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Articles by Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (561 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.

American Son

November 15, 2018

“That’s it?” is likely to be one’s reaction at the conclusion of playwright Christopher Demos-Brown’s tidy topical 90-minute racial drama "American Son." Theater enthusiasts often rhapsodize about Broadway’s Golden Age, the 1920’s to the 1960’s, when straight plays filled theaters. Mr. Demos-Brown’s effort does harken back to that era by crafting a well-constructed minor vehicle for actors of the sort that could have played a season, then toured, was made into movie and was forgotten. Kerry Washington and the fine cast make the most of their choice roles under Kenny Leon’s solid direction. [more]

The Female Role Model Project

November 15, 2018

Kim Kardashian West, Melania Trump and Chinese popstar Bingbing Fan appear as wacky contestants on a philosophical gameshow hosted by Oprah Winfrey in the lighthearted, thoughtful and souped-up multimedia performance piece "The Female Role Model Project." It’s a breezy 90-minute exploration of existence from a woman’s perspective with audience participation. [more]

Beautiful Day Without You

November 10, 2018

Did Blaze, a Doberman Pinscher, cause the death of Pippi, a German Shepherd-Chihuahua mix? That is the crux of Italian playwright Marco Calvani’s three-character, way-out, occasionally hilarious and absorbing drama "Beautiful Day Without You." This realistic premise’s off-beat treatment is reminiscent of Yasmina Reza’s provocative comic manner and the dialogue has the profane snappiness of David Mamet. It’s a dense 90-minutes that are often confounding but ultimately rewarding. The minimalist presentation serves the material well. [more]

Waiting for Godot (Druid Theatre)

November 7, 2018

Ms. Hynes has the cast at full speed emphasizing slapstick and employing stylized poses and gestures.  There’s exaggerated choreography-like movement such as extending legs and dipping down, grabbing at each other and jumping. Movement director Nick Winston’s efforts are accomplished if overdone. The plethora of gags and set up punchline recitation gets laughs at the expense of emotional resonance. A few bits are quietly played due to the nature of those specific passages and are quite lovely. Overall, there is a lack of visceral depth to this arguably superficial treatment. The ending brings benign silence rather than communal sighs. [more]

I’m Not A Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce

November 5, 2018

Purring sensually with a slight nasal New York accent, dressed in a black suit, white shirt and a black tie and handling a microphone while in front of its stand, actor Ronnie Marmo vocally and physically conjures up the presence of that monumental performer in his imaginative self-written solo show, "I’m Not a Comedian…I’m Lenny Bruce." The rascally Mr. Marmo’s haunted facial features, wild eyes and styled dark hair all evoke an accurate resemblance. [more]

Sycorax, Cyber Queen of Qamara

November 5, 2018

Delightfully growling in a quasi-Middle Eastern accent, her head encased in a babushka, plastered with makeup, wearing a flowing robe and hobbling on a cane, Sandra Bargman is terrific as the title character and anchor of "Sycorax, Cyber Queen of Qamara." It’s playwright Fengar Gael’s cheeky fantasia that tells of this unseen witch from William Shakespeare’s "The Tempest." [more]

Inner Voices 2018

November 4, 2018

Three original one-act solo-performer musicals comprise "Inner Voices 2018," presented by the Premieres theater company. Since 2008 they’ve produced several editions of this enterprise. The format was inspired by British playwright Alan Bennett’s 1980’s and 1990’s acclaimed "Talking Heads," which were a series of 13 separate monologues that were originally broadcast on television and subsequently adapted for the stage. Here, the monologues are set to music and it’s cumulatively pleasing. [more]

Good Grief

October 31, 2018

"Good Grief" opens with a celestial sequence and continues with Nkechi’s narration. Sometimes incidents are replayed in order to get them closer to the truth since all are memories and not always totally accurate.  There’s an early fantasy boxing match that seems out of place. The slight plot involves the death of one of the characters and the profound effect it has on Nkechi. [more]

