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Articles by Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (514 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.

Pedro Pan

July 17, 2018

Rebecca Aparicio’s book is a skillful fictionalization of the true story of Operation Pedro Pan, which facilitated the immigration of over 14,000 children from Cuba to the United States between December 1960 and October 1962. Ms. Aparicio successfully dramatizes the harsh era of the Castro regime, the promise of freedom in the U.S. and the realities of racism, all through a child’s perspective. The incidents are illustrative, historical facts are imparted, and the dialogue is engagingly simple yet effective. [more]

Innit

July 16, 2018

Structured as a series of confessional vignettes, Innit begins in the school psychologist’s office and alternates between there and Kelly’s home. Her 34-year-old mother works at a sandwich shop and is a part-time prostitute. Her absent ne'er-do-well father abandoned the family and went back to his native Ireland some time ago. Money is tight and so is hope. Kelly is combative and doesn’t really have friends. She gets free cigarettes for allowing boys in gym class to take manual liberties with her. The dialogue is earthy, conveying a youthful sensibility with “dick head” being a favored exclamation. [more]

Get the Boat

July 13, 2018

Though designed as an agitprop exploration with one woman as “Bad” and the other as “Good,” Ms. Brennan's simple yet effective writing elevates it into a quietly powerful work. The dialogue is a skillful blend of mundane details, biographical data and expressions of world views that all strongly delineate the characters. The structure is essentially two women in their 30’s in a room talking. Brennan’s command of plotting injects suspense, surprises and momentum, all combined with emotional resonance. [more]

whatdoesfreemean?

July 8, 2018

Filloux in collaboration with director Amy S. Green have distilled the raw data they gathered into a searing and poignant narrative containing absurdist flourishes that include a talking laboratory mouse. The play is structured as a series of short pungent scenes. Filloux’s dialogue poetically conveys the harsh realities the underprivileged face and their bleak worldview. [more]

Chatter

July 5, 2018

Mr. Kahn’s dialogue is a witty amalgam of up to the minute lingo, well-observed lifestyle data, psychological insights and emotional depth that all realistically and artfully conveys the characters’ Millennial sensibility. Allusions to "Friends" and "Sex in the City" abound, apps are analyzed, real estate is obsessed over and salaries are disclosed. The passage of time is connoted by Claire’s birthdays that flow from one to the next. [more]

Songs for a New World

July 2, 2018

The unison of Jason Robert Brown’s accomplished score, Kate Whoriskey’s exciting direction and Rennie Harris’s vibrant choreography make this New York City Center Encores! Off-Center’s revival of his 1995 debut show "Songs for a New World," a dynamic theatrical experience. Mr. Brown’s surprise appearance at the piano to play a song in the second act was electrifying. [more]

God Save Queen Pam

June 30, 2018

This is "God Save Queen Pam"’s world premiere and though spirited, it’s sluggish at a full length of two and half hours with an intermission.  There’s repetitiousness, extraneousness and a wan presentation. With editing that enforces more of the plot and higher production values it’s conceivable that its evident whimsical charms could be whipped up into a madcap entertainment.  For now, it’s best viewed as a workshop with potential that showcases the game cast. [more]

Coming Clean

June 29, 2018

For 85 minutes, we get a take on the gay male experience that includes a randy Midwestern adolescence, waitering and escorting in Manhattan, crystal meth and recovery.  The writing is well-constructed, contains flavorful descriptive passages and is forceful. The personable Mr. Strothmann delivers his monologue in a charming manner that realizes its dramatic and comedic qualities while taking his shirt off and dropping his pants along the way. [more]

Laura Bush Killed a Guy

June 26, 2018

With her honeyed and smoky Texan vocal inflections, wearing a short-haired lustrous brown wig and costume designer Rhonda Key’s gleaming trim white suit, actress Lisa Hodsoll is phenomenal as former First Lady Laura Bush in author Ian Allen’s kaleidoscopic solo play, "Laura Bush Killed a Guy." For 95 mesmerizing minutes, Ms. Hodsoll gives a smashing performance that transcends mere impersonation or campy replication. Looking and sounding like Mrs. Bush, with her twinkling eyes and beaming presence, Hodsoll’s characterization is a dazzling amalgam of comedy, emotion and depth. An only child, she and her parents went on a mission... [more]

Log Cabin

June 26, 2018

Harrison’s dialogue is well-crafted and often in setup punchline mode peppered with plentiful pop culture references that falls flat. The overall effect is of a rote accumulation of touchstones appealing to this strata. It’s all without resonance unless one is like the characters being depicted. It’s certainly possible to dramatize the concerns of differing classes with cross-sectional interest but that is not the case in "Log Cabin." This title is most likely a play on Log Cabin Republicans who are gay and might reflect that some of the characters are actually more Conservative then they let on. [more]

