Angels in America **1/2

Andrew Garland, Aaron Blake

New York City Opera at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre

By: David Sheward

New York City Opera closes its 2016-17 season with the bold choice of Hungarian composer Peter Eotvos’ adaptation of Angels in America, Tony Kushner’s two-part epic on the impact of AIDS. Librettist Mari Mezei compresses the seven-hour original into a brisk two-and-a-half hour, single-evening event. Much of Kushner’s complex musings on a myriad of topics from the fall of international communism to Ronald Reagan’s soulless conservatism to the Mormon faith are jettisoned to focus on the interrelationships of the characters, each devastated by the disease and homophobia.

Read more >

Julius Caesar ****

Nikki M. James, Corey Stoll

Free Shakespeare in the Park/Public Theater

By: David Sheward

Last summer, the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park Series unsuccessfully imposed a modern feminist slant on Taming of the Shrew by employing an all-woman cast. This year, they’ve launched the 2017 season with another contemporary take on one of the Bard’s classics with transgender casting, but this time the updating and non traditional acting assignments largely work out.

Read more >

Julius Caesar ***

Gregg Henry (center) and the company in The Public Theater’s Free Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, directed by Oskar Eustis, running at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park through June 18.

By: Paulanne Simmons

Julius Caesar was a Roman politician, general, and distinguished author. Before becoming leader of the free world, Donald Trump was a television personality and businessman who declared bankruptcy at least four times. One can only conclude that Trump benefits by any comparison with the man who crossed the Rubicon. Except, of course, for the fact that Caesar was assassinated.  

Read more >

Miss Julia ****

Tina Mitchell, Jhon Alex Photo: Federico Rios Escobar

By: David Gruber

Miss Julia, by August Strindberg premieres at La Mama

Miss Julia toured Columbia, Spain and Italy for 3 successful seasons before finally making a long-anticipated premiere in New York City. Adapted by Ed Araiza from the classic and probably most best-known play by August Strindberg, it stars an international cast: the   indomitable, very talented and always compelling Australian actress Tina Mitchell (Miss Julia) the well-known Columbian TV and film actor Jhon Alex Toro, (Juan) and the Columbian actress Gina Jaimes (Cristina) and directed by Italian Lorenzo Montanini.

Read more >

The Government Inspector **1/2

Kelly Hutchinson, Stephen DeRosa, David Manis, Michael Urie, Tom Alan Robbins, Mary Lou Rosato

By: Iris Wiener

There is farce, and then there is the humorous play that tries too hard to be a farce. Unfortunately, The Government Inspector is mostly the latter. Although the piece is filled with many one-liners that land abundantly well, as a whole, Inspector is lacking in depth and consistency. Characters launch into asides at awkward moments, breaking up the already disjointed plot construction. None of the characters have very strong merits or backstories, making it difficult to root for or against them. On the other hand, the actors themselves are vibrant and on top of their game; audiences will not only root for them, but eat them up as well.

Read more >

The Boy Who Danced On Air *** 1/2

Troy Iwata Photo: Maria Baranova

Bold musical at Abingdon Theater sheds light on taboo subject

By Patrick Christiano

Charlie Sohne and Tim Rosser’s courageous musical The Boy Who Danced On Air, now playing at the Abingdon Theater through June 11, 2017, tackles an Afghanistan custom know as Bacha Bazi meaning “boy play.” The law in Afghanistan prohibits married men from having extramarital affairs with other women, however destitute parents often sell their young boys to wealthy men, who teach them to dance dressed as women. These boys are not only an amusement to the men and their friends, but are frequently used for sex as well becoming their sex slaves.

Read more >

A Doll’s House Part 11 ***1/2

Laurie Metcalf, Condola Rashad

By: Isa Goldberg

A sequel to Ibsen’s A Doll’s House seems, except for a handful of academic feminists, as long awaited as a cold day in hell. In 1879, when Henrik Ibsen’s masterpiece exploded on the European stage, they didn’t even have movies, so who would have cared about a sequel, anyway? Lucas, author of A Doll’s House Part II, clearly does! Like Ibsen, Hnath is taken to the task of challenging a theater which idealizes society’s conventions, and its rigid morals regarding family life and propriety. And Nora is a heroine exactly because she refuses to accept the shackles of a conventional marriage, and an abusive husband.

Read more >

A Hunger Artist *****

Jonathan Levin

By: Isa Goldberg

A brilliant, bizarre and inventive piece of theater, A Hunger Artist, is brought to us by Sinking Ship Productions, a company which is rightfully stirring up some dust in theater circles. Produced by The Tank, at The Connelly Theater in the East Village, and only through the month, it is truly a satisfying piece of theater, nurtured solely by the imaginations of Sinking Ship’s collaborators, Josh Luxenberg, playwright, and Jon Levin, the show’s solo performer, and aided by Josh William Gelb, director and co-creator. Utilizing the most rudimentary instruments, the production is true to the concept of a poor theater, in which the actors co-create the experience with the spectators.

Read more >

Church and State ***

Christa Scott-Reed, Jonathan Louis Dent, Rob Nagle, Nadia Bowers

By: Paulanne Simmons

Like most political plays, Jason Odell Williams’ Church and State is relevant, often riveting and ultimately not particularly good theater. The drama, directed by Markus Potter, focuses on Charles Whitmore (Rob Nagle), a North Carolina politician who is running for senator on a platform of compassionate conservatism. As the play opens, Whitmore is in his campaign office prior to a major speech, suffering from self-inflicted wounds.

Read more >

The Whirligig *** Building the Wall **1/2

Norbert-Leo-Butz, Noah-Bean, Dolly-Wells “The Whirligig”

By: David Sheward

Hamish Linklater is one of our most versatile actors, enlivening both sitcoms and Shakespeare. He’s one of the few who has not abandoned the latter for the former, appearing regularly on New York stages after finding success on the small screen. His new play The Whirligig, now at the Pershing Signature Center in a production from The New Group, displays a performer’s instinct for juicy, conflict-stuffed scenes. There are flaws in construction, but overall, it’s a worthy effort.

Read more >

Composure ***

C.K. Allen, Robert Bruce McIntosh

By: Sam Affoumado

A relationship between two middle-aged men whose past traumas infiltrate their present lives is at the core of  “Composure,” a romantic drama by Scott C. Sickles, presented by The Workshop Theater.

Read more >

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.

Read more >

So Close: Love and Hate ****

Migguel Anggelo Photo: Nico liev

By: Paulanne Simmons

The Brooklyn based, Venezuelan born dancer, singer, songwriter and activist Migguel Anggelo returned to Joe’s Pub with a show that included new songs, American standards and Latin classics. There was even a touch of opera. Directed and developed by Obie Award winner David Drake, So Close: Love & Hate features musical direction and arrangements by Migguel Anggelo , who is also on piano, percussion and loop, with Hery Paz on saxophone, clarinets and flute; and  Jessie Reagen Mann on cello.

Read more >

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.

Read more >