News Ticker

Off-Broadway

A Delicate Ship

September 7, 2015

Anna Ziegler’s "A Delicate Ship" is an intelligent, intensely absorbing play that treats its three thirty-something characters like chess pieces moving warily about Reid Thompson’s raised platform apartment set, floating amidst a rock garden which becomes a life-sized game board. [more]

In Bed with Roy Cohn

September 4, 2015

If "In Bed With Roy Cohn" were seen at a theater event such as The New York Fringe Festival, it could be viewed as a promising offbeat creation. But as a commercial Off-Broadway production it is quite deficient on a basic narrative level that undermines its other successful and outrageous qualities. [more]

Love & Money

September 4, 2015

"Love & Money" is light, literate entertainment, impeccably acted by its small cast led by the charismatic Ms. Anderman. Mr. Paulik amusingly projects his lack of experience while putting up a gruff front. Ms. Dunlap’s Agnes is priceless. Mr. Brown is a tad too much of a whirlwind as Walker, but as his façade cracks, he warms up nicely. Ms. Kim is onstage for less than four minutes, but made a good impression. [more]

Mercury Fur

September 1, 2015

In his 2005 "Mercury Fur," being given its belated Off Broadway premiere by The New Group under the direction of its intrepid artistic director Scott Elliott, there has been a complete breakdown of society: gangs roam the city and kill and destroy in supermarkets and museums, while the population is addicted to hallucinogenic butterflies. The one redeeming factor: people will still go to any lengths to save the ones they love. However, "Mercury Fur" is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted: Ridley’s original publisher refused to publish the text. [more]

John

August 31, 2015

Baker fills "John" with telling details, from the food (ever hear of Sailor’s Duff?) to hidden rooms to specifics of Gettysburg, that keep the play from floating away into total surrealism. She is helped by Mimi Lien’s extraordinarily detailed set which evokes worlds within worlds with its amazing array of tchotchkes, perfectly chosen furniture, a player piano that erupts at odd moments, ceiling fans lazily, but ineffectively whirring, and a multitude of doors. Mark Barton’s atmospheric lighting is perfection. Ásta Bennie Hostetter’s costumes are well thought-out and Bray Poor’s sound design gives eerie life to the show. [more]

Drop Dead Perfect

August 29, 2015

Everett Quinton has found the ideal vehicle in the hilarious "Drop Dead Perfect" to revive the style of the Ridiculous Theatrical Company for which he originally found fame. Like the plays of the late Charles Ludlam plays, Erasmus Fenn’s Drop Dead Perfect parodies a specific genre using movie and television quotes and characters, situations lifted from famous melodramas, and sexual puns placed in new contexts. Here the new play is a satire of 1940’s and 50’s Bette Davis and Joan Crawford melodramas, with dollops of I Love Lucy which allows Quinton do sparkle as a Southern heiress with many scores to settle. Director Joe Brancato manages to keep the melodrama believable at all times and none of the quartet of actors goes beyond the histrionics inherent in the plot. [more]

Whorl Inside a Loop

August 29, 2015

A titanic ensemble of six highly talented actors plays the prisoners as well as multiple roles including females with slight costume changes. Derrick Baskin, Nicholas Christopher, Chris Myers, Ryan Quinn, Daniel J. Watts, and Donald Webber, Jr. all superbly convey the pathos, comedy and humanity of these characters. [more]

Sense of an Ending

August 27, 2015

Mr. Urban does an excellent job of dramatizing and explaining a complex historical situation in this fictional treatment of a real case. In 1994, Rwandan President Juvénal Habyarimana died when his plane was shot down. This assassination instigated a brutal tribal conflict between the majority Hutus who blamed Tutsi extremists for the death of the Hutu president. Varying estimates of the death toll range from 500,000 to 1,000,000. [more]

Baba: the Show

August 26, 2015

Life comes with detours, but more important than any of that is the personal response. Instead of allowing the past to dictate the future, Mahgoub’s path is one filled with determination and perseverance. Hard work is ultimately more important than “luck,” [more]

