The Antipodes ****

Josh Charles, Phillip James Brannon

By: David Sheward

Annie Baker continues to explore the complex web of human communities in her strange and unexpectedly affecting new play The Antipodes from Signature Theatre. Previously she has detailed the connections made in an amateur acting class (Circle Mirror Transformation), a summer snack stand (The Aliens), a crumbling neighborhood movie theater (The Flick), and a possibly haunted bed and breakfast (John). Here, the specimens under her microscope are a group of Hollywood writers developing a major project—either a blockbuster movie or a TV series involving a monster of some kind. As they tell each other stories in search of inspiration for their mass-media project, they form a circle of trust and companionship amidst a disintegrating world. The unpredictable auteur disappears, apocalyptic weather erupts, and the line between reality and fantasy blurs.

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A Doll’s House, Part 2 *****

Jayne Houdyshell and Laurie Metcalf in “A Doll’s House, Part 2”

By: Paulanne Simmons

Ever since Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House premiered at the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen in 1872, audiences have been wondering what happens to Nora after she walks out on Torvald and her children. Now, well over a hundred years later, thanks to Lucas Hnath’s new play, A Doll’s House, Part 2, we know.

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Indecent ****

“Indecent” on Broadway Photo: Carol Rosegg

Indecent on Broadway
Haunting Tony nominated Best Play at the Cort Theatre is a stunning tale directed by Rebecca Taichman.

By: Patrick Christiano

In their Tony nominated play, Indecent now playing at Broadway’s Cort Theatre, Rebecca Taichman and Pulitzer prize winning playwright Paula Vogel have fashioned an exquisite evening of theater that movingly illustrates the history of a little known 1906 Yiddish play, God of Vengeance by Sholem Asch. The staging, a fusion of elements, directed by Taichman is an evocative kaleidoscope of images that begins with the play’s inception. The story then follows the journey of God of Vengeance, a play about a lesbian romance between a prostitute and the virgin Jewish daughter of the brothel’s owner, on a successful tour of Europe. Eventually coming to Broadway in 1923 a controversial kiss staged in the play results in an obscenity trial and the cast being jailed for indecent behavior.

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A Doll’s House Part 2 **** – Six Degrees of Separation **** – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory **

Laurie Metcalf in A Doll’s House, Part 2

By: David Sheward

The 2016-17 Broadway season ends with two bangs and a sort of whimper mixed with a chuckle. A Doll’s House Part 2 and Six Degrees of Separation examine difficult questions of identity in powerhouse productions while Charlie and the Chocolate Factory stumbles and trips but is kinda funny in a goofy way. Though written almost 30 years apart and set in different centuries not our own, the first two plays offer vital snapshots of how we live now. Their themes are timeless and so can be applied in 1890, 1990, or 2017. The silly kid’s musical is good for a couple of guffaws.

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Baghdaddy ***1/2

By Iris Wiener

Free donuts and coffee. Name tags. A church basement. Is this an AA meeting, or is it a musical? Actually, it’s a bit of both. Factor in political satire, vigorous choreography, dark humor, strobe lights and rap and rock music, and you get Baghdaddy, a show with a title just as bizarre as its storytelling technique.

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Miss Saigon *****

Music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil Lyrics by Alain Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr. with additional Lyrics by Michael Mahler

By: Lauren Yarger

A revival of the Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boublil (the team that brought us Les Miserables) classic, almost 25 years after the show first arrived on Broadway, brought “ho hum” as my first thought. 

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Gently Down the Stream ****

Gabriel Ebert and Harvey Fierstein in “Gently Down the Stream”

By: Paulanne Simmons

Anyone who doesn’t believe we are (in many ways) in a post gay rights era need only see Martin Sherman’s  Gently Down the Stream and chances are the sceptic will be convinced.

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Significant Other ****

Lindsay Mendez, Gideon Glick

By: Lauren Yarger

A strong ensemble cast makes Joshua Harmon’s search for a Significant Other on Broadway engaging and less ho-hum than one might expect.

