All in Critic's Pick

REVIEW: “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914”

“All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” is a beautifully moving epistolary oratorio about the remarkable true story of British, French, and German soldiers emerging from their trenches and ceasing conflict on Christmas Eve 1914 to celebrate together.  Gorgeously sung by an ensemble of ten men, and keenly structured and staged with gripping immediacy and emotion, this tribute to an unheralded moment in an increasingly forgotten war provides a glimpse of our common humanity at its greatest.

REVIEW: A prophet emerges in “Network” starring Bryan Cranston

Ivo van Hove brings his signature style to an intense and intelligent stage production of Paddy Chayefsky’s prophetic 1976 film “Network”.  An easy highlight of the Broadway season, Bryan Cranston gives a Tony Award-worthy performance as news anchor Howard Beale’s descent into a rage-filled demagogue.  The message is the medium, and vice versa, in this technically brilliant and thrilling new drama. 

REVIEW: Elaine May devastates in “The Waverly Gallery”

Elaine May gives a searingly painful and simply heartbreaking performance as a woman descending into dementia in Kenneth Lonergan’s quietly sad play “The Waverly Gallery”.  Marking the Broadway debuts of director Lila Neugebauer and actor Lucas Hedges, this naturalistic memory play is a stunning achievement in dramatizing the indignity of aging and the emotional impact of long-term care on a family unit.  Perhaps Mr. Lonergan’s best play, Elaine May’s performance alone is worth the price of admission.

REVIEW: A triumphant “Torch Song” back on Broadway

Following a hit run Off-Broadway last year, Harvey Fierstein’s landmark gay play “Torch Song” is back on Broadway with an abridged text and title, but its heart and humanity intact.  On second viewing, this production feels more muted and a bit too comfortable, but the performances are richer and better, and the subject matter as timely as ever.  An uproarious comedy with a suite of characters you come to love, “Torch Song” is a must-see of the fall (or any) season.

REVIEW: “The Prom” is pure musical comedy gold

“The Prom”, a sweet and subversive original new musical, is a delicious gift from the musical comedy gods.  This tale of four Broadway performers descending on rural Indiana to help a lesbian teenager take her girlfriend to the prom packs non-stop laughs and high energy dance numbers alongside an important message of inclusion.  A good, old-fashioned musical, you can’t go wrong with a visit to “The Prom”.

REVIEW: “Usual Girls”

Ming Peiffer’s shattering new play, “Usual Girls”, presented in a world premiere through Roundabout’s Underground series, offers a blistering dramatization of rape culture through the lens of one Korean-American woman’s journey from girlhood to adulthood.  Raw, explicit, and joltingly explosive, this is a bold and important new play.

REVIEW: Simply ravishing, Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman” is a must-see masterpiece

Jez Butterworth’s “The Ferryman” is an ecstatic and richly thrillingly new play about the intimate, domestic effects of “The Troubles” on one large, Irish family; a sprawling epic with a 22 person cast and running time over three hours, “The Ferryman” is a titanic dramatic achievement, and a must-see event of the season.  In short: a masterpiece without present peer on Broadway.

REVIEW: A revival of Adam Gwon’s quietly extraordinary “Ordinary Days” by Keen Company

Keen Company’s revival of Adam Gwon’s delightful chamber musical “Ordinary Days” cleanses the soul, lifts the spirit, and reminds you what you love about New York.  All four performers in this almost entirely sung show are outstanding as they tell a simple, beautiful, and original story about how small acts and interactions can change lives.  This sweet and quietly extraordinary musical is a must-see.

REVIEW: Jocelyn Bioh’s brilliant “School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play” returns to MCC for an encore run

Jocelyn Bioh’s brilliant play “School Girls; or, the African Mean Girls Play” is back at the Lucille Lortel Theatre for an encore engagement by MCC Theater; every bit as funny and devastating as it was when I saw it last fall, the play seems to pop and sizzle even more on a second viewing. Check out my review and get tickets now.