not — isn't really exotic when you live in Park Slope.

Monday, May 23, 2011


Jerry is 40 and about to be a dad, so naturally he has a lot to talk about. That's pretty much the plot of Knickerbocker, which just opened at the Public. My review's here.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Lucky Guy

The new musical Lucky Guy brought me back to those heady 1990s and their kitschy revues. With several judicious cuts (20 songs?!), it could be a nifty show. Review here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Radio Play

Reggie Watts and Tommy Smith's Radio Play left me cold at PS 122. I suspect my enjoyment of the show may have been enhanced by the ingestion of brain-altering substances but alas, I went in perfectly sober.

Monday, May 16, 2011


It's not easy to pull off shock tactics. The Amoralists mostly succeed, but their feats only underline how hard it is to pull off shock tactics. The gory new off-off-Broadway show Squealer, at Theater for the New City, is an example of how not to do it. Still, it's always a pleasure to see Sarah Lemp in action.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark

Oh man, how excellent is Lynn Nottage's new play! By the Way, Meet Vera Stark is just fantastic, both hilarious and very sharp. Click here for my review.

Monday, May 09, 2011

A Minister's Wife

A Minister's Wife opened last night at Lincoln Center. It's a musical adaptation of Shaw's Candida, and is fairly bloodless...until the very end. Talk about a late wake-up call.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

King Lear

Michael Grandage and Derek Jacobi's King Lear is at BAM, and my review was in yesterday's paper. If you're keen on seeing a Lear, there's two more productions coming later this year, so you may want to sit this one out.

Friday, May 06, 2011

The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide...

Tony Kushner's The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures has finally landed. It's not everyday you hear discussions of dialectical materialism on a New York stage, but boy is this show a slog. My review's thataway.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Be a Good Little Widow

I really liked Bekah Brunstetter's new play, Be a Good Little Widow. It's at Ars Nova (meaning you can get cheap tix) through May, and well worth a trip to west west W. 54th St.

Monday, May 02, 2011

The School for Lies

I loved David Ives' The School for Lies, a rhymed riff on The Misanthrope. The Rialto is celebrating the end of the season but what they mean is the end of the Broadway season — this new show is proof that the Off scene continues unabated.

Leslie Kritzer's back

On yesterday's paper, I previewed Leslie Kritzer's new solo show at Joe's Pub. You can still catch it tonight and tomorrow night. It's nice to see the Kritz back at Joe's, where she triumphed in the classic Leslie Kritzer Is Patti LuPone at Les Mouches back in 2006-07.

Friday, April 29, 2011

The People in the Picture

The Broadway season ends with a flaming fiasco: The People to the Picture, brought to us by the Roundabout. It's a well-meaning musical, but also completely pandering and clumsily executed.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Baby It's You!

The Florence Greenberg/Shirelles musical Baby It's You! has just opened on Broadway. It's not atrocious, but it's not very good either — mostly because of an insultingly broad book. Why do these people keep underestimating audiences??

The Normal Heart

Larry Kramer's 1985 pamphlet, The Normal Heart, makes its Broadway debut in a topnotch production. If someone's on a roll right now, it's Joe Mantello, who directed hits last year and is now back on stage — and great at it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The House of Blue Leaves

What a weird thing The House of Blue Leaves is. The new revival by David Cromer doesn't quite hit the wide, wide breadth of tones the play encompasses, but it stays with you. Edie Falco and Jennifer Jason Leigh are particularly great to watch. My review's over there.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Born Yesterday

Garson Kanin's 1946 play Born Yesterday comes back to Broadway. The lead reason to see it: a star-is-born turn by Nina Arianda. Oh yes, she is that good.

Friday, April 22, 2011


I'm glad for any opportunity I get to see Mark Rylance on stage but Jerusalem doesn't live up to its hype — Jez Butterworth really overreaches in that third act. Thataway for my review.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sister Act

I don't have any particular attachment to the Whoopi Goldberg movie Sister Act, so it was fairly easy for me to enjoy the musical version as, ahem, superior.

