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Articles by Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (648 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.

Not Even the Good Things

July 17, 2019

If ever a play needed a talkback afterwards, Joseph Scott Ford’s bewildering, grating and slight "Not Even the Good Things" does. By the end of its gobsmacking 75 minutes, the eerie ever-present appearance of a bedraggled little girl in a red T-shirt who interacts with a single character is never explained. Is she a ghost? A symbolic apparition? Or a figment of his depressed imagination? This is never conclusively answered. [more]

No One Is Forgotten

July 14, 2019

Playwright Winter Miller offers a shakily hollow mélange of Genet, Beckett and Pinter with her two women in a prison cell scenario taking place in an unnamed foreign country. Ms. Miller’s dialogue is well-shaped and achieves sporadic humor and emotional resonance but to no real purpose as her effort comes across as an artificial exercise rather than a realized play. Without explanation sometimes only one character appears, and we’re left to conclude, “Maybe it’s a flashback or one was taken away and returned. Did one of them die?” [more]

The White Dress

July 13, 2019

Packed with emotion, adolescent angst and eventfully picaresque, "The White Dress" is playwright Roger Q. Mason’s passionate autobiographical saga of a “gender non-conforming queer person of color.” It’s boldly presented and contains vivid performances, but the amorphous structure and idiosyncratic writing dilute its momentum. [more]

John Burns Is a Sexy Beast

June 28, 2019

Gracefully clomping around in silver pumps and clad in a short-sleeved black jumpsuit, the upper portion adorned with shimmering multi-colored sequins in the configuration of the rainbow, the heavyset, bald, mature and bespectacled Burns is a triumphant vision of gay pride. This visual quality is matched by his outstanding vocal abilities. Possessed of a soaring tenor voice, distinctive phrasing and absolute aural clarity he richly mines each well-selected song to optimum effect. [more]

Casting Aspersions

June 26, 2019

Passero’s expressive tenor voice, twinkling eyes, seasoned character actor presence which recalls that of Michael Tucker and jovial personality enables him to entertainingly chronicle his interesting life in 75 breezy minutes. The memory of his parents bringing home the original cast recording of Cabaret incites a smashing rendition of "Willkommen." It’s one of several delightful musical interludes with selections from Applause, equally as accomplished. A wicked Nicholas Cage is among his several spot-on impressions of those he’s been in contact with. Mentioned in stories are Paul Rudd and Leonardo DiCaprio. [more]

Yes! Reflections of Molly Bloom

June 23, 2019

Employing her charming accent with its expressive vocal cadences and exhibiting her alluring sleek physicality and charismatic presence, Moloney totally embodies Molly Bloom as she forcefully conveys the icon’s humor and wistfulness. She authoritatively enacts a myriad of often sensual personal reflections with colossal flair. Whether gleefully reciting Joyce’s graphic dialogue, laying on her back with her legs spread or squatting over a chamber pot, she is fearless in delivering her searing dramatic and comedic characterization. [more]

Galas

June 19, 2019

This first-ever revival of "Galas" intentionally coincides with World Pride and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisings. It honors the memory of Ludlam who died of AIDS in 1987 at the age of 44, affirms its high reputation and demonstrates that its eternally funny. It’s performed at the historic and under repair Theatre at St. John’s Lutheran Church on Christopher Street in Manhattan which is close to Sheridan Square where the original production premiered and to the Stonewall Inn. [more]

The Great Novel

June 19, 2019

The perennial tale of a noble servant exploited by a self-absorbed upper class family is given a bewildering and tedious treatment by playwright Amina Henry in "The Great Novel." It’s an enervating 95 minute mashup of lesser Ionesco with helpings of Wes Anderson and the visual style of John Singer Sargent. [more]

Camp Morning Wood: A Very Naked Musical

June 19, 2019

Living up to its title, a racially and physically diverse game company of ten male performers really are nude throughout "Camp Morning Wood: A Very Naked Musical." It succeeds as a joyous flesh parade but disappoints as an actual theater piece. What might have been an engaging encounter group-style exploration depicting facets of the gay male experience is instead labored with a flatly comical cornball plot that’s dragged out to two hours with an intermission. [more]

