Public Works’ Musical Adaptation of “As You Like It”: Free Shakespeare in the Park

The 60th anniversary of The Public Theater's Free Shakespeare in the Park series was memorable. It opened with risk and ended with a reward. The first of the two productions for summer 2022 was Richard III, directed by Robert O'Hara and starring Danai Gurira in the title role. It seemed to be the summer of Richard III, and the choices made by The Public's version and other productions worldwide (notably in Canada and the UK) were the source of many conversations, press articles, and hot debates.  In contrast, it's hard to imagine anything but praise for the delightful, exuberant modern musical

The Butcher Boy: A New Musical at Irish Repertory Theatre

Adaptations are tricky. The best ones manage to cover the key points and honor the tone of the source material without getting bogged down by too many narrative details. These elements must also work well with the tools of the chosen medium. The Butcher Boy, a new musical now playing at Irish Repertory Theatre, achieves the benchmarks of a solid, imaginative adaptation, despite the oddball choice of transforming Patrick McCabe’s acclaimed 1992 novel about a schoolboy’s descent into mischief, madness and murder as the world around him collapses in a small Irish town in the 1960s.  The Butcher Boy features a

‘Space Dogs’ Blast Off at MCC Theatre

The Jetsons had Astro.  Doctor Who K-9 and Karvanista.  Boxey adopted robotic Daggit after the first Battlestar Galactica survived the Cylon attack but the poor kid's pet didn't.  The original Enterprise crew ended up with two dogs (one good, one bad and both in unintentionally hilarious costumes) in The Enemy Within.  Science fiction has long been a dog's world, but so was science at one testosterone-fueled time.  In what was not such a Cold War secret, the Soviets used/abused dogs during the Space Race (1955-1975).  The best-known stray was Laika ("Barker"), the first earther to orbit the planet in 1957.  Her dedication to the

“Bat Out of Hell”, Finishes Up A Stellar Run At The New York City Center Theatre This Sept 8th

Andrew Polec, Christina Bennington ride into hellfire in Bat Out of Hell from August 1st to Sept 8th at The New York City Center. Photo By: Playbill.com The 1970's were a profoundly prolific time in American history. Whether it be politically, through fashion or musically, that time in history will stay saturated in the minds of those who were alive during it. 1977 specifically gave us many important historical moments and unforgettable events. It was the year Jimmy Carter was sworn in as President. 1977 boasts the release of Star Wars which changed the world of film forever. Also, just as important

DRAGON SPRING PHOENIX RISE at The Shed is a 21st Century Kung Fu Spectacle

Swords whizzed past heads close enough to cut their opponents’ hair; dancers dropped from or rose to the sky like celestial beings dangling on a mere thread; acrobatic action scenes shifted into nightclub extravaganzas complete with vogueing routines; fire and water danced alongside the performers as elemental partners, adding to the danger and thrills. A dream team of talents was assembled to realize co-conceiver and director Chen Shi-Zheng’s vision that was initially inspired by observing Bruce Lee’s audition tape for his film debut at age 18. All of this and more came together to create Kung Fu spectacle Dragon Spring

A STRANGE LOOP Raises the Bar for Queer Black Representation and Sets a New Standard for Musicals Today

I first encountered A Strange Loop in 2015 at the Musical Theatre Factory when it was still located in a gay porn video warehouse above (the original) Drama Bookstore just around the corner of Port Authority. It was a mixed bag evening with various composers and lyricists trying out their works on performers, both eager to be heard amongst an audience of supportive peers instead of cruel critics. The song, which is the second-to-last 13 o’clock number for A Strange Loop now called “The Memory Song,” featured lyrics sung in rapid speed with mournful wailing by Larry Owens (the unconventional

BEETLEJUICE the Musical on Broadway

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice! Cheering his name three times from the rafters wouldn’t be nearly enough to glorify this utterly fantastic stage adaptation. Praise the dark forces that conjured such a demonic delight! Its wild antics and grotesque yet glittery depictions of the underworld have restored lightness, cheek-aching laughter (as well as glimmers of unexpected depth) and unabashed, over-the-top, go-for-broke fun back to Broadway that hasn’t been this good since The Book of Mormon took over the town. It is a crowd-pleasing wonder that’s as irresistible as it is playfully offensive, just like the namesake character, who could have only been

THE PROM on Broadway at the Longacre Theatre

The Prom, now playing at the Longacre Theatre, might just be the show that single-handedly puts the Broadway back into Broadway musicals. With rare yet notable exceptions, most of them Tony winners -- Fun Home, Hamilton, Come From Away, The Band’s Visit and Dear Evan Hansen (the latter of which The Prom is a close cousin of but the cheerier, more bubbly sort) -- most musicals being produced today are based on branded properties: film or book adaptations, jukebox creations where the songs are guaranteed to be memorable hits (they already are) or pop culture icons (Spiderman: Turn Off The

BROADWAY: GETTIN’ THE BAND BACK TOGETHER AT THE BELASCO THEATRE

(WARNING! Contains spoilers) New York City -- the most dazzling and difficult place to live out your wildest dreams and fantasies. They say: “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” but truth be told, many don’t make it. Such was the case for Mitch Papadopoulos (played by Mitchell Jarvis) -- the protagonist of Gettin’ the Band Back Together -- a Jersey boy turned stockbroker who had to revert to living with his mother in his childhood hometown across the Hudson River in Sayreville, NJ, after his career took a nosedive when he turned forty. The show can be

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,

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