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Still Open

These are the shows that – to the best of our information – we think are still open to see.

The Day I Became Black

March 24, 2019

A searing epiphany at "The Day I Became Black"’s climax redeems its uneven mixture of confessional and stand-up. The show is written and performed by the engaging biracial young comedian and actor Bill Posley. During 80 cluttered minutes we sketchily learn about his stern though supportive African-American father and Caucasian mother of Kentucky “white trash” origin. The Boston-reared Mr. Posley charts the complexities of his racial background due to his black appearance. Navigating through society, dating women and interacting with the police are concretely explored. That Posley is an Iraq War veteran is mentioned only in passing. [more]

Vilna

March 22, 2019

"Vilna," written by Ira Fuchs, is one of the more successful stage dramas to deal with the Holocaust, a notoriously difficult subject to portray on stage.  That this play succeeds as well as it does is to the credit of its director Joseph Discher who assiduously avoids clichés and stereotypes and its cast of fine actors, led by the great Mark Jacoby, a star of Broadway musicals, here displaying heart-breaking depth of emotion in two parts. [more]

Superhero

March 19, 2019

Although there is a great deal of talent behind the new musical Superhero at Second Stage Theater, it unfortunately makes little impact. It doesn’t help that the thin book by Tony Award winning playwright John Logan ("Red") is a little too much like the smash hit "Dear Evan Hansen" which goes much deeper with similar material. Pulitzer Prize winning composer Tom Kitt ("Next to Normal") has written his own lyrics for the first time and they mainly tell us what we know in pedestrian rhymes and phrases. Don’t blame the hard-working cast led by Tony Award nominees Kate Baldwin and Bryce Pinkham. You want to like "Superhero "with its heart in the right place but it is missing the wow factor and never takes us by surprise. [more]

Strangers in the World

March 19, 2019

You may leave "Strangers" with mixed reactions. The proceedings onstage may make you feel as disoriented and tetchy as the villagers themselves. The characters’ words as they vainly try to maintain some of their former sanity and decorum seem at times to be pure nonsense. But if you’re diligently sleuth-like—or lucky enough to read and study Sharp’s playscript—you’ll piece together some fairly coherent and rich back stories. [more]

The Mother

March 17, 2019

Huppert, the consummate actress, commands the stage at all times, making all the other performers pale in comparison. As Anne, she travels from familiar to sarcastic to manic to depressed to suicidal. Initially her heavily French accented English and her staccato rhythms are difficult to follow, but eventually it becomes accessible, even appropriate to this very French play. While the role does not require much action, Huppert has found all sorts of ways of building her character: stretching out on the sofa as if sleeping, playing with a cigarette, dancing with her son in manic fashion, examining herself in a mirror. Anita Yavich’s chic costumes fit her to perfection: the severe grey turtleneck and black shirt that we first see her in, and later the short red party dress with black stockings that looks like it might be a throwback to her youth. [more]

The Cake

March 17, 2019

Brunstetter overloads the issue in the play by making Jen have doubts about being in love with a woman against her parents’ religious teachings, even though she cannot imagine life without the caring, compassionate, uninhibited Macy. Additionally, when Della quotes the Bible to Macy, Macy retaliates by pointing out that as a childless woman Della has not fulfilled her religious duty as a wife. The plot then goes in another direction to show us Della and her husband Tim who has lost interest in sex since he discovered he had too low a sperm count. The play builds to Jen revealing her real childhood feelings to Macy, as well as Della demanding that after years of estrangement Tim make passionate love to her as he did at the beginning of their marriage. Ultimately, Brunstetter wants to have it both ways with an ending that does not resolve the religious question at all. [more]

The Importance of Being Earnest: Two Ways

March 16, 2019

It’s billed as “Two Ways” because this event is comprised of differing versions performed in repertory. There is the self-explanatory “Conventional Casting” and the “Reversed Casting” where the same superb ensemble plays a different role of the opposite gender in the identical previous performer’s costume.  Each incarnation is a frothy delight faithfully affirming Wilde’s insightful wit and supreme dramatic construction through theatrical magnificence. [more]

