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Theater News & Reviews

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, ...

Thomas Bayrle, American Dream, 1970.

Art Break: Must-sees at the New Museum, Eldridge Street and ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, June 18, 2018 This week, Art Break shines the spotlight on the New Museum of Contemporary Art, located on the Bowery. Since its founding in 1977, the institution has given New Yorkers a front row seat to the international contemporary art scene, ...

Bill Frisell

Versatility Rules at the Eclectic Alt-Guitar Summit, Starring Bill Frisell ...

By David Rubien, Contributing Writer, June 15, 2018 When a large percentage of jazz guitarists under the age of 50 tell you that their primary influence was Jimi Hendrix, you know something interesting is going on. While the guitar has become as prevalent in jazz as almost any ...

Steve Tibbetts

Steve Tibbetts's 'Life Of' Is Both Endlessly Expansive and Deeply ...

By Denin Koch, Contributing Writer, June 14, 2018 Guitarist Steve Tibbetts’ long association with ECM has produced nine albums that span influences from Southeast Asian gamelan to Americana to jazz fusion. His 2018 release, Life of, is a quiet, meditative record that Tibbetts describes as a “sequel” to 2010’...

Anika Noni Rose

'Carmen Jones' Is Back — And She's Still Smokin' Hot

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? ...

SLK dancer

Life In Focus: Preparing for Performance in Ballet Class

By Juliana Crawford, Contributing Photographer, June 13, 2018   [caption id="attachment_55885" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] A stretch before class begins; photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_55889" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] At the barre; photo: Juliana Crawford.[/caption]   [caption id="attachment_55886" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] It's changement ...

Harlequinade at ABT

Review: A Nearly Forgotten 'Harlequinade' Leaps Again at American Ballet ...

By Sheila Kogan, Contributing Writer, June 12, 2018 The choreography of Marius Petipa is practically synonymous with classical ballet. His ballets Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote are part of the repertoire of major and minor ballet companies all over the world and are frequently ...

Ariel DeAndrea: Crane 45

Art Break: Ariel DeAndrea's Photorealism at Louis K. Meisel and ...

By A. E. Colas, Contributing Writer, June 11, 2018 Art Break has been reflecting on the phrase ‘thinking outside the box’ and the ways it can be interpreted. For instance, you could think outside the box if you decided to measure time in images instead of numbers. ...

Russell Malone © Chris Drukker

Jazz Notes Intel: Guitarist Russell Malone Gets Saluted; Dafnis Prieto ...

By Dan Ouellette, Senior Editor ZEALnyc, June 8, 2018 Maestro guitarist Russell Malone thanks six-string elder Kenny Burrell for giving him invaluable advice thirty years ago to advance his career. “Kenny told me to always be consistent,” the 54-year-old Malone said in a phone conversation from his ...

Kariné Poghosyan

Review: Pianist Kariné Poghosyan Finds Unexpected Connections to New York ...

By Joshua Rosenblum, Contributing Writer, June 8, 2018 You might not expect works by Bartok, Rachmaninoff, and Khachaturian to be included in a recital purporting to celebrate New York, but pianist Kariné Poghosyan would remind you that the first two composers both emigrated to the Big Apple ...

Charles Strouse

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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