All in Broadway

REVIEW: Exploring Truthiness in “The Lifespan of a Fact”

“The Lifespan of a Fact” is a poppy procedural and socially conscious comedy about facts, falsehoods, the nature of non-fiction, the boundaries of creative license, and the ethics of journalism.  Bobby Canavale, Cherry Jones, and Daniel Radcliffe are a radiant trio in Leigh Silverman’s swift and entertaining production.  This is the Trump-era play we’ve been waiting for: smart and funny, with a serious message about the importance of facts and fact-checking to the trust and integrity of institutions.

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: “Bernhardt/Hamlet”—bold and incoherent

Theresa Rebeck’s “Bernhardt/Hamlet” is a backstage comedy-drama of historical fiction recounting Sarah Bernhardt’s groundbreaking 1897 turn as Hamlet in Paris; discursive, incoherent, and verbose, the play has nothing particularly interesting to say about gender politics as it ambitiously attempts to tackle a panoply of themes and ideas.  I’d much rather see Ms. McTeer play Hamlet than watch an endless series of rehearsals.

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: 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.

REVIEWS: The Revivals Cometh – Broadway’s 2017-2018 season ends with “The Iceman Cometh”, “Saint Joan”, and “Travesties”

The 2017-2018 Broadway season comes to a close with three play revivals: an excellent, energetic production of “The Iceman Cometh” with Denzel Washington; a perfunctory and pageant-like production of “Saint Joan” starring Condola Rashad; and an absolutely ravishing London transfer of Tom Stoppard’s brilliant “Travesties”, starring Tom Hollander.

REVIEW: “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” is Not Hot Stuff

“Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” is a flat and soulless jukebox tribute to the “Queen of Disco” that disgraces the genre she created by offering thin orchestrations, inauthentic choreography, and a song listing that includes too many obscure cuts from later in her career.  LaChanze’s radiant performance is not enough to salvage this joyless and unfocused show.  Save your money and listen to Summer’s iconic songs instead.