By: Patrick Christiano Love Is My Sin presented by Theatre for a new Audience in the intimate Duke Theater on 42nd Street is a truly haunting experience. The great English director Peter Brooks (probably best known to American audiences for his films “Lord of the Flies,” Marat/Sade,” and ‘King Lear’) has conceived and adapted 31 of Shakespeare’s sonnets into a magnificently potent brew of romantic exchanges performed by his wife Natasha Parry and Michael Pennington.
Artistic Director Josh Gladstone has inaugurated the beautifully restored John Drew Theater at Guild Hall with a handsome production of Tennessee Williams’ haunting memory play "The Glass Menagerie" helmed by the acclaimed director Harris Yulin. Amy Irving a well respected stage and screen star for decades heads the wonderful cast as the bewildered Amanda, a fading Southern belle, who within her dull existence longs for nothing more than her children’s welfare.
At The Actors’’ Playhouse on 7th Avenue South in the West Village 24 actors play over 40 different characters in Joe Marshall’s The Gayest Christmas Pageant Ever!, a silly spoof that sends up the traditional holiday spectacular. Directed by Mr. Marshall, as well, the evening’s bold style is decidedly camp with a touch of lunacy served by actors doing their thing with bravado and heart. What more could you ask?
By Ellis Nassour There is nothing like a dame, goes that familiar refrain from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s South Pacific, and there’s nothing like Dame Edna Everage. And there’s nothing like an evening of soothing Michael Feinstein. So, put them together and what do you have? All About Me, the new revue which opened last night at the Henry’s Miller’s.
A Washington Heights neighborhood dominated by a towering backdrop of the George Washington Bridge and pulsating with the heat from a 4th of July weekend is the setting for the bright new musical In the Heights. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who conceived the story, wrote the music and lyrics as well. He also appears in the pivotal central role as Usnavi, a likeable guy, who owns the local bodega.
Television heavyweight James Gandolfini, who plays Tony Soprano on the HBO series “The Sopranos,” heads a dazzling cast in Yasmina Reza’s lasted dissection of contemporary social hypocrisy, God of Carnage. The 90 minute biting satire directed with the bold stylized force of a blunt instrument by the gifted Matthew Warchus is a welcome audience pleaser. Reza, the Tony Award winning playwright of Art, took on similar territory over a decade ago in Art, but here she steps up the ante with a lethal dose of hostility that lies just beneath the surface in her portrait of two married couples.
Douglas Carter Beane, of late, seems to be literally writing off the top of his head, not attuned to his characters. In his tedious new comedy Mr. & Mrs Fitch, two married gossip columnists, constantly spew floral witticisms thought up by the clever playwright, which are usually pretty funny, but the barrage of sharp banter feels throw in leaving the audience confused. The effect is like being held prisoner by a relentless stand-up comic in an ascot. Early on in Beane’s self-immolating Mr. & Mrs. Fitch, Mrs. Fitch (Jennifer Ehle) herself recalls asking Anna Deavere Smith and Moises Kaufman how they come up with ideas for their shows.
Jersey Boys, as the song goes, “you’re just too good to be true.” You’re fabulous! The new Broadway show based on the life and music of the Four Seasons scores big time revitalizing the genre known as the “jukebox musical.” Under Des McAnuff’s direction every element of the captivating evening meshes seamlessly.
Bartlett Sher’s elegant staging of The Lincoln Center revival of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” is an enchanted evening of splendid music and shimmering picture perfect post card images. As the five minute overture swells, the stage slides back to reveal a full 30 piece orchestra playing Robert Russell Bennett’s lush original orchestrations of the beloved songs transporting us to another place and time for a sweeping romantic tale set on a tropical island in the middle of the South Pacific.
In 1961 the movie “West Side Story” made a “rumble”. Winning 10 Academy Awards, the groundbreaking film redefined the movie musical for all time, delivering the bleak tragedy of racial strife and social upheaval that blighted America’s cities.
Stephen Dillane is a thin, wiry Brit who-if you passed him on the street-might seem vaguely familiar to you but you would never feel inherently threatened by. Somehow, though, he is also one of those actors (like Ian McKellen) who always seem to loom large once you put them on a stage. Playing one of the grandest of Shakespeare’s main men, Dillane goes a different route than most who take on this titan. Instead of bellowing to the hills, he draws you in every so slightly but never sacrifices the power of the role.
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.