Theater

NY Theater Diary in a NY Minute

The Present: Cate Blanchett brings Chekhov from the 19th to the 20th Century in two acts, the first a dazzling vodka tonic, the second a dizzying hangover. The Babylon Line: A brilliant discourse on creative writing, character development, plot evolution …Read More

Finian’s Rainbow

The Irish Repertory Theatre has its share of O’Reillys, O’Neills, O’Dwyers and O’Malleys, but it reaches beyond the strictly dramatic Irish offerings to indulge in some totally light-hearted evenings that send you away singing. Such is “Finian’s Rainbow.” This delightful …Read More

Finian’s Rainbow

Good advice from the medical and the musical theater worlds: Hippocrates: Do no harm Finian’s Rainbow: Ignore the book Originally opening on Broadway in 1947, the Burton Lane/E.Y. Harburg musical “Finian’s Rainbow” ran for two years despite a famously weak …Read More

The Collector

Based on the 1963 novel by John Fowles and the 1965 film with Terence Stamp and Samantha Eggar, “The Collector” is a sinister and unnerving tale. It was adapted for the stage by Mark Healy in 1998. “The Collector” here …Read More

Heisenberg

On two successive nights we had the enormous pleasure to see two women in roles that dominate the stage, and made for two terrific evenings. On Tuesday we went to “Heisenberg” (MTC Friedman Theater) — a two-person 80-minute play by …Read More

Sweet Charity

On Wednesday we went to see “Sweet Charity” (The New Group – Pershing Square) at the end of its preview run. In this case it is Sutton Foster’s (Charity) show. This was yet another revival of this Neil Simon/Cy Coleman …Read More

The Band’s Visit

Set in Israel, in 1996, a group of musicians from Egypt were invited to perform in the city of Petah Tikva. They get to the wrong place — the tiny desert town of Bet Hatikva. As the last bus of …Read More

Dead Poets Society

I saw, in previews, the play “Dead Poets Society,” directed by the marvelous John Doyle. It is taken from the film of the same name with Robin Williams. Here the role is played by the better, to my mind, Jason …Read More

Party People

We were very much looking forward to seeing “People Party” at the Public Theater, as it was billed as a history of the Black Panthers on the 50th anniversary of their founding. How well we remember the ’60s. The show …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

Wilderness

It’s amazing how you can live in New York your whole life, know the name of an institution and know nothing about it until a chance brush with one of its programs. Last night, Dale bought tickets to “Wilderness,” which …Read More

The Harvest

While Dale liked “The Harvest,” I hated it and tried to go to sleep to pass the time. The idea of spending an hour forty-five minutes in the basement of an evangelical church in Idaho with a group of young …Read More

Holiday Inn

While the plot may be as insipid as most of the musical films of the ’30s and ’40s, the singing, tap dancing and Irving Berlin songs make this an enjoyably light evening of hokey entertainment. Given the choice to add …Read More

The Red Barn

The National Theatre on the South Bank is a complex of buildings: a museum, restaurants and cinema. It was built after WWII, in 1951, as part of the Festival of Britain, as a celebration of survival and as a statement …Read More

Sunday in the Park with George

City Center Annual Gala’s all-too-brief production of “Sunday in the Park with George” ran this week from Monday through Wednesday, and I feel lucky to have seen it. The production starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford, alongside a glowing cast of …Read More

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

This is just the sort of complex French interaction of the sexes that once brought the entire nation its reputation for both délicatesse and cruelty. Pierre Choderlos de Laclos’ examination of 18th Century aristocratic behavior begins when one Grande Dame …Read More

Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812

Taking a sliver out of Tolstoy’s epic “War and Peace,” “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” transforms it into a high voltage rock opera à la “Cabaret.” Fortunately, this sliver reduces the plethora of Tsarist Russian aristocrats of …Read More

Plenty

Who knew that 75% of British women engaged in Special Operations during WWII divorced after short marriages? I guess the cause would have been called post-traumatic stress, had that expression been in common use at the time. David Hare’s play, …Read More

