Around The Town

Outer Critics Circle Award Winners

ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF THE 71ST ANNUAL  OUTER CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS COMMEMORATING THE 2021-22  BROADWAY & OFF-BROADWAY SEASON

The Lehman Trilogy Leads with 6 Awards including Outstanding New Broadway Play, followed by the Off-Broadway musical Kimberly Akimbo with 4 Wins

May 17, 2022:  The Outer Critics Circle (OCC), the official organization of writers on New York theatre for out-of-town newspapers and national publications, is pleased to announce the winners of the 71st Annual Outer Critics Circle Awards, honoring the 2021-2022 Broadway and Off-Broadway season. 

Read more >

Around The Town

2022 Drama Desk Nominations

May 16, 2022: Nominations for the 66th AnnualDrama Desk Awards were announced today, and the full list of nominees is available below.

In keeping with the Drama Desk‘s mission, the nominators considered shows that opened on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off Broadway during the 2021-2022 New York theater season, that the Drama Desk determined ended as of May 1, 2022. Only live performances were eligible – if performances were also available for streaming, 21 or more unique live performances were required. 

Read more >

Reviews

Wish You Were Here ***1/2

Marjan Neshat, Roxanna Hope Radja (in white dress), Nazanin Nour (behind her), Artemis Pebdani, Nikki Massoud

By: Samuel L. Leiter

May 24, 2022: Remember the postman’s motto?  “Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen from their appointed rounds.” These words could be paraphrased for actors, but they already have a classic phrase of their own: “The show must go on.” That concept has been sorely tested in recent months, with the unforgiving onslaught of Covid, although it was the flu that caused Billy Crystal to take a brief break from Mr. Saturday Night. When shows weren’t outright canceled or postponed because of outbreaks, they went on with understudies, some considered even better than those they replaced. But of all my recent encounters with replacement performers, the most unusual was at Sunday’s matinee of Sanaz Toosi’s Wish You Were Here at Playwrights Horizons’ Peter Jay Sharp Theater.

Read more >

Around The Town

Tony Awards

Strange Loop tops list with 11 nominations, followed by MJ and Paradise Square with 10 each. The Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall on Sunday, June 12th

May 9, 2022:  Nominations in 26 competitive categories for the American Theatre Wing’s 75th Annual Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards® were announced today by Tony Award-winner Adrienne Warren and three-time Tony Nominee Joshua Henry. The 2022 Tony Awards are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. The list of nominations follows below. The Tony Awards mark 75 years of excellence on Broadway and will be hosted by Ariana DeBose, LIVE from the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York City on Sunday, June 12, 2022 (8:00 – 11:00 PM, LIVE ET/5:00 – 8:00 PM, LIVE PT) on the CBS Television Network, and streaming live and on demand on Paramount+. The celebration will commence at 7:00-8:00 PM, ET/4:00-5:00 PM, PT with exclusive content streaming only on Paramount+.

Read more >

Around The Town

American Buffalo

Laurence Fishburne, Darren Criss, Sam Rockwell

5 Reasons Why American Buffalo Has Lost its Luster

By: Iris Wiener

            May 23, 2022: David Mamet’s work is notably controversial and quite often meant to rile up liberal audiences. His characters’ dialogue is famously riddled with harsh, quick profanity, and holds its viewers’ attention at every turn. With the Broadway revival of American Buffalo now playing at Circle in the Square Theatre, this reviewer saw very little of either of these traits. In fact, she felt very little of anything. The play concerns three small-time hustlers who want a bigger cut of the American dream. It premiered on Broadway in 1977, receiving the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best American Play, and has since been revived a number of times, yet one can’t help but question its appeal. This is this critic’s first time experiencing American Buffalo, and here are five reasons as to why this will most likely be her last: 

Read more >

Around The Town

Broadway Update

Neil Diamond is the latest pop artist to get the jukebox musical treatment

Broadway Update: Beautiful Noise, Kimberly, Mask Mandates, Etc.

By: David Sheward

May 22, 2022: As the 2021-22 Broadway season comes to a close, 2022-23 is taking shape. A Beautiful Noise: The Neil Diamond Musical joins the handful of shows with firm dates and a theater. The bio musical about the 81-year-old singer-songwriter will play Boston’s Emerson Colonial Theater for a six-week run starting June 21 and then start previews at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theater on Nov. 2 prior to a Dec. 4 opening. The score will be composed of Diamond’s hits including “Sweet Caroline,” “Forever in Blue Jeans,” “Song Sung Blues,” and “Cracklin’ Rose.” The book will be by Anthony McCarten, Oscar-nominated screenwriter for The Two Popes and The Theory of Everything. Tony winner Michael Mayer (Spring Awakening) directs. Mayer has also staged such jukebox musicals as Swept Away, Head Over Heels, and American Idiot. Diamond will be played in Boston by Will Swenson, seen most recently in the CSC revival of Assassins. Casting for Broadway will be announced.

Read more >

Around The Town

Paradise Square

Chilina Kennedy as Annie Lewis, Joaquina Kalukango as Nelly O’Brien and Company.

5 Reasons Why Paradise Square is Worth a Visit

By: Iris Wiener

            May 24, 2022: Paradise Square is the important piece that we don’t see often these days: a great, period musical that teaches its audiences about a poignant slice of history. Set during the Civil War in the Five Points district of lower New York, where Irish immigrants shared space with free, but poor, Black citizens in places like gambling houses and bars, the story is centered on Nelly O’Brien (Joaquina Kalukango) who runs her own taproom. Audiences are introduced to her interracial family, which includes her white husband (an Irish police officer), and her fast-talking sister-in-law who is married to a Black reverend. He also shelters runaway slaves in search of freedom via the Underground Railroad. Got all that? Despite its mostly forgettable music, confusing premise and lackluster book by Christina Anderson, Craig Lucas and Larry Kirwan (not to mention an unnecessarily long run time), audiences will get on board quickly, as the story is sweeping. Though the show certainly isn’t perfect, here are our favorite reasons to give Paradise Square a chance:

Read more >

Reviews

A Case for the Existence of God *****, Golden Shield **

Will Brill, Kyle Beltran in “A Case for the Existence of God”.

