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Five Times In One Night

April 2, 2015

Through a series of five two-character scenes, Atik’s play charts the evolution (or lack thereof) of sex in humanity. While one segment depicts Adam and Eve fumbling through their first discovery of intercourse, another shows a pair of apocalypse survivors struggling to repopulate earth. In between, Atik includes a medieval couple’s epistolary romance, another couple’s post-breakup fling from “last week,” and a third’s inept attempt at exploring fetishes “next week.” Each with their own unique angle, Atik’s five self-contained shorts add up to a heartfelt, whimsical look at the reasons we pursue sex and the means we employ in order to have it. [more]

New York Pops: “One Night Only: Sutton Foster”

March 19, 2015

The concert’s triumph was due largely to its headliner, the incomparable Sutton Foster. Since her Tony Award-winning portrayal of the title character in the 2002 Broadway production of Thoroughly Modern Millie, she has proven herself to be one of the most versatile leading ladies to grace the Great White Way. Her brassy, yet lithe voice soared over the melodies of Cole Porter classics; her feet glided precisely across choreographer Michelle Elkin’s tap number (yes, a tap number at a New York Pops concert!); and her storytelling chops shone during heartrending takes on a couple of choice Sondheim ballads. She is a true triple threat in a way that most, if not all, of her Broadway diva contemporaries simply are not. [more]

Diversions & Delights

March 11, 2015

The famous late-19th century author Oscar Wilde is a rather paradoxical historical figure. On the one hand, he was a proud Irishman quick to correct anyone who suggested otherwise; on the other, he spoke with the finest English accent. He was too pedantic to relate to the masses, and yet his work was widely revered by all social strata. Many people loved to hate him and others hated that they loved him. In "Diversions & Delights," the 1979 play that recently returned to Manhattan for a one-weekend run presented by The Ensemble Theatre Company of New York, writer John Gay distills these many facets of a complicated man into a solo performance piece that is appropriately pretentious and accessible. [more]

An Octoroon

March 3, 2015

In 2015, it’s a bold move to revive a century and a half-old play that bears a racially insensitive title, and it’s an even bolder move to refrain from apologizing for such source material. Nevertheless, playwright Branden JacobsJenkins does just that in" An Octoroon," his adaptation of Irish playwright Dion Boucicault’s 1859 melodrama "The Octoroon." Back by popular demand from its previous Soho Rep mounting and recently extended at the Theatre for a New Audience through March 29, the production makes the risky decision to embrace an uncomfortable facet of our history and transform it into a contemporary piece. Thankfully, it paid off big time: the result is an entertaining, touching and illuminating theatrical experience that speaks to today’s audience. [more]

Sun and Room

February 13, 2015

Matthew Socci, Zoë Pike and Leah Brewer In a scene from “Sun and Room” (Photo credit: Danielle [more]

No One Loves Us Here

January 28, 2015

Playwright Ross Howard’s new work illustrates the characteristically 21st Century sentiments of unbridled selfishness, feigned apathy, and perennial discontent. His pointed, political indictment of our skewed American values is simultaneously too hard to watch and too illuminating to ignore. "No One Loves Us Here" is an entertaining, engaging bloodbath that leaves its audience thinking lots and feeling little. Perhaps this is as it should be. [more]

Villainous Company

January 19, 2015

Asking us to stoop down to the level of three women willing to do many ethically reprehensible acts in the pursuit of wealth, Cahn challenges the notions of playing fair and working hard. Who would you throw under the proverbial bus in order to protect your livelihood? Is it ever justifiable to fight crime with more crime? Villainous Company raises these questions and more in the form of a short, fun play that is worth a watch but ultimately not worth too much thought. [more]

Cafe Society Swing

December 30, 2014

This holiday season the 59E59 Theaters is hosting a special cabaret, Cafe Society Swing, in tribute to a historic cafe which thrived back in the1940’s, one that defied conventional wisdom at a time when vanilla and chocolate didn't mix and red was a very scary color. Known as the Cafe Society Downtown, it was the first club of its kind in New York City and possibly in the country to feature white and black artists performing on stage together before an integrated audience. Not only that, mixed couples were seen dancing and even leaving together. Shocking as this was back then, Cafe Society appealed to the elite and became the big hot spot in town. Even Eleanor Roosevelt, Paul Robeson and Errol Flynn were known to stop in. Proprietor Barney Josephson referred to it in his memoir as "the wrong place for the Right people" and it is this work that inspired the making of Cafe Society Swing which is as much about the club's owner and his family as it is about the talent he brought to its doors. The Downtown club was an extraordinary place. Legendary for its jazz and blues, it produced a lot of stars: Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan, Zero Mostel, Big Joe Turner, Count Basie, Carol Channing and Sid Caesar among them. [more]

