REVIEW: Tom Hiddleston in “Betrayal”

Tom Hiddleston’s magnetic and gripping performance is the reason to see this otherwise pretentiously unadorned and wholly unremarkable production of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal”—the third major revival on Broadway in just 19 years.  The text is gold but this muted and non-contextual production does not do it justice.

"Company" on Broadway will star Katrina Lenk as a female Bobbie and Patti LuPone as Joanne; Richard Linklater will make a movie adaption of "Merrily We Roll Along" filmed in real time over the next 20 years; "The Lehman Trilogy" books Broadway’s Nederlander Theatre; Tony Award winners Jayne Houdyshell, Jefferson Mays, Shuler Hensley, and Marie Mullen join the Fall 2020 revival of "The Music Man"; Solea Pfeiffer and Maia Reficco will share the title role in "Evita" at New York City Center; Rob McClure will star in the world premiere of "Mrs. Doubtfire" the musical in Seattle; Ryan Murphy is developing a ten-part Netflix adaptation of "A Chorus Line"; Tony Award winner André de Shields will receive the York Theatre Company's Oscar Hammerstein Award for lifetime achievement; RIP: Isabel Toledo, Valerie Harper, and Ken LeRoy

"Flying Over Sunset", "The Lightning Thief: the Percy Jackson Musical", "How I Learned to Drive", "A Soldier's Play", "Caroline, or Change", "Slava's Snowshow", "A Christmas Carol", and "Diana" announce Broadway runs; "Harmony" and "Forbidden Broadway" announce Off-Broadway runs; Gideon Glick to step into “Little Shop of Horrors” for Jonathan Groff; film of "Everybody's Talking About Jamie" will be released in October 2020; "What the Constitution Means to Me" filmed for future release ; RIP Bob Ullman

REVIEW: “Bat Out of Hell—The Musical” is exactly what you think it is

“Bat Out of Hell—The Musical” is exactly that: a reverse-engineered jukebox musical fashioned from the beloved tunes of Meat Loaf’s eponymous trilogy of albums.  This is not an especially good musical, but its virtue is that it isn’t trying to be—instead delivering on the audience’s desire to hear the songs they love performed well within the loose framework of a story in line with its musical aesthetic and sensibility.  A must-see for Meat Loaf fans.

REVIEW: “Sea Wall / A Life” on Broadway

“Sea Wall / A Life”—two monologues by two different playwrights performed by two different actors—is a unique offering for Broadway: two well-written pieces of storytelling whose power derives from the strength of their solo performance, rather than from any theatrical trappings.  Following a transfer from the Public Theatre, the “play” still doesn’t justify its composition, but is saved by engaging performances by its marquee stars: Jake Gyllenhaal and Tom Sturridge.

"Six" will play Broadway's Brooks Atkinson Theatre beginning in February; Harry Connick Jr. will celebrate Cole Porter with a limited-run solo show at Broadway's Nederlander Theatre; Jennifer Laura Thompson and Michael Park leave "Dear Evan Hansen"; Faye Dunaway was fired from the Boston engagement of "Tea at Five"; list of the most produced high school plays and musicals in 2018-2019; PBS airings of recorded live performances; RIP DA Pennebaker

REVIEW: “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”—opulent and empty

Director Alex Timbers’ stage adaption of “Moulin Rouge!” is visually and aurally opulent, boasting a lavish production design of the utmost scale and expense; however, the story itself gets short shrift.  Emotionally inert between dazzling musical numbers, the whole musical ends up lacking the depth and intensity necessary to properly anchor all its glitz, and is ultimately less rewarding, enjoyable, and theatrical than the 2001 film it takes as its basis.

"Frankie and Johnny" closing a month early; "Beautiful" will close on October 27th and "Waitress" will close on January 5th; Jeremy O. Harris' "Slave Play" will play a 17 week run at the Golden Theatre; Robert Schenkkan's "The Great Society" will play a 12 week run at Broadway's Vivian Beaumont Theatre; starry productions of "Little Shop of Horrors" slated for Off-Broadway and Pasadena Playhouse; cast announced for Ivo van Hove's upcoming "West Side Story"; "Fairview" extends to August 11th; "What the Constitution Means to Me" recoups; Jack Viertel will retire as artistic director of the annual Encores! at City Center; Paul McCartney has written a musical adaptation of "It's a Wonderful Life"; RIPHugh Southern, former executive director of TDF and co-conceiver of the TKTS booth in 1973

REVIEW: “Broadway Bounty Hunter” is a bust

“Broadway Bounty Hunter”—an original new musical about an aging actress who becomes a bounty hunter—uses the imagery, language, and music of exploitation films in an inchoate attempt at camp based around the story of a white woman who is surrounded by an ensemble of racial stereotypes.  It’s a show that isn’t good enough to be bad or bad enough to be good, instead living in a musical purgatory somewhere in between.  Skip it.

REVIEWS: “Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow”, “The Rolling Stone”, and “Toni Stone”

Three new plays opened at three of Off-Broadways best non-profit theatre companies over the course of the last month.  I take a brief look at “Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow” at MCC Theater, “The Rolling Stone” at Lincoln Center Theater, and “Toni Stone” at the Roundabout Theatre Company—all three of which are critic’s picks!