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Plays

Rabbit Hole

October 19, 2015

With its realistic and detailed dialogue, Mr. Lindsay-Abaire’s very well constructed script is a superior work of playwriting containing many humorous and moving dramatic exchanges. It is greatly realized by director Maria Riboli’s sensitive, accomplished, and subtle staging. That the racially diverse cast appears to be an actual family is a testament to her talents. [more]

Street Theater

October 19, 2015

The downstairs of the gay leather bar, The Eagle, has been configured into a runway-style performance space with rows of white folding chairs. This setup is for this giddy revival of the panoramic fantasia "Street Theater" by Doric Wilson. The play takes place on June 28, 1969, before, during and after the Stonewall riots on Christopher Street in Manhattan. [more]

Clever Little Lies

October 14, 2015

Before coming to the Westside Theatre, director David Saint helmed this production at the George Street Playhouse. No stranger to DiPietro’s style (he also premiered The Toxic Avenger at George Street), Saint does an excellent job of keeping the pace up when it matters most. The physical comedy is subtle and effective, but is over-the-top in just enough places to keep the laughter going continuously. Though one can hardly call the comedy of "Clever Little Lies" 'smart'—it is more vulgar than anything—Saint employs many different tactics to elicit laughs from his audience. [more]

Would You Still Love Me If …

October 14, 2015

Is it possible to love unconditionally? While we all say the words and make those promises, sometimes we may be faced with a condition that we never saw coming and may not be strong enough to accept. In John S. Anastasi’s "Would You Still Love Me If…," modern couple Dayna (Sofia Jean Gomez), a hard-working and ambitious lawyer, and Addison (Rebecca Brooksher), a beautiful and talented writer, seem to be well on their way to the perfect life as they are trying to adopt a child together and working to create the home of their dreams. [more]

Old Times

October 13, 2015

The production includes the Broadway debuts of British screen and television stars Clive Owen and Kelly Reilly, and a return of British stage star Eve Best after her Tony Award nominated performance in the 1908 revival of Pinter’s "The Homecoming." Unfortunately, to some extent they are appearing in three different plays so different are their acting styles. Even Constance Hoffman’s costumes take your mind away from the play before you. A pity actually as "Old Times" has not been seen in New York since the Roundabout’s Off Broadway revival which ran from 1983-84 but had an odd combination of American and British actors of film and stage. [more]

Fool for Love

October 13, 2015

This is the fault of director Daniel Aukin who also staged it at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. Besides obtaining just competent performances from his cast, he has chosen a shallow high-tech approach in staging this small-scale but profound masterpiece by a writer at the peak of his powers in a Broadway theater rather then creatively reimagining it with meaningful aesthetic simplicity. [more]

Hard Love

October 12, 2015

The revelation of the play is Mr. Lerner’s detailed knowledge of both the orthodox sect and its place in modern Israeli society. He manages to make the age-old arguments of secular versus religious fresh and human scaled, not judging either of the characters, but observing them. [more]

Believers

October 11, 2015

Donna and Chris, the couple under the microscope in this play, are portrayed by two sets of actors: the first pair represents the lovers while they are still in college (where they first meet), and a second set of actors play the couple twenty years later—married and expecting their first child. The way these two stories intersect is through rotation, as alternating scenes flip between the two timelines until both stories come together at the climax. [more]

Half Moon Bay

October 11, 2015

Under Margarett Perry’s careful direction, Half Moon Bay, challenges an audience to try and decipher Richie’s infatuation with Alicia and what type of relationship he wants with her. Her mysterious ways question if she even wants his help at all or if his obsession clouds his otherwise logical judgment. Dumeng is the perfect mix of purity and puzzlement when she doesn’t even recall where she grew up or who her family is. The only concern she has is her baby who was taken away from her as she worked hard at part-time job after part-time job to make ends meet. The audience is left to ponder what her motives are and if there is any rationale to Richie’s decision to invest in her life. The do-gooder in him is admirable but the price he pays to help this woman is heartbreaking, causing the audience to feel sympathy as well as concern for his condition. [more]