Vitaly: An Evening of Wonders

June 22, 2018

The audience is frequently called upon to participate onstage and from their seats with one elaborate portion involving their driver’s licenses. London vacation photos of Mr. Beckman, a guard at Buckingham Palace, and Queen Elizabeth II becomes a hilarious and mystifying routine. Plastic bottles are fodder for visual conjuring. While blindfolded Beckman guesses things that audience members have selected. A Van Gogh-inspired painting exercise is performed to the booming sound of Beethoven. Less successful is a large-scale, convoluted and confusing card trick. [more]

Lonesome Blues

June 20, 2018

The show then become energized when Babatundé describes how Jefferson was discovered by a music executive when he was singing on the Texas streets while holding a tin cup. A recording contract follows and Jefferson became a leading blues performer in the 1920’s. Another bright sequence is a recreation of a concert. In the second half, we learn more about Johnson and the narration is more connected to the musical portions as it successfully concludes. [more]

First Love

June 16, 2018

“This is the world of Magritte,” and indeed it is. The play opens with a young woman silently appearing and wearing a flowing white gown, a derby with a flower and a pipe. This takes place on scenic designer Edward Pierce’s gorgeous oval-shaped surrealist-themed set with sky blue walls, clouds, green grass and a large painted tree. There’s also a door, shutters and off to the sides are a piano and a microphone. All of these elements cleverly assist in fulfilling the stage direction of “We are indoors and out at the same time.” For a barbecue, a grill is wheeled out with a sign in French that says, “This is a barbeque.” [more]

Red Hills

June 16, 2018

Christopher McLinden as David and Patrick J. Ssenjovu as God’s Blessing are both personable but the material inspires their overwrought characterizations to be overwrought. Musician Farai Malianga and vocalist Sifiso Mabena are in the background smoothly providing aural atmosphere. [more]

Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf

June 13, 2018

“What a dump” is the immortal opening line of Edward Albee’s dramatic masterpiece, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?".  In the inane spoof "Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf," it’s spoken by George instead of Martha while he is brightly lit and standing in a doorway. This instantly signifies to those who are familiar with the original work that we’re in for an irreverent ride. However, the promise of a wry send-up very quickly descends into pretentious pointlessness. [more]

Another Woman’s Baby

June 12, 2018

Blonde, of ample physique, and possessed of an appealing matter of fact vocal delivery that soars with range, Mollenkamp has an engaging everywoman persona. She veers from dry humor to raw emotion with flair. Costume designer Victoria Depew’s striking all-white ensemble with black fringed accents endow Mollenkamp with a spiritual glow. [more]

Scissoring

June 12, 2018

In the African-American Abigail, Ms. Quintana creates a complex protagonist who is sympathetic, exasperating and engaging. She is fascinated by the journalist Lorena Hickok who had a storied closeness with Eleanor Roosevelt and they appear in the play as figments of Abigail’s imagination as does former Pope Benedict. These fanciful interludes are skillfully woven into the central narrative that focuses on the conflicts of being gay in the contemporary United States with the actions taking place during the school year of 2017 - 2018. [more]

92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “Frank Loesser: Lyricist”

June 7, 2018

Artistic director, writer, arranger and host David Loud was at lectern off to the side onstage and passionately delivered his erudite and informative commentary at length. Mr. Loud grew up with musical theater aficionado parents and he was raised with devotion to the form and he fondly reminisced about them. His mother’s favorite show was "Where's Charley?" and his father’s was "Guys and Dolls." [more]

Let’s Get Ready Together

June 4, 2018

Playwright Lizzie Stern has an ear for contemporary discourse and her dialogue is well-crafted. The characters are appealing and are finely detailed. The universal focus is on the relationships of the young women, their youthful idealism and their conflicts with their mothers. Structurally inspired, there are phone calls to the mothers, voice overs and confessional asides. Ms. Stern has a good grasp of the theatrical but her plotting is faulty. [more]

Exquisita Agonía

May 31, 2018

Mr. Cruz realizes his scenario with his patented style. There’s rueful humor, Chekhovian reveries and a sense of the mystical all with a demonstrative Latin sensibility. The dialogue is filled with passionate eloquence and is made even more pleasurable by experiencing it in Spanish.  Some sequences have characters reciting their letters which allows for reflective ruminations.  The play takes place in the contemporary United States with several of its figures having been born in other countries. [more]

