All stories by Alexander C. Kafka on BroadwayStars

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Review: The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays. An uneven but fun night at The National by Alexander C. Kafka

Alakazam! See a middle-aged man regress to a bug-eyed, slack-jawed 10-year-old while watching eight magicians! So it was Tuesday night as the Illusionists brought their latest production to …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:06AM
Friday, November 15, 2019

Dance review: Mark Morris’s Beatles tribute ‘Pepperland’ lacks an emotional core by Alexander C. Kafka

The deconstruction of a cultural touchstone by an acclaimed choreographer is an appealing notion, all the more so to live music. But although it was superbly performed Wednesday night, Mark …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 11:33AM
Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Review: Amadeus soars at Folger Theatre by Alexander C. Kafka

There were, at various points, half a dozen versions of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus floating around. The playwright was trying to square the circle and make his metaphorical work about the tra…

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Review: Dhana and the Rosebuds, an intriguing but unsuccessful drama on the plight of Syrian refugees by Alexander C. Kafka

In theory, Dhana and the Rosebuds, a theater-dance hybrid about a Syrian emigree seeking her refugee grandmother, should be compelling. It is topical. Its wedding of abstract and ritualized …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:03PM
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Review: Escape to Margaritaville, a predictable buffet of Buffett, amiable and ambling by Alexander C. Kafka

How shocked must Jimmy Buffett have been when “Margaritaville,” his ode to heartbreak and mid-grade alcoholism, became not just a breakout 1977 hit but a potent lifestyle brand? It’s a…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:24PM
Friday, October 4, 2019

Review: Merce Cunningham at 100. The choreographer’s pioneering spirit lives on by Alexander C. Kafka

Eleven dancers in white unitards with horizontal black strips at the top extending to gloved hands. In a dawn of pastel light, they hold a marvelous stillness. Four musicians play a minimali…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 02:12PM
Saturday, September 21, 2019

Review: Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, the Cronut of musicals, still works its spell by Alexander C. Kafka

Recent research has shown that humans’ domestication of dogs has altered canines’ brains. I have a theory — it has not yet been borne out by science, but I am confident that it will be…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 05:12AM
Friday, June 21, 2019

Review: Superb ‘Prufrock’ is among Chamber Dance Project premieres by Alexander C. Kafka

The irresistible paradox of T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” is its gritty transcendence. It is grounded but out of body, a free-floating passage through a quotidian …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:48PM
Thursday, June 20, 2019

Review: Ripcord, a disappointing odd couple comedy by David Lindsay-Abaire by Alexander C. Kafka

In David Lindsay-Abaire’s Ripcord, there are two odd couples. The first are roommates Abby and Marilyn at the Bristol Place Senior Living Facility. The second are the farce and melodrama c…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 03:24PM
Friday, June 14, 2019

Review: Southern stereotypes get tested in Byhalia, Mississippi by Alexander C. Kafka

For the South of Evan Linder’s play Byhalia, Mississippi, both the American flag and the Confederate one should be replaced by one reading “Bless This Mess.” It’s racist, classist, m…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 03:32PM
Monday, June 10, 2019

Review: A rousing silver anniversary for Step Afrika! by Alexander C. Kafka

A quarter-century ago, C. Brian Williams, who’d honed his step-dancing skills as a member of Alpha Phi Alpha at Howard University, was visiting South Africa at the dawn of the Nelson Mande…

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Review: ‘A Bronx Tale’ Well Told at the National by Alexander C. Kafka

“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent,” Lorenzo the bus driver tells his son, Calogero, in A Bronx Tale. There’s no wasted talent in the rock-solid touring production of the musi…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 11:47AM
Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Review: Vanity Fair. Thackeray’s novel gets a giddy, superficial stage adaptation by Alexander C. Kafka

“Vanity Fair is a very vain, wicked, foolish place,” writes the Victorian novelist William Makepeace Thackeray, “full of all sorts of humbugs and falsenesses and pretensions.” The ti…

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Saturday, February 23, 2019

Testosterone-fueled Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs Bring Steel-tipped Beats from Down Under by Alexander C. Kafka

The 1990s were a percussive decade. New York brought in ’da Noise and ’da Funk and Stomped even as the Blue Men thrumbed their melodic PVC tubes. Meanwhile, in Australia, steel fitter tu…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 05:48PM
Friday, February 1, 2019

Ain’t Misbehavin’ review, a high-wattage Fats Waller power surge at Signature Theatre by Alexander C. Kafka

If you’ve got a case of the polar-vortex blues, Signature Theatre has the prescription for you: a two-hour extended-release burst of high-wattage, endorphin-pumping rhythm, courtesy of one…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 12:54PM
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Review: The Screwtape Letters. a handsome harangue by Alexander C. Kafka

