Author: Ken Roman

Pacific Overtures

The original 1976 Broadway production of this Sondheim-Weidman show got mixed reviews, as did most of the several revivals, some employing techniques of Kabuki theatre. The current revival at the Classic Stage Company is performed in-the-round with an energetic cast …Read More

Whitney Biennial

The first in the Whitney’s downtown home, this 78th Biennial survey of American art uses every part of the museum’s new capacious quarters. We were fortunate to have a guide who exposed us to artistic thought at several levels — …Read More

Eugene Onegin

Russia was everywhere in this beautiful Met Opera co-production with the English National Opera – in the largely Russian cast, in joyous energetic Russian folk dances, in evocative scrims of the Russian countryside, in familiar music by someone named Pyotr …Read More

Saint Joan

This brilliant Donmar production of the Shaw classic “Saint Joan” is the best single modern-dress staging of any play we can remember. We saw it on NT Live (as in National Theater) from London. Set in a modern corporate board …Read More

Visionaries at The Guggenheim Museum

Don’t miss the current show, “Visionaries.” 170 works from the Museum’s collection – Calder, Duchamp, Klee, Mondrian, Picasso, Kandinsky… and more – organized around its six early patron collectors: Justin Thannhauser, Karl Nierendorf, Peggy Guggenheim, Katherine Dreier, Hilla Rebay and …Read More

Orchid Show

                                          The one place that “more is more” works is with flowers. This year’s theme at The NY Botanical Garden …Read More

Seurat’s Circus Sideshow

Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece is the center of this marvelous exhibition at the Met Museum, which is so much more. Like other great museum exhibitions, it places the famous painting in context with its times. The subject, an outdoor teaser performance …Read More

The Second Avenue Subway

They’ve done a lousy job marketing the new subway on the East Side. Sure, there is interesting art in the stations, but that’s not why we take subways. Most of the news was about three new stations – at 96th …Read More


I think we’ve seen every production since the original of this sophisticated Bernstein-Sondheim operatic spoof of Voltaire’s philosophic message: “This is the best in this best of all possible worlds.” The current New York City Opera revival, directed by Harold …Read More

Patriot’s Day

As a Bostonian, this is one I had to see – and I wasn’t disappointed. The story of the bombers at the Boston Marathon (properly, The Marathon) is well-known, although I had forgotten how the entire city had been closed …Read More


The first team is back in town, and they’re not alone. James Levine commanded the thunderous Met Orchestra with precision, matched by Donald Palumbo’s great chorus. Placido Domingo defied age as a vigorous King Nabucco. But the star of the …Read More

National Gallery East Wing

Just opened in September after three years of work, the new I.M. Pei East Wing is spectacular. The National’s modern art collection has a wonderful new home. Great open spaces for a hanging Calder, spacious galleries for the Picassos and …Read More

Love Love Love

The first act is a mindless trifle about Oxford students on a summer break in London. The second act dramatizes clichés of the 1960s. But the third act redeems by showing the consequences of self-indulgence and selfishness, as the couples at …Read More

Hacksaw Ridge

This is a feel-good movie, and I felt good after seeing it. The true-life story of a conscientious objector – and how he came to this principled stance, yet also served as a medic in the great battle of Okinawa …Read More

The Kingdom of Speech

Tom Wolfe’s new book is a short (170-page) tour de force. The writing, as always, erupts off the page with vitality. This time, Wolfe aims his barbs at the unlikely target of linguistics, and the revered (in some circles) Noam …Read More

Klimt and The Women of Vienna’s Golden Age 1900-1918

It’s not hard getting art deco/nouveau fans like us to the Neue Galerie. Ronald Lauder’s museum is a jewel box. The current exhibition is 11 life-size portraits – including the $135 million movie-inspiring “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” — along …Read More


Talk about moving up in the world, one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants has moved from its cramped Second Ave locale of 33 years to the most elegant new setting in an old mansion at 24 East 81st St.  (Formerly the Crown …Read More


Why does a talented seven-term Congressman with a politically connected wife and a bright future throw it away in serial sexting scandals? And why does Anthony Wiener permit it all to be filmed – not just the public stuff and …Read More