Surely Goodness and Mercy

March 14, 2019

Chisa Hutchinson’s "Surely Goodness and Mercy" has its heart in the right place but as produced by Keen Company at the Clurman Theatre it is not a play at all but an after school movie script. We know we are in trouble when we see seven sets side by side on stage on three levels when we first enter the theater. Jessi D. Hill has directed her adept cast to believable characterizations but the script is so short at 73 minutes (plus a totally unnecessary intermission) and the 30 scenes so brief (some no more than four exchanges) that we never learn enough about them. It is as though the whole story has been told in a kind of shorthand and we are expected to fill in the dots. [more]

Hatef**k

March 13, 2019

There’s stinging dialogue, solid construction and high powers of observation that accurately render the fractious literary milieu with Imran’s offstage agent a major figure. These all enable Ms. Mirza to spin out her enticing scenario over eight scenes in 90 often charged minutes, spanning several months. The characters are impeccably detailed and behave so realistically, causing the possible dynamic for the viewer of siding with one over the other. [more]

“Daddy”

March 13, 2019

Jeremy O. Harris’ “Daddy” is the work of a unique voice, a little self-indulgent in its length, and a little underwritten in its characterizations. It attempts to shock with its use of nudity and sadomasochistic sex, but nothing we have not seen before. The play’s message is not entirely clear but the play is provocative nevertheless. It is a work for the mature playgoer who wants to see a new direction that our theater is heading. [more]

Fiercely Independent

March 12, 2019

Let’s talk about the talent:  Gallogly and Smith are, in a word, fantastic in "Fiercely Independent." They listen to each other intently, their responses are spontaneous and natural, and their chemistry is evident. Even when they’re not speaking, their inner dialogues are continuous and their intents are crystal clear. Gallogly and Smith are by turns playfully fun and painfully electric. [more]

Boesman and Lena

March 12, 2019

The production of "Boesman and Lena" at The Pershing Square Signature Center directed with attention to every detail by Yaël Farber is stark and unforgiving in a way that would have been shocking in 1970.  Even though apartheid has been lifted, this play still resonates with its bleak display of human survival in the face of unimaginable terrors and its condemnation of racial inequity. [more]

If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka

March 11, 2019

Dynamically presented and sensationally performed, "If Pretty Hurts Ugly Must Be a Muhfucka" is playwright Tori Sampson's maddeningly overblown adaptation of a fable with music. A surfeit of extraneous devices and a heavy-handed agenda overwhelm and drag out a tender and potentially resonant tale. There’s repetitive jokiness, a lumbering ghostly gospel sequence and an anti-climactic pretentious finale. Amidst the frustrating tangents are bright spots during a straight through nearly two hour [more]

Actually, We’re F**ked

March 9, 2019

In between scenes, the play’s lighting (by Paul Miller) and sound (by M.L. Dogg) conspire to create a hallucinogenic, disorienting slideshow of animals and rotting metropolises — a reminder of the massively dysfunctional world in which the characters of "Actually, We’re F**ked" are potentially raising children. Mind you, the question of whether or not to raise a child in 2019, along with lengthy discussions about genitalia, is essential to this play. And the answer to that question, according to "Actually, We’re F**ked," is much more lovely and hopeful than you might expect. So go see this show if you want a road map for emotionally processing the very f**ked America we live in right now — or very detailed and accurate instructions on how to break into a company server. That is something that appears in this play as well to quite amusing effect. [more]

Sea Wall/A Life

March 8, 2019

Both plays deal with young husbands who are coping with new fatherhood as well as their new responsibilities and their relationships with the dominant male figures in their lives. In Stephens’ "Sea Wall," Sturridge speaks admiringly of his father-in-law, while in Payne’s "A Life," Gyllenhaal speaks with love of his own father.  Both men are madly in love with their wives who they could not consider living without. These plays are ultimately tragedies of the accidental kind, events that one has no control over and cannot see coming. The double bill is performed on a basically empty stage with a brick wall behind (designed by Laura Jellinek), on which Peter Kaczorowski’s poetic and atmospheric lighting is a kind of additional onstage character. Carrie Cracknell's assured direction pilots both plays. [more]

