Author: Donna Herman

Eve’s Song

Patricia Ione Lloyd’s “Eve’s Song” is a searing exposé of what it means to be black and female in America today.  Much has been talked, written and protested about the perils of young black men in this country recently, with good reason. Racial disparity in job opportunities, incarceration rates and unemployment rates are well documented and discussed.  Violence against black men, especially by law enforcement, has been the cause of national attention and debate for several years, spawning whole movements such as Black Lives Matter.  But the specific toll on black women, and the violence done to them, often gets buried on the back pages of newspapers.  With “Eve’s Song,” Patricia Ione Lloyd does what women have always done through the ages, looks with compassion, humor, insight, bravery and unwavering strength at what has to be done, and takes it on.

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Torch Song

Think about it.  When Harvey Fierstein was writing the components of “Torch Song” back in the late 1970’s, there was no AIDS.  And it had only been a dozen years since it was legal for New York bars to serve gay and lesbian patrons.  So, while a character like Arnold Beckoff (Michael Urie), a drag queen who longs for a committed, loving husband that he can acknowledge to the world, and a family of his own may seem normal to us now, back then, Fierstein was writing science fiction.

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Daniel’s Husband

By definition, Michael McKeever’s “Daniel’s Husband” is a modern Greek tragedy even though the first couple of scenes are laugh-out-loud funny.  Although the play is about a gay couple, it is a universal look at love, commitment, marriage and family that knows no gender.  It’s questions and concerns are modern and transcend religion, race or nationality.  Daniel’s Husband asks important questions.  What do I owe of my personal life to my public life?  How far am I willing to compromise my needs for the needs of my partner?  What are the limits of love? 

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The Niceties

Don’t be fooled by the title of Eleanor Burgess’ “The Niceties,” now playing at Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage II.  Despite the name, there are no civilities, no handshakes, no pledges of sisterhood or fidelity.  Nothing is resolved. I loved it. The other thing that I really liked about Burgess’ approach to her two-character, conflict-filled play is that there is no clear villain. 

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Gloria – A Life

I wouldn’t describe “Gloria – A Life” as a conventional play, but then again, there’s absolutely nothing about the life of Gloria Steinem that’s conventional.  Emily Mann’s Gloria – A Life is as thought-provoking, educational, inspirational and surprising as is Ms. Steinem herself.  Although I occasionally questioned Ms. Mann’s style, her subject was so compelling, I was rapt, riveted.

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