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Still Open

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

Ragamala Dance Company: Fires of Varanasi: Dance of the Eternal Pilgrim

September 25, 2021

As the opaquely complicated plot played out on the stage, the three lead dancers (Ranee, Aparna and Ashwini Ramaswamy) took turns displaying impeccable Bharatanatyam technique:  feet adorned with ghungroos (ankle bells), softly pounding out clear rhythms in varied positions, arms, exquisitely expressive, moving in striking patterns topped by constantly changing hand positions (mudras) which communicated character, mood and, to some extent, the story as it unfolded. [more]

Yeah, But Not Right Now

September 25, 2021

Holmes’ songs include clever lyrics particularly “Facebook,” “I Can Be That Guy” and "Beautiful Girl in the Front Row.” His expert playing on the keyboard allows him to have duets with himself and making it sounds like many instruments. He also accompanies himself on the guitar and a drum. The show is a confessional in which Holmes reveals the worst, most embarrassing parts of himself which seems to be the latest thing with comedians, except this show is partly sung. However, it is bright and upbeat even when telling unlikable characteristics. Craig Bundy’s sound design is usually clear, but occasionally makes it difficult to catch the lyrics. Director Caitlin Cook keeps this one-man show moving swiftly along. [more]

Neal Brennan: Unacceptable

September 24, 2021

If a hallmark of our best stand-up comics is that he or she is unique—think of Whoopi Goldberg, Jackie Mason and Lenny Bruce—a relative newcomer named Neal Brennan belongs in their company. In his new work, "Neal Brennan: Unacceptable," directed by Derek Delgaudio, now playing at the Cherry Lane Theater—a jewel box space in the West Village—Brennan sustains his non-stop humor for 90 intermissionless minutes. This is despite our having been told it would only be for 75 minutes. But we welcome the 15 extra minutes. [more]

Blackbird

September 20, 2021

In his thankless role as Ray, Grossman’s performance is perpetually defensive, harried and out of breath. As unlikable a character as Ray is expected to be, Grossman doesn’t quite manage to bring enough variation, warmth, or earnestness to the part to engender the compassion or believability needed to sustain it. Ravera seems physically uncomfortable in the character of Una. She speaks her lines with intention, but she awkwardly drags herself around the stage as though she’s never worn heels before, and her body belies her words, words which are sometimes lost in her thick accent and lack of projection. It’s surprising to see tears come to her eyes when there doesn’t seem to be enough organic truth coming out of her lines to warrant them. [more]

The Last of the Love Letters

September 19, 2021

We’re transported to Ms. Chen’s boldly oppressive spacious prison set with bars, an austere bed, a urinal, a tank to vomit in, and a retractable metal staircase for a menacing authority figure to descend from. Here, we meet the incarcerated “You No.2,” the male who gives his side of the romantic breakup during a cryptic and histrionic 40 minutes. We gradually realize he’s an artist being held in a government mental institution for crimes against the state. The finale strives for an emotionally resonant Twilight Zone-style twist ending, but it doesn’t make much impact, like the rest of this synthetic play. [more]

Pass Over

September 19, 2021

The spartan set design by Wilson Chin features a large tin can, a tall streetlamp, a very large tire, a milk crate, and a high basketball net. The first two actors, Jon Michael Hill (as Moses) and Namir Smallwood (as Kitch) take shifting turns sitting on the large can and the milk crate. But when we initially meet them, they’re running rapidly in place. They’re also speaking what eventually becomes a tedious and redundant black vernacular, without seeming to have much to say to each other or to us, even as they traffic in racist clichés. As indicated by the character named Moses, Pass Over is riddled with Biblical references. It’s 28 minutes into the play when they’re joined by Mister (although I kept hearing them call him “Master,” which under the circumstances, would have made more sense). He also removes an enormous amount of food from the straw basket he brings with him, which he was ostensibly taking to his mother, as he also sings, “What a Wonderful World.” Mister is played by Gabriel Ebert, who also plays “Ossifer,” an alcoholic’s way of pronouncing “Officer.” [more]

