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New York City Center

New York City Center, now in its 70th year, has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city since 1943. It was Manhattan’s first performing arts center, dedicated by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1943 with a mission to make the best in music, theater and dance accessible to all audiences.
Today, City Center is home to many distinguished companies, including City Center’s Principal Dance Company, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, as well as Manhattan Theatre Club; a roster of renowned national and international visiting artists; and its own critically acclaimed and popular programs. http://www.nycitycenter.org

Fall for Dance 2017

October 10, 2017

Michelle Dorrance, this troupe’s director, has become a force in tap dance because she understands both its legacy and its future. She played Pied Piper to a large troupe of very talented dancers who were all given opportunities to shine and create moods that varied from sexy to flirtatious to hilarious and sad. With additional choreographic contributions by Ephrat “Bounce” Asherie and Matthew “Megawatt” West—fine soloists—“Myelination” ebbed and flowed as soloists floated out of groupings of the twelve dancers to express themselves in brilliant bits that combined tap with modern dance, jazz, break dancing and even a touch of ballet. [more]

The Golden Apple

May 13, 2017

Handsome musical theater leading man Ryan Silverman is a commanding Ulysses with his operatic singing. Jeff Blumenkrantz is marvelously humorous and pitiful as Menelaus, Helen’s jilted husband. N’Kenge is fierce and bewitching as Mother Hare, a soothsayer-like figure. Ashley Brown is wonderfully comic as the mayor’s wife. Though silent as Paris, the youthful Barton Cowperthwaite’s superior ballet skills make a great impression. [more]

The New Yorkers: A Sociological Musical Satire

March 29, 2017

Herbert Fields’s book was based on a story by E. Ray Goetz and New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno. This clunky concert adaptation by Jack Viertel is crammed with double entendres, puns, anachronisms, and contemporary inside jokes that mostly thud. [more]

Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

February 12, 2017

Red-haired, animated and engagingly boyish, 18-year-old Nicholas Barasch is sensational as Huckleberry Finn. Mr. Barasch is onstage virtually the entire time and winningly carries the show. As Jim, the runaway slave, Kyle Scatliffe brings dignity, forcefulness and powerful vocal ability during his commanding performance. [more]

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (Fall 2016 Season)

December 26, 2016

“r-Evolution, Dream.” was a jaunty new ballet by Ailey member Hope Boykin to music by Ali Jackson plus narration spoken by Leslie Odom, Jr. which included a Shakespeare sonnet, “A Negro’s Complaint” by William Cowper, “If I Can Help Somebody as I Pass Along” by Alma Irene Bazel, etc. This delightful romp pitted four groups of dancers against each other, occasionally joining forces, particularly in a fleet finale in which the lines interwove and “interbred.” The dancers—including members of Ailey II—were defined by the color of their chic costumes (black, white, purple and green, designed by Ms. Boykin) all led by Ailey veteran, Matthew Rushing whose Pied-Piper performance gave a center of gravity to what might have been a pleasantly disorganized entertainment. Standing out was Megan Jakel whose whirling, undulating solo evoked spontaneous applause. [more]

Netherlands Dans Theater

December 4, 2016

Is there a more stunningly beautiful troupe of dancers than the Nederlands Dans Theater? This very international array of performers is not only good looking but dances with thrilling precision and a style that clearly says “company,” thanks to artistic director Paul Lightfoot and general director Janine Dijkmeijer. [more]

27

November 14, 2016

Gordon created the role of Gertrude Stein with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe in mind. Blythe’s monumental presence, thanks to a towering, charismatic, forceful voice, is meant to arrest and command attention. Blythe captures Stein’s complicated personality – her genius, her stalwartness, her humor and her occasional, brutal judgments about the artistic quality of her bon mots. [more]

Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater

July 30, 2016

The charming and charismatic Broadway leading man Santino Fontana performs the role of Elliot Rosewater with as much commitment as if he were playing J. Pierrepont Finch. Mr. Fontana’s performance is the magnetic anchor of the show. Kilgore Trout is a loony science fiction author of 117 novels and over 2000 short stories and is a recurring character in Vonnegut’s novels. Here he appears briefly near the end of the show wearing a hunting cap and rising from a wheelchair. That he is played by the legendary 85-year-old James Earl Jones with his thundering voice, joyous presence and sly comic timing is wonderfully jolting. Mr. Jones also is the narrator. [more]

