“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

Smart Blonde at 59 E 59

“There are some who think Judy Holliday was the greatest comic actress of all time, and some who think she was simply the greatest comic actress of the century.” That’s David Shipman in The Great Movie Stars (the International Years), but it could be any film historian or astute film buff. The former Judith Tuvim of Queens just had a lighter, subtler touch, and greater ability to make you laugh and move you at the same time, than anybody else; her line readings were so precise, said George Cukor, who directed five of her 11 films, she’d give you a

“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

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),

“The Niceties” at The Studio at Stage II

The Manhattan Theatre Club's production of Eleanor Burgess' “The Niceties” is a thoroughly enjoyable, thoughtful piece. Set at an elite university in the northeast, it is the story of a white, female, history professor and an ambitious, black woman majoring in political science. They meet to discuss the latter's paper on the American revolution, and the exchange rapidly takes them into discussions of race, privilege and generational attitudes. It gets ugly, and the premise that these sisters are on the same side in The Struggle rings hollow. Yet, somehow, it irritates because there was so much potential that went unrealized

The Pattern at Pendarvis at HERE Arts Center

So what’s a Pendarvis, and what sort of pattern does it contain? Behind Dean Gray’s somewhat cryptic title is a sweet, sincere, but very small exploration of Midwestern mid-20th century life, and how varying small-town factions got along together, or didn’t. Its source material, Will Fellows’ 2004 book A Passion to Preserve: Gay Men as Keepers of Culture, probably tells us more. What’s onstage at HERE, a production of the New Dog Theatre Company, amounts to a snapshot—an intriguing snapshot, but one with a frustratingly blurry focus. Dean Gray’s three-character drama of gay life in homophobic 20th century Wisconsin is sweet

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,

Chita Rivera Awards 2018 at NYU Skirball Center

At the Chita Rivera Awards on Sunday, Tony Yazbeck, winner of Outstanding Male Dancer in a Broadway Show (for Prince of Broadway), a gentleman onstage and off, modern-day mensch of movement, and the Gene Kelly or Fred Astaire (for whom the Awards were previously named) of this era, recalled his journey to becoming a true triple threat: "Dance has been part of my soul since I was four. I was a dancer first and foremost, and when I was a kid I never wanted to do anything else. Then I did Gypsy and saw Tyne Daly, through song, dance and

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

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