Sun & Sea

September 17, 2021

Performed by a cast of 15 singers and enacted in pantomime by numerous local volunteers all dressed in swimwear, Sun & Sea is a typical day at the beach in which we hear the thoughts of the singers, some of whom worry about the state of the world while others are entirely oblivious to it. Not only is it opera lite and a great deal of fun without being funny, it is also a very subversive way to communicate a message on as serious a subject as climate change. While the singers communicate their thoughts, the beachgoers frolic and enjoy their day oblivious to us but not to each other. The cast is a cross-section of all ages and races, including young children and two well behaved dogs – but no vendors. The totally realistic action (aside from the singing) includes reading, texting, eating, chatting, drinking, walking, cuddling, tanning, playing ball or games, while the children dig in the sand and build sandcastles. Some sit on beach chairs or chaise lounges while most lie on blankets on the sand or stand. [more]

My Mother’s Severed Head

September 16, 2021

Sadly, these promises aren’t kept in this mishmash of plots and characters that never quite meshes into a viable whole; it remains an unsteady comedy/fantasy never morphing into a smooth-running play.  Cissel awkwardly interrupts the play, alternating reality—such as it is—with colorful dance/mime sequences.   The characters—including the Mother/aka Severed Head—yell at each other, most often about that poor, ubiquitous head, garishly made up for the Mexican celebration of El Día de los Muertos. Every time the head speaks her mind the play comes to impudent life. [more]

Remembering George Wein

September 15, 2021

George Wein, who died peacefully at his New York apartment at the age of 95, was the founder of the modern music festival.  His contributions to pop culture were enormous.   I liked him very much.  He was easy to talk to, always candid and frank in our talks, and he was wholly committed to the music he loved.  Starting in the early 1950’s, he created the Newport Jazz Festival, and followed that with assorted other festivals: the Newport Folk Festival, the Kool Jazz Festival, the JVC Jazz Festival, the Grand Parade du Jazz (in Nice, France), the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and more. [more]

What Happened? The Michaels Abroad

September 12, 2021

The new play, ironically, does not take place in Rhinebeck, New York, like the preceeding 11 plays but as explained in its subtitle it concerns “Conversations in Angers, France,” the home of the Centre National de Danse Contemporaire (CNDC). Like the previous Michael play, it is set on the eve of a dance festival honoring American dancer and choreographer Rose Michael who has passed away about six months before this play begins. However, unlike the earlier play which was about the art of creation, this play is mainly about living with the Covid pandemic and our adaptations to it, as well as the hermetically sealed world of dancers. While the play tells a lot of anecdotes about dancers and does a certain amount of name dropping of such people as Trisha (Brown), Merce (Cunningham), Dan (Wagoner), it eventually attempts to wax philosophical with such remarks as “there is no life without death,” and “life doesn’t last. Art doesn’t last. And it doesn’t matter…”; and “we dance differently at sixty.” [more]

Ni Mi Madre

September 6, 2021

As his mother Bete (pronounced Bet–chi), Soria is bigger than life without a great deal of assistance from props, costuming or make-up. When he enters carrying an offering to the stage which is set up like a tropical altar to Iemanja, the Afro-Cuban diety whose picture is on the wall center stage, he is wearing a white linen skirt which he suddenly pulls up and it becomes his mother’s dress (designed by Haydee Zelideth). In English punctuated with pungent Spanish and Portuguese, sometime translated, often as not left unexplained, Bete tells us of her three marriages, each one unfulfilling, and of her children, her difficult son Arturo who from a young age wanted to dance ballet and was always getting into trouble, and his sister who always liked sports. We learn of her unconventional child rearing practices which was as much a tug of war with her children as it was a series of lessons in living, and marked Arturo for life. [more]

SHOWSTOPPERS! SPECTACULAR COSTUMES FROM STAGE & SCREEN

August 31, 2021

Showstoppers! spotlights the incredible and oftentimes under-recognized costume contributions to the entertainment industry, and pulls back the curtain on the hundreds of costuming experts who create, supply and care for them, and infuse much-needed vitality back into the Theatre District. As guests make their way through the exhibit, they will get to see up close the detail and craftsmanship typically only seen far away on stage or screen. Costume makers and experts will be on-site demonstrating their techniques and skills and interacting with guests, and multimedia elements will provide a rare opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the process. [more]

