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Articles by Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (773 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.

This Beautiful Future

January 17, 2022

First presented in London in 2017, this shimmering U.S. premiere affirms its acclaim. The Australian-born Ms. Kalnejais’ writing is highly crafted, imaginative and affective. Kalnejais was inspired by a 2016 museum exhibition containing W.W. II-era film footage to create this entrancing historical tale during a sense of worldwide political chaos. “I wanted to write something hopeful and delicious and gorgeous and put something gorgeous out into the world,” she has said in an interview. [more]

Sugar Ray

January 10, 2022

For 80 minutes, Mr. Wilson commands the stage with his expressive voice and charismatic physical presence. Wilson portrays Robinson from robust youth to early middle-age beset by early Alzheimer’s with verve, recounting the fighter’s life from birth in Georgia, to a poverty-stricken Harlem childhood, to his rise and fall in the ring. Direct address is a conceit of the play, and so Wilson is in constant motion, periodically engaging with audience members and at times playfully throwing punches at some. In addition to fiercely channeling Robinson, Wilson offers marvelous mini portraits of his resourceful divorced mother, Walter Winchell and Muhammad Ali. It’s a towering turn. [more]

A 2021 Five Best List

December 26, 2021

In the past, my annual wrap up excluded Broadway but this year Broadway presented the bulk of the year’s outstanding works. [more]

Technopoly

December 24, 2021

With narrative flashes reminiscent of Rod Serling’s striking storytelling, "Logic & Hope" is a resonant examination of a heterosexual marriage during the era of early COVID-19. A cooped up middle class New York City couple navigate their relationship during job loss and pregnancy. Masking, sheltering in place and existential unease are represented by Mr. Murphy through sharp details. Murphy then gives us psychological turns and plot twists out of Lillian Hellman. Actors Jake Robertson and Marissa Caraballo offer vivid portrayals as the troubled marrieds, with John Sannuto giving a wry telephone voice-over performance as the wife’s grandiose financier father. [more]

Mrs. Doubtfire

December 12, 2021

Broadway fixture Rob McClure occasionally channels Robin Williams with sparkling riffs and simulated ad libs but makes the roles of Daniel and Mrs. Doubtfire his own and each distinctive especially with his trilling Scottish burr. With his commanding singing, dancing and acting talents, Mr. McClure is a stage marvel up there with Jim Dale, effortlessly veering from comic to poignant. Jenn Gambatese is delightful as Miranda, finely balancing seriousness with madcap as the pragmatic wife. As the children, Analise Scarpaci, Jake Ryan Flynn and Avery Sell all offer appealing characterizations. Brad Oscar is uproarious as always as Daniel’s brother. As his fierce husband, J. Harrison Ghee is magnetically hilarious. Peter Bartlett scores as a weird over the hill children’s television host. The animated Charity Angél Dawson’s child welfare official is a grand take on bureaucratic officiousness. In the brief role of a television network executive, Jodi Kimura is wickedly deadpan par excellence. [more]

Little Christmas Miracles

December 12, 2021

Ideally, the good-natured play with music, "Little Christmas Miracles" would perform only at matinees before an audience mostly of eager children rather than seasoned theatergoers. [more]

Camille O’Sullivan: “Where Are We Now?”

December 8, 2021

David Bowie’s "All the Young Dudes" triumphantly rendered with a touch of Dixieland is one of several grand numbers in the spirited Irish-French performer Camille O'Sullivan’s engaging theatrical concert, “Where Are We Now?” in which she’s backed by a sensational band. That anthem’s familiar rousing opening notes are done justice by Omar Kabir on trumpet. Then clad in a shimmering sequined black skirt suit, black blouse and silver shoes, the long dark-haired alluring Ms. O'Sullivan sings the lyrics in her soaring gutsy voice. That’s while she is wonderfully dancing and miming all over the stage of Irish Arts Center’s $60 million new building and in the aisles. [more]

Selling Kabul

December 6, 2021

Will a former Afghani U.S. Armed Forces interpreter get himself and his family out of the country before he’s captured by the Taliban in 2013? This is the crux of playwright Sylvia Khoury’s gripping, thoughtful and suspenseful drama, "Selling Kabul." In a straight through 100 minutes, Ms. Khoury crafts an accessible overview of that conflict, sets up a compelling story and employs a classic plot device. Khoury’s smooth passionate dialogue imparts exposition and biographical details while advancing action with technical accomplishment. [more]

The Visitor

November 20, 2021

David Hyde Pierce taking off his suit trousers to practice on a drum in his boxer shorts is one of many hilarious bits that are meshed with drama in "The Visitor." It’s a faithful, resonant and well-done musical adaptation of the acclaimed 2007 independent film of the same title. Book writers Kwame Kwei-Armah and Brian Yorkey stick closely to director/screenwriter Thomas McCarthy’s original vision while skillfully translating it for the stage. [more]

The Dark Outside

November 13, 2021

The Off-Off-Broadway world premiere of "The Dark Outside," nonagenarian English playwright Bernard Kops’ poetic, archetypal and fantastical family secrets drama is problematic. Directorial excess combined with intrusive conceptual design clash with authorial vision. The play was originally performed as a reading at London’s National Portrait Gallery on January 17, 2020. It’s likely that its potential was more realized and faithful to Mr. Kops’ text during that simple event. [more]

