Monday, October 21, 2019

Review

Review: Evoking nostalgia with an eye to the future in ‘American Utopia’

“We’re on a road to nowhere,” David Byrne sings in the final encore of his Broadway concert, “American Utopia,” at the Hudson Theatre. Can...

Review: A return to gloom in ‘The Sound Inside’

Pop quiz question: Can you name a single writer darker than Dostoevsky? The options are few, but I hereby nominate Adam Rapp, the playwright and...

Review: ‘The Lightning Thief’ inventively reveals the demigods among us

You think your dad (or mom) is a deadbeat? Consider the plight of the young characters in “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical,”...

Review: Comedy trumps romanticism in this ‘Rose Tattoo’

As Serafina Delle Rose, a grieving Italian-American widow struggling to open herself to life again in Tennessee Williams’s “The Rose Tattoo,” Marisa Tomei bares...

Review: In ‘Linda Vista,’ one man’s spiral creates a tornado

A sad romantic comedy sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it’s an apt-enough description of “Linda Vista,” a slight but funny and quietly...

Review: ‘Slave Play’ questions more than it answers

If there’s anything more boring than hearing about other people’s dreams, it’s hearing about their therapy sessions. And, to my mind, hearing about people's sexual...

Review: ‘Freestyle Love Supreme’ expertly treads the tightrope of improv

If “gerund” isn’t the very last word I ever expected to hear uttered on a Broadway stage, it’s probably pretty darn close. Broadway rarely...

Review: LBJ receives a lengthy reprise in ‘The Great Society’

When incendiary current events are leaping from your TV screen into your lap on an almost hourly basis, a play such as “The Great...

Review: Tracking a moving center in ‘The Height of the Storm’

As a literary luminary slowly sinking into senility, thrashing through his failing memory like a man battling the suffocating grip of quicksand, Jonathan Pryce...

Review: Derren Brown brings a sense of wonder to Broadway

Where did that infernal banana go?  This is not the kind of question you expect to be rattling around your brain during an evening of...

Review: A love triangle turns inward in ‘Betrayal’

There are three principal characters, unfixed points in an adulterous romantic triangle, in Harold Pinter’s 1978 play “Betrayal,” now being revived to thrilling —...

Review: Life, death and the banalities in between in ‘Sea Wall/A Life’

Love and marriage. Birth and death. Sorrows and joys. Loss and renewal. Bacon and eggs.  Whoops — sorry! My mind wandered to breakfast plans while...

Review: ‘Moulin Rouge!’ hits Broadway with a panache of pop

The Broadway exclamation point — once a marquee staple, later an overused joke — makes a roaring comeback with “Moulin Rouge!” This new musical,...

Review: A blending of the prosaic and the poetic in ‘Frankie and Johnny’

It’s only in the final moments of the moving new Broadway revival of Terrence McNally’s “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune” that...

Review: In ‘Beetlejuice,’ death comes to life

For a musical jubilantly proclaiming that its overriding theme is death, “Beetlejuice” has a surprisingly lively spring in its step. As is well known...

Review: ‘Ink’ takes a multi-paged romp through tabloid journalism

“People like stories,” says Rupert Murdoch — a fictional Rupert Murdoch, that is — just before the lights dim on the last scene of...

Review: ‘Tootsie’ gets the laughs, but not the music

The familiar rap on flawed Broadway musicals usually goes something like this: “Well, the score is great...but the book has problems.” Enter “Tootsie,” red...

Review: A superb ‘All My Sons’ revitalizes a classic drama

There must be something in the cultural moment because two major and starry revivals of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons” are opening this week....

Review: After the fall of the emperor, confusion reigns in ‘Gary’

There are no guarantees of success when attempting to stage ambitious new work. If one were seeking proof that the theater can be a...

Review: Skimming the surface of semi-fiction in ‘Hillary and Clinton’

Hillary: Likable or not? Likable enough? And if not, why not? Those much-discussed questions, asked and answered ad nauseam over the course of her two...

Review: An exhilarating ‘Hadestown’ revitalizes a classic love story

The road to hell is paved with heavenly music in “Hadestown,” the exuberant, exhilarating new musical that stands tall among a season of mostly...

Review: A blazing Adam Driver commands the stage in ‘Burn This’

Winter storms may be in the rearview mirror, but idle storm chasers should know that there’s a tempest being whipped up nightly at the...

Review: A distracted ‘Oklahoma!’ skims the emotional surface

The new Broadway revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Oklahoma!” could be compared to a surrey with a little too much fringe on top, to...