When We Went Electronic

October 30, 2018

Ms. Stephens has a substantial pedigree with her previous works having appeared at prestigious institutions and winning awards. The piffle on display here does exhibit craft, discipline and structure but to little effect as it sputters out after 70-minutes. The title is an Anthony Burgess’ "A Clockwork Orange" attempt at an invented slang. It refers to getting high and is tiresomely repeated countless times. “Look book” is another catchphrase that gets run into the ground. The dialogue is nonsensical, vulgar, often coarse and is supposed to be funny. [more]

Sesar

October 26, 2018

Christopher Plummer’s guest appearance on a 1987 episode of "The Cosby Show" giving a Shakespearean mini-recital in the Huxtable living room had a profound effect on writer and performer Orlando Pabotoy. That clip is a highlight of Mr. Pabotoy’s marvelous solo show, "Sesar" that recounts his relationship with his heroic father. Opening with a furious recreation of a storm and closing with an enchanting visual surprise, it’s 65 theatrical and emotionally resonant minutes taking place in the family bathroom [more]

Danny and the Deep Blue Sea

October 23, 2018

Brian Patrick Murphy as Danny and Lisa Fernandez as Roberta have a thrilling intensity, playfulness and chemistry together. With their accurate Bronx accents, youthful weariness and emotional volatility, their histrionics are a jolting delight that recalls the ferocious original cast recording of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?". A highlight of their captivating collaboration is a wonderful joint reverie where they fantasize about what their wedding would be like. [more]

Travisville

October 21, 2018

Mr. Harper’s taut construction, solid plotting and detailed characters all yield to a suspenseful, emotionally shattering and entertaining experience. As in the works of Henrik Ibsen, Arthur Miller and August Wilson, Harper makes valid rationales for both sides of the arguments that are being fought. [more]

Rags Parkland Sings the Songs of the Future 

October 17, 2018

For the first 25 minutes, the bushy red-bearded, receding with flowing hair Mr. Butler appears solo performing a series of his delightful songs. Butler superbly plays the banjo, guitar and harmonica as he conveys a Cat Stevens, Arlo Guthrie and Bob Dylan vibe. Then the ensemble joins him for a serious and light-hearted tuneful enactment. [more]

Midnight at The Never Get

October 12, 2018

Mark Sonnenblick’s exceptional book is an accomplished mixture of prodigious research, well-drawn characters and adept if misguided construction. It skillfully dramatizes the gay experience of living in New York City in the 1960’s with all its glory and despair. The Checkerboard, Julius, The Village Vanguard, The Blue Angel, The Bon Soir and Cafe Wha? are among the legendary venues mentioned. The Stonewall Riots, organized crime’s control of gay bars and routine arrests of gay men are cited. [more]

Kurt Vonnegut’s Mother Night

October 11, 2018

Presented by the San Francisco-based The Custom Made Theatre Company, this production is masterminded by its artistic director Brian Katz who adapted and directed it. Mr. Katz’s accomplished script tackles the difficult source material that’s structured as narrated flashbacks with overall successfully. Katz’s staging while working on a small-scale is technically resourceful but with limited theatricality. Sluggishness pervades and most crucially the show falters with its performances. [more]

Suddenly

October 9, 2018

Mercer’s direction coordinates the outstanding design components into an aesthetically successful presentation with some neat stage pictures and tableaux. However, the deliberate quest for stylization leads to an exaggerated tone in the performances as opposed to the movie’s straightforward naturalism resulting in an overall distancing effect. There’s the sense of experiencing a stilted art project rather than being engrossed by a play. [more]

What the Constitution Means to Me

October 7, 2018

Though going off on tangents, the captivating performer Heidi Schreck’s self-written fascinating theatrical memoir "What the Constitution Means to Me" is a feminist-centric personal odyssey that uses the device of high school oratory.  The blonde and animated Ms. Schreck’s persona combines the dramatic qualities of Laura Linney with the quirky comedic essence of Teri Garr. After introductory remarks, the Washington state native discloses the show’s conceit. [more]

The Eleventh Hour!

