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Theater News & Reviews

Tony Nominations 2017: You Can Bet the Farm on Bette

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, May 3, 2017

The 2017 Tony Award nominations were announced Tuesday and, as always, there’s a whole lot to unpack, pick over, thrill to, and wonder about.

The headlines note that the rapturous pop opera Natasha, ...

Review: ‘Indecent’ Wounds, Rapturously

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, May 1, 2017

Is it possible to go to the theater and not have your evening informed by the funhouse political environment we are living in? I get pretty tired of nearly every review, whether film or book or play, somehow making a ...

Review: Laura Linney and Cynthia Nixon—Alternating ‘Foxes’ on Broadway

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 28, 2017

It’s a great marketing ploy: cast two of the strongest actors of their generation opposite each other in an iconic play, and then have them switch off in the two central roles. If things go well, you ...

Shakespeare Reigns (Even When It Rains) In Outdoor Productions Around ...

ZEALnyc, June 23, 2017 Presenting Shakespeare’s plays in outdoor settings during the summer months has become a veritable institution in America and around the world. New Yorkers have been privileged with the Public Theater having started their tradition in Central Park in the early 60’s, and ...

The Hills Are Alive With the Sound of Summer Theater

ZEALnyc, June 23, 2017 The phrase "summer theater" conjures up images of everything from small converted barns and non-typical performing spaces showcasing the talents of youthful, up-and-coming performers, all the way to prestigious, highly-regarded festivals bringing together high-profile star-dotted casts and directors; thereby enabling us to while ...

Berkshire Theatre Group Brings Musicals, Dramas and Farce to Multi-Venue ...

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, June 22, 2017 What do famous Hollywood legends and current film stars have in common with Western Massachusetts? A history and a connection to the Berkshire Theatre Group. Gracing the stage of the Colonial Theatre from when it first opened its doors ...

Kick Up Your Heels at Lincoln Center's Midsummer Night Swing

ZEALnyc, June 22, 2017 Certain events and traditions help us celebrate the changing seasons. While during most of the year activities take place indoors in concert hall venues and theaters, we know it's summer when everything starts moving outdoors. For three weeks each summer the plaza in ...

Review: 'Fulfillment Center,' A Quietly Moving Character Study

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, June 21, 2017 There's a long strip of a stage. A folding chair. And six orange cones. But something is missing in the lives of the folks in the new Manhattan Theatre Club production Fulfillment Center by Abe Koogler. Oh yes, fulfillment. ...

Summer on the Hudson: Sponsoring Free Events All Summer at ...

ZEALnyc, June 21, 2017 Summer on the Hudson, sponsored by the NYC Parks department, features an unbelievable number of special events and full day festivals for individuals, as well as the whole family. Dividing Riverside Park into sections, each area sponsors a whole range of performances and ...

Review: The Laudable But Rambling Path of ‘Bella: An American ...

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, June 20, 2017 There aren’t nearly enough women or African Americans writing musical theater. Not by a long shot. So when someone comes along who is both, it’s really something to celebrate, even if the results don’t always measure ...

Patrick Wilson Replaces Steven Pasquale in New York City Center ...

ZEALnyc, June 20, 2017 While the 2017 Tony Awards are still fresh, New York's new theater season begins. Early and with turmoil. 1984, fresh from a successful run at London's Almeida Playhouse opens this week with a dystopian look at society that could speak to the import of social ...

'1984'—The First Broadway Production of the 2017-2018 Season

By Helaine Feldman, Contributing Writer, June 20, 2017 It’s a book; it’s a film, and now it’s a play. It’s George Orwell’s classic 1984, written in 1949, which gives a chilling look at a future marked by war, government surveillance and public mind control. ...

Review: NYCO Celebrates the LGBT Community With 'Angels in America'

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, June 19, 2017 Commencing a new annual tradition of programming in honor of LGBT Pride in June, New York City Opera recently presented the New York premiere of Hungarian composer Pétér Eötvös's 2004 operatic adaptation of Tony Kushner's great ...

Review: ‘That True Phoenix’ Tells the Tale of Da Ponte, Mozart’s Famed Librettist

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, April 28, 2017

That True Phoenix tells the story of the fascinating and long life of Lorenzo Da Ponte, who is best known for being the librettist of three of Mozart’s greatest operas, Don Giovanni, The Marriage ...

Review: ‘Bandstand’ Dances, But Doesn’t Always Deliver

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, April 27, 2017

There are so many elements to be savored in the new Broadway production Bandstand. First and foremost is the wonderfully inventive choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler, who also serves as the show’s ...

