Reviews

King Lear ***

Glenda Jackson

By: David Sheward

April 10, 2019: Some actors are larger than life, but not life-like. We admire their craft rather than identify with the characters they are portraying and the emotions they are conveying. These actors usually win major awards, but they rarely truly move audiences other than causing them to stand for ovations. Glenda Jackson can be one of these stars at times. Perhaps that is why she left acting for politics, where there is less risk of really showing your inner self. Her brilliance has always been cold and her technique so practiced and steely, she holds us at an arm’s length. That can work when the character is a armor-plated matriarch like Elizabeth I or the lionness-mother A in Edward Albee’s Three Tall Women, in which she returned to the New York stage to triumph and accolades last season. But Shakespeare’s King Lear requires an unflinching, messy exposure of guts, and pain, and Jackson isn’t willing to do that.

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Reviews

Ain’t No Mo *****

Fedna Jacquet, Ebony Marshall-Oliver

“Last Flight to Senegal”

By: Samuel L. Leiter

April 8, 2019: As Kermit the Frog reminded us, it’s not easy being a color different from that of the dominant culture. Some black American playwrights, especially since the 1960s, have satirized their frustrations with such unease by creating seemingly outlandish situations in plays located somewhere on the absurdist spectrum. In 1965, for instance, in the days of the black theatre movement, Douglas Turner Ward’s one-act, “Day of Absence,” considered the reactions of a Southern town’s whites (played by blacks in whiteface) to the sudden disappearance of all the local blacks.

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Around The Town

Drama Desk Awards

Michael Urie Photo: Barry Gordin

Drama Desk winner Michael Urie will host the 64th Annual Drama Desk Awards

April 8, 2019: The 64th Annual Drama Desk Awards will be presented Sunday, June 2 at The Town Hall in New York City, and tickets will go on sale tomorrow, April 9th  at 12pm EST. Michael Urie is set to host for the fourth consecutive time. He starred on Broadway this past fall in a revival of Harvey Fiersten’s Torch Song Trilogy to excellent reviews and said, “I’ll certainly be more chill hosting the Drama Desks for a fourth time,” adding, “In fact, this year I’m going to introduce myself to Glenda Jackson!”

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Gordin's View

I Carry Your Heart Opens

Rebi Paganini, Dey Young

New York premiere of I Carry Your Heat by Georgette Kelly at 59E59 Theaters

April 4, 2019:  59E59 Theaters is thrilled to present the New York premiere of I Carry Your Heart, a moving drama by Georgette Kelly. The Athena Theatre production, directed by Cate Caplin, opened last night for a limited run through Sunday, April 14, 1019 at 59E59 Theaters.

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Interviews

Danny Gardner

By: Iris Wiener

April 5, 2019: Though he had been performing and tap dancing since he was 5 years old, it was working on a high school production of Me and My Girl that changed the path of Danny Gardner’s life. The musical combined physical comedy, singing and tap dancing, all skills the Pennsylvania native would later demonstrate in Broadway’s Dames at Sea and the New York Spectacular at Radio City Musical Hall..

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Reviews

Be More Chill ****

By: Isa Goldberg

April 4, 2019: If “A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a post-apocalyptic future, fleeing from zombies” doesn’t sound like your idea of a great show, Be More Chill, may feel challenging at first. 

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Reviews

The Lehman Trilogy *****, The Cradle Will Rock **, What the Constitution Means To Me *****

From left: Simon Russell Beale, Adam Godley and Ben Miles in “The Lehman Trilogy”

By: David Sheward

April 3, 2019: Three disparate visions of America, two focusing on capitalism and one on the constitution, raise a multitude of questions about where we’ve been and where we’re going as a nation. The Lehman Trilogy, in the vast space of the Park Avenue Armory for a limited run after engagements in Europe and London, conveys the story of 150 years of the titular financial clan. The Cradle Will Rock is John Doyle’s staging of the rarely-produced 1937 labor musical at Classic Stage Company. What the Constitution Means to Me, at the Helen Hayes on Broadway after two Off-Broadway runs earlier this season, is Heidi Schreck’s unusual stage memoir, recreating her journey as a 15-year-old making speeches on our sacred document cross-country to earn scholarship money and how she views the constitution as a grown woman in 2019. 

