Piaf! The Show *****

By: Paulanne Simmons

In1957 Edith Piaf gave her second and last concert at Carnegie Hall. The concert included “La vie en rose,” “Padam Padam,” and “L’Accordéoniste.” Sixty years later, on Jan. 6, Anne Carrere dazzled the audience at Carnegie Hall with her brilliant performance in Piaf! The Show. She sang many of those songs the audience longed to hear again.

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A Bronx Tale **1/2 – The Death of the Last Black Man in Whole Entire World ***1/2 The Band’s Visit ****

By: David Sheward
If the recent presidential election has taught us anything, it’s that racism and stereotyping are still prevalent despite polite wrist-slapping by the media elite. A spate of new productions address prejudice in various forms with varying degrees of creativity and imagination. It should come as no surprise that the Broadway entry in this round-up is the softest and least dangerous of the three while the Off-Broadway shows are edgier and more honest.

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Othello *****

The moment you enter New York Theatre Workshop for Sam Gold’s searing production of Othello, you know it will be a startlingly different interpretation of Shakespeare’s tragedy of the noble Moor. Set designer Andrew Lieberman has reconfigured the normally spacious playing area into a tight, claustrophobic army barracks.

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The Babylon Line ***

By: Isa Goldberg
“Smash everything.” “Be ruthless,” opines the central character in Richard Greenberg’s new play, set in an adult creative writing class. Indeed, It’s of no great surprise to find that Richard Greenberg’s The Babylon Line, currently at The Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater, is all about writing. Metatheater being Greenberg’s forte, his works thrive on esoteric wordplay, windy narratives, and literary metaphor

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Kristin Chenoweth *****

 A captivating solo concert, “My Love Letter to Broadway,” at the Lunt
Fontanne Theatre through Nov. 13 is an
eclectic selection of songs and personal reminiscences.

By: Patrick Christiano

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Sgt. Stubby **1/2

Bryan Ernesto Menjivar, Patrick Steven Bovo, Meghan Miller, Matt Weinstein

Sgt. Stubby, The Great American War Dog Musical

By: Patrick Christiano
The best thing about Sgt. Stubby, The Great American War Dog Musical is that the show sheds light on a remarkable canine and his heroic efforts during World War I. Stubby, the official mascot of the 102nd Infantry, was a stray that served in the military for 18 months participating in 17 battles on the Western Front, while ultimately becoming a decorated war hero and being promoted to the rank of Sergeant in the process. At home his feats were front-page news documenting how he saved his regiment from a surprise mustard gas attack, rescued the wounded, and once even caught a German soldier by the seat of his pants holding him prisoner until American soldiers found him.

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The Front Page ***

By Isa Goldberg

The giddy revival of Ben Hecht and Charles Macarthur’s The Front Page on
Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre is sheer entertainment, especially when
Nathan Lane, the tabloid publisher Walter Burns, arrives.  A sheer force
of nature, Lane drives each scene with relentless energy and vigor, with the
cast of actors tightly on his heels. And what a cast it is!
Julieta_Cervantes_John_Slattery_Nathan_Lane_John Slattery, Nathan Lane

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The Band’s Visit ****1/2

By Paulanne Simmons

At the beginning of The Band’s Visit, Dina (Katrina Lenk), the proprietor
of a cafe in a small Israeli town called Bet Hatikvah, tells the audience, “Once
not long ago group of musicians came to Israel from Egypt. You probably didn’t
hear about it. It wasn’t very important.” She repeats the statement at the end.
But by that time, everyone realizes the band’s visit was indeed of great
importance to that little, sleepy town.
90_1 Katrina Lenk, Tony Shalhoub

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The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World *** 1/2

By:  Isa Goldberg

It’s not entirely clear what Suzan-Lori Parks, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright is
up to in her phantasmagoria at The Signature Theatre, Off Broadway. Written in
1990, it still makes for a captivating 70-minutes of theater.

Patrena_Murray__Jamar_Williams__Daniel_J__Watts__Reynaldo_Piniella__David_Ryan_SmithMARCUSPatrena Murray, Jamar Williams, Daniel J. Watts, Reynaldo Puneulla, David Ryan Smith

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The Band’s Visit ****1/2

A Visit We’re Sorry to See Come to an End

By: Lauren YargerAri___el_Stachel__David_Garo_Yellin__George_Abud__Tony_Shaloub__Harvey_Valdes__Sam_Sadigursky__Alok_Tewari__AHRON_R__FOSTER
Ari’el Stachel, David Garo Yellin, George Abud, Tony Shaloub, Harvey Valdes, Sam Sadigursky, Alok Tewari

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Winter Rhythms ***

Highlights from Stephen Hanks’s New York Cabaret’s Greatest Hits Series 

By: Paulanne Simmons

 Urban Stages’ Winter Rhythms, which benefits its Arts & Education program,
features over one hundred artists in more than twenty cabaret and musical
theater shows. Each show only runs for one night. And each night is a gem.
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The Dec. 3 Highlights from Stephen Hanks’s New York Cabaret’s Greatest
Hits Series
at the Metropolitan Room featured performances that were funny,
moving and sentimental. Given the opportunity to present their very best, many
of the performers chose songs that were extremely personal.

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Boychiks of Broadway ****

By Paulanne Simmons

 Although “White Christmas” is certainly appropriate for the season, as Alexis Fishman
said at the beginning of her show, Boychiks of Broadway, “It was not the
first song you were expecting to hear.” However, the truth is “White Christmas”
was written by that most Jewish of Broadway composers, Israel Isidore Baline,
a.k.a Irving Berlin. 

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Alexis Fishman 

And, as Fishman pointed out, many of the best Christmas songs were written by Jews:
“Winter Wonderland,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),”
“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” and so many, many more.

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Notes From The Field *****

By Isa Goldberg

Cultural anthropologist, sociologist, and performance artist, Anna Deavere Smith returns to the New York stage, with yet another jolting theater documentary. This time the subject is “the school to prison pipeline”. 

Anna_Deavere_Smith_Joan_Marcus_NOTES

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