Be That Guy (A Cat and Two Men) 

October 7, 2015

Heavyset and with a sullen countenance, Mr. Marinelli plays Trey by ably conveying the character’s melancholy and witty expressiveness. The charming John Carhart as Keith is animated and gives a fully realized characterization of the contemporary middle-class gay man navigating through New York City’s difficult milieu. [more]

The Awful Truth

October 5, 2015

If this story sounds familiar, it is the plot of the classic thirties screwball comedy "The Awful Truth" which starred Cary Grant and Irene Dunne. In fact, Arthur Richman’s 1922 play of the same name has been filmed four times including a 1925 silent version, a 1929 sound version with original stage star Ina Claire which has been lost, and a 1953 musical version with Jane Wyman and Ray Milland. As part of its 24th Season devoted to “Hope,” Metropolitan Playhouse is producing the first New York revival of this unpublished play, surprisingly as the original production ran a successful 144 performances. [more]

Reread Another

October 5, 2015

"Reread Another" is a collection of Stein’s sometimes illuminating, sometimes moving, and sometimes completely ridiculous linguistic portraits arranged into a series of discrete scenes. Spoken by three actors taking on various roles from sailors to shrubs, the text is an angular, twisting mix of paradoxes, circular logic, and contradictions that achieve satisfying moments of coherence when we least expect them to. Although the performance lacks any sort of cohesive story, it amounts to a shockingly moving evening, providing its viewer the unique sense that something indescribably interesting, perhaps even important, has occurred. [more]

The Quare Land

October 3, 2015

Mr. Maloney is a veteran character actor of stage and screen with New York City theater credits going back to 1964. This leading role of Hugh Pugh is a marvelous showcase for his immense talent. With a perfect accent, graceful physicality, and his grandly expressive face, deep set eyes, and prominent bald head he creates a riveting characterization out of Samuel Beckett. Visually and vocally he effortlessly combines humor, pathos and malevolence in this towering and memorable performance. [more]

The Pumpkin Pie Show: Labor Pains

September 30, 2015

The annual "The Pumpkin Pie Show" is back for its 17th year. Performed with no sets and no costumes, it has been described as “bedtime stories for adults.” Usually presented around Halloween (hence the pumpkin), this year the show has a run from September 24 to October 10. The reason is simply that creator, storyteller and writer Clay McLeod Chapman is about to become a father. The due date for his baby boy is October 31. As result Chapman’s scary and engrossing evening this year is called “Labor Pains” and includes five tales about babies from birth to childhood. Parenting has never been dissected so closely or seemed so chilling. [more]

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – Pearl Theatre

September 29, 2015

If you thought Bedlam’s artistic director Eric Tucker had created physical productions for his acclaimed acting troupe in the past, think again. His "A Midsummer Night Dream," seen this summer at the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and now in residence at the Pearl Theatre, gives the actors a workout from beginning to end. Whether all audiences will go along with it – it is tiring for both performers and viewers – is a question, but like watching a world-class circus or ballet troupe, you know at the end of the evening that you have seen an extraordinary imagination at work. Tucker just expects everyone to go the extra mile. This is not a "Midsummer" for people who have never seen the play before, but one for whom the traditional interpretation no longer has anything to offer. [more]

The Gray Man

September 29, 2015

Mr. Farmer has crafted a suspenseful and gripping tale based on the reality of child abduction with mythical overtones. The dialogue is very fine and is evocative of the era. The intriguing script has been tremendously elevated by the superb production it has been given that is comparable to visiting a Halloween haunted house. [more]

The Legend of Georgia McBride

September 29, 2015

Lopez knows these characters and how they speak. He is helped immensely by his director Mike Donahue who allows just enough comic exaggeration without ever letting the show become a cartoon. Paul McGill’s hilarious choreography for the drag acts is right on target. Donyale Werle’s single set is wonderfully adaptable, changing from the grungy dressing room at Cleo’s to its stage to Casey and Jo’s apartment with just the shifting of a wardrobe rack and a couch. Anita Yavich’s costumes are a show in themselves, maybe a bit too posh for the Panama City venue but a hoot nonetheless. [more]

