Wintuk & The Big Apple Circus

“All the world’s a stage”, so said Shakespeare. But this season in New York City, all the world’s a circus. Amidst the multitude of goings on for children, there are a couple of new and revised circus shows of note.

 

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Liza’s At The Palace

Liza Minnelli is in rare form and performing an audacious miracle at the Palace Theater with her brand new show that runs well over two hours and includes many of her memorable standards including “Cabaret.” The charismatic three time Tony Award winning superstar “razzle dazzled” the opening night audience with a confident, gritty and of often magical display of showmanship.

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Equus

Daniel Radcliffe, the star of the five "Harry Potter" films, acquits himself admirably with a confident Broadway debut as the disturbed adolescent Alan Strang at the core of Peter Shaffer’s 1973 psychodrama Equus. The revival directed by Thea Sharrock debuted at London’s National Theatre earlier this year with the same theatrically impressive design team. John Napier, set and costume designer, merely takes a fresh look as his original 1970’s sketches, but the staging is nonetheless dazzling with effectively haunting lighting and sound by David Hersey and Gregory Clarke respectively.

 

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Hedda Gabler

Mary-Louise Parker cuts a handsome figrue as the trapped herione, Hedda Gabler, in the Roundabout Theater Company’s odd production of Ibsen’s classic character study. Christopher Shinn’s new adaptation is more direct and the evening helmed by Ian Rickson has an aggressive contemporary tone that is uneven and obvious.

 

 

 

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Monty Python’s Spamalot

The advance buzz has been overwhelming, and we have been inundated with questions about the new Broadway musical Spamalot. Did you like it? Did they do a good job adapting it for the stage? Is it all that? Did you have to see the movie to follow it? Yes, yes, yes, and no with superlatives all around for the entire team.

 

 

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Spring Awakening *****

Lea Michele

Spring Awakening, which was an acclaimed hit last summer at the Atlantic Theatre Company, is now a stunning triumph on Broadway, and the American musical may never be the same again. Duncan Sheik has created a fantastic rock score and Steven Sater has provided equally impressive lyrics as well as a faithfully bold adaptation of the 1891 German Expressionist play by Frank Wedekind that the musical is based on.

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Mary Poppins

The Disney production of Mary Poppins on Broadway plus Cameron Mackintosh equals supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Based on the classic 1964 Disney movie that won an Oscar for Julie Andrews in the title role, the musical that has been imported from London’s West End draws much of its dark magic from P.L. Travers’ original novel and is even better on Broadway. Here is a stylish vibrant family entertainment that promises to please not only the children but the adults as well.

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The 39 Steps

The ingenuous new British import, “The 39 Steps,” is a shamelessly silly spoof of the classic 1935 Alfred Hitchcock suspense thriller of the same name. Directed by Maria Aitken, the award winning West End production being presented by the Roundabout at their American Airlines Theater is a ditzy delight performed by an accomplished cast of four actors playing all the roles.

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In The Heights

The musical In the Heights conceived by Lin-Manuel Miranda (with music and lyrics by Miranda as well) is an infectious celebration of a Washington Heights neighborhood pulsating with Latin-American rhythms. Mr. Miranda’s songs blend rap, hip-hop, jazz, pop and salsa into a nostalgic love letter to his community, while making reverent nods to traditional show tunes .The combination is irresistible. And there is a bitter-sweet quality running through the entire evening that gives a soulful counterpoint to the jubilant production.

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August: Osage County *****

Making his Broadway debut with his dynamic new play August: Osage County, playwright Tracy Letts takes you on a thrilling ride that will not only leave you breathless, but keep you spellbound for nearly three and a half hours. “Fasten your seat belts because it’s going to be bumpy ride!” The playwright will let the venom spew in his gripping tale of the Weston clan that brings the dysfunctional family into the 21st Century.

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The Little Mermaid

The latest Disney Production to take up residency along The Great White Way is based on the magical Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” Disney turned the story into a classic 1989 animated film that b

oasts an Academy Award winning score and song, “Under the Sea,” by Alan Menken and his long time collaborator the late Howard Ashman. The two attained fame with their superb musical “Little Shop of Horrors” 25 years ago.

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13

On Broadway 13 a smooth coming of age tale geared toward kids around that age performed by an entire cast of enthusiastic teenagers, including the onstage band, is one for the whole family. The show boasts some catchy tunes and several good performances by the youngsters. Based on the show’s slick marketing and packaging, the kids may already be chomping at the bit to see 13. The musical could easily be the opening for some serious heart to heart time with your kids about values, empathy and the effect of our choices.

 

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Dividing The Estate

Photo: Joan Marcus

Mary Jo (Hallie Foote) looks like she has spent her life sucking on lemons with the pucker that’s formed around her lips just begging for a do over. Actually what she arrives begging for in “Dividing the Estate”, Horton Foote’s comedy about a Southern family, is her anticipated inheritance.

 

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Bash’d

Men in pink are taking over. With duo Chris Craddock and Nathan Cuckow, from Alberta Canada performing their show, “Bash’d”, a gay rap opera at the Zipper Theater, pink is the color du jour, but the act is anything but flaming. And even though Nathan Cuckow does a mean Cher impersonation, neither he nor his partner are drag queens nor do they act like them. In fact, the show is done entirely in rap, spoken word and poetry.

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Boeing-Boeing

Director Matthew Warchus and his outrageous cast have turned the revival of the slight Boulevard farce "Boeing-Boeing" into a hilarious highlight of the season. Warchus expertly guides his gifted ensemble to fits of inspired lunacy lifting the 1960’s vehicle a mile high with a bold physical production that is a laugh out loud riot.

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