Informed Consent

August 24, 2015

Deborah Zoe Laufer’s fascinating and engrossing "Informed Consent" tells three interlocking stories that eventually become one by the end. Under Liesl Tommy’s assured direction and with Tina Benko’s riveting central performance as a research scientist, the play, co-produced by Primary Stages and Ensemble Studio Theatre under the auspices of the Alfred P Sloan Foundation, deals with such issues as genetic testing, science versus religion, scientific ethics, and early onset Alzheimer’s. Inspired by a true story," Informed Consent" uses various theatrical devices to tell its compelling story and remind us of the necessary work needing to be done if we are to find cures for unsolved diseases like diabetes which involve a great many victims. [more]

Cymbeline

August 13, 2015

At The Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park venue, director Daniel Sullivan has proved himself a brilliant interpreter of the Bard’s comedies, both dark and light, from the evidence of his "Merchant of Venice," "The Comedy of Errors" and "Twelfth Night," to name only a few. Therefore it is a great disappointment to report that his "Cymbeline," the second and last 2015 Shakespeare in the Park offering, based on his 1999 Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, staging, is both confused and uneven, both visually and theatrically. Even more discouraging, the production wastes the talents of noted stage stars Kate Burton, Raúl Esparza, Patrick Page, and Lily Rabe and Hamish Linklater, the acting couple being reteamed on the New York stage for the fifth time. [more]

The Singularity

August 6, 2015

Under the careful direction of Amy Fowkes, Lundy-Paine captures a woman’s painful journey when trying to have a baby and nothing is working. She finds the ever so delicate balance between finding the strength to keep it together and allowing her vulnerability and struggle to shine through. While she knows what she wants when it comes to selecting a donor, her choices become limited with time and she resorts to an option that is way ahead of her – or medicine’s – time. [more]

Summer Shorts 2015 – Festival of New American Short Plays – Series B

August 5, 2015

Series B of Summer Shorts 2015 is similar to Series A in that all three plays are also relationship dramas, here between a woman (or three women) and a man in which the men aren’t sure they want to give in to the women. Unlike Series A, all three have endings that are open ended and rather unsatisfying to varying degrees. Although two of the three authors have excellent credits (Lucy Thurber and Robert O’Hara), the plays may feel unfinished or early drafts. [more]

Delirium’s Daughters

August 4, 2015

"Delirium's Daughters" by Nicholas Korn is faithful to the form and figures of Commedia dell'arte. This theatrical genre is grounded in comedic improvisation and began in 16th century Italy with easily recognizable satirical stock characters. This middling production of Mr. Korn’s solid play is presented by Triumvirate Artists. Though unintended as such, it comes across as ideal children’s entertainment but is too slight for adults. [more]

Summer Shorts – Festival of New American Short Plays 2015 – Series A

August 1, 2015

Summer Shorts – Festival of New American Short Plays has returned to 59E59 Theaters for its 9th annual outing offering six world premieres by famous playwrights, as well as some who ought to be more well-known, along with different casts and directors for each. The three plays in Series A are a fascinating grouping of new one acts in which women attempt to manipulate their companions for various ends. Neil LaBute, Vickie Ramirez and Matthew Lopez take very different stories and handle them in distinctive ways. All of these new plays can use a bit of pruning, but they are all works that will get under your skin and stay with you. [more]

Off White

July 31, 2015

Bianca Soto, Mary Baynard, Natasa Warasch, Mark Kopas and Anthony Abdo in a scene from “Off [more]

the dreamer examines his pillow

July 31, 2015

Like most of the other of the author’s works, the three characters here are very colorful individuals who histrionically clash with each other while verbosely explaining their feelings and motivations. As entertaining, funny, and thoughtful as these often quite lengthy exchanges are, they’re unable to compensate for a lack real action or suspense over the course of the three scenes lasting 90 minutes and becomes wearying. Though similar in structure and themes to many of his successful other works, the dreamer examines his pillow is not as satisfying. [more]