Tammany Hall

November 5, 2021

Co-creators and co-directors Darren Lee Cole and Alexander Flanagan-Wright have crafted a novel documentary premise, enforced with immaculate historical detail without being pedantic. The events and sense of this period are imparted through precise information characters deliver. That’s aided by the company wearing costume designer Grace Jeon’s smart dark suits, a variety of hats, and smashing flapper dresses. Lighting designer Emily Clarkson and sound designer Megan Culley add to the authenticity with their high caliber contributions. [more]

Ziel Dance Theater: “Freedom ≠ Britney”

October 31, 2021

“Work Bitch,” “Oops! I Did It Again” and “Gimme More” are also among the choice hits included in the show’s delirious soundtrack, interspersed with audio statements by Britney Spears. [more]

Brecht on Brecht

October 29, 2021

Director Nicholas Viselli’s physical staging crackles with force and exhibits visual flair with numerous arresting stage pictures. Bert Scott’s artfully simple scenic design conveys the sense of the past as does his lighting design, employing dimness, spotlights and blackouts all to great effect. Sound designer Eric Nightengale achieves an appropriate vintage vibe. While utilizing contemporary wear, Courtney E. Uruyo’s perfect costume design manages to evoke different eras of the 20th century particularly with its range of dresses and hats. Projection designer Samuel J. Biondolillo artistically melds words and imagery into a pleasing view. Crucial is the periodic inclusion of black and white footage of the Marxist Brecht testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee in 1947. [more]

Ziel Dance Theater: “And There it Was”

October 25, 2021

Magnificent leaps, graceful gestures with his hands and arms, grand turns, and Martial Arts-style moves are all to be experienced by Tomislav Nevistic’s exceptional modern dance technique. His choreography recalls the texture of Martha Graham, Paul Taylor’s wit and Twyla Tharp’s jauntiness. [more]

Clifford Odets in Staten Island

October 23, 2021

An idealistic down on his luck Filipino American father home schools his two children. To teach them about The Great Depression and the present U.S. economy, he has them study the plays of Clifford Odets. The realistic portions of the production set in a house and outdoors are in color, these alternate with striking black and white performance portions of the boxing drama Golden Boy and the labor strike play Waiting for Lefty in various locales such as the backyard and the den. It’s all quite engaging and hearing Odets’ unique hard-edged poetic dialogue is a lovely reminder of his historic place in the American theater.  [more]

The Lehman Trilogy

October 22, 2021

Wearing costume designer Katrina Lindsay’s artful business attire is the distinguished British trio of Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Adrian Lester. They initially portray the three Lehman brothers, then in an exhilarating display of superior acting, they play a gallery of other major and incidental characters with Dickensian flair. Whatever the figure’s gender, age or varied social status, each actor offers many full-blooded characterizations emitting force and pathos through their expertly altered voices and grand physicality. Time passes, people die, and we feel sad having gotten to know them through these performers’ indelible depictions. For the Broadway incarnation, Mr. Lester replaces the unavailable Ben Miles who performed in the previous productions. [more]

Lackawanna Blues

October 15, 2021

Employing his majestic vocal and physical talents, Santiago-Hudson supremely differentiates each of his brief characterizations with specificity and pathos. There’s also a poignant dynamic as he plays himself as a child and now at his current age. Santiago-Hudson’s staging is equally as assured as visually and aurally and the production is impeccable. Blues guitarist Junior Mack is onstage dramatically matching the spoken words with his skillful performing of Bill Sims Jr.’s intense original music. [more]

F.I.R.E.

September 30, 2021

Ms. Blauvelt has a fine ear for contemporary dialogue, sharply delineates her seven characters and gradually sets up a credible plot. The resolution is a familiar take on the financial world’s amorality. Warren Buffet is revered, and the play’s title is a clever acronym for a philosophical credo to amass enough money to get out of the rat race during one’s prime (i.e. Financial Independence Retire Early). [more]

Hindsight

September 28, 2021

The pop music classics of the 1980’s intermixed with audio clips of President Ronald Reagan telling jokes is an apt pre-show soundtrack to playwright Alix Sobler’s "Hindsight." With Stoppardian flair, Ms. Sobler manages to make an exploration of the 1987 elimination of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission’s Fairness Doctrine into a cleverly informative non-linear 90-minute entertainment. [more]

Scott Raneri: Extra! Extra!

