Metamorphosis” at Soho Playhouse, Fringe Encore Series

One of the highlights of this year's edition of the Annual Fringe Encore Series is Sam Chittenden's take on Kafka's novella, "Metamorphosis." While the script is intriguing, the performance of Heather-Rose Andrews in this one-woman show is what makes the production stand out. Kafka's tale is simple enough, Grego Samsa wakes up one morning to discover he has changed into an insect. Chittenden spins this in an interesting way by using Greta Samsa, Gregor's much younger sister, to tell the tale. Her metamorphosis from child to woman takes place against the backdrop of her brother's unlikely and disturbing change. Gregor's change

Dorrance Dance Brings Tap “Nutcracker” to Joyce Theater

I know what you are thinking. Great, yet another version of the Nutcracker at Christmas. Just what we need. Well, this one IS just the one we need. While the more traditional versions are taking up space that would otherwise be used for a retread of “A Christmas Carol,” Michelle Dorrance and her dancers have brought to the Joyce a fun, whimsical version of the Tchaikovsky classic by way of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. The result is a dance performance that breathes new life (and fun) into what has become tradition at best and cliché at worst. It is tempting to

The Height of the Storm – Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Back in elementary school, we all learned that a story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Apparently, playwright Florian Zeller was absent that day, or perhaps, he merely couldn't be bothered to edit his script. Despite a fine and talented cast led by Eileen Atkins and Jonathan Pryce (two of their generation's finest who are at the top of their game), supported by the finest set design and lighting tricks, Director Jonathan Kent and the Manhattan Theatre Club have a broken production on their hands. They don't have enough duct tape to fix it. The story (defined loosely) involves

“Freddie Falls in Love” at the Joyce Theater

Choreographers have a default line in interviews that is some variant of “I tell stories through dance.” Much of the time, though, I watch their work and wonder what the story might have been about. Mercifully, Al Blackstone has created a story that runs the length of “Freddie Falls in Love” that is actually a story with a beginning, a middle and an end. There are characters who are not just dancers in a pose, and there is conflict and resolution. There just isn't any talking. The term “dansical” is over-used in some quarters, but here it fits like a

“Dog Man the Musical” at the Lucille Lortel Theatre

Dog Man the Musical comes from the pen of one of the most banned authors in America today. Dav Pilkey is the man who gave us the “Captain Underpants” series. And as you might expect, there is an entire swathe of old-school educators (bureaucrats) and parent do-gooders who feel his work corrupts the youth. They gave Socrates hemlock for the same reason. In truth, Pilkey's got kids reading, which is a step in the right direction. As a book, Dog Man has sold 23 million copies and has been translated into 21 languages – nothing succeeds like success. The man's detractors

Pilobolus –The Joyce Theatre

Pilobolus is performing two programs during its three-weeks at the Joyce Theater this summer, and each piece is unique while being ineffably consistent with the style of the company. It is dance in the broadest sense of the word, rhythmic movement. Yet, the company borrows from gymnastics and acrobatics, and sometimes, the closest parallel one can find is the Moscow Circus in the old Soviet Union. The five pieces in program A are distinct and appeal to both dance mavens and neophytes. “On the Nature of Things” is a classical study in movement. Nathaniel Buchsbaum, Krystal Butler and Quincy Ellis

“Death of a Driver” at Urban Stages

The two hardest types of theatrical production to pull off are polar opposites in complexity. On the one hand, there is the classic Broadway musical that requires a range of talents and has so many moving parts that it's a miracle any of them succeed. On the other, there is the simple play involving two people just talking, which is difficult because so much hinges on so little – just words as they are delivered. Will Snider's “Death of a Driver” is clearly of the latter class, and it is largely successful in delivering the words with a punch. Sarah (Sarah

Even If It Gets Us Nowhere at Access Theater

This production from The Social Club Theatre is Brechtian in its approach. We truly don't ever get to know the characters, what their jobs are, why they are sharing an apartment – and we don't need to. In yet another season of juke-box musicals on Broadway, the script and the staging are swimming against the stream. This is a piece of theatre that makes one think, not just during the production but the next day and thereafter. Bartholomew (Matthew Zimmerman) and Milo (Justin P. Armstrong) are friends who share a common problem – they're single and don't want to be. In

TJ Dawe: A Canadian Bartender at Butlin’s at the Soho Playhouse

The Soho Playhouse has gifted us with encore performances of some of the finer productions from this year's New York International Fringe Festival. TJ Dawe is performing a one-man, autobiographical show discussing his life in general and in particular his time in England as a bartender at a Butlin's holiday camp in Bognor Regis. Dawe is a charming raconteur and his adventures in the UK offer a great opportunity for fish-out-of-water stories. Butlin's, for those unfamiliar with the chain, was an English institution, up there with mushy peas, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and losing in the

“Happy Birthday, Wanda June” at the Duke on 42nd Street

Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. wrote this piece in 1970. For better or worse, it's highly relevant to America in 2018. It's about men who like to kill, and about men who don't. Harold Ryan (Jason O'Connell) is an Hemingway-esque sort of fellow, a hard-drinking, war-fighting, animal-hunting he-man. He's been missing 8 years in the Amazon with his pilot Colonel Looseleaf Harper (Craig Wesley Divino) who dropped the atomic bomb on Nagasaki and who seems rather sad about it. Harold has been declared legally dead, and this creates something of a problem when he turns up on his birthday. His wife, Penelope (Kate MacCluggage),

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