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!

"The Cher Show”, "King Kong", and "Pretty Woman" will close on August 18th; West End “Betrayal” headed to Broadway; MCP to present concert of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”; Neil Diamond and Liberace musicals in development; casting announced for “The Prom” film, “Hercules” in the park, “Road Show” at City Center”, and “Scotland, PA” at Roundabout; West End’s “Present Laughter” and gender-swapped “Company” rumored for Broadway; “Waitress” becomes longest running show at the Brooks Atkinson; RIP Martin Charnin, William F. Brown, and Sid Ramin

REVIEW: City Center Encores! Off-Center presents “Working”

the annual Encores! Off-Center summer season kicks off with a newly re-conceptualized, site-specific production of Stephen Schwartz’s 1978 flop “Working” that interpolates a series of new monologues based on interviews with facilities staff at New York City Center; an admirable concept that makes for a touching tribute to these workers, the effect blunts the power of the show and cuts short its escalating emotional resonance.  A suite of uneven performances and an oversized venue also hamper the effort.

New Tony nominators announced; "Hillary and Clinton" closes a month early; “The Prom” and “Be More Chill” to close August 11th; Lin-Manuel Miranda's "Freestyle Love Supreme" books the Booth, "Deren Brown: Secret" books the Cort, "Girl from the North Country" books the Belasco, Tracy Letts' "The Minutes" will arrive on Broadway in February, and Jeremy O. Harris’ “Slave Play” rumored for Broadway; Netflix film adaptation of August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" to star Viola Davis; Richard Kind joins “Kiss Me, Kate”; check out Joel Grey’s latest book of photography; Jake Gyllenhaal and Annaleigh Ashford to bring their "Sunday in the Park with George" to the West End

REVIEWS: Charting new musical frontiers with “A Strange Loop” and “Octet”

Two new Off-Broadway musicals that are marquee productions of the summer experiment with form and content in exciting ways that portend well for the future of the art form.  Unique for musicals, both are also the product of a single author.  Here I take a look at Michael R. Jackson’s “A Strange Loop” at Playwrights Horizons andDave Malloy’s “Octet” at Signature Theatre.

REVIEW: Everett Quinton in Charles Ludlam’s “Galas”

For the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisings and in celebration of World Pride, the Theatre at St. John’s presents the first-ever revival of Charles Ludlam’s 1983 play “Galas: A Modern Tragedy”, a broadly comical travesty of the life of iconic opera singer Maria Callas.  Downtown staple Everett Quinton (Ludlam’s partner) plays the titular role in a production that harkens back to a time when the West Village was the center of queer underground theatre.

"Hadestown" and "The Ferryman" take home the top prizes at the Tony Awards; "Gary: A Sequel to Titus Adronicus" closes several weeks ahead of schedule; Dave Chapelle books the Lunt Fontanne; Ed Harris to replace Jeff Daniels in "To Kill a Mockingbird"; "Ain't Too Proud" will launch a national tour in 2020; "Xanadu" tour with Ginger Minj and Jinkx Monsoonwill planned; Lin-Manuel Miranda to have cameo in forthcoming "In the Heights" film adaptation; plans for the Times Square Theatre; John Mellencamp musical is in development