September 28, 2021

The title, Extra! Extra! refers to Raneri’s past livelihood as a prolific screen background player in such television shows as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. “I’m finally playing the lead part in a show, my own…” [more]

Ruth Stage and The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation

September 28, 2021

A highlight of the benefit is to be a rehearsal sequence of the troupe’s upcoming revival of "Cat on a Hot Tin" Roof, featuring cast members Alison Fraser and Austin Pendleton. The production will be directed by Joe Rosario. [more]

The Last of the Love Letters

September 19, 2021

We’re transported to Ms. Chen’s boldly oppressive spacious prison set with bars, an austere bed, a urinal, a tank to vomit in, and a retractable metal staircase for a menacing authority figure to descend from. Here, we meet the incarcerated “You No.2,” the male who gives his side of the romantic breakup during a cryptic and histrionic 40 minutes. We gradually realize he’s an artist being held in a government mental institution for crimes against the state. The finale strives for an emotionally resonant Twilight Zone-style twist ending, but it doesn’t make much impact, like the rest of this synthetic play. [more]

The Book of Moron

August 23, 2021

“Do I believe in heaven and hell or another parallel universe? If I parallel park in a parallel universe will I be double parking?” muses the affable performer Robert Dubac during his clever self-written comic solo show, "The Book of Moron." Dressed in gray trousers, a black shirt and a black jacket, the seasoned Mr. Dubac holds forth for 80 minutes with his appealing persona that recalls Mort Sahl’s topicality, David Steinberg’s impishness and George Carlin’s profundity. [more]

Alma Baya

August 18, 2021

"Alma Baya" is distinguished by its impressive production design which wondrously theatricalizes what we’re used to from experiencing science fiction on the screen and television. Scenic designer Mike Mroch’s multi-level configuration of geometric white pieces adorned with gadgets is awesome. Besides the striking space suit and helmet, costume designer Ramona Ponce provides snazzy shimmering gray outfits reminiscent of Pierre Cardin. Federico Restrepo’s lighting design in collaboration Hao Bai is a jolting assemblage of hues, colors and tones. Before the show begins, Mark T Bruckner’s sound design is already arresting with its droning electric cords, later there’s the grand whooshing of air locks opening and closing. [more]

Trial on the Potomac: The Impeachment of Richard Nixon

August 12, 2021

Rich Little, belatedly making his New York stage debut in the role of Richard Nixon is the show’s magnetic anchor. Playwright George Bugatti crafts a wild scenario, meshing Allen Drury’s sense of political intrigue with Jules Feiffer’s absurdism. [more]

The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+

July 15, 2021

For "The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+" which wildly lives up to its title, director Maarten Cornelis updates Wilde’s scenario to present day New York City. Currency is in dollars; Manhattan landmarks replace London ones, though the fabled cucumber sandwiches remain. Amanda Scanze’s splendorous fashionista-type costume design and Martina Duque’s artfully basic scenic and projection design are all contemporary. Mr. Cornelis places us in an affectionate fantasyland true to the spirit of Wilde where logical inconsistencies and anachronisms are to be taken in stride. Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing are still upper-class charmers pretending to be named Ernest to romance their eccentric objects of desire. Instead of Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax, here we get Cecil and Gwyn. This production’s chief virtue is its matter of fact and sensual depiction of same-sex attraction. That is achieved through Cornelis’ skillful direction, his otherworldly lighting design and his energetic ensemble. [more]

The Watering Hole

July 2, 2021

There are installations, written words, video projections, and recorded spoken word. One setting is intended as a break area where patrons can dance or play with beachballs. Other interactive projects involve writing answers to questions and pinning them to a piece. To give specific descriptions of these clever inventions would be to spoil surprises. This one is memorable and representative of the exhibition. [more]

Aporia: “Morning Was Safe”

June 30, 2021

Two police detective partners have breakfast while working a case at a generic U.S.A. hotel in author Gabriel Nathan’s electric 15-minute play Morning Was Safe. Mr. Nathan’s dialogue crackles with vernacular authenticity and his psychological scenario is a heated slice of life which briefly takes us into the heads of the two officers. It’s as if Samuel Beckett wrote an episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit." There’s Netflix recommendations, personal information, and a reverie about bacon recalling The Holocaust. It’s a grand vehicle for its two actors. [more]

Two Jack Lemmon Triumphs

June 27, 2021

He died 20 years ago today at the age of 76. Why am I moved to note this anniversary? For the same reason I was compelled to see "Tribute" onstage. Viewing 1973’s "Save the Tiger" as a child in a second-run Bronx movie made me a Jack Lemmon admirer for life. [more]

Darryl Reilly: Podcast Guest

June 16, 2021

During Mr. Reilly’s breezy segment his life, career and views on theater were discussed. The Bronx-born Reilly has been a critic for seven years, is a member of the Drama Desk and has a BFA from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. [more]

Grodin on Letterman

June 13, 2021

Grodin created his meta gag in 1973, which was that he was playing a snide and combative version of himself. He was so good at it that some audience members gasped at his rudeness and home viewers wrote in to complain at how nasty he was to Johnny Carson, who was in on the joke. [more]

George Rose Recalled

June 10, 2021

Highlights of Ed Dixon’s sharp writing and grand acting inlcude joyous recreations of George Rose in My Fair Lady and The Pirates of Penzance, a sad mini portrait of Ray Walston and being transported to the NYC acting world when a Hell’s Kitchen apartment could be rented for $70 a month. [more]

Consider Your Ass Kissed

May 28, 2021

“We have remained dear friends for 45 years, so I know the stories she has to tell. You’ll love this!” wrote Alex Trebek of Ruta Lee in his foreword. [more]
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