My list of ten favorite shows on New York stages in 2016 reflect two unmistakable trends – the use of the stage to present important current issues facing the country, and shows that innovate in artistic form. If these seem like very different trends, an argument can be made that they are both in reaction […]
While the Othello at the New York Theatre Workshop can be uncomfortable and even annoying, it is impossible for me to dismiss Sam Gold’s often startlingly effective production, even when David Oyelowo and Daniel Craig’s ultimately thrilling performances are initially in danger of being upstaged by the lighting and the seats.
A caring, open-minded producer and perceptive, engaged audience members played crucial roles in the success story of the original new Broadway musical Dear Evan Hansen’s journey from page to stage. That is what a group of theater critics learned recently during this year’s American Theatre Critics Association’s mini conference in New York City.
In Transit is the first a cappella musical on Broadway, and the rich harmonies and rhythmic beatboxing of a cappella evangelist Deke Sharon’s arrangements reveal the human voice as the most flexible of musical instruments. Unfortunately, the freshness of the voice-only orchestra doesn’t completely compensate for the flat familiarity of much else in the musical.
Dear Evan Hansen has changed now that it’s on Broadway, in ways that make it an even more affecting musical. Ben Platt’s performance, impressive from the get-go, is even better. But what’s changed the most is the world outside the theater, turning the story of a lie that gets out of hand into something more […]
Leigh Silverman, director of the 50th anniversary Off-Broadway revival of Sweet Charity starring Sutton Foster, recently spoke about art being “a tool for education, revolution, and resistance.” But it’s also, she said, great for escape: “People staggered into Sweet Charity desperate for community..and to be lifted away from this reality” the weekend after the election. […]
Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812 review: Broadway welcomes Josh Groban and immersive theater
An opera with an unwieldy title based on Tolstoy’s War and Peace seemed an unlikely crowd-pleaser, but I was thrilled when I saw it Off-Broadway, first at Ars Nova in 2012, and again in a circus tent in 2013. When they announced a Broadway run, however, I wondered how they could possibly pull it off.
Had I seen Signature Theatre’s fine revival of Athol Fugard’s most popular play just a few days earlier, I might have appreciated it primarily as a well-wrought work of theater, relegating its depiction of the brutal effects of state-approved racism to a safely distant time and place. Now the play feels more like an urgent […]
The Gabriels: Election Year in the Life of One Family, a trilogy of plays by Richard Nelson presented in real time at the Public Theater, ends the way it began eight months ago – with the Gabriel family talking little about the election and nothing about Donald Trump. This time around, the omission is exasperating. […]
Like Grapes of Wrath, Lynn Nottage’s Sweat offers a devastating look at social and economic breakdown, told not with rants or statistics, but through a riveting tale about good people in a bad situation. The characters in Sweat live in Reading, Pennsylvania, which 2010 U.S. Census data identified as the poorest city in America.