News Ticker

Off-Broadway

King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Plays

April 20, 2016

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s "King and Country: Shakespeare’s Great Cycle of Kings" is a magnificent achievement and a fitting tribute in this 400th anniversary of the bard’s death. Not only are the four plays an accessible presentation of what is often confusing for Americans unversed in British history, but taken together they are a very great study in the use and abuse of power and authority in this year of our own contentious political wranglings. Gregory Doran’s unfussy and intelligible productions set a bench mark by which others will be measured and offers star performances that should become legendary. [more]

Keep

April 18, 2016

This trio certainly embodies the dynamic of most family relationships – with sisters struggling to get along and the eldest child having to take responsibility. Comerzan acts as a parent to her youngest sister and uses her compassionate nature to try and take charge of the situation. D’Angelo is the firecracker in the mix and keeps the audience in stitches with her snappy one-liners and sarcastic comments. Krane plays well to the youngest child part – attempting to be understood while making sense of her bizarre hobby. As the play develops, the audience learns about the fourth sister, Margo, played by Leslie Marseglia, whose life path and relationship with Naomi has greatly impacted her sister’s life and means of coping. [more]

Mike Birbiglia: Thank God For Jokes

April 17, 2016

On stage, Birbiglia’s presence differs significantly from that of his fellow comics. It is no exaggeration in referring to Birbiglia as a soft-spoken individual, a term not often associated with a stand-up comedian. Birbiglia embraces his subtlety as his calling card, and this unique quality is the trait that differentiates his style from that of others. Further, because of the way he controls his onstage presence, when he does raise his voice or get particularly physical, it is even more effective as a result. This style paves the way for many different forms of comedy and jokes along the way, thus keeping the show free of any break in pace or monotony. [more]

Beckett Trilogy: Not I /Footfalls/ Rockaby

April 15, 2016

Scholars, critics, actors and audiences have long been entranced and intrigued by these plays. They appear to reflect Beckett’s perpetual theme of despair and joy coexisting within the human condition. This mesmerizing production of "Beckett Trilogy: Not I/Footfalls/Rockaby" vividly captures that expression with Lisa Dwan’s titanic performance and its striking presentation. [more]

Nathan the Wise

April 14, 2016

It’s an uneasy stretch that ultimately fails to convincingly conflate the surprisingly liberal religious arguments that Lessing makes with the extraordinarily complex political/religious/cultural impasse in today’s Israel. The interactions between the Christian, Muslim and Jewish characters are frank, barbed and boldly modern sounding—at least in Kemp’s version—but come across more as statements of the class structure of eleventh century Jerusalem than deep-seated psychological or sociological issues. [more]

Head of Passes

April 12, 2016

Tarell Alvin McCraney’s "Head of Passes" is an advance over his earlier work seen in New York ("The Brother/Sister Plays," "Wig Out," "Choir Boy") in its attempt to take on bigger themes and archetypes. In creating the role of Shelah, he has put on stage a magnificent role for an actress of tremendous gifts. Phylicia Rashad rises to Greek tragic heights required by Shelah’s plight. However, the meaning and message of the play remains obscure and tends to leave the audience outside of the play’s dramatic action. We watch mesmerized in horror as events unfold, but why they are happening and what is the underlying cause remains a mystery. [more]

Primary

April 12, 2016

Instead of a satirical take as in the film "The Candidate" (1972) or HBO’s television series "Veep," the treatment of the subject here is realistic in the mode of Norman Lear’s 1970’s situation comedies such as Maude. The toll of the campaign on Laura’s good-natured husband Arthur, her troubled nine year-old daughter Sophie and her resourceful young campaign manager Nick are insightfully explored. [more]

Vincent

April 10, 2016

Leonard Nimoy intended "Vincent" as a vehicle for himself that would showcase his talents. In this Off-Broadway premiere presented by Starry Night Theater, "Vincent" is now such an outlet for Nimoy’s worthy successor James Briggs in this entertaining and insightful production. [more]

House Rules

April 10, 2016

Featuring a talented and engaging cast as well as an inventively designed set that adds tremendous production value, "House Rules" would seem to have all the necessary elements of a successful production. However, though the technical and theatrical aspects of this production are undoubtedly successful, the message of this story is somehow lost along the way. Somewhere down the line, this heartfelt family story devolves into a set of characters with clichéd motivations and almost no character growth; characters who are far too often put into storylines which never receive that oh-so-satisfying payoff that differentiates an exceptional theatrical experience from the ordinary. [more]

