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Articles by Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (608 Articles)
A native New Yorker, Darryl Reilly graduated from NYU with a BFA in Cinema Studies. For the Broadway League, (formerly The League of American Theatres and Producers) he developed, and for five years conducted their Broadway Open House Tours, which took visitors through The Theatre District and into several Broadway theaters. He contributed to Broadway Musicals Show by Show: Sixth Edition (Applause Books). Since 2013, he has reviewed theater, cabaret, and concerts for Theaterscene.net.

Remembering Duane Bodin (1932-2018)

March 25, 2019

The death of a long inactive performer with a fine career during Broadway’s Golden Age understandably went unnoticed. He was my neighbor in the 1980’s. [more]

The Day I Became Black

March 24, 2019

A searing epiphany at "The Day I Became Black"’s climax redeems its uneven mixture of confessional and stand-up. The show is written and performed by the engaging biracial young comedian and actor Bill Posley. During 80 cluttered minutes we sketchily learn about his stern though supportive African-American father and Caucasian mother of Kentucky “white trash” origin. The Boston-reared Mr. Posley charts the complexities of his racial background due to his black appearance. Navigating through society, dating women and interacting with the police are concretely explored. That Posley is an Iraq War veteran is mentioned only in passing. [more]

The Importance of Being Earnest: Two Ways

March 16, 2019

It’s billed as “Two Ways” because this event is comprised of differing versions performed in repertory. There is the self-explanatory “Conventional Casting” and the “Reversed Casting” where the same superb ensemble plays a different role of the opposite gender in the identical previous performer’s costume.  Each incarnation is a frothy delight faithfully affirming Wilde’s insightful wit and supreme dramatic construction through theatrical magnificence. [more]

Hatef**k

March 13, 2019

There’s stinging dialogue, solid construction and high powers of observation that accurately render the fractious literary milieu with Imran’s offstage agent a major figure. These all enable Ms. Mirza to spin out her enticing scenario over eight scenes in 90 often charged minutes, spanning several months. The characters are impeccably detailed and behave so realistically, causing the possible dynamic for the viewer of siding with one over the other. [more]

Chick Flick the Musical

March 12, 2019

Suzy Conn’s zesty score is a fusion of her peppy music and well-crafted lyrics. “Quandary” is rhymed with “laundry” and among the 14 bright songs there’s a comical ode to Meryl Streep. Ms. Conn’s upbeat book is an orderly framework charting the everyday predicaments of her plucky stock characters. “I think that the Botox went to your brain!” “What’s next? An evening of Chardonnay and shingles?” are representative of the dialogue’s good-natured wit. The scenario manages to just about sustain its 80 minute length. Conn strives for and achieves a feel-good tone for this escapist escapade. [more]

If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka

March 11, 2019

Dynamically presented and sensationally performed, "If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka" is playwright Tori Sampson's maddeningly overblown adaptation of a fable with music. A surfeit of extraneous devices and a heavy-handed agenda overwhelm and drag out a tender and potentially resonant tale. There’s repetitive jokiness, a lumbering ghostly gospel sequence and an anti-climactic pretentious finale. Amidst the frustrating tangents are bright spots during a straight through nearly two hour [more]

Imagining Madoff

March 7, 2019

Employing his rumbling deep voice, his thinning hair slicked back and veering from snarling cheeriness to reflective introspection, Jeremiah Kissel swaggering in a power suit gleefully gives us the ballsy Madoff we desire. Tossing off expertly pronounced Yiddishisms in his rants, Mr. Kissel fully embodies the archetypal striving lusty Jewish kid from Queens who worked the angles and became a macher. Kissel attacks the role with outsize relish as if it were Roy Cohn in "Angels in America." [more]

Recent Alien Abductions

March 5, 2019

Devilishly enigmatic and culminating in an eerie denouement, playwright Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas' stylized warring brothers yarn "Recent Alien Abductions" confidentially veers tonally, seemingly goes off on tangents and holds interest for much of its off-kilter 90 minutes. [more]

Dying in Boulder

March 4, 2019

Lanford Wilson’s celebrated humanistic style and spirit are wonderfully evoked by playwright Linda Faigao-Hall in her moving family drama "Dying in Boulder." Its articulate characters confront life’s challenges including death, birth, and disappointment with stalwart resolve, humor and mysticism.  At times it seems overly leisurely but falls into place as it reaches its lovely conclusion. [more]

Good Friday

February 26, 2019

A scorching and ingeniously plotted exploration of feminism versus rape culture in the contemporary United States is achieved in "Good Friday." Playwright Kristiana Rae Colón’s audacious, fierce and gripping topical drama is ultimately a provocative vigilante yarn strewn with off and onstage violence that’s dynamically presented. [more]

