All stories by Jonathan Mandell on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Pandemic Theatre Aesthetic by Jonathan Mandell

By Jonathan Mandell. Jonathan Mandell examines the new theatrical landscape brought on by COVID-19 and discusses the emerging aesthetic—one that is low-tech, low-key, one-on-one, close-up.

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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s Viral Monologues: “Charting my journey through the pandemic” and the emerging online theaters by Jonathan Mandell

Rachel Dratch portrays FrannyCakes, a makeup vlogger who fights with an old lady over a bottle of Purell in a Costco.  Marylouise Burke is Penny, a lovely suburban matron who wonders where …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 07:42PM
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Theater’s gone online. Stay home, relax and watch. Most of it’s free! by Jonathan Mandell

The threat of COVID-19 is shutting down theaters across the world, but it’s not killing theater – which is increasingly going online. There are two types of online theater now – the on…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:24PM
Thursday, March 5, 2020

Bob Dylan on Broadway: Girl from the North Country Review by Jonathan Mandell

The odd pairing of old Bob Dylan songs with Irish playwright Conor McPherson’s new script about desperate lives during the Great Depression worked well enough when I saw it Off-Broadway in…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:42PM
Monday, March 2, 2020

Cambodian Rock Band Review: Genocide and Rock and Roll by Jonathan Mandell

How do you put genocide on stage? Lauren Yee starts with a rock band, which is playing so loudly when we enter that the theater management offers ear plugs for any who request it. A rock con…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:33PM
Friday, February 28, 2020

The Unsinkable Molly Brown Review: Titanic Survivor as Singing Elizabeth Warren by Jonathan Mandell

Molly Brown, a socialite, social activist and survivor of the Titanic disaster in real life — turned into a Tony-winning Tammy Grimes on stage and Debbie Reynolds at her pluckiest on scree…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:32PM
Thursday, February 27, 2020

West Side Story on Broadway: Ivo van Hove’s thrilling, homoerotic, incoherent Broadway music video by Jonathan Mandell

What’s most remarkable about Ivo van Hove’s shake-up of West Side Story is, for all the Belgian director’s ruinous choices – chief among them, an overabundance of distracting video p…

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Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Review: Young Jean Lee’s We’re Gonna Die opens Off-Broadway by Jonathan Mandell

We’re all in pain – because of loneliness or loss, betrayal or illness – and playwright Young Jean Lee wants to offer us some comfort.  This might not be immediately apparent, given t…

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Friday, January 24, 2020

Review: A Soldier’s Play on Broadway at long last. by Jonathan Mandell

Charles Fuller’s murder mystery, finally on Broadway in a fine production directed by Kenny Leon some four decades after it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, is so good that even if you’…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 12:18PM
Thursday, January 23, 2020

Broadway review: Grand Horizons. A starry cast for a hip, old-fashioned comedy. by Jonathan Mandell

“I think I would like a divorce,” Jane Alexander as Nancy French says to her husband of 50 years,  played by James Cromwell. “All right,” Bill replies.  Blackout. More production p…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:18PM
Sunday, January 19, 2020

Broadway Review: My Name Is Lucy Barton, starring Laura Linney by Jonathan Mandell

“Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me.” That’s what Laura Linney as Lucy Barton tells us f…

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Saturday, December 21, 2019

18 greatest moments on New York stages in 2019 by Jonathan Mandell

In a year that has ended so dramatically off-stage, and during which so many people talked dismissively about “political theater” — when they didn’t mean anything actually happening…

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Sunday, December 15, 2019

Off-Broadway Review: Steven Adly Guirgis’ Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven by Jonathan Mandell

Wanda Wheels bristles when Mateo calls her “kind” in this sprawling, funny, foul-mouthed, messy, moving ensemble piece, Stephen Adly Guirgis’s first new play in New York since his Puli…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 10:18PM
Saturday, December 14, 2019

Broadway review: Samuel D. Hunter’s Greater Clements mines rich veins of deep sorrow by Jonathan Mandell

There’s a joke Maggie and her son Joe like to tell on their tours of the local mine in Samuel D. Hunter’s latest play: “Guy falls down into the mine. His boss yells at him, ‘did you …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 04:33PM
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Complete Guide to Holiday shows on and off Broadway by Jonathan Mandell

This holiday season in New York means at least ten Christmas Carols, including one this year on Broadway, and 15 Nutcracker Suites.  Holiday shows in the city range from family fare to offb…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 09:33AM
Thursday, November 21, 2019

The Inheritance Broadway Review: Gay Life Then and Now by Jonathan Mandell

“The Inheritance,” a long, ambitious play about three generations of gay men in New York, pays homage to two masterpieces, without being one itself. Yet the play by Matthew Lopez, making…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:54PM
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Evita Review at New York City Center: A Feminist Spin with Two Evas by Jonathan Mandell