Devil of Choice

May 30, 2018

Director Shira-Lee Shalit provides breakneck pacing, swift scene transitions and compelling stage compositions that include the presence of the violinist.  The visual and the verbal are in enthralling unison as Ms. Shalit achieves momentum, raucousness and sensitivity with her vigorous staging. A fully clothed sex scene is powerfully erotic as it visualizes the dynamics of the charatcers. Shalit masterfully guides the cast’s volcanic performances. [more]

The Diana Tapes

May 28, 2018

Mr. Clements’ treatment of these events is straightforward and confirms existing perceptions of these figures. Diana is charismatic but immature and self-aggrandizing, Morton is a go-getter, O’Mara is a wily opportunist, and Colthurst is noble.  That there are no surprises or fresh insights could be overcome if the production had vitality but it doesn’t. [more]

the hollower

May 25, 2018

Bit and Otto recall tomboy Frankie Addams and Berenice the maid from Carson McCullers’ "The Member of the Wedding" while Pigman and Missy parallel Pozzo and Lucky from Samuel Beckett’s "Waiting for Godot."  There’s an arctic sequence out of Tony Kushner’s "Angels in America." The dialogue contains a lot of contemporary academic jargon and it all could be interpreted as some sort of Millennial exploration. [more]

She-She-She

May 22, 2018

Conceived by Carrie Heitman and written by Cynthia Babak it was developed in workshops over the last three years by the Hook & Eye Theater company. According to Chad Lindsey’s director’s note, “I wanted to let the performers create characters and situations that answered some of our creative questions and satisfied their curiosity about themselves and the historical women at the play’s core. What emerged is best described as a rhapsody….” [more]

Time’s Journey through a Room

May 21, 2018

In the spirit of the loquacious Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s "Happy Days," the animated Yuki Kawahisa beautifully portrays Honoka with sunny depth. Maho Honda as Arisa, the play’s unifying figure, is brilliantly wistful.  Veering from low key to emotionally volatile Kensaku Shinohara richly conveys Kazuki’s angst and anguish. This trio’s rapport and chemistry is palpable and is integral to the production’s success. [more]

Hercules Didn’t Wade in the Water

May 20, 2018

"Hercules Didn't Wade in the Water" is the winner of the Negro Ensemble Company, Inc.’s 2017 Emerging Playwrights Competition and this is its premiere. Michael A. Jones’ passionate eloquence and the strong performances compensate for the production’s limited presentational values.  [more]

Bump

May 18, 2018

Ms. Atik complements her engaging contemporary scenario with creative theatricality. Interspersed are vignettes with six performers depicting the members of a nationwide pregnancy Internet message board. Atik also has contrasting sequences set in 1790 in rural Maine between Mary, a sheltered 19-year-old woman about to give birth for the first time.  Her husband is out of the way in the town’s tavern and an experienced midwife arrives to assist her. [more]

Me and My Girl

May 14, 2018

Mr. Carlyle’s giddy opening is a thrilling mise-en-scène of a chorus line of servants, floating props and a grand back drop of a miniature representation of the country estate where the action is set. Act II starts with a rollicking cricket and tennis on the lawn segment showcasing cast members in gleaming casual wear and the commanding gyrations of Mark Evans who wonderfully plays a fatuous cad. There’s also a daffy number where portraits of ancestors in clothing of different eras come to life and dance. [more]

Unexpected Joy

May 10, 2018

With a Judy Collins-style mane of blonde hair and wearing jeans and suede, the sleek Luba Mason as Joy certainly looks the part. That mien is reinforced by Ms. Mason’s smoothly conversational vocal inflections and marvelous singing. Mason is totally convincing as the weed-smoking matriarch who follows her heart. [more]

Transparent Falsehood: An American Travesty

May 10, 2018

The one bright spot is the 15-minute segment “Without Precedent.” It’s the title of Trump’s imaginary HBO comedy special and is the highlight of Ezra Barnes’ terrific performance as Trump. Kofman’s strategy is that less is more when comes to depicting Trump and so Mr. Barnes does not attempt to replicate his vocal or physical mannerisms. Instead with his slim physique and mellow voice Barnes is more like Fred Rogers on speed. [more]

Dance Nation

May 9, 2018

Ms. Barron’s conception is more of an agenda driven fantastical tract rather than a well-crafted play with a cohesive plot. Her tone is of exaggeration and artifice with mannered dialogue that is intended to be hilarious yet thoughtful. A brief gag about "A Chorus Line" and a reference to the actual Telsey & Company Casting are some of the smug inside humor tossed in. [more]

The Rainmaker

May 6, 2018

“Never judge a heifer by the flick of her tail” is just one of the many kernels of down home wisdom in playwright N. Richard Nash’s lovely piece of Americana, The Rainmaker. It’s been tenderly revived by the Blackfriars Repertory Theatre and The Storm Theatre Company with every role perfectly cast. [more]
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