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. 

"Summer: The Donna Summer Musical" to close December 30th and “Once On This Island" to close January 6th; rumor is “Girl from the North Country” will take the Lunt-Fontanne; wishful thinking is "Oklahoma!" will take the Circle in the Square; "Falsettos" tour will feature Nick Adams, Eden Espinosa, and Max von Essen; watch Cher and Stephanie J. Block sing "If I Could Turn Back Time", and the Netflix trailer for "Springsteen on Broadway"; read a travel Q&A with Patti LuPone; RIP Stephen Hillenburg and John Wulp

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.

REVIEW: “The Cher Show” on Broadway delivers what it needs to, bitches

“The Cher Show”, a new bio-musical, never tries to be anything it is not, wholly owning its own wry silliness and decadent camp while honoring the pop legend whose story it quite legibly tells, and remaining blissfully entertaining.  The show delivers exactly what it needs to—from songs to sequins—the costumes get entrance applause, and Stephanie J. Block embodies Cher in a career-high performance.  Capturing the self-effacing spirit and pizzazz of its pop diva, “The Cher Show” is aptly titled.

"Hadestown" books the Walter Kerr, “Burn This” books the Hudson; "Head Over Heels" closing January 6th; "True Blood" musical in development; Andy Blankenbuehler to choreograph "Cats" movie; Park Avenue Armory announces 2019 season; cast announced for MCP's "The Scarlet Pimpernel"; is Springsteen trend good or bad for Broadway?; magician, actor, and author Ricky Jay is dead at 70 (or 72)

REVIEW: Elaine May devastates in “The Waverly Gallery”

Elaine May gives a searingly painful and simply heartbreaking performance as a woman descending into dementia in Kenneth Lonergan’s quietly sad play “The Waverly Gallery”.  Marking the Broadway debuts of director Lila Neugebauer and actor Lucas Hedges, this naturalistic memory play is a stunning achievement in dramatizing the indignity of aging and the emotional impact of long-term care on a family unit.  Perhaps Mr. Lonergan’s best play, Elaine May’s performance alone is worth the price of admission.

REVIEW: A triumphant “Torch Song” back on Broadway

Following a hit run Off-Broadway last year, Harvey Fierstein’s landmark gay play “Torch Song” is back on Broadway with an abridged text and title, but its heart and humanity intact.  On second viewing, this production feels more muted and a bit too comfortable, but the performances are richer and better, and the subject matter as timely as ever.  An uproarious comedy with a suite of characters you come to love, “Torch Song” is a must-see of the fall (or any) season.

“Moulin Rouge! The Musical" books the Al Hirschfeld Theatre; BC/EFA awards $225k for fire relief; League of Professional Theatre Women report finds gender equality progress Off-Broadway; "The Ferryman" extends 20 weeks; "The Secret Life of Bees" cast announced; Norbert Leo Butz, Laura Osnes, and Ethan Slater join Fosse/Verdon on FX; "If I Forget" to air on PBS; tickets on sale for Lincoln Center's "American Songbook" series; Astoria Performing Arts Center to present "Caroline, or Change"; producer Jerry Frankel dead at 88; writer William Goldman dead at 87