Review: A scorching Glenda Jackson leads the way for the women of ‘King Lear’

Women are in firm control of the kingdom in Broadway’s Cort Theatre, where a new revival of “King Lear,” starring Glenda Jackson in the...

Review: An act of resistance in ‘What the Constitution Means to Me’

The layered and strategic structure underpinning Heidi Schreck’s “What The Constitution Means To Me” could easily be underestimated. That is because the wacky and...

Review: ‘Ain’t Too Proud’ hits the steps, but not the story

Broadway’s proudest moments of the past couple of decades have rarely – er, make that never – included any of the long parade of...

Review: Kelli O’Hara soars in a revised ‘Kiss Me, Kate’

Spring was tardy this year, so if you are still suffering from seasonal affective disorder, you might try some therapeutic theater courtesy of the...

Review: ‘Be More Chill’s’ slick production misses a moral center

Much has been made of “Be More Chill’s” unusual path to Broadway. Originally produced to middling response at New Jersey’s Two River Theater, the...

Review: A classic sibling battle gains new depth in ‘True West’

Toxic masculinity may be a growing blight on society, but for spectacular proof that onstage, at least, it can also be vital entertainment, look...

Review: ‘Choir Boy’ vibrates with emotion, moves with lyrical dialogue

Spiraling in the light, fog stealthily transforms schoolboys in their locker room into living sculptures, accompanied only by the insistent atonal plinking of dripping...

Review: ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ holds court, without the drama

“All rise!” is the exhortation upon which Aaron Sorkin’s new adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird” ends, and, sure enough, before the curtain could...

Review: Christmas gone wrong at ‘Ruben & Clay’

Toward the merciful end of “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Show,” or as it is also called, “Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas...

Review: A slick ‘Network’ showcases Bryan Cranston’s talent

If satire is what closes on Saturday night, as George S. Kaufman famously said, how can one explain the roaring success of Broadway’s “Network,”...

Review: ‘The Cher Show’ offers a bumpy ride through an icon’s career

Fame may be a “fleeting bitch,” according to the title character in “The Cher Show” — and who would know better? Temperamental she may be,...

Review: ‘The Illusionists’ is all tricks, but little magic

The Vegas-style entertainment show “The Illusionists” has returned to Broadway in time for the holidays. Unfortunately this latest iteration, the group’s fourth appearance on...

Review: ‘The Prom’ finds meaning amid the glitz

“Make ‘em laugh, then make a point!” Borrowing a cultural meme to describe the new musical “The Prom” seems fair game because the show...

Review: With warm humor, ‘The New One’ tackles the question of procreation

In “The New One,” which has transferred to Broadway after a sold-out run off-Broadway this past summer writer and comedian Mike Birbiglia improbably begins...

Review: ‘King Kong’ is a lackluster vehicle for a star gorilla

He can’t sing a note. They definitely don’t make tap shoes in his size. And, aside from some extremely expressive growls and roars, he...

Review: ‘American Son’ takes a piercing look at our country

“Everything’s coming apart,” cries Kendra, a distraught mother who’s awaiting news of her missing boy, in “American Son,” an arrestingly topical drama by Christopher...

Review: A reincarnated ‘Torch Song’ blazes with newfound comedy

Seeing the original “Torch Song Trilogy” off-Broadway in 1982 remains an indelible theater-going memory — so much so that I approached the current Broadway...

Review: An exquisite blend of humor and sorrow in ‘The Waverly Gallery’

To laugh or to cry? That mostly theoretical cliché becomes a matter of actual, uncomfortable urgency as you watch the superlative Broadway revival of...

Review: ‘The Ferryman’ brims with life as a threat looms

A man’s death casts a seemingly endless shadow over a family’s life in “The Ferryman,” the breathtakingly good, devastating drama by Jez Butterworth that...

Review: ‘The Lifespan of a Fact’ loses drama to the truth

Fact: I began my career in journalism as a fact-checker at a magazine in Los Angeles. Opinion: My experience with this oft-tedious task unfortunately did...

Review: Colorful characters punch up ‘The Nap’

Snooker, anyone? Anyone? British plays may be as abundant on Broadway as mushrooms in a rain-soaked forest, but “The Nap,” by Richard Bean, may...

Review: An exploration of female power in ‘Bernhardt/Hamlet’

Playing the great Belle Époque actress Sarah Bernhardt, who is herself, preparing to play Hamlet, Janet McTeer proves to be a woman not only...

Review: ‘Pretty Woman’ is a cardboard cutout of the movie

It’s very sweet that, as in the movie, the two unlikely lovers in the musical “Pretty Woman” end up rescuing one another from their...

