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Brian Ronan

War Paint

April 27, 2017

Written by the same team that created the musical version of "Grey Gardens" (Doug Wright, book, Scott Frankel, music, and Michael Korie, lyrics) which gave Ebersole the two best roles of her career, the new show is absorbing, elegant and urbane hewing closely to the facts while at times compressing time and offering a few composite characters. Suggested by the joint biography "War Paint" by Lindy Woodhead and the documentary film, "The Powder and the Glory," the musical tells the parallel stories of the rivalry and careers of these two remarkable women from the 1935 to 1964. As they are never reported to have met, Wright’s book for the musical either alternates their lives or uses a split stage effect to show us both at the same time in their own milieu. Occasionally, they lunch at the St. Regis at the same time but avoid meeting each other seated on their own banquettes. [more]

Tuck Everlasting The Musical

May 8, 2016

The problem with the new show with a libretto by first timers Claudia Shear and Tim Federle now at the Broadhurst Theatre is that it is all so bland - which is not true of the novel which had grit as well as many surprises. The new prologue pretty much gives away the secret of the Tuck family’s discovery of the fountain of youth. The score by Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen (who wrote the Off Broadway musical 'The Burnt Part Boys") is pleasant but innocuous. Director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw who currently has the more flashy "Book of Mormon," "Aladdin" and "Something Rotten!" simultaneously running on Broadway has created a low-key production, atypical of his usual style, which seems a bit lost on the big Broadway stage. This might have worked better in a smaller Off Broadway house. [more]

Lazarus

December 25, 2015

Although this is the eighth show minimalist director Ivo van Hove has directed for New York Theatre Workshop, one would be hard put to recognize it as his. The production uses Tal Yarden’s almost continual streaming video, slide projections, a huge screen representing a television monitor, and an on-stage band made of seven musicians. The pink beige set is often turned into other locales with video which covers all three walls of the set. The band sits behind the set but is often revealed when Venetian blinds on the back wall of Newton’s apartment occasionally open for actors to be seen behind the windows or for the video to transform the stage like cinematic cuts into scenes from various locales. Like Roeg’s movie version of "The Man Who Fell to Earth," Lazarus makes use of surrealistic imagery that gives the evening a psychedelic sensibility. [more]

The Last Ship

November 4, 2014

The problem with the show is the book by first time librettist John Logan (Red, Never the Sinner) and Brian Yorkey (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for the musical Next to Normal) which leaves plot points undeveloped, characters on the one dimensional level and an ending which leaves much unresolved. What the show is best at is creating a sense of community among the men who work in the shipyards and the women in their lives who back them up. The choreographed movement by Steven Hoggett ("Once," "Rocky" and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time") has knit the large cast of 30 into a cohesive whole with its muscular routines. [more]

Editor’s Notes: 2014 Tonys Wrapup

June 12, 2014

Broadway had its big night when the 68th Annual Tony Awards, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, were given out at Radio City Music Hall hosted by the genial and charming Hugh Jackman for the fourth time. One of several of the evening's surprises was the four minute opening number in which Jackman hopped from the street to the stage to backstage and back on stage again, recreating Bobby Van's iconic number from the 1953 MGM musical, Small Town Girl, which went unidentified in the course of the evening. [more]

Cabaret

May 4, 2014

A huge, new production of a huge, ever now hit, Alan Cumming, Michelle Williams, Linda Emond and Danny Burstein shine. [more]