All in Concert

REVIEW: City Center Encores! Off-Center presents “Working”

the annual Encores! Off-Center summer season kicks off with a newly re-conceptualized, site-specific production of Stephen Schwartz’s 1978 flop “Working” that interpolates a series of new monologues based on interviews with facilities staff at New York City Center; an admirable concept that makes for a touching tribute to these workers, the effect blunts the power of the show and cuts short its escalating emotional resonance.  A suite of uneven performances and an oversized venue also hamper the effort.

NOTES: “Reich Richter Pärt” and Björk’s “Cornucopia” at The Shed

The Shed, New York’s newest cultural institution and a crown jewel of the controversial Hudson Yards development, is off to an impressive start with its multidisciplinary arts programming. As part of its initial offerings, I check out the immersive art and performance exhibition “Reich Richter Pärt”, and Icelandic icon Björk’s “sci-fi pop concert” show, “Cornucopia”.

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: “The Gospel at Colonus” in Central Park

The Public Theater and the Onassis Foundation USA present a six performance concert of “The Gospel at Colonus” in Central Park; this gospel-infused re-telling of Sophocles’ “Oedipus at Colonus” is set at a black Pentecostal service and delivered as a sermon.  The concept is genius, the storytelling muddled, and the music a little labored. Nevertheless, it is an experience to be remembered.