Kid Victory Review: Kander musical on aftermath of a kidnapping

There is one song by John Kander in Kid Victory that recalls the composer’s collaboration with Fred Ebb in both Cabaret and Chicago – “What’s the Point?” a jaunty, satiric tap-dance. It’s one of the few such moments in Kander and Pierce’s somber, often harrowing musical, now Off-Broadway, about the aftermath of a kidnapping. Go […]

Wallace Shawn’s Evening at the Talk House Review: when an actor’s day job can be murder

“The theatre is gone, but there are new things now,” says Matthew Broderick in Wallace Shawn’s chilling comedy, which imagines a dystopian but familiar society where former theatre people have gone on to television, or to a day job, such as murderer. “My paycheck arrives with complete regularity,” says an ex wardrobe supervisor turned assassin.

Tracy Letts’ Man from Nebraska Review

There are three great reasons to see the New York stage debut of Man From Nebraska, without even knowing what it’s about: Its author Tracy Letts (August: Osage County), its director David Cromer (Our Town), a cast that features Reed Birney (The Humans.)  These remain even when you learn it’s about a man’s mid-life crisis.

Off-Broadway review: Oscar nominee Lucas Hedges in Yen

Yen, a bleak British play that opens tonight Off-Broadway, stars Lucas Hedges, Oscar-nominated last week for his role in Manchester by the Sea, and Justice Smith, of the Netflix hip-hop drama The Get Down, as two teenage brothers living alone, with no school, no friends, little food and one t-shirt to share between them.

Michael Kahn’s direction of David Ives’ The Liar opens in New York

In The Liar, the title character wonders whether, given his disposition, he should become a politician. But, if David Ives’ version of Pierre Corneille’s 1644 verse play may benefit from new relevance (what I call the Trump Effect), its main strength lies not in its timeliness or plot but the subversive whimsy of its language.

Review:Tell Hector I Miss Him: Love Puzzles in Puerto Rico

Love puzzles, and messes up, the dozen characters in Tell Hector I Miss Him, a play wonderfully acted by a cast that includes veterans of Orange is the New Black. If the play itself sometimes puzzles, and shocks, it also marks a remarkable playwriting debut by 28-year-old Paola Lazaro. Lazaro’s work is reminiscent of that […]

Made in China Review: bawdy, political puppet musical comedy

Wakka Wakka, the theater company behind Made in China, says the show is “inspired by true events.” I suspect the true part doesn’t include Mary and her neighbor getting sucked down her toilet and winding up in the People’s Republic of China, where a dragon eats them.

Review: Cate Blanchett takes first Broadway bow in The Present

About halfway through The Present, an adaptation of Chekhov’s first play, Cate Blanchett, as a Russian general’s widow celebrating her 40th birthday, shoots off a shotgun, dances atop a table, and pours vodka on her head. It is an attention-grabbing moment in Blanchett’s Broadway debut performance – and one of the show’s few unmitigated pleasures.

Review: A dazzling Confucius makes its American debut

The strength of Confucius, a 90-minute dance piece featuring 60 performers from the China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater, is not found in its efforts to present Confucian philosophy and biography, nor even Chinese history and culture, none of which are especially illuminating. The show’s strength lies in its visual splendor and gymnastic choreography.

Most memorable moments on New York stages in 2016

Among the worthwhile moments I saw on stage in 2016, a surprising number became more memorable because of off-stage events. It’s impossible now to remember the Radio City Rockettes performing to Singin In The Rain (in the video below), without thinking of Debbie Reynolds, who became a star at age 19 because of the movie […]

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