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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 Coast Starlight

March 20, 2023

When it comes to plot, characters, or often both, even the best theater tends to require a suspension of disbelief. Given that it's hardly a sucker's bet for indolent playwrights to pin their hopes on the lack of effort it requires an audience not to think, what Keith Bunin does in "The Coast Starlight" is astonishing. Taking its title from the Amtrak overnight sleeper that scenically services an ocean-hugging route from Los Angeles to Seattle, the play is primarily set in one of the train's coach cars, where the passengers, a group of strangers, are reluctant to break the silence between them. Mostly, like real human beings, they don't, or at least not when it might have done some good. [more]

A Doll’s House

March 19, 2023

Like Ivo van Hove’s pared-down revival of Arthur Miller’s "A View from the Bridge," Jamie Lloyd’s new Broadway production of Henrik Ibsen’s 1879 "A Doll’s House" uses no sets or props and all black costumes for the entire cast. Going even further than van Hove, he has the heroine Nora Helmer played by film star Jessica Chastain seated almost for the entire length of this intermission-less three-act play. Using a new version by Amy Herzog recast in spare modern vernacular, this Doll’s House proves to be riveting and intense, even if you know the play very well,  focusing our attention on the dialogue, the acting and emotion, rather than the décor and the historical trappings of 19th century Norway as we usually do. [more]

The Conductor

March 18, 2023

"The Conductor," by novelist Ishmael Reed and directed by Carla Blank, is a play that uses the revival of the Underground Railroad system as a device to address several contemporary socio-political issues related to race and ethnicity. It is a show that directly addresses extremist conservative groups and their movements that seek to restrict and limit governmental and social actions used to address institutional inequality. Reed utilizes the result of a school board recall election in San Francisco as the basis for illustrating the insidious nature of these reactionary groups. [more]

The Rewards of Being Frank

March 17, 2023

While playwright Scovell has a facility for language, she does not have the wit to mimic Wilde’s classic one-liners. Instead, she borrows expressions from the play and attempts to imitate the format of his humor. Lines like “It is imperative to be an attentive hostess, but never forgot that you are your most important guest” and “I’m glad to hear that your fervor for the truth is tempered by your humanity” pass for witticisms. Much time is spent on whether a wedding was “elegantly extravagant” or “extravagantly elegant.” The opening scene of the first act (and the end of the second act) is devoted to a discussion of cucumber sandwiches, which Wilde did justice to in his play and as such this comes as no surprise to an audience versed in the earlier work. [more]

Elyria

March 16, 2023

What makes "Elyria" intriguing is how its American location affects the hidebound ritual social rules of its Southeast Asian characters.  That all the characters emerged from an African diaspora that seemed to have little influence on their ingrained Indian culture only adds to the colorful rendition of an old-hat story. [more]

Crumbs from the Table of Joy

March 14, 2023

While this first New York revival of the 1995 "Crumbs from the Table of Joy" does not reach the heights of Nottage’s later Pulitzer Prize-winning plays, "Ruined" and "Sweat," it proves to be a very charming and competent look at growing up Black in Brooklyn during the McCarthy Era. Under the direction of Colette Robert, the fine cast holds our interest with this domestic comedy drama. Always engrossing, the play demonstrates Nottage’s ability to write about race, social change and economic deprivation in an engaging manner. Nottage proves to have been a very accomplished playwright from the outset of her career. [more]

Pericles (Target Margin Theater)

March 13, 2023

Director David Herskovits must have looked at this as a true labor of love, but not all of the touches support the hard work of the actors. In some of the early ensemble scenes, the actors put on exaggerated courtly poses. The poses do nothing to further what is going on dramatically;, they appear done just for the sake of being curious. But Mr. Herskovits succeeds with the handling of deeply humane and touching scenes. [more]