Eat the Devil

February 25, 2019

In this madcap universe, passengers on a jet are caught in a space warp known as a “corn hole” that was caused by Amazon’s tampering with the atmosphere to speed up delivery times, Amazon is developing a female sex robot, and an insidious virus is unleashed. This pestilence manifests itself by causing people to become “furries” where they identify as animals and wear appropriate physical embellishments. The population has internet chips implanted in their heads, “Blow Hole” a cross of Facebook and YouTube is the prime communications platform, and “twats” go viral on “Twatter.” [more]

We Are the Tigers

February 21, 2019

The show’s talented mastermind is Preston Max Allen. Mr. Allen’s rollicking score is a pounding collection of catchy pop and showtune melodies matched with sharp lyrics. Allen’s well-crafted  book is comical, suspenseful and problematic. However, there’s too much of it. The characters are all cleverly fleshed out, the milieu is authentically rendered, but the rambling structure is a drag. [more]

Reflections of Derek Jarman

February 19, 2019

The iconoclastic gay British film director sadly died 25 years ago today at the age of 52 from AIDS. Encountering him from afar made a great impression on me. [more]

Maverick

February 16, 2019

"The Whole World Was Watching: My Life Under the Media Microscope" is the autobiography of the South Carolina native journalist and television production figure Frank Beacham that was published in November 2018. A portion of it details his six-month involvement with Welles while they were attempting to produce a "King Lear" video project, aborted by his death at the age of 70. Instead of an artfully whimsical take, this adaptation gives us a lumpy Welles 101, ticking off familiar events laden with the tritely imparted theme of the artist versus cold Hollywood capitalism. [more]

God Shows Up

February 11, 2019

Filichia has had a long and storied career as a theater critic and author of several books on the topic. His having witnessed a multitude of productions, this immersion informs "God Shows Up"’s fine structure and technical command of playwrighting. The bouncy dialogue has Shavian passages and the expertly defined characters make terrific roles for actors to play. [more]

The Glen

February 4, 2019

Comprised of 27 short scenes in two parts that are each designated as being two acts and ranging from 1945 to 1954, "The Glen" is a stewpot of a play inspired by a real person’s life. Glenn Loney (1928-2018) was a drama critic, college professor and author. Mr. Loney’s friend, the play’s author Peter B. Hodges, states in his program note: [more]

Ah, Wilderness!

February 3, 2019

In three acts, we get idealized Norman Rockwell-style Americana. As in his dramas, O’Neill’s sense of structure is totally idiosyncratic. Ah, Wilderness! is shorter than his dramas but still feels long at two hours and 40 minutes with an intermission but it is absorbing nonetheless. That’s due to its novel perspective. Instead of the cheapskate father and drug addict mother in Long Day’s Journey into Night, we get idealized perfect parents. The young hero here is set on a path of moral rectitude rather than dissolution. O’Neill offers an uplifting fantastical reworking of his well-documented grim upbringing where everything for a change is happily resolved. [more]

Colin Quinn: Red State Blue State

January 31, 2019

The Brooklyn-born Quinn has been performing stand-up since the 1980’s and his seasoned wise guy New Yorker persona was once showcased on Saturday Night Live and in recent years in several theater pieces. Clad in a plaid shirt, black jeans and sneakers, this show business veteran uses his tuneful gravelly voice with its cadences of the streets to optimum effect. His material is a model example of superior comic writing. Bursts of perfectly crafted one-liners constructed in the classic form of set ups and punchlines, skillfully composed observational riffs and occasionally addressing audience members directly, all sustain "Red State Blue State"’s 75 minutes. [more]

Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope

January 31, 2019

The young British actor Mark Farrelly brilliantly channels the 20th century cultural icon’s witty presence in his highly theatrical self-written solo show. [more]

Joan

January 29, 2019

Playwright Stephen Belber offers an intricate character study comprised of a barrage of brief nonlinear scenes chronicling the eventful existence of a woman from childhood to the age of 62. With the craft and depth of a fine novelist, Mr. Belber creates a mosaic of pointed incidents imparting vital information. These pass by rapidly with no discernable shape but then at the conclusion everything majestically falls into place. [more]

Eco Village

January 29, 2019

Similar to a flatly serious youth exploitation flick circa 1970, playwright Phoebe Nir’s utopia-in-the-wilderness yarn "Eco Village," is likeably inept. There’s a hallucinogenic drug dinner party sequence that’s out of late Otto Preminger when he was painfully trying to be with-it that has bursting strobe lights and a female dominatrix in full regalia. The whole thing has a trippy "Gilligan’s Island" vibe combined with turgid writing and overacting. The elaborate rustic set is spectacular which helps. [more]