Three Days to See

July 31, 2015

Using a versatile cast of seven (Ito Aghayere, Patrick Boll, Marc delaCruz, Theresa McCarthy, Chinaza Uche, Barbara Walsh, and Zoe Wilson) who all play both Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan at some point in the evening, "Three Days to See" will impress you with the courage of this remarkable woman and remind you how grateful you should be for having your five senses unimpaired. While Keller’s early life was brilliantly dramatized in William Gibson’s "The Miracle Worker," that play and movie only dealt with Keller at age seven. "Three Days to See" tells the rest of the story as well as gives us insight into her beliefs, ideas and causes to which she was passionately devoted. [more]

Butcher Holler Here We Come

July 29, 2015

"Butcher Holler Here We Come" begins like any other theatrical: a quick pre-show announcement to silence all electronic devices, a note about the run-time of the production, and then a black out. The difference is that once those house lights go completely dark, they never turn back on until the final bow. With the exception of the small mining headlamps strapped to the foreheads of the five actors in the production, from beginning to end, this entire show is performed in darkness. In fact, it is nearly fifteen minutes in complete darkness before even one of the actors turns on a headlamp. [more]

Threesome

July 28, 2015

Yussef El Guindi’s "Threesome" is really a political treatise in the guise of a romantic comedy. Engrossingly performed by Alia Attallah, Quinn Franzen and Karan Oberoi, it is in the end more than a bit superficial and unconvincing, though it will generate a good deal of diversion. Chris Coleman’s direction covers up some of the play’s flaws by keeping the pace moving swiftly along. [more]

Odd Birdz

July 24, 2015

Conveying the joyous spirit and monumental artistry of Eugene Ionesco, Nichols and May, as well as Monty Python, the clever comedy of "Odd Birdz" is universal, richly realized, and grandly entertaining. [more]

I Know What Boys Want

July 23, 2015

A very powerful and topical theme runs though Penny Jackson’s play, "I Know What Boys Want," but the author’s understandable anger leads to a good deal of melodrama. Tackling the topics of cyberbullying, sexual double standards, and misuse and abuse of the social media are timely and provocative themes and deeply in need of public discussion. However, the play also takes on the topics of drug addiction, teenage drinking, same-sex marriage, date rape, effects of divorce on teenagers, SAT tutoring for rich kids, etc. While the basic story is absorbing, I Know What Boys Want tries to cover a few too many topics in its 90 minutes. [more]

Judith & Vinegar Tom

July 21, 2015

For PTP/NYC (Potomac Theatre Project)’s 29th season they have chosen to pair one-acts by two of their favorite playwrights, Howard Barker and Caryl Churchill, who are also among Britain’s leading dramatic authors but who are not seen here as much as they ought to be. At first glance, the two plays could not be more different, but on closer examination they deal with similar themes, particular as both have strong historical women as their central characters, and offer modern sensibilities on ancient themes. As an addition to the more familiar work of these acclaimed contemporary writers, this makes a fascinating evening for those who follow British drama. [more]

Of Good Stock

July 18, 2015

Plays about three very different sisters go back to Shakespeare’s "King Lear." In modern times, the topic immediately recalls Chekhov’s "Three Sisters" and more recently Wendy Wasserstein’s "The Sisters Rosensweig" and Beth Henley’s Pulitzer Prize-winning, "Crimes of the Heart." Melissa Ross, whose excellent Nice Girl just completed its world premiere at the Labyrinth Theater Company, has entered the fray with "Of Good Stock" with a cast led by film star Alicia Silverstone returning to the New York stage. While the play is entertaining and believable under Lynne Meadow’s direction, it is also overly familiar without revealing any new depths. [more]

POUND

July 16, 2015

Wearing a red plaid shirt, black shorts, and black combat boots, the acclaimed lesbian performance artist Marga Gomez vibrantly barrels through her solo show "POUND" with unflagging comic energy. Lasting 90 minutes, it’s a rambling and exasperating semi-autobiographical fantasia that has laughs but doesn’t satisfyingly cohere. [more]

Awake and Sing! 

