Reviews

Jagged Little Pill ***, Halfway Bitches Go Straight to Heaven*** A Bright Room Called Day **1/2

Celia Rose Gooding, Derek Klena, Elizabeth Stanley, Sean Allan Krill in “Jagged Little Pill”

By: David Sheward

December 10, 2019: Jagged Little Pill is a jagged little musical, sometimes smooth, sometimes sharp, sometimes bland and predictable, sometimes edgy and shattering. This raw, uneven tale of modern angst in an upper-class Connecticut family employs Alanis Morisette’s groundbreaking 1995 album for its score. Tom Kitt did the skillful arrangements and orchestrations, combining Broadway smoothness with Morisette’s signature prickly texture. Her rage-filled tone informs the polished and funny book by Oscar winner Diablo Cody (Juno) who has crammed in so many current social issues it feels like a rock version of an Afterschool Special. We skip from opioid addiction to rape culture to martial miscommunication to bisexuality to racial identity with barely a pause for a breath, let alone a few minutes for reflection or analysis. Even climate change gets a brief mention. Fortunately Cody infuses wit and pathos into her fast-forward preachiness and director Diane Paulus creates a inventive, surprising staging so that you don’t feel numbed by the constant crises.

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Reviews

The Sorceress *****

Lexi Rabadi, Dylan Seders Hoffman, Lorin Zackular

THE SORCERESS: A YIDDISH MUSICAL FANTASY“Magic, Music, and Mishegas”

By: Samuel L. Leiter

December 6, 2019: The National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, born 104 years ago, has been dispensing theatrical milk and honey since finding a homeland in 2016 at the lovely Edward J. Safra Hall, located in Battery Park’s Museum of Jewish Heritage (itself a must-see). It deserves a loud “Mazel Tov” shout-out for once again bringing theatrical nachas to the New York stage, with its exuberant revival of Avrom (Abraham) Goldfaden’s The Sorceress  (Die Kishefmakhern), sometimes known as The Witch or The Witch of Batushan

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Around The Town

Broadway Update

Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada”

2019-20 Broadway Update: Meryl Streep and Beth Leavel Exchange Roles

By: David Sheward

December 8, 2019: In a rare case of show-biz serendipity, three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep and Tony winner Beth Leavel, queens of their respective media, will switch roles. It was just announced that Leavel will take on Miranda Priestley the dictatorial fashion editor, in the musical version of The Devil Wears Prada which will open in Chicago in July 2021, presumably followed by a Broadway opening in 2021-22. Elton John will compose the music, Shaina Taub the lyrics, Paul Rudnick the book and Tony winner Anna D. Shapiro directs. Streep won a Golden Globe for the 2007 movie edition.

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Around The Town

TVOT NYC 2019

BroadwayHD Founder, Bonnie Comley, spoke at the TV Of Tomorrow NYC conference.

December 6, 2019: On Wednesday at Town Stages, Bonnie Comley, founder of BroadwayHD, the premiere streaming service for theater fans, spoke at the tenth annual East Coast TV Of Tomorrow NYC conference about niche OTT services. The conference has become the leading venue for agencies, brands, broadcasters, content-owners and adtech companies to explore the complex interrelationships between audience measurement, big data, and advanced advertising.

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Around The Town

Matilda

Matilda Returns with Multi-Cultural Cast and Big Surprises

By: Ellis Nassour

December 5, 2019: Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly’s West End and Broadway hit musical Matilda returns for a limited engagement at A.R.T. New York Theatres [503 West 53rd Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues], following more than 1,500 performances [March 2013-January 2017] for a revival with a multi-cultural cast of adults and children and more than a few surprise twists. There are five weekend performances Friday-Sunday, December 7 – 22.

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Reviews

The Crucible ****

By: Bernard Carragher

December 3, 2019: Bedlam’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible directed by Eric Tucker at the Connelly Theatre in the East Village is a generally strong and stimulating rendering of Mr. Miller’s stunning drama of witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692. There is something to admire in its clean, honest excitement and it is so very different from Ivo van Hove’s opaque controversial Broadway revival back in 2016. The Crucible was originally titled Those Familiar Spirits, a vivid reverberation of the McCarthy 1950’s anti-Commmunist doings that stimulated Mr. Miller turning it into a theatrical witch hunt.

