‘The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ at Classic Stage Company

Raúl Esparza . Photo: Joan Marcus

What does cauliflower resemble?  Fossilized flowers?  Dead algae?  Brain tissue?  Perhaps Bertolt Brecht had these and others in mind creating a "Cauliflower War" as the cataclysmic event of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, his deliberately unfunny lampooning of Adolph Hitler.  Brecht's protest play is now at the Classic Stage Company with a mesmerizing Raúl Esparza in the title role in John Doyle's uneven production. Brecht's inspiration for his 1941 play was Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator.  Released one year before Arturo UI's premiere, Chaplin's intentionally funny film sends-up both Hitler and Mussolini.  (Chaplin not only resembled Hitler, they were born days apart.)  Unlike The

2018 BAM Next Wave Festival: Jerome Robbins’ ‘Watermill’

Joaquin De Luz. Photo courtesy of BAM

  A man looks back on his life.  As ballet plots go, Watermill is fairly straightforward.  It's in the telling that makes it Jerome Robbins' most theatrical and intimate work.  Predating the first Next Wave Festival by 11 years, the seldom-seen 1972 dance appeared at this year's Festival as part of the Jerome Robbins Centennial Celebration with recent New York City Ballet retiree Joaquin De Luz and students from the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College SUNY. Robbins applied elements of his early modern dance training, work in Yiddish theatre, and Japanese Noh  to Watermill.  The choreographer said, "The ballet itself is influenced

Group.BR presents ‘Inside the Wild Heart’

Photo: Miguel_de_Oliveira

“I am so mysterious that I don’t even understand myself.” Clarice Lispector (1920-1977) Ukrainian-born Clarice Lispector achieved fame as a 23-year-old in her adopted country of Brazil with the publication of her first novel, Near to the Wild Heart.  In the four decades following her death, biographies and translations led to her re-evaluation as an early innovator of the male dominated Latin American "Magic Realism" movement.  The Jewish author has never been more popular, "her" Twitter feed @RecitoClarice has one million followers. There are many ways to present someone who wrote ”to save somebody's life...probably my own."  Group. BR, New York City's only Brazilian

Lincoln Center’s white light festival on Film: Dreyer’s ‘Ordet’

Johannes (Preben Lerdorff Rye) . Wikipedia

  Now in its ninth year, Lincoln Center's white light festival explores ways of  better understanding one's self and others.  While there are no easy answers, generous programming in and around the complex provide artistic responses to seeking inner peace and fellowship.  Here at Stagebiz we are excited about, well, the stage, let's make an exceptional exception.  white light's first week included one of cinema's greatest seekers: Carl-Theodor Dreyer (1889-1968).  His disquieting Ordet (The Word, 1955), screened on October 18 at the Walter Reade Theater, illustrates the interchanging properties of "light" and "dark." The Danish director made only four feature films.  Three are

Ars Nova presents the world premiere of ‘Rags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future’

It's 2318 or thereabouts.  The United States is divided into Republics, Mars and the Moon colonized and technology restricted by law.  Despite everything, music survives! - thanks to Rags Parkland (Andrew R. Butler) and his show, Rags Parkland Sings The Songs Of The Future.  Rags is appearing nightly thru November 3, 2018 at Ars Nova in this provocative, thoroughly entertaining musical. Developed over an eight-year period at Ars Nova via ANT Fest and workshops, Butler's book, music and lyrics are set in Richmond's Over/Under Club run by saxophonist Gill (Tony Jarvis).  It's a both a return engagement and return to Earth for Rags, back from serving time in

Theatre East’s presents Romulus Linney’s ‘Holy Ghosts’ at Urban Stages

Photo: James M. Wilson

  Nancy (Lizzy Jarrett) finds the strength to leave husband Coleman (Oliver Palmer) with the help of Obediah Junior (John Cannon), a clean-living preacher's son.  Soon it's apparent hers is not an ordinary love triangle or redemption story.  Nancy is in love with the older Obediah (James Anthony McBride), preacher of a Pentecostal Church whose denomination handles snakes.  Private and communal passions come together during the service that forms Romulus Linney’s Holy Ghosts.  Theatre East's outstanding revival of this provocative drama is entering in its final week of an too-short run at Urban Stages. When Holy Ghosts premiered in 1976, Pentecostals and other charismatics represented a

Jaap van Zweden’s First Week at The New York Philharmonic

With an opening night gala and an ambitious, awesome sounding first subscription concert, Jaap van Zweden officially became the New York Philharmonic's 24th Music Director.  The Dutch maestro, who transitioned from Concertmaster of Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra to conductor with the Leonard Bernstein's encouragement, comes to an orchestra still in serious need of overhauling and/or dynamiting David Geffen Hall and continuing its overdue image change.  van Zweden's predecessor Alan Gilbert succeeded making the NYP a local and digital presence (here's hoping Gilbert gets his wish to one day conduct Olivier Messiaen’s St. François d’Assise because Manhattan socialites will never sign off on it unless

Satellite Collective presents ‘Echo & Narcissus’ at BAM Fisher

"Then she still had a body - she was not just a voice" is how Ovid describes the lovesick nymph Echo in Metamorphosis.  The poet is less kind to Narcissus, the object of her desire.  The royal teenager possesses too "much cold pride within his tender body."  Though the romance one-sided and symbolism overt, the artists of Satellite Collective vividly and memorably reinterpreted the myth at BAM Fisher.  It is too bad that there were only two performances of this imaginative production directed by Philip Stoddard. Literally reflecting Narcissus falling in love with his own image, Stoddard and Satellite Artistic Director

‘Scraps’ by Geraldine Inoa at The Flea Theater

Roland Lane (left), Alana Raquel Bowers (bottom center), Michael Oloyede (top center) and Tanyamaria (right) | Photo by Hunter Canning

Following last season's feminist theme, The Flea now shifts attention to "Color Brave."  If Scraps by Geraldine Inoa is any indication, 2018-19 is going to be daring and necessary, words not applied enough to local theatre.  The hard-hitting tragedy is now playing at the Flea's Siggy stage featuring resident actors The Bats. Scraps is not only a world premiere, it also marks Geraldine Inoa's debut as a professional playwright.  A scriptwriter for The Walking Dead and recipient of a writing grant established by Shonda Rhimes, her play has no zombies or prime-time McDreamy/McSteamy romance, and the dialogue would never pass ABC

Mint Theater’s Revival of ‘Days to Come’ by Lillian Hellman at The Beckett

DAYS TO COME BY LILLIAN HELLMAN Larry Bull, Janie Brookshire, Ted Deasy, and Mary Bacon Photo by Todd Cerveris

When it opened on Broadway in 1936, Days to Come lasted seven performances.  Perhaps audiences expected something more salacious from Lillian Hellman.  Her debut play The Children's Hour had plenty, and her second about an Ohio strike had none.  While Days to Come is no masterpiece, the Mint Theater's excellent production at The Beckett reveals a play mired in its past and present but anticipates the future. The Rodman siblings Andrew (Larry Bull) and Cora (Mary Bacon) are heirs to a brush factory.  Though the factory has remained operational during the Great Depression, the dwindling family fortune leads Andrew and lawyer Henry Ellicott (Ted

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