All in Musical

REVIEW: “The Gospel at Colonus” in Central Park

The Public Theater and the Onassis Foundation USA present a six performance concert of “The Gospel at Colonus” in Central Park; this gospel-infused re-telling of Sophocles’ “Oedipus at Colonus” is set at a black Pentecostal service and delivered as a sermon.  The concept is genius, the storytelling muddled, and the music a little labored. Nevertheless, it is an experience to be remembered.

REVIEW: Wonder of Wonders! Miracle of Miracles! “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish”

National Yiddish Theatre Folksbeine’s “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” breathes fresh life into a treasured property from the golden age of musical comedy, forcing audiences to interact anew with what is now one of the most well-known and performed musicals of all time, and providing, in return, a host of vital performances and resonant insights.  It is, in short, a revelation.  See it, or regret it.

REVIEW: An exquisite “Passion” at Arlington’s Signature Theatre

Signature Theatre in Arlington, Virginia mounts a gorgeous, first-class production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s 1994 Tony-winning best musical, “Passion”, featuring striking and beautiful designs, lush instrumentation, a full-voiced ensemble, and notable performances by Natascia Diaz and Claybourne Elder.  If you live in the D.C.-metro area, or will be passing through, be sure to check out this rarely seen chamber-sized musical melodrama.

REVIEW: “Gettin’ the Band Back Together”

“Gettin’ the Band Back Together” is a genuinely funny new guilty pleasure of a musical with a tried-and-true formulaic structure and a host of scrappy, likable characters; the score is unfortunately unremarkable, derivative, and forgettable, but the book, developed through improv rehearsals, is sitcom-light, irreverent, well-beat, and really silly.  Others may pile on, but I must admit: I had fun.

REVIEW: “Be More Chill” is Teenage Musical Manna

“Be More Chill” is a new sci-fi, pop-rock, satirical allegory of a musical for tweens and early teens, and probably not anyone else.  Based on a 2004 novel about a high school loser who swallows a pill-sized computer that makes him cool, the show is well-staged and performed, but remains an emotionally disengaging experience.  Willed into production re-existence on the strength of its international, online teenage fanbase, expect to be hearing about it for some time to come.

REVIEW: “This Ain’t No Disco” Ain’t Kidding

“This Ain’t No Disco”, an original rock opera about the art, music, and dance club scenes of 1979 New York, ain’t kidding.  This new musical is bland and soulless, overstuffed, overdone, and under-dramatized, with a cacophony of characters, ideas, and issues offering only a sprawling, shallow story that is neither unique, distinctly tethered to the history of the setting, or frankly, engaging.  This isn’t just a flop, but a belly flop—the likes of which you rarely see on stage in New York anymore. 

REVIEW: Shakespeare in the Park’s Festive and Musical “Twelfth Night”

The Public Theater presents a free, Public Works musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” in Central Park.  Featuring songs by Shaina Taub and a cast in excess of 75 professional and amateur performers of all ages, races, sizes, and abilities, this “radically inclusive” production is magical, festive, and highly accessible.  Infectiously energetic and buoyantly spirited, do not miss this jubilant new musical.