Semblance

August 18, 2021

Written and directed by White who is the Obie and Lily Award winning director of "Our Dear Dead Drug Lord" (WP Theater) and "What to Send Up When It Goes Down" (Public Theater, BAM Fisher and Playwrights Horizons), a NYTW Usual Suspect and former NYTW 2050 Fellow, among other impressive credits, "Semblance" asks the question: in your everyday life, how do you encounter Black women? What do you see and what do you assume? Nikiya Mathis plays seven women from all walks of life, six of them depicted in various jobs and careers and each in her own setting. The women address us directly: a line worker in a salad take-out restaurant, a nanny and caretaker with her charge in Prospect Park, a chart-topping artist preparing for a music video, an unemployed mother getting her nails done in a salon, a public figure such as a politician about to be interviewed on a news program, a bus driver on her run on an MTA bus, a medium to low level consultant in an office, and finally the actress herself as she removes her makeup. [more]

Alma Baya

August 18, 2021

"Alma Baya" is distinguished by its impressive production design which wondrously theatricalizes what we’re used to from experiencing science fiction on the screen and television. Scenic designer Mike Mroch’s multi-level configuration of geometric white pieces adorned with gadgets is awesome. Besides the striking space suit and helmet, costume designer Ramona Ponce provides snazzy shimmering gray outfits reminiscent of Pierre Cardin. Federico Restrepo’s lighting design in collaboration Hao Bai is a jolting assemblage of hues, colors and tones. Before the show begins, Mark T Bruckner’s sound design is already arresting with its droning electric cords, later there’s the grand whooshing of air locks opening and closing. [more]

Friends! The Musical Parody

July 28, 2021

The problem with the show now at The Jerry Orbach Theater is director Tim Drucker’s frenetic, over-the-top staging and the artificially broad presentational style of the acting, similar to - but beyond - what he did in his 2019 production of "Love Actually? The Unauthorized Musical Parody" at the same theater. It is as though he does not trust the material. Matthew Fischer’s sound design for the taped score by composer Assaf Gleizner (to Gleizner’s orchestrations) is overly loud and fast, overpowering the clever lyrics which are well worth hearing for their stinging barbs at the television series. It also makes all of the songs sound the same, except for some short, slower folk ballads set to guitar accompaniment which are mostly oddball numbers for Phoebe to play in her gig as a folksinger. [more]

Mandela

July 20, 2021

Nelson Mandela’s inestimable value to humanity in general and to the abolishment of apartheid in particular cannot be thoroughly assessed or overestimated, nor are they in a new play that bears his name. As written by Yolanda Brooks & John Ruiz Miranda, who also directs, Mandela is a meandering miasma of information. It also suffers by an utterly amateurish performance by Robert Greene in the title role. One winning asset, however, is the portrayal of Mandela’s wife, Winnie, by Nadijah A.K. Also to its credit is the evocative lighting design by Maarten Cornelis, which, more than merely illuminating the play, gives it a kind of life. [more]

On the Town with Chip Deffaa: As Nightclubs Begin Coming Back

July 20, 2021

Gianni Valenti, who runs one of the city’s best-known and most important nightspots, Birdland Jazz Club on 44th Street, deserves a lot of credit for leading the way.  He was one of the first club owners to announce plans to reopen.  He’s reopened strong, booking lots of respected artists, like Delfeayo Marsalis, Allan Harris, Ken Peplowski, etc. (For Birdland's full schedule, go to www.birdlandjazz.com.)  And he’s keeping prices as low as possible to make sure the place is packed.   For many shows at Birdland this summer, you can buy tickets online and pay only a nominal cover charge—some nights just 99 cents (plus a service charge).  That’s the same cover charge the club had when it first opened way back in 1949. [more]

When Broadway Shows Will Be Opening (or Re-Opening)

July 16, 2021

More than 30 Broadway productions are expected to open or re-open before year's end. Producers are gambling that by the fall, audiences will be ready to return. I'll list below the shows and projected opening dates, as it stands now. (And this is still in flux. Info changes almost every day.) Fingers crossed! Lights should be returning to Broadway this fall... There are still a lot of unknowns, of course. No one knows, for example, what the tourist situation will be, come fall. And tourists traditionally buy a lot of theater tix. And no one knows if the pandemic will be fading out in the fall or--due to emerging variants--be resurgent. [more]

