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.
We all know the story, remember the images of the birds, the gulls and pelicans, the turtles and other sea life covered in oil. We remember the oil spread across the Gulf of Mexico, a coating of slime and gunk destroying everything around it and beneath it, as the winds pushed it closer and closer to shore.
Agatha Christie’s popular Murder on the Orient Express brought to the stage for the first time by award-winning playwright Ken Ludwig.
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.
G.K. Chesterton, the early 20th Century British man of letters said “I’ve searched all the parks in all the cities and found no statues of committees.” I only wish the committee that wrote Who Would Be King, currently playing at Ars Nova through April 1st, had taken it to heart. Presented by the Cambridge, MA based group Liars & Believers, the program says the play is written by the LAB Ensemble and then lists 13 names. Three people can’t come to an agreement on what to eat for lunch, how can thirteen people write a cohesive script? Short version…they can’t.
Bond and Lauren even burst into dance in the middle of their philosophical talk and it is a total goofy pleasure, not to mention one of my favorite Bogart fingerprints.
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.
The stars were twinkling brighter and more plentiful on stage than in the sky on Saturday night in The Appel Room. The star-studded event, American Songbook: An Evening with Kristen and Bobby Lopez, closed the 2017 season in that venue. Lopez? I’ll give you a hint, What do the Disney movie Frozen, and the Broadway musicals The Book of Mormon, Avenue Q, and In Transit have in common? That’s right, one or both of the husband and wife team wrote the songs And Bobby is one of 12 people in history who is an “EGOT” – the recipient of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony.
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.
In the story of Judas’s life, Stephen Adly Giurgis has found a narrative more complex and murkier than a simple tale of betrayal. He has found a metaphor for a discussion of the meaning of hope.
Plenty of compelling visuals, and a mostly powerful performance by its lead. Come for the history and morality lessons, stay for the terrifying puppets.
I laughed, I cried, I split my gloves clapping. An old cliché, but it perfectly describes my experience seeing Joshua Harmon’s Significant Other at the Booth Theater the other night. Well…all except the glove part. Who wears gloves in the theater anymore? The modern audience gives a standing ovation. So I did that. Let’s try this again. I laughed, I cried, I stood on my feet clapping. And coming from me, that’s actually high praise. I’m kind of a snob about this standing ovation business. I think it’s too easily bestowed these days.
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.
Sam Gold’s production of Tennessee Williams’ autobiographical masterpiece The Glass Menagerie opened on March 9th and it’s going to be the subject of a lot of controversy. You’d think that a play that has had eight Broadway productions since it opened in 1945 would have been fully explored at this point. But leave it to the iconoclastic director Sam Gold to take it to another place. And it shouldn’t surprise you that the place Gold first staged The Glass Menagerie was at Ivo Van Hove’s Toneelgroep Amsterdam.
It wasn’t planned to coincide, but it sure is apt, that American Songbook: The Songs of Elizabeth Swados was scheduled on International Women’s Day 2017. According to Taylor Mac, the host of the evening, Ms. Swados holds the record for the youngest woman to be nominated for 5 Tony’s for Runaways in 1978. She was nominated for Best Score, Best Book, Best Director and Best Choreographer, and the musical was nominated for Best Musical. She was 27 years old at the time.
You should be so lucky as to be on a spaceship with Ethan Lipton. If you do take off into “The Outer Space”, now in residence at the Public Theater, the journey you will go on is a funny, insightful allegory of a couple who move away from the headaches and expense of a big city to the different headaches and challenges of relocating to a rural area for more affordable life.
In 1966, when Tom Stoppard reimagined Hamlet by plucking from it two minor characters and giving them fully developed personalities for his groundbreaking existential play Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead, perhaps he suggested to the fertile imagination of playwright Mark Jackson a way to reimagine The Oresteia by Greek playwright Aeschylus, c. 500 B.C.
Imagine a bizarro world version of A Christmas Carol with Scrooge replaced by a financially and morally bankrupt old woman, haunted by the sins of her past.
All the Fine Boys written and directed by Erica Schmidt, is about two 14-year-old girls crossing over from childhood into adulthood. The two girls have the predictable experiences. Emily, who flirts with a “safe” sort of classmate, gets her heart broken. Jenny, who goes off with someone even he says is a stranger to her, gets a lot more than just her heart broken.