A Strange Loop

June 19, 2019

Twenty-five-year-old African-American Michigan native and New York University graduate Usher is an usher at a Disney Broadway musical who is writing an autobiographical musical about his troubled life. His religious Christian parents are scornful of his sexuality and dubious of his career goals as he doesn’t emulate the commercial simplisticness of Tyler Perry who gets skewered in a production number. This exploration is light on plot and so we get a series a of overheated vignettes often laden with wan shock value. The often didactic dialogue relies on scatology peppered with the N-word. Dark comedy crossed with poignancy abounds. [more]

Convention

June 14, 2019

Regrettably these achievements are marred by hollow tangents, diluting the play’s potential power. Having come up with a such a novel premise, Rocco is carried away by a concern with form rather than straightforwardness. Much of it plays out like subpar Robert Altman with empty cross talk, heavy- handed overlapping dialogue and strained comedy. The whimsical device of a hotdog vendor caught up in the action is overused and becomes a drag despite Brandt Adams’ gruff charm and masterful comic timing. [more]

Brief Chronicle, Books 6-8

June 3, 2019

“It’s best when each performer is older, or younger, or of a different gender- expression, ethnicity, or ability than you might expect. This keeps the play vibrating in your imagination” are from Borinsky’s stage directions. For this production we get a youthful cast playing roles opposite their presumed genders with skillful exaggeration. [more]

Madame Lynch

May 31, 2019

Eliza Lynch (1833-1886) was an Irishwoman who grew up in France and became a courtesan. In 1854 she began a relationship with Francisco Solano López, the son of Paraguay’s president. He later succeeded his father and Lynch became First Lady. He was killed in battle in 1870. Her time in Paraguay was controversial as she was thought to have instigated wars and conflicts. She was banished and returned to France, dying in obscurity. Thank you, Wikipedia, for these details because they’re scant in this treatment. Ms. Sherwood and Mr. Flanagin are more concerned with superficial theatrics rather than concretely crafting a comprehensible narrative chronicling the life of a fascinating figure who was a cross between "Barry Lyndon" and "Evita." [more]

Messiah

May 29, 2019

Flashbacks, speechifying, conspiracy theories involving J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI, disco sequences, the scourge of crack cocaine, hip hop numbers, other-worldly fantasies and violence all play out on scenic designer You-Shin Chen’s terrific runway stage with its several levels, a mirror ball and a raised DJ booth. Strobe lights, sirens and a multitude of musical snippets accompany the actions of the people of color and trans characters. [more]

Happy Talk

May 19, 2019

Abrasive as a subpar episode of Maude and reaching a sour psychological thriller-style finale out of Craig’s Wife, Happy Talk is playwright Jesse Eisenberg’s muddled family drama.  It’s the 1990’s and the New Jersey Jewish matron Lorraine is playing Blood Mary in a community theater production of South Pacific and so in addition to the jokey title we get a barrage of painfully cute musical comedy references. Scene transitions are accompanied by blaring snippets of Mitzi Gaynor who played Nellie Forbush in the film version. The combination of Mr. Eisenberg’s smug sensibility, inane contrivances, shtick-ridden dialogue, condescended-to characters, and slack construction all make it a tiresome one hour and 45 minutes. [more]

#yourmemorial

May 14, 2019

The black-accented stage has a raised runway platform, a square platform, a bench and some furniture. From these basic elements, scenic designer Susannah Hyde crafts an ideal landscape for this non-realistic piece that allows its times and locations to shift smoothly. Ms. Hyde’s outstanding projection design of social media imagery and illustrative photos is shown on the stage’s back wall.Resourcefully working on a minimalist level, director Emily Lyon achieves fluidity, some lovely stage pictures and the fine performances with her inspired staging.  Sammy Jelinek’s dreamy lighting design and Carsen Joenk’s beating sound design contribute to an otherworldly dimension. [more]

