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Theater News & Reviews

The latest news in New York City theater. From Broadway to Off-Broadway and beyond, find previews, reviews and commentary here at ZEALnyc.

Be More Chill

Review: Could ‘Be More Chill’ Be More Shrill?

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 17, 2018 The musical Be More Chill was already a bit of a sensation even before it recently opened Off-Broadway at the Pershing Square Signature Center. The show had its world premiere in Redbank, NJ in 2015 at the Two River Theater, which had ...

Getting the Band Back Together

Review: The Amiable Schlock of ‘Gettin’ the Band Back Together’

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 14, 2018 Sometimes shows come to Broadway that automatically get the online theater wags sharpening their knives. Before a show has even played its first preview, the theaterati start taking bets on when it will close, and polishing off their ...

Moulin Rouge

Review: ‘Moulin Rouge’ Gets a Lavish Pre-Broadway Tryout in Boston

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 13, 2018 Before the 1980s, Boston was a major out-of-town stop for plays and musicals before they went to Broadway. The economics of such tryouts have changed drastically, as has the standard model for developing new plays and musicals, and ...

BSO at Tanglewood

Review: Boston Ballet's 'Fancy Free' Highlights an All-Bernstein Night at ...

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, August 21, 2018 In 1940, then 22-year-old Leonard Bernstein, the musical wunderkind now being celebrated for his inimitable significance in American classical music, as well as Broadway musical theatre, attended the inaugural season of the Berkshire Music Center. Throughout Bernstein's career, the Boston ...

Philadelphia museums

Art Break: Love (and Art) Abounds in Philadelphia, So Plan ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, August 20, 2018 Sometimes at Art Break we feel the need to get out of town but not wander too far. We want to keep the conveniences of great food, interesting art, and cool people – you know, everything we have here, ...

Be More Chill

Review: Could ‘Be More Chill’ Be More Shrill?

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 17, 2018 The musical Be More Chill was already a bit of a sensation even before it recently opened Off-Broadway at the Pershing Square Signature Center. The show had its world premiere in Redbank, NJ in 2015 at the Two River Theater, ...

José James in concert

Life In Focus: José James in Concert at Lincoln Center ...

By Juliana Crawford, Contributing Photographer, August 15, 2018   [caption id="attachment_59953" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Kori Whithers (vocals) and José James (guitar, vocals); photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_59954" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Kori Whithers; photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_59959" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] ...

Mark Morris Dance Group

Review: Mark Morris Dance Group Excels in Various Chamber Music ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, August 15, 2018 The Mark Morris Dance Group, which has a long association with the Mostly Mozart Festival, presented a World Premiere for this year’s season at the Rose Theater of Lincoln Center. The company danced to the popular chamber music ...

Getting the Band Back Together

Review: The Amiable Schlock of 'Gettin' the Band Back Together'

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 14, 2018 Sometimes shows come to Broadway that automatically get the online theater wags sharpening their knives. Before a show has even played its first preview, the theaterati start taking bets on when it will close, and polishing off their “What ...

Moulin Rouge

Review: 'Moulin Rouge' Gets a Lavish Pre-Broadway Tryout in Boston

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 13, 2018 Before the 1980s, Boston was a major out-of-town stop for plays and musicals before they went to Broadway. The economics of such tryouts have changed drastically, as has the standard model for developing new plays and musicals, and Boston’...

Hudson Valley museums

Art Break: Just a Short Journey North, The Hudson Valley ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, August 13, 2018 The Hudson Valley has a special place in the heart of Art Break. So many of our favorite artists spent their summers in the region with friends and family, working on projects, and enjoying the beautiful landscape, just ...

Newport Jazz Festival Showcases Women Artists and Emerging Talents

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, August 10, 2018 This year’s Newport Jazz Festival highlighted an incredibly diverse selection of women performers and women ensemble groups. The festival’s founder George Wein, in his newsletter “Notes from the Wein Machine” (March, 2018), was very direct in his statement ...

Beloved; photo: Kait Ebinger

Review: A Young Woman's Quest for Love and Passion in ...

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, August 9, 2018 Discovering how life works is what resonates the most in Lisa Langseth’s one-woman show Beloved, starring Ellinor DiLorenzo and directed by Kathy Curtiss. The play begins with the character Katarina rummaging around her grandmother’s cottage, putting things ...

Beloved; photo: Kait Ebinger

Review: A Young Woman’s Quest for Love and Passion in Off-Broadway’s ‘Beloved’

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, August 9, 2018 Discovering how life works is what resonates the most in Lisa Langseth’s one-woman show Beloved, starring Ellinor DiLorenzo and directed by Kathy Curtiss. The play begins with the character Katarina rummaging around her grandmother’s ...

Before We're Gone

Review: ‘Before We’re Gone’ Tackles Big Themes at 13th Street Repertory Theatre

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, August 6, 2018 Before We’re Gone ended it’s run at 13th Street Repertory Theatre on August 5 with hopes of moving uptown and, with caveats, it deserves another chance to be seen. It is a small play, made for a small stage in spite of the fact that it ...