Mimi Stern-Wolfe & Laura Wolfe: An Evening of Song from Second Avenue by Two New York Originals

December 28, 2014

The crowd at The Pangea was in for a real treat when a unique mother/daughter act from the neighborhood performed a number of musical selections complete with stories that were nostalgic to this quaint, historic community on the Lower East Side. Mimi Stern-Wolfe began the 90-minute cabaret by recounting the tale of a Russian immigrant from the old days who used to come in from the Bronx to frequent the nearby Yiddish Theater. He went by the name of Bronstein. After a time, he left to go back to Russia to, as he put it, overthrow Kerensky. He turned out to be none other than Leon Trotsky. The theater later became the Children's Musical Theater where a little girl named Laura Wolfe took to the stage and a star was born. [more]

The New York Pops: Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays

December 28, 2014

While it may have been “Cold Outside” on the streets of New York City, the interior of Carnegie Hall was warm and cozy during Kelli and Matthew: Home for the Holidays, this year’s seasonal event hosted by The New York Pops. Opening their set list of holiday favorites with Frank Loesser’s classic cat-and-mouse carol, concert headliners Kelli O’Hara and Matthew Morrison—previously Broadway costars in The Light in the Piazza as well as the 2010 South Pacific revival—set the tone for a lovely, festive evening. Pulling out all the stops, the duo made sure that the audience had its fill of classic songs and Christmas spirit. [more]

Soul Doctor

December 18, 2014

If Shlomo Carlebach’s music holds a special place in your heart, then you will likely have a blast at this delightful, little homage of a show. If, like me, you could not name a single one of the “Rockstar Rabbi’s” songs, then this show will do little to inspire interest. [more]

Baby Jane Dexter: “Rules of the Road (Part 3)”

December 5, 2014

In her deep, bluesy contralto style, she belted out about 15 songs; they were not all melancholy, though. She started out with an uplifting "I'm in Love Again" and ended with "Forever Young." One of the more touching numbers was "Reach Out, I'll Be There." She also sang a quite lengthy "I'm a Woman" about a girl becoming a woman and she did a version of "Dame." She sang tunes by Rodgers & Hammerstein, Cy Coleman & Peggy Lee, Peter Allen & Carol Bayer Sager, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Leslie Bricusse, Billy Roy, Leiber & Stoller, Mike Scott, Randy Newman, and John Bucchino. [more]

Sally Darling: “Matters of the Heart”

December 3, 2014

Sally was darling in "Matters of the Heart" at Don't Tell Mama on Manhattan's 46th Street. She sang her heart out in a moving tribute to those things that pull at the heartstrings of our lives and just in time for Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas season when people reflect on matters they hold dear. She made the lyrics come alive with her great interpretative skills, taking her audience to places that perhaps they had not visited in a while, where major events happened in their lives, places where, whether happy or sad, they felt something. [more]

Barb Jungr: Hard Rain

November 3, 2014

In "Hard Rain," Jungr performs songs which capture the artists' views on subjects involving what she calls the three "P"s: philosophical, political, and personal. These are the issues that pulled the heartstrings of Dylan and Cohen and were the driving force behind most of their lyrics written back in the tumultuous 60's. [more]

New York Pops: All You Need Is Love: The Music of The Beatles

October 28, 2014

Despite the sometimes-questionable song selection and orchestration choices, All You Need Is Love upheld the New York Pops' well-established standard of excellence. Reineke's unparalleled expertise and steady hand provide evenings of culture, history and entertainment time and time again. [more]

Back

October 27, 2014

Set in at ill-defined Halloween party raging somewhere in the universe between life and death, Back depicts numerous formerly living Greenwich Village icons, from founding father Alexander Hamilton to Flower Power movement leader George Harris, III. Cookie Mueller—writer, muse to the famous filmmaker John Waters, and AIDS victim—leads the proceedings as this scripted Pride Parade's grand marshal. Filled with recurring mantras, bizarre non sequiturs, and gratuitous nudity, the performance under review (the rotating script allows for different variations at different performances) followed—or, more appropriately—circled around the respective, untimely demise of both poet Frank O'Hara and actress Mueller. [more]

Richard Holbrook: The Untapped Fred Astaire Revisited

October 24, 2014

The debonair Holbrook sang his way down memory lane with his enchanting voice and interesting stories about Astaire that he shared in-between songs, many showing a side to the man that is relatively unknown. This is one of the aspects of the show that makes it intriguing and a must-see for those who appreciate the talents of this widely respected artist.  

