Gordin's View

Drama League Honors Sutton Foster

Sutton Foster

Broadway Stars Celebrated Sutton Foster at the Drama League Annual Benefit Gala

October 28, 2019: The Drama League honored Sutton Foster, a two-time Tony Award, Drama Desk, Outer Critics, Fred Astaire, and Gracie Award winner and star of TV Land’s hit television series “Younger,” and Arts Ally honoree Herb Engert with “A Musical Celebration of Broadway at The Plaza.

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Reviews

The Sound Inside ****

Mary-Louise Parker, Will Hochman

By: David Sheward

Before Adam Rapp’s The Sound Inside begins at Studio 54, the ushers are more than usually diligent about insisting all I-phones be turned completely off, since the play begins in total darkness. With all potential distractions silenced and screens blanked, we are emerged in a inky void and lighting designer Heather Gilbert slowly begins to reveal a lone figure reading from a manuscript. It is the remarkable Mary-Louise Parker as Bella Baird, a writing professor, who begins recounting her life-altering encounter with a mysterious student and we are taken into another world, sometimes as mundane as this one and sometimes as profoundly disturbing as a nightmare.

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Reviews

Panama Hattie ****

Klea Blackhurst, Garen McRoberts, Jay Aubrey Jones, Joe Veale

By: Paulanne Simmons

October 28, 2019: These days when musicals routinely explore questions of race, gender and politics, a highly entertaining but completely frivolous one like Cole Porter’s Panama Hattie may come as a welcome relief. Originally produced in 1940, with a book by Herbert Fields and B.G. DeSylva, the show was conceived as a vehicle for Ethel Merman, who played the eponymous American singer working in a Panama City nightclub.

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Reviews

Bella Bella ***1/2

Harvey Fierstein in “Bella Bella”

By: Paulanne Simmons

October 27, 2019: Harvey Fierstein’s Bella Bella is certainly a tribute to the trailblazing New York congresswoman. But even more it is a personal act of love.

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Reviews

Scotland, PA ***, Little Shop of Horrors ****, Forbidden Broadway: The Next Generation ***, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical **

Jonathan Groff, Christian Borle “Little Shop of Horrors”

By: David Sheward

October 23, 2019: A trio of quirky tuners have just opened Off-Broadway while a small family show transfers from Off to on. Both Scotland, PA at Roundabout’s Laura Pels and Little Shop of Horrors in a commercial run at the Westside Theater, translate weird, dark little movies into weird dark little musicals. The former is derived from William Morrisette’s 2001 macabre comedy setting Shakespeare’s Macbeth in a fast-food joint in 1975 dead-end Central Pennsylvania. Little Shop (1982) took Roger Corman’s 1960 Grade-Z horror schlocker about a monstrous plant for its inspiration, went on to run five years Off-Broadway, launched a 1986 film remake, a 2003 Broadway revival, and numerous tours and amateur productions. Both shows feature frighteningly fun, gruesome murders and spoofy scores, ribbing the music of their respective eras. Little Shop is still a rollicking, guilty-pleasure good time, while the sometimes witty and fiendishy funny Scotland has its slow spots.  

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Reviews

Scotland, PA **1/2

Little Shop of Burgers

By: Samuel L. Leiter

October 23, 2019: Pop quiz: what current Off-Broadway musical contains all the following?

  1. A plot inspired by a cult movie.
  2. A setting mostly located in a small commercial establishment.
  3. An aging boss unwilling to accept the wimpy hero’s idea for how to improve business.
  4. The eventual success of the employee’s idea, leading to significant financial rewards and the establishment’s media attention.
  5. A chorus of three, youthful, omniscient characters, who comment on the action in song and dance.
  6. A tragi-farcical plot, with elements of both grotesquerie and fantasy, in which the hero and his significant other die gruesome deaths.
  7. The bloody sacrifice of a comically over-the-top supporting character, whose death is necessary for the plot to advance.
  8. A homicide detective investigating the hero’s suspected malfeasance.

If you said Little Shop of Horrors, you’re correct. But if you said Scotland, PA, you’re also correct. 

