Showing posts from March, 2023


New York, New York March 29, 2023 -- The New Group’s The Seagull/Woodstock, NY is a rare adaptation that allows its audience to better understand the original. With Thomas Bradshaw’s contemporary text, and the deft direction of Scott Elliot, the production’s star-studded cast brings each character to life with delicacy and care. Framed against a luminous red velvet curtain, elegant wooden surfaces, and boho chic set dressing by Derek McLane the world of an upstate New York artist colony is evoked with crystalline vision. Just as in Chekov’s original, the first act finds a fictional play as its focal point, an experimental and fourth-wall-breaking work written by Kevin—played by Nat Wolff--—and starring Aleyse Shannon’s Nina, the aspiring actress he is in love with. The pseudo-intellectual production is preceded by a content warning that is mirrored nearly word for word on the play’s paper program, alerting both audiences to the provocative content of the play within the play. S


Photo by Joan Marcus New York, New York March 29, 2023 -- Spoiler alert -- all doesn't go well for Ivan in The Harder They Come at the Public Theater. Intent on becoming a famous recording artist, Ivan, the impressive Natey Jones, ships out of his village to his mother's home in Kingston, Jamaica. Within minutes of landing in the big city, Ivan is ripped off and an inherently naive sensibility hangs over him throughout the rest of the show. A real charmer, Ivan ends-up destitute in a church led by a powerhouse Preacher (J. Bernard Calloway). Grateful to be cared for by the congregation, he falls for the Preacher's ward. Yes, turmoil ensues. Based on the film The Harder They Come (which I did not see) the role of Ivan features Jimmy Cliff, the great reggae artist who was the first to popularize the music form internationally. With his head full of songs, Ivan believes he can be a music star. Surrounded by graft, ganja, and underground rowdies, Ivan rises as a savior


March 18, 2023 -- There are many reasons to see Parade , but experiencing Ben Platt and Micaela Diamond should top that list. Few voices convey humanity like Platt's silky, seamless sound or Diamond's intelligent compassion. Based on a true story, Parade unfolds in 1915 Georgia (one year after the start of WWI). An unlikely man in an unlikely location, Leo (Platt) holds the position of manager at a pencil factory, courtesy of his wife's uncle. Eager to hustle back to his Brooklyn neighborhood, Leo remains aloof from his workers and community. Contrary to Leo, Lucille (Diamond), born and bred in Georgia, has eased into the rhythms and mores of Southern society. One ominous day, a young 13-year old worker Mary Phagan (Erin Rose Doyle) is found murdered in the factory. Although the factory employed Blacks as well as whites, the politically influenced district attorney (a fine Paul Alexander Nolan) is convinced that framing a Jew is more politically useful than c


Photo by Julieta Cervantes New York, New York March 23, 2023 -- Screams and whistles rattled the theater during the Bob Fosse Dancin' performance on a Wednesday evening. Studded with wildly enthusiastic dance students, shouts of encouragement -- "that's right!" "work it!" -- saluted dancers pouring themselves 125% into the impossible dance deeds. The title Bob Fosse Dancin' suggests all the choreography is credited to Fosse, but that isn't always the case, and when bits and pieces are pasted into the production, pacing drags. Admired for his very specific, minimalist isolated movements-- eyes shift, eyebrows lift, fingers flick, feet flex, and hips snap -- Fosse moves are excitingly expressive. Contrary to the exaggerated, "watch me" Broadway musical dance style, Fosse's technique is subtle and exquisitely difficult. Directed and staged by the highly regarded Wayne Cilento, who was once a Fosse dancer, Dancin' suffe


New York, New York March 11, 2023 -- The gentle, poetic Letters From Max will undo you. Completely uplifting and life-affirming, this dramatic love song digs deep into the recesses of your mind, delicately persuading you to curve into the frailty and inevitability of mortality. Written by Sarah Ruhl (based on a book by Sarah Ruhl and Max Ritvo) and seamlessly directed by Kate Whoriskey, Letters From Max produces an exquisite symbiotic chemistry between Max (Ben Edelman) and Sarah (Jessica Hecht). Once a student of hers, Max becomes Sarah's guide. An unfettered set by Marsha Ginsberg, establishes place and time basically with a simple desk, chair and chemo lounge chair. Between writing poetry for publication and falling in love, Max shifts in and out of one chemo bed after another, one protocol after another, but the gem-like letters exchanged with Sarah remain the one constant. Through Whoriskey's sensitive direction, the tender epistles matter-of-fa


New York, New York March 5, 2023 -- In Samuel D. Hunter's 2010 play A Bright New Boise industrial lighting, and a color drained set by Wilson Chin depicts a Hobby Lobby break room in Boise, Idaho. Overhead, an invasive, closed circuit TV gruesomely shows close-up surgical procedures on various parts of the body. A sign of sorts? Stuck in a drab job, the well-meaning but harried manager Pauline (Eva Kiminsky) juggles a group of just slightly "off" employees. Sitting across from her, a nervous applicant, Will (Peter Mark) anxiously agrees to a minimum wage cashier's job. The no-nonsense Pauline introduces the inscrutable Will to the store's procedures and co-workers populating the shifts. Unexpectedly, Leroy (Angus O'Brien), a brusque staff person, reveals he's a painter enrolled in an MFA program. Although difficult to believe, Leroy makes and sells offensive T-shirts which he actually wears to work. Leroy works alongside his younger brother