All in Musical

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: 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: 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: Encores! “Call Me Madam” with Carmen Cusack

Carmen Cusack shines in Encores! revival of its 1995 landmark revival of Irving Berlin’s “Call Me Madam” (1950), originally written as a vehicle for Ethel Merman.  A topical piece of light satirical fare that’s more about comedy and songs than plot, this simple but well-performed production is Encores! at its truest: a concert revival of a classic musical that would not otherwise be seen on stage again. 

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.

REVIEWS: “King Kong” and “The Making of King Kong”

In this comparative review, I take a look at the $35M “King Kong” musical on Broadway—complete with its thrilling stagecraft and lackluster material underneath—and the decidedly low-budget Off-Off-Broadway play, “The Making of King Kong”—a playful deconstruction of the “Kong” myth and its attendant problems of white patriarchy, colonialism, and sexism.