Stage Biz

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“The Rainmaker” at The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture – Black Box Theater

I didn’t realize how thirsty I was for a well made play, performed by a stellar cast, until I soaked in the charms of the “The Rainmaker” by N. Richard Nash. It’s a classic play from the “golden age” of American theater that transported me to the halcyon days of 1920’s farm life in the American West. Time slows down here on the Curry farm as you get drawn into their close-knit, yet fraying family quilt. It’s like paging through an old album, with sepia photographs, that slams you with intense nostalgia and a longing for people you have never

La Folie at The Black Lady Theatre

La Folie by Heloise Wilson is a deeply relevant revelation of a neglected slum that could be found not far out of Paris between 1950 and 1970. La folie translates into “insanity", an apt name for a muddy desolate place that was advertised to some as a paradise where they could find work in France and live like royalty. This was a real place that most French people have never heard about because it was almost completely un-documented and avoided by the government and press. Wilson and director Laura Tesman found an important balance between pain and hope and took

RANDY WRITES A NOVEL at The Clurman Theatre at Theatre Row

This is cheek sore, solar plexus spasm funny. This is laughter therapy that exfoliates grumpy out of your psychological wardrobe. Randy can turn a phrase like he’s cornering a Lotus Elise SC. You’re watching a truly hilarious stand-up comedian who is sitting down. He looks like the love child of Kermit the frog and Barney the dinosaur but has more facial expressions than Jim Carrey as Ace Ventura. You marvel at how “felt” and eyeballs can be more enlivened than the bulk of the humans you know. Randy may be energized by puppetry but he has almost as much soul

Mobile Unit: Henry V at The Public Theater

At any given moment in a theatrical season, it is likely there is a Shakespearean production being performed in both major and minor theatres and cities across the English-speaking world. The Bard’s relentless staying power is undeniable. But how do modern companies keep the work fresh and relevant, particularly the Histories, many of which are set in times, places and about people which seem to bear little significance on contemporary life in America? One simple answer is that at the root of all of these stories lie rich, complex and utterly human characters whose grappling with their struggles and delights in their

“KNOCK!” at BAM Fisher Hillman Studio

I had the good fortune of spending an hour in the company of four Magnet Theatre actors who have travelled all the way from South Africa to jumpstart our imaginations with their unique brand of physical theatre for young children. I can think of no better joy than to hear the feather light laughter of young children totally entranced with the magic of these spellbinding theater makers. Their giggling and delight were totally infectious. My adult self took a vacation as my inner child came up for air and had a much needed, transcendent theatrical experience. I did not feel

‘FITTING ROOMS’ at Triskelion Arts

Lacan’s mirror stage provides the trampoline for Denisa Musilova’s haunting new work, “Fitting Rooms”. The rich psychological substrata of the piece allows for a deeply complex unpacking of the adult games people play in their search for identity and belonging. This is the fourth work I have seen by this meticulous Czech choreographer and I again found myself engaged in an intense dialogue with the work as it unfolded before me. It brings up questions that demand thoughtful answers and the work probes your subconscious looking for resonance with your shadow side. She sets off a series of chain reactions

“Saint Joan” at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre

Three-time Tony nominee Condola Rashad stars in the title role of Saint Joan at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Her performance all but guarantees a fourth, and I expect her to win this time. She is, simply, a brilliant actor. In addition to her talents, the Manhattan Theatre Club has assembled a cast with chemistry and expert craftsmanship under the direction of Daniel Sullivan. When the weak link is George Bernard Shaw's rather long script, you have the makings of theatre at its best. The story is set in 15th century France during the Hundred Years' War, and the English are

Cirque du Soleil VOLTA Brings Its New Big Top Show to The New York Area

There is simply nothing that can compare to the circus -- the dazzle, danger and derring-do, the shrieks of joy and gasps of amazement at the sheer feats of human accomplishment, both bizarre and beautiful at the same time. The “under-the-big-top” traveling, tented circuses have been around for hundreds of years and the origins of the acts, from juggling to contortion, for thousands of years, utilized to entertain both royal courts and street corners. But like all art forms, circus has fallen in and out of fashion over the eras as increasingly sophisticated audiences demanded much more than the mere

Travesties at American Airlines Theatre

All great writers—especially playwrights—become, at some point, drunk on their own words. Ben Johnson accused Shakespeare of such literary inebriation. I think the same could be said of Eugene O’Neill, Edward Albee and James Joyce—which brings me nicely to Tom Stoppard and his own great, besotted spillage of verbiage, TRAVESTIES, revived by the Roundabout Theatre Company. I first saw this play on Broadway in 1975 with the wonderful John Wood as Henry Carr. That was in my salad days, when I was green in judgment—by which I mean a lot of the play was WAY over my head. Yet I still

One Thousand Nights and One Day at A.R.T/New York Theatres presented by Prospect Theater Company

Humankind is made up of stories: the stories we tell others, those we tell ourselves, our version of the story, and even history is only a series of stories stamped with a seal of approval to be considered by the ruling power as “the truth,” though it is no more than yet another observation or opinion on what transpired. Stories have the ability to make us -- for they are the foundation where legends and heroes are born. But they also have the power and capacity to break us and tear us apart from our own kind, to separate us

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