Runaways

July 12, 2016

The most remarkable thing about the Encores! Off-Center revival of the late Elizabeth Swados’ 1978 musical "Runaways" is that it is as fresh as when it was written almost four decades ago. The concert staging is perfect for this revue like show which deals with youthful alienation and abuse, making it feel extremely contemporary. Credit director Sam Pinkleton and a cast of 25 high-powered multi-racial and multi-ethnic performers, mostly New York City school children from 12 – 19. Among the performers are a deaf actor working in sign language (Ren), two actors who perform in Spanish (Claudia Ramirez and Joshua DeJesus), and a transgendered actress (MJ Rodriguez). It would not be hyperbole to say that among this cast are the stars of tomorrow. [more]

Dido and Aeneas

May 7, 2016

Staged by director/choreographer Doug Varone, "Dido and Aeneas" was amusingly presented in modern dress with Varone’s dancers playing the ensemble in both operas and pantomiming unseen props and scenery. As the original Purcell music to the surviving Nahum Tate 1689 prologue has been lost, LaChiusa has created a witty new one entitled" The Daughters of Necessity: A Prologue," and lasting 15 minutes. After the Chorus (men in bleachers on stage left, women on stage right) welcomed us, they recounted the myth of the Fates: Nono (Sarah Mesko) who spins the thread of life, Decima (Anna Christy) measures it, and Morta (Clark) snips the thread with her scissors. [more]

Dance Theatre of Harlem 2016

April 14, 2016

The four works on the Dance Theatre of Harlem’s program revealed a troupe that loves to entertain and show off but one that also hasn’t quite reached a secure level of technical achievement. Fervor and personality can take a dance company only so far. Nevertheless, this is definitely a ballet company with most works featuring solid point work. [more]

1776

April 3, 2016

The prime instigator of the events, John Adams, was rotund and abrasive. Here he is played by the handsome Santino Fontana who was Prince Charming in the recent Broadway production of Cinderella. Though Mr. Fontana bears no physical resemblance to Adams he conveys his rage, frustration and humanity with his dynamic performance. Fontana’s soaring voice captures the emotion and humor of the score, particularly on "Is Anybody There?" [more]

Pacific Northwest Ballet

February 29, 2016

The second Balanchine masterpiece was “Prodigal Son,” the final work that the great impresario Serge Diaghilev commissioned. Prokofiev’s moody, rough-hewn score and colorful, scenery and costumes by Georges Rouault which evoke a fanciful, ancient biblical era give Balanchine’s story heft. The clever scenery includes wildly colorful backdrops and features a large wooden structure that ingeniously becomes a pathway away from the Prodigal’s home, a dining table, a stage and even a poignant place of crucifixion as the Prodigal writhes against it. [more]

Les Ballets de Monte Carlo’s Cinderella

February 25, 2016

Maillot decided, however, to set his version in a distorted fantasy realm, with no identifiable time period or place, distancing the story’s emotional impact. It is difficult to identify with the group of highly stylized, caricatured characters he presents and the tortured, though imaginative, path he takes them on. [more]

Cabin in the Sky

February 14, 2016

Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson has inventively and thoughtfully staged the show with vibrant precision. Mr. Santiago-Hudson’s work combined with Camille A. Brown’s often stunning choreography makes for an eye-catching spectacle including the dream sequence with The Queen of Sheba in a golden gown and headdress. Santiago-Hudson also collaborated with Encores! artistic director Jack Viertel in adapting Lynn Root’s original book into an engagingly flowing narrative with depth. [more]

Sylvie Guillem: Life in Progress

November 18, 2015

On a portal shaped screen, films of Ms. Guillem (by the very clever Elias Benxon) are soon substituted by Ms. Guillem in the flesh. She disappeared behind this doorway, only to reappear in the video. When she got away from the screen, rolling and tilting, raising her great legs with soft expressiveness, the projected images changed to a group of people and a dog. She slowly danced her way back to the doorway, joining the filmed community and wandering off into a bare, white space. What a transcendent way to say good-bye. For once, all the technical, choreographic and story elements gelled into a lovely whole. [more]

Career Transition for Dancers: 30th Anniversary Pearl Jubilee

October 1, 2015

Ann Marie DeAngelo, the longtime producer and director of the Career Transition for Dancers: 30th Anniversary Pearl Jubilee, has outdone herself this year with a smooth and satisfying program, balancing entertaining dance numbers with just the right amount of speechifying. Adding appearances by Broadway and TV star Bebe Neuwirth, prima ballerina Cynthia Gregory and Hollywood royalty, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas and (Rolex honoree) Shirley MacLaine to the mix, resulted in a gala that out-gala-ed the previous ones. [more]

Solo For Two

August 11, 2015

Natalia Osipova and Ivan Vasiliev, two brilliant Russian ballet stars, have assemble an ad hoc mini-ballet troupe of like-minded dance artists who are unafraid to face the challenges of new work, eschewing the classics that made them famous. Although the three new ballets weren’t all successful—and were a bit overlong—the dancing throughout was superb. [more]

