Author: Donna Herman

Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope

Encores! Off-Center has done it again with “Don’t Bother Me I Can’t Cope.”  They’ve managed to convince a supernaturally talented cast and crew to work their asses off for two performances.  It never fails to astonish me.  And their choice of material couldn’t be more relevant.  A 1972 Broadway musical revue about the experiences of the Black Community, which still resonates today.  And it was the first Broadway offering with lyrics and music both credited to a woman writer – Micki Grant.  It was also the first Broadway show directed by an African American woman, Vinnette Carroll.  For which accomplishments, both women were nominated for Tony Awards.

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Smokey Joe’s Café: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller

If you know how much it costs to mount a new Broadway musical, it won’t come as a surprise that the longest running original revue on the Great White Way, “Smokey Joe’s Café: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller,” is back…Off-Broadway. And this is a good thing for the audience.  It means we can enjoy iconic songs of yesteryear by the legendary team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, sung by tomorrow’s stars, for half the price of a Broadway ticket. Oh snap.

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The Originalist

The Originalist by John Strand, now playing at 59E59 Theaters through August 19th, is one of those plays. You’re either going to love it or hate it.  Much like the subject matter itself, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.  But not so fast.  The likes and dislikes won’t be broken down between party lines.

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Gone Missing

Depending on how you look at it, it’s either very fitting or highly inappropriate that New York City Center Encores! chose to honor the late Michael Friedman with “Gone Missing.”  Fitting because Mr. Friedman composed the music and lyrics for the show and was the Encores! Artistic Director in 2017.  Perhaps inappropriate, because the piece stresses over and over again that it’s not talking about people going missing.

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Carmen Jones

The Artistic Director of the Classical Stage Company, John Doyle, is known for directing second looks at musicals in a stripped-down style that allows for a fresh look at a classic.  His Sweeney Todd, Company, and The Color Purple have won numerous awards including Tony’s for all 3.  So, no surprise he’s tackling a revival of the 1943 musical Carmen Jones.  Which is itself Oscar Hammerstein II’s attempt at stripping down Bizet’s 1875 opera Carmen in order to make that format more appealing to a modern audience.

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