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Reviews

The Inheritance ***, The Young Man from Atlanta ***

Samuel H. Levine, Kyle Soller and Andrew Burnap “The Inheritance”

By: David Sheward

December 2, 2019: Every generation or so since the late 1960s, a new play encapsulating the gay experience opens in New York. The Boys in the Band, Torch Song Trilogy, Love! Valour! Compassion!, and Angels in America have defined their respective gay moment and how the general society is reacting to it. Matthew Lopez’s The Inheritance isthe latest theatrical chronicle of the American gay journey. The massive work checks all the right boxes for a certifiable hit. A smash production in London complete with Olivier Awards, glowing reviews and snob appeal, an epic two-evening running time of over seven hours, a fluid, funny, clever production from director Stephen Daldry, and moving, intense performances. The play itself, inspired by Howard’s End, E.M. Forster’s classic novel of connection and redemption, is a mixed bag of brilliant moments of pathos, insight and observation, as well as extraneous, melodramatic and forced scenes. 

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Reviews

A Christmas Carol ***, David Byrne’s American Utopia ****

Campbell Scott and LaChanze in “A Christmas Carol”

By: David Sheward

November 26, 2019: The holiday cheer begins at the Lyceum Theater before the latest incarnation of Dickens’ classic A Christmas Carol even commences. The holiday outing arrives on Broadway after a hit run in London. Lighting designer Hugh Vanstone has created a warm 19th century glow aided by lit candles throughout the theater. Patrons are greeted by cheerful staffers dressed in period costumes offering free cookies and clementine oranges. Cast members and musicians stroll onstage and play traditional yuletide favorites. The atmosphere is comfy and cosy for the beloved tale of the cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge and his redemption by a gaggle of benevolent ghosts, told with new shadings and vigor. 

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Around The Town

Tony Winner Robert Horn

Robert Horn, Tootsie Best Book Tony Winner, chats with Patrick Christiano just before his triumph at the Tony Awards. 

November 23, 2019:  Now that Tootsie has posted a closing notice, I thought it might be nice to revisit a chat I had with Robert Horn at The Lambs just before he took home the Tony Award. 

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Hamptons Life

LongHouse Holiday Gathering

Dianne Benson, President of LongHouse Reserve

Guests toasted the season and rediscovered the gardens at this special time of the year.

November 30, 2019: LONGHOUSE, 133 Hands Creek Road in East Hampton, hosted a festive gathering with holiday music. Guests toasted the holiday season with hot apple cider rum toddy’s, Kaluah & coffee, and hot chocolate while touring the gardens and mingling with neighbors. Many people left personal wishes on the Yoko Ono Wish Tree, near the entrance to LONGHOUSE, when they departed.

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Reviews

Einstein’s Dreams ***1/2

Zal Owen

By: Paulanne Simmons

November 20, 2019: Alan Lightman is an American physicist who has served on the faculties of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research has focused on relativistic gravitation theory. He’s even studied what causes that mystery of mystery, the black hole.

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Around The Town

Big Apple Circus

Big Apple Circus: Explodes with WOW! Acts and a Latino Beat

By: Ellis Nassour

November 20, 2019: The Big Apple Circus is back with its blue and white Big Top planted in Damrosch Park at Lincoln Center, playing through February 2. This 42nd edition is also one of the best ever, crammed with acts that will elicit howls, WOWs, and gasps – and one act that will not only have you on the edge of your seat but also gasping in disbelief.  

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Reviews

Everything’s Coming Up Rosie ****

By: Paulanne Simmons

November 18, 2019: Singer and musical theater veteran Rosemary Loar says she was “raised in musical theater.” Her mother would escape New Jersey (and her seven children) for Broadway and return refreshed, with a cast album in hand. It was surely those cast albums that gave Loar her love of musical theater. That affection is on melodious display in Loar’s new cabaret act, Everything’s Coming Up Rosie, which debuted this fall at Don’t Tell Mama.

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HamptonsLife - Theater

Literature Live @ Bay Street

A Raisin in the Sun, a classic play by Lorraine Hansberry, at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor through December 1, 2019.

November 17, 2019: Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor is presenting a searing production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, directed by Lydia Fort. Literature live, now in its 11th season at Bay Street Theater, is staging the classic, which is celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of the play’s first production on Broadway.  Literature Live brings classic works to middle and high school students for free. Since the program began 11 years ago over 30,000 students have seen live theater at Bay Street, many for the first time.

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Reviews

DruidShakespeare: Richard III ****, Macbeth **, Cyrano **

Aaron Monaghan in DruidShakespeare: Richard 111

By: David Sheward

November 17, 2019: A trio of the most iconic and sought-after male title roles in world theater are currently being tackled Off-Broadway in a variety of productions ranging from wickedly sublime to well-intentioned but wrongheaded. The Irish company DruidShakespeare sets the Bard’s Richard III in a comic abattoir while CSC offers a tepid Macbeth and The New Group musicalizes Cyrano with lukewarm results. 

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