I had hoped that a major benefit of winning the Cold War would be no longer having to sit through a show like Doctor Zhivago, a musical adaptation of Pasternak’s novel that presents the Russian Revolution largely as the story of a good-looking couple’s long-simmering adulterous affair and the mean Communists who get in their […]
The King and I Broadway Review: A ravishing revival starring Kelli O’Hara, Ken Watanabe
From the very first moments of Lincoln Center’s ravishing The King and I, it feels like a privilege just to be sitting in the audience. First the 29 musicians play Rodgers and Hammerstein’s lush overture in an orchestra pit that looks to be in the middle of the auditorium. Then suddenly a magnificent ship slides […]
Finding Neverland Broadway review: Peter Pan. Again.
Is it pointless to pan Peter? Are we helpless in the face of the massive Peter Pander/Pandemic/Pandemonium (pick your Peter Pan pun.) Shortly after Peter and the Starcatcher and Peter Pan Live on NBC, we now get Finding Neverland, a musical adaptation of the 2004 film about how playwright J.M. Barrie came to create Peter […]
An American in Paris Broadway Review: A mesmerizing new Gershwin ballet
Both Gigi and An American In Paris are adapted from Oscar-winning 1950’s movie musicals directed by Vincente Minnelli and starring Leslie Caron. Both take place in Paris. Both have revised books, tuneful songs, able performers, pleasing designs. So why does An American in Paris feel so fresh, and Gigi…not?
Hand to God Broadway review: Puppet pleasures and religious people’s pain
For an evil sock puppet who eventually bites a teenager’s ear off, Tyrone is quite the philosopher. In the prologue in Hand to God, Robert Askin’s funny, filthy, violent and sensitive play, Tyrone tells us that all the trouble began when some jerk “invented right and wrong,” which led to the invention of the devil. […]
Wolf Hall Broadway Review: Henry VIII, heresy and adultery made dull
It’ll be another three months before the American Revolution arrives on Broadway, with the hip-hop musical Hamilton. In the meantime, the Great White Way has been pledging allegiance to the British Crown, first with The Audience, a play in which Helen Mirren portrays Queen Elizabeth II over 60 years, and now with Wolf Hall, Parts […]
Gigi Broadway Review: Vanessa Hudgens in visually stunning, emotionally threadbare production
Gigi, an imitation French confection of a musical starring High School Musical sweetheart Vanessa Hudgens, is based on a novella by Colette about two aging prostitutes grooming their illegitimate relative, a child of 15, to attach herself to a rich older man. Colette added a twist to this sordid story, which she set in high-toned […]
Are Theatre Critics … Critical? A critic re-examines his position
It wasn’t exactly an ambush, but the first question actor Bernardo Cubria posed to me as a guest on his theatre podcast was about a complaint that actors have about critics. I was his sixtieth guest, and his first theatre critic. Why do so many reviews, he asked, just summarize the plot and not give […]