Author: Donna Herman

Public Servant

I’m a fan of Bekah Brunstetter’s.  I’ll go see whatever she writes.  She’s a striver who thinks and deals with the stuff of life.  She may not hit it out of the park every time she’s up at bat, but she always swings for the fences. Brunstetter’s new play “Public Servant,” is the second in a trilogy that began with “The Cake.” Both Ed Sink (Chris Henry Coffey), newly elected County Commissioner, and his daughter Hannah (Anna Lentz) don’t question that Ed is one of the good guys.  Miriam (Christine Bruno), a disillusioned New Yorker is in town to sell her late mother’s house and she needs Ed’s help.  But politics is a three-ringed circus and Ed learns he’s no P.T. Barnum.  Theater Breaking Through Barriers is kicking off its 40th Anniversary season by presenting the World Premiere of “Public Servant” through June 29th at Theatre Row’s Clurman Theatre.

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The Importance of Being Earnest

I used to love going to see Shakespeare in the park until it became a career trying to get a ticket.  There’s something compelling about seeing theater outdoors.  Perhaps it’s the Ancient Greek in my Jewish soul.  Last night I fell in love again with theater in Central Park when I saw NY Classical Theatre’s production of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”  There’s nothing more satisfying, and nothing more quintessentially NYC than sitting on the grass with others in the know, enjoying the wonderful weather, the idyllic backdrop of a body of water framed with drooping trees, and a talented troupe of actors performing a witty, erudite piece of classical theater.  For free!

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If you’re interested in seeing some Shakespeare, don’t make the mistake of going for the big names you can see on Broadway.  Do yourself a favor and go to the village to see “MAC BETH,” Adapted and Directed by Erica Schmidt at the Lucille Lortel Theatre.  Firstly, you’ll be seeing a far superior production, and secondly, you’ll be saving yourself a chunk of change.  And, side benefit, you’ll be spending 100 riveting minutes instead of 210 head-scratching minutes.  Oops, did I say that?

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Curse of the Starving Class

I admit it, I’m a big fan of Sam Shepard’s plays, especially his 70’s and 80’s works like “Curse of the Starving Class,” which is currently being revived by Signature Theatre in an outstanding production.  Not only is it masterfully directed by Terry Kinney who was a long-time collaborator of Shephard’s, having both acted in his plays and directed them, but the cast is superb.  And the production values are impeccable. If you’re a fan, go see it.  If you’ve never seen a Shepard play, don’t miss it. 

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King Lear

I can only advise going to see the current production of Shakespeare’s “King Lear” on Broadway at The Cort Theatre if you really want to see Glenda Jackson in the title role.  She’s very good, but it’s a muddle of a production because Sam Gold, the director, seems to have thrown every idea he’s ever had at it and then left the room.  Leaving all the actors to do their own version.  It doesn’t make for a cohesive or particularly coherent presentation.  If you’ve never been to a Shakespeare play before, don’t make this one your first.

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