Cohen is clearly an intelligent, well-read man, familiar with the twists and turns of different periods and styles. "Midnight Street" is chock full of ideas, poetic meanderings and some worthwhile melodies but just doesn’t add up. His direction can’t overcome the pretentious language and heavy-handed symbolism. Only a Lotte Lenya or, perhaps, a Patti LuPone might have given Mr. Cohen’s songs the right gravity, not to mention finding sense where none exists. [more]
Gingold Theatrical Group’s "Heartbreak House" is an interesting but misguided attempt to update Shaw’s Edwardian masterpiece and make it seem more relevant to our times. Despite the stellar cast, the unfocused production by the usually reliable David Staller undermines much of the play’s humor and message. While the adept cast is stylish, they never gel into a true ensemble. This new version adapted from Shaw’s earlier 1914 script rather than the more famous 1919 published text will be of interest to Shaw devotees who will have never seen this rendering before. [more]
If you’re in the mood for a night of laughter, “The Outsider”—a new comedy by Paul Slade Smith, receiving its East Coast premiere in January and February at the Paper Mill Playhouse--is great good fun. Oh, I’m not claiming it’s profound or a show that you’ll never forget, like “A Chorus Line.” If “A Chorus Line” is like a fine roast-beef dinner, “The Outsider” is more like a hot dog with all the trimmings. But sometimes a hot dog with all the trimmings just hits the spot. [more]
The two leads David Spadora and Morgan Cowling are charming but that isn’t really enough to carry the show. The script isn’t too kind to their parents. As Big Harry, Lenny Wolpe is overbearing and possessive and as Sherri’s mom Francine, Robin Skye is controlling and possessive. Both are quite convincing and unpleasant – just as the script wants them to be. As the Village Voices, Chavez, Manocherian and Saunders demonstrate tremendous versatility playing all sorts of roles and are excellent singers. [more]
Having played such indomitable women as Mama Rose and Maria Callas, Daly slips into the role of the Madwoman of Chaillot which fits her like a glove with her crisp, authoritative delivery. As a woman who refuses to see reality for what it is, she gives a powerful rendition of “I Don’t Want to Know,” the show’s only hit song. She does a lovely job with the new number, “A Sensible Woman,” as well as the haunting ballad, “And I Was Beautiful.” [more]
There is audience participation; a huge orchestra—conducted by Patrick Vaccariello—that keeps rising from the depths, acrobatic choreography, and, most of all the mesmerizing Rockettes who look ravishing in their many costumes (designed by ESOSA) and routines.
As my grandmother used to say, “What’s not to like?” I agree wholeheartedly. [more]
Some of these great old songs will be unknown to the average theater-goer of today; they are so old they might as well be new. And they are a joy to hear. What a treat it is, for example, to hear Jelly Roll Morton's "Good Old New York." This is a superior melody by a major jazz composer. It will be new to most audience-members. It's done with respect and flair. And it's a just a pleasure to hear. That number is over all too soon. [more]