All in Musical

REVIEW: Encores! “Call Me Madam” with Carmen Cusack

Carmen Cusack shines in Encores! revival of its 1995 landmark revival of Irving Berlin’s “Call Me Madam” (1950), originally written as a vehicle for Ethel Merman.  A topical piece of light satirical fare that’s more about comedy and songs than plot, this simple but well-performed production is Encores! at its truest: a concert revival of a classic musical that would not otherwise be seen on stage again. 

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.

REVIEWS: “King Kong” and “The Making of King Kong”

In this comparative review, I take a look at the $35M “King Kong” musical on Broadway—complete with its thrilling stagecraft and lackluster material underneath—and the decidedly low-budget Off-Off-Broadway play, “The Making of King Kong”—a playful deconstruction of the “Kong” myth and its attendant problems of white patriarchy, colonialism, and sexism.

REVIEW: “The Cher Show” on Broadway delivers what it needs to, bitches

“The Cher Show”, a new bio-musical, never tries to be anything it is not, wholly owning its own wry silliness and decadent camp while honoring the pop legend whose story it quite legibly tells, and remaining blissfully entertaining.  The show delivers exactly what it needs to—from songs to sequins—the costumes get entrance applause, and Stephanie J. Block embodies Cher in a career-high performance.  Capturing the self-effacing spirit and pizzazz of its pop diva, “The Cher Show” is aptly titled.

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: 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: Not your Aunt Eller’s “Oklahoma!”

Director Daniel Fish delivers a glorious and terrifying production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s groundbreaking 1943 musical “Oklahoma!” at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, completely deconstructing this canonical and totemic masterpiece of American musical theatre by stripping it of its corn and highlighting the darker themes of violence and injustice that have always been simmering underneath.  Sexually charged and presented with a striking naturalism, this masterful new production is a revelation.