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Theater News & Reviews

BroadwayCon Promises More Guest Stars, Panels, and Special Events To This Year’s Exciting Lineup

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, January 18, 2018 Last January, fans of Broadway and all things theater-related flocked to the Javits Center for the second annual BroadwayCon. There they encountered a convention floor of booths, autograph signings, sing-along’s, seminars and talks, all ...

Review: Blessed Unrest’s Bare-Bones ‘Snow Queen’ Brings the Story To Life

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, January 3, 2018 In the last few years, Hans Christian Anderson’s tale The Snow Queen has become even more popular since the release of Disney’s animated film Frozen. This popularity will only become more intense as the musicalized stage-version opens ...

Commentary: The Best (And Worst) Musicals of 2017

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, December 29, 2017 For critics, the end of the year represents a time to look back on the shows they’ve covered. We fondly reminisce about the productions that have transported us, moved us, enlightened us, reaffirmed our dedication to the art form of ...

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: ‘Frankenstein’ — A Monster Minus Thrills and Chills

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, December 28, 2017 I wish all monsters looked like Robert Fairchild. In this latest effort from the Ensemble for the Romantic Century, Fairchild, as Mary Shelley’s creature, moves to his own choreography, a lurching, disturbing expression of the Frankenstein ...

Review: In ‘Farinelli and the King’ A Mad Monarch Meets Healing Music

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, December 18, 2017 Did you know that musical therapy was invented in the 18th century? Apparently it was, when the world-renowned castrato Carlo Maria Michelangelo Nocola Broschi, stage name Farinelli, was brought to sing for the mad king of Spain, Philippe V. At ...

Review: ‘Elf the Musical’ Restores Your Faith In Santa and the Holidays

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, December 18, 2017 In the midst of holiday travel, shopping, and searching for meaningful family entertainment, Elf the Musical is your answer to reveling and rediscovering the Christmas spirit for you and your loved ones. The Theater at Madison Square ...

Review: ‘The Children’ Takes A Piercing Look At Adulthood

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, December 12, 2017 From the moment you enter the theater, you know something ain’t right. Things are cockeyed. Maybe it’s the bottle of wine you had at dinner? No, there is something definitely off-kilter about the stage at the Samuel J. Friedman Theater, where ...

Review: ‘Pirates’ At Play At Skirball

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, December 8, 2017 The first snow of the season is predicted this weekend, and respite from the cold can be found at NYU Skirball Center for the few remaining performances of The Hypocrites’ summery version of The Pirates of Penzance. The audience gets to ...

There’s A New ‘Elf’ In Town and You’re Going To Want To Meet Him

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, December 6, 2017 The holiday season is upon us, and this year Madison Square Garden will be dazzling audiences with a new stage adaptation of Elf the Musical. Based on the wildly popular film Elf, starring Will Ferrell, this holiday favorite now ranking ...

Review: ‘Describe the Night’ Bites Off Too Much To Chew?

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, December 6, 2017 Rajiv Joseph’s last play at the Atlantic Theater, Guards at the Taj, featured so much blood that the two women in front of me walked out. I don’t mean that as a criticism of Joseph. I mean it as a criticism of the weak-willed women. Having ...

Review: Bikini Bottom Is Tops In ‘SpongeBob SquarePants the Musical’

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, December 5, 2017 Walking into the Palace Theatre recently, I had no idea what to expect from SpongeBob SquarePants the Musical. I grew up watching the cartoon series, but I wasn’t sure how it would translate to the stage. After seeing the show, lets just say ...

Review: In ‘The Mad Ones’ the Going Is Good, Not Great

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, December 4, 2017 A few years ago, still in the throes of my Next to Normal obsession, when I was staying up way too late watching every crappy phone-filmed performance of every member of the show’s cast singing in clubs, cafes, even their high school production ...

Review: ‘Once On This Island’ Blows Into Town Like a Breath of Fresh Island Air

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, December 4, 2017 There’s so much going on in the new revival of Once On This Island, which opened last night at Circle in the Square, that it’s hard to differentiate the marvelous from the merely excellent. There’s a pot of vegetables cooking, sending off a ...

Talking To the Director of ‘Elf the Musical’ and Its Return To New York

By Bob Rizzo, Contributing Writer, December 1, 2017 The Theater at Madison Square Garden ushers in the holiday season with the New York return of ELF The Musical. Based on the whimsical 2003 film starring Will Ferrell, the show will play from December 13th through December 29th. ELF tells the ...

Review: ‘The Winter’s Tale’ Continues The Public Theater’s Legacy By Bringing Shakespeare To All

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, December 1, 2017 The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit lies at the heart of Joe Papp’s vision which began almost 60 years ago: to provide free Shakespeare to everyone. By paring down sets and cast, The Winter’s Tale has settled into the LuEster Theater at The ...

Review: ‘The Parisian Woman’ — All Snooze, No Sizzle

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, December 1, 2017 There’s something remarkable going on at the Hudson Theatre, where Beau Willimon’s new play The Parisian Woman, directed by Pam MacKinnon, opened last night with Uma Thurman in the lead. They’ve discovered how to manipulate time! Yes, time ...

Review: ‘Home For The Holidays’ Provides a Seasonal Lift

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, November 22, 2017 It’s the time of year when holiday-themed shows are popping up all over town. With Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular already underway, the newest addition to the traditional Christmas show lineup, Home For the ...

