1984 ***1/2

Carl Hendrick Louis, Wayne Duvall, Olivia Wilde, Tom Sturridge, Reed Birney, Nick Mills, Cara Seymour, Michael Potts

By: Isa Goldberg

Transferred from London to Broadway, this adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984, is vividly staged and convincingly well-acted. Here Reed Birney’s O’Brien, is a totally banal character. He is no more the creator of the evil he perpetuates, than any ordinary man who fails to think for himself would be. Like the other characters in this tale – in which political terror reigns, “He’s just doing his job.” As such, he maintains a front of utmost innocence, even perpetuating violent deeds, as though he were acting out of empathy.

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Pipeline ****

Heather Velazquez, Namir Smallwood

By: Isa Goldberg

While Dominique Morisseau’s new play, Pipeline, at Lincoln Center’s Mitzi E. Newhouse Theater has all the trappings of a realistic drama with an overt pedagogic message, Morisseau beats the drum with surprising depth. Carrying her message with immediacy, director Lileana Blain-Cruz, wrangles her team of six actors into full on-stage battle –  all while they stand around talking about violence in the classroom.  That violence, which is not acted out on stage, is suggested in video projections (Hannah Vasileski), set to rumbling drums (Justin Ellington).

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Sam Shepard

Sam Shepard in Terrence Malick’s ‘Days of Heaven’ (1978)

BROADWAY TO DIM ITS LIGHTS ON WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2017 AT 7:45 PM IN MEMORY OF AWARD WINNING PLAYWRIGHT SAM SHEPARD

 The Broadway community mourns the loss of celebrated playwright, actor and novelist Sam Shepard, who passed away on Thursday, July 27th at age 73. The marquees of Broadway theaters in New York will be dimmed in his memory on Wednesday, August 2nd, at exactly 7:45pm for one minute.

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Summer Pleasures @ Tulla Booth

Roberto Dutesco “Wild Horses of Sable Island Love Bite”

Exciting photographs at Sag Harbor Gallery

July 8, 2017: Tulla Booth Gallery, 66 Main Street in Sag Harbor, hosted an opening reception for “Summer Pleasures,” an inspiring photography exhibition of works that brings the viewer closer to nature. The photographers featured in the show that will be on view through August 15, 2017 are Stephen Wilkes, Daniel Jones, Roberto Dutesco,  Blair Seagram and Herb Friedman.

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Cost of Living **** – Napoli, Brooklyn **1/2

Katy Sullivan & Victor Williams in ” Cost of Living”

By: David Sheward

Two new Off-Broadway plays exemplify trends in dramas about family and social relations over the past 57 years. Meghan Kennedy’s Napoli, Brooklyn at Roundabout Theatre Company’s Laura Pels space, echoes theater of the era of its setting—1960—when the stage was dominated by autobiographical memory pieces depicting creative, free-spirited offspring longing to escape dysfunctional parents. Martyna Majok’s Cost of Living reflects 21st century attitudes featuring rootless, lonely protagonists, craving to create family units of their own. Both have credulity-stretching flaws as well as moments of tenderness and honesty, but Majok’s Cost rings the truer of the two.

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Jay Leno @ Guild Hall

Jay Leno

TV Host Jay Leno performed at The John Drew Theater in East Hampton to benefit the Guild Hall Season Spectacular.

July 1, 2017:  Emmy award  winning late night TV show host Jay Leno, now a best-selling children’s book author, performed at the Guild Hall Season Spectacular. The 90-minute sold out show at The John Drew Theater in the Dina Merrill Pavilion was followed by dinner at The Hedges Inn.

Photography: Barry Gordin

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Thank You for Your Love ****

By: Paulanne Simmons

Aside from their obvious vocal and performance skills, what makes Carole Demas and Sarah Rice’s Thank You for Your Love tribute to Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, at the Laurie Beechman Theater, June 27, so special is what Rice called their “deep and personal” connection to the music. Much of that connection is with Jones and Schmidt’s longest running musical, The Fantasticks.

