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Theater News & Reviews

Review: Basil Twist’s Aquatic ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ Is Visually and Sonically Arresting

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 Twenty years ago, third-generation puppeteer, Basil Twist, decided to create a totally abstract work based on the music of Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. This year, HERE, the Off-Broadway theater, has revived the work as part of their ...

Review: An Expurgated ‘Carousel’ Nonetheless Thrills

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Each year, when I cover Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in my musical-theater history course at the Boston Conservatory, we have a lengthy discussion about what I call “The Elephant in the Room.” Carousel barker Billy Bigelow ...

Review: ‘Children of a Lesser God’ Continues To Provoke Discussion of How To Be Heard

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The much anticipated revival of Children of a Lesser God is a testament to the timelessness of a story about the human struggle to connect and to communicate. Mark Medoff’s Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Award-winning play made its debut on ...

Grand Rapids Symphony Brings More Than Great Music to Carnegie

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, April 17, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony arrives in New York this week for its first Carnegie Hall appearance in thirteen years with 85 players, a 135-member chorus, the world-renowned pianist Nelson Freire and its dynamic conductor Marcelo Lehninger. But according to ...

Review: Martha Graham Dance Company Continues Its Legacy and Ensures ...

By Bethany Hopta, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 The Martha Graham Dance Company, the oldest dance company in America, continued its 92nd season with performances of their Scared/Profane program at New York City Center this past weekend. On Saturday evening Janet Eilber, the artistic director of ...

Review: Basil Twist's Aquatic 'Symphonie Fantastique' Is Visually and Sonically ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2018 Twenty years ago, third-generation puppeteer, Basil Twist, decided to create a totally abstract work based on the music of Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. This year, HERE, the Off-Broadway theater, has revived the work as part of their 25th ...

Review: The Drama of Mozart's Music (and Life) Fills Geffen ...

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 The New York Philharmonic’s April 14 screening of Milos Forman’s Oscar-winning movie Amadeus, with the musical score performed live, was bittersweet; Forman died the day before, at eighty-six. Conductor Richard Kaufman dedicated the presentation to Forman, and ...

Jazz Notes: On April 20, Jazz Foundation of America Returns to ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, April 16, 2018 Every year, New York’s nonprofit the Jazz Foundation of America—whose motto is “Saving jazz and blues…one musician at a time”—helps to be a key factor for helping musicians who have faced natural disasters and ...

Review: An Expurgated ‘Carousel’ Nonetheless Thrills

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Each year, when I cover Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel in my musical-theater history course at the Boston Conservatory, we have a lengthy discussion about what I call “The Elephant in the Room.” Carousel barker Billy Bigelow hits his ...

Art Break: Freud at the Center for Book Arts, Mixed ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, April 16, 2018 Humans and their place within the community, landscape, and the planet in general, is a topic of fascination to artists throughout the centuries. Art Break is looking at several shows opening this week that examine and discuss how ...

From Rio With Love — Grand Rapids Symphony Returns To Carnegie ...

By Joanne Sydney Lessner, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The Grand Rapids Symphony takes the stage at Carnegie Hall on Friday, April 20 for the second time in the orchestra’s 88-year history. Having celebrated its 75th anniversary there in 2005, the orchestra returns with the 140-member Grand Rapids ...

Ecstatic Music Festival Features Diverse Programming and Collaborative Performances

By Leonard Bopp, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music Festival, now in its eighth year, presents collaborative performances from a broad, diverse range of musical groups. As Kaufman Music Center Executive Director Lydia Kontos notes, “since Kaufman Music Center launched the pioneering ...

Review: 'Children of a Lesser God' Continues To Provoke Discussion ...

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 The much anticipated revival of Children of a Lesser God is a testament to the timelessness of a story about the human struggle to connect and to communicate. Mark Medoff’s Tony, Drama Desk and Olivier Award-winning play made ...

Review: ‘Mean Girls’ Makes Fetch Happen

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 12, 2018 If you don’t know what “fetch” means, perhaps this isn’t the show for you. But for those of us who think the 2004 film, written by Tina Fey and directed by Mark Waters, was nothing less than brilliant (isn’t everything Tina Fey ...

Review: A Reanimated Harry Connick, Jr. in ‘The Sting’ at Paper Mill Playhouse

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 12, 2018 Lately, new Broadway musicals have been all about jukebox musicals and film adaptations. Both the current season and the next are chockablock with same. Now, I generally like to take each show as it comes. There have been perfectly ...

Review: ‘This Flat Earth’ Evokes Strong Emotions On Gun Control

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, April 10, 2018 Playwrights Horizons newest production, This Flat Earth, written by Lindsey Ferrentino and directed by Rebecca Taichman, tells the story of Julie (Ella Kennedy Davis) who recently experienced a shooting episode at her middle school, with her ...

