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Articles by Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (401 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.

Off the Meter, On the Record 

October 20, 2017

Set designer Charlie Corcoran ingeniously has the small stage’s walls adorned with sections of a yellow cab.  Off to the side is a piece containing the steering wheel from where McDonagh periodically speaks.  Above this, is a screen bordered by vintage billboard pictures. This showcases Chris Kateff’s dazzling projection design that illustratively displays imagery of New York City from various eras, video clips and slides such as the 1975 New York Daily News headline, “Ford To City: Drop Dead.” [more]

Burning Doors

October 18, 2017

Nicolai Khalezin wrote Burning Doors with dramaturgy by him and Natalia Kaliada.  Their aim is to bring attention to currently jailed artists Petr Pavlensky and Oleg Sentsov by weaving in their testimonies.  Actors also proclaim from the works of Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Michel Foucault.  Fleeting and sometimes sly allusions to Putin are laced in. [more]

Only You Can Prevent Wildfires

October 14, 2017

The audience sitting on three sides of the airy playing area on wooden benches is part of Clifton Chadick’s super, environmental scenic design.  The floor is covered with wood chips, logs and tree stumps, there are a several jagged wooden poles and a few red fire buckets strewn about.  On one end is a stage area and the other is a screen where Joey Moro’s atmospheric projection design is shown.  The crisp imagery includes fires, nature and abstractions.  For several distracting instances the actors at the other end of the stage are projected onto the screen for no discernable reason other than as an aesthetic flourish. [more]

Syncing Ink

October 11, 2017

Mr. Njikam offers a witty take on the classic mythology of a hero’s episodic journey with a lively African-American slant. There are a lot of high school and college scenes with wise teachers referring to James Baldwin and W.E.B. Du Bois, combative students, a dying father and an imperious mother. Rhyming battles, love and enlightenment occur along the way. The narrative is so eventful and spread out that it can be difficult taking it all in and its overall impact is diluted. [more]

…and then I meowed…

October 10, 2017

Marinelli’s performance also contributes to the ennui. Heavy set, possessing a sullen countenance, speaking in a light voice, and lethargically shuffling around, he’s not the most charismatic performer to spend 90 minutes with. In the last portion, when he encounters a lost cat after being stood up on a date, his acting and the play has a jolt of energy and momentum as it reaches its upbeat conclusion. [more]

Tym Moss: (A) Live!! Fun! Fabulous!! Flamboyant!!!

October 10, 2017

Possessed of a soaring tenor baritone voice that forcefully hits every note, an immensely likeable persona and boundless energy as he dances with brio, Moss commands the stage for 70 minutes. Periodically overcome with emotion, he gracefully collects himself and moves on. It’s a moving display of therapeutic showmanship. [more]

Basement

October 7, 2017

Mr. Hagins has crafted an involving and affective take of a perennial scenario that captures the nostalgic essence of wartime films and plays of the past.  There’s the spirit of "Casablanca" and echoes of "The Voice of The Turtle" and "John Loves Mary," combined with the novelty of the interracial angle that’s tenderly realized. [more]

No Wake

October 5, 2017

In 85 minutes, we really don’t learn much Rebecca, Nolan or Sukey as Mr. Donnelly imparts scant biographical details about them, but strangely does for Padgett. Donnelly takes the perennial premise of a divorced couple’s past romantic feelings for each other being reignited and clumsily tosses in the dramatic, morbid bombshell. His glum and stilted finale at Sukey’s apartment is out of Private Lives. The title refers to Sukey’s wish that when she dies that there be no wake. [more]

A Soldier’s Play

October 1, 2017

Director Charles Weldon acted in the 1983, Mark Taper Forum’s Los Angeles production, and besides his meticulous casting he has perfectly rendered this revival. Mr. Weldon’s physical staging inventively, precisely and aesthetically utilizes the large stage to faithfully realize the material. [more]

Outside Paducah: The Wars at Home

September 29, 2017

In terms of the atmospherically detailed writing and Mr. Moad’s enjoyably intense performance that recalls a Sam Shepard hero, “Quittin’ Meth” is the most powerful of the program and its concluding play. It’s a poetically expressed evening’s odyssey of a 27 year-old Iraq War veteran who has returned to his Illinois hometown in 2007. Set in a rundown bar in this depressed steel mill neighborhood, we follow his memories of the war that contrast with his present observations and glimpses of the pitiful bar denizens . He encounters a war buddy who lost a leg and has descended into drug addiction. [more]