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Around The Town

Anyone Can Fly

Faith Ringgold

17th Annual Benefit and Silent Auction 

April 2, 2019:   The Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling with ACA Galleries hosted The Anyone Can Fly Benefit and Silent Auction on Tuesday from 5pm to 8pm at the Children’s Museum, 898 Nicholas Avenue at 155th Street in Harlem. ACA Galleries, a champion of Faith Ringgold, has hosted the benefit for the past 17 years and was there along with Paul Gunther, the Executive Director of Gracie Mansion Conservancy. Faith has a new installation at Gracie Mansion of Tar Beach II, which Faith made because of the demand for Tar Beach I. 

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Reviews

Kiss Me Kate ****

Will Burton, Rick Faugno, Stephanie Styles and Corbin Bleu in “Kiss Me, Kate”

By: Isa Goldberg

April 4, 2019: A most memorable of Broadway Valentines, Kiss Me Kate, is getting a rousing revival at Studio 54, with Kelli O’Hara (Lilli Vanessi) and Will Chase (Fred Graham) leading a gifted ensemble. Indeed, one of the surprising highlights of this production is Paul Gemingnani’s orchestration of Cole Porter’s masterpiece. Capturing the show’s zest and verve, it’s the orchestra that keeps us bouncing in our seats.

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Around The Town

Stephen Sondheim Trubute

Lyrics & Lyricists celebrated legendary composer Stephen Sondheim in “Wordplay” at the 92Y’s renowned series on 3/30-4-1/19.

By: Linda Amiel Burns

April 2, 2019: In 1971 Stephen Sondheim gave a talk at the first season of the renowned series Lyrics & Lyricists and Ted Chapin, the present Artistic Director, taped this historic event. It was the first talk Sondheim had ever delivered and as Ted says, “it remains an extraordinary primer in theatrical lyric writing. He was brilliant, witty and provocative and wasn’t sure whether lyric writing is an art or a craft, since there are such strictures involved.” 

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Features

ACA Galleries

Mikaela Sardo Lamarche , Jane Bernard

Bruce High Quality Foundation: The End of Western Art, March 29 through May 24, 2019

March 30, 2019: An exhibition by Bruce High Quality foundation opened at ACA Galleries, 520 West 29th Street in the Chelsea Gallery District.  The exhibition features works by the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans, Pablo Picasso, Giorgio Vasari, Marcel DuChamp, Albert Pinkham Ryder, Chaim Soutine, Rudolf Steiner, and Joseph Cornell.

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Reviews

Kiss Me Kate ****1/2

Kelli O’Hara, Will Chase

By: Paulanne Simmons

March 31, 2019: If Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, with its misogynistic undertones, is sometimes hard to swallow. Cole Porter, and Samuel and Bella Spewack’s Kiss Me Kate goes down easy. This is especially true for Roundabout’s new revival directed by Scott Ellis.

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Reviews

Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations ***1/2

Ephraim Sykes, Jeremy Pope, Jawan M. Jackson, James Harkness, Derrick Baskin

“They’re Gonna Make You Love Them (Oh, Yes, They Will)”

By: Samuel L. Leiter

March 29, 2019: There are a lot of words in the full title of this latest jukebox musical but the essence of the show itself couldn’t be simpler. Like others of its ilk (especially Jersey Boys, still alive in an Off-Broadway mounting), Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is a sprawling, by-the-numbers musical journey through the lives and careers of a popular singing group. Its biographical and dramatic values are far less compelling—because they so closely fit a familiar pattern—than the rousingly entertaining ones of the music and performances provided by a company of supernova talent. 

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Around The Town

Paulanne Simmons Unscripted

Life Is Filled with (Wonderful) Surprises

April 1, 2019: Nine years ago I was holding auditions for a staged reading of my musical In the Schoolyard at the Dramatist Guild. Most of the people were auditioning by appointment. But at one point a young man walked in and said he’d noticed our sign and would like to audition.

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