All in Off-Broadway

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.

REVIEW: York Theatre revives “Enter Laughing”—a musical comedy gem

The York Theatre Company presents a top-notch revival of “Enter Laughing: The Musical” that is easily among the best musicals to have played New York all year.  A tuneful 1930s period piece about a girl-crazy boy from the Bronx taking his first, comically misadventurous steps into the world of theatre, this once-forgotten gem is sure to have you exit laughing, and remembering why you love musicals.

REVIEW: An athletic and thrilling “Julius Caesar” at Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn

Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn presents a new nondescript production of Shakespeare’s “The Tragedy of Julius Caesar” featuring an athletic use of choreographed movement to summon the emotional charge created by crowd and battle scenes, elevating and sustaining the intensity of the political drama.  “Julius Caesar” is hard to get right; TFANA pulls it off with this well-acted, smartly staged, deeply engaging, and flat-out thrilling production.

REVIEW: The sublimely surreal satire of “Do You Feel Anger?”

Mara Nelson-Greenberg’s new play “Do You Feel Anger?” at the Vineyard Theatre is a razor-sharp, whip-smart satire of contemporary workplace culture that is the blissful antithesis of complacent theatre-making, this play serves up a highly digestible, surrealist critique of mores around empathy consciousness, sexual harassment, hyper-masculinity, and female agency that is equal parts hilarious and horrifying. 

REVIEW: “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” shines again Off-Broadway

Now Off-Broadway, National Yiddish Theatre Folksbeine’s glorious production of “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: John Guare’s bizarre and aptly named “Nantucket Sleigh Ride”

Lincoln Center Theater presents a strange, funny, and somewhat confounding new comedy by esteemed playwright John Guare that is a bizarre romp through the recesses of memory and the meaning of story.  Tautly told and energetically performed, the play remains entertaining, though incomplete—a great whale that Mr. Guare has harpooned for audiences to follow in our own “Nantucket Sleigh Ride”.

REVIEW: Rodgers and Hart’s “I Married an Angel” at Encores!

Mark Evans shines in Rodgers and Hart’s 1938 hit “I Married an Angel”; this dance infused fantasy story involving an aristocrat who literally marries an angel is a peculiar relic of its time, but a treat for collectors of obscure musicals and fans of the Rodgers and Hart oeuvre.  Director/choreographer Joshua Bergasse steps into the shoes once worn by George Balanchine to create an entertaining show featuring the talents of ballerina Sara Mearns (his wife), as the Angel.  Feather-light as it is, I suspect we won’t see “I Married an Angel” again for some time.