Around the World in 80 Days

May 12, 2019

Laughter and oohs and ahs abound from an audience of all ages during this exuberant and wildly theatrical stage adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel "Around the World in 80 Days." A gray cloth transforming into an elephant, model ships held aloft and actors wearing headdresses portraying a herd of buffalo are among the dazzling low-tech pieces of stagecraft on display. [more]

Original Sound

May 10, 2019

The eternal heartbreak of show business is given a fresh spin in playwright Adam Seidel’s exhilarating contemporary drama, "Original Sound" that skewers the music industry. Mr. Seidel’s scenario has many familiar elements, but the writing is impeccable, the performances are superior, and it's electrically presented. [more]

Friendly’s Fire

May 8, 2019

Viewing the abstract configuration onstage that could be from a Whitney Biennial before "Friendly's Fire" begins instantly informs us we’ll be in a fantasyland. Indeed, playwright John Patrick Bray offers a surrealistic odyssey fusing together the dreams and battlefield memories of a disaffected Gulf War veteran with aspects of Hollywood Westerns and other pop culture genres. Mr. Bray’s writing is intense, often striving for absurdist comedy, and has a great sense of purpose. It’s all rather baffling, somewhat interesting and mildly entertaining. [more]

Lockdown

May 7, 2019

Ernie Morris is a middle-aged widowed African-American writer who arrives  at a contemporary unnamed prison to be a volunteer. A young corrections officer explains in great detail all of the rules and regulations. The inmate she becomes closest to is James “Hakeem” Jamerson, nicknamed Wise. He is a 62-year-old African-American man who has been incarcerated for 46 years for shooting and killing a police officer during a pawn shop holdup when he was 16. Over his many years of imprisonment, he’s matured, having gotten a college degree and leading an education program. He’s been continually turned down for parole and Ernie agrees to help him with his statement for the next parole board hearing. Will they succeed? [more]

The Brothers Paranormal

May 5, 2019

Is a young Asian woman a ghost or a melancholiac’s hallucination? That is the haunting question vividly answered in playwright Prince Gomolvilas’ gripping thriller "The Brothers Paranormal" which crackles with tension from start to finish. It’s a masterfully written synthesis of "Blithe Spirit," "The Amityville Horror" and "The Sixth Sense" with shades of Stephen King. Comedy gives way to terror as its Asian and African-American characters also battle their own personal demons. A floating pillow is a frightening sight and Ella Fitzgerald’s 1960 live Berlin recording of “Mack the Knife” becomes a spooky touchstone. [more]

The Bigot

May 3, 2019

"The Bigot"’s mouthpiece is the splendid Stephen Payne. Scruffy and silver-haired, Mr. Payne revels in Jim’s cantankerousness and physical decrepitude. Bellowing in his resonant twangy voice as if in a Sam Shepard play, Payne is able to make the most corrosive statements sound funny while expressing emotion. His vivid characterization emits humanity, making the crusty Jim much more than just an ogre. By the end of the play, the role has accumulated the impact of an Arthur Miller-type figure due to Payne’s intense performance. [more]

The New York Pops 36th Birthday Gala: “Hat Full Of Stars: The Songs of Cyndi Lauper”

May 2, 2019

"Kinky Boots" ’ uplifting finale "Raise You Up/Just Be" was a euphoric highlight of The New York Pops’ marvelous tribute concert "Hat Full Of Stars: The Songs Of Cyndi Lauper. " The 2013 Tony Award winner for Best Score and Best Musical’s original cast member Stark Sands was joined by Lena Hall, Alex Newell, the Camp Broadway Kids ensemble and the renowned 78-piece orchestra. Earlier, that long-running Broadway show was represented by the limber and magnetic Mr. Sands’ dazzling "The Soul of a Man" and the "Glee" star Mr. Newell’s soulful "Hold Me in Your Heart." [more]

Entangled

May 1, 2019

Culturally relevant, emotionally resonant but languidly conceived, "Entangled" dramatizes the issue of gun violence in the contemporary United States. Playwrights Gabriel Jason Dean and Charly Evon Simpson’s structure is that of alternating monologues for its two characters. The play’s chief flaw is their overly literate dialogue that would be suitable for a graduate writing seminar or one of Edward Albee’s more rococo works.  “Inside, the funeral home smells like potpourri and middle-class despair.” [more]

Link Link Circus

April 28, 2019

“Welcome to the smallest circus in the world!” exclaims the beaming Isabella Rossellini at the start of her self-written whimsical performance piece "Link Link Circus." “This show is a theatrical conference on the subject of Can animals think, feel, and have emotions?” explains Ms. Rossellini about the aim of this enchanting exploration containing scientific flourishes where she is joined by her dog and a puppeteer for a delightful 80 minutes. [more]

safeword.

April 26, 2019

Mr. Asher here continues to mine the subject of human sexuality, but lightning has not struck twice. That is chiefly due to Asher’s misguidedly grandiose direction (with associate director Mika Kauffman) emphasizing stylish spectacle at the expense of the clunky plot. It also slows down the numerous scene transitions. One ends, there’s dragged-out showy lighting and loud music, characters often walk around and then finally it’s on to the next scene. [more]

Then They Forgot About the Rest

April 23, 2019

Playwright Georgina Escobar presents an exuberant hodgepodge of sci-fi elements and satirical corporate bits with a feminist slant. Ms. Escobar’s punchy pseudo-scientific dialogue carries her choppy scenario with its shades of "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" to sustaining the mildly entertaining 80 minutes. Escobar has a command of language, sprinkling catchphrases that land throughout. Early onset, end of days, extreme memory vetting, protein inhibitor and Petro Corp all get a lot of mileage. It doesn’t all gel, vagueness abounds but there’s spirited integrity. “…I’m asking improbable questions seeking impossible answers,” Escobar states in her program notes. [more]

The Pain of My Belligerence

April 23, 2019

Jaw-dropping plot twists, painfully forced au courant dialogue, awkward sex scenes and a jagged central performance all make the world premiere of Halley Feiffer's "The Pain of My Belligerence" a fascinating doozy of a bad play. The tone is a blend of Ingmar Bergman and Nora Ephron and the cosmopolitan milieu is reminiscent of Woody Allen and Lena Dunham. There’s the sensation of guiltily scanning a highway car accident scene that you can’t take your eyes away from. [more]

The Appointment

April 22, 2019

chorus line of singing and dancing fetuses follows the eerily comical beginning of "The Appointment" where we first meet them posed as if they’re in wombs and babbling in baby talk. When one of them is going to be aborted a hook as from a talent show appears, encircles their necks and pulls them offstage. It’s made quite clear that this mesmerizing offbeat musical will be thoughtfully exploring the issue of abortion. There’s lightheartedness with serious overtones. The overall quality is that of a television variety special of the 1970’s with comedy sketches, musical numbers and dashes of drama. [more]

All Our Children

April 15, 2019

“These are difficult times, a character observes in playwright Stephen Unwin's engrossing historical drama, "All Our Children," that crackles with tension. Nazi Germany’s forced euthanasia program for the mentally and physically impaired is the play’s searing concern. In a concise 90-minutes Mr. Unwin’s masterful writing expertly blends exposition, documentary detail and drama in this American premiere seen in London in 2017. [more]

The Humours of Bandon

April 12, 2019

The blonde, animated and spunky Ms. McAuliffe portrays 16-year-old Dublin resident Annie who’s been dancing since childhood. Wearing tights, a T-shirt and a varsity jacket, McAuliffe’s delightful characterization is marked by wise girlishness. She alternates between playing Annie, her sturdy stage mother, friends, and a few incidental characters, all with detailed verve and a pleasing accent. Her writing is a concise breezy amalgam of factual details, well drawn figures, and momentum. [more]

No Exit

April 8, 2019

Absent scenery, with a character excised and fiercely performed, this stripped down taut revival of Jean-Paul Sartre’s "No Exit" is quite compelling and faithful to the spirit of the original work. An operatic prologue is another novel flourish.It is presented by the Fusion Theatre which was founded by the Irish actress Eilin O'Dea in 2016 with the “concept that synthesizing the worlds of theater and opera can provide the ultimate theatrical experience.” Ms. O'Dea is truly the mastermind of this enticing production. [more]
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