After all, the premise of a one friend feeling left out while others of a group find significant others and get married isn’t new. This one offers some decent character development, however, and studies the complexities of why friends get pushed aside when romance enters the picture. 

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Marry Harry ****

David Spadora, Morgan Cowling

By: Paulanne Simmons

The York Theatre Company, famous for its nurturing of musicals, has hatched a new potential hit, Marry Harry, with a book by Jennifer Robbins, music by Dan Martin and lyrics by Michael Biello. 

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Bandstand ****

Corey Cott, Laura Osnes

By: Isa Goldberg

A new American musical, Bandstand, raises the stakes on a storied cliché. That a bunch of guys start a band, and fulfill their dream of becoming famous seems to be as hackneyed as it can get. But Richard Oberacker and RobTaylor, the creative duo, who are making their Broadway debut here, bring an innocence and vitality to a story every boy and girl imagines, and which the show’s creators run with, to the heights.

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Come From Away ***

Jenn Colella and the Cast of “Come From Away”

By: Isa Goldberg

So this guy goes shopping and the check out lady says, “Thank you for shopping at Walmart. Would you like to use my house for a shower?” Mind you, this comes as no surprise. The guy says yes, and the checkout lady finishes her shift and brings this complete stranger into her home.

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Hello Dolly ****

David Hyde Pierce, Bette Midler

By: Isa Goldberg

For its graceful legion of dancers, and for the return of Bette Midler to Broadway, let us say, “Hello, Dolly!“ In this revival of the popular show, by Michael Stewart (book) and Jerry Herman (music and lyrics), director Jerry Zaks and choreographer Warren Carlyle recreate the flow of song, story and motion that distinguished Gower Champion’s original choreography and direction. These dancers are literally on their toes, and the pageantry and whimsy they bring to this revival recreates one of the best-staged musicals of all time.

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Gentley Down The Stream **1/2

Harvey Fierstein

Harvey Fierstein stars in Martin Sherman’s new play at the Pubic.

By: Patrick Christiano

Martin Sherman’s Gently Down the Stream opens in the well-appointed London flat of Beau, an aging gay 61-year-old lounge pianist, played by the legendary Harvey Fierstein.  Beau has picked up someone from an online dating service and invited him home, where he has just lived out most aging gay men’s fantasy of having sex with a well-built younger man. The man named Rufus is a 28-year-old attorney played by Gabriel Ebert, a Tony winner for Matilda the Musical and a cast member from Fierstein’s Broadway play about a get-away for cross dressers, Casa Valentina. Aside from the sex, which takes place off-stage before the play begins, Derek McLane’s impeccably imagined design for the pianist’s home lined with towering bookshelves filled with a lifetime of memories may be the highlight of the evening directed by Sean Mathias.

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Bandstand *** 1/2 Anastasia **

Corey Cott, Laura Osnes in “Bandstand”

By: David Sheward

As the Tony Award deadline approaches, Broadway is flooded with new musicals. Two of the last on the current season’s roster follow familiar templates but have varying degrees of success departing from them. Bandstand employs the scrappy-underdogs-making-it-against-the-odds formula, while Anastasia attempts the plucky-heroine-triumphs-and-finds-love trope. The former at least adds a few new wrinkles and the latter is just wrinkled.

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The Lightning Thief *** 1/2

Chris McCarrell

Theatreworks NYC presents a new version of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical at Lucille Lortel Theatre

By:  Patrick Christiano

Joe Tracz adapted the book for The Lightning Thief from the best-selling young adult fiction series of the same name by Rick Riordan, and Rob Rokicki, wrote the music and lyrics. The musical presented by Theatreworks NYC, a group that has produced over 130 children oriented shows since 1961, and directed by Stephen Brackett is a fast- paced fun filled delight. Low budget, yet thoroughly entertaining the evening for children of all ages centers on a young man, Percy Jackson intensely played by Chris McCarrell, who suddenly realizes he has powers he can’t fully control, when he discovers he is the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea. . 

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