The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+

July 15, 2021

For "The Importance of Being Earnestly LGBTQ+" which wildly lives up to its title, director Maarten Cornelis updates Wilde’s scenario to present day New York City. Currency is in dollars; Manhattan landmarks replace London ones, though the fabled cucumber sandwiches remain. Amanda Scanze’s splendorous fashionista-type costume design and Martina Duque’s artfully basic scenic and projection design are all contemporary. Mr. Cornelis places us in an affectionate fantasyland true to the spirit of Wilde where logical inconsistencies and anachronisms are to be taken in stride. Algernon Moncrieff and Jack Worthing are still upper-class charmers pretending to be named Ernest to romance their eccentric objects of desire. Instead of Cecily Cardew and Gwendolen Fairfax, here we get Cecil and Gwyn. This production’s chief virtue is its matter of fact and sensual depiction of same-sex attraction. That is achieved through Cornelis’ skillful direction, his otherworldly lighting design and his energetic ensemble. [more]

Grodin on Letterman

June 13, 2021

Grodin created his meta gag in 1973, which was that he was playing a snide and combative version of himself. He was so good at it that some audience members gasped at his rudeness and home viewers wrote in to complain at how nasty he was to Johnny Carson, who was in on the joke. [more]

George Rose Recalled

June 10, 2021

Highlights of Ed Dixon’s sharp writing and grand acting inlcude joyous recreations of George Rose in My Fair Lady and The Pirates of Penzance, a sad mini portrait of Ray Walston and being transported to the NYC acting world when a Hell’s Kitchen apartment could be rented for $70 a month. [more]

The Importance of Being Earnest

May 23, 2021

Of course, there’s Wilde’s brilliance with his ingenious epigrams, the barbed skewering of the British class system and the precise plot. Most importantly, this glorious document preserves Brian Bedford magnificence. [more]

 At Home with Nigeria’s Breakthrough Star AcebergTM and his Debut EP “Far From Home”

May 8, 2021

Now ready to take on a global circuit, we started working on promoting AcebergTM’s brand new debut EP "Far From Home" which was just released on April 16th, 2021 along with his music video for one of his singles “DANCA.”  “DANCA” is a perfect blend of Afropop mixed with Amapiano beats that can make you head to the dancefloor or groove while sipping on a strong drink.  Our DANCA dance challenge is in full swing on TikTok/Instagram with more social media excitement on the way and his EP is being hailed by critics and tearing up the charts.  While we have placed advertising campaigns in some of the major cities including, but not limited to, New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta, we have and continue to engage the music community at large, bookers for late night talk shows, music supervisors for TV/Film and beyond to share AcebergTM with more of the world. [more]

Housewives of Secaucus: What a Drag!

May 8, 2021

The captivating cast of actors who are here drag artistes is comprised of Philip McLeod, Ryan Stutz, Cammerron Baits, Jacob P.S. Lemmenes, and Sam Brackley. While striding around and dancing in high heels, this magnetic quintet all offers animated stereotypical Italian American characterizations while cracking wise. "I'm Every Woman," "Hit Me with Your Best Shot," and, of course, "Total Eclipse of the Heart," are among the classic songs played while showcasing the ensemble’s dynamic lip-synching abilities. [more]

Girl from the North Country (Broadway)

March 19, 2020

Set in a dark time, "Girl from the North Country" creates a community on stage as do the best plays and musicals. Its tale of lost souls attempting to keep their heads above water is universal in both its message and its approach. Conor McPherson has never written so accessible a play before for Americans, and Bob Dylan’s songs have never sounded so poignant. Girl from the North Country is both unforgettable and not to be missed. [more]

West Side Story

March 16, 2020

Van Hove's energetic cast is too often lost among the video images which is sad because they are a wonderfully scrappy group of actor/dancer/singers who give their all.  (I’m told that this is less of an issue in the higher reaches of the theatre due to the difference in perspective.)  To be sure, there are wonderful moments where the groups move about in cityscapes that constantly change around them, but these are countered by long scenes during which the actors appear to be lilliputian figures whose singing and emoting get lost in the confusion of giant faces. [more]

