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Broadway

The Elephant Man

December 24, 2014

This third Broadway outing of Bernard Pomerance’s "The Elephant Man" has its strengths and its weaknesses. On the one hand, it has Bradley Cooper’s magnificent, commanding performance in the title role. On the other, Scott Ellis’ production is a times superficial when it ought to be trenchant and facile when it ought to be caustic. However, like actors in profound classic texts, the performances in this 19th century tale many deepen over time. [more]

It’s Only a Play

November 27, 2014

The revival of Terrence McNally's theater comedy, It's Only a Play, has the starriest cast in town. It reunites Tony Award winners Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick for the third time, and throws in for good measure Oscar Award winner F. Murray Abraham, Tony Award winner Stockard Channing, Harry Potter regular Rupert Grint, and Emmy Award winner Megan Mullally. This is probably just as well as this 1985 farce was slight in its Off Broadway production and in its first Broadway appearance, drastically updated, it seems even thinner. Jack O'Brien, who usually directs stronger stuff, pilots the expert cast around their paces. [more]

The River

November 21, 2014

Hugh Jackman's charismatic, sinister and charming performance is the only reason to see Jez Butterworth's delicate but thin play, The River, Butterworth's next Broadway play after Jerusalem. Unlike Jerusalem, The River doesn't have much story or much in way of a message, though in its form and structure it is a mystery. However, Jackman (in another role in which he is onstage almost throughout the play) commands our attention in a way few actors can and you can hear a pin drop at any moment during the 85 minute evening. [more]

Disgraced

November 3, 2014

That such a devastating scramble of lives can happen in as handsome a setting as John Lee Beatty, magic set designer, manages to evoke, heightens the irony of what takes place there. The rest of the superb production is of equal caliber: Jennifer Von Mayrhauser's so right costuming, Kenneth Posner's so apt lighting, Jill BC Cu Boff's sound. But is this who we are? Where do we go from here? You don't want to miss Disgraced. How are you going to know what the title means? [more]

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

October 20, 2014

"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" is the sort of very special play that only comes along once in a very great while. It is a play that will not only astonish you while you are in the theater but will also stay with you for a long time after you have left. In addition, you will come away with a much greater understanding of people with autism and how their minds work. [more]

You Can’t Take It with You

October 17, 2014

This new production of "You Can't Take It with You" proves that not only has the comedy passed the test of time, it also remains a wonderful evening in the theater. It may be set in the 1930's but America in 2014 needs to hear its message all over again. And it is still joyful and uproarious as it shows up real human foibles of which people are still prone. [more]

This Is Our Youth

October 15, 2014

details a specific subset of affluent, privileged, urban teenagers with no concepts for independence or ambition. In the larger context, the characters' problems are mostly petty and self-inflicted; consequently, the subject matter is difficult to relate to. I cannot speak for everyone, but the careless spending, rampant drug use, and overinflated egos presented in Lonergan's play were certainly not characteristic of my youth. [more]

The Country House

October 14, 2014

"The Country House" is an old-fashioned drawing room comedy about theater and film people inspired by the plays of Anton Chekhov. From Donald Margulies whose track record includes "Time Stands Still," "Brooklyn Boy," "Sight Unseen," "Dinner with Friends" and "Collected Stories," we have come to expect something more emotionally satisfying. Blythe Danner, Daniel Sunjata, David Rasche and cast are good company but do not make a very convincing case for this new play [more]

Indian Ink

October 13, 2014

the relationship between Eleanor Swan and Anish Das is flirtatious from the outset. As the 75-year-old Mrs. Swan, Harris is a joy, making even her unfinished sentences perfectly obvious as well as her very English prejudices. Bhavesh Patel plays the younger Das with matinee idol suavity. As Captain David Durance, the British army officer who falls in love with Flora at first sight, Lee Aaron Rosen is suitably stiff, stalwart and handsome. [more]

Love Letters

September 29, 2014

Under Gregory Mosher's subtle and assured direction, the two performers always seem age appropriate to their characters. While they do nothing to disguise their real ages, it is as though two older people have gotten together to review the letters that they have written to each other over a lifetime. [more]

Casa Valentina

May 12, 2014

Harvey Fierstein's Casa Valentina is absorbing theater both as a revealing look into a world unknown to most theatergoers as well as a suspenseful new story. If the play has a flaw, it is that its message is a little bit obscure [more]

The Realistic Joneses

April 10, 2014

The Realistic Joneses introduces a new American playwright to Broadway, one with a unique voice all his own. Whether main stem audiences will understand Will Eno's cadences is another question. Toni Collette, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Marisa Tomei give the play a fine patina of urbanity. This, however, is not a play for all theatergoers. With its slightly mocking title (as these are anything but realistic Joneses), it is for those who want to be challenged and who want something new. [more]

Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill

April 10, 2014

Beg. Borrow. Steal. In a breathtaking leap, famed Audra McDonald has vaulted past anything she's ever done to this pinnacle of performance art, her portrait of Billie Holiday, the mesmerizing, tragic figure who haunts us still with the beauty and wreckage of her life, and if you don't go to see her, you'll be poorer for it. Because this is not only Billie Holiday, this is Audra McDonald at her consummate best. [more]

Of Mice and Men

April 9, 2014

As the African American hand banished to the stable, Ron Cephas Jones alternates movingly between bitterness with his lot and his desperate loneliness. Jim Parrack brings a great sense of fairness and moral integrity to the role of Slim, the only member of this tight, little community to whom they all instinctively look up to. Receiving third billing, Leighton Meester (star of television's Gossip Girl) as Curley's wife, the only woman in the play in this man's world, is caught in the trap of playing either Madonna or whore, typical of 1930's Hollywood movies. [more]

A Raisin in the Sun

April 1, 2014

The play tells the story of the hard-working black Younger family living in a shabby two-room apartment on Chicago's South Side, sometime between World War II and 1960. The patriarch, Walter Lee, Sr. has died recently and the family is awaiting a $10,000 insurance check (about $88,000 today) which is due to arrive in a day or two. Each of them looks forward to using the money for a different purpose [more]

Mothers and Sons

March 22, 2014

Tyne Daly has made it a specialty playing unsympathetic and difficult women, for example her star turns as Mama Rose in Gypsy and Maria Callas in Terrence McNally’s Master Class. Now in a new McNally play, Mothers and Sons, she plays the bitter, angry, taciturn Katherine Gerard, the Andre’s mother of McNally’s earlier one act. [more]

The Cripple of Inishmaan

March 12, 2014

If you add up all the billions of intakes of dollars for all the motion pictures starring the galaxy of movie stars putting their bare, nekkid faces before Broadway audiences this season, the sum tops by far the starstruck lists of recent years. And of all these powerhouses, the face on the cover of the Cort Theatre Playbill says it all: Daniel Radcliffe. Here he is, back in New York once again to, please, once again convey to everyone who's willing for the conveyance that he is not Harry Potter. Or maybe, not just Harry Potter. And so he has gone about as far as he can go: he is, in this very play, Cripple Billy, the Cripple of Inishmaan. And he's wonderful. [more]
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