Review: ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ Sparks a Connection

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 26, 2017

Oh, that Allison Janney. She can do more with one little finger than most performers can manage with their entire bodies. And that voice. That deep, dry, hilarious, wonderful voice. She’s one of that rare ones ...

100 Days, Funding and a Shutdown – We’ve Seen It Before from Donald J. Trump

By Mark McLaren with Helaine Feldman, Contributing Writer, April 26, 2017

There is, if you can believe it, even greater scrutiny on President Trump this week as he approaches his first 100 days in office, and as he and Congress haggle over funding a wall, ...

Review: ‘Anastasia’—A Little Girl’s Dream Comes True

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, April 25, 2017

Walking into the Broadhurst Theatre I felt like a little girl at Christmas. I was finally going to see my favorite childhood movie come to life onstage. Anastasia, directed by Darko Tresnjak, boasting ...

Review: ‘The Antipodes’ Tells Us Stories About Stories

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 25, 2017

There are stories. And there are stories about stories. There are stories that number stories, that outline stories, that list stories. Somehow, The Antipodes, the new play by Annie Baker, directed by ...

Review: The Rust Belt’s Unraveling Is Explored In Lynn Nottage’s ‘Sweat’

By Andrew Koenig, Contributing Writer, April 24, 2017

Drive around Reading, Pennsylvania at night and you’ll see a town in distress. The streets are empty, the shops all shuttered. Tracey (Johanna Day), one of the lead characters in Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer ...

Review: Don’t Let This Parade Pass You By – Midler Opens in ‘Hello Dolly!’

By Mark McLaren, Editor in Chief, April 22, 2017

Entertainment legend Bette Midler arrives boldly on Broadway following a fifty-year career that would shame the bloomers off the character she takes on. Midler inhabits Dolly Gallagher Levi effortlessly in this ...

Review: Not Just the Same Old: ‘Groundhog Day’ on Broadway

By Andrew Koenig, Contributing Writer, April 18, 2017

The main challenge of a musical based on a movie about the same day happening over and over? How to make it not annoying and repetitive. The creators of Groundhog Day have avoided these pitfalls and ...

Review: Women Attempting to Escape the Tyranny of Men in ‘Angel’ and ‘Echoes’ at 59E59

By Diana Mott, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2017

Two parts of Henry Naylor’s trilogy of one-act plays, Arabian Nightmares, are now being presented at the Theaters at 59E59. These two one-acts, Angel and Echoes, both received awards ...

Review: Sutton Foster Brings Her Artistry to Lincoln Center’s American Songbook Series

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, April 17, 2017

When two-time Tony-winner Sutton Foster came out onstage she was greeted with a roar of boisterous applause before saying a word or uttering a note; her fans who filled Alice Tully Hall immediately showed her ...

Review: ‘Cuisine and Confessions’ Dazzles Audience With Honesty and Acrobatics

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, April 14, 2017

Walking into NYU’s Skirball Center I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I knew that Cuisine and Confessions, the latest show from the group called The 7 Fingers (directed by Shana Carroll and ...

Review: ‘Oslo’ Is A Trip Worth Taking

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 14, 2017

Who would ever have thought that history presented on stage could be so compelling?

Oh yeah, Lin-Manuel Miranda and that little musical called Hamilton thought so. And also J.T. Rogers in ...

The Berkshire Theatre Group Prepares For an Entertaining Summer Season

By Doug Hall, Contributing Writer, April 13, 2017

What do famous Hollywood legends and current film stars have in common with Western Massachusetts? A history and a connection to the Berkshire Theatre Group. Gracing the stage of the Colonial Theatre from when it ...

Review: Odds Are, You’ll Like ‘A Gambler’s Guide to Dying’ at 59E59 Theaters

By Justin Sharon, Contributing Writer, April 10, 2017

Andrew Carnegie, once the richest person on planet earth, gave away almost all his net worth to charity. (So much for the cheap Scot stereotype). In his words, “The man who dies rich thus dies ...

Review: ‘Circus 1903’ Delights While Transporting To Another Time

By Mercedes Vizcaino, Contributing Writer, April 7, 2017

Ladies and Gentlemen! Step right up to the unusual, yet thrilling Circus 1903 – The Golden Age of Circus. This turn-of-the-century attraction brings to the stage death-defying acts and ...

