All in Review

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: Reinterpreted for today, “Oklahoma!” on Broadway is a must-see

Fresh from an acclaimed Off-Broadway run, director Daniel Fish’s reinterpretation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s groundbreaking 1943 musical “Oklahoma!” completely deconstructs this canonical and totemic masterpiece of American musical theatre by stripping it of its corn and highlighting the darker themes of violence and injustice that have always been simmering underneath.  Sexually charged and presented with a striking naturalism, this bold new production is a revelation and a must-see.

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: 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: Roundabout’s satisfying but uneven “Kiss Me, Kate”

The Roundabout Theatre Company’s new Broadway revival of “Kiss Me, Kate” is occasionally too darn hot, but mostly just too darn meh.  Some key casting mistakes keep this well-appointed production from soaring where it should, but the choreography is a knockout and the musical itself so structurally sound and well-written that it cannot fail to entertain—uneven as it is, but still satisfying.

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.

REVIEW: “Be More Chill” Gets a Broadway Upgrade

Tween science-fiction, pop-rock sensation “Be More Chill” makes the leap to Broadway and gets an upgrade in the process with a snazzier production design and revised score and script that give it a clearer narrative and a more even tone.  Relentlessly hyperactive, broad, and sophomoric, it still lacks the sophistication, polish, and emotional resonance of its high school musical peers, but it is infectiously fun.

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.

REIVEW: “The Cake”

Drawing from the headlines, in Bekah Brunstetter’s “The Cake” Debra Jo Rupp gives a fantastic, full dimensional performance as a lovable, conservative baker who struggles with the decision to bake a wedding cake for her surrogate daughter’s same sex wedding.  Despite a great performance and a gorgeous production, the play contains a dated treatment of its gay characters and their milieu, presenting an incongruous and ultimately flawed portrait of the relevant issues at hand.