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Articles by Darryl Reilly

Darryl Reilly
About Darryl Reilly (512 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.

Hey, Look Me Over! New York City Center Encores! at 25

February 10, 2018

Writer-performer Bob Martin recycles his sweater-clad disaffected “Man in the Chair” character from his 2006 Broadway musical "The Drowsy Chaperone." The conceit is that he’s a disgruntled Encores! subscriber who has been chosen to pick his selections for inclusion. Mr. Martin addresses the audience to offer commentary, often tells inside jokes and interacts with the cast.  Depending on one’s sensibilities, this is either an inspired or an insufferable device. However, it doesn’t mar the actual production. [more]

Against the Hillside

February 8, 2018

The production is not helped by William Carden’s heavy-handed direction.  Scene transitions are punctuated by sound designer and composer Shane Rettig’s blaring, pulsing and overwhelming original electronic music. In near darkness, stage hands wearing black appear to rearrange furniture and set props.  This all becomes formulaic and distracting. Carden’s physical staging is rudimentary and the actions flow weakly. Most unnerving is that Mr. Carden has the actors speaking rapidly and being overly emphatic for much of the time and this sets an artificial tone. [more]

The Cult Play

February 6, 2018

Mr. Cusumano has crafted a scenario that though familiar is gripping.  The timeless craving for lost souls seeking a purpose in life by handing over their existence to charlatans is freshly explored here.  The dialogue is well-observed, sharp and occasionally very funny.  The play is peopled by a collection of characters who are all identifiable and have finely drawn back stories. [more]

The New York Pops: Heart and Soul

February 4, 2018

“September” by Earth, Wind and Fire was gorgeously mashed up with Kool & The Gang’s “Celebration” and was the soaring opening number of The New York Pops’ exhilarating rhythm and blues concert, "Heart and Soul." The event celebrated African American History Month and Valentine’s Day. [more]

Mr. Chekhov and Mr. Porter

February 2, 2018

The first act is a faithful and skillful hour-long condensation of "The Seagull." The second act is a clever hour-long vaudeville-style amalgam of "The Cherry Orchard," "Uncle Vanya" and "The Three Sisters" in the detailed manner of one of Mel Brooks’ cinematic parodies. [more]

Delta in the Sky with Diamonds or Maybe Not

January 30, 2018

Classic movies such as "It’s a Wonderful Life," "Miracle on 34th Street" and "Moonstruck" are citied in the play and author June Daniel White is clearly inspired by and seeks to emulate them in this fable. Those films resonate due to their appealing characters and well-crafted scenarios. "Delta in the Sky with Diamonds or Maybe Not"’s rambling plot is too ambitious as a stage play. [more]

WinterWorks 2018: “Look Me in the Eyes”

January 27, 2018

“I never met a peanut butter junkie” is one of the many sharp zingers in Fran Handman’s romantic park bench meetup, "A New York Encounter" (directed by Elowyn Castle) between an older man and woman. It’s in the well-trod, zany territory of Murray Schisgal, Elaine May and Herb Gardner, and it’s well-trod again here.  The red-haired and vivacious Marie Wallace and the quirky James Nugent are priceless. [more]

Balls

January 26, 2018

Playwrights Kevin Armento and Bryony Lavery take the well-known facts that have been explored in documentaries and in the feature film "Battle of the Sexes" and shovel on a cascade of imagined sub plots, heavy-handed theatrical techniques and sociological trimmings. The opening voice-over prologue is a wry pseudo-scientific lecture about men and woman.  This narrator sounds like Jane Lynch at her most sarcastic and it’s supposed to be funny but falls flat.  The strident tone of the show is set. [more]

92Y’s Lyrics & Lyricists Series: “The Bobby Darin Story”

January 24, 2018

Whether bantering with the audience, displaying energetic dance moves, reciting factual details or performing Bobby Darin’s signature songs, the boyish Groff was sensational. “Splish Splash,” “Mack The Knife” and “If I Were a Carpenter” were all given galvanizing renditions. There was his soaring treatment of the emotional “Once in a Lifetime” near the end of the show. [more]

