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Michael Yeargan

Oslo

May 4, 2017

The clarity of this new play by J.T. Rogers does not only rely on the smart yet surefire way it’s written, but also on the masterful staging by Bartlett Sher, who, after recent productions of both "South Pacific" and "The King and I," is no stranger to directing gargantuan shows at Lincoln Center. Given its subject--the Oslo Accord or peace treaty between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization (P.L.O.) in 1993--Oslo is ultimately, an enormous play. But it is told in intimate terms. [more]

Oslo

July 26, 2016

Bartlett Sher complements Rogers by punctuating the play with visual puns that substantially add to the drama and importance of the enfolding events. A dinner party at Mona and Larsen’s home is disturbed by two phone calls, ringing at the same time. Larsen fields a call from Israel and Mona takes a call from the P.L.O. Phone cords or wires are crossed, as Larsen and Mona exchange mouthpieces and try to arrange meetings and facilitate a place and time for the negotiations in Norway. [more]

Fiddler on the Roof

February 10, 2016

Do not expect an exact reproduction of the original which after four revivals is probably to the good. With the consent of lyricist Sheldon Harnick, the only surviving creator, Sher has added a prologue and an epilogue that is new. When the curtain goes up, Burstein dressed in a contemporary parka is standing near an abandoned railway station in Anatevka reading from a book (the original Sholom Aleichem stories? a guide book?) and then he removes his coat revealing that he is in Tevye’s costume and joins the opening scene back in 1905. At the end of the musical, Burstein again in the contemporary parka joins the line of refugees leaving the town on their way to the border and picks up Tevye’s cart. The modern relevance to the current situation in Europe and in the Middle East is made patently clear. [more]

These Paper Bullets!

December 27, 2015

In Rolin Jones’ re-do of "Much Ado," the soldier buddies have become a Beatles-like rock band called The Quartos, the first of many Shakespearean references. Continuing the parallels: Leonato (the always terrific Stephen DeRosa) has become Leo Messina whose Hotel Messina takes the place of the Italian town, Messina; his daughters, Bea (Nicole Parker) and Higgy (Ariana Venturi) are the Beatrice and Hero characters, whose romantic adventures with Ben (Justin Kirk) and Claude (Bryan Fenkart) (stand-ins for Benedick and Claudio), are the strength-testing plot-churners here as in the original. [more]

Love & Money

September 4, 2015

"Love & Money" is light, literate entertainment, impeccably acted by its small cast led by the charismatic Ms. Anderman. Mr. Paulik amusingly projects his lack of experience while putting up a gruff front. Ms. Dunlap’s Agnes is priceless. Mr. Brown is a tad too much of a whirlwind as Walker, but as his façade cracks, he warms up nicely. Ms. Kim is onstage for less than four minutes, but made a good impression. [more]

Bridges of Madison County thoughts from Chip Deffaa’s July 17, 2014 column

July 17, 2014

It just seemed awfully strange to me, to hear no music from the year's best score on the Tony's–while we heard some not-very-impressive music from some shows that have not even reached Broadway yet. I wish we could have heard Kelli O'Hara and Steven Pasquale singing something from Bridges of Madison County. You'd think the producers of the Tony Awards would realize that if the best of Broadway is represented on the broadcast, we all win. [more]