Most of the pieces will be familiar to the readers of The Portable Dorothy Parker: "The Garter," "A Telephone Call," "The Waltz," "Just a Little One," "The Taxi," and a few poems. This is supplemented with bits from more ephemeral work, such as her book reviews. [more]
Mike Bencivenga's Billy & Ray is the story of Wilder and Chandler's famously contentious collaboration. The lighthearted comedy drama includes an insider's view of Hollywood and a good many famous anecdotes about their fighting over the Double Indemnity screenplay. While it will probably be enjoyed most by those who know the movie and/or the original novel, the play does clue the audience in to what they need to know about the original material as well as its eventual screen treatment. [more]
Nairoby Otero as Roberta is a wondrous feisty spitfire, whose energy never subsides and deeply conveys the character's poignant sense of despair. Michael Micalizzi hauntingly captures the essence of a hotheaded, lost soul as Danny. They each expertly deliver Shanley's identifiably unique dialogue, getting all of the laughs while achieving pathos. Their chemistry together is tremendous and a huge asset.
This outstanding cast of seven is all perfectly in synch with each other and are a true ensemble of the highest caliber. The highly successful artistic collaboration of all the creative talents involved makes this Deliverance a boldly striking work of uniquely theatrical storytelling. [more]
"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]
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]
Romantic comedies often collapse under such contrivances, but in practice this play holds up beautifully. Nirmala's struggle to accept that she has a right to tenderness in her life is sensitive without being preachy, and Ms. Kakkar is frankly fantastic in the part. She finds an exceptionally quiet and truthful center for her characterization, and as a result Nirmala's breakthrough moments feel absolutely real and not at all melodramatic. [more]
This was my first in-person experience of Finley's work, and unfortunately it was a shambles. What could have been forty intense minutes of poetry and music was padded with rambling introductions and mostly aimless patter to more than twice that. The night I attended she was nervous and flustered, repeatedly losing her place in the program, and allowing herself to be distracted over and over again by a leaky water pitcher. (Why didn't the stage manager just replace it?) [more]
Wildly painted panels with words and images such as Big Ben, Keep Calm, and a Union Jack, simply and concretely establish the locale during the opening scene. The actors on either side of the small bare stage are at large, movable, gray wooden cubes that are resourcefully used as scenery. Sounds and announcements of the London Underground are heard as well as song clips from time to time, adding to the sense of place.
Director Peter Darney's staging is tremendously forceful, fluid, acutely visual and very well serves the material. In addition to creating a vibrantly watchable piece, he has gotten finely pitched performances from the very appealing cast who for a good deal of the show address the audience with their thoughts. [more]
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]
Structurally, it is a collection of vignettes that all end in a blackout, punctuated with the sounds of composer Nino Rota’s lively music used in many of Fellini’s films. Here, it comes across as a bunch of connected, superficial comedy sketches, many of which fall flat. The actors, though all are talented, in some cases don't quite fit their roles but commendably do their best. The overall effect at times is of awkwardness and pacing that is less than comic. [more]
During 70 engrossing minutes on a bare stage with only a tall stool as a prop, he vividly recounts these long ago incidents with great detail. Youthfully complaisant during his three prior drug runs, his fourth turned nightmarish with a dramatic arrest by armed soldiers at the airport. Four harrowing years in various oppressive prisons were made endurable by his strength and the aid of his benevolent father who provided money for bribes. Then the incredible escape, "catching The Midnight Express" to freedom.