I particularly loved Alan Menken's little tributes to Gamble & Huff (the story has been moved to 1978 Philly), and the cast is firing on all cylinders. Would it be wrong to say the show is a hell of a good time?


Christopher Shinn's new play, Picked, is a complete misfire. In a season as vibrant as the one we're in, it doesn't stand a chance.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


On the one hand, High is a pretty bad play. On the other, it stars Kathleen Turner. And boy, does she still have it! My review of this purple melodrama thataway.

Monday, April 18, 2011


Frank Wildhorn is back on Broadway! This time he tackles a loose Lewis Carroll adaptation with Wonderland, at the cavernous Marquis. Thank god for Susan Hilferty and her costumes, because there's not much else happening on that stage. Go there for my review.

Friday, April 15, 2011

War Horse

Today's review is of the extraordinary War Horse, currently at the Vivian Beaumont at Lincoln Center.

I'm not much of a horse person, but I sure am a WWI person — my mother's family is from Lorraine, where much of the bloodiest front was, and I've always been interested in that particular conflict. So the play's setting hit me particularly hard.

In any case, you just need to be a theater person to enjoy this show.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sleep No More

The London company Punchdrunk lives up to its reputation with its first New York show, Sleep No More. I absolutely loved this immersive haunted-house ride, so much so that I'm already planning a return visit.

In short: You wander through 6 floors and 100 rooms, free to explore at will or follow actors. It's Macbeth (particularly Orson Welles' version) but also The Shining, Vertigo, Rebecca, Eyes Wide Shut and drum & bass. Just fantastic.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Go Back to Where You Are

David Greenspan's new Go Back to Where You Are just opened at Playwrights Horizons' upstairs space. My review's here.

Speaking of Playwrights, I was there last night to catch up with Kin. I wasn't the only one: Vanessa Redgrave was there, too. Star sighting!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Motherf**ker with the Hat

I really like Chris Rock so I'm a bit sad to report that he's underwhelming in his Broadway debut, The Motherfucker with the Hat (I use the marquee's spelling in the subject line). I hope people will give Stephen Adly Guirgis' play a chance though, because it's better than Rock.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Catch Me If You Can

You've seen the Steven Spielberg movie about a charming scammer, now see its musical adaptation on Broadway. Catch Me If You Can opened last night and all I can say is: Thank God for Butz! Norbert Leo Butz, that is: He's the heart and soul of the show, which would be flatlining without him. My review's over there.

Saturday, April 09, 2011


I went to the Philharmonic's Company on Thursday, and managed not to be blinded by the stars packed on that stage (review here). I have to admit, I feel that a lot of my colleagues drank the celebrity Kool-Aid on that one — it was fun, but not all that great from a production point of view.

Other than that, I discussed some Spring Broadway shows with Adam Feldman from Time Out on WNYC. You can hear the conversation here.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Anything Goes

Kathleen Marshall's revival of Anything Goes hits the Stephen Sondheim Theater. Ah, Sutton Foster … can she do any wrong? So she's not perfectly cast as Reno Sweeney — that doesn't make her less fun to watch. Click here for my review.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


It's the Spring of Macbeth here in New York. First there was the Theater for a New Audience version, now there's the Cheek by Jowl version at BAM. I usually like Declan Donnellan's work but this production is meh — yes, a meh Macbeth. How is that even possible?

Anyway, still to come if Punchdrunk's Sleep No More, which is Macbeth as a choose-your-own-adventure show. More on that next week.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Marie and Bruce

The New Group's revival of Marie and Bruce isn't a fun ride but it's definitely worth investigating. Fun fact: The Sheila and I saw the show on our anniversary night. Considering Wallace Shawn's play is about a toxic marriage, it was an auspicious, er, treat. We repaired to the West Bank Cafe afterwards. All in all, a good night out!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Feeling stripey

I've been a fan of St. James T-shirts and sweaters for years now, and the Sheila has joined me in stripe love. So it's no surprise that I love the new away jersey that Nike has designed for the French soccer team — it's so effortlessly cool that even the über-trendy store Colette carries it. The two designs Nike has come up with for the team so far have both been winners — much better than the atrocities Adidas forked out by the end of their contract. The away version is a take on the classic marinière design, while the home version is a thing of beautiful simplicity, even if it looks like, well, a rugby jersey.