Most remember Fred Astaire for his singing and dancing, and for his movie roles, but there was much more to the man. [more]

This Is Our Youth

October 15, 2014

details a specific subset of affluent, privileged, urban teenagers with no concepts for independence or ambition. In the larger context, the characters' problems are mostly petty and self-inflicted; consequently, the subject matter is difficult to relate to. I cannot speak for everyone, but the careless spending, rampant drug use, and overinflated egos presented in Lonergan's play were certainly not characteristic of my youth. [more]

Bedbugs!!!

September 14, 2014

It seems campy horror musicals are developing somewhat of a cult following in the New York theater scene. On the heels of the recent Carrie revival and The Heathers stage adaptation comes Bedbugs!!! – the kitschy, unashamedly self-aware sci-fi thriller currently playing at the ArcLight Theatre. This new musical with music by Paul Leschen and book and lyrics by Fred Sauter is part pop/rock rollick, part anti-pollution public service announcement, and all camp. [more]

Red Eye of Love

September 11, 2014

Alli Mauzey and Kevin Pariseau in a scene from Red Eye of Love (Photo credit: Carol Rosegg) Is it [more]

Boys and Girls

September 10, 2014

Through a series of intertwining monologues, Boys and Girls follows four young Dubliners before, during and after their respective sexual encounters. Though the characters never interact, their stories weave through one another, forming fascinating juxtapositions. While one of the boys fails to seduce his love interest at a bar, the other laments his passionless, anonymous alley hookup. While one of the girls describes the thrill of a first-time experience, the other wonders if her committed relationship is physically fulfilling. The result is a comprehensive, truthful account of adolescents learning to understand male-female dynamics. [more]

The Opponent

August 7, 2014

Guy Van Swearingen and Kamal Angelo Bolden in a scene from The Opponent (Photo credit: Carol [more]

Piece of My Heart: The Bert Berns Story

July 29, 2014

Straight off a Broadway run in that previously mentioned jukebox musical, the magnetic Zak Resnick proves himself exceedingly capable of carrying a production. His Bert exudes raw emotion, boyish insecurity, and irresistible charm. Teal Wicks and Linda Hart shine by his side as the young and old versions of Bert's scrappy, sexy wife Ilene, respectively. However, the true honor goes to Derrick Baskin as Hoagy whose rendition of "Twist and Shout" gives The Beatles a run for their money. [more]

Deployed

July 17, 2014

As is the case in too many NYMF shows, Deployed's hyper-aware characters have no reservations singing their deepest, darkest emotions at each other. Furthermore, Brouillard does well to create a contemporary soundscape, but his generic harmonizations and mis-stressed syllables hinder memorability and intelligibility. [more]

The Religion Thing

July 8, 2014

The Religion Thing is set in Washington, D.C., and explores the lives of two couples who are friends and the conflicting issues they discover about their relationships after getting married. [more]

The Muscles in Our Toes

July 7, 2014

Whoever said high school reunions are a good time was sorely mistaken. The food is lousy, the music is kitschy, hairlines are higher, waists are larger, and ancient resentments are suddenly relevant again. When you think about it, these milestones are hardly cause for celebration. [more]

Peggy Eason: “I’ll Show Them All!”

June 15, 2014

Award-winning director Lennie Watts lived up to his reputation for his part in making the night a success and acclaimed musical director Steven Ray Watkins brought the piano to life with his accompaniment to her songs. [more]

The Most Happy Fella

March 29, 2014

    Laura Benanti and Shuler Hensley in a scene from The Most Happy Fella (Photo credit: [more]

Motown: The musical

April 18, 2013

In this huge and loving tribute to himself, his music, his stars, Berry Gordy is producing and writing an overstuffed, overcharged, oversized musical in thirty-six settings, fifty-eight songs, twenty-two musicians, forty-one performers, to an additional complement of twenty-nine production entities, and three producers, one of which, of course, is Berry Gordy. [more]
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