"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]
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]
The writer's narrowness of view is a temporary problem, of course. As the play's historical moment recedes from memory, we will once again read the story for what the characters are, rather than what they aren't. On the other hand, the same kind of claustrophobia exists in the work of Tennessee Williams, though the latter digs deeper to find the root causes beneath the limitations, pain, and just plain weirdness of his people. [more]
Viola Gregg (1925 -1965)was an activist Michigan housewife who drove to Selma, Alabama, in March of 1965 to participate in the Civil Rights marches there. She was later shot and killed, from a car with four Klu Klux Klansmen. One (Tommy Rowe (1933-1998) was an informant for The Federal Bureau of Investigation, used for infiltrating the KKK. He testified against the other three, and was put in The Witness Protection Program. [more]
As the sophisticated, experienced Irina Botvinnik, Chalfant is utterly delightful. She makes Irina’s tactic of changing the subject into a fine art. Her charm is evident even when she is disagreeing with her opposite number. Her Irina’s wry sense of humor is conveyed in all her remarks, but it is often difficult to know when she is kidding and when she is serious, another calculated tactic. And Chalfant’s timing is impeccable making the most of both her banter and when she is deadly serious. [more]
Lanky, animated, and with his characteristic twang, Fred Weller is very lively and appealing as the dim franchise star Steve. Elizabeth Reaser winningly captures the insecurity and self-absorption of the fading female star Karen. With physical sight gags to work with, such as a bizarre cheerleading dance inspired by Arthur Miller's "The Crucible," and overindulging in hors d'oeuvres, GiaCrovatin makes the most of the proverbial blonde bimbo Missy. [more]
Up until now when the name of Owen Davis' 1923 Pulitzer Prize winner "Icebound" comes up, the response is likely to be a head shake that the year's prize did not go to a more worthy candidate like Eugene O'Neill, Elmer Rice, Sidney Howard, Philip Barry or George Kelly. Now with the Metropolitan Playhouse's revival of "Icebound," theatergoers can see for themselves what a trenchant and engrossing drama this actually is. [more]
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]
The three couples are played with fierce conviction, total commitment and great talent by a corps of strong actors seemingly also cast for their individuality. Alex Hurt and Susannah Flood are the young couple. Dallas Roberts and Roslyn Ruff are the middle-aged couple. Arliss Howard and Tina Benko are the older couple. They appear to have been cast for their differences rather than any similarities. [more]
n suburban Westchester, 1976, we meet three couples. Lively, free spirited and just turned 40, Joyce Horowitz is married to the older, cantankerous W.W. II veteran Ed. They have a rebellious 18-year-old daughter Staciawho has recently become involved with her earnest, good-natured, 18 year-old college boyfriend, Simon Davies. There is also the Horowitzes' new neighbors in their 30's, the Prescotts, anxiety ridden Judy and her pompous psychiatrist husband, Liam.
Aside from his light touch which keeps the play from seeming gloomy, Brooks has an uneasy hold on the play's rhythms which seem erratic – we are never sure what kind of play we are watching. Schmidt's translation goes a long way to blowing off the cobwebs on Chekhov's 19th century Tsarist Russia but his occasional use of a contemporary word like "freak" draws attention to itself. While Simms' unit set suggests a summer retreat with its green walls covered with vegetation, he makes little distinction between indoors and outdoors and the claustrophobia which the characters are feeling is never real to the audience. [more]
The framing device is that we are in a bunker or a trench, and the plays are being presented by five soldiers (De Mussa, Wes Hager, Will Hardyman, Wilton Yeung, Josh Wolonick) and a nurse (Joyce Laoagan), as if whiling away the time between barrages, and in a semi-improvised fashion. This is a good idea, and provides a nice unity to the evening. The scenic design (Joseph Kremer) and lighting design (Daniel B. Barbee) supported this well, too. There were also projections and pre-recorded music tracks, which I assume should be credited to multimedia programmer Aristides F. Li.
Throughout the play there are many visual and spoken references to Michael Jackson, showing how large the presence and influence of The King of Pop in his heyday loomed in the consciousness of many growing up and living in that era. This symbolism adds greatly to the detailed specificity of this passionate, suspenseful and bold work. [more]
The relatively unfamiliar cast of this West Coast production could not be better. Howard is distinguished and forceful as the once-famous artist now reduced to nothing and aching for a fight with his greatest enemy; Ross is imperious and elegant as the once-powerful curator used to always having her way, now seeking out her greatest love. Their scenes together strike fireworks. [more]
Through a series of intertwining monologues, Boys and Girls follows four young Dubliners before, during and after their respective sexual encounters. Though the characters never interact, their stories weave through one another, forming fascinating juxtapositions. While one of the boys fails to seduce his love interest at a bar, the other laments his passionless, anonymous alley hookup. While one of the girls describes the thrill of a first-time experience, the other wonders if her committed relationship is physically fulfilling. The result is a comprehensive, truthful account of adolescents learning to understand male-female dynamics. [more]