Add a good new coach, convincing victories over England and Brazil in the past few months, and I think we'll soon be able to put the last World Cup behind us.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter

I'm a big fan of the Amoralists' work but their latest, Bring Us the Head of Your Daughter, left me frustrated. More than plot problems, it raises the issue of what miscasting can do to a play.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend

Mike Birbiglia is back with another solo show, My Girlfriend's Boyfriend. I enjoyed it but at the end of the day, what's the line between stand-up and theater? The lack of a drink minimum at the latter? There should be more than that. My review's over there.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was a Pulitzer finalist last year, but the true reason it's on Broadway is that Robin Williams is in it. I wasn't overly impressed — as with Gruesome Playground Injuries a few months ago, Joseph bites more than he can chew.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

La Cage aux Folles redux

Last week I revisited Terry Johnson's revival of La Cage aux Folles to check out the two new leads, Christopher Sieber and Harvey Fierstein. And while Douglas Hodge still holds a special place in my heart, I quite enjoyed the new pair.

The Other Place

Laurie Metcalf rocks The Other Place at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. Just…wow. A performance of impeccable command and vulnerability. She's well worth the price of admission. Thataway for my review.

Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Frank Loesser's 1961 tuner gets a good revival starring Daniel Radcliffe -- and I liked it. Oh he tries so hard and is so adorable doing so!

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Dream of the Burning Boy

Soft-spoken drama The Dream of the Burning Boy opens at the Roundabout's black-box theater. It doesn't add up to much, but Reed Birney gives yet another great performance. I saw him eat at Green Symphony (love that place) a few weeks ago and almost went all stalker-fan on him. Fortunately I somehow preserved my dignity.

The Book of Mormon

Can I see this show again? Like, right now? I loved loved loved The Book of Mormon (my rave here). Tap dancing and explosive diarrhea: What more do you want, people!?!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ghetto Klown

John Leguizamo's latest solo show, Ghetto Klown, opened last night on Broadway. It was hard steering clear from the Krusty jokes, but I managed to do so in today's review. Don't worry, there's another K crack in there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hello Again

Come again? Yes, it's the return of Michael John LaChiusa's musical Hello Again. The Transport Group has staged it — rather unnecessarily in my view — in a Soho loft. I can't say it's site-specific because that would imply the show takes place in a specific location, and it doesn't. There's enough good moments to make this worthy, though, especially if you like LaChiusa's score (and I do).

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Comedy of Errors

There's some serious mayhem happening at BAM -- I'm talking about the Propeller Company's staging of The Comedy of Errors. I absolutely loved it, though you may want to think twice if the prospect of a Looney Tunes version of Shakespeare makes you shudder. Me, I see so much "respectable" Shakespeare that I'm more than happy to see people go at it with imagination and mad skillz.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert

I have a few reservations but overall I had a swell time at Priscilla Queen of the Desert -- the musical that just won't give up trying to entertain you. The "MacArthur Park" number alone is worth the price of admission. "Someone left the cake out in the rain": Oh yes they did!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Arcadia is, for many, Tom Stoppard's masterpiece. A revival opened again on Broadway last night and, well, I'm not part of the fans. Talking about intellectual matters doesn't automatically make one deep.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cactus Flower

I'm a big fan of farce but when it's mishandled, it's just painful. So don't bother with the revival of Barillet and Grédy's Cactus Flower currently at the Westside Theatre. My pan's here.