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Reviews

Molly Sweeney ****1/2

Paul O’Brien, Pamela Sabaugh, Tommy Schrider

By: Paulanne Simmons

October 23, 2019: Brian Friel’s 1994 drama, Molly Sweeney, is so thoughtful, inspired and profound one wonders why it is not revived more often. Fortunately, Keen Company has revived it this season, in a production directied by Jonathan Silverstein, with Pamela Sabaugh as the sightless, middle-aged Molly; Tommy Schrider as Frank, her new husband, a man who is convinced her sight can be restored; and Paul O’Brien as Mr. Rice, the alcoholic doctor who is supposed to make it happen.

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Gordin's View

Games Opens @ SoHo Playhouse

Lindsay Ryan, Director Darren Lee Cole, Renita Lewis

American Premiere of Henry Naylor’s potent and cautionary tale, based on the true story of two Jewish/female athletes in Hitler’s Germany, is a mesmerizing account by two immensely skilled actors.

October 21, 2019: Games, directed by SoHo Playhouse Artistic Director Darren Lee Cole, is having its American premiere downtown at the SoHo Playhouse on Vandam Street. The play was performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland last year where Cole attended the first performance. The Fringe is the largest arts festival in the World and the play is a powerful cautionary tale for our present times. 

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Features

BroadwayHD

Halloween Treats Abound with October releases on BroadwayHD 

October 20, 2019:  BroadwayHD kicked off the month of October with a binge-worthy lineup of performances that are sure to excite audiences everywhere.  Leading the charge, just in time for Halloween, is the eerie classic Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Streetstarring Tony Award® winners Angela Lansbury and George Hearn as Mrs. Lovett and the vengeful Sweeney Todd.  On October 17th, Jekyll and Hyde, starring David Hasselhoff in his Broadway debut, made its way to the platform.  As part of BroadwayHD’s partnership with Stratford Festival, subscribers will have access to the critically-acclaimed Stratford Stage’s 2017 production of Macbeth on October 24thstarring Ian Lake and Krystin Pellerin.  Finally, on October 31st, Hugh Grant and Elizabeth McGovern star in a dramatic tale of love and loss in The Changeling

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Reviews

Betrayal ***1/2

Charlie Cox as Jerry, Zawe Ashton as Emma and Tom Hiddleston as Robert

By: Isa Goldberg

October 18, 2019: Director James Lloyd’s revival of Harold Pinter’s Betrayal embraces a chilly minimalism.  As the pinnacle of this complex love triangle, Robert (Tom Hiddleston) is an opaque, fully restrained husband; one who’s certainly not into drama.

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Reviews

The Rose Tattoo ****, Linda Vista ****, The New Englanders **1/2 Heroes of the Fourth Turning ****

Emun Elliott, Marisa Tomei

By: David Sheward

October 17, 2019: “My life is unhappy. I want to change it and I don’t know how.” That’s the subtext of a lot of American drama and four productions currently on and Off-Broadway explore this trope of angst with insight and compassion. One is a neglected classic from Tennessee Williams, the poet of the frustrated and lonely, while the other three offer new perspectives on the search for self-fulfillment from established and rising playwrights. Surprisingly, the Williams play is the most optimistic and life-affirming of this sad quartet.

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Reviews

Slave Play ****1/2

Annie McNamara and Sullivan Jones

By: Isa Goldberg

October 17, 2019: The raves and buzz surrounding playwright Jeremy O. Harris are well deserved. A surprising young writer, his grasp of dramatic form, from medieval miracle plays to silent movies, is on par with his sociological observations, and psychological insights. His Broadway premiere, Slave Play is equally all over the place, and delightfully so. 

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Hamptons Life

On Broadway

Oren Jacoby, Pat Schoenfeld, Christine Baranski

“On Broadway” directed by Oren Jacoby makes World Premiere at Hamptons International Film Festival

October 13, 2019:  An all-star cast tells the inside story of Broadway theatre, and how it came back from the brink thanks to innovative work, a new attention to inclusion, and is, an often uneasy, balance between art and commerce. 

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