Desperate Measures ****1/2

Lauren Molina

By: Paulanne Simmons

There’s no shortage of Shakespearean plays that have been turned into musicals. George Abbott, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers’ The Boys from Syracuse is based on The Comedy of Errors. Cole Porter and the Speweck’s Kiss Me Kate is the trio’s version of The Taming of the Shrew. Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story is a 20th century musical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.

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The Honeymooners ***1/2

The Honeymooners Musical Has World Premiere at Paper Mill Playhouse

By: Ellis Nassour

The world premiere production of Stephen Weiner, Peter Mills, and Dusty
Kay and Bill Nuss’s musical comedy adaptation of the classic TV sit-com The Honeymooners offers a nostalgia-dipped trip down memory lane. It opened October 8 at the Paper Mill Playhouse, 22 Brookside Drive, Millburn, NJ.

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Mary Jane **** As You Like It **

Liza Colon-Zayas, Carrie Coon “Mary Jane”

By: David Sheward

The single mother unfolds her sofa bed, gets undressed, and settles in to check over a huge binder containing medication levels for her seriously ill child. This simple scene is performed in a seemingly offhand manner by the magnificently subtle Carrie Coon as the title character in Amy Herzog’s shattering play Mary Jane, yet it speaks volumes of a heartbreaking situation without tears or bathos. The fact that Mary Jane has to sleep alone in her living room tells us that Alex, her two-year-old son is in need of such constant and extensive medical support that the equipment required to keep him breathing takes up the master bedroom (which is offstage in Laura Jellinek’s masterfully functional and evocation set design.) And, it incidentally emphasizes the not-insignificant detail that Alex’s father is nowhere in her life. It’s a beautiful demonstration of the playwright showing rather than telling the trials Mary Jane must go through.

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For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday *** Small World **

Kathleen Chalfant, Daniel Jenkins, Keith Reddin. Lisa Emery “For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday’

By: David Sheward

The interplay of childhood fantasy and harsh adult reality is the subject of two current Off-Broadway plays. Sarah Ruhl’s To Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday at Playwrights Horizons is a melancholy meditation on death, age, and the constant cycle of life while Frederick Stroppel’s Small World at 59E59 Theaters is a shallow sketch attempting to address big themes but producing only occasional chuckles and mild nods of recognition.

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In the Blood **** Fucking A *** Michael Moore: The Terms of My Surrender ***1/2

Saycon Sengbloh, Jocelyn Bioh “In the Blood”

By: David Sheward

As the last millennium ended, when Suzan-Lori Parks penned her Red Letter Plays, two theatrical riffs on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter, the horrifying issues of alienation, racism, misogyny, and class oppression that they raised were prevalent. Then we had a black president and for a few brief moments, it seemed we really were living in a post-racial world. Or at least, the more extreme manifestations of these nightmares appeared to be laid to rest. Now almost twenty years since these pieces were written, those same demons have crawled out of their hiding places. Their resurgence in the Age of Trump makes the Signature Theater Company’s tandem revival of both works especially moving and relevant.

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On The Shore of The Wide World ***

Wesley Zurick, Peter Maloney

By: Isa Goldberg

Playwright Simon Stephens has a way with the inexplicable – and sometimes creepy, as in his stage adaptation of The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime. In this current production, at the Atlantic Theater, one feels as if they’re walking into a Pinteresque nightmare, in which the existence of a mysterious other creates an underlying threat. This atmosphere permeates in this story about unfulfilling marriages, played out by 3 generations of the same family. Set in a bleak area of England, life is neither jolly nor well off here. 

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The Rape of the Sabine Women ****

Susannah Perkins, Doug Harris

By: Isa Goldberg

Michael Yates Crowley’s new play, The Rape of The Sabine Women, by Grace B. Matthias is another coup from The Playwrights Realm, a company which produces new works by emerging playwrights. Last season, The Wolves, about a girls’ soccer team, was heralded for its strong characters and powerful ensemble acting.  This current show, a dark comedy about rape, written by a man, is inventive, and powerful.