War Dreamer

March 12, 2023

"War Dreamer" is a compelling exploration into the psychology of a female veteran who served in Iraq. It is a depiction of the struggles of a veteran to make sense of the memories, nightmares, paranormal events, and mental dislocations that intrude daily. Those experiences are more than a function of post-traumatic stress disorder. They result from a life lived in the alien world of war and all that is that experience. The play is a frighteningly accurate presentation of the process that some veterans must navigate as they try to return to a "normal" life. Written by Leegrid Stevens, "War Dreamer" has a storyline that is not straightforward in time and place. It is disconnected from a regular flow of action, with jumps in time, place and reality. However, he skillfully keeps the audience guessing what is real and what is not without losing the story's underlying thread. Stevens makes the audience both witness and participant as he brilliantly weaves his story of trauma and disassociation. [more]

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

March 11, 2023

While it may have appeared a huge gamble to mount this 'Cat" again, the results are so well worth it. While other productions of "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" have been mounted as star vehicles for actors whether they were right for the roles or not, this new Ruth Stage production brings it back to what the playwright originally intended – an incredibly solid ensemble piece. Here we see it as we’ve come to know it – one of the finest American plays of its generation. It is unequivocally a must-see! [more]

Public Obscenities

March 11, 2023

Shayok Misha Chowdhury’s "Public Obscenities" having its world premiere at the Soho Rep is an immersive story into Bengali culture in Kolkata, formerly known as Calcutta. Directed by the author in 12 episodes which are given chapter names, this two hour and 50 minute play is as much like a television mini-series as it is a family saga. The realistic production resembles a film as much as it is possible on a stage with our attention being guided to various alcoves as though they were film cuts on the remarkable setting by the collective dots. The play is challenging as the first long extended scene is mainly in Bangla, the language of Kolkata, without supertitles. While the rest of the play is translated when it is bilingual, the dialogue is studded with Bangla words which are left up to the audience to figure out. [more]

I Love My Family, But…

March 10, 2023

The show is billed as a musical, but it is more concert than play, strong in music and weak in the storyline. The songs cover a lot of emotional ground, many with a humorous edge, but the book only provides a slim dramatic structure for the characters' actions. What is missing is more detail about who the characters are and for what reason we should care about the events being depicted. The dialogue is more of an introduction to the songs than a dramatic link to the overall story. [more]

The Trees

March 7, 2023

Borinsky’s dialogue is filled with colorful, quirky lines which are often funny and entertaining, but the entire script borders on absurdity without a cohesive through point. There are a handful of lines which carry a promise of meaning, but most are tossed into the air like tweets, missing connections and lacking purpose. There’s a passage inspired from ​Deuteronomy 20:19, which, if it’s supposed to be the inspiration for the plot, stands alone as one of the few sage moments in the story. [more]

The Best We Could (a family tragedy)

March 6, 2023

Hands down Emily Feldman’s "The Best We Could (a family tragedy)," at the Manhattan Theatre Club, wins the most ironic title of the year.  Not one character does the best he or she could in this heart-twisting five-actor drama. The play details the long, slow descent of a family, cushioned only by an occasional jest and buoyed by the intensely moving acting by the ensemble with Frank Wood standing out in a superb demonstration of artistry. [more]

LOVE

March 6, 2023

Alexander Zeldin’s "LOVE" seems much longer than it actually is due to much silence and the reenactment of everyday tasks usually skipped onstage in plays. There is little dialogue and what there is tends to be rather ordinary talk about daily living. The play mainly works as a sort of experiment in the way that the Federal Theatre Project dramatized burning issues in the 1930’s. However, the play is a valuable record of life in a shelter using a documentary approach so real that it makes us feel like voyeurs. While the title remains unexplained, by the end each of the adult characters get to say it as a reminder that they have the backs of the others. [more]