Breeders

September 28, 2017

There are plentiful comic one-liners and also sharp observations in Mr. Giles’ well-crafted dialogue.  Giles perfectly renders all four characters with personality details and traits.  The tensions, concerns and sensibilities of the long-term gay couple all ring true, but interspersing these with the mildly entertaining hamster story feels like a strategic theatrical device that undercuts the main plot to no great effect. [more]

The Treasurer

September 27, 2017

With her slim physique, flawless diction, melodiously husky voice and imperious bearing, Dunagan is commanding. She conveys the character’s arrogance, selfishness and harrowing mental decline due to dementia with steely flair. She forcefully embodies the archetypal distant mother who damages her children. [more]

One Night Only (running as long as we can)

September 20, 2017

Barnes’ choreography is a delightful blend of ballet, modern dance and stylized movement. She and Bass are highly skilled and have a great chemistry together that recalls that of an accomplished comedy team with flashes of dramatic depth. [more]

Neighbors: A Fair Trade Agreement

September 18, 2017

The affable Gerardo Rodriguez is hilarious as José and brings great dramatic depth to the role. As Joe, the personable Andrew Blair utilizes his geeky but appealing persona to humanize the stock character of the corporate manipulator. Mr. Rodriguez and Mr. Blair have a tremendous and palpable chemistry that’s instrumental to the play’s success. [more]

The Flatiron Hex

September 15, 2017

Dazzling hand puppets, stick puppets, marionettes and shadow puppets that are projected onto screens, which were all created by Godwin, depict this gallery of archetypal characters.  These are all fantastically employed by him and are on display for the show’s 80 minutes. [more]

For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday

September 14, 2017

In interviews, Ruhl says she intends this play as a gift to her mother who played Peter Pan in Iowa as a teenager.  As noble as this goal is, "For Peter Pan on her 70th birthday" never coheres into a compelling experience.  The character of Ann is fascinating but is embedded in an uninvolving scenario that is perhaps a mediation on aging, death and disillusionment. [more]

A.R. Gurney’s Memorial at The Music Box

September 13, 2017

Sigourney Weaver, who acted in Gurney’s plays Mrs. Farnsworth and Crazy Mary, periodically appeared onstage with her husband Jim Simpson. Mr. Simpson was the former Artistic Director of The Flea Theater which presented 15 of Gurney’s works. Throughout the celebration the couple reminisced about the writer and recited biographical details about him, while illustrative slides depicting his life were projected. At the conclusion of this portion, in white lettering on a black background, were projected the titles of Gurney’s 48 plays. It was a stark testament to his achievements. [more]

In a Little Room

September 13, 2017

With his breezy delivery, terrific comic timing and everyman persona, Jeb Kreager is highly engaging as Manning. The animated, wiry and bearded Luis-Daniel Morales is soulful and at times wildly funny as Charlie. Mr. Kreager and Mr. Morales have a marvelous chemistry together which energizes the play. [more]

The Itch

September 7, 2017

Ms. Zelman-Doring’s cryptic scenario of deeply close twin siblings (Ana offers to masturbate Simon when he is tied up in a chair)  is out of Sam Shepard and her dialogue is a pleasing cross between Harold Pinter’s spare eloquence with flourishes of Christopher Durang’s silliness.  The abrupt and inconclusive conclusion is in keeping with what went before it. [more]

Charolais

September 1, 2017

As in one of Alan Bennett’s "Talking Heads" monologues, Stapleton offers a richly detailed portrait of an ordinary person that revels in the mundane.  She also adds the arresting device of having the inner life of the cow depicted in fantasy sequences. [more]

If Only…

August 28, 2017

Mr. Klingenstein beautifully and simply renders his fictional account with exquisite detail and emotion.  Klingenstein’s dialogue is precise and filled with sharp epigrams.  It’s all a genteel and moving exploration of the human condition.  A lovely highlight is Ann and Samuel recreating portions of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858. [more]

Friends Call Me Albert

August 27, 2017

Billed as a “bio-epic,” playwright Zachary Desmond emphasizes the epic in his uneven though compelling approach.  Mr. Desmond affectionately imparts biographical details of Einstein’s life from youth to old age.  Particularly captivating are the sequences depicting his courtship and marriage to his first wife, mathematician Mileva Marić. [more]

