Author: Donna Herman

Motown: The Musical

It’s called “Motown: The Musical” but it’s really the Berry Gordy show. He wrote the book, he produced it and it’s about his life. Gordy is also credited with writing three original songs for the musical. However, the title is apt – the real star of the show, and the reason the seats are filled every night, is the 57 Motown songs the incredibly talented cast belt out. Is this the way it all went down? If you got all these people in a room together would they tell the same story? I doubt it. This is one man’s version. But I am more than happy that he chose to bring this one to the stage. I am grateful that he started Motown Records and did what he did. This is the music of the soundtrack of my life, I think it’s some of the best popular music ever written and it’s presented incredibly well here. You’d have to be a curmudgeon of the highest order not to enjoy this show. And if that’s who you are, you’re not going to a musical anyway.

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If you’re looking for easy answers to hard questions, “Good” probably isn’t going to be your cup of tea. C.P. Taylor takes on the task of showing us how it’s possible for a decent, honorable human being can turn into a Nazi – the most recognizably evil symbol of our time. I went looking for something I thought I would at least recognize when I saw. It turns out out that the devil doesn’t necessarily wear red and carry a pitchfork, and I may not be as discerning as I thought I was. I’m actually glad I found that out now.

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No End of Blame

It’s understandable why the PTP/NYC (Potomac Theater Project) chose “No End of Blame” to run in rep as part of their 30th Anniversary season at the Atlantic Stage 2. Although the play was written in 1981, long before the heinous attacks against the satirical French publication Charlie Hebdo in 2015, one can draw the obvious comparisons between the fiery cartoonist Bela Veracek (Alex Draper) at the center of the fictional action, and the real-life murdered French satirists. According to playwright Howard Barker, when it comes to political cartoonists, there really is no end of blame. Apparently no one likes to be made fun of and no one, especially no one in power, has a sense of humor about themselves. Set in Europe and Britain between 1918 and 1973, the play is loosely based on real life German-British artist Victor Weisz who drew popular political cartoons under the name “Vicky” in Britain.

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“Troll” by Ken Greller has transformed the fairy tale beast of yore living under a bridge in our childhood nightmares, to the millennial monster haunting every keystroke and post in our adult reality. Don’t expect a fairy tale if you can find your way to aptly named Secret Theatre in LIC where The Rushline Company is presenting its thought-provoking and riveting inaugural production. Do expect to be talking about the play to everyone you know, looking it and all involved up online, and thinking about it for a long time afterwards.

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Exit Strategy

Your strategy with the new play from Primary Stages “Exit Strategy” at The Cherry Lane Theatre should be, get a ticket as quickly as possible and go. Don’t miss this one. It hits on every level a theater lover, novice, or even someone who doesn’t really like the theater (?!?), could want. Drama, got it. Comedy, check. Realism, idealism, struggle, conflict, triumph, and even romance.

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