All in Critic's Pick

REVIEW: Loy A. Webb’s explosive and exquisite “The Light” at MCC Theater

“The Light” is an urgent and painful story of revelation, redress, and hopeful reconciliation cued at the intersection of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter.  Tautly and evocatively sketched by playwright Loy A. Webb, this exquisite two-hander starts like a rom-com before embarking on tragic territory, forcing the audience to reckon with its own baked-in biases and assumptions based on race and gender, and to do and be better.

REVIEW: “Choir Boy” sings and soars

The Broadway premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy” at Manhattan Theatre Club, finely acted and beautifully told, is transcendent.  The very presence of this play on Broadway about a black, queer teenage boy navigating private, Christian Prep school life is seismic, and Jeremy Pope offers a memorable debut in this timely and important work.

REVIEW: “Slave Play”

Jeremy O. Harrison’s scintillating debut play, “Slave Play” at New York Theatre Workshop, is not what you think it is, packing twists, some heavy satire, graphic sexuality, and an important discourse on race, gender, and sexuality in contemporary America.  To write about it is to spoil its surprises, but this sold out run will no doubt inspire future productions.

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.