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Monday, 04 April 2011 13:21

Broadway Review: THE BOOK OF MORMON

When I first saw the movie-musical “Southpark: Bigger, Longer, Uncut,” the audience around me was laughing so hard you couldn’t hear or understand some of the lyrics.  It seems I can still watch that movie and hear lines I’ve never heard before.  I remember thinking, how can the best musical I’ve seen in years be an animated feature about 10-year old boys in Colorado?  Now its creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker have joined Robert Lopez (Avenue Q) to top that with the new musical darling, The Book of Mormon, one of the best new musicals on Broadway in years.

Published in 2010-2011 Season
Monday, 20 December 2010 23:19

Off-Broadway Review: THREE PIANOS

The New York Theatre Workshop production of Three Pianos is one of the most ambitious and esoteric pieces of theatre I have seen in a long time.  The subject matter and the delivery are unique and intriguing.  This will not, however, be everyone’s cup of tea.

After getting my tickets from the press agent in the lobby I was handed two plastic glasses along with my tickets and media kit.  As the audience was getting seated, the three cast members stood in the aisles and poured red wine for us.  As the show began, the three men hopped up on stage, donned sweaters and the house lights went down...

Published in 2010-2011 Season
Saturday, 04 December 2010 21:58


There is just no other way to say this; if you don’t get to the Golden Theatre to see Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones in Driving Miss Daisy, you are missing the theatrical experience of a lifetime.

Exquisitly directed by David Esbjornson, this production is the apotheosis of simple beauty.  The play, originally written by Alfred Uhry for Dana Ivey is economical in its story telling, having large swaths of time pass between scenes.  If done poorly, these could feel jarring.  That isn’t the case here.  Under Esbjornson’s direction the scenes build on one-another in a smooth story arch that is engaging, funny and moving.  After having just seen the bloated A Free Man of Color, Driving Miss Daisy’s simple story-telling is oh so welcome.

Published in 2010-2011 Season
Sunday, 28 November 2010 13:35

Broadway Review: ELF

I used to love Christmas when I was a kid. Not so much anymore. That’s why, when I first heard about Elf, the musical, I had the slightest bit of dread about having to see it. Buddy and the rest of this merrier-than-all-get-out troupe are the theatrical equivalent of cotton candy. It sometimes leaves your teeth hurting.

Published in 2010-2011 Season
Saturday, 20 November 2010 15:50


The Public Theater’s production of The Merchant of Venice is spectacular in every facet.  This is the same production that played the park last summer to “sold out” crowds.  The cast, without exception, are masterly in their portrayals.  This may well be the finest ensemble cast I have ever seen on Broadway.  There is not a deficiency anywhere to be found in cast or production.  Al Pacino and Byron Jennings lead the cast as Shylock and Antonio, the Jewish moneylender and merchant of Venice, respectively.  Lily Rabe is a regal and radiant Portia, the wealthy heiress.  Daniel Sullivan’s facile direction has rendered a production that flows with a connective tissue so finely woven as to be invisible.  

Published in 2010-2011 Season
Monday, 15 November 2010 21:21


Paul Reubens has been perfecting the character of Pee-wee Herman for almost thirty years now.  The character first came to being when Reubens was working with the Los Angeles improv group, the Groundlings.  There have now been movies and a long running television show that won 22 Emmy Awards.  It was only a matter of time before Pee-wee took on the Great White Way.
Published in 2010-2011 Season
Thursday, 11 November 2010 17:30


It seems that this past week there was a bit of a dust-up at The Scottsboro Boys.  According to the “New York Times” a group of 30 protesters picketed the production for its depiction of a racially sensitive topic in what some consider a racially provocative way (many of the picketers had not seen the show).  The Scottsboro Boys tells the history of nine black teenagers who, in 1931 were riding the rails looking for work.  While passing through Sottsboro, Alabama the nine were accused of raping two white women who were also on the train.  The men were railroaded through multiple trials, each time an all white jury found them guilty, a horrible story and a blemish on our country’s history.  The device used to tell this story is the minstrel show, replete with black-face and plenty of “Stepin Fetchit.” 

Published in 2010-2011 Season
Sunday, 07 November 2010 11:13


Rain - A Tribute to the Beatles, the new “musical” that opened on Broadway this past week is not exactly what I would call a musical.  Honestly, the most theatrical thing about it are some costume and lighting changes. There is not the slightest conceit of actual characters.  This is strictly a Beatles tribute band.  Thankfully the cast are all wonderful musicians who do a remarkable job with the Beatle's music.
Published in 2010-2011 Season
Thursday, 04 November 2010 23:34

Broadway Review: LOMBARDI

There is definitely an audience for the new play, Lombardi and I don’t mean that pejoratively in the least.  Eric Simonson’s script is a fine vehicle to tell the story of Vince Lombardi... the football coach.

Lombardi is based on an amalgam of two projects by W. C. Heinz who was originally commissioned to write a biography about Vince Lombardi.  He found Lombardi a tough nut to crack and the project never went forward.  After rethinking the idea from a different angle, Heinz decided to follow Lombardi for a week leading up to a big game and wrote the book “Run to Daylight” about that experience.  The problem with Lombardi is that we learn about Vince Lombardi the football coach but we don’t learn much about Vince Lombardi the person.  Lombardi’s elusiveness is just as much of a problem here as it was to Heinz when trying to write the biography.

Published in 2010-2011 Season
Friday, 29 October 2010 21:45

Broadway Review: LA BÊTE

La Bête first appeared on Broadway in the winter of 1991 and ran a mere 25 performances.  More recently it had a hit production in London starring Mark Rylance, Joanna Lumley and David Hyde Pierce.  That production has just opened on Broadway.  In London it won two Laurence Olivier Awards, one for best comedy and one for Mr. Rylance’s performance.  Several seasons back Rylance won a Tony Award for Boeing, Boeing and Mr. Pierce one for Curtains.


Published in 2010-2011 Season
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