Author: Donna Herman

This One’s For The Girls

This One’s For The Girls by Dorothy Marcic at St. Luke’s Theater, should be titled This One’s For The Money. A musical review of “women’s popular music” in this country from the 1920’s through the current times, it boasts a host of memorable music, impressive talent, and lazy insight, scholarship and politics.  It will appeal to those who came of age in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, and can ignore the between the songs patter, the most.

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Muswell Hill

The dinner party from hell is a tried and true theatrical device.  Playwright Torben Betts takes full advantage of its potential in Muswell Hill and delivers not only the requisite excruciatingly dysfunctional family dynamics, scathing looks at both well-heeled bleeding liberals, and down-at-the-heels revolutionaries, but a sobering shot at self-absorbed aging thespians as well.  Ouch.  And while he does it most entertainingly, with a rapier sharp wit, there’s much food for thought here.

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Illyria

Illyria, written and directed by Richard Nelson, and currently enjoying its world premiere at The Public Theater, is a biographical look at The Public’s founder, Joseph Papp, and his struggles to establish the iconic New York Shakespeare Festival.  It’s a dramatic tale filled with ambition, creativity, genius, pride, politics, manipulation, celebrity and historically significant events from 60 years ago.  For theater and history buffs, Illyria feels like a corner seat in the room where it happened.

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Oedipus El Rey

Wow. After seeing Oedipus El Rey at The Public Theater, I don’t begrudge playwright Luis Alfaro his MacArthur Fellowship.  It’s also known as the “Genius” Grant, but the MacArthur folk don’t like it when you call it that.  In this case, however, it definitely applies.  Alfaro takes the Oedipus story and sets it in the modern day Chicano gang culture of Southern California which is something only he would do, and it works brilliantly. 

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After The Blast

Zoe Kazan couldn’t possibly have predicted our current state of nuclear brinkmanship with North Korea when she wrote After The Blast in the spring and summer of 2016. But its opening now in October of 2017 is a chilling reminder of the ways in which art can either mirror life or warn us of the dangers in our way.

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