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Posts from the ‘Reviews’ Category


The No. 1 Reason To See: Hugh Jackman, Back On Broadway

You don’t have to be into Broadway, movies, or big-band music to know who he is. Megastar Hugh Jackman is performing a 10-week concert run at the Broadhurst Theatre, in which he intertwines stories about his rise to fame and exciting career with some of his favorite songs to perform, along with an 18-piece orchestra.

hugh jackman back on broadway concert posterThe No. 1 Reason To See Hugh Jackman, Back On Broadway: Audience interaction Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: Venus in Fur

venus in fur broadway poster nina arianda hugh dancyTables turn fast and frequent in David Ives’ new play Venus in Fur. When a down-on-her-luck actress, played masterfully by Nina Arianda, arrives for an audition for an impatient playwright/director (Hugh Dancy), she seems to be fighting a losing battle. However, as the two read through the play and its themes of dominance and misogyny blur the lines between the piece and reality, Vanda might be more in control than she originally let on.

The No. 1 Reason To See Venus in Fur: Nina Arianda’s commanding side Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: Godspell

godspell broadway revival poster hunter parrishA cast of cheery, gifted singers gathers to deliver the most inoffensive religious musical in the revival of Godspell. Stephen Schwartz’s 1971 musical, based on the Gospel of Matthew, strings together parables told by Jesus (played by Hunter Parrish) and his followers with pop-rock songs. The result is an evening of hippie-era, free-love glee and tunes that will weave in and out of your consciousness days later.

The No. 1 Reason To See Godspell: The staging at the Circle in the Square Theatre Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: Other Desert Cities

other desert cities broadway poster rachel griffiths stockard channing judith light lincoln center jon robin baitzBroadway has given us some great family dramas recently, but that juicy genre becomes elevated when the kin in question are warring over something bigger than themselves. This is the case in Jon Robin Baitz’s new play Other Desert Cities, which stars the stellar cast of Rachel Griffiths, Stockard Channing, Judith Light, Thomas Sadoski, and Stacy Keach. The Wyeths are all together for the holidays in the patriarchal home in Palm Springs, but the jovial gathering gets intense when novelist daughter Brooke reveals she’s about to publish a manuscript that reopens the wounds of the passing of her brother. In addition to the family’s still-unresolved grief, the fact that he was an accessory in an attack on national security doesn’t help matters.

The No. 1 Reason To See Other Desert Cities: The constant switching of who deserves the audience’s sympathy Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: Chinglish

chinglish broadway posterLet’s be honest: what gets lost in translation is often funny. This is the case in David Henry Hwang’s new comedy, which is full of misunderstandings when an American businessman travels to China to kickstart his family’s sign-making business (how ironic). In addition to his financial endeavors, Daniel (Gary Wilmes) engages in an affair with a strong-willed Chinese woman (Jennifer Lim) that reawakens his character. Yet Daniel quickly discovers that business and personal affairs in China are difficult to navigate when he barely understands the language.

The No. 1 Reason To See Chinglish: Mistranslated subtitles Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: Relatively Speaking

relatively speaking broadway play poster woody allen ethan cohen elaine mayFamilies are complicated, and there’s a deep ocean of theatrical works that illustrate this point. We can add another hefty addition to that list with Relatively Speaking, a collection of three one-act comedies by Ethan Coen, Elaine May, and Woody Allen that examine the effects of familial kookiness in three different ways. “Talking Cure,” “George Is Dead,” and “Honeymoon Motel” feature a cornucopia of Oh yeah, that guy actors from TV and film, such as Marlo Thomas (That Girl), Steve Guttenberg (Three Men and a Baby), Grant Shaud (Murphy Brown), and Julie Kavner (The Simpsons). The three plays all maintain differing tones, but surely will feature someone that resembles a member of your own clan.

The No. 1 Reason To See Relatively Speaking: Marlo Thomas acting like a child Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: Sons of the Prophet

sons of the prophet poster stephen karam santino fontanaSome people are saddled with the responsibility of being the glue that keeps everyone together. Yet when that person is unsettled in his life, it inevitably affects everyone else as well. This is the case for Joseph, the center of Stephen Karam’s new play Sons of the Prophet. Played by Santino Fontana, Joseph takes care of his younger brother (their parents are dead) and their elderly uncle. He takes a job assisting an eccentric book publisher (Joanna Gleason) merely to have health insurance to pay for his ailing uncle’s medical bills. But when Joseph begins to feel pain in his legs, his undiagnosed maladies might be too much for him to handle.

The No. 1 Reason To See Sons of the Prophet: Santino Fontana’s well-built relationships Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs

mike daisy agony ecstasy steve jobs public theater posterOne of the most important questions to ask in our modern-day world is: Where does it come from? This question could refer to the food we’re eating, the clothes we’re wearing, and in the case of writer/performer Mike Daisey’s newest work—the gadgets we’re using. In The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, playing at the Public Theater, Daisy examines the frenzied obsession with Apple products, how the company controls those items, and the moral dilemmas of how they’re manufactured.

The No. 1 Reason To See The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs: Timeliness Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: The Mountaintop

mountaintop broadway play poster samuel l jackson angela bassettThere are three larger-than-life personalities on stage in Katori Hall’s two-person play, The Mountaintop: Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Of course, Jackson is playing King, but it’s the three of them that share the stage. In this new play, King returns to his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis after delivering his famous “I’ve been to the mountaintop” speech. The night is April 3, 1968—the eve of King’s assassination. As he unwinds from the evening, a housekeeper named Camae delivers him coffee (played by Bassett), and the two proceed to have the most important conversation of King’s life.

The No. 1 Reason To See The Mountaintop: The blending of history and fantasy Read more »


The No. 1 Reason To See: The Lyons

lyons vineyard theatre linda lavin michael esper nicky silver posterAlthough it’s been written so many times, the new play The Lyons makes the statement ring truer than ever: You cannot choose your family. The titular clan is gathered at the hospital bedside of Ben (Dick Latessa), the patriarch, who is riddled with cancer and dying. His wife, Rita (Linda Lavin), is nonchalantly reading an interior design magazine, planning how to redecorate the living room once Ben is gone. Their two grown children (Kate Jennings Grant and Michael Esper) can’t seem to comfort their father for five minutes without digging up some complaint from the past about their parents. The hospital room becomes the setting for the clan’s final rumble together.

The No. 1 Reason To See The Lyons: Linda Lavin’s droll delivery and facial expressions Read more »