Review: Disney’s ‘Frozen’ is a Cryogenic Bore

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 9, 2018 After seeing the new stage version of Disney’s Frozen on Broadway, I posted on Facebook that I had found the show dull, disjointed, and pretty darned dreary. Someone responded, “Probably true. But it will run forever.” Let’s ...

Review: A Towering ‘Three Tall Women’ on Broadway

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 3, 2018 The current Broadway season is all about the revivals. The new plays have been middling at best, and the new musicals — apart from the exquisite The Band’s Visit — have been a mixture of lackluster Hollywood tie-ins and desultory ...

‘The Sting’ Is Back — Now As a Musical With Harry Connick, Jr. at Paper Mill Playhouse

By Helaine Feldman, Contributing Writer, March 30, 2018 If you remember the 1973 Academy Award-winning film, The Sting; if you loved seeing Paul Newman and Robert Redford together on screen as two lovable con men; if you still tap your toes to the ragtime tunes of Scott Joplin—then you’re in ...

Review: ‘Lobby Hero’ — No Heroes Here, Just Human Beings

Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, March 29, 2018 First, let me report that the just renovated new Broadway home of Second Stage Theater, the Helen Hayes, is just grand. Intimate and grand, which is a hard act to master. And the contrast between the plush crushed velvet seats in the audience and the ...

Review: A Sumptuous But Flawed ‘Grand Hotel’ at Encores!

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, March 27, 2018 In 1989, the musical Grand Hotel held an out-of-town tryout in Boston before heading to Broadway. I saw that production, and can thereby attest that the show at that point was grim and flat, owing to mostly colorless score by Robert ...

Review: Russian-American Relations Are Revisited In a Timely Revival of ‘A Walk In the Woods’ by the Barrow Group

By Justin Sharon, Contributing Writer, March 27, 2018 From Into the Woods on the Great White Way to Great Birnam wood in “The Scottish Play,” theatrical history is thick with forests. To this worthy cannon we can add A Walk in the Woods, Lee Blessing’s Pulitzer Prize and Tony ...

Review: ‘Angels in America’ Soars in Stunning Broadway Revival

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, March 26, 2018 This spring, Broadway will host two different — extremely different, by all accounts — stage productions that will require visitors to attend two separate performances to witness their entire stories. One is the upcoming Harry Potter ...

Review: Anne Hathaway is the Woman Behind the Man in ‘Shakespeare’s Will’ at HERE

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, March 22, 2018 When discussing William Shakespeare, there’s a certain level of mystery surrounding the writer, since there is so much unknown about his personal life. So for the most part, it is left to loyal readers, fans, and scholars to draw ...

Review: ‘Sorin, A Notre Dame Story’ — The Man Behind the Fighting Irish

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, March 19, 2018 Growing up in central North Carolina, we lived and breathed ACC sports. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC State, and Duke were hour and a half away, and Wake Forest University was within walking distance of my house. But in our ...

Review: The Road Not Taken Via Gurney In ‘Later Life’ at Keen Company

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, March 15, 2018 In Later Life, we are solidly in A.R. Gurney territory: waspy, and well-heeled. This 80 minute play without intermission takes place somewhere in the 1990s on a tony terrace overlooking Boston Harbor. The set (Steven Kemp) is very appealing, with ...

Review: ‘Admissions’ Tackles the Issue of Diversity Head-On

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, March 13, 2018 Let’s give playwright Joshua Harmon a whole lot of credit for taking on the hot-button issue of diversity without preaching or pulling any punches. The main characters, although underwritten, don’t always say and do what you expect them to, and ...

Review: ‘Amy and the Orphans’ — a Confusing Road Trip

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, March 9, 2018 Sometimes I get stuck on the details. Like how a brother and sister well into their sixties (he says he’s 60 but I don’t buy it) can have a sister who appears to be in her early thirties. Or how said brother and sister were young children in the ...

Review: ‘queens’ at LCT, an Immigrant Portrait

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, March 6, 2018 It has nothing to do with royalty. The women who occupy this illegal basement apartment in the borough of Queens are about as far from royal as you can get. They are struggling immigrants from everywhere people leave: Ukraine, Afghanistan, Belarus, ...

Review: ‘Jerry Springer – The Opera,’ Riotous But Shallow

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, March 2, 2018 As I sat watching Jerry Springer – The Opera unfold, I was struck by how much the content of the show helps to explain how we got to the painful political moment we now find ourselves in. If you think about it, a lot of it really ...

