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Jon Lonoff

The Poor of New York

April 30, 2019

One of the theater's most skilled 19th-century melodramatists, Boucicault was uninterested in the finer points of history, character development, or narrative objectivity which, of course, is why, as the Metropolitan Playhouse's lively revival of "The Poor of New York" demonstrates, his works are often so much fun. That doesn't mean they're untruthful; it's just that Boucicault wasn't prone to letting a bunch of cumbersome details and ho-hum dramaturgical considerations get in the way of a good story or a necessary cause. But if you're aching to learn how Andrew Jackson's monetary policies and the peculiarities of his personality might have contributed to a downturn in the American economy, there's always the hope Aaron Sorkin will eventually write that play. [more]

State of the Union

February 28, 2019

Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s 1946 Pulitzer Prize winning political play, "State of the Union," should be, by all accounts, dated in its depiction of the 1948 presidential political campaign with 1940’s references to people no longer household names. However, it seems more relevant than ever thanks in part to Laura Livingston’s smart and sassy revival for Metropolitan Playhouse, whose mission is to explore America’s diverse theatrical heritage. Her crackerjack production of this fast-paced political and romantic comedy moves like a house on fire and lands every one of its jokes. In addition, the play is so wise about the ways of backroom politics and Lindsay and Crouse have isolated a great many post-W.W. II issues that are now front page news again that this well-written and well-crafted comedy, although a period piece, has a great deal to say once more. Great fun will be had by all, both Republicans and Democrats, as well as independents. [more]