Secret Identity

January 29, 2019

At the center of "Secret Identity" is Keith Weiss who plays JT. The proverbially baby-faced Mr. Weiss is physically, emotionally and vocally entrancing. With his rumbling low voice and expressive imposing physical presence, Weiss truly takes on the character exhibiting the pathos of the outsider. He casts off sullenness to deliver some amusing Robin Williams-style antic riffs while doing impersonations of teachers. His contorted manner when observing Trey disrobe speaks volumes about how JT feels. Weiss is onstage virtually the entire time and his performance is a chief measure of the play’s success. [more]

Master of the Crossroads

January 25, 2019

Amidst the flamboyance, Mr. Calderon significantly explores topical issues. The depiction of post-traumatic stress disorder, the eternal dramatic clash between brothers and the plight of the underclass are all vividly realized through his markedly delineated characters.  His heady dialogue laces the vernacular with shrewd insights. The final scene arguably gets carried away with symbolism and luridness but what came before has been quite stimulating. [more]

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom

January 21, 2019

Though exhibiting its source material’s young adult sensibility, Ally Sheedy’s highly effective stage adaption is totally absorbing for adults as well. Ms. Sheedy shrewdly captures the sense of an adolescent’s voice and structures the presentation as a collection of pointed vignettes flowing from one to another, skillfully imparting personal and historical details. [more]

Yvonne Constant: “Aznavour As Is”

January 19, 2019

“Emmenez Moi” was the stirring opening number performed by the French Ms. Constant as she majestically strode through Don’t Tell Mama’s cabaret room and onto the small stage. With her expressive enchanting singing, engaging playful presence, upswept flowing blonde hair and clad in a slinky glittering black sequined dress, Ms. Constant was a vision of star quality. [more]

LaBute New Theater Festival 2019

January 16, 2019

An exhilarating trio of short plays by that noted cultural provocateur Neil LaBute make their New York City premieres in this edition of the LaBute New Theatre Festival 2019.  Since 2013, the St. Louis Actors’ Studio with the support of Mr. LaBute who is an acclaimed film director, screenwriter and playwright has held an annual festival of one-act plays. This incarnation is unique as it is comprised solely of works of his which is probably why it is so potent. [more]

Wendell & Pan

January 15, 2019

A spirited cast and a talented director do their best to bring playwright Katelynn Kenney’s heartfelt but leaden "Wendell & Pan" to the stage. It’s an unsatisfying family secrets drama laden with allusions to "Peter Pan." The mystical revelatory sequence near the end and the protracted coda magnify the previously flawed writing. Tinkerbelle is represented by a flickering firefly in a glass jar and when released does cause a lovely effect. [more]

The Fool’s Lear

January 13, 2019

Whether being pushed in a wheelchair or hobbling around on a cane, Mark Peters is an excellent Lear. Mr. Peters forcefully captures all of the character’s pathos, humor and despair with his mature presence and rich vocal delivery. As The Fool, Judy Krause’s clowning and feistiness is delightful. Ms. Krause and Mr. Peters’ marvelous rapport energize the production, hinting at the tantalizing possibilities of an even further stripped down treatment focusing more on these two characters. [more]

Bleach

January 12, 2019

Do you have any objection to being touched?” asks the theater representative of audience members when they check in at the Brooklyn basement where British playwright Dan Ireland-Reeves’ "Bleach" is performed. That question is crucial as one attendee is called upon to silently portray a flashback character who has slight physical contact with the actor, and another gets a brief grinding lap dance. Those who state a negative preference are left alone. [more]

Smoker

January 7, 2019

Mr. Brader’s writing on this fascinating subject is sharp, insightful and well-observed. As a performer, Brader’s breezy personability endows his personal odyssey with an appealing everyman quality as he appears as himself and impersonates various other characters. At 80 minutes, the show is overall compelling. Cold turkey, gradual cessation, hypnosis and bicycle spinning are all attempted to stop with varying results. [more]

Spitting in the Face of the Devil

January 5, 2019

Mr. Brader is an engaging and soulful performer with a smooth and pleasing vocal delivery. Brader is an admirer of Spalding Gray and channels that monumental artist’s impassioned sense of storytelling. As a writer, he offers a vividly candid but somewhat flawed treatment of his explosive autobiographical material. Arguably a tauter and more focused scenario would flow more effectively.  Still, Spitting in the Face of the Devil ultimately achieves redemptive impact. [more]

The Good Adoptee

January 4, 2019

Employing humor, documentary detail and suspense, Bachner offers an emotional detective story. Wit and whimsy meld with poignancy as the picaresque quest begins in present day New York City. It involves a gallery of characters, flashbacks. and often frustrating twists and turns, several of which are legal obstacles that impede such searches. Bureaucrats, a celebrated “adoption hunter,” the adopted parents and other key figures are all imaginatively incorporated into the narrative. Bridgforth is vocally and physically titanic as she switches back and forth between being Susan and playing the other characters with grandly distinctive characterizations. [more]
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