It’s surely pointless, four decades and two billion dollars after its debut, to rant about Evita, and silly to blame Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatrical canonization of the amoral historica…

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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Cyrano Review: Peter Dinklage Sings, Without a Fake Nose or Much Panache by Jonathan Mandell

Peter Dinklage’s singing voice would not normally qualify him for a role in a musical, unless in a Disney animated movie as a singing rhinoceros. But Rex Harrison couldn’t really sing ei…

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Bella Bella Review: Harvey Fierstein As Rep. Bella Abzug, Gutsy and Adorable by Jonathan Mandell

Bella Abzug spoke at my junior high school graduation, until Donna Florio’s mother told her to shut up. “This is my daughter’s graduation, not a political rally.”  Abzug paused, apo…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 11:36PM
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Freestyle Love Supreme Review: Lin-Manuel Miranda’s improv rappers on Broadway by Jonathan Mandell

Freestyle Love Supreme is not so much Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Broadway follow-up to Hamilton as it is a subsidiary of Lin-Manuel Inc. The hip-hop improv group that Miranda co-founded 16 years…

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Saturday, October 19, 2019

The Rose Tattoo Review: Marisa Tomei in Tennessee Williams’ comedy about a love-struck Sicilian widow by Jonathan Mandell

There are many cues to what’s wrong with this overly broad third Broadway revival of Tennessee Williams’ dated play, starring Marisa Tomei as Serafina Delle Rose, a Sicilian immigrant se…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 02:54PM
Friday, October 11, 2019

Broadway Review: Slave Play. Interracial Role-playing on the Great White Way by Jonathan Mandell

I first saw Slave Play Off-Broadway, long before Rihanna made headlines for texting during the show (playwright Jeremy O. Harris publicly defended her; he was the one she was texting); and s…

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Thursday, October 10, 2019

Broadway review: Tracy Letts is back on Broadway with Linda Vista by Jonathan Mandell

Can an underemployed middle-aged jerk be a babe magnet?   That’s a question theatergoers are likely to ask about Wheeler, the central character in Linda Vista, Tracy Letts’ latest play…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 10:48PM
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The Great Society Review: LBJ Back on Broadway by Jonathan Mandell

“I feel strongly that I should not permit the Presidency to become involved in the partisan divisions that are developing in this political year. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will …

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Friday, September 27, 2019

Broadway Review: The Height of the Storm. Tricky plotting, or just a trick? by Jonathan Mandell

The same playwright who gave us The Father with a demented Frank Langella and The Mother with a depressed and possibly deranged Isabelle Huppert now offers us…dead Jonathan Pryce and Eil…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 06:03PM
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Review: It’s all very removed and reserved in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal, now back on Broadway. by Jonathan Mandell

There was a huge line to see the fourth Broadway production of Harold Pinter’s 1978 play about an adulterous triangle.  The enthusiasm, I had assumed, was because the cast includes the mo…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 10:03PM
Friday, August 9, 2019

Bat Out Of Hell The Musical Review: Loud, Long, Messy…and Sexy. by Jonathan Mandell

Bat Out of Hell is a frequently enjoyable jukebox musical running at New York City Center through September 8, using the muscular rock opera anthems from singer Meat Loaf’s trilogy of bes…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 02:48AM

Sea Wall/ A Life Review: Tom Sturridge and Jake Gyllenhaal Talk Modestly About Life and Death by Jonathan Mandell

It’s not at all baffling why these two modest monologues by different playwrights were yoked together into a single show at the Public Theater earlier this year. There’s an even simpler …

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 02:48AM
Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Broadway dims its lights tonight for Hal Prince, January 30, 1928 – July 31, 2019 by Jonathan Mandell

Harold Prince died this morning at 91 years of age after a brief illness, in Reykjavik, Iceland. There will be no funeral, but a celebration of his life is planned.   The lights of all Bro…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 08:24PM
Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Broadway Bounty Hunter Review: Annie Golden as Actress Turned Badass by Be More Chill’s Joe Iconis. by Jonathan Mandell

The actress Annie Golden (mute Norma in Orange Is the New Black)  stars as the actress Annie Golden, who exchanges the humiliations of auditions for the thrills of a career kick-boxing dan…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 12:54AM
Friday, July 19, 2019

The Bacchae Review: Euripides Tragedy Becomes Harlem Entertainment by Jonathan Mandell

What would Euripides say about the liberties being taken with his tragedies in New York? Medea, one of his last and most-produced plays, has been turned into the harrowing tale of an undocum…

Linked From DC Theatre Scene at 05:18PM

All that Chat

2019-2020 BROADWAY SEASON
Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue