Wednesday, August 10, 2022
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Review

Review: A distilled ‘Kite Runner’ struggles to fly on Broadway

High school love is often blind. My affair with Khaled Hosseini’s novel “The Kite Runner” was no exception. Equally harrowing and hopeful, the book...

‘Into the Woods’ is talent forward in every sense

Like most folks who lay claim to being a former theater kid, a solid portion of my childhood was spent watching a grainy PBS...

Review: An evasive ‘Macbeth’ strains for coherence

Lust for power can defy logic. Why does anyone succumb to greed or ambition? Where Shakespeare probes primal urges through poetry and dirty deeds,...

Review: ‘Mr. Saturday Night’ gets swallowed in ego

Billy Crystal is roving the stage, leading an “oy vey!” call-and-response. There is no exclamation more apt for “Mr. Saturday Night,” the moth-eaten cardigan...

Review: ‘POTUS’ aims for fresh satire and mostly succeeds

There are an infinite number of ways a comedy can get its audience to laugh. Selina Fillinger’s Broadway-debut play, “POTUS,” successfully tries its hand...

Review: ‘A Strange Loop’ is a universal story told through hyperspecificity

What can I say about “A Strange Loop” that hasn’t already been said? When I got the assignment to review Michael R. Jackson’s Pulitzer-winning...

Review: Visionary Lileana Blain-Cruz spearheads contemporary take on ‘The Skin of Our Teeth’

Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that change is the only constant of life. In “The Skin of Our Teeth,” Thornton Wilder argues that tragedy is...

Review: A ‘Funny Girl’ that isn’t overshadowed by you-know-who

Playing the part of a marquee idol is daunting on its own. Playing one made famous by Barbra Streisand may seem like a fool’s...

Review: ‘Hangmen’ swings between genres

“Hangmen” starts with a bang, or should I say, a snap of a neck. The play begins on the morning of an execution, with...

Review: The breathtaking beauty of ‘for colored girls’

It starts with a step. Stomp. Clap. A crescendo of joyous movement and affirmations (“ayeee, yessss, you better”) erupts on stage and is immediately...

Review: ‘How I Learned to Drive’ makes a bracing return

It’s been 25 years since Paula Vogel’s landmark drama about sexual assault and its reverberations first debuted Off-Broadway. Since then, private transgressions, like those...

Review: Minutiae turns sinister in ‘The Minutes’

When you walk into Studio 54 for “The Minutes,” you see a cavernous room on stage, featuring a white rotunda ceiling, a line of...

Review: ‘American Buffalo’ proves one man’s trash isn’t always a treasure

It may be that “American Buffalo” belongs in the junk shop where it’s set — a token of bicentennial Americana with questionable lasting value....

Review: ‘The Little Prince’ travels, but does not transport

The titular character of "The Little Prince" travels between planets. The theatrical adaptation of the acclaimed novella is traveling between nations — France, Australia,...

Review: In ‘Birthday Candles,’ the cake is too sweet

There are some things in life you can count on. Birthdays will tick by like clockwork, a good cake recipe won’t fail and the...

Review: ‘Take Me Out’ is playing in the wrong ballpark

A star athlete comes out as gay, and the narrator asks, “Why now?” Greeting that question with a shrug, the revival of “Take Me...

Review: Joaquina Kalukango elevates an ambitious ‘Paradise Square’

About three quarters through the new Broadway musical “Paradise Square," my lingering doubts about the show vanished. This clarifying moment happened during the show’s...

Review: A luxe ‘Plaza Suite’ misses the laughs

People have long ponied up for the promise of elegance, familiarity and a bit of gracious pandering, on Broadway as on Central Park South....

Review: A mechanical ‘Music Man’ misses its heart

It’s obvious to everyone in the theater world that, as Broadway has battered its way through the latest coronavirus surge, the business could use...

Review: A flashy ‘MJ’ dazzles and distracts with dance

“Is it really possible to separate your life from your music?” asks the pesky documentary filmmaker in “MJ,” the Michael Jackson musical at Broadway’s...

Review: ‘Skeleton Crew’ simmers beneath the surface

The doors haven’t shut — yet — but the walls seem to be closing in irrevocably on the characters in “Skeleton Crew,” Dominique Morisseau’s...

Review: ‘Flying Over Sunset’ pushes back on convention

It is axiomatic that other people’s dreams are boring to hear about, so you would assume that other people’s acid trips are equally if...

Review: ‘Company’ delivers a near-perfect revival

“Being alive,” indeed.  The recent death of Stephen Sondheim undoubtedly marked a watershed moment in the history of the American theater, as the innumerable tributes...

Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ retains its magic and its heart

When it was announced that “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” would open at the Lyric Theatre in 2018, I confidently expected that the,...

Review: ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ does not leap from screen to stage

As the title character in the musical “Mrs. Doubtfire,” the superlative performer Rob McClure tears around the stage like a human tornado. In the...