On A Clear Day You Can See Forever at the Irish Rep

Review: ‘On a Clear Day’ Almost Shines at the Irish Rep

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 3, 2018 After the disastrous 2011 Broadway revisal of On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, it was looking like we might never see that show in New York City again. Peter Parnell’s ridiculous, gender-switching libretto, combined with Michael ...

This Ain't No Disco

Review: Off-Broadway Musical ‘This Ain’t No Disco’ Ain’t No Good

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, August 2, 2018 Why do bad musicals happen to good theater companies? That’s a question that I find myself asking quite a bit in the summer, when Manhattan’s numerous nonprofit theaters often trot out their latest musicals in development, hoping ...

Review: ‘Head Over Heels’ Stumbles on Broadway

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, July 27, 2018 The process of creating a jukebox musical involves at least one pivotal decision. You can either use a particular songbook to tell the story of the artists involved, as in the case of Jersey Boys, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, and ...

London’s West End Is Bustling With Options This Summer

By Dan Bacalzo, Contributing Writer, July 19, 2018 London is a treasure trove for theatre lovers, with a wide range of exciting new stage offerings, Broadway imports, top-notch revivals, and a rich theatrical history. During my recent visit to the city, I indulged in a bit from each of these ...

Review: ‘Fire in Dreamland’ Is a Smoldering Metaphor

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, July 17, 2018 New York City has a rich and fascinating history. Plays that examine this history frequently can be compelling, and Fire in Dreamland perfectly fits the bill. Here, Coney Island provides the backdrop for two historic New York City disasters, most ...

Shakespeare in the Park’s ‘Twelfth Night’ Begins Performances Tonight

ZEALnyc, July 17, 2018 The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park continues its mission by presenting quality theatrical productions to the general public for free (see information for obtaining tickets below). So far this season has brought us a new production of Othello (read ...

Review: ‘Gone Missing’ at Encores! Off-Center — A Moving Tribute to a Missing Creator

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, July 13, 2018 First, a confession, and one that will no doubt brand me as heartless in the eyes of some. I’ve never enjoyed the work of the late Michael Friedman, who died this past September at the age of 41. With due respect for this greatly beloved ...

Mummenschanz

Review: Mummenschanz Creates Its Own World That Draws the Audience In

By Don Adkins, Managing Editor, July 11, 2018 Mummenschanz, often referred to as “The Musicians of Silence,” has returned to New York City for the first time in four years. Since its founding in Paris over forty years ago (1972), the troupe has toured extensively in both Europe and America, ...

Review: A Crowd-Pleasing ‘Songs for a New World’ Opens Encores! Off-Center Season

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, June 29, 2018 There’s something about Jason Robert Brown that inspires an almost cult-like devotion. Although none of his shows thus far has achieved genuine blockbuster status, there’s something about his works (in particular Parade, The Last Five ...

Carmen Jones

Review: ‘Carmen Jones’ Pulls Its Punches at CSC

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, June 28, 2018 We don’t get many chances to see Carmen Jones, Oscar Hammerstein’s 1944 modernized version of George Bizet’s 1875 opera, Carmen. The original production of Carmen Jones ran for 15 months, considerable for its time, but hasn’t been ...

Conflict by Miles Malleson presented by the Mint Theater

Review: ‘Conflict’ — A Vintage Play Ringing True With Relevance for Today at the Mint

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, June 22, 2018 Theatergoers who want to see top notch productions of rarely seen plays should check out the offerings of The Mint Theater Company. The Mint’s mission is to find older plays, often not produced for decades, and present them to a new audience. ...

The Royal Family of Broadway

Review: The Royal Family of Broadway Strains to Please at Barrington Stage

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, June 19, 2018 A new musical by William Finn is always worth seeking out, wherever it happens to be playing. Finn has a knack for crafting quirky shows about peculiar people, but in a very endearing way. From the cadre of lovable neurotics in Falsettos ...

Othello

Review: ‘Othello’ Proves Lies Conquer Love

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, June 19, 2018 After last summer’s uproariously trumped-up and absurdly controversial Julius Caesar and the magical elder fairyland of Midsummer Night’s Dream, the first production of the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park season seems relatively tame. ...

Carmen Jones

‘Carmen Jones’ Is Back — And She’s Still Smokin’ Hot at Classic Stage

By Helaine Feldman, Contributing Writer, June 13, 2018 ‘Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?’ She’s still the fictional character in a popular series of mystery video games that have been around since 1985. A question for 2018 might be: Where in the world is Carmen Jones? ...

Composer Charles Strouse Celebrates His 90th Birthday

TODAY: Composer Charles Strouse Celebrates His 90th Birthday

By Don Adkins, Managing Editor, June 7, 2018 The headline could read “Home Town Boy Makes Good.” Ninety years ago today Charles Strouse was born in New York City and would go on to become one of the most iconic musical theater composers of the last half century. If we are to believe ...