Review: The Barrow Group’s ‘Muswell Hill’ Scales the Heights

By Justin Sharon, Contributing Writer, November 21, 2017 In this, the week we give thanks for New World bounties and pioneering pilgrims who fled the mother country, it’s as if the English never left. Last week a Downton Abbey exhibition opened on 57th Street and last night, 21 blocks ...

Review: A Magical ‘Brigadoon’ at Encores! City Center

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, November 20, 2017 Whatever happened to Brigadoon? Not the place, the musical. Yeah, the place supposedly comes back every 100 years, but it was beginning to look like a century might pass before we saw the musical again in a full-scale professional ...

Review: ‘Latin History for Morons’ Is Entertaining and Laced with Timely Social Commentary

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, November 16, 2017 Unapologetic, of-the-moment, matured and funny. Just some of the words that come to mind describing John Leguizamo’s sixth one-man stage production, Latin History for Morons, currently running at the iconic Studio 54 in New York ...

Review: ‘Friends! The Musical Parody’ Isn’t Always There For You

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, November 3, 2017 Friends the TV show has its own cult-following, so when I heard there was a Friends musical in the works, I was curious to see how it would transfer to the stage. With Friends! The Musical Parody directed by Paul Stancato and written by ...

Review: ‘Junk’ Should Be A Lot More Messy

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, November 3, 2017 Ayad Akhtar’s 2013 play Disgraced garnered fine reviews and a Pulitzer for its nuanced exploration of racial and religious divides. It offered complex characters, cracklingly good dialogue, and more than a few surprises. I wish I could say the ...

Review: A ‘Butterfly’ That Blurs

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, October 31, 2017 If you have no idea what M. Butterfly is about and plan to see the play, now on Broadway with Clive Owen and Jin Ha starring, quit reading right now and go back in the cave you’ve been living in since 1988, when the original production starring ...

Review: A Renovated ‘Rags’ at Goodspeed Opera House

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, October 30, 2017 Rags is one of those heartbreaking musical flops that theater fans continually lament as they wistfully imagine what could have been. Such a glorious score. Such a mess of a book. Such a waste of wonderful talent. It was, perhaps, ...

It’s a Family Affair at the Big Apple Circus—and Grandma’s Back!

Don Adkins, Managing Editor, October 27, 2017 Most of us daydreamed in our childhood (or perhaps even more recently) about running away with the circus. And for many in this familial-centric industry, it’s just a matter of continuing to work in the family business—which just happens to be ...

Review: Ken Urban’s ‘A Guide for the Homesick’ Digs Deep and Packs An Emotional Wallop

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, October 20, 2017 A “rising star” in theater, and HP Fellow, Ken Urban continues his successful momentum in Boston with the current premiere of his latest play, A Guide for the Homesick, which grabs its audience immediately with emotional intensity, a ...

Review: ‘Lonely Planet’ Spins But Never Soars

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, October 20, 2017 There’s something off about Lonely Planet. This play should sear and burn, should leave you choking for air. And maybe it did, when Steven Dietz’s two-hander premiered in 1994 at the height of the AIDS crisis. But this revival by the Keen ...

Review: This ‘Torch Song’ Still Blazes

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, October 20, 2017 A confession: I never saw the original Torch Song Trilogy, or the three separate plays that came before it. So I have nothing to compare it to, no memory of Harvey Fierstein in the lead role, no sense of how surprising and brave this must have ...

Review: Alison Fraser Stars In a ‘Squeamish’ One-Character Play

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, October 17, 2017 In Aaron Mark’s psychological horror play Squeamish, Alison Fraser’s character of “Sharon” starts off with a slow burn; she turns up at her psychiatrist’s office in a little black dress in the middle of the night for an ...

Playwright Ken Urban Is ‘Homesick’ at the Huntington Theater And Things Are Looking Bright

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, October 12, 2017 When Science and Engineering majors or minors are mentioned alongside Theater and Performance Arts degrees, it’s not a natural association. Ken Urban, the newly appointed Senior Lecturer in Theater Arts at Massachusetts Institute of ...

Review: Time and a Family Are Shaped In ‘Time and the Conways’

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, October 11, 2017 Who knew the Countess of Grantham had it in her? After years of playing the good-hearted American mom on everyone’s favorite British soap opera, Downton Abbey, Elizabeth McGovern finally gets to sink her teeth into someone more shady, and to use ...

Review: A Bloated ‘Honeymooners’ at the Paper Mill Playhouse

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, October 11, 2017 They don’t write ‘em like this any more. For good reason. As any Baby Boomer knows, “The Honeymooners” was a short-lived but nonetheless enduring sitcom from the mid 1950s starring Jackie Gleason, Art Carney, and Audrey Meadows. ...

Review: A Breakneck ‘As You Like It’ at CSC Retains Some Charm

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, September 29, 2017 “Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.” Is it just because I have a birthday coming up that I find those words so very despairing? Or is it because they are spoken, in that instantly recognizable crackling voice, by the ...

Review: Ego Knows No Bounds in Peccadillo’s Entertaining ‘The Show-Off’

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, September 29, 2017 A comedy of family and manners set in the mid-1920s, The Show-Off was first produced on Broadway in 1924. The play was the most successful of the many works of the accomplished playwright George Kelly, and also the basis of four movies. Kelly ...

TODAY: ‘West Side Story’ Opens on Broadway 60 Years Ago

Don Adkins, Managing Editor ZEALnyc, September 26, 2017 It’s easy to imagine that a Broadway musical is written and produced in a rather orderly fashion, soon after its initial draft; that couldn’t be any further from reality, especially in the case of West Side Story. It started with ...

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