All in Critic's Pick

REVIEW: “The Nap”—prepare to be snookered

Manhattan Theatre Club presents Richard Bean’s hilarious new comedy, “The Nap”, a high-stakes, low-rent farce set in the world of Snooker (British pool).  A superbly comical, poised, and perfectly cast ensemble of kooky characters make this off-beat crime thriller comedy the kind of delightfully droll escape that only theatre can provide.  Silly, yes, but that’s never been more needed than right now.

REVIEW: WWI Through the Eyes of a Young Soldier in “Private Peaceful”

In “Private Peaceful”, Irish actor Shane O’Regan makes a smashing New York debut playing 24 characters in a one-man World War I story.  A dispatch from the trenches of war told from the perspective of a young solider, this simple but arresting play is a haunting reminder of the savage cost of war and the terrific sacrifices made for democracy by those who came before us.  I recommend you catch this crisp and brilliant production before it goes on tour.  

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: 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.

REVIEW: Young Jean Lee’s quietly enveloping “Straight White Men”

Young Jean Lee makes history as the first female Asian-American playwright with her quietly enveloping play “Straight White Men”; far from the raging jeremiad that many liberal theatregoers no doubt anticipate, this tightly directed and finely acted play is a smart, funny, and surprising look at questions of privilege and identity through the lens of America’s oldest and newest, and soon to be minority, group: straight white men.

REVIEW: “Mary Page Marlowe”

Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe” at Second Stage offers a fascinating, fragmented portrait of one ordinary woman’s journey through life, embodied by six actors in eleven time-hopping scenes.  The tension of what happens to us versus what we control haunts the text as Mary Page traverses decades, surfing waves of feminism amidst the shifting roles of women from mid-century America to the present.  Mr. Letts, director Lila Neugebauer, and an ensemble cast of 18 create a mosaic that is compelling, if ultimately mysterious.

REVIEWS: “Pass Over” and “Sugar in Our Wounds”

Two new plays that trenchantly tackle experiences of African American men across the present and history of our country opened Off-Broadway last week.  Both “Pass Over” and “Sugar in Our Wounds” floored me for different reasons; though distinct in content and message, they are united in a common theme of black erasure.  This is a look at each, both of which I highly recommend.