The Price by Arthur Miller, now at the American Airlines Theatre as a Roundabout Theatre production, is no stroll in the park. The year is 1968. Two brothers who have not seen one another in 16 years are plonked together in the attic of their old home, a brownstone in Manhattan. In this attic is the detritus of their father’s life, and because the building is about to be demolished they are finally facing how to let go of it all. And I don’t mean just the furniture. There are, as is always the case with sibling estrangement, a lot of reasons why these two have not spoken, and with a second-hand furniture dealer on hand to throw gasoline on the smoldering coals – there are explosions aplenty. As we knew there would be from the moment the curtain goes up. No surprises here.
Jeeze Louise – where do you start? I haven’t a clue. I first knew Sarah Ruhl through her fascinating play Eurydice at Second Stage. She pushed my brain around in my head in all the right ways. The story, well known though it was, was maneuvered into an incarnation that brought life, and light and a little bit of the kitchen sink along with it. With “How To Transcend A Happy Marriage” she kept me intrigued as well, but wandered off the main road so far that when the play reached its conclusion, it felt more like the bus stopped and we all had to get out as opposed to having reached a destination.
The past year has been a good one for Robert Creighton, the creator and star of Cagney. The project that has been his passion for nearly 20 years has just celebrated its first year Off Broadway and, although it is closing at the West Side Theatre, there are plans for future productions. It started back when Creighton’s teacher, Jack Melanos, at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts told Creighton he looked like Cagney. This sent Creighton off to research Cagney, and he pretty much fell for the guy.
The reason you want to see Cagney, before it closes in May, comes in a compact package busting with a sparkle that nearly knocks you over. Fortunately you are sitting down when Robert Creighton arrives on the stage as James Cagney. The unfortunate part is that you will want to be leaping out of your seat before the performance concludes, because Creighton is such a smooth dancer that he makes it look easy. This makes you think you could probably do it just as well. This probably not true.
As I left the Public Theater after seeing Joan of Arc: Into The Fire, what was on my mind was not this production but George Bernard Shaw’s play, Saint Joan. I had a craving for a play that would satisfy not only my curiosity about Joan, but my need for a well thought out story. David Byrne’s Joan is heavy on rock music and light on story.
All in all it is a sad few decades for the Windy City.
This is a well intentioned piece, but it is missing the “WHY” that is the required center of every story ever told.
Come From Away is a show that is greater than the sum of its parts. The script is iffy. The music is not exceptional. The sound is so loud that the lyrics are often unintelligible. The spirit that is on that stage, however, sweeps all that aside and scoops everyone in the audience up into its arms. The talent, it should be noted is not iffy one little bit. Not only are they skilled actors with voices that rock, THEY LOOK LIKE US. These are not stereotypes. There is not a beauty queen, swarthy leading man, or crotchety elder among them. Perhaps that is because this is a true story – or perhaps it is because somebody cared. This is, after all, the story of what happened to us all on 9/11. No one who sees this show was untouched by that day. And no one will leave untouched by this show.
Geoff Sobelle is a scamp. He is a voyeur. He is a magician. He has practiced being charming until it has leeched into his bones.
He is also very, very smart. Not to mention a set and lighintg designer’s dream. With TheObject Lesson, now at New York Theatre Workshop, Steven Dufala has won the trifecta in this department, although I suspect it was a collaboration executed with more than one bottle of wine at hand. The “set” has taken over the entire stage space at New York Theatre Workshop.
As the tale winds down, and the sad ending begins to lay itself down like a deck of cards, the shroud of the tale is unfurled and let to fall over all in attendance. Without knowing it we have been seduced into tale, and Sweeney Todd is no longer at arm’s length. His heart and soul, his love, his passion and his tragedy have become ours.
There is something seriously amiss in the life of Linda, now at The Manhattan Theatre Club. Penelope Skinner has written play that the radio PR blurb tells us is about a woman who has it all and refuses to be discounted. In reality, however, the cracks on the wall of Linda’s life are evident from the first syllable. At no time does she have it all, and deep down she knows it.
Will Eno’s new play, Wakey Wakey could easily be called Nightie Night because it is about a man named Guy (Michael Emerson) who is measuring out the last moments of his life. Emerson is recognizable from his television work (Lost, and Person of Interest), and here he does not disappoint. Would that the material itself held up as well.
I give nothing away when I tell you that this play is based on the Sandy Hook shooting of 2012. Nor that Ms. Ireland plays a single mother whose son was killed on that day. That is where the predictable trail begins and ends. Where writer Martín Zimmerman and director by Leigh Silverman guide the story has a depth and stunning resonance that reaches way beyond the internal place you use as a boundary line between you and the world out there.
As the curtain comes down on The Vineyard’s production of Kid Victory by John Kander and Greg Pierce, you might be tempted to flip through your mental rolodex and count all the many musical genres that have been squeezed into this 1 hour and 45 minutes of non-stop action and some extremely beautiful music. Hymns, jazz, tap dance, ballads, snappy character tunes – and more. On the other hand, the lyrics, book and storyline – these elements are fragmented and elusive.
With Everybody, now in production at Signature Theatre, Brendan Jacobs-Jenkins has created another circuitous and intriguing route for us to follow. Like his previous plays, Octoroon, Appropriate and Gloria Jacobs-Jenkins takes no prisoners. You either keep up with the pace or you fall off the wagon train. One gets the feeling that Jacob-Jennings doesn’t care either way because his eye is locked onto the trail ahead.
Look, I don’t like “fun” per se. I know a lot of you do, but for the most part what other folks consider “fun” I find puzzling. Sitting outside getting third degree burns watching baseball. Hopping on a sail boat to sail to nowhere before you turn around and head back home. Strapping long narrow pieces of metal onto you feet and purposely going to the top of a snowy mountain so that you can figure out how to, well, slide down – and then do it over and over again. No. No thank you.
Also on my list of things I do not like is Audience Participation of any kind. Entertain me. Do not ask me to work for you.
I was, therefore, PLEASANTLY surprised to enjoy myself in the extreme….