Review: The same old story at ‘Gettin’ the Band Back Together’

Before the curtain rises on the new musical “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” at the Belasco Theatre, Ken Davenport, the show’s lead producer, who...

Review: ‘Head Over Heels’ can’t find the beat

Summer is not officially the silly season on Broadway, but you might be forgiven for assuming so should you wander into the Hudson Theatre,...

Review: A lesson in sympathy from ‘Straight White Men’

In case you have been singing loudly with your fingers stuffed in your ears for, say, a year and a half, you have probably...

Review: ‘The Boys in the Band’ still resonates beneath the laughs

“Thanks for the laughs,” says Harold, whose disorderly birthday celebration is the occasion on which the men in “The Boys in the Band” gather...

Review: Denzel Washington radiates energy in ‘Iceman Cometh’

When Denzel Washington, who plays the salesman Hickey in the shatteringly good Broadway revival of “The Iceman Cometh,” unleashes his dazzling smile, it’s fair...

Review: Historical exposition weighs down a solidly acted ‘Saint Joan’

George Bernard Shaw’s plays are performed so rarely on major New York stages that it’s hard not to feel grateful for a chance to...

Review: ‘Travesties’ dazzles with zany wit

“Da, da!” when translated as “Yes, yes!” is a fittingly celebratory salutation to greet the sparkling and incisive revival of Tom Stoppard’s “Travesties” which...

Review: At ‘Summer,’ the disco ball has spun off its axis

Someone really did leave the damn cake out in the rain. That’s my metaphorical summation of “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” Fans will recognize...

Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ brings magic to Broadway

If massive success on Broadway could ever be a foregone conclusion, “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” would indubitably be the show to bet...

Review: ‘My Fair Lady’ is a beautifully polished antique

Impeccable is the first word that springs to mind to describe the Lincoln Center Theater revival of Lerner and Loewe’s “My Fair Lady.” But...

Review: A layered ‘Carousel’ finds new depth

At the core of “Carousel,” which has been revived with breathtaking emotional intensity at the Imperial Theatre, is a dark fatalism that trails the...

Review: ‘Children of a Lesser God’ struggles to connect

The challenges that all of us must confront in order to achieve meaningful human connection is the central theme of Mark Medoff’s play “Children...

Review: ‘Mean Girls’ is funny, but not fresh

Does it make me a mean girl if I say that “Mean Girls,” the new Broadway musical based on — well, duh! — is,...

Review: ‘Three Tall Women’ looks at life head on

Unless you have a raging fever, an ice bath wouldn’t seem like a particularly pleasurable experience. And yet “Three Tall Women,” Edward Albee’s late-career...

Review: ‘Rocktopia’ feels like a Vegas act on Broadway

If only what happened in Budapest stayed in Budapest. I have nothing in particular against the city, really. I quite enjoyed my one visit...

Review: ‘Lobby Hero’ is a small play about big ideas

Life is never simple. Nor is trying to figure out what kind of lives we aspire to lead. Even if we can decide what...

Review: ‘Angels in America’ is as resonant and urgent as ever

“The world only spins forward,” says Prior Walter, ravaged with AIDS but still enduring, in the culminating speech of “Angels in America,” Tony Kushner’s...

Review: ‘Frozen’ freezes up on stage

Should hell freeze over — and given global environmental trends, well, who knows? — it’s possible that “Frozen” will not be Disney’s next from-now-until-eternity...

Review: ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ provides fun for Buffett fans and the masses

Jimmy Buffett believers, also known as “Parrotheads,” are going to have a whale of a good time at “Escape to Margaritaville" which opened at...

Review: Bernadette Peters shimmers and delights in ‘Hello, Dolly!’

All those who declined to take out a second mortgage to buy a pair on the aisle for Bette Midler in “Hello, Dolly!” can...

Review: John Lithgow hosts a fireside chat in ‘Stories By Heart’

John Lithgow is a mighty fine actor, and an all-around decent fellow judging from two hours spent in his company at his solo show,...

Review: In ‘Farinelli and the King,’ music soothes us all

“Music hath charms to soothe a savage breast, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.” So wrote 17th-century playwright William Congreve. With that...

Review: ‘The Children’ is an exquisite look at human life

The room is a very modestly furnished kitchen: mismatched chairs around a table, a miniature refrigerator, a scruffy but cozy-looking armchair, slightly out of...

Review: ‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ is far from ‘a simple sponge’

A new kind of cockeyed optimist has arrived at the Palace Theatre in the form of SpongeBob SquarePants, the indefatigably cheery anthropomorphic hero of...