The Screwtape Letters, in a touring revival at the Lansburgh Theatre, is a polished, imaginative rendering of a tedious, self-righteous play. The acting and production values in this polishe…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 02:32PM
Thursday, January 17, 2019

Matthew Bourne’s ‘Cinderella’: A masterful reimagining by Alexander C. Kafka

Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, at the Kennedy Center’s Opera House through Sunday, is brilliantly imagined and executed. Forget your Disney conceptions, or even the Rostislav Zakharov or F…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 03:06PM
Monday, December 17, 2018

Review: Miss Saigon. A haunting production at the Kennedy Center by Alexander C. Kafka

The Vietnam War ended 45 years ago, and Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s Miss Saigon debuted almost 30 years ago, but the musical, in a riveting touring production at the Kenned…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:24PM
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Review: Ballet West’s ‘Nutcracker’ is sweet, sly, and sumptuous by Alexander C. Kafka

What’s more seasonally entertaining than the country’s oldest continuing production of The Nutcracker? Sprucing it up with new finery that enhances the company’s fabulous performances.…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:42PM
Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Review: Billy Elliot at Signature Theatre by Alexander C. Kafka

A country divided, tensions running high. That was Tuesday evening in America on midterm election night. It was also mid-1980s England in Signature Theatre’s production of Billy Elliot. Wo…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 04:42PM
Friday, November 2, 2018

Anastasia: highly entertaining historical hooey by Alexander C. Kafka

Pour Disney princess movies, Nicholas and Alexandra, Dr. Zhivago, Annie, My Fair Lady, and An American in Paris in a mixer, hit blend, and you’ll end up with Anastasia, a historically and …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:12PM
Thursday, October 25, 2018

Bracing new works from San Francisco Ballet’s Unbound Festival by Alexander C. Kafka

A meditation on the arc of a lifetime. A message piece about soul-eroding communication technology. A frenetic exploration of Jung’s notion of male and female psychic elements. Such was th…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 03:24PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Review: Viva V.E.R.D.I – an otherworldly convergence of Verdi and Shakespeare by Alexander C. Kafka

Giuseppe Verdi revered Shakespeare and wrote a Macbeth, an Otello, and a Falstaff. He longed to write a King Lear as well and even worked with two librettists toward that goal. But although …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 02:32PM
Monday, September 10, 2018

Review: South Pacific, enchanting and relevant by Alexander C. Kafka

Was ever a message musical wrapped in such a luxurious bounty of romance? Those love songs! Seventy years later, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific still floors us with its lyricism.…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 01:24PM
Friday, August 24, 2018

Review: Shakespeare Theatre’s Romeo & Juliet boldly conceived, superbly performed by Alexander C. Kafka

“These violent delights have violent ends / And in their triumph die, like fire and powder / Which, as they kiss, consume.” Friar Lawrence’s words ring pulse-quickeningly true in Shake…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 11:48AM
Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Review: The Hypocrites’ hijinks with Gilbert & Sullivan’s Pinafore. Bring the kids. by Alexander C. Kafka

I am generally not a forced gaiety and audience-participation kind of guy. And yet Saturday night, there I was some 20 minutes before show time for H.M.S. Pinafore, in Olney Theatre’s Muli…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 12:04PM
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dance Review: Step Afrika!’s Soul-Stirring ‘Migration’ by Alexander C. Kafka

The painter Jacob Lawrence’s 60-panel Migration Series chronicles the exodus of more than six million African-Americans from the South to the North starting around 1916. The WPA-funded pro…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:12AM
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Review: Ballet Nacional de Cuba performing Don Quixote by Alexander C. Kafka

It was 40 years ago that the Ballet Nacional de Cuba made its U.S. debut at the Kennedy Center and 30 years ago that it premiered its production of Don Quixote. It was 70 years ago that Alic…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 11:54AM
Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Review: Saint Joan, a funky, spunky, stripped-down Shaw by Alexander C. Kafka

Brevity is not the soul of Saint Joan’s wit. Even at three and a half hours’ running time, however, the George Bernard Shaw classic never flags in Bedlam’s funky, spunky, stripped down…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 03:04PM
Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Kennedy Center’s 2018/2019 Dance Season by Alexander C. Kafka

“I always think of our audience,” says Meg Booth, director of dance programming for the Kennedy Center. “There are always some attending their first performances, and subscribers of 20…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 11:48AM
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

New York City Ballet: Justin Peck’s dazzling “Pulcinella” makes DC debut (review) by Alexander C. Kafka

Justin Peck’s “Pulcinella Variations,” an ecstatic circus of the soul, made its sensational D.C. debut Tuesday in an altogether winning evening of mixed repertory by the New York City …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:32PM

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