October 1, 2018

Nevin Denham is a morose N.J. basement band guitarist whose estranged up and coming astrophysicist girlfriend Amy Leonardo moves to New York City to be an intern for Mr. Tyson at the Hayden Planetarium. After the news of the impending disaster is broadcast on television they realize they still have strong feelings for each other and they set out on odysseys to reconnect. Along the way there are apocalyptic vignettes with homeless marauders, moles and a snake. [more]

Pop Punk High

September 28, 2018

Anderson Cook’s jocular book is a silly amalgam of "Grease" and "Rock 'n' Roll High School" with shades of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Composer and lyricist Ben Lapidus’ Green Day-themed score is an appealingly thrashing affair with numbers such as “I Don’t Give a Fuck.” With rock star animation, Mr. Lapidus also portrays Derek conveying teenage angst for comic effect. [more]

Richard Holbrook: It’s Time for a Love Song: The Lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner

September 27, 2018

Holbrook’s enduring youthful presence, twinkling charm and commanding vocal authority make him the ideal vessel to channel Lerner’s monumental achievements. Through his concisely informative commentary that is perfectly interlaced with 25 songs, we learn Lerner’s biographical essence. Wit, Harvard, Broadway, Hollywood, eight marriages, triumphs, flops and death at the age of 67 in 1986 are all crisply detailed during 80 fast-paced minutes.  The presentation is a model of the tributary concert with its wide-ranging array of rarities, never before heard selections in addition to classics. The dramatic lighting and polished sound design coordinated by Rocky Noel added to the show’s depth. [more]

You Wouldn’t Expect

September 26, 2018

Ms. Anselmi succeeds at imparting her solid research on the subject through her sharp dialogue spoken by her strong characters. The play falters with the addition of a chorus who are actors that appear in darkness during scene transitions to intone the names of disparate celebrities such as Charles Dickens, Johnny Cash and Mother Theresa. The explanation for these many names that are cited is that due to their personality quirks they would have been sterilized in North Carolina. That supposition is arguably a stretch, the main thing is this obtrusively weakens the momentum considerably. [more]

Intractable Woman: A Theatrical Memo on Anna Politkovskaya

September 23, 2018

Exhibiting talent and charm but with relatively impassive vocal deliveries are the trio who portray Anna Politkovskaya and other characters such as soldiers, medical personnel and military officials. They are Nadine Malouf, Nicole Shalhoub and Stacey Yen. They’ve been styled to have similar appearances and directed to be distant so that their performances are in the mode of recitation rather than distinctive characterizations, resulting in a lack of emotional impact. [more]

Antigone in Ferguson

September 21, 2018

The 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown inspired this exuberant concert-style presentation of Sophocles’ classic Greek tragedy entitled "Antigone in Ferguson." Director Bryan Doerries’ faithful adaptation lasts an hour and is performed by a rotating name cast in connection with a lively choir. Mr. Doerries’ proficient staging transforms it all into a novel, entertaining and emotionally charged experience. Tickets are free by making a reservation. [more]

I Hear You and Rejoice

September 18, 2018

Exhibiting the dazzling wizardry of someone who trained at the École Jacques Lecoq in Paris, Murfi is breathtaking as he clowns, mimes and barrels all over the space while distinctively rendering each character. His synthetic gray hair, malleable facial features, striking eyes that are in constant motion and affable presence enable him to swiftly shift from one denizen to another and he also channels several simultaneously. He plays Kitsy, Pat, a busybody who runs the newspaper store, a family friend, priests, and an assortment of colorful locals. [more]