Imagining Madoff

March 7, 2019

Employing his rumbling deep voice, his thinning hair slicked back and veering from snarling cheeriness to reflective introspection, Jeremiah Kissel swaggering in a power suit gleefully gives us the ballsy Madoff we desire. Tossing off expertly pronounced Yiddishisms in his rants, Mr. Kissel fully embodies the archetypal striving lusty Jewish kid from Queens who worked the angles and became a macher. Kissel attacks the role with outsize relish as if it were Roy Cohn in "Angels in America." [more]

Hurricane Diane

March 7, 2019

Some plays are simply too complicated for their own good, defying comprehension. This is certainly the case with Madeleine George’s "Hurricane Diane," in which the God Dionysus or Bacchus, famously incorporating both male and female characteristics--he went by many names--returns to earth--as a woman--at the present time, in Monmouth County no less, to haunt a bevy of what can best be summarized as “New Jersey Housewives.” [more]

Death of a Driver

March 5, 2019

The play is carefully plotted, and the tragic action that Snider builds runs its course in a logical, plausible fashion. But something about "Death of a Driver" never quite catches fire. The story has gravity but lacks the sense of pity and terror that tragedy is famously supposed to invoke. Maybe it’s partly due to the fact that the play is so brief, and that its short scenes sometimes take place years apart, creating a kind of herky-jerky quality. Maybe it’s because the world of the play is relatively narrow—with the lack of supporting characters preventing us from getting a full sense of the Kenyan culture and political landscape. [more]

Recent Alien Abductions

March 5, 2019

Devilishly enigmatic and culminating in an eerie denouement, playwright Jorge Ignacio Cortiñas' stylized warring brothers yarn "Recent Alien Abductions" confidentially veers tonally, seemingly goes off on tangents and holds interest for much of its off-kilter 90 minutes. [more]

Alice By Heart

March 4, 2019

Molly Gordon and Colton Ryan in a scene from MCC Theater’s new musical “Alice By Heart” [more]

The Price of Thomas Scott

March 1, 2019

However, the play may not be to the taste of regular Mint theatergoers as it seems much more dated that the usual lost masterpieces rediscovered at this esteemed venue. Thomas Scott is so rigid in his thinking that he is against not only dancing beer, and theater, but also the Literary Society which has put on "Twelfth Night," a Shakespeare comedy in which the young lady playing Viola had to wear pants. In general except for singing hymns, Scott is against all pleasures. A great many of his neighbors no longer take exception to these activities and his own family could desperately use the money they are being offered to better themselves. [more]

Merrily We Roll Along

February 27, 2019

Usually considered one of Sondheim’s lesser musicals, albeit with one of his best scores--and needless to say, that’s saying a lot--this production provides a heft and a story that are sorely lacking in previous versions. There is no denying or gainsaying its power to impress, as each and every song comes through with its capacity to build characters and tell stories. If the stories are less than satisfying in earlier productions, that’s due more to bookwriter George Furth (adapting the original play by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart) than to Sondheim or to his other collaborators, each of who has provided an impeccable contribution to the current enterprise. [more]

Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish

February 23, 2019

The property is now more than a half-century old. But this production makes it seem as though the 1964 iteration were merely an English-language version of a classic from even longer ago. There’s a greater feeling of immediacy than perhaps ever before. Hearing the characters speak and sing in the tongue that their real-life 1905 contemporaries would have used is deeply moving. What a shame that so many speakers of Yiddish from decades past never got the chance to experience the musical in this guise. [more]

We Are the Tigers

February 21, 2019

The show’s talented mastermind is Preston Max Allen. Mr. Allen’s rollicking score is a pounding collection of catchy pop and showtune melodies matched with sharp lyrics. Allen’s well-crafted  book is comical, suspenseful and problematic. However, there’s too much of it. The characters are all cleverly fleshed out, the milieu is authentically rendered, but the rambling structure is a drag. [more]