Review: Delicious Dueling Divas in ‘War Paint’

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 7, 2017

Some musicals become must-see events based on the people behind the scenes, others because of the performers featured in them. War Paint is a little bit of both.

War Paint, which ...

Review: Amélie Charms and Little More

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 4, 2017

Remember that great episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show when Ed Asner as gruff boss Lou Grant says to Mary, “You know what? You’ve got spunk.” And Mary smiles, thinking he’s complimenting her ...

Review: The Divine Daffiness of ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, April 4, 2017

As anyone who has ever been involved in theater can attest, your best war stories come from when things go wrong during a performance. Maybe a prop is missing, or someone drops a line, or some part of ...

Review: ‘Vanity Fair’ Only More Than Fair

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 4, 2017

I doubt that when William Makepeace Thackery published his classic (and chunky) novel of social class and social climbing back in 1948, he never imagined that it would become a movie (more than once), a TV show ...

Review: Mixing Religion, Politics, and Guns, ‘Church & State’ Is Sinful Fun

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, April 3, 2017

At a time when threats to secular government and individual liberties by doctrinaire lawmakers in the new administration are very real, many of us yearn for thoughtful and humorous responses in the arts. Jason ...

Review: ‘The Hairy Ape’ Chills and Thrills at the Park Avenue Armory

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, April 3, 2017

Oh, how I wish I had a time machine.

As wonderful as the new production of Eugene O’Neill’s 1922 expressionist drama, The Hairy Ape, is—and it is wonderful—I can only imagine how ...

Review: San Francisco in the 70’s Sings in ‘Tales of the City—A Concert’

By Brian Taylor, Contributing Writer, March 31, 2017

“Well, that’s a queen’s wet dream,” Armistead Maupin pronounced after receiving a worshipful standing ovation upon his entrance, in his warm Southern accent. The author of Tales of ...

Review: The Ridiculous Fun of ‘The New Yorkers’ at Encores!

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, March 29, 2017

Every once in a while, it’s refreshing to just turn off your filter, forget everything you know about quality, and just let yourself bask in the fun. For me, this was especially true with The New ...

Review: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Diva Scorned in ‘Live From Hell’

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, March 28, 2017

In revenge-themed plays and movies, the virtuous central character has been unjustly wronged, seeks retaliation against the evildoer, and righteousness prevails. Diva: Live From Hell provides ingenious ...

Review: ‘Picnic’ and ‘Come Back, Little Sheba’ Bring Inge Back To the Stage

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, March 27, 2017

Several years back, I went to a screening of Splendor in the Grass, William Inge’s 1961 film for which he won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. I remembered seeing the movie on TV when I ...

Review: ‘Come From Away,’ A Celebration of Our Better Selves

By Christopher Caggiano, Contributing Writer, March 27, 2017

It’s not often that a Broadway musical transcends mere entertainment and provides an essential salve for the wounds of the country. The year 2016 was without question divisive, wrenching, and damaging ...

Review: ‘Angry Young Man’ – A Zany Yet Serious Satire

By Miles Harter, Contributing Writer, March 24, 2017

Angry Young Man, by accomplished British playwright and director, Ben Woolf, is a satire that explores varying and complicated attitudes towards immigration. The imaginative and slapstick play was ...

Review: ‘The Price’ Returns a Rarely Seen Miller Work to Broadway

By Jil Picariello, Theater Editor, March 23, 2017

What makes life a success?

In Arthur Miller’s The Price, which opened on Broadway recently, policeman Victor gave up his dreams and dropped out of college to care for his father, who went bust in ...

Manhattan Theatre Club Serves Up ‘The Little Foxes’—With A Twist

By Helaine Feldman, Contributing Writer, March 23, 2017

Manhattan Theatre Club presents a revival of Lillian Hellman’s classic 1939 drama of greed and ambition, The Little Foxes, which  begins previews on March 29 and opens on April 19 at ...

Review: ‘Beneath the Gavel’ Interrogates the Art World Via the Auction House

By Justin Sharon, Contributing Writer, March 22, 2017

“I’ve always felt that a lot of modern art is a con, and that the most successful painters are often better salesmen and promoters than they are artists,” said by a man in 1987 who knows art, or at least ...

Review: ‘Chess Match No. 5’—A Tribute to Composer John Cage

By Megan Wrappe, Contributing Writer, March 22, 2017

Chess Match No. 5 is the current production by the Abington Theatre Company playing at the June Havoc Theatre. The show, which felt more like a 90 minute monologue, centers around two characters, He ...