Sunset Boulevard *** – Everybody ***

Glenn Close

By: David Sheward

Most Broadway revivals of classical musicals featuring the original stars have been museum pieces vainly attempting to recreate the first incarnation’s magic. The resurrections of Yul Brynner in The King and I, Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly! and Angela Lansbury in Mame are some examples of this waxwork genre.

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Evening at the Talkhouse ***

Matthew Broderick. Claudia Shear, Larry Pine, Michael Tucker

By: Isa Goldberg

Entering the soiree at the Signature Center off Broadway, we’re greeted with cocktails (colored water) and some sugary snacks. Indeed, EVENING AT THE TALK HOUSE, written by Wallace Shawn, who also plays Dick, one of the central characters, is a gathering of theater’s most illustrious. We meet Robert (Matthew Broderick), Annette (Claudia Shear), Tom (Larry Pine), Nellie (Jill Eikenberry), and Ted (John Epperson), among others. The occasion is the 10th anniversary of a show they had all worked on, and which had been a flop. 

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Fade ***

Annie Dow, Eddie Martinez.

By: Isa Goldberg

Set in “Trump’s America”, Tanya Saracho’s new play, FADE, produced by Primary Stages at the Cherry Lane Theatre, is a soulful, engrossing two-person drama. Portraying the newcomer on a staff of television writers in LA, Lucia (Annie Dow) befriends the only person who will give her the time of day.  That’s Abel (Edie Martinez), a janitor who wears his tough edge with noticeable tattoos. A Mexican American worker, Abel sticks to himself, until he gets swept up in Lucia’s overtures of friendship.

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The Great Comet of 1812 ****

Josh Groban

By Isa Goldberg

Seeing THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 for the third time, and now with Josh Groban as Pierre at the Imperial Theatre on Broadway, I found the story itself so much clearer. Based on a segment of Tolstoy’s WAR AND PEACE, the musical’s plot is dense, and the relationships between the characters so tangled, that the story gets lost in the epic scope of the show. While its impact lies in this sense of endearing mystery, the underlying human experience remains inexplicable and otherworldly.

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Monopoly ****

Billie Roe

Monopoly: Singing the Lives  from Baltic Avenue to Boardwalk

By: Paulanne Simmons

From its earliest beginnings in 16th century France, cabaret has always been the purlieu of writers and artists. So it should not be surprising that cabarets have always been subversive. Billie Roe must have had this in mind when she created her newest theme show, Monopoly: Singing the Lives from Baltic Avenue to Boardwalk, which she brought to Don’t Tell Mama on Feb. 12

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The Object Lesson ***

By: Patrick Christiano

Be forewarned The Object Lesson created by Geoff Sobelle and directed by David Neumann, also a choreographer, dancer and actor, is a performance art piece running roughly 100 minutes at the New York Theatre Workshop. Sobelle is also the only credited actor, although another person in the guise of an audience member interacts with him.  In his biography Sobelle calls himself an actor, director and maker of absurdist performance art, and the press release says he is mainly interested in moments of “the sublime ridiculous.” 

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Evening at the Talk House **

Mathew Broderick, Wallace Shawn

By: David Sheward

As you enter the Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at the Pershing Square Signature Center for Wallace Shawn’s new play Evening at the Talk House, you’re greeted by a familiar-looking lady dressed in the traditional white shirt and black pants of a waitron. “Would you like a sweet or some sparkling water?” she asks. It takes a minute to realize this is Jill Eikenberry, best known for LA Law. Wait, isn’t that the still-boyish Matthew Broderick wandering around Derek McLane’s cosy clubhouse set? And the squeaking voice of the Yoda-like playwright himself, also a cast member, can be heard chatting with the audience. From this relaxed and inviting opening, you might think you’ll be experiencing a nice, warm night with familiar faces from stage and screen delivering cute career anecdotes. But, you’re in for a surprise.

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Protest Songs *****

Classic Protest Songs: Second Edition
By: Paulanne Simmons

When many of us think of protest songs, we picture Bob Dylan, Joan Baez or Phil Ochs strumming guitars and singing at marches, cafes and concert halls. But as Scott Siegel showed in his Classic Protest Songs: Second Edition at Metropolitan Room on Friday, Feb. 10, the history is much richer.

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The Liar **** – Yen **** – Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 ***1/2

Kelly Hutchinson, Carson Elrod

By: David Sheward
Could there be a more appropriate historical moment to mount a new adaptation of Corneille’s comedy The Liar? As our newly-elected president and his spokespeople substitute “alternative facts” for truth, Classic Stage Company presents David Ives’ intricate semi-updating of the hilarious tale of Dorante, an epic braggart exaggerating and fabricating his way through romantic entanglements in 17th century Paris. He’s accurately described as “a lying genius, if a moral zero” (sound familiar?) This is Ives’ third foray into refashioning French theatrical meringues. He has previously adapted Moliere’s The Misanthrope (as The School for Lies) and Regnard’s The Heir Apparent, both of which have played CSC.

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The Present *****

Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh

By: Isa Goldberg
Is it a bomb? Will there be a postmortem?  Simply, questions people are asking about the The Present.

The Sydney Theatre Company makes its Broadway debut with this contemporary adaptation of Platonov, an early, unwieldy play, by Anton Chekhov. In its current incarnation, by Andrew Upton, directed by John Crowley, the setting (by Alice Babidge) is a contemporary country home in Russia, in a village that might as well be East Hampton, NY. To coin a Chekhovian joke, it’s a place everyone is dying to go to, but even at 110 miles from Manhattan, the trip is far too treacherous.

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Jitney ****1/2

By: Isa Goldberg

Director Ruben Santiago-Hudson’s revival of Jitney delivers a heartfelt optimism all within the harsh realism of August Wilson’s drama, about a group of African American men in the Hill District of Pittsburgh in 1977. This is Wilson’s well-known turf, after all, and he knows these characters with an almost innate intimacy, that this director shares.

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The Liar ***1/2

By: Isa Goldberg
The dictum “the unexamined life is not worth living”, is merely a set up for hilarious antics, or so it would appear, in David Ives’ The Liar, currently at the Classic Stage Company (CSC). In fact, at this performance, it behooves us to put any thought of morality aside. Unless it sort of tumbles out of the lampoon, it is hardly with our time.

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Not That Jewish ***1/2

Monica Piper

By: Paulanne Simmons
Monica Piper is a very funny woman. She comes by her skills naturally. Her father, was a touring comic before he decided to settle down to raise a family, and even her more sedate mother knew how to tell a dirty joke.

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Author directing Author ****

“I don’t know what I can save you from” By Neil LaBute with Richard Kind & Gia Crovatin

By: Iris Wiener

Though the roles of playwright and director often overlap in the rehearsal process, their work is usually distinguished by their prescribed jobs; this is what makes Author directing Author so special. In the third annual edition of the series that pairs international playwrights with one another as directors of each other’s work, boundaries become non-existent, and the roles behind the scenes are blurred, adding more layers to already poignant pieces.

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Get Happy *****

Stephen DeRosa, Erin Dilly, Klea Blackhurst, Nathaniel Stampley

By: Linda Amiel Burns

The 2017 Lyrics & Lyricist Season opens with a tribute to the Early Years of Harold Arlen with Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks and featuring a terrific cast.

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