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Shaina Taub

Suffs

May 3, 2024

The transfer to Broadway has brilliantly expanded the show.  The new production designed by Riccardo Hernández (scenery), Paul Tazewell (costumes), Lap Chi Chu (lighting) and Charles G. LaPointe (wigs & hair) brings Taub’s script to vivid life, much better than the more didactic and spare Public Theater rendering.  These artists put Taub’s script into historical context making the battle all the more vibrant. The new version also has rethought the casting, reshuffled and improved the songs and, more importantly, is more focused and effective in telling about the conflicts—internal and external—that plagued the suffrage movement.  These included dissonance between Catt and Paul; the thorn-in-the-movement’s side of the Black contingent led by the brilliant Ida B. Wells (a charismatic Nikki M. James); and the far left, Socialist ideals of the hothead Ruza Wenclawska (Kim Blanck, brilliantly avoiding caricature). [more]

Rachel Bloom: Death, Let Me Do My Show

December 22, 2023

Dressed in a glittery, silver suit—costumes by Kristin Isola—Bloom immediately takes control of an audience who already admire her from her standup comedy and her bitterly funny TV show, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" plus her solo tour of "What Am I Going to Do with My Life Life?" and, perhaps, from the recent iteration of this amusing musing of life and death and birth and Covid. Bloom ponders her pre-pandemic self and the trauma of the birth of her daughter who had a life-threatening condition.  Covid limited her visits to her baby in the NICU and caused the death of her close friend and writing partner Adam Schlesinger who, ironically, shared the NICU when it was partly converted to a Covid ward. [more]

As You Like It (Public Works)

September 3, 2022

Public Works’ musical adaptation of "As You Like It" is an enchanting evening of summer fun under the stars. Trimmed to a long one act, the story is accessible for both those who know the Shakespearean original and those who don’t. The score is always easy on the ears and has many crowd pleasers. The huge cast led by Rebecca Naomi Jones as Rosalind and including non-professional community partners is totally comfortable with the Elizabethan language and the contemporary score by Shaina Taub. With this show, Shakespeare in the Park has a real winner. [more]

Suffs

April 30, 2022

Unfortunately, while Wells (Nikki M. James) and Mary Church Terrell (Cassondra James), another renowned Black suffragist, occasionally pop up to offer intersectional insights, they mostly come across as an addendum to the all-female and nonbinary musical's Paul-centric narrative. Taub knows Wells and Terrell obviously belong in the story she's trying to tell, but she hasn't figured out how to dramatize their inclusion yet. Other suffragists whose names should be much more well known today also receive paper-thin characterizations: Lucy Burns (Ally Bonino); Doris Stevens (Nadia Dandashi); Ruza Wenclawska (Hannah Cruz); Inez Milholland (Phillippa Soo). [more]

Twelfth Night 2018 (Free Shakespeare in the Park & Public Works)

August 10, 2018

Shaina Taub’s joyful and sunny updated musical version of Shakespeare’s comedy, "Twelfth Night," is back in a full production courtesy of Free Shakespeare in the Park and Public Works which premiered an earlier production for four performances during Labor Day Weekend 2016. This slightly trimmed and tightened version is even more entertaining and the witty contemporary lyrics make this fun for young and old, as well as Shakespeare veterans and novices. [more]

Twelfth Night (Public Works)

September 5, 2016

Taub’s eclectic score to original lyrics includes jazz, rhythm and blues, pop, Broadway and ragtime. Among Kwei-Armah’s ingenious touches were his use of a series of community cameo groups play back up for individual songs: the Jazz Procession for Countess Olivia’s father was played by the spirited Jambalaya Brass Band. Viola’s inner monologue was interpreted expressively in pantomime by New York Deaf Theatre. Malvolio’s solo Can-Can was performed by the nine energetic and enthusiastic dancers of The Love Show. The duel provoked by Sir Toby was backed up by the thrilling drummers of COBU while his duel masters were portrayed by the electrifying Ziranmen Kungfu Wushu Training Center. Throughout the evening, the Illyriettes made up of six ladies dressed identically in purple sequined sheaths played back up group for various singers and musical numbers. [more]