Peter and the Starcatcher

Who would have thought a Disney Theatricals project would ever end up at New York Theatre Workshop? Yet Peter and the Starcatcher is on E. 4th St., and it's doing great business. I found the show a bit too manic but still worthy. My review's here.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


With a title in all-caps followed by three exclamation marks, you know SWAN!!! isn't going to be your regular stage version of Black Swan. I previewed the show -- which stars Jack Ferver, Jenn Harris and Randy Harrison, among others -- in today's Post.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Method Gun

Rude Mechs' latest show, The Method Gun, is currently at Dance Theater Workshop (which places more emphasis on the "Theater" part of its name in this case). I've liked the company's work in the past, but this piece about a fictional acting teacher felt half-baked to me.

Monday, March 07, 2011

That Championship Season

Wow, is the revival of That Championship Season bad! Wild horses could not have kept the Sheila in her seat: She was out like a flash at intermission. Not only is the play creaky, but the acting is seriously underwhelming. At Broadway prices, there's no excuse.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


A stage adaptation of David Almond's YA novel Skellig has just started a run at the New Victory Theatre. Not among the best things I've seen at the New Vic — one of my favorite NY houses — but still, a perfectly fine show if you want to take a kid out without insulting their (or your) intelligence. Thataway for my review.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Good People

I'd hated David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole but I loved his new play, Good People (reviewed in today's paper). Color me stunned, especially since the show is at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre -- a house I'd been considering cursed because I never seem to like anything there. Yay!

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Beautiful Burnout

The Black Watch team returns to St. Ann's Warehouse with Beautiful Burnout, a play about boxing set to Underworld tunes. I liked it quite a bit, despite the fact that the story is completely predictable — but isn't it the case with all boxing stories anyway?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Timon of Athens

A good, pared-down production of Shakespeare's ill-loved Timon of Athens is at the Public until Sunday -- and costs a meager $15. My review's here.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Hallway Trilogy

Adam Rapp goes two for three in his new Hallway Trilogy at the Rattlestick. Rapp's one of my favorite American playwrights so I'm always happy to see his work. My review's here.

As a side note, I spent all of Sunday at or near the Rattlestick and on one of the breaks I finally went to Taïm for the first time. Its reputation is richly deserved.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vieux Carré

The Wooster Group revives Tennessee Williams' Vieux Carré -- which had played Broadway for a total of 17 performances back in 1977. I enjoyed it more than the last two Wooster shows I caught, "Hamlet" and North Atlantic, but still felt it petered out halfway through. May we have a case of diminishing returns here?

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Diary of a Madman

Geoffrey Rush lets it rip in The Diary of a Madman at BAM. You've got less than a month left to see him. In the meantime, my review's here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Interviewing the Audience

I was blissfully off the grid for the past few days, so here's a belated link to my review of Interviewing the Audience at the Vineyard.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Black Tie

I found A.R. Gurney's latest play, Black Tie, oddly defensive. For instance, the idea of WASPs being mocked and/or made uncomfortable by Jewish comics (Jackie Mason is name-dropped, and the show refers to a made-up comedian named Seymour Schwartz) feels so…dated — to put it mildly.

Thataway for my review.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Yep, most of the critics decided enough was enough and wrote about Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark today — which was the opening date at one point.

Amazingly, my take-down is one of the kindest reviews out there.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Lost in the Stars

Encores! is presenting a very good concert version of Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson's Lost in the Stars through the weekend. I caught in on Thursday (review here) and highly recommend it.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Three Sisters

It looks like I'm going to be the minority opinion on this one: I didn't care for the Three Sisters production at CSC. It's a great cast on paper, but there's no life on stage. That's pushing Chekhov's theme a bit far.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Gruesome Playground Injuries + The Whipping Man

Double-barrel attack in the Post today, with a pair of reviews from big off-Broadway houses.

First off is Gruesome Playground Injuries, starring Pablo Schreiber and Jennifer Carpenter, at Second Stage. I've been a Schreiber fan since the second season of The Wire, where he played Nick Sobotka, and he doesn't disappoint here. I hear he's now in the new FX series Lights Out, so gotta check that one out.