The New Morality

September 28, 2015

When American born Londoner Harold Chapin was killed in W.W. I in 1915, he was a highly regarded actor, stage manager and playwright, although not as famous as his colleagues George Bernard Shaw, James Barrie or John Galsworthy. While he had completed four full-length plays, his early death led to an eclipse of his work and his fame. In the centenary of his death, the Mint Theater Company well-known for uncovering lost works of merit, has revived his major comedy, "The New Morality." While Jonathan Bank’s production is elegant and polished, this diverting play unfortunately seems lightweight and thin today. [more]

Rough Draft

September 28, 2015

Performed at The Wild Project, a stylish downtown venue with a raked stage, the set (John Lavigne), lighting (Robert M. Stevenson) and sound design (Jorge I. Sanchez) all compliment the production and enhance the overall experience. Co-written by Wittrock, Donovan and Custer, and conceived and developed by the members of Improbable Stage, "Rough Draft" is a piece of theater which remains in its own category; a challenging, creative, and unique work presented by a group of talented artists with a message. [more]

Fulfillment

September 24, 2015

"Fulfillment" by the always surprising Thomas Bradshaw is about anything but the contentment and success implied by its ironic title. The Flea Theater’s production, directed to emphasize its undercurrents of eroticism and anger by Ethan McSweeny, is both shocking and sad. The audience witnesses the almost classically Greek downfall of a man done in by his own weaknesses. Anger, lust, pride and greed does in the central character. [more]

Radio Mystery 1949

September 24, 2015

Could Dennis Richard’s new play "Radio Mystery 1949" be inspired by the Mad Bomber George Metesky who terrorized New York in the 1940’s and 1950’s? Otherwise, there is no explanation for why this mild recreation of a radio mystery show which is beset by a mysterious actor who may or may not be carrying a bomb is set in 1949. Aside from no references to the post-war period, there are also some anachronisms like speaker phones which came from a later era. [more]

Hamlet in Bed

September 22, 2015

The play is told mainly in monologues by both actors on microphones, alternating with rehearsal scenes from the Gertrude/Hamlet confrontation. This makes the evening more of a performance piece than a stage play. Once we are given the facts, the ending becomes very predictable though the actors are very intense throughout the play’s 90 minutes. Except for the battered white mattress, Rachel Hauck’s set is entirely black, as are most of the costumes by Jessica Pabst. Sometimes due to Scott Zielinski’s lighting, the actors fade into the dark walls of the set. [more]

The Christians

September 22, 2015

"The Christians," Lucas Hnath’s examination of the intricacies of religion currently playing at Playwrights Horizons, comes to us at a unique cultural moment: every day, scientific advances further challenge the existence of God; ostensibly in an attempt to stay palatable to his mainstream constituents, The Pope has issued a series of proclamations regarding the acceptability of homosexuality, the truth of evolution, and other topics; "The Book of Mormon"—a patronizing, tongue-in-cheek assessment of the Church of the Latter Day Saints—is still playing to sold-out houses after five years on Broadway. Indeed, the fact that "The Christians"’ opening line, “Brothers and Sisters, let us pray,” was met with a hearty laugh is telling: today, New York audiences are largely secular and conditioned to sharpen their daggers at the very mention of Christ. To Hnath, however, the subject of religion is no joke. [more]

Death of the Persian Prince

September 22, 2015

Playwright Dewey Moss has crafted a well structured, taut, and seemingly conventional romance among clashing cultures that shockingly switches gears. Inventively based on news stories about situations in Iran, Mr. Moss skillfully weaves political issues into the dialogue among the characters and creates a plot that is gripping and painful. [more]

How To Live on Earth

September 19, 2015

Audiences will receive a refreshing and meaningful gift in "How to Live on Earth." This production sparks several of the big overarching questions, regarding the meaning of life and will also keep you chuckling throughout the 90 minutes. The mix of personalities blends really nicely together and ultimately proves that underneath it all we are all the same: human beings trying to figure out what will make us happy in this world (or the next!). [more]

