March 18, 2019: “My name is Renée and I am a food tramp. That is someone who eats around,” says Renée Taylor at the start of her touchingly hilarious memoir-on-stage, My Life on a Diet. The clever actress and writer, most well-known for playing Fran’s mother on the 90s sitcom The Nanny,goes on to use food and her love/hate relationship with it as a roadmap through a life filled with curves, calories and kindness.
March 17, 2019: The new Kiss Me, Kate from Roundabout Theater Company at Studio 54tries a bit too hard to be au courant with feminist perspectives on the historically sexist plot derived from Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, but it’s so damned entertaining, joyously staged and performed that the minor politically correct tweaks to its book hardly matter.
Bonnie Comley to be honored at WP 40th Anniversary Season Gala
This year, at their 4oth Anniversary Season Gala, WP Theater is honoring Bonnie for her incredible accomplishments as a leader in the Broadway community, Founder and Co-President of BroadwayHD and a multi Tony Award-Winning Producer.
March 18, 2019: Bobbie Gentry is not exactly a name we hear often these days. Yet the singer/songwriter was one of the first female artists to compose and produce her work. Born in Chickasaw Country, Mississippi, she was hugely influenced by the music she heard growing up on her grandparents’ farm. Gentry’s country rock, blues-inflected style helped her rise to international fame with her mega-hit, “Ode to Billie Joe,” which was the No. 1 pop song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1967.
March 15, 2019: Andrew Bovell’s new drama,Holy Day, set in Australia, 1850 opened at the New Ohio Theater in the West Village directed by Barbara Rubin and Heather Benton. Produced by The New Natives, founded in 2015 by Charly Clive and Jillian Geurts. Their production company will change names shorty and will live on with an entirely new name, which they feel will better represent their mission.
March 14, 2019: French playwright Florian Zeller managed a rare feat in 2016. He made dementia a compelling topic for a Broadway play. After hit runs in Paris and London (the latter in an English translation by Christopher Hampton), Zeller’s The Father provided a stunning New York vehicle for Frank Langella as an elderly man slipping into senility and Doug Hughes’ staging sleekly provided the realization of Zeller’s vision of a world gone mad as seen from the title character’s point of view. The author’s earlier play The Mother follows a similar template with reality and delusion clashing for a female lead who perceives both her husband and son deserting her. The American premiere Off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater Company (also translated by Hampton) features French actress Isabelle Huppert in a compelling display of emotional unbalance, but in Trip Cullman’s pedestrian production, the effects come across as gimmicky rather than disturbing.
The Disharmonic Misadventures Trio –
By: Paulanne Simmons
March 15, 2019: In Jonathan L. Segal’s, Disharmonic Misadventure Trio, which returned to The Triad on March 13, Segal sings, tells stories and (corny) jokes, and plays the piano. It is the last that is most impressive. Watching Segal’s hands fly over the piano while his feet thump the beat is like witnessing a mighty river rolling over the land.
March 9, 2019: A fun little romp about the apocalypse, Hurricane Diane, at the New York Theater Workshop, delivers a necessary moral about the way we keep our bodies, our homes, and our planet. As is her wont, Pulitzer nominated Madeleine George’s new play weds disparate elements. Here, the god Dionysus, described “as a masculine person who does not identify as male,” is played by the trans actor, Becca Blackwell.
Christopher M. Smith, Jordan Sobel, Caitlin Gallogly
THE MARRIAGE GO-ROUND: FIERCELY INDEPENDENT
By: Samuel L. Leiter
March 9, 2019: Broadway producer turned playwright Kathleen K. Johnson’sFiercely Independent, now at the Soho Playhouse,is a mundane drama of marital discord. Something of a defanged Strindberg (or Albee) exercise, with its venom drained and its character insights and local color washed away, it’s set in a conventional hotel room (designed by William E. Cotton, who also did the lights), equipped with twin beds.
Allan Corduner, Laura Benanti, Christian Dante White, and the company of Lincoln Center Theater’s “My Fair Lady.”
5 Reasons Why My Fair Lady is Worth a Second Visit
By: Iris Wiener
March 8, 2019: How can you improve upon a stellar musical that was nominated for ten Tony awards (of which it won one) and five Drama Desk awards (of which it won two)? It’s a difficult feat, but not an impossible one. The classic show, now playing at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theatre, has aged well in its current production, and still feels as fresh and exciting as it did when it opened in April 2018. This is equally attributable to the care with which My Fair Lady was originally constructed and the new talent that only elevates the exquisite piece. Here are five of many reasons why it’s time for a second go-round with this “loverly” musical:
Manu Narayan, Emily Young, Brittany Bradford, Ben Steinfeld, Jessie Austrian, Paul L. Coffey
By: Isa Goldberg
March 10, 2019: The Fiasco Theater’s staging of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, at The Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre reflects on friendship, love, and loyalty. In the program notes, the artistic directors state that in reimaging the musical they drew on their own experience, “what it’s like to be old friends trying to make art together, and how important (and yet fragile) those relationships can sometimes be.”
Alan Cumming, Kahyun Kim, Tommy Dorfman in “Daddy”
By: David Sheward
March 5, 2019: There’s a lot going on in “Daddy,” the new play by Jeremy O. Harris who burst onto the New York theatrical scene earlier this season with Slave Play, a similarly dense and intense work, presented at New York Theater Workshop. Like that wild and funny piece, “Daddy” explores racial and sexual issues employing outlandish satire and elements of fantasy. Also like Slave Play, this new piece goes way over the top, but has a lot going for it.
March 1, 2019: Merrily We Roll Along has a special place in the canon of Stephen Sondheim musicals. The original 1981 Broadway production followed what many considered to be the greatest of the legendary composer-lyricist’s collaborations with director Harold Prince, Sweeney Todd. Unlike its blood-and-guts predecessor, Merrily was a quick flop, running for 44 previews and only 16 regular performances. The misfire ended the Sondheim-Prince partnership and attained cult status as a “If-only” show. Aficionados claim it could have been a hit if only George Furth’s book were stronger, if only Prince’s direction hadn’t been as cluttered, if only audiences were more sophisticated and appreciative of Sondheim’s heavenly score.
February 27, 2019: Seeing Roundabout’s revival of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along reminded me of two things. First, Sondheim, even at his worst is better than almost all of his imitators. And second, producers and directors would do well to stop reviving plays and musicals that weren’t so great the first (and sometimes second and third) time round.