“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

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

Babette’s Feast at The Theatre at St. Clement’s

In the course of my many years watching live theater, I have, several times, been fascinated when something goes wrong during a performance. And I’ll tell you why a bit later. Conceived and developed by Abigail Killeen, written by Rose Courtney and directed by Karin Coonrod, the Theatre at St. Clement’s production of BABETTE’S FEAST owes more to the original Isak Dinesen short story than to the Oscars-winning 1987 film of the same name. Set in the late 1800s in the small village of Berlevǻg, Norway, it tells the story of two lovely sisters, Martine (Abigail Killeen) and Philippa (Juliana Francis Kelly),

A Walk in the Woods: The Barrow Group Mainstage

A play about nuclear arms negotiations in the 1980s should be a dated piece of interest only to historians of theatre, and perhaps, of nuclear strategy. Lee Blessing’s “A Walk in the Woods” is as relevant today as it was when it was written almost 30 years ago, though. For one thing, our world hasn’t grown out of nuclear threats, a disappointment felt heavily by those of us who thought the end of the Cold War might mean something better. More importantly, though, Blessing’s script isn’t about throw-weights, megadeaths, SLCMs, ICBMs, Pershing IIs and SS-20s (I’ll spare you the definitions,

Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical Experience at (Le) Poisson Rouge

Sit back, grab a drink and strap yourself in for a ride on this sonically brilliant, delightfully cheeky romp through '90s nostalgia that's easily the most fun you'll have on or Off Broadway all year! With the current conditions of the world, it's no surprise and perhaps even the responsibility of the arts to portray and reflect upon where we are and how we got here. The result is (or can be) impactful and deep yet often heavy work laden with meaning and statements on our state of affairs. Even in comedic or satirical efforts such as Mankind or Jerry Springer

Top