The Shadow of a Gunman

February 21, 2019

Director Ciarán O’Reilly handles O'Casey's abrupt tonal shifts well, transitioning from laughter to tears to horror with barely a hint of contrivance. A top-notch production team greatly aids O’Reilly's quest for authenticity, turning the performance space into an impressive simulacrum of war-torn Dublin. Leading the effort is Charlie Corcoran whose incredibly detailed set spreads out into the audience, where a gloomy, ramshackle corridor deposits theatergoers into seats bracketed by crumbling brick walls and overhung with clotheslines burdened by the tenants' latest washings. [more]

To Kill a Mockingbird

February 16, 2019

It has been well publicized that the Harper Lee estate filed a lawsuit in February 2018 alleging that the play deviated too much from the novel. They should not have worried. As directed by Bartlett Sher, Aaron Sorkin’s astutely scripted "To Kill a Mockingbird" with Jeff Daniels as Atticus Finch is a magnificent and moving theatrical experience that treats the novel with respect and dignity. The additions and changes from the novel only make the material more stage worthy and a better experience in the new medium. Harper Lee’s justly famous lines about it being a sin to kill a mockingbird and never knowing a person until you walk around in his or her skin brought an audible reaction from the audience at the performance under review, demonstrating that they were with the story all the way. [more]

Bleach

January 12, 2019

Do you have any objection to being touched?” asks the theater representative of audience members when they check in at the Brooklyn basement where British playwright Dan Ireland-Reeves’ "Bleach" is performed. That question is crucial as one attendee is called upon to silently portray a flashback character who has slight physical contact with the actor, and another gets a brief grinding lap dance. Those who state a negative preference are left alone. [more]

The Prom

December 28, 2018

"The Prom" is giving Broadway something it’s been lacking for years, which is a high-spirited, old-fashioned musical comedy, where the cast’s energy spills out over the footlights, and is then reflected in all the smiling faces you encounter as you leave the theater. It’s the equivalent of a standing ovation that moves out into the streets. [more]

Nassim

December 25, 2018

In the course of this unusual performance piece, the actor and the audience learn a bit of Farsi, the author’s native language, and actor and author share stories of their lives and likes, and become friends. There is audience participation and volunteers are called for. The playwright eventually joins the actor on stage but remains silent, communicating by pointing to the script which is projected so that the audience can see the author’s questions and instructions to the actor. The play is a series of exercises, games and tests. [more]

Network

December 21, 2018

Director Ivo Van Hove’s stage version of the Paddy Chayefsky cult film "Network" gives Bryan Cranston the role of a lifetime as Howard Beale, the UBS news commentator who has a nervous breakdown on air and then becomes a media messiah. The high tech production designed by long-time van Hove associate Jan Versweyveld with video design by Tal Yarden is riveting throughout its two hour intermission-less running time by putting the audience in the news studio and making us complicit in the action. [more]

The Cher Show

December 17, 2018

Elice is no stranger to biographical musicals.  His "Jersey Boys" is still running off-Broadway.  Here he was inspired to divide the eponymous character into three personalities:  the Star (the sensational, charismatic Stephanie J. Block), the current, living legend; the Lady (Teal Wicks, fascinating in this bridge role), the mid-career Cher; and the Babe (Micaela Diamond in a gutsy, eager performance) the young Cher just discovering herself guided by her Svengali, Sonny Bono (Jarrod Spector, not a physical match to Bono, but a fine singer and actor). [more]

King Kong

November 20, 2018

Designed by Johnny Tilders, the puppet Kong is phenomenal, a 20-foot tall, 2,000 pound marionette operated by the ten-person King’s Company, members of the cast assigned to operating the arms, legs and body of Kong, with the facial expressions controlled by exacting machinery that endows this artificial creation with real emotions.  The roaring and other vocalizations are amplifications of the offstage voice of Jon Hoche.  The results are not just fascinating, but eminently entertaining and even moving. [more]

The Other Josh Cohen

November 18, 2018

Cute, whimsical and lightly enjoyable, the musical "The Other Josh Cohen" is hampered by its lack of a compelling plot. “This is the story of a strange piece of mail that changed my life.” After his apartment is robbed, a young New York City schlemiel receives a check from a distant relative for $56,000. This inspires a picaresque set of adventures with Neil Diamond popping up and romance along the way. [more]
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