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Paul Alexander Nolan

Slave Play

October 14, 2019

A mulatto slave is sodomized with a large black dildo while in a canopy bed by his master’s wife who is decked out in Madonna-style dominatrix regalia. A white indentured servant fellates the boot of his black overseer after they’ve performed a balletic dance in their underwear. A snarling whip- wielding white overseer is abusive to a female black slave as she cleans his shack while twerking to Rihanna’s “Work.” Welcome to playwright Jeremy O. Harris’ overblown and overrated racial, social and sexual satire, "Slave Play." Striving for hilarity, it’s painfully unfunny.  The wan shock value is more in the spirit of Mel Brooks than Jean Genet. [more]

Slave Play

December 28, 2018

Nothing is what it seems in Jeremy 0. Harris’ startling and explosive "Slave Play" which investigates where race and sexual relationships intersect. What we have been watching in the play’s opening scenes is role playing on Day Four for Antebellum Sexual Performance Therapy, “designed to help black partners re-engage intimately with white partners from whom they no longer receive sexual pleasure.” These three couples have chosen to spend a week in this new treatment in order to deal with their "anhedonia" or inability to feel pleasure which has been a problem for them for some time. [more]

Escape to Margaritaville

March 29, 2018

The ups and downs of the road to true romance provide the show with its ties to the Buffett songs.  Tully opens the show with “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Boat,” to show his romantic nature and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” to reveal his easygoing philosophy of life.  Similarly, Rachel offers her story in “It’s My Job,” and romance blossoms when she sings “Three Chords” (the new Jimmy Buffet song) with Tully as he teaches her to play the guitar. Tammy begins to fall for Brick with their sardonic “We Are the People Our Parents Warned Us About” and cements their love with “Come Monday.” Of course, there is the title song “Margaritaville,” Buffett’s biggest hit.  The songs are written in various styles ranging from pop to calypso to reggae and are meant to incite the audience to sing along which they are sometimes actually prompted to do. [more]

On The Town … With Chip Deffaa .. April 4, 2016

April 8, 2016

it’s significant that Steve Martin has won five Grammy Awards for albums he’s made–two in the category of “comedy,” and three in the category of “music.” He loves to play the banjo (an instrument, incidentally, that has a prominent role, along with the fiddle, in the music we hear in “Bright Star.”) He’s collaborated with Edie Brickell on two albums. And their ongoing musical collaboration has provided the foundation and inspiration for this engrossing musical play. [more]

Bright Star

March 30, 2016

"Bright Star," the new bluegrass/country music comedy-drama, rises—just barely—above Hallmark Network romance level thanks to its energetic score by the Hollywood star, Steve Martin (music and book) and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell (lyrics) and an astonishing, charismatic performance of Carmen Cusack in her Broadway debut. [more]

Daddy Long Legs

October 9, 2015

Jean Webster’s classic epistolary novel of the coming of age of a college age girl at the beginning of the twentieth century, "Daddy Long Legs," has been dramatized many times. What makes this charming new Off Broadway musical now at the Davenport Theatre different is that it is played by only two characters and as a result it remains extremely faithful to the original book. Although the show written by composer/lyricist Paul Gordon and book writer/director John Caird, (Tony Award winner for the original "Les Misérables" and "Nicholas Nickleby"), the team responsible for the 2000 Jane Eyre, can’t compete with the big brassy Broadway musicals down the block, its very old-fashionedness and fully rounded characters make it extremely satisfying and endearing in a way that few musicals are today. Just try to not care about these characters. [more]

Doctor Zhivago

April 27, 2015

Where is John Doyle when we really need him to whip new life into a musical? [Answer: he’s directing another Broadway musical, "The Visit."] There’s a moving chamber musical hidden amidst all the incessantly dashing chorus kids, shifting scenery, smoke effects, loud explosions and eerily surreal video projections that are the raison d’être of this production from the Nobel Prize winning novel by Boris Pasternak. This more-is-more approach to the new musical "Doctor Zhivago"—written by Michael Weller (libretto), Michael Korie & Amy Powers (lyrics) and Lucy Simon (music), choreographed by Kelly Devine and directed by Des McAnuff—dulls any emotional impact the story and the characters might have evoked. [more]