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Small World ****1/2

Mark Shanahan, Stephen D’Ambrose

By: Paulanne Simmons

Small World, Frederick Stroppel’s new play about Igor Stravinsky and Walt Disney, is subtitled “a fantasia,” and for good reason. Although this two-hander, directed by Joe Brancato imagines that Stravinsky never liked what Disney did to his music in the film Fantasia, the record shows this is not exactly true.

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On the Shore of the Wide World **

C.J. Wilson, Mary McCann

By: David Sheward

British playwright Simon Stephens is best known on these shores for his Tony-winning adaptation of the novel The Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. But he has had many original works as well including Heisenberg and Bluebird, both short and minimalist pieces, but loaded with intense emotions and truthful insight about human relationships. In On the Shore of the Wide World, his latest play to be imported to America, now at the Atlantic Theater Company, Stephens has gone in the opposite direction. The title is from a Keats poem but the play is less than poetic. While this dysfunctional family drama has some arresting moments, it drags on too long and becomes predictable and cliche-ridden.

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Rhinoceros ***

New Yiddish Rep Presents Yiddish Premiere of Ionesco’s Comedy of the Absurd Rhinoceros As Season Opener

By: Ellis Nassour

New Yiddish Rep (NYR)’s Yiddish premiere of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros, their first production of the 2017-18 season, opened on September 14, 2017 at the Castillo Theatre [543 West 42nd Street, between Tenth and Eleventh Avenues]. It’s performed with English supertitles. This rare revival marks the company’s second Yiddish premiere, following their groundbreaking acclaimed production of God of Vengeance last season.

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The Itch **

Alexandra Zelma-Doring, Gore Abrams

The Itch Opens at New Ohio
Drama Desk nominated Throes Theater presents the premiere of a new play by Alexandra Zelman-Doring.

By: Patrick Christiano

September 6, 2017: The Itch playwright Alexandra Zelman-Doring plays Ana, and Gore Abrams plays Simon her 27-year-old twin brother in a tale about co-dependent siblings. The confusingly odd story directed by Theresa Buchheister, which opened at the New Ohio Theater on Christopher Street in the West Village, has a decidedly downtown feel and makes use of film and video projections as well as loud original punk sounding music by Throes Theater with The Petite Brunettes that marks the opening of the play and scene transitions.

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Michael Moore, The Terms of My Surrender ****1/2

Michael Moore

By: Isa Goldberg

Reading a letter from ABC inviting him, Michael Moore, to appear on Dancing with the Stars, the curmudgeon show man takes it as a death notice. Nothing scares him more than dancing; he just can’t do it. But hold that thought. We’ll get back to it in “Michael Moore on Broadway, The Terms of My Surrender.”

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Prince Of Broadway ***

Karen Ziemba, Emily Skinner, Chuck Cooper, and Tony Yazbeck in Prince of Broadway

By: David Sheward

No one can deny the incredible track record of Harold Prince, the winner of a record 21 Tony Awards and the director and/or producer of almost 50 Broadway shows over six decades. His innovative stagings of such landmark works as Cabaret, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd, Evita, and Phantom of the Opera (to name just a few) revolutionized the American musical theater. Having said that, his highly-anticipated career retrospective, Prince of Broadway, now in a limited run from the non-commercial Manhattan Theater Club after an earlier version played Japan, is perfectly enjoyable, but not the stunning blockbuster we’ve come to expect from Mr. Prince.

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Prince of Broadway *****

Bryonha Marie Parham, Kaley Ann Voorhees

By: Isa Goldberg

Nostalgia, in the very best sense – as a recollection of the past because it rings powerfully in our memory, drives Prince of Broadway. A musical revue really, the eponymous Prince spans the decades from 1954 to 1986, the years during which Hal Prince directed and produced a run of Broadway hits, from West Side Story, Follies, and Fiddler on the Roof, to Kiss of The Spider Woman.

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