Letters from Max, a ritual

March 4, 2023

When a tall, lanky Max Ritvo entered Sarah Ruhl’s playwrighting class at Yale, she knew this was no ordinary 20-year-old student. Self-described as a poet with a sense of humor, he managed to capture her heart, and she remained forever changed. "Letters from Max, a ritual," now being presented by Signature Theatre, is not just a collection of correspondence between the two, but a document of a deep emotional bond between two creative souls that can’t even be severed by the untimely death of one of them. [more]

The Seagull/Woodstock, NY

March 3, 2023

Aside from the problem of which translation from the Russian to use, the  thorny problem with American productions of the plays of playwright Anton Chekhov is how to deal with the fact the author himself called them comedies but everyone from his early director Konstantin Stanislavski on has seen them as tragedies. Playwright Thomas Bradshaw has neatly solved both problems: in his new adaptation renamed "The Seagull/Woodstock, NY" which recasts the play as an updated modern comedy, he also made the play a very funny satire of today’s culture vultures, thespians and the literati. His version in which all of the names have been Anglicized makes Chekhov’s turn-of-the-last century play very accessible to contemporary audiences which is not often the case with Chekhov adaptations - without making drastic changes. In doing so, it makes whatever parody there was in the original of theater and literary icons of Chekhov’s time now understandable to today’s audiences due to updated references they can recognize. [more]

A Bright New Boise

February 28, 2023

The second play of Samuel D. Hunter’s residency at Signature Theatre is the first New York revival of his 2011 Obie Award winning 'A Bright New Boise," not seen by too many people in its short schedule run at The Wild Project in the fall of 2010. Oliver Butler’s production is a taut drama with rising tensions throughout until the climax. At first appearing to be a workplace drama set in big box store breakroom, the play turns out to be a meditation on faith, relationships and expectations. The ensemble cast is excellent and makes this a riveting piece of theater. The title is ironic in that all of the characters are going through crises and do not see the promise of a new world, in fact, they are mostly pessimistic about the future. [more]

The Wanderers

February 21, 2023

The latest play to reach New York by Anna Ziegler, author of 'Photography 51," "Boy," "The Last Match" and "Actually," has a complicated structure she appears to have invented. "The Wanderers," her fascinating study of faith, love and fulfillment, parallels two Jewish couples a generation apart who appear to have been each other’s destiny (the Jewish concept of “bashert”) but who do not seem to be able to live together successfully. The play also has an email correspondence between a celebrated and controversial novelist and a Hollywood film star played by Katie Holmes, who really is a Hollywood film star. Barry Edelstein who also directed the play’s world premiere at The Old Globe theatre in San Diego keeps the separate parts bubbling along but without achieving the depth of character that the play implies. [more]

Pictures from Home

February 19, 2023

"Pictures from Home," a stark, but eventually moving vision of a family, is based on the photo memoir of the same name by Larry Sultan.  Sharr White, the playwright, has taken Sultan’s expansive volume of family remembrances and reduced its literary and visual extravagances to the size of the stage of Studio 54. The director Bartlett Sher and his colleagues have fashioned a microcosmic look at a mother, father and son, all hiding behind façades carefully sculpted over decades.  That they are played by three terrific theater veterans—Nathan Lane, Zoë Wanamaker and Danny Burstein—helps spin this play into theatrical gold, an intimate, human-scale work that stands out in a season of blaring musicals. [more]

On the Town with Chip Deffaa at Anthony Rapp’s “Without You”

February 11, 2023

Rapp’s show—directed by Steve Maler, with musical direction/orchestrations by Daniel A. Weiss (who was the associate conductor/second keyboards player of the original Broadway production of Rent)—is quite moving.  I was held by it throughout.  And it is extraordinarily rich with Jonathan Larson songs, including “No Day but Today,” “We’re Dying in America,” “Rent,” “La Vie Boheme,” “One Song Glory,” “Seasons of Love,” “Without You.”   Hearing these familiar songs—which I’ve heard so many times in Rent, performed by multiple singers—in new contexts, now sung solo—gives me an even greater admiration for them.  They are such well-crafted songs, and they have enormous impact here, just as they did in their original contexts. Rapp has an especial affinity for Larson’s work; no one performs Larson’s songs more compellingly.  He has long been the foremost interpreter of Larson’s music.  He “gets” the music completely.  It resonates for him.  No one interprets Larson’s work better. [more]