Eli’s Night Shift

Who makes the best hamburger in New York? Ellen and I have long felt it was J.G. Melon on Third Ave. Also the best cottage fries, best chili, and best cheesecake. But just up Third Avenue at 79th Street, there’s …Read More

American Psycho

I didn’t expect the major critics to like it, and they didn’t. But the mostly youngish audience was with it from the moment serial killer Patrick Bateman (Benjamin Walker) steps out of a vertical tanning bed in a cloud of …Read More

I Saw the Light

OK, it’s another biopic. And maybe not the best one. But this film about country music star Hank Williams is still satisfying. It has wonderful music, and Tom Hiddleston is a credible Williams (if unlikely, as a Brit). Williams created …Read More

Four Seasons

We paid a sentimental visit to this great restaurant before it relocates elsewhere than its longtime, elegant home in the Seagram Building. In my business days, I was there every week or so. Now we go less often – I …Read More

Bright Star

An unqualified rave for this blue-grass musical by polymath Steve Martin and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell (Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars). Several intertwined stories set in rural America in 1923 tell a familiar story of youthful ambition, young love and how …Read More

Nice Fish

As card-carrying members of the Mark Rylance Fan Club, we trekked to Brooklyn to the St. Ann’s Warehouse in Dumbo. (A wonderful space, on Brooklyn Bridge Park – facing Manhattan.) The audience of Rylance groupies reacted to his every line, …Read More

Manon Lescaut

The story of a simple country girl falling in love, being lured away by a sugar daddy, then reuniting with her early love … and dying with her lover during an escape to a bizarre “arid wasteland” does not require …Read More

K. Scott Warren at St. Ignatius Loyola

Half the pleasure of this concert was the 45-foot high Mander organ, the largest of its type in New York City, with 5,000 pipes. The sound reverberates through your bones. The other half was organist Scott Warren, who delivers a …Read More

Letter from London: Art

PAINTING THE MODERN GARDEN: MONET TO MATISSE: This was the hot show in London – big lines, timed tickets, but it was too much of a good thing. The best part was Monet’s “Waterlilies” reunited in a triptych from three …Read More

Letter from London: Theater

“Hangmen” may be coming to New York, and it’s worth putting on your list. By Martin McDonagh (“The Pillowman,” “The Cripple of Inishmaan,” “In Bruges”), his latest is London’s biggest hit. It’s a message play (against capital punishment), but the …Read More


The revived NY City Opera got airborne this week after protracted legal negotiations. The creative result – in a perfect Rose Hall (at Jazz at Lincoln Center) – was satisfying. It’s not the Met, but then few admire the Met’s …Read More

Ricky Jay and Matthias Buchinger

Attention, Ricky Jay fans! The great conjurer is also a great collector of magic-related artifacts. His passion is on display at the Metropolitan Museum: a show of a polymath he admires – an 18th century German named Matthias Buchinger. Buchinger …Read More

The Pearl Fishers

The first production of “The Pearl Fishers” at the Met in 100 years opens with the pearl fishers, diving from the top of the proscenium arch almost to stage/ocean bottom. They are amazingly graceful. Tenor Matthew Polenzani and baritone Mariusz …Read More


  It’s not perfect, but it is brilliant, powerful, entertaining…and important. If you are ambivalent about guns, Spike Lee sends a message you will not forget. A modern retelling of Aristophanes “Lysistrata” anti-war satire set in the South Side of …Read More


Readers may remember Russell Shorto’s excellent earlier book, “The Island at the Center of the World,” about how New York City was so different from the other colonies because it was originally settled by the Dutch, who brought their notable tolerance …Read More

An Irrational Man

Woody Allen has come out with a new film almost every year for 50 years. As astonishing output. As die-hard Woody fans, we’ve seen almost all of them. This latest is not his best, but it is always fun to …Read More

Dark Universe

When the wonderful new Rose Planetarium opened at the Museum of Natural History, the film in the dramatic space theatre was a clear, compelling tour of the universe. The current film, “Dark Universe” shoots over the head of the average …Read More