By: David Sheward

May 22, 2022: When I saw the poster advertising the Signature Theater production of Samuel D. Hunter’s latest work, I joked to a friend, “This will be about lonely people in Idaho being miserable.” After having seen the show in question, A Case for the Existence of God which has won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play of the 2021-22 season, I realize it was an unfair generalization of a gifted author’s oeuvre. Sort like saying all Tennessee Williams’ plays are about alcoholic neurotics clinging to dreams of a decaying Southland. Case does bare a resemblance to Hunter’s previous works such as Greater Clements, The Whale, Pocatello, and A Bright New Boise. Yes, it does take place in Idaho, there is a conflict over ancestral land, and its two characters are both sad and lonely, but this devastating two-hander has a power all its own. 

Read more >

Reviews

Golden Shield ***

Gillian Saker, Daniel Jenkins, and Max Gordon Moore

By: Samuel L. Leiter

May 22, 2022: In Golden Shield, now at the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Stage 1,Thai-Australian playwright Anchuli Felicia King has written a semi-fictional docudrama about a class action suit against a corrupt American-based multinational tech corporation. The Texas-based company is being sued by an American legal firm for its responsibility in creating an internet censoring system (the eponymous Golden Shield) for the equally corrupt Chinese government, which led to the punishment of eight Chinese dissidents who tried to scale its firewall. Even though the company, ONYS, is fictional, the case is similar enough to real ones (involving companies like Cisco and Yahoo) to have made a riveting courtroom drama. 

Read more >

Around The Town

Macbeth

Danny Wolohan, Michael Patrick Thornton, Daniel Craig

Five Reasons Why We Have Questions About Macbeth

By: Iris Wiener

May 22, 2022: Sam Gold certainly takes a unique spin on Shakespeare, though sometimes his forays into originality demonstrate too much liberality with the text. Though his 2019 Broadway run of the Glenda Jackson-led King Lear was a dud, his 2016 take on Othello at NYTW was profoundly unique and interesting. His current Macbeth, (in which he reunites with his Iago, Daniel Craig) lies somewhere in between. The Bond superstar is now the single-minded, droll Macbeth to Ruth Negga’s Lady Macbeth in a production fraught with oddities never before seen in the Scottish play. It left us with a plethora of questions:

Read more >

Around The Town

Mr. Saturday Night

Billy Crystal

5 Reasons Why We Can Forgive Mr. Saturday Night for Being a Musical

By: Iris Wiener

May 22, 2022: The musical adaptation of Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night features a score by Tony winner Jason Robert Brown and Tony nominee Amanda Green…but unnecessarily so. This is the Billy Crystal Show, full of heart, Borscht-belt humor, and impeccable timing, but when he opens his mouth to sing, his talent is, well, laughable. With forgettable, throwaway music and Crystal’s complete ineptitude when it comes to vocal work, this would have checked all the boxes as a straight play. Despite this fact, Mr. Saturday Night, which features a book by Crystal, Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel, is a delightful night of theater. Crystal is once again playing Buddy Young, Jr., just as he did on screen in 1982. He co-wrote, directed and starred in the film about a comedian whose huge ego often gets in the way of his success and alienates his family. Audiences may not be lining up for the soundtrack to this show, but they’ll certainly be smiling after seeing it. Here are five reasons why:

Read more >

Reviews

Potus ****

Lilli Cooper, Rachel Dratch and Vanessa Williams

POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive

By: Paulanne Simmons

May 20. 2022: POTUS: Or, Behind Every Great Dumbass are Seven Women Trying to Keep Him Alive, a lively new political farce, might have been simply an extended Saturday Night Live sketch that wears thin after the first half hour. But thanks to the spirited and clever writing of Selina Fillinger, director Susan Stroman‘s steady hand and the brilliant ensemble work of a group of talented women, it’s much more. If you need a good belly laugh, head right down to the Shubert Theatre, and do not pass Go. 

Read more >

Around The Town

How I Learned To Drive

David Morse , Mary-Louise Parker

5 Reasons Why How I Learned to Drive is Still an Important Lesson

By Iris Wiener

May 18, 2022: At its core it’s a play about child abuse, despite a number of fantastic metaphors and well-placed bits of humor. It encompasses gut-wrenching subject matter that still needs to be told, but thankfully it’s done extraordinarily well in its current production. Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer-winning play follows a woman (Mary-Louise Parker) coming to terms with a sexually abusive uncle (David Morse). The story is told through flashbacks and reunites the original cast and director (Mark Brokaw) from its 1997 Off-Broadway premiere. There is a tremendous wealth of spot-on choices from which to learn in this impeccable piece of theater. 

Read more >

Reviews

jAmericano! A New Musical ***

By: Samuel L. Leiter

May 17, 2022: Among many things for which this addled season of Covid-based cancelations and postponements will be remembered is the abundance of those little slips of paper you find in your Playbill notifying you that at this performance the role of “_____” will be played by “_____.” This has been the season of understudies, so many, in fact, that articles, videos, and social media comments about their often remarkable contributions have flooded the internet. I can’t go on Facebook without reading, for example, about how a certain understudy in a certain long-awaited musical revival is superior to the performer she has sometimes had to replace. 

Read more >