Moulin Rouge! ***1/2

By: Lauren Yarger

What’s It All About?

August 16, 2019: It’s a love story set against the seedy streets and Bohemia of turn-of-the-century Paris. This production has been seeing good traction at the New York Box Office following a sold-out run at Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theatre last summer. Word of mouth about the over-the-top optics has fueled some of the rusg to see the newest musical written by John Logan (Red) and helmed by Alex Timbers It’s hard to imagine topping the big/wow factor for Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson and Beetlejuice, but he does…)

Read more >

A Star Is Born: The Concert *****

By: Paulanne Simmons

August 13, 2019: A Star is Born, which chronicles the ascent of a rising star and the descent of her mentor whose stardom is fading, has been made into a film four times, in 1937 as a drama starring Janet Gaynor and Frederick March, and three times as a musical: in 1954 with Judy Garland and James Mason, in 1976 with Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson, and in 2018 with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. Clearly, it’s a star vehicle.

Read more >

Sea Wall/A Life ***, Broadway Bounty Hunter ****

Jake Gyllenhaal in Sea Wall/A Life

By: David Sheward

August 12, 2019: One-person pieces are often the hardest type of theater to bring off. Live stage work depends on conflict and no matter how talented a performer is, convincingly creating character and/or principle clashes while flying solo is a prodigious task few can handle with dexterity. There’s also the heightened economic stakes of theatre these days. Audiences pay into the triple digits and if you’re greeted with a bare stage and only one name in the cast list, expectations are going to be that much higher. The current double bill Sea Wall/A Life now at the Hudson Theater in a limited Broadway run after a hit Off-Broadway engagement at the Public last season, does offer two single acts with top-shelf talent and relatable, heart-wrenching content.  

Read more >

Moulin Rouge! The Musical ***1/2

Ricky Rojas and Robyn Hurder in Moulin Rouge! The Musical

By: Isa Goldberg

August 9, 2019: It was the time of Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, and Puccini. Paris at the end of the 19th century comes to life through the juke box songs of today’s rock stars in this screen to stage adaptation of Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! The Musical.

Read more >

Little Gem ****

Marsha Mason

By: Isa Goldberg

August 8, 2019: It may be changing, but there aren’t a lot of roles for women actors of a certain age. At least, not interesting ones. Watching Marsha Mason in her portrayal of a 62-year-old wife and mother in Little Gem, however, is a wakeup call. Elaine Murphy’s three-person play makes its American premiere at The Irish Repertory Theatre.

Read more >

Passageways ****

Amy Oestreicher

In a childlike, whimsical way, Amy Oestreicher tells her story about suffering from PTSD. 

By: Isa Goldberg

But it’s the whimsy that she brings to her trauma, and which sustained her through it that distinguishes Oestreicher’s song cycle. It makes her one-woman, 90-minute show, “Passageways,” at Here Arts Center both harrowing, and uplifting. 

Read more >

Moulin Rouge **1/2, Mojada ****, Coriolanus ****

Karen Olivo and Aaron Tveit in “Moulin Rouge! The Musical”

 By: David Sheward

August 6, 2019: Combining and repurposing plots, plays, films and songs can provide new insights into old-age cultural themes or they can just be a cheap way drawing in audiences for a comfortable, fun, brainless evening. Moulin Rouge, the new Broadway musical based on Baz Luhrmann’s gorgeous but empty 2001 film, falls into the second category in every respect except one—it ain’t cheap. With ticket prices exceeding $500 for premium seats and the least dear running in the triple digits, Moulin is one of the most expensive shows in recent Broadway history. Is it worth it? For sheer outrageous spectacle, you definitely get your money’s worth. For a storyline with believable characters and truly moving emotions, not so much. But that doesn’t seem to matter to those who will happily fork over the asked-for price.