THE AЯTS

September 17, 2018

Conceived and written by Kevin Doyle, "THE AЯTS" offers sophomoric antics that are a virtual parody of performance art techniques. There’s a lot of buzzers à la Richard Foreman. The show is a presentation of Sponsored By Nobody, “an international theatre company in search of a blue-collar avant-garde” that creates interdisciplinary works of “abrasive theatre.” [more]

The Conduct of Life

September 16, 2018

Farce meets tragedy in a fictional unnamed Latin American country in "The Conduct of Life." It’s a raucous yet insightful fantasia about military oppression taking its toll on the populace by the celebrated playwright María Irene Fornés. First performed in 1985 it is being given an inspired revival by the Boundless Theatre Company that is “spearheaded by women and theatre-makers of color.” The play is structured as 19 short, often absurdly funny and sometimes unsettling scenes, some lasting just a few seconds, that total 75 fascinating minutes. [more]

The Naturalists

September 12, 2018

Ms. McCarrick’s appealing premise of redemptive romance is in fact subsidiary to the IRA angle as in the program she states that this event is the inspiration for her play. The two threads haven’t been skillfully fused together, resulting in a disjointed experience totaling 13 scenes.  McCarrick packs in a great deal of backstory to her well-drawn characters and her effective dialogue is marvelously Irish in style with plenty of wit, eloquence and reflectiveness. [more]

In the Bleak Midwinter

September 11, 2018

In 14 concise scenes lasting 85 minutes, Ms. Lyman quite skillfully transforms the familiar premise of a resolute aged person clashing with her relatives over giving up her independence into an engrossing play. The characters are all fully developed, background information is smoothly imparted and the dialogue is a rich blend of humor and emotion. The plot has suspense and resonance as both arguments are set forth with equal validity. Lyman has also written a great part for herself. “I got a nice leg of lamb. Not as nice as what Eileen and Ed used to raise, but now she’s in Florida and Ed’s dead. Costco’s my butcher now.” [more]

In the Penal Colony

September 9, 2018

Director Miranda Haymon’s electric staging of her pared down yet faithful adaptation is filled with dialogue characteristic of Kafka and bracing sequences. Basketball is a key visual metaphor as the performers mime shooting hoops, run in place, do pushups and vigorously glide from bit to bit. Ms. Haymon’s commanding technique is combined with technical production achievements. Zack Lobel’s intense lighting design and sound designers Anthony Dean and Matthew Catron’s blaring whistles and pulsing renditions of electronic music all yield to an entrancing presentation. This plays out on scenic designer Tekla Monson’s stark bare black-accented set that is backed by a mirror. [more]

Private Peaceful

September 8, 2018

Wearing a realistic period uniform and donning a metal helmet, the youthful and animated Mr. O’Regan recalls the electric persona of the young Tom Courtney as he vividly portrays numerous characters besides the wide-eyed Thomas. Utilizing his rich vocal talents and wiry physique, these strong characterizations include his solid brother, a vicious old woman, and various martinets. If nothing else, Private Peaceful showcases O’Regan’s considerable talents. [more]

Intrusion

August 31, 2018

More in the style of informative advocacy event for the lecture circuit then a theatrical work, "Intrusion" wanly tackles the subject of rape. "I set out to create a show that addresses the systemic problem of rape culture from an intellectual standpoint…” is how writer-performer Qurrat Ann Kadwani describes her solo play that was inspired by the 2012 fatal gang rape of Jyoti Singh in India. Ms. Kadwani’s intellectual approach is the problem. Instead of a raw depiction of the topic, this is a dry recitation. [more]

Scraps

August 31, 2018

This production is presented by The Flea and the cast is drawn from their resident acting company, The Bats. Exhibiting heartbreaking resilience Alana Raquel Bowers as Aisha dominates the play. The captivating Tanyamaria is very funny yet conveys Adriana’s melancholy. With his lithe physique, sunniness and serene presence Michael Oloyede’s performance as Calvin is commanding. Roland Lane’s charisma and animation enrich his portrayal of the difficult role of Jean-Baptiste. [more]
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