The Black Book

September 17, 2015

"The Black Book" follows the faculty of United University while they attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding a difficult student named Collin Archer and a suicide on campus. Drama instructor Axel Cooper works together with his co-workers Arthur Chase, Julie Edwards and Riley Andrews to decipher the boy's disturbing set of clues. As the action rises, motives are questioned, allegiances are challenged, and the lines between reality and delusion are blurred. Time and space spiral out of control in a climax beyond (or maybe just shy of) the point of coherence. [more]

Laugh It Up, Stare It Down

September 16, 2015

Romantic comedy was once the staple of Broadway. Today it turns up more often in the movies. When it appears on the stage it is fairly unusual today and something of a throwback to an earlier era. Alan Hruka’s "Laugh It Up, Stare It Down" is quite charming in its way. However, its whimsical style tends to undercut the serious topics it deals with on the subject of love, marriage and how to treat life’s problems. As a result, it seems more than vaguely inconsequential. However, it remains a diverting if innocuous evening of light entertainment. [more]

Desire: An Evening of Plays Based on Six Stories by Tennessee Williams 

September 15, 2015

Having commissioned evenings of one act plays by major American playwrights based on the short stories of Anton Chekhov and the sonnets of William Shakespeare, The Acting Company has now turned to the work of a native author. As directed by Michael Wilson, the result, "Desire: An Evening of Plays Based on Six Stories by Tennessee Williams," is a mesmerizing work of one acts in which each author handles the original material differently and the brilliant group of nine actors, mainly Acting Company alums, get to tackle two – four roles each. Many give such vivid and varied performances that it is necessary to examine the program to realize that you have seen the same performer in a contrasting role. [more]

Sex of the Baby

September 15, 2015

With the quirky poignancy of Lanford Wilson, the ferociousness of Edward Albee, and the farcical precision of Alan Ayckbourn, playwright Matthew-Lee Erlbach’s superb new comedic drama "Sex of the Baby" culminates literally in a shattering conclusion. [more]

Stoopdreamer

September 14, 2015

"Stoopdreamer," a new play by Pat Fenton, is an intimate commentary on the gentrification process in Brooklyn, specifically applying to the small neighborhood of Windsor Terrace. Located between Prospect Park and Greenwood Cemetery, Windsor Terrace is a nine-block wide residential neighborhood which for years was home to many immigrant families, a majority of which were Irish. Though the gentrification of Brooklyn continues today, for Windsor Terrace this has been an event 70 years in the making: in 1946, Robert Moses announced a brand new road building program that consequently destroyed an enormous amount of residences in the community, and as a result over 1,200 Windsor Terrace residents were left homeless. [more]

Isolde

September 14, 2015

Experimental playwright/director Maxwell has a uniquely personal vision of theater. He has said in interviews that he directs his actors to be “neutral,” in other words all emotions are drained from the performances. Only the subtext tells us what they are feeling. His characters never seem to finish their sentences. Questions are left dangling. Much information is withheld. The play pulsates with unspoken tensions. He makes use of traditional forms and archetypes but explodes them partly by avoiding our expectations. "Isolde," which uses the Arthurian legend of Tristan and Isolde for its underpinnings, is absorbing theater. However, you will either find it pretentious or brilliant depending on what you want from a theatrical experience. [more]

Couriers and Contrabands

September 11, 2015

Director Kareem Fahmy is also ambiguously credited as “Co-Developer.” Mr. Fahmy’s staging is purposeful when it grapples with the problematic first act and does achieve very fine work from the cast. In the second act, his direction of the action sequences are lively and the pace thankfully quickens. Scene transitions between the Montgomery house and Miss Gardner’s house are swiftly and cleverly executed. [more]

A Delicate Ship

September 7, 2015

Anna Ziegler’s "A Delicate Ship" is an intelligent, intensely absorbing play that treats its three thirty-something characters like chess pieces moving warily about Reid Thompson’s raised platform apartment set, floating amidst a rock garden which becomes a life-sized game board. [more]
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