Read more >

Coriolanus ****

Jonathan Cake, Teagle F. Bougere, Biko Eisen-Martin

By: Bernard Carragher

August 5, 2019: There is a rather extraordinary production of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus” at free Shakespeare in the Park. “Coriolanus” is the is one of the Bard’s plays that is seldom done here, or anywhere. Most Shakespeare companies are afraid of this searing drama about an ancient Roman hero whose name is bears. In the first place, Coriolanus was a colossal snob, a contemptuous reviler of the common people, and it is hard to find an actor rugged enough, and sensitive enough, to make the raging Roman convincing and at the same time sympathetic.

Read more >

Mojada **

Alex Hernandez, Sabina Zúñiga Varela, Benjamin Luis McCracken, Socorro Santiago

“The Wetback Medea”

By: Samuel L. Leiter

July 28,2019: Mojada, at the Public, is the third play I’ve seen this week that deals with a serious topical issue with potentially explosive content. It’s also the third one that disappointingly fails to satisfactorily realize the emotional impact of its subject in theatrical terms. The others are the way she spoke and The Rolling Stone, the first dealing with the feminicides of Juárez, Mexico, the latter with homophobia in Uganda. 

Read more >

Toni Stone ***1/2

The company of “Toni Stone”

By: Isa Goldberg

July 26, 2019: Soccer sheroes, the likes of Megan Rapinoe, are a loudly assertive presence. They’re defiant, and unafraid to make demands. In their pursuit of gender equality, and equal pay they’ve definitely got balls.

Read more >

Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow ****

Greg Hildreth and Sas Goldberg in Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow”

By: Isa Goldberg

July 26, 2019: In Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow at the MCC Theater, playwright Halley Feiffer has found her voice, and it sounds a lot like a cartoon, rife with social commentary. Her new work, an adaptation of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, brings to mind the theatrical sensibility at work in Taylor Mac’s, Gary: A Sequel. His Broadway premiere last season is a takeoff on Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus.

Read more >

The Rolling Stone ***, Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow Moscow ***1/2

Latoya Edwards, Ato Blankson-Wood and Myra Lucretia Taylor in “The Rolling Stone”

By: David Sheward

July 24, 2019: The Rolling Stone does not refer to the iconic American rock music journal, but to a very different publication of the same name. In 2010, the newspaper, based in Kampala, Uganda, began a series of sensational articles printing pictures, names and addresses of individuals known to be or accused of being gay. The African country’s repressive laws against homosexuality and intense public homophobia led to acts of violence and harassment against those depicted. In his new play, now at Lincoln Center’s Off-Broadway Mitzi Newhouse Theater, Chris Urch takes this tragic factual material and fashions a moving, if somewhat melodramatic and conventional drama. 

Read more >

The Bacchae ****

Jason C.Brown as Dionysus

By: Paulanne Simmons

July 22, 2019: The Bacchae, which Euripides wrote during his final years in Macedonia at the court of Archelaus I, is considered one of his greatest and most innovative tragedies. Not only is the chorus integrated into the plot but all the characters, including the god, Dionysus, are exceedingly human. Their frenzied lust, egocentric behavior and transgressive desires are qualities we can certainly understand thousands of years later.

Read more >

Two’s a Crowd ****

Kelly Holden Bashar, Rita Rudner

By: Paulanne Simmons

July 21, 2019: There’s a new musical at 59E59 Theaters It’s called Two’s a Crowd, and it’s very, very funny. This should not be surprising, as it was written by comedian Rita Rudner and her husband, British producer Martin Bergman, who also directs. The musical has a country/pop score by Jason Eddy, who is also musical director, lead guitarist and a kind of troubadour occasionally commenting on the action.

Read more >

Ladyship ***

Maddie Shea Baldwin, Caitlin Cohn, Noell Hogan, Jennifer Blood

By: Paulanne Simmons

July 15, 2019: Between 1787 and 1686 the British government sent convicted women to New South Wales, the penal colony that was to become Australia. Although the women ranged in age from children to the elderly, the majority were in their twenties or thirties. Most had been convicted of miner offences such as petty theft, but in New Wales, many became prostitutes because that was the only way they could support themselves. Drawing on this history, twin sisters Laura and Linda Good have created a musical, Ladyship, making its premiere under the direction of Samantha Saltzman at the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

Read more >