Then we have The Whipping Man at MTC. Good performance by André Braugher but the play is so maddeningly earnest...

Monday, January 31, 2011

The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore

The Roundabout's revival of Tennessee Williams' The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore gently goes off the rails. Or, more accurately, it never gets on the rails. My review's here.

Friday, January 28, 2011

What the Public Wants

Arnold Bennett's What the Public Wants is about a tabloid magnate who ... I'll say no more! Just know that the play was written in 1909 and is freakishly prescient. My review of the Mint company's revival is thataway.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Uberbowl

The closest I get to American football is Friday Night Lights, which the Sheila and I have just started watching. (Yeah, we're years behind. Whatevs.) But I'm looking forward to the Uberbowl at Joe's Pub on February 6. At last, a Super Bowl party for those of us who don't know their tight ends from their running backs. You can read all about it in my preview here.

And now, back to the Australian Open, and wondering if Maria Riesch will prevail over Lindsey Vonn.

The New York Idea

David Auburn does a "gut renovation" of the 1906 play The New York Idea. Alas, the production lacks zip. My review's here.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Walk Across America for Mother Earth

I'm bummed to report that Taylor Mac's new show, The Walk Across America for Mother Earth, is a total misfire. Something unexpected did happen the night I went, so head over to my review for more details.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Room 17B

The Parallel Exit company delivers a neat little evening of physical comedy with Room 17B, now playing at 59E59. My review's here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Satire is hard. Hollywood satire harder still. Scott Brooks couldn't pull it off in ScreenPlay at 59E59. My pan's here.

Monday, January 17, 2011

John Gabriel Borkman

Alan Rickman, Fiona Shaw and Lindsay Duncan rock BAM's Harvey Theatre in John Gabriel Borkman, a semi-obscure play by Ibsen (my review's here).

The on-stage blizzard at the end hit a little too close to home -- there were still banks of snow outside the theater when I saw the show last week -- but you could also argue the real storm is the one happening on Fiona Shaw's face. What a great performance!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Other Desert Cities

The second of today's two reviews is Jon Robin Baitz's Other Desert Cities, which is crackling at Lincoln Center. The play's very good and the cast will make your head explode -- Stockard Channing gives her best performance in years.

The Importance of Being Earnest

The first of today's two reviews is the Roundabout revival of The Importance of Being Earnest at the American Airlines. I know, I know: period piece plus Roundabout usually equals yawns, but this one's fun.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Blood from a Stone

Today's review is of Blood from a Stone, a new drama by rookie Tommy Nohilly, presented by the New Group. Ethan Hawke, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Natasha Lyonne, etc. Good people, not-so-good play.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Green Eyes

Lord no, not the Coldplay song: Today's review is of a long-lost Tennessee Williams one-act play from 1970 called Green Eyes. It's not going to make us reconsider his latter-years output, but it's an interesting show because it's staged in an actual hotel room.

Friday, January 07, 2011

A Small Fire

Today's review is of Adam Bock's new show, A Small Fire, at Playwrights Horizons. A good cast led by Michele Pawk and Reed Birney, but the play doesn't add up to all that much. Watch for the talkbacks featuring Oliver Sacks! (Just kidding -- though they'd make sense.)

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

My stage debut

To the wild clamoring of strictly no one, I will make my stage debut in the January installment of Project Shaw, 1912's Androcles and the Lion — yes, I'm starting off with no less than a play by George Bernard Shaw!

Much to my relief, I only have six lines. More fun is the fact that the cast is entirely made up of theater wags. You've seen their bylines, now come hear their lines.

Tickets are $25 and you can get them here.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Coil festival

I open the new year with a preview of the upcoming Coil festival, organized by PS 122. It happens at the same time as the Public's Under the Radar fest, so those interested in theater's outer limits are going to be busy for the next two weeks.