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Fulfillment Center ****

Deirdre O’Connell, Frederick Weller

By: David Sheward

Abe Koogler gives the interconnected-lives format a quirky spin in his play Fulfillment Center, now at Manhattan Theatre Club’s studio space at City Center. The title is an ironic reference to the giant New Mexico warehouse where two of the characters are employed by an unnamed Amazon-like service. Neither they nor the two other people in the play are finding fulfillment in their work or relationships in an America where jobs and love are temporary and tenuous.

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Julius Caesar ****

Nikki M. James, Corey Stoll

Free Shakespeare in the Park/Public Theater

By: David Sheward

Last summer, the Public Theater’s free Shakespeare in the Park Series unsuccessfully imposed a modern feminist slant on Taming of the Shrew by employing an all-woman cast. This year, they’ve launched the 2017 season with another contemporary take on one of the Bard’s classics with transgender casting, but this time the updating and non traditional acting assignments largely work out.

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More Critical Shrinking: Rex Reed Out at the Observer

By: David Sheward

Just as Trump has pulled out of the Paris climate change accords, New York-based media is pulling out of theater coverage. As I have noted in previous blogs, print and web outlets are cutting back on stage critics or eliminating them altogether. Someone on Facebook said being a theater critic these days is like being in a long, slow version of Ten Little Indians, the Agatha Christie murder mystery where guests on an isolated island are picked off one by one. Rex Reed, the longtime film critic of the New York Observer,

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Church and State ***

Christa Scott-Reed, Jonathan Louis Dent, Rob Nagle, Nadia Bowers

By: Paulanne Simmons

Like most political plays, Jason Odell Williams’ Church and State is relevant, often riveting and ultimately not particularly good theater. The drama, directed by Markus Potter, focuses on Charles Whitmore (Rob Nagle), a North Carolina politician who is running for senator on a platform of compassionate conservatism. As the play opens, Whitmore is in his campaign office prior to a major speech, suffering from self-inflicted wounds.

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Drama League Honors Bette Midler

Ben Platt

Grammy and Emmy winner, Bette Midler, given award for distinguished achievement in the Theater, and Ben Platt wins Distinguished Performance.

The Drama League announced the winners of the 83rd Annual Drama League Awards on Thursday, May 19, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. The winners were Outstanding Production of a Musical, Dear Evan Hansen; Outstanding Production of a Play, Oslo; Outstanding Revival of a Musical, Hello, Dolly!;  Outstanding Revival of a Play, Jitney; and Distinguished Performance Award, Ben Platt,  who became the youngest actor to win the coveted award. The intimate celebration recognized the season’s outstanding productions and performers at a star-studded luncheon and awards ceremony hosted by Broadway’s 6-time Tony® Award winner Audra McDonald and her husband Tony® Award nominee Will Swenson in the Broadway Ballroom of the Marriott.

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Bay Street Curtain Up!

Artistic Director Bay Street Theater Scott Schwartz, Executive Director Bay Street Theater Tracy Mitchell

6th Annual Honors Benefit at Joe’s Pub featured a sneak peek of the Bay Street Theater 2017 Summer Season in Sag Harbor.

Bay Street Theater & Sag Harbor Center for the Arts held The 6th Annual Honors Benefit: Curtain Up! on Monday, May 15 at Joe’s Pub at The Public. The evening hosted by Scott Schwartz, Bay Street Theater’s Artistic Director, featured a sneak peek of the 2017 Summer Mainstage season in Sag Harbor. Songs and bits of scenes were performed, along with the  honors presented to special guests, Richard Kind and Jules Feiffer.

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Theatre World Awards

73rd  Annual Theatre World Award Honorees Announced
for June 5. Glenn Close to Receive Lifetime Achievement Honor

By: Ellis Nassour

The annual Theatre World Awards (TWA) is one of the most anticipated events of theater season’s end – and one of immense joy as actors – young to older – making their Broadway debuts are honored for their standout performances. In what has become an often touching tradition, 12 previous winners serve as presenters, and often relive moments from past ceremonies and share tales rarely heard at award shows.

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