Stage Biz

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Desperate Measures at New World Stages

It’s a rare thing when all of the elements come together perfectly to create true theatrical magic. One of the most recent examples of that kind of kismet is a delightfully riotous romp called Desperate Measures, now playing Off-Broadway at New World Stages after its multi-award winning (Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle and Off Broadway Alliance) and numerously extended run at the York Theater last year. The plot, which examines how justice is served and manipulated, is loosely based on Shakespeare’s Measure For Measure. The setting is the Wild West where Johnny Blood (Conor Ryan) waits in jail with a drunken,

Othello at the Delacorte Theater, Shakespeare in the Park

The story of Othello has always bothered me. Simply put, Othello has to be country-bumpkin gullible to fall victim to Iago's plotting – smitten and jealous or not. Chukwudi Iwuji, in the title role in the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park, turned in such a performance that I could almost believe Othello is that naïve. I have seen Othello more times than I can honestly remember. This production, though, is beyond memorable, especially but not exclusively because of Iwuji's performance. Much of the play hinges on the performance of Iago, and Corey Stoll delivers the goods. He is both

Skintight from the Roundabout Theatre Company

What drew me to Joshua Harmon’s new play "Skintight" was the opportunity to see Idina Menzel in a non-singing role. Ironically the play starts with Ms. Menzel, as indignant divorcee Jodi Isaac, delivering a lengthy screed about her ex’s engagement to a young twit half his age. It is a comic tour de force and I doubt that anyone without her singer’s lungs could have pulled it off. Jodi has impetuously flown into Manhattan to seek consolation from her father, Elliot (Jack Wetherall), a wealthy fashion mogul who is about to turn seventy. But seeking solace from Daddy is like trying

Theatre: Elevator Repair Service performs Kate Scelsa’s “Everyone’s Fine with Virginia Woolf” at Abrons Art Center

  Playwright Kate Scelsa and her Elevator Repair Service colleagues are completely at ease with Everyone's Fine with Virginia Woolf, a raucous re-imagining of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  George and Martha, perennial frontrunners for the unhappiest theatrical couple of all time, keep the gin, insults and laughs coming at Abrons Art Center. One is hard-pressed to find humor in Albee's peak into a marriage whose only common ground is destruction.  The 1962 Tony winner is also something of a sacred cow because with the right actors (Liz and Dick in Mike Nichols' 1966 film, the 2005 Broadway revival starring Kathleen Turner

Brooklyn United Live! at La MaMa

I am still walking on sunshine after Brooklyn Unite Live! rejuvenated all of the cells in my body. I feel like I am ten years younger and that I’m the love child of Tony Robbins and Beyoncé – I am beyond motivated and feel like I can conquer the world. If you want to permanently turn your life dial to 100% pure positivity you have to experience these 33 Brooklyn youngsters whose drum and dance corps originality will blow out all of the cobwebs growing on your bucket list. I wish they had this after-school program for adults so we

Cannibal Galaxy: a love story at New Ohio Theatre

  It’s a surprising exploration of the impossible space between us. It’s a harrowing look at how the everyman deals with self-implosion after an unexpected catastrophic supernova-style life event. While our “cannibal” galaxy devours the smaller ones in it’s orbit above, America seems to be eating itself below. The play questions if our violent collisions and interactions permanently leave vast distances between us that can never be traversed. It’s a riveting work where both the micro- and macrocosm share the stage, where the milky way feels present in the room as well as the smallest human quarks, leaving us clinging to

‘This is Modern Art’, Next Door at New York Theatre Workshop

  In this high stakes, adrenaline fueled “piece”, graffiti culture sneaks indoors to leave it’s tag on the blank canvas of the Fourth Street Theatre walls. You feel like you have illegally entered the secretive world of street artists and are peeping through a “window” to catch a glimpse of what muses motivate them. Popular media has up permanently rooting for the “underdog” and so we are well trained to cheer from the sidelines right from the start. Graffiti might be illegal but in the world of this play it somehow feels like a crime of passion, a revolutionary act, a

Theatre: Peace for Mary Frances at The New Group

Family gatherings are rarely peaceful, especially when a family is gathering to say goodbye to a dying parent. In Peace for Mary Frances, a new play by new playwright Lily Thorne, the tumult begins as 90-year-old Mary Frances announces that she is ready to die and will no longer take any measures to extend her life. As the family gathers to say goodbye to the matriarch, old rivalries flare up and arguments ensue—and everyone seems to have an agenda behind his or her words and deeds. Lily Thorne’s ambitious script is very detailed in its depiction of hospice care—almost a

Theatre: What Will the Neighbors Say presents ‘The Diana Tapes’ at HERE

During Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's touching marriage ceremony, cable hosts and invited "experts" still called his parents' nuptials "the wedding of the (20th) century."  Among the embarrassing lack of research (identifying celebrity guests but not most of Harry's extended family or cellist Sheku Kanneh-Maso and the music he played), the worst was insisting that the July 1981 wedding was romantic.  Both then and now, the event watched by millions reveals a very nervous teenager who on that day became so famous that she would be known by her first name.  A defining chapter of Diana's life is the subject

Seth Sikes: The Songs That Got Away; at Feinstein’s/54 Below

            Photo by Jason Lee Courson I adore theater in all it's forms. From musicals, to plays to comedians doing stand up, sketch and improvisational comedy, to one person shows, dance and nights of monologues, I could go on, it's somewhat endless. Every year I get to see many different types of entertainment. Though it's very rare that I get to see Cabaret acts. Which is peculiar because it's one of the most engaging genres and also just happens to be the opportunity for a great date night. I guess I'd need a date to make that

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