Sugar Daddy

February 5, 2023

Sam Morrison’s poignant "Sugar Daddy" has been “on the boards” for just under a year, but first coming to prominence at last year’s East to Edinburgh presentations at 59 East 59th Street Theatres as the Brits say “with a proper sendoff” before he struck gold at the Edinburgh Festival in August. It was only a matter of time before this jewel of a show received a longer run here in New York. It is truly a comfortable fit at SoHo Playhouse, with the only pity being it doesn’t have an open-ended run. "Sugar Daddy" is so many things. It is an off-beat love story; it is an expression of love as much as it is an expression of grief. Most importantly, it is an intensely personal story that he has chosen to share with total strangers, yet we don’t feel like strangers when he’s done. [more]

Asi Wind’s Inner Circle

January 30, 2023

"Ari Wind’s Inner Circle" is so incredible that it defies the imagination. Can these be called sleights of hand when we see everything that happens at all times? It is the sort of show that you just have to see for yourself and experience firsthand to believe. Not even magicians have been able to explain many - or all - of the tricks. It would be unfair to describe the tricks more completely – though how they are handled will completely amaze and dazzle you. [more]

Without You

January 26, 2023

And that's the agonizing tension in "Without You;" in his lyrical responses to Larson, Rapp is well aware that it's not a back-and-forth, that Larson can't say anything more than he has already. But, just as with "Rent," there is still solace, because I'm sure Rapp, the show's impressive five-member band cozily tucked into Southern's set, and the production crew could hear what I did in the audience: lots of crying. It came with a palpable feeling of not being alone in your thoughts for the dearly departed, especially those taken much too soon. A generation or two removed from having attended "Rent," it was an unspoken bond not only worth revisiting but, if I'm being honest with myself, desperately needed. [more]

Colin Quinn: Small Talk

January 24, 2023

"Small Talk," like its title suggests, is less unified than Quinn’s earlier shows. He also uses its format to wander from topic to topic, seemingly randomly without much structure. It allows him to focus on his pet peeves which seem to be the real topic of the show. While some of his earlier shows were big on humor, this one is more interested in provoking thoughts than laughs. [more]

A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical

January 21, 2023

When the older Diamond reaches an existential breaking point, he finally stands up, stage center and takes command of his memories, experiences and his life with an intensely concentrated rendition of “I Am...I Said.”  As sung by Mark Jacoby, it is the most poignant moment of the show, particularly when he confronts his younger self face-to-face. Will Swenson, the charismatic star of 'A Beautiful Noise," is hampered by the full-steam-ahead pacing of the show, leaving little time for introspection.  He is a powerhouse, molding his voice to sound like the actual Neil Diamond as best he can, often missing the mark.  But that’s okay because the majority of the audience came to feast on the songbook of a favorite performer and they are rewarded handily. [more]

Some Like It Hot

December 19, 2022

Matthew López & Amber Ruffin (book) and Marc Shaiman & Scott Wittman (music and lyrics) have transformed the written-for-laughs film into a joyous musical, keeping much of the sharp wit of the original.  Most importantly, they added heart and even a surprisingly contemporary spin or two, buoyed by the brilliance of Casey Nicholaw’s direction and choreography (although all those knee slides made me worry for the talented dancers’ health!) [more]

