Invincible
Jun14

Invincible

“Invincible” the kind of production that drives me around the bend.  Here are actors working so very hard and doing fine work, but the are impeded by an inadequate script and unimaginative direction.  It’s like watching an athlete run up the down escalator over and over again.

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Julius Caesar
Jun13

Julius Caesar

Because of Bank of America and Delta withdrawing their financial support, this production will be getting way more attention than it deserves.  Not that it is a bad production.  It is a ho-hum production that has so many wink-wink elements stuffed into it that it becomes unbalanced.  The concept of making this a contemporary setting started out as one thing and them morphed into a being all its own.

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Bella: An American Tall Tale
Jun13

Bella: An American Tall Tale

Bella is billed as a Western musical adventure. Ms. Childs sets out to turn a modern day woman she glimpsed on the street (and how all the men who were passing by reacted to her), into her heroine, a big booty Tupelo gal named Bella (Ashley D. Kelley). And in a tradition as old as America itself, attempts to tell the forgotten tales of the haunted and the hunted, and all those who came from far off lands to build, populate and protect this country’s frontiers.

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Amanda McBroom Celebrates New CD “Voices”
Jun12

Amanda McBroom Celebrates New CD “Voices”

By Tulis McCall Well now.  Haven’t I been having a run of good times around town at cabaret watering holes??  With this writing I add Amanda McBroom to my list of extraordinary events.  McBroom (you HAVE to love that name.  HAVE TO.) was toasted recently by Barbara Bleier and Austin Pendleton in “Beautiful Mistake”.  So suddenly I am familiar with a living (and legendary) composer.  Imagine that! Last Monday, June 5th,...

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Somebody’s Daughter
Jun10

Somebody’s Daughter

Playwright Chisa Hutchinson’s thing is exposing murky corners to the light of day. She does it with compassion and insight, but also with also with a firm finger on her funny bone. In her current show, Somebody’s Daughter, at the McGinn/Cazale Theater, I suspect the wise-cracking character of the guidance counselor Kate Wu (Jeena Yi) is somewhat autobiographical. Her boyfriend Reggie Ward (Rodney Richardson) says to her, near the end of the play as she’s standing in front of him crying and trying to crack a joke, “you only joke about things that matter.”

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Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 36th Marathon of One-Act Plays. Series B.
Jun08

Ensemble Studio Theatre’s 36th Marathon of One-Act Plays. Series B.

Inspired by the format in which Tennessee Williams and Eugene O’Neill honed their craft, EST has held annual short-play marathons since 1977, breaking new ground by putting new and established writers together on the stage.

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Cost of Living
Jun08

Cost of Living

The production is a jeweled symbiosis of playwright Martyna Majok’s unique script, Jo Bonney’s spot on direction, Wilson Chin’s tone setting design, and four actors so real that you forget you are watching a fictional stage play.

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Animal
Jun08

Animal

Clare Lizzimore is betting that the audience will buy in to 90 minutes of analysis and hallucination before learning what has gotten her heroine here in the first place. And thanks to a talented cast, crisp direction and some poetic touches by the playwright, the gambit mostly pays off.

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End of Longing
Jun07

End of Longing

Whether or not a play is based on facts is none of anyone’s business. As a matter of fact, it is often the last nail in the coffin, because “it happened like this” usually triumphs over plot and story lines. In this case we did not fare too badly. It is not great theatre, but it does stick with you.

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The Artificial Jungle
Jun07

The Artificial Jungle

The delight of most Ludlam plays is to take the structure of classical text and add layers of parody, camp performance, and fun. The Artificial Jungle succeeds on all these levels.

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Mary V
Jun04

Mary V

Let’s rip the bandaid off this puppy quickly and get it over with. Mary V, currently playing at Theater for the New City, is only worth seeing as a cautionary tale. For students of the theater, you can often learn more from something that doesn’t work than from something that is seamless. This is one of those. Fair enough, it is playwright Rebekah Carrow’s first play and rarely are masterpieces created first time out of the gate. In fact, David Mamet says in his online masterclass on dramatic writing, (www.masterclass.com) that if you want to write, you have to be willing to fail.

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The Government Inspector
Jun02

The Government Inspector

There are two delicious reasons to see Red Bull’s The Government Inspector.  The first is Michael Urie (no surprise there) and the second is Arnie Burton, who should be employed everywhere.

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The Boy Who Danced On Air
May30

The Boy Who Danced On Air

One of the reasons that I love the theater is that it often affords me the opportunity to immerse myself in a world I might not otherwise get to experience. In a very present and visceral way. It can be an uplifting or a disturbing occurrence, but widening my world view is always good. The Abingdon Theatre Company’s The Boy Who Danced On Air, the new musical with book and lyrics by Charlie Sohne and music by Tim Rosser, is a perfect case in point.

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Reprise
May30

Reprise

“Locker room talk” doesn’t even begin to describe the dialogue in the play’s beginning scene, which might nevertheless make you smile through very gritted teeth. It’s as broad as humor gets, and it makes for rather juvenile comedy.

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Stacy Sullivan – A Night At The Troubadour
May26

Stacy Sullivan – A Night At The Troubadour

These songs, as delivered to perfection by Sullivan, are jewels. She closes her evening with Your Face, Your Smiles, which Sullivan heard first at David Ackles memorial service and was was the first song she recorded. It is s song that bypasses the head and dives directly into your heart. You are defenseless. Which is kind of the idea.

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Antonia Bennett at Café Carlyle
May25

Antonia Bennett at Café Carlyle

Ms. Antonia Bennett, daughter of legendary singer Tony Bennett, made her Café Carlyle debut last night to a packed room, one that, she informed us, included “many familiar faces.”

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Can You Forgive Her?
May24

Can You Forgive Her?

A tale of bad romance and questionable financial planning is set in a dead woman’s house on Halloween, but the playwright is not so much concerned with physical threats as she is with intellectual and socioeconomic ones.

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The Merchant of Venice
May23

The Merchant of Venice

A moving, strongly acted and directed production of Shakespeare’s remarkably timely play about the dangers of prejudice and greed.

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62nd Annual Obie Awards Winners
May23

62nd Annual Obie Awards Winners

See the full list here.

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Sojourners & Her Portmanteau
May23

Sojourners & Her Portmanteau

The most compelling element of this double header is the concept. Mfoniso Udofia is telling the story of a slice of the Nigerian Diaspora as it unfolded, beginning with the late 1970’s. This is a rich territory to mine because it is pretty much untouched.

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