Review: ‘Clyde’s’ treats the sandwich as art

When is a sandwich more than a sandwich?  When it becomes a symbol of redemption, aspiration and hope, as in Lynn Nottage’s latest play, “Clyde’s,”...

Review: ‘Trouble in Mind’ issues a sharp critique of the theater industry

Better late than never.  Or rather: much, much better late than never.  As a pre-show announcement at the American Airlines Theatre makes clear, it took about...

Review: ‘Diana,’ a musical so bad that it must be seen

To answer the question that absolutely no one with a Netflix account and an interest in Broadway musicals is asking: Why, yes, “Diana, The...

Review: Sharon D Clarke is electrifying in ‘Caroline, or Change’

Should you happen to pass Sharon D Clarke on the street, you might not find her to be a particularly imposing figure. But as...

Review: ‘Dana H.’ leads us into the underworld

A play as uncommon, and uncanny, as Lucas Hnath’s “Dana H.” requires an actor of, well, uncommon and uncanny talents. Deirdre O’Connell is just...

Review: ‘The Lehman Trilogy’ chips away at a monolith

“The Lehman Trilogy” represents the kind of prestige Broadway production that invariably causes a certain class of well-heeled, culturally savvy New Yorkers to salivate...

Review: ‘Thoughts of a Colored Man’ asks the audience to listen

The busy streets of Brooklyn provide the background to Keenan Scott II’s “Thoughts of a Colored Man,” but firmly seizing the foreground are the...

Review: ‘Is This A Room’ narrows in on an unsettling truth

People generally don’t attend a Broadway show expecting to become flushed with anxiety. But it’s hard to watch the documentary drama “Is This A...

Review: ‘Chicken & Biscuits’ serves up roaring comedy

Douglas Lyons’s “Chicken & Biscuits,” at Broadway’s Circle in the Square theater, is a savory comedy served with a hefty side order of sentiment....

Review: In ‘Lackawanna Blues,’ Ruben Santiago-Hudson revives his community

All great blues songs have a timeless quality, so it’s entirely fitting that Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s solo show “Lackawanna Blues” still gleams like a newly...

Review: ‘Six’ pops back on Broadway

Theatergoers thirsty for something festive, fresh and funny — which is to say, just about all lovers of theater who have endured the drought...

Review: Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s ‘Pass Over’ is a Broadway landmark

For a play with just four characters and a single, sparsely furnished set, Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu’s “Pass Over” feels almost momentous — even historic....

Review: ‘Girl From the North Country’ illuminates lives adrift

You can practically see the tumbleweeds blowing through the hearts of the characters in “Girl From the North Country.” This achingly beautiful musical weds...

Review: Ivo van Hove’s ‘West Side Story’ feels more cinematic than theatrical

With his new production of “West Side Story,” the estimable Belgian director Ivo van Hove has essentially stolen a march on no less a...

Review: A fresh take on a familial tale in ‘Grand Horizons’

In just the first minutes of Bess Wohl’s “Grand Horizons,” a supremely funny comedy of marital malaise presented by Second Stage Theater, Jane Alexander...

Review: ‘A Soldier’s Play’ is a captivating whodunit

Shots ring out. A man falls dead at the hands of an unknown killer. Enter an investigator to sort through a hefty pile of...

Review: Laura Linney shimmers in ‘My Name Is Lucy Barton’

When the theater goes to the library for inspiration, the results can often be disappointing. Even great books can wither and wilt when they...

Review: Harry Connick Jr. showcases his love for Cole Porter

Love is most certainly for sale at “Harry Connick Jr.: A Celebration of Cole Porter.” Although the composer-lyricist is justifiably renowned for his coruscating...

Review: ‘Jagged Little Pill’ overflows with real-world storylines

In “You Learn,” the song that concludes the new musical “Jagged Little Pill” on a note of hard-won, almost downbeat uplift, a lyric from...

Review: An inventive ‘Christmas Carol’ tugs at the heartstrings

If you don’t respond with a moist eye and a swelling heart to “A Christmas Carol,” Charles Dickens’ classic tale of a miser’s spiritual...

Review: Generations of love, loss and wisdom gained in ‘The Inheritance’

Most Broadway seasons feature at least one show that gathers an aura of importance even before it opens. This year it is undoubtedly “The...

Review: ‘Slava’s Snowshow’ sends in the sad clowns

“Slava’s Snowshow,” which has returned to New York for a limited engagement more than a decade after its first Broadway run, is not your...

Review: A fearless Kristin Chenoweth dazzles in ‘For the Girls’

To the long list of adjectives we toss around like verbal confetti to describe Kristin Chenoweth – radiant, impish, perky, sunny, funny! – we...

Review: The Tina Turner musical can’t match its sublime star

If a single voice, or a single performance, could send a Broadway musical soaring to greatness, “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” would handily qualify...

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...