Jagged Little Pill

December 15, 2019

Given the personal nature of Morissette's artistic output, it might be surprising to learn that the Broadway version of Jagged Little Pill doesn't take the easy biographical route for its book, mimicking, say, the mega-popular "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," whose subtitle pretty much says it all. Instead, Morissette's album (Glen Ballard co-wrote the music) and a few of her other songs support an entirely original story from theater-novice Diablo Cody, whose Oscar-winning screenplay for "Juno" was funny, affecting, and decidedly superficial. This same descriptive mixed bag also holds true for Jagged Little Pill, which rises above typical jukebox musical fare, but not as much as it could have, largely because Cody is interested in hot-button issues, not characters. [more]

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical

November 24, 2019

Do we really need another Jukebox Musical on Broadway—another hum-along, sing-along, déjà vu, vaguely autobiographical songfest? When the subject is as charged up as Tina Turner, the answer is yes—a conditional yes, but….yes, especially when the title character is embodied by the sensational Adrienne Warren who gained accolades for her rendition of Tina in the original London production and is one of the main reasons Tina gained the momentum to make the jump to Broadway. [more]

Little Shop of Horrors

November 5, 2019

In a counterintuitive casting coup, handsome Jonathan Groff stars as the nebbish Seymour Krelborn who works at Mushnik’s (a funny, kvetchy Tom Alan Robbins) failing flower shop on Skid Row.  Seymour discovers an odd potted plant in Chinatown after an eclipse, a plant that leads to great success for both Mushnik and Seymour. Although it is difficult to forget Groff’s physical attributes (well-hidden under Tom Broecker’s costumes), he delivers a brilliantly realized sad sack Seymour. Poor Seymour is in love with the much put upon Audrey played with ditzy perfection by Tammy Blanchard.  Two-time Tony Award winner Christian Borle chews the scenery as Audrey’s sadistic dentist boyfriend, Orin Scrivello plus several other characters such as a William Morris agent and an NBC TV executive. [more]

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

August 3, 2019

As the romantic, tubercular and charismatic Satine, the magnetic Ms. Olivo delivers a ferocious, sensual and grandiose performance that’s one of the most memorable recently seen on Broadway. Her sensational characterization is more Eartha Kitt than Nicole Kidman and all her own. Clad in slinky costumes, the voluptuous Olivo perpetually dazzles. Her titanic singing and dancing is matched by her intense acting which grounds the busy production with riveting focus. Her “Diamonds are Forever” is spellbinding and there’s saucy humor when it’s followed by “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Material Girl” and “Single Ladies.” [more]

Rock of Ages

July 31, 2019

"Pour Some Sugar on Me" by Def Leppard in a smashing live rendition accompanies a lusty production number at a seedy Los Angeles strip club with scantily clad pole dancers and creepy patrons. It’s a splashy set piece in this uproarious Off-Broadway revival commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Broadway hit "Rock of Ages. " It’s also notable because previously Def Leppard wouldn’t allow their songs to be included in this 1980’s hit singles jukebox musical. “Rock of Ages” in a recorded version is heard after the show ends and the audience leaves. [more]

Hadestown

April 29, 2019

The dazzling Broadway production of Anais Mitchell’s musical "Hadestown" proves director/developer Rachel Chavkin to be a creative genius. If you had not known it after she fitted her theater-in-the round production of "Natasha and Pierre and the Comet of 1812" into a Broadway theater, it is even more obvious now. This time she has turned her 2016 New York Theatre Workshop staging in the round into a production suitable for Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre with its proscenium stage without losing the sense that the musical takes place in many different places. Along with gripping choreography and movement from David Neumann and an onstage jazz band of six, the show simply takes your breath away, telling the joint stories of Orpheus and Eurydice, and Hades and Persephone. [more]

Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations

March 30, 2019

"Ain't Too Proud to Beg," “Get Ready,” “The Way You Do the Things You Do,” “Since I Lost My Baby,” “You're My Everything” and of course “Papa Was a Rollin' Stone” are among the show’s more than 30 numbers. Besides those by The Temptations, there’s a choice selection of songs by their contemporaries such as The Supremes. All of them are rousingly performed by the orchestra and the company under the direction of conductor Kenny Seymour. [more]
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