The Effect

April 8, 2016

"The Effect" investigates the emotional, physical and ethical effects of drug testing, certainly a hot button issue in our time when we have come to expect a pill to solve all of our problems. The scientific portions are made human as we see them through the eyes of Connie and Tristan who must do everything at the same time as foils in the experiment. The parallel stories of test takers and warring doctors with a past history add to the visceral and intellectual pull of the play. [more]

Antlia Pneumatica

April 7, 2016

Rachel Hauck’s scenic design is the most outstanding feature of the interminable "Antlia Pneumatica." Ms. Hauck accurately and vividly represents the Texas ranch setting by an elaborate kitchen counter top in the center of the bare stage that is surrounded by shrubbery. It’s very functional as much of the activities involve preparing a feast. [more]

Dry Powder

April 3, 2016

Thomas Kail (one of the geniuses behind Hamilton) has staged the world premiere of Sarah Burgess’ riveting "Dry Powder" in as cool a fashion as Rachel Hauck’s cobalt blue set with its cubes and rectangular modules that are rearranged for the various scenes by stage hands dressed as stockbrokers. This A-list cast best known for their television roles, along with talented Sanjit De Silva as Landmark’s moral CEO, give us indelible, full-bodied performances. Making his Broadway debut after his eight seasons on "The Office," Krasinski (sleekly dressed in Dior and Ermenegildo Zegna) is the idealist who wants to make the world a better place for his wife and daughter and new child on the way, although he likes his job which makes it possible for him to own a yacht. He has promised Jeff (Sanjit De Silva), the CEO for Landmark, that none of his employees will lose their jobs. All our sympathy goes to him. [more]

Stupid Fu**ing Bird

April 1, 2016

Posner has turned Chekhov’s four-act play into two-part meta-theater: not only do the actors acknowledge the audience and solicit our participation, but they each have a monologue addressed directly to us. The actors sit around the stage when they are not in a scene, almost like they are attending a rehearsal. Aside from the obvious use of contemporary American vernacular, Posner has fun with iconic Chekhov lines that have grown stale. When asked why she always wears black, Mosh at first says, “Black is slimming,” before giving her original answer (“I’m in mourning for my life.”) He has changed Mosh and Dev’s story, giving them a different ending. While Chekhov’s Konstantin talks of the theater needing new forms, Posner’s version is the very new form that was predicted all those years ago. Finally, Posner has added an epilogue in which the actors address the audience one by one and give us a new take on the original ending. [more]

Hold On to Me Darling

March 31, 2016

In the hands of someone other than Timothy Olyphant, Strings McCabe might be a self-pitying monster too extreme to take seriously. However, this brilliantly accomplished actor has just the right amount of blarney to make Kenneth Lonergan’s "Hold On to Me Darling" one of the most satisfying plays in town. And you will learn a good deal about the lives of the rich and famous and how they get away with the antics they commit. [more]

Straight

March 31, 2016

The authors of "Straight" would have you believe that in 2016 26-year-old straight- acting investment banker Ben, living in Boston where same sex marriages have been legal for the last eight years, would still be in the closet. Seeing girlfriend Emily for the last five years since senior year at college, Ben finds sex with men more satisfying than with women, but he does not see himself as gay. He has just begun a sexual relationship with almost 21-year-old Boston College student Chris and he doesn’t want Emily to find out. However, Emily’s roommate is moving out and she wants him to move in. After all, it is five years and what is he waiting for? [more]

Locusts Have No King

March 31, 2016

Much of "Locusts Have No King" by J. Julian Christopher appears to be in the well-mined terrain of Mart Crowley’s "The Boys in the Band," Edward Albee’s "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and the works of Terrence McNally. Gay relationships are explored in blistering detail but gradually there is the Jean Genet bombshell that the action takes place in the contemporary Long Island rectory where they all live. [more]

The Hundred We Are

March 29, 2016

Swedish novelist and playwright Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s new play, "The Hundred We Are," presents an emotionally compelling view on the different stages of one’s self encountered over a lifetime. From the time we are born, until the time of our passing, we learn to adapt to our surroundings and transition from life phase to life phase, with our evolution as a human being marked as life’s most important journey. Audiences are in for a treat as this provocative and progressive new play examines many of the important social issues occurring throughout the world in a fresh and truly thought-provoking way. [more]

