All in Critic's Pick

REVIEW: Now on Broadway, “What the Constitution Means to Me” is a stirring act of resistance

To see Heidi Schreck’s “What the Constitution Means to Me” is to participate in an act of resistance, of reclaiming hope for the future by doing the hard work of grappling with the past.  Part civics lesson, part memoir, Schreck recounts her formative experience of wrestling with the constitution’s meaning as a teenager through the lens of her adult self, the women in her family, and the bitterly divided nation it serves.  It is the most important play of this or any season—an act of profound social consciousness expanding, community building, and democratic participation—and a must-see.

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: Isabelle Huppert in “The Mother”

Isabelle Huppert offers a devastating portrait of maternal sublimation and abandonment in Florian Zeller’s disturbing and disorienting dark comedy, “The Mother”.  Under the brilliant direction of Trip Cullman, the play offers a highly theatrical, distorted, collage-like, meditative, and surreal look at one woman coping with an empty nest, a loveless marriage, and a purposeless life.  My advice: get tickets if you can.  And call your mother.

REVIEW: Loy A. Webb’s explosive and exquisite “The Light” at MCC Theater

“The Light” is an urgent and painful story of revelation, redress, and hopeful reconciliation cued at the intersection of #MeToo and Black Lives Matter.  Tautly and evocatively sketched by playwright Loy A. Webb, this exquisite two-hander starts like a rom-com before embarking on tragic territory, forcing the audience to reckon with its own baked-in biases and assumptions based on race and gender, and to do and be better.

REVIEW: “Choir Boy” sings and soars

The Broadway premiere of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “Choir Boy” at Manhattan Theatre Club, finely acted and beautifully told, is transcendent.  The very presence of this play on Broadway about a black, queer teenage boy navigating private, Christian Prep school life is seismic, and Jeremy Pope offers a memorable debut in this timely and important work.

REVIEW: “Slave Play”

Jeremy O. Harrison’s scintillating debut play, “Slave Play” at New York Theatre Workshop, is not what you think it is, packing twists, some heavy satire, graphic sexuality, and an important discourse on race, gender, and sexuality in contemporary America.  To write about it is to spoil its surprises, but this sold out run will no doubt inspire future productions.

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.

REVIEW: A prophet emerges in “Network” starring Bryan Cranston

Ivo van Hove brings his signature style to an intense and intelligent stage production of Paddy Chayefsky’s prophetic 1976 film “Network”.  An easy highlight of the Broadway season, Bryan Cranston gives a Tony Award-worthy performance as news anchor Howard Beale’s descent into a rage-filled demagogue.  The message is the medium, and vice versa, in this technically brilliant and thrilling new drama.