Nanette ****

Hannah Gadsby Photo: Carol Rosegg

By: Isa Goldberg

April 12, 2018- Making her American debut with, “Nanette,” Hannah Gadsby’s one-woman show the Soho Playhouse crosses the line from stand-up comedienne to feminist satirist, and social critic. Anger, indeed, is the stuff of some of our greatest comedians from Lenny Bruce to Joan Rivers.

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The Winter’s Tale ***1/2

Kelley Curran, Nicole Rodenburgin

By: Iris Wiener

April 10, 2018 – Forget winter; when a Shakespearean tale is produced this intelligently, it is ripe for every season. Though the writing itself is long and frustrating at times, it is made fantastically accessible in Polonsky Theatre Center’s intimate setting. Shakespeare’s lesser-known tragicomedy is a tale of jealousy, loss and redemption, while infused with bold notes of humor. Unfortunately, it takes a while to get to the funny, and those are the scenes that make this production unique and memorable.

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Three Tall Women **** Lobby Hero *** Frozen ** Admissions ****

Glenda Jackson in “Three Tall Women”

By: David Sheward

April 8, 2018 – Recycling continues to be the main mode of operating on Broadway. Two American plays (Three Tall Women, Lobby Hero) are making their belated Main Stem debuts after successful Off-Broadway engagements roughly two decades ago and yet another Disney cartoon (Frozen) is transitioning to the live stage. Meanwhile Off-Broadway, a brand-new work (Admissions) is challenging conventions and rigidly-held beliefs in a production that induces both laughs and squirms of discomfort. The Broadway revivals do the same, but it’s indicative of our large-scale commercial theater that fresh innovation is confined to our smaller stages.

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Three Tall Women *****

Alison Pill, Glenda Jackson, Laurie Metcalf

By: Isa Goldberg

April 5, 2018. While Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, his 1994 Pulitzer Award-winning drama, is full of sadness, Joe Mantello’s revival plays on its underlying and uncanny sense of comedy. Seething beneath the fast-paced banter, in fact, is a kind of Grand Guignol, a graphic, display of amoral horror and entertainment. 

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Lobby Hero *****

Chris Evans, Michael Cera

By: Isa Goldberg

April 5, 2018. As humorous and unpretentious as Lobby Hero is, in its portrayal of everyday urban life, it’s a delving piece of theater, about the stories we tell ourselves, and others.

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Gob Squad: War and Peace **1/2

By: Paulanne Simmons

April 3, 2018 – The Berlin collective Gob Squad works collaboratively with performance, video installation and interactive theater to produce innovative and challenging works. As with all such endeavors, the results range from brilliant to mundane. Their newest work War and Peace is a little of both.

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Babette’s Feast ****

Abigail Killeen, Michelle Hurst, Juliana Francis Kelly

By: Lauren Yarger
March 30, 2018

An exquisite and tasteful staging of the New York premiere of Babette’s Feast serves up this week’s Easter message of love and grace.

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Angels in America *****

Nathan Lane and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett in “Angels in America”

Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes

By: David Sheward

It’s been over 20 years since Angels in America, Tony Kushner’s epic two-part dramatic response to the AIDS crisis, burst onto the world stage. In spite of its age and the fact that it takes place ten years earlier (1985-6), this epic remains startlingly relevant and Marianne Elliott’s highly theatrical and insightful new production, now on Broadway after a smash run at the National Theater in London, is simultaneously massive and intimate. When the play opened (Part One—Millennium Approaches premiered in San Francisco in 1991, Part Two—Perestroika debuted on Broadway in 1994), critics predicted it would take its place alongside the masterworks of O’Neill, Williams, and Miller. This quirky, heartfelt revival confirms that status.

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Calamity Jane ****

Peter Gosik (Wild Bill Hickock); Rosalie Burke (Katie); Dallas Padoven (Ensemble); Kristin Wetherington (Calamity Jane); Caitlin Evans (Ensemble); Abby Hart (Ensemble)

By: Paulanne Simmons

In 1953, at the height of the American film and television industry’s fascination with the West, Warner Brothers released Calamity Jane, a musical loosely based on the alleged romance between Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok. The film starred Doris Day in the title role and Howard Keel as Hickok, and featured a score by Sammy Fain (music) and Paul Francis Webster (lyrics).

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Admissions ****

Jessica Hecht, Andrew Garman, Ben Edelman

By: Isa Goldberg

That Admissions, Joshua Harmon’s new play at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E Newhouse Theater, feels like it’s stuck in banalities, is much to the playwright’s point. Here, at Hillcrest, in the elite halls of the country’s leading prep school, the tyranny of political correctness is more contagious than an outbreak of the flu.

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A Letter to Harvey Milk ****1/2

Adam Heller, Julia Knitel, Cheryl Stern “A Letter to Harvey Milk”

By: Paulanne Simmons

Despite its somewhat misleading title, A Letter to Harvey Milk is not about the gay activist who was shot and killed in San Francisco by Dan White. Although Milk does make an appearance in the musical, the real hero is Harry Weinberg, an aging Jewish man, who signs up for a writing course with a young lady named Barbara Katsel and ends up writing that letter.

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Escape to Margaritaville ** The Low Road **** Semiramide ***

Alison Luff. Paul Alexander Nolan “Escape to Margaritaville”

By: David Sheward

Let me confess that margaritas are my cocktail of choice. Having one while watching the new Broadway musical Escape to Margaritaville certainly put me in the appropriate relaxed mood, but the salty sweet concoction in the plastic souvenir glass could not entirely overcome the show’s deficiencies. This is the latest in a long line of jukebox tuners with the canon of a musical artist employed as fodder for either a bio (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Jersey Boys and the upcoming Donna Summer and Cher shows) or a flimsily-constructed original story (Mamma Mia!, Good Vibrations). Escape falls into the latter category and it makes Mamma Mia! looks like My Fair Lady by comparison.

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Frozen: The Broadway Musical ***1/2

Caissie Levy as Elsa, Patti Murin as Anna and the cast of “Frozen”

By: Iris Wiener

Fans of the film Frozen will experience the musical adaptation as though they are at a rock concert; it’s a waiting game for the hit songs and now iconic characters, with much filler to pad a story that would otherwise have been too lacking in music to substantiate a Broadway production. What fans love about the film is set in place to glorious effect; however, most additions and many changes fall a bit flat, tiring its youthful audience quickly.

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The Low Road ***1/2

Crystal A. Dickinson, Chris Perfetti, Harriet Harris

By: Isa Goldberg

An epic gaze into the love of wealth, Bruce Norris’ new play The Low Road at The Public Theater is dramatically quite fabulous. In it, the prophet of free market economy, Adam Smith (Daniel Davies), plays a central role, narrating the action, from a seemingly omniscient point of view.  Waving an “invisible hand” over the corrupt machinations of these 18th century businessmen, he is a cunning curator, in a world of fraudulent dealings.

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The Amateurs ***

Quincy Tyler Bernstine, Jennifer Kim, Thomas Jay Ryan, Kyle Beltran “The Amateurs”

By: Paulanne Simmons

It’s the fourteenth century in Jordan Harrison’s new play, The Amateurs. A troupe of feisty actors drag their pageant wagon across Italy, preparing their version of “Noah’s Ark” for a local duke whose patronage they seek. All around, the Black Death claims its victims, including one of their players.

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