Death of a Salesman ****

Rob DiSario, David-Manis, Carolyn Popp, Scott-T.-Hinson

Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor presents Death of a Salesman

Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama Death of a Salesman opened at Bay Street Theater as part of their ongoing annual Literature Live productions. The powerful play intensely directed by Joe Minutillo is arguably one of the greatest of the 20th century. Set in the late 1940’s the story focuses on the Loman family’s struggle with financial insecurity and their illusions just after World War II. Although Miller wrote the play in 1949 it feels equally relevant today as Americans face declining opportunities to achieve their dreams.

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Friends! the Musical Parody ****

By: Iris Wiener

Could this musical BE any more fun? Nope. Friends, the hit NBC show of ten years, is ripe for riffing, and who better to take it on than parody masterminds Tobly and Bob McSmith, the clever writers behind Showgirls! The Musical! and Bayside! The Musical!? Whether you’ve simply caught the sitcom in reruns or you have pined for the day when Ross and Rachel would finally get together, this musical is a hysterical send-up of all that you loved to hate (or hated to love) about the 90s, and the cheese-filled archetypical tropes that defined comedic television.

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What We’re Up Against ***

Krysta Rodriguez, Marg Helgenberger

What We’re Up Against By Theresa Rebeck Directed by Adrienne Campbell-Holt @ WP Theater through Nov. 26, 2017

By: Lauren Yarger

In the workplace, employees have to watch out for sexual harassment. A simple phrase might be taken the wrong way. The twist here, is that the employee lamenting the state of things is a male — and the boss — who says men having to deal with women in the office is just part of What We’re Up Against in this all-too-timely, darkly humorous play from Theresa Rebeck at WP Theater (formerly the Women’s Project.)

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The Last Match ****

Wilson Bethel, Alex Mickiewicz

By: Isa Goldberg

Watching the two super heroes of tennis battling it out at the US Open in Anna Ziegler’s new play, The Last Match, is invigorating, indeed.

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Lonely Planet ****

Arnie Burton, Matt McGrath

By: Iris Wiener

Lonely Planet is a title apropos of Keen Company’s brilliant production, currently running at Harold Clurman Theater at Theatre Row. While Broadway plays are almost non-existent and much of Off-Broadway features political themes and social commentaries, Steven Dietz’s piece is an emotional touchstone harkening back to a time when America was facing a crisis of magnanimous proportions with the AIDS epidemic. That being said, Lonely Planet’s execution is distinct in its subtlety and powerful because of it.

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People, Places & Things ****

Denise Gough & Company in People, Places & Things Photo: Joann Persson

By: Isa Goldberg

Given our nationwide opioid epidemic, there is no more pertinent a production on stage right now than the British import, People, Places & Things at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, through November 19th. That does not mean that Donald Trump will see it, though in fact, he should.

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This One’s for the Girls ***

Haley Swindal, Traci Bair, Jana Robbins, Aneesa Folds

Lively musical by Dorothy Marcic, creator of Sistas, opens at St. Luke’s Theatre.

By: Patrick Christiano

 October 27, 2017:  The amusing new musical This One’s for the Girls by Dorothy Marcic and directed by Tamara Kangas Erickson is a series of witty snapshots chronicling celebrated archetypical women’s role models from the past century in song. The revue, which opened Off- Broadway at St. Luke’s Theatre, 308 West 46 Street, takes a sassy jaunt down the memory lane of the women’s movement with chart topping hits from the past 100 years to punctuate memorable strides by women.

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People, Places, and Things *****

Denise Gough, Barbara Marten

By: David Sheward

The first 20 minutes of Duncan MacMillan’s People, Places, and Things at St. Ann’s Warehouse after a smash-hit London engagement, display the most bracing collaboration of playwright, actors, director, and designers in recent theatrical memory. At first, it appears we are watching the final act of a revival of Chekhov’s The Seagull. But the actress playing Nina seems a bit unsteady on her feet. She is slurring her words and lurching as she moves. She slips and asks the actor playing Constantine if he remembers shooting a seagull and laying at her feet “earlier in the play.” She catches herself, realizing she has broken the performance’s delicate fabric of illusion and then does so literally by ripping down a gauzy back curtain. Immediately James Farncombe’s jagged lighting design and Tom Gibbons’ heart-throbbing soundscape explode, attacking our senses as Bunny Christie’s stark-white, hospital-like set shifts into several different locales at once. With shattering precision director Jeremy Herrin choreographs the actress’s subsequent smash-up. 

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M. Butterfly ** – The Portuguese Kid *** – The Last Match ***1/2

Jason Alexander, Sherie Rene Scott “The Portuguese Kid”

By: David Sheward

The war of the sexes rages on various fronts in Julie Taymor’s Broadway revival of  David Henry Hwang’s M. Butterfly and John Patrick Shanley’s self-directed new play The Portuguese Kid. Butterfly addresses gender fluidity while Kid is one of Shanley’s screaming matches with lovers driven wild by their libidos. Both offer moments of entertaining and fast-paced staging, but lack depth in their dispatches from the front.

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Occupied Territories ***1/2

Nancy Bannon, Kelley Rae O’Donnell

New York premier of insightful new play at 59E59 Theaters recounts the tragedy of Vietnam War with inventive staging and sincere performances.

By:  Patrick Christiano

October 25, 2017:  Nancy Bannon and Mollye Maxner have co-authored Occupied Territories, an ambitious new play about the effects of the Vietnam War on one family. The drama nicely helmed by Mollye Maxner and starring Nancy Bannon in a heartfelt performance as Jude, the daughter of a recently deceased Vietnam Veteran, opened at 59E59 Theaters this past Wednesday. Kelley Rae O’Donnell plays Jude’s sister Helena and Ciela Elliott plays her daughter Alex, who has been in Helena’s care while Jude was away at a drug rehabilitation facility.

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I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change *****

George Merrick, Karen Burthwright, Mitchell Jarvis, Lindsay Nicole Chambers

By: Iris Wiener

The new, updated version of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, needs to do anything but change. The off-Broadway hit musical, which ran from 1996 through 2008 for a remarkable 5,003 performances, has been revamped to reflect the current marriage of technology and dating, as well as the many ways in which social media and apps subsume love and family. In a rare feat, Tony Award winner Joe DiPietro’s book and lyrics and Jimmy Roberts’ music is as fresh, affecting and delightfully funny as it was when it debuted 21 years ago.

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The Treasurer ****

Peter Friedman, Deanna Dunagan

By: Isa Goldberg

Currently, at Playwrights Horizons, The Treasurer, takes us into the lives of a hellish mother son relationship. One which the son, at least, wishes were over.

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Mary Jane ****

Carrie Coon, Susan Pourfar

By: Isa Goldberg

Playwright, Amy Herzog traffics in the simple realities of human experience — the dailyness that both masks and reveals an inner drama. And while the style of her realism is highly detailed and finely textured, her works sustain a contemporary sensibility.

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Desperate Measures ****1/2

Lauren Molina

By: Paulanne Simmons

There’s no shortage of Shakespearean plays that have been turned into musicals. George Abbott, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers’ The Boys from Syracuse is based on The Comedy of Errors. Cole Porter and the Speweck’s Kiss Me Kate is the trio’s version of The Taming of the Shrew. Arthur Laurents, Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story is a 20th century musical interpretation of Romeo and Juliet.

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