Dan Cody's Yacht

Review: Dollars and Sense Diverge in ‘Dan Cody’s Yacht’ at MTC

By Justin Sharon, Contributing Writer, June 7, 2018 The Great Gatsby sold so poorly in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s lifetime that his last royalty check amounted to a decidedly unlucky $13.13. The author was living anything but large when he died, with crates of his derided Jazz Age chronicle ...

A Student Day At Hamilton

A Student Day at ‘Hamilton’

By Don Adkins, Managing Editor, May 31, 2018 As the mega-hit Hamilton approaches its third year anniversary since opening on Broadway (after its sold-out run at the Public Theater), we took the opportunity of checking in on the production to see yet another side of how its success has been ...

Shakespeare in the Park tickets

Insider Tips for Getting Tickets to Shakespeare in the Park

ZEALnyc, May 29, 2018 The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park is one of the best theater deals in town, because as its title states: it’s FREE! This season will bring a new production of Othello, directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and will bring back the 2016 Public Works’ ...

Beast in the Jungle

Review: An Indeterminate ‘Beast in the Jungle’ at the Vineyard Theatre

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, May 29, 2018 The Vineyard Theatre is a small, comfortable Off-Broadway theater with a reputation for encouraging daring, creative experimentation. Among its successes is Avenue Q, which moved to Broadway and after a hiatus is now running again Off-Broadway, ...

Jagged Little Pill

Review: A Roughly Hewn ‘Jagged Little Pill’ at the A.R.T.

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, May 25, 2018 As we face the ineluctable barrage of jukebox musicals, a number of things become clear. They don’t automatically need to be awful, as we’ve seen with Jersey Boys and Beautiful. But they generally are awful, in particular the recent ...

The Coastal Cohorts

Review: The Coastal Cohorts Bring a Carolina Breeze to the Big Apple

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, May 22, 2018 Many say that New York City is the greatest city in the world, and for some maybe it is. But if you haven’t traveled below the Mason-Dixon line, you may not know what you’re missing. As someone who grew up smack dab in the middle of North ...

Me and My Girl

Review: ‘Me and My Girl’ Underwhelms at Encores!

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, May 16, 2018 In the 1980s, the landscape for Broadway musicals was bleak. As the decade wore on, American musicals were fewer and fewer in number, to the point where, in a number of seasons, there weren’t enough new musicals to fill out the ...

Summer and Smoke

Review: Stunning Lyricism in CSC’s ‘Summer and Smoke’

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, May 4, 2018 Summer and Smoke is a somewhat lesser-known work by the brilliant Tennessee Williams, but it also deserves nearly as much critical acclaim. The play is now being presented by Classic Stage Company, together with Transport Group. The current ...

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Review: ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is Enchanting

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, May 2, 2018 As anyone who’s been near New York City’s Lyric Theatre over the past few weeks can attest, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has made its presence in New York City known. The exterior of the theater has been festooned with enough ...

The Iceman Cometh

Review: ‘The Iceman Cometh’ and Denzel Delivers

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, May 1, 2018 Warning: This is not a play for the depressed, the downhearted, the despairing, or the dejected. Even though the current incarnation of Eugene O’Neill’s 1946 masterpiece The Iceman Cometh has a lot more laughs than usual, it still isn’t exactly a ...

The Solve It Squad

Review: ‘The Solve It Squad’ Is Typical Team StarKid Humor — Which Is Hilarious

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, May 1, 2018 When I was in high school, my friends found a Youtube channel called “Team StarKid” which had recently created a musical, A Very Potter Musical, a witty, hilarious parody of the entire Harry Potter series. Needless to say, we were hooked (along ...

Henry V

Review: The Mobile Unit’s ‘Henry V’ Entertains and Inspires a New Generation

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, April 30, 2018 The Public Theater’s production of Henry V, as directed by Robert O’Hara, truly opened my eyes to the amazing world that Shakespeare and live theater is able to create. To put it bluntly, there’s not just one element that makes ...

Saint Joan

Review: ‘Saint Joan’ Simmers, But Doesn’t Sizzle

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 26, 2018 Sometimes a little madness goes a long way. Especially on stage. And especially in the story of Saint Joan. But what happens when Joan, the passionate and religion-riddled Maid of Orleans, is sensible and straightforward? The tone of the story ...

My Fair Lady

Review: A Lumbering ‘My Fair Lady’ at Lincoln Center

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 24, 2018 About a month ago, when I was in New York City to see the spectacular Broadway revival of Angels in America, I also took in a very early preview of the current Broadway revival of My Fair Lady. Because of a predicted Nor’easter, ...

The Metromaniacs

Review: Red Bull Theater Brings Its Madcap ‘The Metromaniacs’ to the Duke

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, April 23, 2018 David Ive’s The Metromaniacs is a bawdy yet chaste reworking of the 18th century farce La Metroamanie by Alexis Piron about people who are mad about poetry. It is filled with so many mistaken identities it makes one’s head spin and ...

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