Sweat

Lynn Nottage’s play is fabulous, yet… Nottage tells a story of quiet desperation. Okay, not so quiet. Set in Reading, Pennsylvania, we are a fly on the wall in a local bar where a group of friends hang out and …Read More

Les Liaisons Dangereuses

Consider buying tickets immediately as “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” only runs until January 22nd, and it’s going to be a very hot ticket. It is the best Broadway performance we’ve seen in years. Janet McTeer and Liev Schreiber are spectacular, and all …Read More

Cats

This week we went to the revival of “Cats” at the Neil Simon Theatre. This musical was truly the “Hamilton” of its day. I had forgotten how clever, and even touching, the T.S. Eliot poems were. The new production seems …Read More

The Producers

It may be October in Short Hills, New Jersey, but it’s Springtime for Hitler at the Papermill Playhouse. This production of “The Producers” brings back the full Lane-Broderick-Stroman lalapalooza, replete with the same choreography, sets, and costumes as the Broadway …Read More

Vietgone

If all plays today were like “Vietgone,” I’d probably go to the theater a whole lot more. Playwright Qui Nguyen has crafted a funny, thoughtful and heart-wrenching story about war, immigration and love. Currently in previews at the Manhattan Theater …Read More

Underground Railroad Game

Normally, both Dale and I love things that start at Ars Nova, but tonight we had a split decision. “Underground Railroad Game” is set in a 5th grade classroom in Pennsylvania. Indeed, the members of the audience are the students and …Read More

Battlefield

Peter Brook has been the most important theater director in the English-spekaing theater for more than six decades. Everyone in the theater, no matter how we work or watch, follows in his footsteps; all modern Shakespeare productions derive from his …Read More

“Apple” and “Gabriel” Family plays

Richard Nelson’s “Apple” and now “Gabriel” family plays are, to me, the most beautiful, meaningful work in the American theater over the past few years. It’s as if Nelson has peeled a layer of the dramatic onion as he presents …Read More

The Encounter

“The Encounter” comes to Broadway from London. Simon McBurney’s one-man play draws from “Amazon Beaming,” a book by Petru Popescu about National Geographic writer and photographer Loren McIntyre’s experience with tribes along the Amazon River. Inspired by these real events, …Read More

A Day by the Sea

One of the joys of living in New York is discovering theatrical jewels. A couple of years ago we happened upon such a jewel, the tiny Mint Theater Company, It was then was presenting “London Wall,” a terrific revival of …Read More

The Trial of an American President

Dick Tarlow has written a dramatic mock trial of former U.S. President George W. Bush for war crimes — and audience members get to decide if he’s guilty! For the first time in history, an American President is on trial …Read More

Sell/Buy/Date

Sarah Jones is terribly appealing in her new one-woman show “Sell/Buy/Date,” inspired by the real-life experiences of people affected by the commercial sex industry. Through her multicultural characterizations, she explores an array of diverse perspectives with good humor. The thing …Read More

Heisenberg

Last night, we saw a Manhattan Theatre Club preview performance (opens Oct. 13) of “Heisenberg” on Broadway; it was staged a year ago by MTC off-Broadway. The play is a two-hander with Mary-Louise Parker and Denis Arndt, and is written …Read More

The Cherry Orchard

I am sorry to report that the Roundabout Theater’s production of “The Cherry Orchard” is a big disappointment. It stars Diane Lane as Madame Ranevskaya, Joel Grey as the old retainer, and John Glover as her brother. A minimal set …Read More

The Front Page

Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur’s “The Front Page” is set in the world of Chicago’s newspaper business in 1928. It is now open in preview for a limited engagement ending in January. The all-star cast includes Nathan Lane, John Goodman, …Read More

Spamilton

“Spamilton” is a brilliant spoof of both “Hamilton” and Broadway. It is well situated at The Triad, a 2nd-floor cabaret theater on 72nd Street just east of Broadway. There is a two drink minimum and the waiters take your order …Read More

Small Mouth Sounds

“Small Mouth Sounds” is a terrific off-Broadway play that actually started at Ars Nova that has moved to the Signature Theatre Company. We think it’s possible that it will make it to Broadway – if Circle in the Square is …Read More