Thursday, March 12, 2020

Seven Sins by Sandra Mardenfeld

Company XIV cast of Seven Sins. Photo by Mark Shelby Perry. Seven Sins by Company XIV, their most cohesive production to date, tells the story of Adam and Eve’s fall from grace and the i…

Linked From Show Showdown at 12:48PM
Friday, February 21, 2020

West Side Story by Liz Wollman

While it seems that a good half the theater-going public in and around New York City hotly disagrees with me, I'm squarely in the camp that believes Ivo Van Hove's maximal minimalism fails …

Linked From Show Showdown at 12:42PM
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Coal Country by Wendy Caster

I saw a very early performance of Coal Country, so this is a brief report rather than a review. Coal Country is a documentary theatre performance developed by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen,…

Linked From Show Showdown at 05:42PM
Saturday, February 1, 2020

The Transfiguration of Benjamin Banneker by Wendy Caster

One of the many joys of theatre is getting to experience how another person's brain and imagination work. Last night at La Mama, the brain and imagination belonged to Theodora Skipitares, w…

Linked From Show Showdown at 05:32PM
Tuesday, January 21, 2020

2019-2020: Looking Back, Looking Forward: The Glories of Off- and Off-Off-Broadway by Wendy Caster

I was going to do a "best-of" for 2019 plus a "looking forward" for 2020, when I realized that their focus would be much the same: the treasure that is non-Broadway theatre.I'm not denying t…

Linked From Show Showdown at 11:42PM
Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Jagged Little Pill by Liz Wollman

There's a lot going on in Jagged Little Pill, which has to be the wokest jukebox musical you're likely to see on Broadway lately. Built around the era-defining third album of the same name b…

Linked From Show Showdown at 01:36PM
Monday, December 16, 2019

Where Are We Now by Sandra Mardenfeld

Sven Ratzke; Photo by Hanneke Wetzer Dutch-German performer Sven Ratzke is the best kind of David Bowie fan. When he sings his Ziggy Stardust songs, he closes his eyes, softens his face and …

Linked From Show Showdown at 02:48AM
Thursday, December 12, 2019

Nutcracker Rouge by Sandra Mardenfeld

Ashley Dragon. Credit: Mark Shelby Perry Even when Company XIV produces a problematic show, it’s vastly entertaining. While the Nutcracker Rouge’s version of this well-known holiday t…

Linked From Show Showdown at 02:54PM
Sunday, November 24, 2019

Let 'Em Eat Cake by Wendy Caster

The narration for the MasterVoices production of the Gershwins' Let 'Em Eat Cake mentions that (1) it was the very first musical sequel (to Of Thee I Sing), and (2) it set the precedent fo…

Linked From Show Showdown at 05:36PM
Monday, November 18, 2019

Fires in the Mirror by Liz Wollman

Midway through Fires in the Mirror, Anna Deavere Smith's moving and generous one-person show about the 1991 Crown Heights riots, Robert Sherman, the head of the City of New York's Increase t…

Linked From Show Showdown at 04:33PM
Saturday, November 9, 2019

The Hope Hypothesis by Wendy Caster

In the excellent Voyage Theater Company production of The Hope Hypothesis, running through November 15 at the Sheen Center, playwright-director Cat Miller deftly shows how easily innocence c…

Linked From Show Showdown at 04:24PM
Thursday, October 31, 2019

Molly Sweeney by Wendy Caster

What is a play? There are many definitions, of which this one (from the Merriam-Webster website) is a representative example: A composition in verse or prose intended to portray life or char…

Linked From Show Showdown at 06:48PM
Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Panama Hattie by Wendy Caster

Panama Hattie, the third show in the York Theatre Company's Cole Porter-a-thon, is a mixed bag that is ultimately great fun. Simon Jones, Kylie Kuioka, Stephen Bogardus, Klea Blackhurst, An…

Linked From Show Showdown at 09:18PM

Big Apple Circus by Wendy Caster

Tired of the news? Depressed by the weird meanness of humans? Maybe you need a mini-vacation. Maybe you need to bask in the weird wonder of humans. Jayson Dominguez and the Wheel of DeathP…

Linked From Show Showdown at 02:18AM
Monday, October 28, 2019

Macbeth by Wendy Caster

The production of Macbeth at the Classic Stage Company (CSC), directed and designed by John Doyle, is a streamlined affair. It runs 1:40 without an intermission; it has a cast of only nine …

Linked From Show Showdown at 12:33AM
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation by Wendy Caster