The Royale

March 27, 2016

The staging is unusual in that no punches are thrown. When the actors are supposed to be delivering their blows, they stamp their feet which is actually more sinister and startling. The cast clap in unison to punctuate various dramatic moments. The ringside bell is live, delineating each of the six scenes, in Matt Hubbs’ sound design. During the fight scenes, the boxers face the audience and we hear what they are thinking moment by moment, rather than see their punches. Nick Vaughan’s set doubles beautifully as gym, boxing ring and locker room. During the first boxing match, ropes on a frame are moved around to give the audience different views of the ring. Austin R. Smith’s subtle lighting helps direct attention to the right spot throughout the play. All of this leads to a remarkable and memorable evening in the theater. [more]

Wolf in the River

March 26, 2016

Directed by the author, "Wolf in the River" is an environmental production as the audience is invited to sit in folding chairs around a mound of earth with forlorn flowers, garbage and debris. However, there are set pieces and props located in the four corners of the venue as well. When the play begins, a man sitting in the audience gets up, strips off his shirt and shoes, and becomes the play’s narrator and master of ceremonies, as well as one of the characters. In an unnamed Southern American location, we are on the banks of a river (the audience is the river) filled with alligators. Six actors in pasty make-up wander around the outer perimeter of the room. Although the program does not explain their presence, the script reveals that they are the ghosts of those who have perished in the river. [more]

Ironbound

March 22, 2016

Darja, the grounding force of the entire production, is played with rawness and vigor by Marin Ireland. Ms. Ireland—no stranger to the New York stage as of late—delivers an unnerving performance as a woman who has had no run of good luck in her time in America. Jumping in time between the early 1990’s, the year 2014, and stopping in the middle (2006) along the way, Ireland’s performance is riveting and heartfelt from beginning to end—no matter the decade. [more]

Hungry: Play I of The Gabriels

March 19, 2016

"Hungry" is both an occasional play (written for this moment in time) and a chamber play. Not much happens but a great deal is implied. It will not please all theatergoers. However, it will be interesting to see how Nelson develops the next two plays in the series, "What Did You Expect?" and "Women of a Certain Age," with the same actors. Demonstrating their expertise, the cast is real enough to make you think they are not performing. [more]

Red Speedo

March 18, 2016

The play is made up of a series of six confrontations in which the dialogue is delivered like bullets flying back and forth. While the story is engrossing, the individual conversations all go on a bit too long, and get tiresome before they are each over. Then the next one takes us by surprise all over again. However, what is unique about the play is that the athlete in question eventually is seen to be a monster. His sense of entitlement has been overwhelming: he has expected his lawyer brother to get him out of trouble each time he got himself into another mess, and his brother has been supporting him all these years, paying all of his bills but with a family of his own to provide for. But worst of all is Ray’s absence of a sense of morality in a culture where winning is everything. He is willing to kill for fame and fortune and whoever he destroys along the way does not concern him. [more]

Ideation

March 18, 2016

Taking place in real time, Aaron Loeb's entertaining play is in the mode of Paddy Chayefsky’s "Network" with shades of "The Blair Witch Project." It also echoes the explosive style and resonant themes of psychological moral complexities that Yasmina Reza theatrically explored in her plays "Art" and "God of Carnage." [more]

Boy

March 15, 2016

In his widely produced 1977 play," The Elephant Man," Bernard Pomerance employed the theatrical device of having the grotesque John Merrick portrayed by an actor (invariably a handsome one) without makeup. "Boy" is similar in that the magnetic Bobby Steggert plays Samantha and later Adam without any external differentiation. Acclaimed for his New York City appearances in such musicals as "Yank" and the 2009 Broadway revival of "Ragtime," as well as the Terence McNally play "Mothers and Sons," Mr. Steggert here delivers a powerful performance. Low-key yet animated, he commandingly conveys all of the anguish and endurance of the character with heartbreaking effect. His characterization is particularly outstanding considering he alternates between being a child, an adolescent and an adult throughout the play. Each permutation is depicted with absolute focus. [more]

Women Without Men

March 15, 2016

Thompson’s direction is taut, nuanced and compelling and she found the ensemble to not only make their characters entirely distinct but to make us feel these women have lived together for years. Emily Walton is charming as the idealistic Jean who comes to feel that there is no place for her in such a poisonous environment. As her nemesis Miss Connor, Kellie Overbey is sympathetic as a woman who feels that life has given her a poor hand but that her writing makes it all worthwhile. Mary Bacon is a tower of strength as the stalwart Miss Strong who after 18 years refuses to be pulled into the petty wrangling as her way of survival. [more]

The Goodbye Room

March 14, 2016

Eric Gilde’s new drama, "The Goodbye Room," realistically and powerfully captures a family’s journey after losing a loved one. The worst of times always seems to bring the deepest of emotions to the surface as we prepare to say good-bye to someone close to us, while also dealing with the family and friends that surround us in our time of need. It is not only difficult for a family as a unit, but it individually takes a toll, as each member deals with grief in a different way. The result is a storyline that is eye opening, stirring and poignant. [more]

Walk Hard

March 14, 2016

Imani’s production of 'Walk Hard" for Metropolitan Playhouse is an exciting piece of theater from an eye-opening rediscovery. Historically, it comes nine years after Clifford Odets’ 'Golden Boy" which covers similar content and 13 years before Lorraine Hansberry’s "A Raisin in the Sun" in which the Younger family fights a similar battle. Current racism condemned by the Black Lives Matter movement and much talk of income inequality in this election year make Walk Hard relevant once again at this time. [more]

Widowers’ Houses

March 14, 2016

Director David Staller has ingeniously staged this small-scale production with numerous theatrical flourishes. Scene transitions are accomplished with actors in character moving furniture, there are hilarious slapstick bits, voice-over recordings are heard representing a character’s thoughts and the very precise stage choreography all enrich the presentation while faithfully representing the author’s intentions. Mr. Staller has also assembled a first-rate cast of talented actors who are all expert at crisply delivering Shaw’s wordiness while sustaining vivid characterizations. There is also clever double casting. [more]

Connected

March 13, 2016

"Connected" is a series of short plays, each tackling our always-connected culture from a different angle. The first of four stories is about Meghan, a high schooler with a crush on one of the most popular guys in school. Midori Francis, the charming actress playing Meghan, decides to ask her crush to the prom and, after her theatrical prom proposal gets caught on camera and uploaded to YouTube, Francis’s timid teen reaches web celeb status, with her video collecting one million views in 24 hours. This story has a lot to say about what it means to be popular, and the juxtaposition of a down-to-earth girl rising to celebrity status opens the door to a thought-provoking conversation about the fickleness of fame, and the isolation that ironically comes with it. [more]

Buried Child

March 13, 2016

After a twenty year hiatus from the New York theater scene, Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer Prize-winning "Buried Child" is back in the Big Apple but in a more intimate setting. This latest iteration of the dramatic classic sees its return to the world of Off-Broadway, with a limited engagement at The Pershing Square Signature Center. Loaded with a powerhouse cast led by Ed Harris, the latest from the The New Group is a fresh take on an American classic. [more]

One Way to Pluto!

March 10, 2016

Patrick Brian Scherrer plays Peter, appearing in all 11 scenes, often in intense situations. The very personable Mr. Scherrer’s performance is quite heroic as he boldly embraces the play’s many painful episodes with his boyish charm. He is painfully believable as this wide-eyed struggling artist in the cruel big city and is instrumental to the play’s success. [more]

The Body of an American

March 9, 2016

The inspiration for the play began when poet and playwright Dan heard the Fresh Air interview. Paul was already famous as the photographer who took the now iconic 1993 picture of U.S. Staff Sgt. William David Cleveland’s body being desecrated in Mogadishu. As he took the photo, Paul heard a voice say, “If you do this, I will own you forever,” which led to his continuing post-traumatic stress syndrome. The public outcry caused President Clinton to pull the American forces out of Somalia which led to other political repercussions. Dan, suffering his own traumas, identified with Paul and emailed him. Surprisingly the reclusive Paul answered him and this led to a long correspondence and finally a face-to-face meeting in the Arctic. [more]

Familiar

March 9, 2016

The family tension is defined in terms of the strong female relationships between mother Marvelous (Tamara Tunie) and the bride-to-be, who differ when it comes to wedding plans as well as the bride and her younger sister, Nyasha (Ito Aghayere) who clash over lifestyle choices. Big sister is the accomplished, serious professional woman who is strongly tied to her religious beliefs and customs, and the free-spirited little sister (who wasn't even asked to be a bridesmaid) who is tired of being berated for her choices. Tendi looks more to her aunt from Africa for guidance than her mother and is determined to have her look upon her choices as favorable. The source of comic relief in Familiar is Donald, the father (played by Harold Surratt), who sits back observing all the conflict and tries his best to take it all in stride. This family is one for the ages and how they deal with each other and common familiar issues is something all audiences can relate to. [more]
1 20 21 22 23 24 32