All in Broadway

REVIEW: “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”—opulent and empty

Director Alex Timbers’ stage adaption of “Moulin Rouge!” is visually and aurally opulent, boasting a lavish production design of the utmost scale and expense; however, the story itself gets short shrift.  Emotionally inert between dazzling musical numbers, the whole musical ends up lacking the depth and intensity necessary to properly anchor all its glitz, and is ultimately less rewarding, enjoyable, and theatrical than the 2001 film it takes as its basis.

REVIEW: “Beetlejuice” is a ghoulishly good time

“Beetlejuice”, the last new musical of the 2018-2019 Broadway season, is a ghoulishly good time that pays loving homage to the mythology of the movie while fundamentally reorienting the story and lending it an unexpected punch of pathos amid its crass and crude mania.  Gorgeously designed with a Tim Burton aesthetic, and featuring a relentless series of bawdy jokes and entertaining songs, this hyperactive musical comedy might not meet the elevated aesthetic standards of some, but I had a blast.

REVIEW: The indignity of “Hillary and Clinton”

Lucas Hnath’s “Hillary and Clinton” is a depressing form of inept and backhanded fan fiction, the very existence of which is irredeemably sexist.  Putting the marriage and choices of one of the most accomplished and celebrated women in American history on stage for yet more public scrutiny is an indignity no male politician would ever face.  Great performances aside, this inaccurate and intrusive play’s existence on Broadway feels irresponsible as a matter of civic integrity.

REVIEW: “Tootsie” is both fun and fraught

“Tootsie” is a mixed bag.  A well-constructed, cheerful, and funny musical comedy with a suite of magnetic performances, it has a confused tone, disconnected visual and aural sensibility, and next to nothing smart to say about gender despite gender playing such a central role in the plot.  It exists in no consistent reality, and leaves many circles left un-squared.

REVIEW: Get ready, “Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations” is out of sight

“Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations” is a seamless, slick, and exuberantly entertaining new musical that reclaims the “jukebox” genre with an energetic, fast-moving, and engrossing portrait-like study of The Temptations.  This show looks good, sounds good, and feels good, and is easily one of the best catalogue musicals ever to grace The Great White Way.

REVIEW: “Hadestown”—an exquisitely crafted musical triumph

Breathtaking and exquisitely crafted, “Hadestown” is easily the most tautly constructed and beautifully realized musical on this side of “Hamilton”—a riveting, heart-wrenching, and sumptuous folk opera that vibrantly renders some of mankind’s oldest and most enduring myths as an epic and compelling piece of modern musical theatre.  This musical triumph is a must-see.

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: 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.