Diary of a Madman

January 23, 2018

Soviet born actor Ilia Volok is quite personable and definitely commands the stage; his performance is heroic but it is so intense and his accent is often intrusive. Comical and sensitive portions are overshadowed by the perpetual ranting. It’s 70 minutes of an actor’s bravura performance as he plays a character mentally unravelling and the plot gets sidetracked. There’s a lot of histrionics that don’t pay off. [more]

Sheila

January 20, 2018

Murky, glacial and hypnotic, "Sheila" is a dreamy reunion drama among two 28-year-old women who haven’t seen each other in 10 years. It recalls the sort of off-beat female-centric play director Robert Altman might have staged in the 1980’s and then filmed. The script is collaboratively written by members of The Associates, the theater company who is presenting it. It comes across as a collaboration with a feminist slant rather than an organic play.  Still, its 70 minutes have an enigmatic appeal. [more]

Until the Flood

January 19, 2018

Ms. Orlandersmith skillfully organizes the material into short monologues that are revelatory, insightful and often tinged with humor.  Visually striking with her animated facial features and flowing dreadlocks, Orlandersmith subtly yet forcefully offers a series of rich characterizations.  Varying her vocal inflections and altering her physiognomy she conveys the essence of each individual.  It’s a riveting performance of range and depth. [more]

The Undertaking

January 17, 2018

Dull, smug and interminable," The Undertaking" is a multimedia play written by Steve Cosson that explores the meaning of death.  Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp and Greek mythology are trotted out during this 80-minute hodgepodge. Mr. Cosson is also the director and his physical staging ranges from sedate to overdrive, with the actors incited to be manic. The ending, however, does have an affirmative simplicity. [more]

2018 LaBute New Theater Festival

January 15, 2018

With the support of film director, screenwriter and playwright Neil LaBute, the St. Louis Actors’ Studio has held an annual festival of one-act plays since 2013.  This is the third year that the festival has been presented at 59E59 Theaters in New York City, and it’s a very enjoyable program. [more]

Harold Pinter and Nicholas Hytner: Balancing Acts

January 14, 2018

Nicholas Hytner’s vivid accounts of two striking interactions with Harold Pinter are the standout highlights from his memoir, "Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at London's National Theatre." These revealing episodes will thrill devotees of the great and temperamental playwright. [more]

Mankind

January 9, 2018

Playwright Robert O’Hara’s fertile premise might have made for a provocative, sober sci-fi take on gender roles, sexuality and parenthood. Instead, it’s broadly conceived and lame. The flat dialogue is in the vein of Abbott and Costello with numerous jokes about “fathers” since there are no mothers. The “Dude, I’m pregnant” bit gets painfully recycled. [more]

Unexploded Ordnances (UXO)

January 8, 2018

Shaw employs the gruff cadences of George C. Scott and Weaver has the calm and measured tone of Peter Sellers and both are thoroughly delightful.  Their tremendous rapport is most evident in the phone scene from the film between the U.S. president and the Soviet leader: “How do you think I feel?” [more]

Cruel Intentions: The Musical

December 28, 2017

As "Rock of Ages" did for the 1980’s, "Cruel Intentions: The Musical" does for the 1990’s. This is a carefree entertainment accompanied by the revelry incited by a two-item minimum in a nightclub. For many audience members, the Proustian pleasure of experiencing songs that they fondly recall shoehorned into the plot from a minor movie they might remember will suffice.  It’s decidedly not an event for musical theater connoisseurs. [more]

A Charlie Brown Christmas

December 25, 2017

Vince Guaraldi’s monumental jazz themes are beautifully rendered by musical director Jenny Shiroma on piano, Laura Hamel on percussion and Billie Sholen on bass. This talented trio also performs marvelous renditions of a number of classic holiday numbers including “The Christmas Song,” Tchaikovsky’s “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” from The Nutcracker, and “Silent Night.” Most crucially they do great justice to Mr. Guaraldi’s wistful “Christmas Time Is Here.” [more]

Irving Berlin: In Person

December 20, 2017

Deffaa’s great achievement is joining the narrative portions with just the right song.  An anecdote about encountering Florenz Ziegfeld having an office dalliance with a chorus girl is followed by “A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody.” “I Love a Piano” is preceded by Berlin’s extolling of his beloved piano nicknamed “Buick. ” [more]