The Wild Party

July 18, 2015

Sutton Foster is electrifying as Queenie the sexually insatiable nightclub performer who incites men to violence in this revival of the 2000 Off-Broadway musical The Wild Party. Lean and fierce and slinking around in a taut white sequined flapper dress and wearing a curly blonde wig, Ms. Foster’s star quality and performing talents are on dazzling display in this problematic Jazz Age ode to decadence. She continues to grow in her versatile stage career that has included such light shows as "Thoroughly Modern Millie," "The Drowsy Chaperone," "Shrek," "Young Frankenstein," and the more recent serious "Violet." [more]

A New Brain

June 30, 2015

The very talented and youthful Jonathan Groff is excellent as Gordon. His charming presence known from his work on stage (Spring Awakening, Hair) and on television (Glee, Looking) adds considerably in filling out the role of Gordon. He also has the advantage of having the most developed and sympathetic part. [more]

Zorba!

May 9, 2015

Instrumental to its success is the thrilling direction of Walter Bobbie. Combining sensitive performances with an inspired sense of stagecraft, Mr. Bobbie creates many visually striking tableaus and images that vibrantly and emotionally realize this often funny and often painful material. These qualities are enhanced by choreographer Josh Rhodes’ wonderful and plentiful Greek dance sequences that range from euphoric to menacing. [more]

Paint Your Wagon

March 21, 2015

The concert series Encores! “celebrates the rarely heard works of America’s most important composers and lyricists.” With "Paint Your Wagon," they have selected a perfect candidate to demonstrate their mission. Until now, it hasn’t been revived in New York City, and though some of the songs have remained familiar, the show itself has faded into relative obscurity. Artistic Director Jack Viertel and playwright Marc Acito are credited with this concert adaptation of the original book. [more]

Lady, Be Good!

February 6, 2015

One of the chief pleasures here is the first appearance in more than 30 years by the legendary Tommy Tune in a New York City musical. Since his Tony Award-winning leading role in the Broadway Gershwin revisal, "My One and Only" in 1983, he’s directed, choreographed, made special appearances, toured in musicals and periodically performs a nightclub act. He plays an entertainer at the garden party and at the hotel. In a three-piece red neon suit, he sings and taps “Fascinating Rhythm” solo and then with the ensemble. In the second act, he’s in a blue neon suit and a straw boater with a blue bird on top to sing and tap “Little Jazz Bird.” After leaving the stage, he pops out from the wings, doffs the hat, revealing a gold star inside. It’s symbolic as he embodies the old time, unique star quality Broadway is known for. [more]

The Band Wagon

November 13, 2014

Encores!, known for reviving neglected Broadway musicals for limited runs, is presenting the show. Here, it has strayed from its mission by producing this new adaption of a classic film musical, billed as "A Special Event," with mixed results. The first act drags with exposition and setting up complications that are sluggishly rendered. The second act is lively and very enjoyable. [more]

Pump Boys and Dinettes

July 17, 2014

Jordan Dean, Hunter Foster, Randy Redd and Lorenzo Wolff are The Pump Boys, and Mamie Parris and Katie Thompson are The Dinettes. All are not only terrific and personable performers, giving charmingly realized characterizations, but all wonderfully play instruments as well. [more]

Megan Hilty at the Café Carlyle

June 3, 2014

“For years I walked by this place and saw all the fancy people going in. It’s a dream come true to be here,” said Megan Hilty during her wonderfully eclectic debut cabaret show at the Café Carlyle. [more]

Irma La Douce

June 1, 2014

Alas, by intermission many in the audience were asking each other: this was a Broadway smash? From Encores! we have come to expect Champagne, and this was a dreary vin ordinaire, a bit pale and a bit stale. [more]

70, Girls, 70

March 28, 2006

Seen today, 70, Girls, 70 is a weak show with a few strong numbers and a touching message about America's indifferent treatment of its elders. Within the show's limitations, Director/Choreographer Kathleen Marshall did her best to spin straw into gold, as did the outstanding Encores! Orchestra led by musical director Paul Gemignani. [more]

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

March 28, 2005

The show possesses a golden score characteristic of the Broadway golden age of the early 1950s, and is worth breathing life into, even if just for a weekend at City Center. Gary Griffin, who has tamed previous Encores! productions including "The New Moon" and last year's "Pardon My English," provides skillful, erudite direction for the piece, showcasing the musical's memorable score as well as a number of talented performers such as Jason Danieley, Emily Sinner, and Sally Murphy. [more]