July 16, 2015

"Awake and Sing!" seems at first an odd choice for NAATCO, the acting company dedicated to the advancement of Asian actors, but after an initial wary uneasiness, the cast, under the direction of Stephen Brown-Fried, soon takes command of Odets’ dated language, a mixture of poetic metaphor and heightened colloquialisms which was difficult to speak even in the 1930’s. [more]

Shows for Days

July 13, 2015

The production, directed with oddly erratic pacing by the experienced Jerry Zaks, stars the imperious Patti LuPone as the acidly ambitious Irene, the doyenne of a theatrical troupe in Reading, Pennsylvania, in the early Seventies. Wide-eyed, always ebullient Michael Urie, as Car, Beane’s stand-in, becomes her acolyte/scene painter/receptionist/new playwright in the process of discovering a world his suburban existence never hinted at. He is the author’s glib stand-in who keeps the audience in the loop with apt descriptions, editorial comments and sexual confessions. [more]

The Weir

July 13, 2015

Mr. McPherson has written a rich and engrossing play that is appealing in it’s well-crafted simplicity. Each of the five commonplace characters is precisely drawn with biographical details expertly imparted throughout. They all speak in an authentic flavorful Irish manner. The narrative conceit of people reminiscing about past interactions with apparitions is rendered with a matter-of-fact quality and total believability. The beauty of the play is in its depiction of the inner lives and honest exclamations of these small town folk that only gets expressed through their fanciful storytelling. [more]

Araberlin

July 12, 2015

Written almost ten years ago, ":Araberlin" is the story of the mysterious disappearance of Mokhtar (Gabriel Diaz DeSalas), a young man whom it would appear has left America to join an ISIS-like militant group. A bleak story with much in common with the present, the play glides between the past and present, flashing to scenes between Mokhtar with his family, or scenes solely featuring his loved ones following his disappearance. Focusing on the dysfunctional elements in Mokhtar’s life prior to the events of the play, Diaz DeSalas as Mokhtar is an angst-filled young man who hardly had a normal relationship in his life. [more]

10 out of 12

July 8, 2015

While this is a fascinating idea, anyone who has worked in theater will tell you that Tech rehearsals are long and tedious with all the stopping and starting to get the lights, sound, set and costumes right as time is running out. Unfortunately, much of 10 out of 12 falls into this category. At two hours and 40 minutes, the play is a bit of an endurance test for the uninitiated. Although as the Tech rehearsal goes on we get to know the characters better, the play is revealing about only some of its characters. [more]

At the Table

July 2, 2015

Loaded with a bevy of strong-minded characters, "At the Table" pits lifelong friends against each other in the wake of core differences or political beliefs. At any given point in the show, expect commentary on such issues as race, gender equality or identity, abortion, legal use of marijuana, classism, or remarks on a myriad of other topics which—almost as a prerequisite—spark debate. In fact, little actually happens in terms of a plot except for the falling out a few of the friends to make way for new characters in the second act. [more]

Significant Other

June 30, 2015

Joshua Harmon, the author of the bitingly engaging "Bad Jews," is back on the boards with "Significant Other," another modern morality tale.  Again he displays his incredible ear and eye for the behavior of modern twenty and thirty-somethings.  Love, its frustrations and great rewards, is the subject.  The pangs of loneliness, self-imposed or otherwise come in for a good going over, too.    [more]

Gloria

June 27, 2015

His new play "Gloria" goes in another direction, a scathing satire of the media (magazine work, book publishing and television development) as well as the public’s frenzy for the details of high profile news stories. Evan Cabnet who has also piloted new plays by Theresa Rebeck and Christopher Shinn, has cast his crackerjack production with some astute newcomers to local stages (Catherine Combs, Jennifer Kim, and Ryan Spahn) as well as some accomplished New York veterans (Kyle Beltran, Jeanine Serralles, and Micahel Crane) in this always absorbing office drama. The cast is articulate and smooth-tongued as they should be playing people in the media. [more]
1 46 47 48 49 50 54