Review: A heartwarming breeze from ‘Once on This Island’

Continual waves of radiance, warming the blood and stirring the heart, flow forth from the sand-covered stage of the Circle in the Square Theatre,...

Review: ‘The Parisian Woman’ delves into current politics, but with little effect

Sleepy times, right? No drama emanating from our nation’s capital. Barely enough sensation to fill a single page of a broadsheet. Nary a shocking...

Review: ‘Meteor Shower’ misses the mark with its scattered plot

The stars supply most of the fireworks in “Meteor Shower,” a scattershot – and even scatterbrained – comedy of bad manners by Steve Martin...

Review: ‘Latin History for Morons’ gives us footnotes, not a lesson

In spite of significant limitations, it would be churlish not to acknowledge the ambitious aims and wide-ranging scope of “Latin History For Morons”, a...

Review: In ‘The Band’s Visit,’ small moments are made profound

The opening of “The Band’s Visit” at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre, after a triumphant off-Broadway run last spring, is very good news for many...

Review: ‘Junk’ teaches a lesson in high finance

A business degree is not a prerequisite for an appreciation of “Junk,” a new play by Ayad Akhtar about the heady heights and ethical...

Review: ‘M. Butterfly’ never takes flight

That silk kimono hides a scandalous secret in “M. Butterfly,” David Henry Hwang’s 1988 Tony Award-winning drama about the romance between a French diplomat...

Review: Springsteen connects with his sensitive side in Broadway debut

“I’ll handle this myself,” said Bruce Springsteen with a wry smile on Wednesday night at the Walter Kerr Theatre, as his enraptured audience began...

Review: ‘Time and the Conways’ offers a graceful masterclass in time and failed dreams

The ineluctable force that touches all our lives – the day-to-day, year-to-year process by which the present becomes the past, and the future bears...

Review: ‘Prince of Broadway’

What’s the last word I thought I’d ever use to describe a show directed by Harold Prince? Bland. And yet, sadly, that’s the overall effect of...

Review: ‘The Terms of My Surrender’

Michael Moore’s solo show, "The Terms of My Surrender," comes as close to being a campaign rally as anything you are likely to see...

Review: ‘Marvin’s Room’

Calamity comes in Costco-style jumbo packages for the fractured family in “Marvin’s Room,” Scott McPherson’s play about the beleaguering trials and little triumphs collectively known...

Review: ‘1984’

Summer entertainment options do not get more counterintuitive than the Broadway adaptation of George Orwell’s “1984” that opened at the Hudson Theatre on Thursday,...

Review: ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’

The frenetic Broadway spring comes to a thrilling conclusion with the lightning-bolt opening of Lucas Hnath’s “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” a new play so...

Review: ‘Bandstand’

The boys singing and swinging their hearts out in “Bandstand,” an exuberant new musical set in the days just after World War II, are...

Review: ‘Six Degrees of Separation’

Is it me, or have the follies of rich New Yorkers become less delightfully entertaining than they once were? To wit: Some of the savor...

Review: ‘Anastasia’

“Anastasia,” (“The New Broadway Musical” in this case) is a fictional reimagining of the fate of the youngest daughter of the last Czar of...

Review: ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’

What a peculiar piece of confectionary is the new musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” which opened at the Lunt-Fontanne...

Review: ‘Hello, Dolly!’

A lot of merchandise is for sale in the lobby of the Shubert Theatre, where Bette Midler stars in the highly anticipated, or, really, let’s make...

Review: ‘The Little Foxes’

It doesn’t take a refined intellect to separate the bad characters from the good in Lillian Hellman’s “The Little Foxes.” The bad tend to be...

Review: ‘Indecent’

It is astonishing that the most recent opening at the Cort Theatre, “Indecent,” marks the Broadway debut of its Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Paula Vogel. A...

Review: ‘Groundhog Day’

The producers and creators of “Groundhog Day” must be uncomfortably aware by now that, despite the fantasy at the center of their show, every...

Review: ‘Oslo’

Leaving Lincoln Center on a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon after a performance of “Oslo,” I was surprisingly engulfed by an uneasy disquiet. My reaction,...

Review: ‘War Paint’

You don’t have to go in search of a magnifying glass to discern the active ingredients in the new musical “War Paint,” at the...

Review: ‘Present Laughter’

An unruly cast of stylish denizens has arrived at the St. James Theatre just in time to relieve the torpor of all of us...

Review: ‘Amélie’

As the title character in the musical “Amélie,” a lonely young woman spreading warmth and doing good deeds even as she remains cocooned in...

Review: ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

“Oh, Inspector! I can’t take it anymore!” wails one of the hapless characters, an amateur performer enacting a shambles of a mystery drama, in...