Ain’t No Mo’ *****

Fedna Jacquet, Shannon Matesky, Marchant Davis, Crystal Lucas-Perry and Ebony Marshall-Oliver.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

December 5, 2022″. As Kermit the Frog often 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 what was then called 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 African Americans.

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Stardust Road *****

Kayla Jenerson, Danielle Herbert and Sara Esty.

By: Paulanne Simmons

December 1, 2022: Hoagland Howard Carmichael, more famously known as Hoagy, was one of the most successful Tin Pan Alley songwriters of the 1930s. Today he is remembered by such standards as “Stardust,” “Georgia on My Mind” and “Heart and Soul.” But Hoagy, who was named after a circus troupe called the “Hoaglands” that stayed at the Carmichael house during his mother’s pregnancy, also worked in construction, a bicycle-chain factory and a slaughterhouse.

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A Christmas Carol *****

Jefferson Mays

CHARLES DICKENS’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 30, 2022: If you go to Show-Score.com, an online site for theatre reviews, you’ll find that, within the past few years alone, there have been at least 15 adaptations of Charles Dickens’s 1843 novel A Christmas Carol produced in New York. It has been on the stage, in one form or another, since its earliest days, even acted by Dickens himself, and has been a constant presence on radio, TV, and movies as well. Yet actors, writers, directors, and producers never seem to tire of it, and audiences continue to flock to each new iteration, making it perhaps the most adapted and popular literary creation in history.

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& Juliet ***

Lorna Courtney

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 23, 2022: & Juliet, a raucous jukebox musical that even has a jukebox as a prominent stage property, belongs as well to a genre with a much longer tradition, burlesque. No, not the modern burlesque of dirty jokes, baggy pants comedians, and bump and grind strippers, but the 18th- and 19th-century form—with 17th-century roots—from which that later genre was born. These were full-scale, often spectacular (thus the alternate name of “extravaganzas”), musical take-offs of theatrical genres or famous plays, usually with parody titles. In 1897, for example, you could laugh heartily at The Geezer, a spoof of the recent comic opera The Geisha.

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& Juliet ***1/2

Lorna Courtney and the cast of & Juliet.

By: Paulanne Simmons

November 23, 2022: On the heels of the international success of Six, comes another woke Elizabethan musical from the West End, & Juliet, directed by Luke Sheppard. Book writer David West Read’s tale of female empowerment does not concern Henry VIII’s many spouses (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived) but one of Shakespeare’s most famous heroines, Romeo’s one and only wife, Juliet.

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The Old Man and The Pool ***1/2

Mike Birbiglia

By: Paulanne Simmons

November 21, 2022: In his newest solo show, The Old Man and The Pool, Mike Birbiglia looks to one of the most unlikely subjects for the source of humor: his own mortality. Heavy stuff, but nonetheless most people are likely to enjoy the show enormously. In fact, Birbiglia is less a comedian than a wonderful raconteur. And he even manages to throw in a few laughs, mostly at his own expense.

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The Rat Trap ***

Sarin Monae West and James Evans.

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 21, 2022: In 1918, when he was a mere stripling of 18, Noël Coward (1899-1973), budding British playwright/ performer/song writer, and so forth, wrote The Rat Trap,a four-act comedy-drama about marital dysfunction, with its accent on the drama. A reflection of Coward’s extreme precocity, it had a Shavian-influenced theme about the overlooked intellectual and artistic powers of the female sex, as told through a scathingly delineated marriage (see its title) between a fatuous playwright and his more gifted novelist wife.

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Downstate ****

Francis Guinan, Sally Murphy, Tim Hopper

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 18, 2022: In Downstate, Bruce Norris’s invigoratingly provocative new play at Playwrights Horizons—previously seen at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre and London’s National Theatre—four paroled pedophiles cohabit at a group home in downstate Illinois. Each is tethered to the authorities by a GPS ankle bracelet that monitors their movements. Responsible for overseeing their behavior is a humane, wearied, but nevertheless tough as rawhide, middle-aged female parole officer named Ivy Delgado (a hard-hitting Susanna Guzmán).