Review: A Tight, Tuneful ‘Subways Are for Sleeping’ at the York Theatre

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, February 27, 2018 Nobody wrote overtures like Jule Styne. I was reminded of that a few weeks back, when the Encores! presentation Hey, Look Me Over! used the overture to Subways Are for Sleeping as an entr’acte. It really whet my appetite for more, ...

Review: An Irrelevant Play About ‘Relevance’

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, February 26, 2018 In Relevance, the deeply underwritten new play by JC Lee, Jayne Houdyshell assays a role usually played by a man: an arrogant, aging lion, obliviously unaware of how he presents himself in public and private. Houdyshell, usually so layered and ...

Review: ‘At Home At The Zoo’ — Albee At His Best

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, February 22, 2018 In Edward Albee’s world, people quarrel, threaten, argue, fight, and struggle against each other. They bite, tussle, demean, condemn. His world is a bleak place, and yet it’s so much fun to be there, at least from the audience’s side of ...

Review: The York Theatre’s Oy-Vey-Worthy ‘Bar Mitzvah Boy’

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, February 15, 2018 First, let’s all acknowledge a deep debt of gratitude to the venerable York Theatre and their commitment both to fostering new musicals, and to unearthing old ones, polishing them off, and giving them a chance to shine in modern ...

Review: ‘Hey, Look Me Over’ Surprises at Encores!

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, February 13, 2018 As any musical-theater devotee can tell you, Encores! is the annual series of performances at New York City Center of historical musicals that have somehow fallen through the cracks. Every year, Encores! chooses three musicals to ...

Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Brings the Stars Together For the Songs of Scott Frankel and Michael Korie

ZEALnyc, February 8, 2018 While many people think every concert or event that occurs at Lincoln Center is of a “classical” nature, that couldn’t be any further from the truth. While many of New York City’s foremost classically-based arts organizations call Lincoln Center ...

Review: Eve Ensler Blasts Onto MTC’s Stage With Her Compelling and Insightful ‘In the Body of the World’

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, February 7, 2018 Eve Ensler, Tony winning playwright, activist, and performer has blasted onto the Manhattan Theatre Club’s New York City Center Stage with her monologue performance of In The Body of The World. Based on her 2013 memoir, this rant and ...

Review: ‘Hangmen’ at the Atlantic Is Dark, Dangerous, and Damn Good

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, February 6, 2018 If you’ve ever wondered what a silver-tongued devil looks like, head over to the Linda Gross Theater and check out the Atlantic Theater Company’s production of the latest from playwright Martin McDonagh. In this case, charisma and criminality ...

Review: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do In The Flea’s ‘FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL’

By Justin Sharon, Contributing Writer, February 5, 2018 Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes the world premiere of FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL FILL, a play about the wreckage — both emotional and physical — that often accompanies a bitter breakup. This Flea Theater production centers ...

Review: ‘Fire and Air’ at the CSC Burns Up In the Atmosphere

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, February 2, 2018 Is there a theatrical term for a biopic? You know, a movie that covers the life (or portion of the life) of someone, usually a famous someone? There are zillions of biopics, and they usually are serious, and high-minded, and (if you ask me) pretty ...

BroadwayCon Retains Its Appeal and Fan Base

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, January 31, 2018 Walking into the Jacob K. Javits Center on Friday, January 26, I knew what I was in for. BroadwayCon had just kicked off a few hours before and I had butterflies in my stomach as I reminisced about last year. I was mentally preparing myself for ...

Review: ‘Hallelujah, Baby!’ Is No Cause to Celebrate

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, January 30, 2018 You might think that winning the Tony Award for Best Musical would guarantee a show some kind of theatrical afterlife. You might think that. In fact, quite a few musicals have won that coveted prize, only to virtually disappear. ...

Review: La MaMa’s ‘The Pill’ Conjures Ups An Emotional Spectrum of Feelings

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, January 30, 2018 Experimental theatre can be a barrage of whacky, fun, nonsensical and in-your-face storytelling. The Pill, produced by Off-Broadway’s La MaMa theatre, has all these elements wrapped into one. The play revolves around a mother who ...

Review: The ‘Battle of the Sexes’ Carried Out on the Tennis Court in ‘BALLS’ at 59E59

By Justin Sharon, Contributing Writer, January 25, 2018 The “Battle of the Sexes” between tennis stars Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs in September 1973 is enjoying quite a cultural revival. Having recently been the subject of a well-received movie starring Emma Stone and Steve Carell, ...

Marla Mase Creates ‘The Pill’ — A Play Which Some May Find Hard To Swallow

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, January 22, 2018 The play The Pill, set to open on January 25, tackles the subject of mental illness; a subject that doesn’t immediately conjure up fodder for entertainment — yet beckons exploration. 1 in 5 Americans are affected by mental illness ...

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