On the Town with Chip Deffaa: At the Museum of Broadway

December 13, 2022

Everyone who loves theater owes a debt of gratitude to Julie Boardman and Diane Nicoletti.  About five years ago, they got the idea of creating a museum in the theater district, dedicated to Broadway.  They would raise the funds themselves, hoping to create a self-sustaining operation.  The museum they have co-founded has now opened.  And it’s a winner! Oh, I’m not saying it’s perfect. Nothing in this world is quite perfect.  And like all new ventures, the museum is experiencing some growing pains.  (Later in this piece, I’ll suggest some ways that the museum could be made even better.) But what they’ve achieved thus far is mighty impressive.  There are a few kinks to be ironed out, but this is a major addition to the theater district. [more]

& Juliet

November 30, 2022

The cast is a combination of New York stage favorites (Stark Sands, "Kinky Boots," and Betsy Wolfe, "Waitress," "Falsettos" and "The Mystery of Edwin Drood"), new faces (Lorna Courtney, Ben Jackson Walker, Justin David Sullivan) and older veterans (opera baritone Paolo Szot and London stage star Melanie La Barrie making her Broadway debut.) The clever book is by writer David West Read previously seen in New York with "The Performers" and "The Dream of the Burning Boy" as well as the long running television series Schitt’s Creek. The show seems to have been influenced by "Something Rotten"(parody of Elizabethan times), "Six "(its updated 16th century costumes by Paloma Young), "Head Over Heels" (reboot of a classic tale wedded to a pop-rock score) and "Moulin Rouge" (the over-the-top staging by director Luke Sheppard and choreographer Jennifer Weber) – but is actually more fun than all of those shows. At times it resembles "Saturday Night Live" skits but knows enough to keep them short and not let any of them go on too long before introducing the next complication. [more]

Kimberly Akimbo

November 23, 2022

"Kimberly Akimbo," David Lindsay-Abaire’s oddball take on the title character’s dishearteningly sad disease, began life as a play back in 2001, reaching New York via the Manhattan Theatre Club in 2003. In 2021 Lindsay-Abaire (libretto and lyrics) combined resources with the eloquent composer, Jeanine Tesori, to restyle the play as an award-winning musical produced at the Atlantic Theater Company in November 2021. This is the production that has moved to the Booth Theatre where it now resides featuring the glowing performance of Victoria Clark as the troubled title character. Jessica Stone repeats her directorial duties, managing the move to a larger venue with skill and subtlety. [more]

Leopoldstadt

October 17, 2022

Tom Stoppard’s "Leopoldstadt" is a powerful achievement, a history of our time as well as a cautionary tale. In depicting Jewish life in Vienna from 1899 - 1955, It also reveals a way of life and a culture rarely seen on our stage. Patrick Marber’s superb production keeps the story progressing at just the right tempo both to follow the plot as well as reflect family life as it is really lived. There is not a weak link among the 36 actors in which all of the children’s roles are double cast. The excellent design team puts four generations of Vienna on stage of Broadway’s Longacre Theatre. [more]

Washington Square

October 10, 2022

On what is either a shoestring budget or a conscious effort to strip Henry James’ novel down to its essentials, Randy Sharp’s new adaptation of "Washington Square" is both exciting theater and entirely true to its source material. The quartet of fine actors make this story of 1840’s New York entirely credible and engrossing at all times. While it avoids the beautiful trappings usually associated with the period, it is so gripping that they are not missed for a moment. [more]

Titanique

August 22, 2022

"Titantique" is the most hilarious musical parody to play New York in many a year. Since international superstar Céline Dion only got to sing one song at the end of James Cameron’s blockbuster "Titanic," the now iconic “My Heart Will Go On” which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Song, why not turn the film into a cabaret musical with a score made up entirely from the Céline Dion catalog? That is just what Marla Mindelle, Constantine Rousouli and Tye Blue’s book has uproariously done, casting Mindelle in the leading role as a perfect mimic of Céline Dion, Rousouli as hero Jack Dawson, and Blue directing the show. Whether you recall the film from 25 years ago or not, the satire is pungent and the jokes skewer many pop culture icons. [more]
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