Author: Donna Herman

Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties

Jen Silverman’s “Collective Rage: A Play in 5 Betties” is as smart and unflinching as it is funny.  The New York premiere is a riveting rollercoaster, powered by the sensitive direction of Mike Donahue, and the dazzling performances of all 5 Betties.  Bravo to MCC Theater for picking a winner, and to canny audiences who look to Off-Broadway for their theater choices.

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The Gospel At Colonus

I know, I know, you’re a jaded New Yorker and you don’t blink when you spot a celebrity, you don’t pay retail and you NEVER wait in line for anything.  Well my darlings, get over yourselves and drag your fabulous behinds to one of the five locations where tickets to “The Gospel at Colonus” are being given out every day for that evening’s performance.  And do it now because the last performance is Sunday, September 9th.  Despite the waiting in line thing, you’ll still hold your New Yorker card.  Tickets are FREE, and this is THE kickoff cultural event of the season.  And oh yes, like you, it’s FABULOUS!

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Gettin’ the Band Back Together

I saw “Gettin’ the Band Back Together” last night and saw something I’ve never seen on Broadway before – a warm up act.  Yup.  Like when you go see a television show being taped and there’s a comedian/crowd wrangler who comes on before the show starts and tells jokes and gets the audience revved up and laughing.  And while it may be the cheesiest thing I’ve seen done on Broadway, it’s very clever because it worked. 

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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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