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Michael Esper

A Bright Room Called Day

December 1, 2019

Maddeningly alternating between being an absorbing historical drama and a grating exercise in self-indulgence,  "A Bright Room Called Day" is author Tony Kushner’s reimagining of his 1985 first play. “It never worked” states a character regarding the play. It still doesn’t, but parts of it are entrancing. In contrast to his gargantuan two-part opus, "Angels in America," this runs a tolerable two hours and 45 minutes including an intermission. [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]