Once upon a time, Broadway was full of larger-than-life stars (often women) easily identified by their distinctive voices and mannerisms. Gwen Verdon. Carol Channing. Ethel Merman. Elaine St…

Linked From Show Showdown at 06:03PM

All Hallow's Eve by Wendy Caster

When a set of twins (Eve and Evan) press the wrong doorbell on Halloween, they are forced to fight for their lives against a manipulative, mean, and hungry witch. Can they save themselves? C…

Linked From Show Showdown at 04:24AM
Friday, October 18, 2019

Betrayal by Liz Wollman

On the surface, Betrayal is about entitled Londoners who meet for fancy lunches, during which they chat about art and literature and the best way to get to Torcello from Venice during summe…

Linked From Show Showdown at 04:12PM
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Decline and Fall of the Entire World as Seen Through the Eyes of Cole Porter by Wendy Caster

I bought my first Ben Bagley record, Irving Berlin Revisited, for 69 cents at a flea market in New Jersey a million years ago. Albums those days cost around four dollars, so it was quite a …

Linked From Show Showdown at 07:48PM
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Tonya Pinkins' Truth and Reconciliation: Womyn Working it Out! by Sandra Mardenfeld

The cast; Photo by Katie Walenta While much of Tonya Pinkins' Truth and Reconciliation: Womyn Working it Out, a collective of nine 10-minute plays and songs about women and oppression per…

Linked From Show Showdown at 06:36PM
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Laughing Liberally: Make America Laugh Again by Wendy Caster

Laughing Liberally: Make America Laugh Again, an evening of left-leaning stand-up comedy, provides a bubble of shared beliefs, politically correct (and occasionally incorrect) commentary, …

Linked From Show Showdown at 12:03AM
Monday, September 9, 2019

American Moor by Wendy Caster

When Keith Hamilton Cobb first took an acting class, he wanted to play Titania from A Midsummer Night's Dream. His acting teacher said no. Cobb continued to make creative suggestions; his t…

Linked From Show Showdown at 02:48AM
Monday, August 19, 2019

Art Times: Whose Opinion Matters? by Wendy Caster

My latest essay is up at Art Times:The holy grail of New York theater is a rave review in the New York Times. It doesn’t guarantee success (and a pan doesn’t guarantee failure), but a …

Linked From Show Showdown at 11:42PM
Thursday, August 15, 2019

Queen of Hearts by Sandra Mardenfeld

Ian Spring and LEXXE as Alice. Photo: Mark Shelby Perry This burlesque journey down the rabbit hole transforms Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland into a circus-tinged, sex…

Linked From Show Showdown at 05:12PM
Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Havel: The Passion of Thought by Wendy Caster

Once upon a time, not all that long ago, I watched certain political plays with a sense of distance, deeply sympathetic to the characters and deeply grateful that those awful things weren't …

Linked From Show Showdown at 10:12PM

Fiddler on the Roof by Liz Wollman

It took me a very long time to see Fidler afn Dakh (Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish)--more on that in a minute--but I'm glad I pushed myself to go. In slowing down the musical's often frenet…

Linked From Show Showdown at 10:12PM
Monday, July 29, 2019

Summer Shorts: Series A by Wendy Caster

In Series A, the first part of Summer Shorts at 59E59, all three plays circle around death. This is a lot for a 90-minute evening.The first show, Interior, is the most fully realized of t…

Linked From Show Showdown at 01:12AM
Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Broadway Bounty Hunter by Wendy Caster

Ya gotta love Annie Golden. She has a sweetness to her, with a wild voice and a slightly goofy vibe. For a creative team to decide to shape a musical around her--even going so far as to name…

Linked From Show Showdown at 09:36PM
Monday, July 22, 2019

Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoots Macbeth by Sandra Mardenfeld

Sometimes the plot in Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoots Macbeth by Tom Stoppard, first produced in 1979, runs too close to home. But some background first:In Dogg's Hamlet, practically everyone speaks…

Linked From Show Showdown at 01:48AM
Friday, July 19, 2019

Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth by Wendy Caster

Tom Stoppard's Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth plays with language and slapstick, presents fascinating mini-versions of two of Shakespeare's masterpieces, vividly depicts the importance of …

Linked From Show Showdown at 08:36PM
Monday, July 15, 2019

Ladyship by Wendy Caster

Ladyship, the new show by twins Laura Good and Linda Good, exemplifies how difficult it is to write a good musical. There is so much here to like: some beautiful songs, an original story, an…

Linked From Show Showdown at 12:42AM

All that Chat

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