Heartless Bastard

August 21, 2017

Much of the play is like an odd synthesis of 1960’s theatrical satires. There are absurdist shades of Murray Schisgal, Elaine May, and particularly of Jules Feiffer's "Little Murders," laced with Paddy Chayefsky’s lacerating tirades. It eventually becomes clear that it’s meant to be overblown and not at all realistic, and at times is hilarious. A zany Reform rabbi’s irreverent diatribe on faith, and a Darth Vader sight gag are hysterical highlights. Then there’s the girlfriend’s unsettling, casual disclosure that she’s had a double mastectomy. It all recalls the provocatively dark humor of Larry David. [more]

Afterglow

August 17, 2017

Having a background in dance accounts for Gelman’s mesmerizing staging that is filled with finely choreographed sequences. Characters take showers onstage with actual water cascading on their nude bodies and there are stylized, brief simulations of sex that are suggestively erotic. Numerous, arresting tableaus silently emit significance. The actors all give bold, brave and intense performances that transcend stereotypes. [more]

High School Coven

August 12, 2017

Set in a California, Bay Area high school, there we meet the four students who prattle on in contemporary lingo. Gradually, and without any explanation we learn that they are witches. An episode of Bewitched has more background information. After 30 minutes, a semblance of a plot emerges, a run for class office. Eventually it is revealed that the candidate running was raped over the previous summer at an off campus party where alcohol was consumed by her male opponent. This past event becomes the play’s main focus. [more]

Georama: An American Panorama Told on Three Miles of Canvas

August 5, 2017

Book writers West Hyler and Matt Schatz have taken these facts and woven a charming piece of Americana that explores idealism coming up against cynicism. It’s very well structured, amusing and thoughtful. There are a few zingers that could be interpreted as referring to President Trump.  Their chief conceit is having Banvard’s early associate Taylor, later become Barnum, and their rivalry becomes a focal point of the show. [more]

Backbeard: The Musical

August 4, 2017

Matthew McElligott, Larry Tuxbury and Brian Sheldon’s book is a witty, smart and sharp take on pirate lore laced with a child’s sense of individuality, tolerance and inclusivity.  It’s adapted from Mr. McElligott’s acclaimed series of children’s books. McElligott, Mr. Tuxbury and Michael Musial’s lyrics are quite accomplished and chock of full of crafty rhymes such as scarf with barf.  Mr. Musial’s euphorically tuneful music completes the marvelous score, that’s perfectly rendered by Barbara Musial’s skillful music direction. [more]

The Unwritten Law

August 2, 2017

Writer and co-creator Chesney Snow is also the performer.  Mr. Snow appeared in the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions of the a capella musical "In Transit" as the narrator.  Snow is also a prominent beatboxer.  That’s an art form that replicates the sound of percussion by using one's mouth, lips, tongue, and voice.  In The Unwritten Law, the African-American Snow mines the tragic circumstances of his life and those close to him. [more]

Places

July 29, 2017

"I wanted the audience to see 'Places,' not as a ‘museum’ piece, but a piece that was relevant TODAY. Nazimova was fighting the things in the 19th century and early 20th century that we are still fighting…," explains Nordlinger, who also wrote the show, in publicity materials for the production. Her conceit is that Nazimova exists as a ghost and cheekily addresses the audience directly. Her skillful, well-researched and assembled biographical facts are laced with feminist slanted commentary, and knowledge of events that occurred after Nazimova’s death. [more]

Money Talks: The Musical

July 24, 2017

The genial Ralph Byers’ performance as Franklin is heroic as he is onstage for virtually the entire length of the show. Mr. Byers marvelously sings, dances and cracks wise, while channeling the familiar Franklin persona with his wry vocal delivery. Byers exudes dignity, serenity and focus despite the deficient material. [more]

Night Tide

July 22, 2017

Mora works as a mermaid in a tank at the sideshow owned by the crusty, old Captain Murdock who rescued and raised her. As her romance with Johnny blossoms, there are complications. Her previous two boyfriends died under mysterious circumstances. An ominous woman in black mills about and there’s a fortuneteller looming over the action, as the plot builds to a tragic finale. There is also the possibility that Mora is a real mermaid. [more]
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