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Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man & The Pool *****

Mike Birbiglia

By: Samuel L. Leiter

November 13, 2022: Comedian—or better, humorist—Mike Birbiglia’s life may be more a bowl of cherry pits than cherries, but he still manages to live and laugh at it all. And in his hilarious solo show, Mike Birbiglia: The Old Man & The Pool (previously seen at three major regional theatres), he even gets a nearly full house at the Vivian Beaumont Theatre—many of whom may have similar problems—to laugh along with him for most of its 85 laugh-a-minute minutes. While it’s yet another in the trend of monologue-driven plays (including those with more than one character) I’ve recently been noting with dismay, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Mr. Birbiglia has been doing these solo shows for years, his last example, The New One, having mercilessly tickled my ribs in 2018, as reported on this site. As directed by Seth Barrish, his usual collaborator, he’s a maestro of the form.

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Only Gold ****

Karine Plantadit, Terrence Mann, and Gaby Diaz.

By: Isa Goldberg

November 14, 2022: Watching the director/choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler’s new work, “Only Gold,” at MCC Theater, brings a surge of energy, such as one needs to become a woke person. Woke, in this case, means listening to your heart regardless of what society may dictate. Told primarily through dance, to the beat of British recording artist Kate Nash, the show is thrilling, in many ways.

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Leslie Uggams @ 54 Below *****

Leslie Uggams

By: Patrick Christiano

Tony & Emmy award winner, Leslie Uggams, returns to 54 Below with a marvelous new show, Only In New York.

November 12, 2022:  Leslie Uggams’ return to the intimate supper club, 54 Below, is a cause for celebration. Missing in action for eight years while busy with film and TV projects, the Lady is back with a marvelous new show, Only In New York. Sporting a spikey new hair style that suits her playful, yet serious mood, she moved effortlessly through a beautiful selection of songs including iconic Broadway showstoppers along with songs she made famous or just loved. Her emotional connection to the music is profound, filled with seven decades of wisdom, and her soulful voice is strong displaying an impressive power and range.

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A Delicate Balance **1/2

Manu Narayan, Carmen M. Herlihy, Mia Katigbak, Paul Juhn, and Rita Wolf

To be estranged from the world – one must have done something to get there.

By: Isa Goldberg

November 10, 2022: In “A Delicate Balance,” Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, currently in its first Off Broadway revival, at the Connelly Theatre, we begin at the end of life’s journey. We begin with estrangement, when the familial and social bonds have arrived, in a state of collapse.

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What Passes for Comedy ****

Andrew Oshanick, Ryan Brooke Taylor, Michael Filisky, Aain Pierre, Jordan Elman and Rory Lance.


By: Paulanne Simmons

November 7, 2022: An African American, a Jew and a white guy walk into an office of comedy writers. No this is not the beginning of a joke. It’s the premise of G. D. Kimble’s What Passes for Comedy, a sparkling comedy/drama that confronts racism, privilege, responsibility, our past and our future.

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Almost Famous ***

The Company of “Almost Famous”.

Cameron Crowe brings his iconic film, Almost Famous, to Broadway with mixed results. 

By: Patrick Christiano

November 5, 2022:  One of the most eagerly awaited musicals of the season, Almost Famous, based on Cameron Crowe’s semi-autographical 2000 film of the same name is a major disappointment, which can only happen when expectations are high. Set in the world of rock-and-roll, the film is arguable one of the finest coming of age movies ever made beautifully capturing the spirit of the era in which it was set, the 1970s.

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Literature Live @ Bay Street ****

Michelle Azar as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Director and Laley Lippard. Photo: Barry Gordin

Bay Street Theater and Scott Stander are presenting the enlightening All Things Equal: The Life & Trials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as part of their Literature Live series through November 27.

November 6, 2022: Supreme Court Justice, RGB, is beautifully captured in Rupert Holmes’ captivating one person play, All Things Equal: The Life & Trials of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which opened last night at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor. For ninety fascinating minutes Michelle Azar embodies the remarkable woman known as RBG as she welcomes a family friend into here cozy chambers. She captures the essence of this brave woman with a nuanced performance that is a treat to behold.  She nails her indominable/witty presence and over the course of those absorbing, often funny, 90 minutes, a sense of the woman and her life with its many trials will become apparent.

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