A 2017 10 Best List

December 20, 2017

Darryl Reilly, Critic Looking back at the 128 performance reviews I wrote for Theaterscene.net in [more]

The New York Pops: “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

December 18, 2017

Joni Mitchell’s “River” was given a powerful rendition by guest artist Megan Hilty.  The blonde and statuesque Ms. Hilty was a glorious vision wearing a luminous white wedding dress as she sang in her throaty, expressive and emotional voice.  In the first act Hilty wore a shimmering black gown.  The Broadway performer and star of the television series "Smash" excelled at traditional perennials as well as eclectic selections such as that bittersweet one by Ms. Mitchell. [more]

Hundred Days

December 12, 2017

Written by The Bengsons and Sarah Gancher, the show presents a stylized take on the couple’s love at first sight meeting, the complications it caused with their partners at the time, their instant romance and quick marriage.  It’s a New York story as they lived in Astoria, there’s mention of a memorable walk from Canal Street to The Cloisters, and a trip to Coney Island is pivotal. [more]

SpongeBob SquarePants, The Broadway Musical

December 11, 2017

Decked out in nerdy regalia of a yellow shirt, red tie and plaid pants with suspenders, Ethan Slater is terrific as SpongeBob. The immensely personable Mr. Slater wonderfully sings, dances and acts with the force of a Broadway titan such as Robert Morse in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying." Using whiny vocal inflections and animated facial expressions, Slater perfectly replicates the essence of the television character. [more]

Hold These Truths

December 9, 2017

With expressive and limber physicality, animated facial features, piercing eyes, and a smoothly resonant voice, Mr. de la Fuente vividly depicts Mr. Hirabayashi from youth to old age.  Magnifying his towering performance, de la Fuente also plays a gallery of characters that include Hirabayashi’s parents, his friends, and American military personal as well as other incidental characters.  His uniformly sharp characterizations are accomplished with ease, precision and depth.  He is totally commanding during the play’s 90 minutes. [more]

Jason Bishop: Believe in Magic

December 4, 2017

He grew up in rural Pennsylvania, was raised by foster families, and learned about magic by reading books at the public library. These biographical details add depth to his shaded yet sunny persona and inform his terrific rapport with children.  At the start of the show’s second act, there’s a commotion in the mezzanine with the sound of excited kids because he’s upstairs chatting with audience members before beginning his latest demonstration. [more]

Where Has Tommy Flowers Gone?

December 3, 2017

David Gow is the show’s producer and he also plays Tommy Flowers.  Mr. Gow perhaps saw this showy role as a vehicle for him to shine in and he does up to a point.  Gow is an appealing, very talented young man who gives an admirable performance in such problematic material. The part is up there with Ibsen’s epic Peer Gynt and Quentin in Arthur Miller’s verbose "After the Fall" in terms of duration.  Mr. Gow winningly displays stamina and range. However, it would take a colossus of the likes of a Robert Morse in "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" to make this play even a qualified success. [more]

Hot Mess

November 30, 2017

Crumm and DeVito have a marvelous chemistry together and terrific mutual comic timing that make them seem like a real couple. Their compelling performances energize and elevate what could have been a wan, sitcom-style stage show. [more]

Richard Holbrook: “The Many Moods of Christmas”

November 28, 2017

With his commanding and emotionally expressive baritone voice, the eternally boyish Holbrook wearing formal wear, vividly performs a program drawn from show tunes, Hollywood musicals, classical music, jazz and The Great American Songbook.  The numbers are connected with his concise and engaging patter. [more]

Book review: “The Last Word” by Quentin Crisp

November 28, 2017

The only thing in my life I have wanted and didn’t get was to be a woman. It will be my life’s biggest regret. If the operation had been available and cheap when I was young, say when I was twenty-five or twenty-26, I would have jumped at the chance. My life would have been simpler as a result. I would have told nobody. Instead, I would have gone to live in a distant town and run a knitting wool shop and on one would ever have known my secret. I would have joined the real world and it would have been wonderful. [more]
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