A Little Night Music ***1/2

Catherine Zeta-Jones

With her name above the title at Broadway’s Walter Kerr Theatre Oscar winner Catherine Zeta-Jones makes  for great box office in the entertaining revival of Stephen Sondheim’s  A Little Night Music.  The screen beauty plays Desiree, the fading actress at the center of the elegant classic.  If her glamorous presence is not exactly a perfect fit, she generates enough star power in the Trevor Nunn production to pack the houses in spite of the evening’s shortcomings.

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Give and Go

Give and Go:
Learning from Losing to the Harlem Globetrotters

By Isa Goldberg

As dramatic genre, the one-person show has been rising like a phoenix. The sheer number of them – many of them quite powerful – is at a zenith.

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Most Likely To:

                    The Senior Superlative MusicalBy Isa Goldberg

Just when every girl in high school is yearning to be Lea Michele and every boy, Jonathan Groff, the teen idols of Television’s “Glee,” “Most Likely To: The Senior Superlative Musical” comes strutting down the corridor. The show, at Greenwich Village’s Players Theatre, stars real teenagers from Syosset’s Long Island High School for the Arts in a musical spoof that covers the playing field, mostly high school musicals and reality TV shows with a tad of the Olsen Twins and Harry Potter thrown in for good measure.

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Ragtime

Ragtime’ Foreshadowing the Era of Obama
By: Isa Goldberg
Imagine the shape of our American heritage as a series of simple lines and curves. Move through them quickly like an animation and a silent movie stutters into motion. Now watch them move with full orchestration and you have “Ragtime”, making its resounding revival at the Neil Simon Theatre.

 

 

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Hamlet

O What a Good Looking Actor Is He

Jude Law would seem to be the ideal choice to play Hamlet. It is, after all, a revenge play with all the trappings of a B movie. In fact, the actor’s interpretation of Shakespeare’s verse is easy enough to follow. One reason for the many accolades he’s received.

 

 

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A Steady Rain

Saucy Cops and Bud Lite: Whatever Happened to Family Dinners?
Think fisticuffs instead of bare-knuckle boxing. It’s the classical term that suggests the genre of "A Steady Rain": male action tale laced with tragedy and cast with heavyweights, Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig.

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The Retributionists

Senseless killing revenged by more senseless killing is the subject of Daniel Goldfarb’s new play. Set between Paris, Nuremberg and Palestine during the years 1943-46, “The Retributionists” misfires as badly as the plot these Jewish youths cook up to revenge themselves against the German people.

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Sex Ed

Ask me what “Sex Ed” is about and I’ll tell you it’s what everyone learns from other kids on the street or, in this case, in the subbasement of a New York City private elementary school. That’s where Suzanne Bachner’s short play is set.

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Burn The Floor

Twenty feverish, hot bodies take to the stage in “Burn the Floor”. The convulsive energy that goes into their performances is as erotic as anything you can find in Times Square these days. (Entertainment that sexy was supposed to have been outlawed years ago.)

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White Christmas

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, a beautifully gift wrapped holiday entertainment adapted from the 1954 Bing Crosby film, has finally made its way to Broadway after playing several US cities the past four years. The evening directed by Walter Bobbie is light and breezy with some fantastic production numbers. The show adds additional Berlin standards, like “Blue Skies,” “I Love a Piano,” and “Let Yourself Go,” to the already terrific score that includes gems like “White Christmas,” “Snow,” “ Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep,” “ Sisters,” and “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm.”

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Top Girls

Manhattan Theatre Club’s impressive revival of Caryl Churchill’s 1982 groundbreaking play “Top Girls” marks the British playwright’s Broadway debut, 25 years after the play was first presented to much acclaim downtown at the Public Theater. Directed by another Brit, James Macdonald, the well acted production is a bold reminder of just how wonderfully good Churchill’s early work really is and of her consummate skill even before she pared down her powerful writing style. “Top Girls,” although over talkative, is an adroit examination of the legacy of feminism, both the accomplishments and the sacrifices inherent in the struggle to succeed in a man’s world.

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Rock Of Ages

 When Rock of Ages  debuted  Off- Broadway, the comic jukebox musical was a campy romantic delight with cute American Idol’s hunk Constantine Maroulis. Having moved to Broadway the evening is now two hours of non stop 1980’s pulsating hard rock minus the charm of the original. 

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The Norman Conquests

Stephen Mangan

An uninhibited libido in the guise of a shaggy headed slightly pot-bellied rumpled librarian, Norman (Stephen Mangan), makes for a riotous good time in the superlative British import of Alan Ayckbourn’s masterful 1973 trilogy, The Norman Conquests The Broadway revival (winner of the 2008 Tony Award for best revival of a play) features the original heralded cast of six from London’s Old Vic giving a master class in acting under the skillful eye of Tony Award winning director Matthew Warchus, who carves out continuous waves of hilarious moments intermingled with profound insights.

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Shrek the Musical

Shrek the Musical is a delightful winner. Here is a fun loving big Broadway show for the entire family. Retaining the heart and style of the immensely popular 2001 animated film “Shrek,” the musical stays close to the original story, while expanding on the background of the beloved characters in enchanting ways. And there is a fresh pop score by Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie) with blues and gospel influences. The clever lyrics are by David Lindsay-Abaire (2007 Pulitzer Prize winner), who is also responsible for the book.

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Benny


Photo: Scott Wynn

Morgan Lindsey Tacho portrays the central character in the play about “Benny”. On stage throughout the entire 90 minutes, Tacho has an alluring stage presence. Plump and quite pretty, she can also appear too intense, and her features too severe. That’s just the right mix for Anna – the adoptive child of a dysfunctional family who, suffering from bipolar disease, sexual abuse, a bad therapist, and a birth mother who is absolutely crazy, winds up at the end of the play divorcing her alcoholic husband.

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