Flocks of theater kids heading west, dressed as Matilda or The Little Mermaid or a Newsie can mean only one thing: BroadwayCon 2017 has arrived. After launching the convention last year, during a blizzard, in the comparatively intimate Hilton Midtown, this year the organizers have gone full throttle, relocating to the Javits Center and offering more than 200 hours of programming with nearly 500 “special guests” spread across three days.
READ OUR CRTICS’ PICS for 2016 – Look, the theatre is a temple. It is a living breathing entity that grabs you like no other art form. You do not sit idly by and observe. It requires you to breath in concert with the performers. And when it all works, it is little short of a communion.
A happy go lucky Big Apple romp where folks manage to run into each other a lot, the guy gets the girl, another guy gets the guy, and Pizza Rat gets the pizza.
It is the rare Broadway show that leaves its audience disturbed by gun violence and racial slurs even as they go happily humming doo-wop on their way out of the theater.
Six quirky kids, and one guy dressed as a fortune teller machine, compete for redemption and resurrection in a purgatory where a human-size rat plays bass guitar. With me so far?
Can four powerhouse actors with Broadway caliber voices rise above their one dimensional characters and just mildly funny book to bring home a satisfying production? Yes, they manage to deliver the goods, but the goods are less than great.
There is a storyline to follow, but it is clear from the start that it exists only to serve as a launching pad for the beautiful songs of Irving Berlin, and to pause when a big dance number is ready to stop the show.
Ms. Lampanelli presents a sisterhood of women who have persevered through it all: physical abuse, fat shaming, love gone wrong and family dysfunction. Think The Vagina Monologues, but with cupcakes.
Ms. Benanti demonstrates a casual and natural sense of humor and a soprano that is as earthy as it is heavenly. Her 13 song set flies by in an instant.
In a world without Edward Albee, where do we turn to witness the effects of family angst and lost youth? To a puppet theater performance in the basement of Dixon Place, obviously.
Under the taut direction of Austin Pendleton, a uniformly strong ensemble reveals the devastatingly calm results of wrong choices and world war, without physically suffering more than a bruise.
Did you hear the one about the Irish taxi driver who created his own one-man show? It was more than fare.
I’ve never encountered anyone, on stage or off, who hates her God as much as Arnold does, though one can hardly blame her.
Perverted men attempting to seduce him? Naturally. Excrement? Exactly. A dishwasher full of dildos? But of course.